Many people in this field will openly confess that they do not know where the power comes from. Often they will add that they do not even care as long as it works. This is utterly reckless, for few seem to have considered the possibility that an evil malevolent force is playing games with them, feeding them morsels to satiate their curiosity. There is a price to pay for dabbling in things that the God of the Bible has forbidden. Occult practitioners can mock this statement, and those who consider themselves too 'intelligent' and 'scientific' to accept this to be true can laugh, but one of many questions they cannot answer is this simple fact: those who have given their lives over to the Lord Jesus Christ have been given the authority to call upon His name to set captives free (Luke 4:8). The Christian message is one of love and, while there are some ignorant Christians who foolishly berate and ridicule those involved in these occultic rites, we would only seek to inform the occultist that Jesus is the Name to be called on when you finally realise the danger you have exposed yourselves to. Please do not leave it too late.
The word 'occult' comes from the Latin word 'occultus' and it carries the idea of things hidden, concealed, secret or mysterious. Practitioners usually understand the occult to be an interference with the usual course of physical nature using Gnosis (hidden knowledge) in which recitation of formulae, gestures, mixing of incongruous elements, and other mysterious actions, is performed in ceremonies of various degrees of complexity. The 'Gnosis' is believed by the occultist to be obtained through secret communication with the force underlying the universe. To the occultist this is 'God', the Devil. the soul of the world, or whatever force their Gnosis claims to have tapped into. It may be considered the attempt to work miracles not by the power of the God of the Bible, gratuitously communicated to man, but by the use of hidden forces beyond man's control and without necessarily seeking 'God's will' for the application of them. Its advocates, despairing or ignoring any attempt to move the Deity by supplication, seek the desired result by evoking powers ordinarily reserved to the Deity. This 'Gnosis' is the opposite of the revelation of the one true God of the Old Testament - the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Occultic supernatural power counterfeits the spiritual gifts conferred by the Holy Spirit, e.g. by prophecy, healing, channelling, astral travel and other 'signs and false wonders' (2 Thessalonians 2:9) such as witchcraft, 'magic', palm reading, fortune telling, ouija boards, tarot cards, satanism, spiritism, animism; astrology; divination; fetishism, demons and the use of crystal balls. To this list we could add much more.
Many adherents operate under the simple title,'Magic', but this doesn't alter the fact that the root of 'occultic power' is the devil (Satan, Beelzebub) who can counterfeit to a degree, as the Bible warns. For example, we read of the power of Pharaoh's 'magicians' (Exodus 7:8-13) who counterfeited the miracles of God worked through Moses and Aaron - but only up to a point! It is noticeable that even the 'magicians' had to admit that the power beyond them was 'the finger of God' (Exodus 8:19) - so they knew their powers were NOT from God but still they practiced them! This emphasises the common point that, even when you demonstrate the truth to an occultist, they will still cling to their practices. We return to this point in a moment.
In a restricted sense the occult is a corruption of religion, not a preliminary stage of it as Rationalists maintain, and appears as an accompaniment of decadent rather than of developing civilization. There is nothing to show that in Babylon, Greece, and Rome the use of 'magic' decreased as these nations progressed; on the contrary, it increased as they declined. It is clearly untrue that 'religion is the despair of magic'; in reality, 'magic' is but a disease of religion. This should greatly concern the world, since the rise of the 'New Age Movement' (re-vamped occultism) is accelerating in the West, showing the decline of Western 'civilization.' If one land may be designated as the home of the occult, it is Chaldea, or Southern Babylonia. The earliest written records of the occult are found in the cuneiform incantation inscriptions which Assyrian scribes (ca. 800 B.C.) copied from Babylonian originals. Although the earliest religious tablets refer to divination and, in the latest Chaldean period, astrology absorbed the energy of the Babylonian hierarchy, medicinal 'magic' and nature 'magic' were largely practiced.
The Babylonian 'magicians' were authorized and practiced 'white', or supposedly benevolent, 'magic', but the 'Kashshapi', or unauthorized practitioners, employed 'black magic' against mankind. That the latter had supernatural powers to do harm no one doubted; hence the severe punishment meted out to them. The Code of Hammurabi (ca. 2000 B.C.) appointed the ordeal by water for one who was accused of being a sorcerer and for his accuser. If the accused was drowned, his property went to the accuser; if he was saved, the accuser was put to death and his property went to the accused. This of course took place only if the accusation could not be satisfactorily proven otherwise. 'Tests' of this kind, for witches, have been glorified in such films as 'Witchfinder General' (re-titled 'The Conqueror Worm' in America), made by Michael Reeves in 1968. The young British director killed himself at the age of 25. This was the last of his three films, made when he was 23, and it is considered by many to be one of the most horrific occult films ever made in Britain. It is at least partially based on the history of Cromwellian times and shows how quickly people can slip into employing occultic methods of divination, supposedly to counter the occult! Even the famous writer, Dennis Wheatley, warned of the dangers of becoming obsessed by the occult - although this did not prevent him making a comfortable living from the same genre.
