John Livingston | October 21, 2017
The number of people turning away from Christianity in America is increasing, but they’re not all simply becoming atheists…
(garydemar.com) – If you believe the premise of the Bible — that mankind is made in God’s image — then you understand that all people want to be connected to a source of greater meaning. The Triune God of Christianity is inherently a community of persons. If individuals are made in His image, then we, too, desire community, both with our maker and with others like us.
DESIRE TO CONNECT
The word religion comes from a Latin word that means “to bind.” This is why it is so hard for people to be purely atheist. Marketwatch reports:
Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, a study from Pew Research Center released Wednesday found. The percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who “never doubt existence of God” fell from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012.
Meanwhile, more than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science. compared to less than 8% of the Chinese public. The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016. It is now worth $2 billion annually, according to industry analysis firm IBIS World.
Melissa Jayne, owner of Brooklyn-based “metaphysical boutique” Catland, said she has seen a major uptick in interest in the occult in the past five years, especially among New Yorkers in their 20s. The store offers workshops like “Witchcraft 101,” “Astrology 101,” and a “Spirit Seance.”
“Whether it be spell-casting, tarot, astrology, meditation and trance, or herbalism, these traditions offer tangible ways for people to enact change in their lives,” she said. “For a generation that grew up in a world of big industry, environmental destruction, large and oppressive governments, and toxic social structures, all of which seem too big to change, this can be incredibly attractive.”
Even in the face of scientific “debunking,” people still insist on turning to the occult. That’s because a so-called purely rational science just doesn’t fill the connective need that humans innately possess:
“It’s very different from the way we usually work and live and date, where everything is hyper-mediated and rational,” she said. “There is a belief vacuum: we go from work to a bar to dinner and a date, with no semblance of meaning. Astrology is a way out of it, a way of putting yourself in the context of thousands of years of history and the universe.”
SCIENCE IS BLIND
Think about why this might be. Consider science. The scientific method is based on the concept of repeatability. You do an experiment, under the same conditions, over and over, and get the same result.
Next, consider the concept of the miracle: a one-time event that, by its very definition, defies our expectations.
The scientific method is prejudiced against miracles. It screens them out. And then, irrationally enough, scientists claim they don’t exist. Their tool is designed to screen out random events that cannot be repeated or predicted. And yet, instead of admitting that we need to use a different tool better suited for the application, they use it to say miraculous things don’t exist. Logically speaking, that’s begging the question. You assume the outcome before you even get started, and then claim the results prove your point.
Who in their right mind would accept such a thing? Millennials reject this idea. The counter culture of the 1960s rejected this idea. There are phenomena in this world that science simply can’t explain. So, the rational scientists try to sweep it under rug, at best, or deny they exist, at worst.
People turn to the powers of the occult when they lose hope or, like Hilary Clinton, seek absolute power.
Man is separate from God. In Christianity, mankind is always a derivative, and more importantly, subordinate to his Creator. The creature cannot become the Creator.
Non-Christian religion denies this. The goal for all occult activity is to transcend the Creator-creature boundary. In Ancient Greek religion, the desire was to storm the halls of heaven and toss out the old gods so that the new gods could take over (Titans vs. Olympians).
People want answers in this life. Science speaks mostly of physics. It doesn’t speak to matters of the heart, which are very near and dear to most people. But to some questions, God, speaking through Scripture, says we simply will not know, cannot know, and should stop asking:
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:19-21)
But mankind is fallen. They rebel against their creator. Against his commands, they seek the answers anyway. They press against the veil hoping for enlightenment. If God will not tell us, then we will create our own answers, they figure. The plan is to become divine in order to satisfy their satanic quest for absolute, exhaustive knowledge.
Mystical doctrines that rival the Christian doctrine of the Fall tend to state that there is some deficiency in mankind’s being for our shortcomings. Whatever that deficiency may be, it’s not inherently ethical. Occult teachings say that we can bridge this gap by undergoing a mystical “leap of being” by learning some secret knowledge that will teach us how.
Christianity tells us that our restoration will come through repentant submission to God, first, and then ethical obedience to His word. Mystical religions like witchcraft tell us that we can undergo some instantaneous transformation apart from God’s grace.
We can save ourselves or gain better lives for ourselves by amplifying our own reasoning abilities or by doing good works or through mystical contact with the divine, precipitated by occult ritual.
UP, UP, AND AWAY!
New Age religion and witchcraft attempt to teach man to become God, or at least divine. In Christianity, God took on flesh and died on the cross to atone for man’s sins so that man can eventually attain perfect humanity in eternity. But occultic mysticism asserts that man and God are essentially the same. Witchcraft and the occult in general promise that we can tap into the levers that control reality and manipulate it to our own desire, just as if we were its creators.
These ideas are expressed in popular novels such as The Celestine Prophecy (over 20 million copies sold worldwide since 1993) and Way of the Peaceful Warrior. These books are part of the New Age fiction genre that is really just a modern adaptation of eastern mysticism. (Confession: I read them both.)
They teach that man can learn of (nine or ten or twelve, etc.) secret principles and undergo a leap of being into a new super-man. Or that man can, through the power of his mind, transform himself and pull himself up by his own bootstraps out of any deep chasm.
ESCAPING FINAL JUDGMENT
The ultimate goal in all these alternative religions — even though they aren’t called that, being cloaked in the language of “spirituality” — is to avoid the final judgment.
If you achieve nirvana, you can just blink out of existence. If you become one with god, then you can just become another drop in the endless ocean. If you can communicate with the dead, then there’s hope that your immaterial parts aren’t completely abandoned to a terrible fate after death. Living life without eternal consequences — that’s the name of the game.
Total atheism and devotion to science are too irrational for most regular people to find fulfillment in. Knowing that they do need fulfillment, they turn to alternative religions to try and fill the hole.
“When I started my journey in 2010, I was the weirdo,” she said. “Now it is becoming more and more normalized, and I believe it is because more people are looking to heal. Millennials are much more open-minded.”
People are definitely broken. But they’re looking for salvation in all the wrong places.