(Continued from page 346)
Wicca & Karma & Reincarnation
What happens when Wiccans make a mistake or, worse, commit a crime? Are they relying on karma to put things right? Wiccans will obviously try and deny the Hindu/Buddhist origins of karma because they can probably now recognise the weaknesses of the view - as so publicly revealed by Glen Hoddle! While 'pagans' may like to deny the 'what goes around, comes around' nature of karma, their appeal to common-sense simply does not even deal with the paradoxes of the 'Good Samaritan' variety. Wiccans may like to think that the problem of evil in the world ('Why does God let bad stuff happen to 'good' people') is confounding to Christians, but the truth is in every page of the Bible. You may not like the answers given there, but they are clear and unequivocal.
'Isms' usurp God's Word
Wiccans tell us that the exact proportion of 'the return' in karma is a matter of 'your Path' - some traditions maintaining that it is as much as a tenfold return, while Gardinerian Wicca places it as threefold (the 'Threefold Law'). Others still accept the return as one-for-one. Where does the truth lie? Wiccans simply do not know! We hope you do not confuse the merciful Biblical view with the fatalistic 'will of Allah' view. Many consider 'paganism' to offer homely wisdom - but is this really true? While the claim might be made that 'the Rede' is a strict, yet flexible, moral code ('Harm none'), there are many situations in life where doing nothing and making no decision is positively 'harming' to some! Those who turned their backs and refused help to the Jews trying to escape from Nazi Germany in the 1930's are no better than those who preceded the 'Good Samaritan' but refused to offer help.
'Pagans' may compare themselves with Hindus and Buddhists fearful of crushing an ant and admit there are times when it is impossible to cause harm, but claim that the path is clearly mapped out: do as little harm as possible - both short-term and long-term! This is supposed to be both liberating and constricting, and even considered in some way superior to Christian morality which is supposedly a matter of choosing from a 'simple' checklist of sins and virtues! Somehow 'pagans' seem to draw the conclusion that paths that don't provide 'nice pat answers' but force you to look at the question and draw your own conclusions can be superior. Again, we are back to the failings of the 'no absolutes' and having to accept the Nazi's right to their own 'truth'!
How do 'pagans' believe they get punished and rewarded for what they do? Some describe the goal as attaining union with the Godhead - that a man's will is that part of him that drives toward this exalted end, but standing against him are his base desires and external forces, which must be dealt with mercilessly. In Zen Buddhism, and other branches, the path to enlightenment is gradual and the distractions of the mind must be overcome. How do such practitioners ignore the obvious suffering around them - to such an extent in Hinduism that starving children feed 'sacred cows' with the grain sent by Western countries to assuage the famines! This, again, is the result of foolish paganism.
In Wicca, the self is usually divided into three parts: Talking Self, Child Self and Deep Self.
Talking Self is the conscious part of the mind that worries about the 'real' world and drowns out the sounds of the other Selves (unless you listen very carefully?!)
Child Self is sometimes called Young Self, the Child Within, or Inner Child - and usually equated as the 'subconscious'.
Deep Self is approximated to 'the soul' and said to communicate via Child Self.
The problems of so-called Deep Self or Will is that 'Do what thou will' is translated, rather, as 'Do what you know, deep inside, to be right and holy.' It is perfectly clear, to the Christian, that man does not 'know, deep inside [how] to be right and holy.' As Paul put it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:14-25):
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
The pagan failure to recognise the seriousness of sin, or even its existence, means that even recognition of wrong choices is unlikely. Lack of belief in 'the law' that Paul quotes results in the impossible task of judging fairly as 'your own judge'.
Some pagans, at least, recognise the problem of 'keeping score' and trying to determine how you are at least 'fairly good'. However, if they accept the 'Deep Self' as their judge they still haven't escaped the sin problem which is deep in the soul of every man. They also still have the problem of conscience 'punishing' you and going against the supposed 'harm none' law! Many claim that it is not breaking the law of 'the Rede' to use a little suffering as a training tool to prevent greater suffering later, and your Inner Self somehow knows that sometimes you need disciplining in this way (presumably through re-incarnated lives, since many of us are even 'punished' before birth) but obviously they cannot be sure about this either! The errors of accepting re-incarnation as a viable explanation of the vicissitudes of life are clearly exemplified through asking questions about the natures of trials we suffer. There is also the failure to explain why anyone who (according to pantheistic thought) was already part of the godhead/the divine would ever willingly chose to undergo trial by karma and leave a perfect state in the first place!
Cosmology (the branch of philosophy or metaphysics which deals with the origin and nature of the universe) has to be manipulated to try and explain the vicissitudes of life - the changes in circumstances, or variations of fortune or outcome that can take place in a person's life that don't seem to have any causal relationship. Immanence (relating to the pantheistic conception of God, as being present throughout the universe) is often taken to account for synchronicity (an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two, or more, similar or identical events that are causally unrelated). However, there is also a tendency among 'pagans' to invent special relationships with deities, guides, spirits etc. who, for some unexplained reason, are allowed to manipulate life (karma). In true pagan manner it is accepted that these unknown entities are manipulating experiences so that people get what is 'due' to them. If there is some entity outside of us that is allowed to influence our 'karma' then this means, of course, that the laws of pagans are not working and they are not acting as their own judge, for someone with unfair and unknown greater power is allowed to trifle with our lives! Attempts to dismiss contradictions to their laws and accept synchronicity or chaos, without clear answers, may appeal to pagans, but is certainly far less logical than Christianity.