'ReligiousTolerance.org' is one website which makes comments about 'Christian views' of the occult. It is clear to the Bible believing Christian (of which there seem to be few in the world who believe ALL of the Bible) that the sweeping statements found on this site are made out of ignorance (perhaps deliberate and therefore decrying the supposed tolerance of the site) concerning what the Bible actually teaches and who is therefore presenting a Christian viewpoint.
Three distinct characteristics of the occult are given by reasonably orthodox Christian writers, Josh McDowell & Don Stewart (J. McDowell & D. Stewart, The Occult, Here's Life, San Bernadino (1992):
The occult deals with things secret or hidden.seem to depend on human powers that go beyond the five senses.
The occult deals with operations or events which
3. The occult really deals with the supernatural - the presence of demonic forces.
Obviously, McDowell/Stewart are writing and defining from a Biblical perspective (cf. their other writings), meaning that everything added extra-Biblically - such as additional words or ceremonies that step outside of the Biblical canon - fit category 1. Category 2 therefore deals with any operation or event that steps outside of the five senses and the operations of the godhead and the gifts of the Holy Spirit as defined in the Bible. Therefore, this will also include many of the supernatural elements observed at 'hyper-charismatic' meetings in sects operating in, or on the fringe of, the orthodox church but outside of biblical authority, such as the Word-Faith/Charismaniac experiences. Category 3 summarises all supernatural activity experienced in the manner of category 2 and has been carefully defined by these writers as 'the presence of demonic forces.' So 'Tolerance' has stepped outside of this full definition and subsequently made a mistake in defining what orthodox Christians believe when they write:
The Occult, has been defined as any activity which:
1. is esoteric (employs knowledge that is not known to the general public, but which is only revealed gradually to a selected few in training), and
2. depends upon those talents which lie beyond the five senses, and
3. engages with the supernatural.
'Tolerance' then comments:
Unfortunately, such a definition has serious flaws:
Consider a person who joins an adult religion class at their local church and is taught special techniques of effective prayer -- methods that are unique to that church and not generally available to outsiders. This activity would meet all of the three criteria for the Occult: it has to be taught; it can be a silent prayer - a means of communicating without spoken words; it is directed at God.
'Tolerance' has made serious errors in redefining the McDowell/Stewart definition 1: 'The occult deals with things secret or hidden.' McDowell/Stewart mean those 'operations or events' which are not available to anyone through simply reading the Bible, which is widely available and openly teaches simple methods of prayer (ref. Matthew 6:5 ff). There are no 'prayer methods' in orthodox Christian circles - anyone can pray to God and there are countless testimonials in history from people who knew nothing of the Bible and simply cried out in desperation some simple phrase, such as: 'If you're there, please help me, God!' He heard and replied and they were saved. A classic Biblical example of a request to God was made by the thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43):
42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
No specialist knowledge is known or practised in the orthodox church - it is all biblical or it is not to be practised. It is true that Roman Catholicism and the Eastern and Russian 'Orthodox' Churches suppressed lay-people from reading the Bible to bring in their own specialised derivations of pagan priesthoods and theology. The fact that more and more formerly orthodox denominations are taking in occultic/esoteric teachings, such as reflexology (practiced in some churches in Cardiff), is a major concern of this web-site.
'Tolerances' problem is that they lump everyone who calls themselves 'Christian' into one mould. This is presumably why they think there are 'special techniques of effective prayer -- methods that are unique to that church and not generally available to outsiders.' They have read too many Roman Catholic/cultish works and assumed that everyone in Christianity believes what these others believe. When 'Tolerance' makes its' final claim - 'it is directed at God' - they also fall outside of the McDowell/Stewart framework which clearly states that: 'The occult really deals with the supernatural - the presence of demonic forces.' Those who pray to the biblical God are not praying to vague supernatural forces and, while they may be as ignorant as the thief on the cross when it comes to accurate Biblical knowledge of God, He will answer: 'I know My own, and My own know Me' (John 10:14-15). Those who go outside of His guidelines ignorantly will be protected up to a point, but if they consult witches wilfully as Saul did with the 'witch of Endor' (1 Samuel 28), then death and eternal separation from God will result.
'Tolerance' then writes:
'Consider a ceremonial magician performing a healing spell. She/he might believe that the spell taps into perfectly natural forces - parts of the universe that science has not yet been able to explain. They might feel that they are not part of the Occult, since they are not dealing with the supernatural.'
