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Archive for the ‘Panentheism’ Category

Wait! What? The Pope uses a collective “person” term to describe “Nature?  But Pope Francis what about God the person? The Creator?

from CNN:

Pope Francis has said the coronavirus pandemic is one of “nature’s responses” to humans ignoring the current ecological crisis.In an email interview published Wednesday in The Tablet and Commonwealth magazines, the pontiff said the outbreak offered an opportunity to slow down the rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world.

We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods?” the Pope said.“I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses,” he added.

The pandemic has radically changed the way the Vatican operates, with the Pope celebrating Palm Sunday mass in an empty church and the sites normally packed with tourists empty.The 83-year-old Pope, who has a damaged lung from an infection in his 20s, has twice tested negative for the novel coronavirus. He is being distanced from anyone who might be carrying the virus, takes his meals in his private quarters, and uses hand sanitizer before and after meeting any guests, the Vatican press office said.

Pope Francis also said in the interview he was recovering from his bronchitis and praying even more from his residence in the Vatican during this “time of great uncertainty.”Pope Francis presides over a moment of prayer on the sagrato of St Peters Basilica on March 27.Francis also revealed he goes to confession every Tuesday to ask forgiveness for his own selfishness.

“I take care of things there,” he said.He also criticized the response to the outbreak, saying the homeless should be quarantined in hotels and not in parking lots.“A photo appeared the other day of a parking lot in Las Vegas where they [the homeless] had been put in quarantine. And the hotels were empty. But the homeless cannot go to a hotel,” the Pope said.“This is the moment to see the poor,” he said, adding that society often treats those in need as “rescued animals.”

The Pope also warned against the rise of populist politicians — who he said are giving speeches reminiscent of Hitler in 1933 — and others who are focusing solely on the economy. He said he was worried by the “hypocrisy of certain political personalities who speak of facing up to the crisis, of the problem of hunger in the world, but who in the meantime manufacture weapons.

The Pope encouraged those in a lockdown to find creative ways of being at home. “Take care of yourselves for a future that will come,” Francis said.

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It’s all about the “Group Think”.

We have all over time been subtlety indoctrinated into “group think” And it all started with management techniques for industry. Through “Meyers Briggs” Personality type testing, where we evaluate our own personality and then evaluate others so that we can get a “better” understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses, from our own and then others perspectives, and how our strengths and weaknesses impact working team dynamics. And then also learning about the “Third Way” or Hegelian Dialectic. Where we are taught that there is no right or wrong only differing viewpoints, and those differing viewpoints drive our perception of reality. With the intent to mean that NONE of us have a monopoly on “truth” and if we all just learn everyone else’s perspective then we can all overcome our differences and by extension, conflicts and find an alternative path or “third way” to conflict resolution or peace!

You may ask well what in the world has that got to do with the overreaction to the COVID-19 virus? It has everything to do with it and it has a critical impact to the world and what will happen when all of this eventually dies down.

You see all professional organizations now have international affiliations. As the world has become more interlinked through globalization, education, travel etc. there has been found the need to have international standards for everything, however one of the main inhibitors to the adoption of common international standards has been different cultural belief systems. So how do you get beyond cultural beliefs? Via the Hegelian Dialect. or a “third way”; an international belief system that transcends all existing belief systems and one in which all those in a specific discipline globally agree to and operate from!

The methods for medical diagnosis, and treatment are a couple of those areas where medical professionals from around the world have developed common standards and much of that is managed through the WHO or World Health Organization. The agreements extend to defining what is an epidemic, and pandemic and what countries should do when they have any of those, and what the world should do together to deal with those. It is not unusual as well that most of the professionals involved those organizations are also Socialists or have Socialist leanings as having common standards around the world plays to a Socialist ideology. Does it mean all international standards are bad or evil? No it just means we need to limit their reach and power. Because as these organizations become more embedded within our governments they tend to operate based from a globalist agenda and NOT what may be best for a specific country.

The term “The Common Good” for them, has a Global meaning to it. My deep concern with how this pandemic has been mishandled  is it has caused economies around the world to literally collapse with breath taking speed. And the cost to get those economies back up and running will be beyond the current global financial order’s ability to bear and will require a “Global” solution, and that “Global” solution is going to place severe restrictions on the countries who made up the previous Global order, and without a shot being fired this wonderful 200+ year experiment in Republican Democracy will have come to and end! And……. we will see ushered in the Anti-Christ Empire!