Pagan 'alternative morality' claims to rely on sensible home truths: concentrate on getting on with your own life; don't persecute others; don't tolerate harm to others. As pointed out earlier, all of these, while sounding sensible to some, are seriously flawed in different ways. The lack of absolutes and definitions makes for a spiritual and moral free-for-all that is obviously attractive to many, but anathema to Christians.
'What thou wilt' deceives many into thinking that it is liberating and frees adherents from constraints. Instead of resulting in strongly moral actions it results in shallowness and apathy.
The Bible is clear that God has planted three things in the mind of all men (Romans 1):
He has made us conscious of his existence as Creator, and that makes us uncomfortable.
We are imbued with a conscience that constantly reveals the choices before us as good or evil.
He has made our spirits aware that, since there is not perfect justice in the world, judgement must surely come from another one.
Descartes called these 'innate ideas,' but they are actually imparted spiritual concepts that are part of our creation in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1v26-27). It is sad that when it comes to the absolute truth so many should reject the historical reliability of the Bible, God's truth to man about Himself and about the relationship that He has with man. It is a constant experience that people reject the Bible with such parroted phrases as: 'The Bible contradicts itself.' When asked for an example of such a contradiction they come out with the 'eye for eye, tooth for tooth,' and 'turn the other cheek,' type which is easily explained by anyone who is familiar with those passages.
Failings of the Mormon 'gospel'
Sadly, one of the results of involvement with Mormonism is the casting of doubt on the reliability of the Bible. We have already pointed out the excellent evidence that it was transmitted and handed down to us essentially as God gave it, as the manuscript evidence shows. Mormon claims that significant parts are missing and that the Bible has been translated incorrectly conflicts with the Bible's own statements:
'Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away' (Mark 13:31).
'Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever' (1 Peter 1:23).
'Neither pray I for these [the apostles] alone, but for them [us] also which shall believe on me through their word … ' (John 17:20).
The Bible has been shown to be historically verifiable and the personal witness and testimony of some of its writers, along with the sacrificial lives Jesus' followers lived after he died, rose from the grave, and ascended to heaven, speak clearly of its divine source.
The Mormon recommendation is to read the Book of Mormon and pray for a testimony and you are following the same leading in accepting 'Wiccan experiences' as your truth. If you read the Bible every day (starting with the Gospel of John), while considering and studying in depth the facts above and praying before and after reading, asking the God of the Bible to witness the truth of His Word to you, then you can expect the Holy Spirit to give you a personal testimony that these facts are true. You are obviously putting your 'testimony' of your 'spirit' above the infallible witness of God's Word. Remember the Scripture Joseph Smith claimed to appeal to (James 1:5): 'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God … '. We have already emphasised 1 Thessalonians 5:21: 'Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.' But note that wisdom is the proper use of knowledge, and we must first do our part in gathering that knowledge before we ask God for wisdom.
A Better Way - the True Christ!
Note that Mark 13:31 consists of Jesus' words: 'my words shall not pass away'. If the Mormon claim was correct in saying that parts are missing from the Bible, it is mistranslated, and there was a complete apostasy, then Jesus lied to us - and God is not to be trusted. If, as the Mormons claim, the gospel was lost soon after the first century, why was God so incompetent as to wait until the 1830's to restore His gospel? Don't you ever wonder how God could supposedly fail to preserve His Word, despite Scripture declaring that 'with God nothing will be impossible' (cf. Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37; 18:27), yet He then chose to wait until 1830 to 'restore' His gospel? Since it is so easy to prove that the Book of Mormon is full of error and an obvious fraud, belief in the God of Mormonism is belief in a fallible 'god'! It is also illogical in the framework of the Mormon system which has to teach un-Scriptural 'baptism for the dead' in an attempt to explain how those who didn't have access to their glorious 'restored gospel' can get a second chance. Apart from the fact that this false doctrine is easily dismantled, it simply doesn't cope with the fact that every person born after the supposed apostasy never had the opportunity to prove their worth for 'godhood' through their good works in the light of the Mormon gospel! This is apart from the other problems of this gospel of good works, e.g. how do the Mormons explain how those born severely disabled can possible do enough 'Mother Theresa' type good works to be a 'god' in the afterlife?
The Mormon theology involving multiple gods and goddesses, with Jesus Christ and God the Father portrayed as married and fathering offspring, is totally foreign to those who derive their religious beliefs from the Bible alone. Rather, it recalls the lustful polytheism of Greece and Rome. However, anyone knowing and understanding God and Christ as the Bible presents them will find Mormon theology offensive - and not find 'Wicca' attractive either! Even unchurched people recognize Mormon theology as foreign to the thinking of a nominally Christian society. And genuine lovers of truth will note an element of deceptiveness in marketing Mormonism without clearly labelling the outside of the package as 'polytheistic'.