'Tolerance' has taken part of the McDowell/Stewart definition and applied it, but ignored the part which clearly defines this 'magic' as outside of Biblical definitions of permissible supernatural activities and therefore, to the orthodox Christian, an occultic act. 'Tolerance' attempts to define everything to do with religion in a 'tolerant', 'reasonable' manner - at least up to a point as we see later - and so misses out any parts of a definition that does not suit this aim of theirs. When orthodox Christians define error they are only ever using a biblical framework, and so it is irrelevant whether the 'ceremonial magician…feel(s) that they are not part of the Occult, since they are not dealing with the supernatural.' Christian writers will use Christian/Biblical definitions and 'Tolerance' should not expect their definitions to fit in with these (as they clearly don't!).
'Tolerance' further states:
During mass, a Roman Catholic priest will perform a ritual which involves certain words and actions. The end result is that the wafer and wine is believed to literally become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This act of magic would meet these three criteria, and thus be occultic.
Again, 'Tolerance' presumes that Roman Catholicism is Christian, whereas an orthodox, Bible believing, Christian will agree that this Catholic ritual is a 'secret' ritual, able to be performed by the Roman Catholic priesthood alone (and Roman Catholicism takes this view!), and is a supernatural act performed outside of Biblical authority and therefore either 'magic,' comparable to cannibalistic acts used some Voodoo practitioners, or a fraud! Other sections of the 'Tolerance' website show that they are entirely ignorant of these differences, but their occult section loses balance, perhaps because of a failure by the writers of each section to be cross-referenced. As you can clearly read in our Roman Catholicism & Ecumenism section, the stance of Rome has continuously been (for about 1500 years) that they alone have the power and authority (the 'keys' of authority) inherited through the Popes and they literally cursed anyone preaching a gospel outside of their teachings. In fact, as you can read on those pages, the inspired apostle Paul declares that they have already cursed themselves by bringing 'another gospel' (Galatians 1:6-9)!
'Tolerance' then states:
Most lists of occultic activity includes Wicca (often referred to by the public as "White" Witchcraft), and various methods of foretelling the future (e.g. astrology, casting runes, reading Tarot Cards, I Ching, etc.). But literally hundreds of books have been published on these topics. Anyone can learn as much as they wish by simply buying or borrowing books. Since knowledge is not hidden, these beliefs and activities do not meet the first criteria above.
As we have shown, 'Tolerance' ignores the fact that all three criteria have to be applied to every instance of occultic activity and you cannot apply one at a time! They also skate over the issue of Biblical authority. The Bible is the most accurate ancient book in the history of the world and therefore has manuscript and interpretative authority unknown by any other religion, whether claims be made for the Koran, the Upanishads or Bhagavad-Vita - or any Wicca works. Since these Biblical writings from God are written in 'tablets of stone,' it is impossible for someone to twist the 'knowledge' recorded there but, in contrast, the works of any Wiccan can be changed or modified as it suits the practitioner because there are no ancient records of their works that can be referred to. This applies to all other religions whether they be Druidic, Hindu, or Door-Knob Worshippers! The evidence for the accuracy of the Bible is insurmountable.
'Tolerance' then state that the 'Wiccan faith is a reconstructed religion of the ancient Celts….Although many Wiccans also engage in divination and/or healing spells, some do not. Among those who do not, their faith is devoid of occultic components'. Again, they have stated that 'Wiccans develop an intimate connection with their Goddess and God, perform religious rituals, and observe seasonal days of celebration. In doing so, they differ little from followers of other religions'. So, from the orthodox Christian viewpoint these Wiccans are practising occultists! 'Tolerance' then make these statements:
We would offer the following rather simple definition:
OCCULT: A set of mostly unrelated divination and/or spiritual practices or activities which appear to tap into forces that have not been explained by science, and which are not conventional practices seen in traditional religions.
Note that this definition does not attach any value judgment to occultic practices.
Thus, Tarot card readings might still be considered:
a dangerous example of the Occult, as seen by an Evangelical or Fundamentalist Christian,
an integral component of their religion, as seen by some Wiccans,
a harmless hobby or pastime as seen by a Unitarian Universalist
This is how the term is used in practice; people in different faith groups have very different meanings for "the Occult". No consensus on its meaning exists.'
They finally reach the nitty gritty and show that they have been trying to apply the definitions of the whole range of religions to the occult and therefore we should not be surprised that their 'definition does not attach any value judgment to occultic practices.' This should be no surprise to mature Christians. It is entirely typical of Satanic deception to plump for a definition that is incapable of making any 'value judgement' on the errors of the occult. We will find this happening in all walks of life as standards are devalued so that morals become progressively more lax and moral absolutes become a thing of the past. This is exactly the scenario that will enable the reign of the anti-Christ to begin .
