Contrary to the frivolity of the Halloween celebration, the demonic world exists! Its reality has been attested to by every major religion, and also by many occult practices that invite demonic activity.
One blogger and author, Mark D. Roberts, PHD New Testament, wrote about his coming-to-believe about the demonic world. He found that the only way to make sense of the life of Jesus was to acknowledge the reality of the demonic. Roberts also found that modern secularism’s denial of spiritual reality set them in opposition to the rest of humanity:
- Our rejection of supernatural evil might be right, of course, but it is certainly the minority view, both in today’s world and throughout human history. Of course, it’s typical for Western intellectuals to dismiss supernaturalists as naïve dunderheads, but I began to see both the arrogance and the limitations of this prejudice. Whether I go with the flow of those who believe in demons or not, I must at least respect their intelligence and take seriously their experiences.
Roberts also discovered that so many of the missionaries he respected had reported direct and observable contact with demonic phenomena.
I too would have been a skeptic had I not observed it directly. At our family reunion, we adults prevailed upon my two young girl cousins to whip out their Ouiji Board. They were reluctant, knowing that they had conjured up real spirits. Nevertheless, they agreed.
What we observed over the next hour was absolutely mind-staggering, especially for my agnostic/atheistic family. Blind-folded, my two young cousins spelled out adult words with breath-taking ease, even when blindfolded, putting together adult sentences choked full of adult facts.
Even to this day – 50 years later – my skeptical family has absolutely no naturalistic explanation for what they had observed. However, now I do! I became convinced that we had observed the work of demons, and that these demons do not have our best interests in mind. Instead, Jesus claimed that the Devil had been “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).
Even so, the Devil casts a deceptive net of destruction, posing as a friend, lover, and spiritual guide, just like His workmen:
- For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. (2 Cor. 11:13-15)
Many can affirm this reality. A close friend had grown up in relative isolation. However, she did have one friend – a spirit being – with whom she had tangible contact for many years. But it was only after coming to Christ that she understood that this “friend” (and what this friend had been asking her to do) was evil.
Many of us had been deceived about Satan. We assume that his allurements always appear very carnal and sinful. However, deception is the main tool of his craft. Consequently, his deceptive teachings have the appearance of goodness:
- The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods. (1 Tim. 4:1-3)
Interestingly, demonic doctrines have the appearance of holiness. They often take the form of self-denial of the pleasures of life – marriage and food. Paul had warned that although this kind of self-denial has the appearance of righteousness, it is highly deceiving:
- See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ…Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? (Col. 2:8, 18-21)
Although self-denial has the appearance of goodness, even humility, by placing our trust in commands like, "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!" can take us “captive,” “disqualifying [us] for the prize.”
My two little girl cousins had made contact with two spirits who identified themselves as “Babs” and “Sally.” They had presented themselves through the Ouiji Board as models of caring and warmth. They answered with maturity, gentleness, and feigned concern.
I was highly impressed and subsequently began to work the Ouiji Board with my girlfriend. We asked the spirits about many things. These spirits joked coarsely and offensively with us. However, lacking any understanding of the demonic world, I overlooked their insults and sexual innuendos, concluding that they simply had a more evolved sense-of-humor.
My father’s house had just been burglarized. Therefore, I took the spirits at their word when they disclosed to me the names and addresses of those who had done the burglary. Fortunately, I didn’t take “justice” into my own hands. Later, the police had found the real perps.
Subsequently, I found that this had not simply been my experience, but the experience of entire cultures and people groups who practiced contacting spirits. Inevitably, these were violent peoples. Why? Because the seductive demons were always lying about the evil intentions of their neighbors, provoking unprovoked retaliation!