In 1 Peter 1:23 the Apostle Peter tells us that the word of God lives and is with us forever! Did he lie? Mormonism says He did! In John 17:20 Jesus, in his great intercessory prayer, asks the Father to bless those in the future who believe in him through the word of the apostles. It is illogical to believe that the Lord's special prayer for the future faithful was honoured for such a short period of time and then was ignored for about 1800 years! We would also have to believe that the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13; Acts 1:8) was a failure and that the apostles the Lord appointed, and then their disciples, and the Church Fathers who learnt from them, were also complete and dismal failures. These ideas are also illogical! Of course, it is revealing to read Joseph Smith's boast that his followers never left him as the disciples did Jesus:
Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.… I love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go. (Joseph Smith, May 26, 1844, History of the Church 6:408-9, footnote)
Joseph Smith foolishly made these claims about himself in a public address several weeks before he was killed in Carthage Jail. Would Wiccans argue 'what goes around comes around'? The God of the Bible is Gracious and Merciful and allows us all time to repent, but He will not allow mockers to go unpunished indefinitely.
Having given you good reason to reject the Mormon and Wicca versions of the truth we point you to a much better offer! We recommend the following:
study books about the Bible. Prove it to be historically, archaeologically, and factually correct.
Associate with Christians as much as possible. Go to orthodox church services - visit a different church each Sunday, if necessary, in order to find one that does not just say that it follows the Word of God, but actually preaches strongly from the Bible.
Establish in your mind the reliability of the Bible - that it is the Word of God, and is Scripture - then examine key doctrinal points, primarily the divinity of Jesus Christ.
When you have established in your mind that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One True God according to the Scriptures (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4), then examine the concept of free salvation in Him and the doctrine of the Trinity.
Learn that feelings are not important. We don't need 'feelings', a 'religious experience,' a 'burning in the bosom', a 'tingling.' The promise of the real Almighty God is enough (John 3:16): 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' The promise is the important thing, not feelings, and it applies to all who believe!
admit you are a sinner, repent of your sins, and confess your sins to God (see Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30-31; 1 John 1:9-10; and Proverbs 28:13).
believe in the true God of the Bible, and his Son, the true Lord Jesus Christ (see John 3:16-18; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9).
confess your faith to men (see Romans 10:9-10).
The real Jesus Christ, found only through a Bible you can have complete faith in (not just 'as far as it is translated correctly' - as the Mormons claim), a local Bible-believing and teaching church, and good Christian friends, will prove to you that there is something far better than the vagaries of Mormonism and Wicca.
If you truly trust in the historic Lord Jesus Christ: 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John 8:32).
We will be praying for you Shelley, and look forward to your replies to the many questions we have posed.
In Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour
25th May, 2005 - 23.41:*****************************************************
Sorry but i don't agree with you, one of the things in the bible is it says that the holy spirit is the teacher. If you ask your teachers name at school they would declare it as Miss Havisham, or Miss Smith. The holy spirit gives his name to his existence which is described in Galatians, clear simple & irrefutable. Lets call it a day, you believe in what you want to believe in and i'll believe in what i wish to believe in, this is all human pergotive. I don't know what bible you are even reading from, i've heard many Jehovahs Witnesses declare there bible to be the same as other King James versions, but at first hand i have read & compared these so called same bibles & it is ultimately different from meaning in one scripture to another. Good luck with talking to others, i for one have lost interest in our conversations.
25th May, 2005 - 23.51:
Just as a reminder of the christian faiths, thw Word of God happens to be Jesus Christ himself, not words in a book that man has decided to chop & change to his own meanings.
25th May, 2005 - 23.54:
Hi Again , Again, *****************************************************
And another thing. About you going on about John where the truth will lead you into all truth, What happened then with Judas Iscariot who was a disiple & apostle in the truth, but betrayed the truth, where did the truth lead him into all truth there!
3rd June, 2005 - TCE replies:
thank you again for taking the time to respond.
You write: And another thing. About you going on about John where the truth will lead you into all truth, What happened then with Judas Iscariot who was a disiple & apostle in the truth, but betrayed the truth, where did the truth lead him into all truth there!
TCE: Firstly, we did not write that 'the truth will lead you into all truth'! We wrote 'when the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.' And if you had simply read what the Bible says about Judas you would never have asked this question!
To the simple contemporary observer of Jesus and His disciples Judas would have appeared to be a faithful follower of Christ. He cast out demons, healed the sick, and was even trusted to carry the bag of money for the group. Yet, in the end we know he betrayed the Saviour for 30 pieces of silver as prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-12 cf. Matthew 27:3, 6-10:
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve" John 6:70-71.
It is clear that Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him and recognised him as 'not clean' and that this betrayal was the fulfilment of Scripture:
"Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean," John 13:10-11.
"While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled," John 17:12.
"Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly." John 13:26-27.
(Continued on page 348)