See also: “Covid-19 Changed How the World Does Science, Together

WHO

From The World Health Organization:

Geneva/New York – International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization today announced the One World: Together At Home — a globally televised and streamed special in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. One World: Together At Home will be broadcast live on Saturday, 18 April 2020 at 5:00 p.m. PDT/8:00 p.m. EDT/12:00 a.m. GMT airing on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada. Internationally, BBC One will run the program on Sunday 19 April 2020. Additional international broadcasters include beIN Media GroupMultiChoice Group and RTE. The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines.

Hugh Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Citizen, said “As we honor and support the heroic efforts of community health workers, ‘One World: Together At Home’ aims to serve as a source of unity and encouragement in the global fight to end COVID-19. Through music, entertainment and impact, the global live-cast will celebrate those who risk their own health to safeguard everyone else’s.”

One World: Together At Home will also be a multi-hour digital broadcast streaming online on multiple global platforms, including: Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube. This digital special will include additional artists and performances from all over the globe as well as unique stories from the world’s healthcare heroes. For information about how to tune in and take action, visit  www.globalcitizen.org/togetherathome.

“The World Health Organization is committed to defeating the coronavirus pandemic with science and public health measures, and supporting the health workers who are on the frontlines of the response,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “We may have to be apart physically for a while, but we can still come together virtually to enjoy great music. The ‘One World: Together At Home’ concert represents a powerful show of solidarity against a common threat.”

“The United Nations system is fully mobilized: supporting country responses, placing our supply chains at the world’s disposal and advocating for a global cease-fire. We are proud to join forces with ‘One World: Together At Home’ to help suppress the transmission of the virus, minimize social-economic impacts on the global community and work together now to advance Global Goals for the future,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. “There is no greater case for collective action than our joint response to COVID-19 – we are in this together and we will get through this together.”

Last month in response to the global pandemic, Global Citizen launched an urgent campaign in support of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, powered by the UN Foundation. Calling on individuals to take action, and asking world leaders and corporations to support the response with sufficient resources, Global Citizens from over 130 countries around the world have taken tens of thousands of actions in support of the response fund.

At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.

Over the past three weeks, the Together At Home series has featured performances from artists including, Chris Martin, John Legend, Charlie Puth, Common, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Niall Horan, Steve Aoki, Jennifer Hudson, Miguel, H.E.R., Anthony Hamilton, Rufus Wainwright, Hozier and Julianne Hough, among others in support of WHO and Global Citizen’s campaign.

Commitments from supporters and corporate partners will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO to support and equip frontline healthcare workers around the world, with masks, gowns and other vital equipment, and to local charities that provide food, shelter, and healthcare to those that need it most. These local groups have been verified to ensure that they are helping communities impacted by COVID-19.

 

 

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from Vox:

A new priest named Mindar is holding forth at Kodaiji, a 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Like other clergy members, this priest can deliver sermons and move around to interface with worshippers. But Mindar comes with some … unusual traits. A body made of aluminum and silicone, for starters.

Mindar is a robot.

Designed to look like Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy, the $1 million machine is an attempt to reignite people’s passion for their faith in a country where religious affiliation is on the decline.

For now, Mindar is not AI-powered. It just recites the same preprogrammed sermon about the Heart Sutra over and over. But the robot’s creators say they plan to give it machine-learning capabilities that’ll enable it to tailor feedback to worshippers’ specific spiritual and ethical problems.

“This robot will never die; it will just keep updating itself and evolving,” said Tensho Goto, the temple’s chief steward. “With AI, we hope it will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. It’s changing Buddhism.”

Robots are changing other religions, too. In 2017, Indians rolled out a robot that performs the Hindu aarti ritual, which involves moving a light round and round in front of a deity. That same year, in honor of the Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary, Germany’s Protestant Church created a robot called BlessU-2. It gave preprogrammed blessings to over 10,000 people.

Then there’s SanTO — short for Sanctified Theomorphic Operator — a 17-inch-tall robot reminiscent of figurines of Catholic saints. If you tell it you’re worried, it’ll respond by saying something like, “From the Gospel according to Matthew, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Roboticist Gabriele Trovato designed SanTO to offer spiritual succor to elderly people whose mobility and social contact may be limited. Next, he wants to develop devices for Muslims, though it remains to be seen what form those might take.

As more religious communities begin to incorporate robotics — in some cases, AI-powered and in others, not — it stands to change how people experience faith. It may also alter how we engage in ethical reasoning and decision-making, which is a big part of religion.

For the devout, there’s plenty of positive potential here: Robots can get disinterested people curious about religion or allow for a ritual to be performed when a human priest is inaccessible. But robots also pose risks for religion — for example, by making it feel too mechanized or homogenized or by challenging core tenets of theology. On the whole, will the emergence of AI religion make us better or worse off? The answer depends on how we design and deploy it — and on whom you ask.