We might have expected an even-handed account of the occult from 'Tolerance' - if they lived up to their name. We will assume that they follow the same path that is indicated by their statements above, for they carry on in this vein:
'Some people (particularly individuals involved in occultic activities) look upon the Occult as fascinating, harmless, mysterious, spiritual and a source of knowledge and healing power. Others (particularly conservative Christians) see it as being profoundly evil, criminal, destructive, life threatening, and Satanic. It is a word that generates horror and revulsion for the latter. Although it is common for people to differ in their religious views, it is rare to have a disparity as extreme as this. Many Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Christians define the Occult as including an enormous range of practices. We have seen references to…Gothic Satanism. This is a non-existent, anti-Christian faith whose members were believed to engage in cannibalism, human sacrifice, etc. It is an imaginary faith created during the latter Middle Ages. It justified the extensive Witch burnings of the 15th to 18th centuries.'
These views have been culled by 'Tolerance' from a variety of 'Christian' books and are therefore unrepresentative of orthodox Christian beliefs. 'Tolerance' appear to use the term 'conservative', 'evangelical' and 'Fundamentalist' to label Christians, but never differentiate between extreme or heretical beliefs and Biblical Christianity, apparently assuming that Christians hold very similar beliefs. Who are these 'conservative' Christians for whom the occult 'generates horror and revulsion'? It is an obvious fact that 'Tolerance' are doing exactly what they accuse these groups of Christians of committing - by lumping them all into one pot. If 'Tolerance' are going to write: 'Although it is common for people to differ in their religious views, it is rare to have a disparity as extreme as this. Many Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Christians define the Occult as including an enormous range of practices' then they can have no complaints if 'these' Christians do this! Our complaint is that 'Tolerance' have not taken the time to find out what orthodox, Bible-believing Christians believe. As you can read in other sections of this site, we are not surprised that 'Tolerance' has been confused by the disparity of beliefs among some Christian groups but, if they are going to claim tolerance, they might at least accept their beliefs instead of knocking them. If you claim to be tolerant you can accept that everyone is welcome to their own beliefs. But whether you expect to be taken seriously depends on the facts you bring forward to support your beliefs!
We have a good example in the reference by 'Tolerance' to 'Gothic Satanism', a title they have culled from an unknown source and which is unknown in the Christian circles we travel in. Does that mean it is 'non-existent'? 'Tolerance' claims it was an 'anti-Christian faith whose members were believed to engage in cannibalism, human sacrifice, etc. It is an imaginary faith created during the latter Middle Ages.' At the very least, 'Tolerance' are going to have to concede that something like this religion may have existed through the ages and been rarely recognised. Why do we claim this? We have no intention of trying to scare people or invent evidence that does not exist, but in every century there are weird groups that surface only when their crimes are discovered. It is an obvious fact that anyone engaging in such 'Satanic' practices in which victims are killed, will have to develop a very cunning and secret group or society (which we could call occultic!) to protect their identities since they will be imprisoned or killed if discovered. It is reasonable for us to suggest that this would always be a very minor religion, since the very acts carried out are repulsive to most human beings. In recent history an individual called Richard Ramirez carried out rapes and murders in the USA in which he daubed the murder scenes with 'Satanic' messages in blood." Police found a pentagram - an encircled five-pointed star often linked to Satanic worship drawn in lipstick on Malvia Keller's thigh," writes Clifford L. Linedecker in his Night Stalker. "Another pentagram had been crudely scrawled in lipstick on the bedroom wall where Blanche Wolfe lay in a comatose state. The tip of the pentagram was inverted, pointing down, an indication of evil. Of Satan." This indication of devil-worship was no surprise to Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block who had, for some time, suspected the crimes to be of that origin. A black baseball-style cap bearing the emblem of the hard-rock group AC/DC found at the scene of Dayle Okazaki's murder had given him that impression, for that music group was known for having produced some lyrics with occultic overtones.
In Britain we had reported cases of child abuse in the Nottinghamshire area in which the children involved gave enough indications of 'ritual abuse', involving robed adults in secret underground ceremonies, to warrant investigation by a television programme ('Dispatches'). The police had rubbished foster mothers' and social workers who reported the children's distressed accounts of their abuse, and the TV programme gave clear witness to the threats that were made by police officers to try and force the silence of these women. The evidence uncovered was substantial, yet no investigation by the police or any other authority was ever completed. There was enough evidence in this case to table it 'occultic', if not outright Satanic, yet it was hushed up by our 'authorities.' If this is indicative of the behaviour of 'civilized' authorities worldwide it is no surprise that the evidence for such activity is almost non-existent. The very nature of this kind of occultic crime is going to terrify witnesses. In the Nottingham case the adults used simple fear of spiders to terrify the children who slowly, reluctantly, and without coercion, revealed the truth to the foster mothers. We still have the video of this TV programme and wrote a lengthy report, which included material from this example, when the BBC allowed their 'Week In, Week Out' programme to try and besmirch Maureen Davies' work amongst abused children and teenagers.