Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Wacky Religious Beliefs

Dear Friends

“There is no God,” said Ron L. Hubbard, the science fiction writer and inventor of the “religion” called Scientology. Scientologists believe that you and I are all immortal extraterrestrial creatures called Thetans. Lord Xenu is the creator of the “Galactic Confederacy” and Xenu rules and reigns today over a galaxy which includes our planet earth. Scientology teaches that 75 million years ago, Xenu brought billions of aliens to Earth in spacecrafts resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners. He stacked the people around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The life force “thetans” then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Your goal is to become “clear” by  isolating your body thetans, neutralizing the negative thetans and accentuating the positive ones. Ron L. Hubbard is quoted as saying, “You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” (No thanks, Ron... I can see that creating a comic-book religion called Scientology worked out well for you but I’ll stick with my Bible!) 

Democratic Presidential Candidate and New Age teacher, Marianne Williamson, recently posted a tweet saying that we needed use our collective consciousness to harness “the power of the mind” and use “visualization” to turn the direction of Hurricane Dorian away from land and back out to sea. (If elected, perhaps she could achieve world peace by appointing Shirley MacLaine as Secretary of State!)

The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan is one of America’s most prestigious universities for fashion design. A few years ago when New Age guru and actress Shirley MacLaine gave a commencement address, she urged the graduates to focus on their “psychoactive energy centers.” She then warned the future fashion designers to not design clothing that would be too tight or restrictive and explained, “When the clothing is loose, the skin begins to become loose, and the soul has more room to roam around.” She said, “The looser the skin, the wiser you will become.” (I’d never before seen a correlation between the tightness of clothing and one’s mental acuity and wondered if Shirley MacLaine’s next new-age, best-seller would be entitled, “Your Mind Ain’t Right When Your Underwear’s Tight”)

Another eccentric and misguided celebrity is actress Drew Barrymore who described her special morning wake-up routine. She said, “I try to stay in bed for ten minutes to get my surroundings going. I ponder my place in the universe. Then I wash my face and tune into my psyche. I check my karma and get my balance for the day. Then I go out into the universe with a positive attitude and a strong shield of love.” (And you thought that all you needed was a strong cup of coffee!)

At my former job, a co-worker (also a high-level manager and division head) asked me one day what I “did for fun on the weekends.” I told him that I was a pastor and my church ministry was what I did for personal fulfillment. His face lit up and he told me that we had something in common! He proudly told me he was an ordained priest in a religion called Eckankar and, with the assistance of spirit guides, he teaches people how to astral travel. Astral travel is when you have an out-of-body experience where you go into a trance-like state and your soul leaves your body to travel to a different point in time or place. He told me that anyone can astral travel, but first we need to discard our “karmic debt” in order to free our soul. (Just think of the frequent flier miles this guy has!) 

These may seem like extreme examples of wacky religions, but as people have become more open to exploring non-biblical spirituality, our pluralistic society has found new-age, wiccian and occultic beliefs to be as acceptable as Christianity. Jesus calls us to take the Gospel to all people, but how do we communicate with those whose beliefs are so very different from ours? 

First, know that Christ died for all people so that those who believe in Him will have eternal life. John 3:16 Second, realize that everyone intrinsically recognizes the need for God in their life. Romans 1:19-20 (NLT) We will fill that “God-shaped” void with the genuine Creator or a creative counterfeit. People innately long for the real thing, but Satan slips some of them a substitute and blinds their eyes to the truth. 2 Cor 4:3-4 (NLT) Third, before you can communicate with them you need to connect with them. We need to build a relational bridge to a person before we can rescue them from spiritual danger. Col 4:5-6 (NLT) Fourth, once that connection is established, show them how God loves His children and give them the reason for your faith. 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NLT) When you show God’s love in a manner that compels them to seek what you have, you can often break through the most deeply embedded doctrine and allow God’s seeds to be planted. And Fifth, know that the battle for their soul is spiritual. Ephesians 6:12 The hard truth is that sometimes the Holy Spirit wins and sometimes the devil wins. Some will embrace the reality of God and others will reject Him. Our job is to just plant the seeds of the Gospel message, and then step back and let God do the rest. 1 Cor 3:7  Amen?

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