Some cultures are more open to religious robots than others

New technologies often make us uncomfortable. Which ones we ultimately accept — and which ones we reject — is determined by an array of factors, ranging from our degree of exposure to the emerging technology to our moral presuppositions.

Japanese worshippers who visit Mindar are reportedly not too bothered by questions about the risks of siliconizing spirituality. That makes sense given that robots are already so commonplace in the country, including in the religious domain.

For years now, people who can’t afford to pay a human priest to perform a funeral have had the option to pay a robot named Pepper to do it at a much cheaper rate. And in China, at Beijing’s Longquan Monastery, an android monk named Xian’er recites Buddhist mantras and offers guidance on matters of faith.

What’s more, Buddhism’s non-dualistic metaphysical notion that everything has inherent “Buddha nature” — that all beings have the potential to become enlightened — may predispose its adherents to be receptive to spiritual guidance that comes from technology.

At the temple in Kyoto, Goto put it like this: “Buddhism isn’t a belief in a God; it’s pursuing Buddha’s path. It doesn’t matter whether it’s represented by a machine, a piece of scrap metal, or a tree.”

“Mindar’s metal skeleton is exposed, and I think that’s an interesting choice — its creator, Hiroshi Ishiguro, is not trying to make something that looks totally human,” said Natasha Heller, an associate professor of Chinese religions at the University of Virginia. She told me the deity Kannon, upon whom Mindar is based, is an ideal candidate for cyborgization because the Lotus Sutra explicitly says Kannon can manifest in different forms — whatever forms will best resonate with the humans of a given time and place.

Westerners seem more disturbed by Mindar, likening it to Frankenstein’s monster. In Western economies, we don’t yet have robots enmeshed in many aspects of our lives. What we do have is a pervasive cultural narrative, reinforced by Hollywood blockbusters, about our impending enslavement at the hands of “robot overlords.”

Plus, Abrahamic religions like Islam or Judaism tend to be more metaphysically dualistic — there’s the sacred and then there’s the profane. And they have more misgivings than Buddhism about visually depicting divinity, so they may take issue with Mindar-style iconography.

They also have different ideas about what makes a religious practice effective. For example, Judaism places a strong emphasis on intentionality, something machines don’t possess. When a worshipper prays, what matters is not just that their mouth forms the right words — it’s also very important that they have the right intention.

Meanwhile, some Buddhists use prayer wheels containing scrolls printed with sacred words and believe that spinning the wheel has its own spiritual efficacy, even if nobody recites the words aloud. In hospice settings, elderly Buddhists who don’t have people on hand to recite prayers on their behalf will use devices known as nianfo ji — small machines about the size of an iPhone, which recite the name of the Buddha endlessly.

Despite such theological differences, it’s ironic that many Westerners have a knee-jerk negative reaction to a robot like Mindar. The dream of creating artificial life goes all the way back to ancient Greece, where the ancients actually invented real animated machines as the Stanford classicist Adrienne Mayor has documented in her book Gods and Robots. And there is a long tradition of religious robots in the West.

In the Middle Ages, Christians designed automata to perform the mysteries of Easter and Christmas. One proto-roboticist in the 16th century designed a mechanical monk that is, amazingly, performing ritual gestures to this day. With his right arm, he strikes his chest in a mea culpa; with his left, he raises a rosary to his lips.

In other words, the real novelty is not the use of robots in the religious domain but the use of AI……..

Read the full article here.

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No this is not a satirical article. It is actually true! This is what happens when you cast yourself adrift from eternal truth, and into subjective truth along with a society that is concentrated on self! The unending selfishness of “me” constantly grinds against others subjective truth and everyone winds up destroying the ability to have a civil and stable society. Then an evil power that is united in hatred and a lust for power comes in and destroys what is left of the society and imposes an iron totalitarianism!  Do not believe me read human history and read God’s word!

from Metro:

Rejoice, Halloween lovers, the much-awaited day is almost within sight. And of course, that means lots of ‘spooky’ merchandise and retailers peddling anything related to pumpkins, ghosts, and witches. Beauty Brand Sephora is kicking off the season with its ‘witches starter kit’ which includes perfume, tarot cards, sage, and a rose quartz crystal. But witches, who identify with the pagan religion of Wicca (or simply practice witchcraft), are not happy with the French company making a quick buck out of their beliefs.

‘Sephora is definitely guilty of culture appropriation,’ Indigo, who practices witchcraft, told Metro.co.uk.

‘I don’t think they’re doing it to spread awareness about the craft, they’re doing it just for profit in my opinion.