Jungleman, a Yanomamo shaman turned Christian, had been convinced that the spirits he was experiencing were divine god-like beings. However, in Spirit of the Rainforest, he finally confessed:
- “I wish I had known the truth about [Jesus] when I was a young man—it would have saved me so much pain and misery. But how could I? My spirits lied so much to me and tricked me. They were so beautiful, so wonderful, so hard not to want. They were the best at telling me split-truth. Now I’m at the end of this life, and I’m ready to begin my real life with [Jesus]. (Mark Andrew Richie, 238)
I also wish I had known. However, for the mentally exhausted, spiritism, also referred to as shamanism, paganism, and animism, promises to offer instant results. However, in our desperate search for hope, we turn off our minds to contrary evidences. This seems to be the pattern of those promoting spiritism. Sandra Ingerman, a shaman, writes in “Soul Retrieval”:
- “As you read this book and wonder whether or not what I am talking about is real, I ask you not to enter into a battle between the right brain [reason] and left brain [intuition]. Simply read the material and experience it!”
“Experience it” we will! She paints a tempting portrait of hope and instant relief. Why does Ingerman want us to “experience it” rather than evaluate it? Because what she says will flunk the evaluative exam!
She maintains that we lose part of our immaterial souls as we experience pain and trauma, and healing requires an incredible shamanic spirit-quest to retrieve the mutinous soul-segment. Evidence? Ingerman insists that we just have to experience the firsts of shamanism:
- “Does the information that comes from the shamanic journey work? Does the information make positive changes in a person’s life? If so, who cares if we are making it up?” (pg.3)
Even scientists turn their minds off in favor of experience. Usually, ethnographers try to maintain a professional distance from the cultures they study. Not so anthropologist Karen McCarthy Brown, author of Mama Lola; A Voodou Priestess in Brooklyn! She writes:
- “I realized that if I brought less to this Vodou world, I would come away with less. If I persisted in studying Vodou objectively, the heart of the system, its ability to heal, would remain closed to me. The only way I could hope to understand the psychodrama of Vodou was to open my own life to the ministrations of Alourdes [the priestess].” (pg.10)
And this is exactly what Brown did. She became a full-blown initiate. This helps to explain her bizarre acceptance of the Vodou spirits’ behaviors:
- “Although the Iwa [spirits] who possess Alourdes are often called sen-yo (saints), they are not saintly types in the traditional Christian sense. For example, in stories about the soldier spirit Ogou/Saint James, he not only liberates his people but also betrays them. Ezili Danto/Mater Salvatoris, the mother, cradles and cares for her children but also sometimes lashes out at them in rage. The Vodou spirits are not models of the well-lived life; rather, they mirror the full range of possibilities inherent in the particular slice of life over which they preside. Failure to understand this has led observers to portray the Vodou spirits as demonic or even to conclude that Vodou is a religion without morality—a serious misconception.” (pg.6)
But why shouldn’t Vodou be regarded as demonic if their gods act demonically? Why shouldn’t its morality be questioned? If the spirits are conniving, why should any of their servants try to morally out-do them? Why does Brown think that finding fault with the spirits represents a “serious misconception?” How can she accept the idea of such beings possessing her friend Alourdes? Well, she doesn’t try to answer these questions, at least not directly.
Sadly, many lonely, disempowered, and alienated youth are also willing to overlook these troubling inconsistencies. Why? What’s the attraction here? Brown writes:
- “No Haitian—certainly not Alourdes—has ever asked me if I ‘believe’ in Vodou or if I have set aside the religious commitments and understandings that come from my childhood and culture. Alourdes’ approach is, instead, pragmatic: ‘You just got to try. See if it works for you.’ The choice of relinquishing my worldview or adopting another in its entirety has therefore never been at issue.”
Why the appeal? Spiritism is presented to the West as costless. You will not have to surrender any part of your life. However, you will!
The Devil and his demonic following can also use brute power. They can bring disease (Luke 13:16; 2 Cor. 12:7; Acts 5:16). They even control the world (1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 2:26). And yes, they even deceive the world into offering him worship (Deut. 32:17; Psalm 106:37; 1 Cor. 10:20; Rev. 9:20).