‘Although most witches do use what’s in the Sephora box, most of us feel that it’s wrong for just anyone to grab those things and be like “oh hey I’m a witch now” because it’s sacred to us.’

Other followers of the faith had similar views on Twitter.  ‘My religion is not a trendy overpriced aesthetic’, said one. This sentiment was shared by Siera who identifies with Pagan Witchcraft. She said: ‘Sephora selling “witch kits” actually makes me really upset. ‘Witchcraft isn’t something you just throw around, people put their entire being into this way of life and work so hard at it.

I’ve been made fun of way too much for being a witch for it to just become another trend.’ Another user, Katie, felt the same: ‘Witchcraft is a sacred and personal religion, not something to turn pastel and profit off of (sic),’ she said. ‘If you want to exploit my religion like this, you better make Tumblr aesthetic “entry-level kits” for all of the major world religions.’

Another Witchcraft follower. who was ‘appalled’. urged people to support local spiritual shops rather than a large chain retailer like Sephora.

But the backlash opened up other important discussions. Many online said Sephora was benefiting off parts of Wicca is akin to brands culturally appropriating other existing religions and cultures. Witches were criticised for not speaking up for other instances of appropriation whereby individuals or companies benefit from a minority group, usually without consent. Some also mentioned the use of white sage which is significant to Native Americans who use it for medicinal purposes and cleansing ceremonies. They were concerned that Sephora’s use of the sacred herb could make it difficult for indigenous Americans’ to perform their rituals (as a result of fewer sources).

 

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from Got Questions:

The existence of so many religions and the claim that all religions lead to God without question confuses many who are earnestly seeking the truth about God, with the end result sometimes being that some despair of ever reaching the absolute truth on the subject. Or they end up embracing the universalist claim that all religions lead to God. Of course, skeptics also point to the existence of so many religions as proof that either you cannot know God or that God simply does not exist.

Romans 1:19-21 contains the biblical explanation for why there are so many religions. The truth of God is seen and known by every human being because God has made it so. Instead of accepting the truth about God and submitting to it, most human beings reject it and seek their own way to understand God. But this leads not to enlightenment regarding God, but to futility of thinking. Here is where we find the basis of the “many religions.”

Many people do not want to believe in a God who demands righteousness and morality, so they invent a God who makes no such requirements. Many people do not want to believe in a God who declares it impossible for people to earn their own way to heaven. So they invent a God who accepts people into heaven if they have completed certain steps, followed certain rules, and/or obeyed certain laws, at least to the best of their ability. Many people do not want a relationship with a God who is sovereign and omnipotent. So they imagine God as being more of a mystical force than a personal and sovereign ruler.

The existence of so many religions is not an argument against God’s existence or an argument that truth about God is not clear. Rather, the existence of so many religions is demonstration of humanity’s rejection of the one true God. Mankind has replaced Him with gods that are more to their liking. This is a dangerous enterprise. The desire to recreate God in our own image comes from the sin nature within us—a nature that will eventually “reap destruction” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Do all religions lead to God? No. All people—religious or otherwise—will stand before God some day (Hebrews 9:27), but religious affiliation is not what determines your eternal destiny. Only faith in Jesus Christ will save. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). It’s as simple as that. Only Christianity—faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—leads to God’s forgiveness and eternal life. No one comes to the Father except through the Son (John 14:6). It does make a difference what you believe. The decision to embrace the truth about Jesus Christ is important. Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.

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And if anyone wonders why things like this: “26 killed in church attack in Texas’ deadliest mass shooting” are occurring you only need to read this article. We have lost an entire generation and what we have seen in Texas this week is only the beginning!

(The Texas Church shooter was a former Christian who turned to Atheism)

from Berean Research:

The following blog post is a response to Kari Paul’s “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” (here).  In his piece, John Paul Ferguson specifically addresses the move away from traditional religion to an interest in paganism on college campuses. According to Ferguson “a number of universities around the country have officially recognized Pagan or Wicca student groups, usually housed under their respective religious student activities departments.” There is little doubt that the increased interest in pagan spirituality can be traced to people’s obsession with the environment.

To shed light on what Wiccans believe, Ferguson quotes author Catherine Edwards Sanders who says that those who practice witchcraft (Wicca) have “monistic and pantheistic beliefs that all living things are of equal value. … Humans have no special placenor are they made in God’s image. … Wiccans believe that they possess divine power within themselves and that they are gods and goddesses. …Consciousness can and should be altered through rite and ritual.” (emphasis added)

John Paul Ferguson’s piece is over at The College Fix. He writes:

As millennials continue to leave traditional Christian religions, interest in Wiccan and pagan practices have seen increased interest in recent years, a trend also spotted among young people and on college campuses.