Spiritism comes with a high price-tag. In “The facts on Spirit Guides,” John Ankerberg and John Weldon sound the alarm about this often ignored world. They warn of the strong association between spiritism and mental illness:
- “One discovers many mental patients who are mentally ill precisely because they are demonized. This is born out by the research of German psychiatrist and parapsychologist Hans Bender who coined the term “mediumistic psychosis’; by theologian and psychologist Kurt Koch; and by clinical psychologist and Swedenborgian Wilson Van Dusen, who has examined thousands of patients and noted the parallels to spiritistic experiences and phenomena.” (27)
However, the spirits do not gain a foothold by advertising the costs, one of which is suicide. According to Ankerberg and Weldon, there have been,
- “…innumerable cases where the ‘loving’ spirits have deliberately induced emotional dependence upon their advice and then at a moment of weakness encouraged their contact to commit suicide. And this has been occurring for decades, probably even centuries. In the 1920 text The Menace of Spiritualism, case after case of tragedy is listed.” (37)
The authors have compiled their own list of horrors that have stalked mediums:
- “Arthur Ford became a morphine addict and alcoholic…Bishop Pike died a tragic death…The biography on [Edgar] Cayce by Joseph Millar reveals the extent of suffering Cayce’s occultic involvement cost him—from psychic attacks to mysterious fires…Many channelers seem to succumb to various vices later in life.” (39)
Although they describe the medium M. Lamar Keene as “fraudulent,” from his book, The Psychic Mafia, the authors cite:
- “All the mediums I’ve known or known about have had tragic endings. The Fox sisters, who started it all, wound up as alcoholic derelicts. William Slade…died insane in a Michigan sanitarium. Margery, the medium, lay on her deathbed a hopeless drunk….Wherever I looked it was the same: mediums, at the end of their tawdry life, dying a tawdry death.” (39-40)
Violence was another price to be paid:
- “Spiritist and guru Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual advisor at the United Nations observes, ‘Many, many black magicians and people who deal with spirits have been strangled or killed. I know because I’ve been near quite a few of these cases.’” (40)
- “Dr. Kurt Koch observed after 45 years of counseling the occultly oppressed that from his own experience ‘numerous cases of suicide, fatal accidents, strokes and insanity are to be observed among occult practitioners…Anyone who has had to observe for 45 years the effects of spiritism can only warn people with all the strength at his disposal.” (40)
These observations parallel our more global observations regarding the fate of spiritistic cultures. In Whence the “Noble Savage,” Patrick Frank, summarizes the research regarding analysis of ancient burial sites of spiritistic cultures. The findings, for instance, demonstrate that the violent death rates of British Columbian Native Americans (27-33%) far exceeded even the violent death rate of 20th century Europe and the US (1%). Frank also adds,
- “The Southwest is dotted with finds of people killed en masse…These indications of war, violent deaths, mutilations and cannibalism are from tribal societies that experienced no European or modern contact, thus contradicting the idea that peoples who were free from European influence lived relatively peaceful lives.” (Skeptic Mag. Vol 9, #1,2001, 54-60)
Spiritistic societies build no hospitals, establish no universities, and build no enduring institutions. Instead, according to their own reports, they have been spirit-ravaged. Ankerberg and Weldon and also list some books by spiritists who have found refuge in Christ:
- Victor Ernest, I talked with Spirits
- Ben Alexander, Out from Darkness
- Raphel Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit
They conclude, “What is amazing is that the evidence is there for all to see and yet it is ignored.” (38) This may be “amazing,” but it’s also frustratingly true!
Demonic power is so great that whenever we have conflict with people, the cause is ultimately demonic powers and principalities (Eph. 6:12). However, they can do no more than God allows them to do (Job 1:12; 1 John 5:18; 2 Cor. 12:7; Luke 22:31).
According to Paul, demonic deception has taken the world into captivity. The remedy is truth. However, God must enable the heart to savingly embrace the truth to free us from Satan’s clutches. Meanwhile, Satan has been able to blind people to the truth:
- The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4:4)
What then is the answer? God applying the truth of His Gospel to our captive hearts:
- For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Cor. 4:5-6)
How are we to find this deliverance from the demonic? We have hope in Jesus:
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
But how can those who do not believe come to a belief in Jesus?
- “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)