Pagan or Wiccan student groups are present on a number of college campuses — both secular and religious — across the nation. The growing normalization of such practices, albeit still a minority, corresponds with the decline in Christian believers, some observers note.

A recent report in Market Watch headlined “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” argues as much, for example.

“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,” Melissa Jayne, owner of the Brooklyn-based “metaphysical boutique,” which has seen a big increase in 20-something customers in recent years, told Market Watch.

“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,” she said.

The article goes on to cite several businesses that have successfully latched on to this trend, from online purveyors of tarot cards to popular astrology apps.

The article also cites recent Pew Research Center data that found 25 percent of Americans now identify with no religion, as opposed to 2011’s 18 percent. Underscoring that, a 2014 National Science Foundation poll found nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific,” UPI reports.

With that, it may be no surprise to see interest in paganism is also alive and well on campus. Continue reading

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Hat tip to Apostasy Watch:

This is also apostasy, because these religions can’t all be true considering the fact they all contradict each other…

This is the one world religion the Bible speaks of in Revelation, the end is growing near.

1 Thessalonians 5:3:

 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

The World’s Most Prominent Religious Leaders Call On Everyone To Make Friends Across Religions

Welcome to The Elijah Interfaith Institute. On June 14, 2017 many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. We invite you to download our toolkits for friendship and study. We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.

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As the influence of Christianity is further eroded in our society, paganism (humanism by another name) becomes more relevant. A People without God will not revert to Atheism they will instead dredge up old false pagan ideas.

What is disturbing about this monument is it promotes a one world government, and a single worldwide false religion among other things. Sound familiar?

from The Vigilant Citizen:

The Georgia Guide stones is an enigmatic granite monument situated in Elbert County, Georgia. Also known as the American Stonehenge, the gigantic structure is almost 20 feet high and is made of six granite slabs, weighing in total 240,000 pounds. The most astonishing detail  of the monument is however not its size but the message engraved into it: Ten rules for an “Age of Reason”. These guides touch upon subjects that are associated with the “New World Order”, including massive depopulation, a single world government, the introduction of a new type of spirituality, etc. The authors of those rules have requested to remain totally anonymous and, until now, their anonymity has been duly preserved. However, this mysterious group left a text explaining the reasoning behind the rules, a text that was not discussed online before. With this new information, the purpose behind the Guidestones become very clear, leaving little room for hypotheses. The Guidestones describe the ideal world, as envisioned by occult Secret Societies. The monument is therefore proof of an existing link between secret societies, the world elite and the push for a New World Order

Quietly standing in Elberton county, the Guide stones will probably gain in relevancy in the next few years

Made of Pyramid blue granite, the Georgia Guidestones are meant to withstand the test of time and to communicate knowledge on several levels: philosophically, politically, astronomically, etc. It consists of four major stone blocks, which contain ten guides for living in eight languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. A shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient languages’ scripts: Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is important to note that those last four ancient languages are of a great importance in the teachings of occult mystery schools, such as the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians, organizations I will discuss later.

The four major stones are arranged in a giant “paddlewheel” configuration which are oriented to the limits of the migration of the sun during the course of the year and also show the extreme positions of the rising and setting of the sun in its 18.6 year cycle. The center stone has two special features: first, the North Star is always visible through a special hole drilled from the South to the North side of the center stone; second, another slot aligns with the positions of the rising sun at the time of the summer and winter solstices and at the equinox.

Astronomical features are of a great importance in the design of the Guide stones. In a relatively “new” nation such as the United States, monuments that are aligned with celestial bodies are often the work of secret societies, such as the Freemasons. Drawing their teachings from the Mystery schools of Ancient Egypt, Greece or the Druidic Celts, they are known for embedding into monuments some of their “sacred knowledge”.

Read the full article here.

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from Faith Actually:

I’ve often been taken off guard when Christian friends or acquaintances have spoken highly of New Age books such as Eckard Tolle’s widely acclaimed The Power of Now or Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling The Secret. Oprah Winfrey-dubbed “spiritual gurus” such as these promote an insidious form of false teaching under the guise of a benign self-help ethos. Although these teachings mask a treacherous departure from the gospel of Jesus Christ and claim to hold the key to a new spiritual awakening, they are appealing to some Christians who are evidently sucked in by the self-esteemism, widespread popularity, and aggressive marketing of such books. Indeed, Tolle has sold more books than almost any other spiritual author. His #1 New York Times bestseller, The Power of Now, (translated into 33 languages) and his vastly popular follow-up, A New Earth, are frequently touted as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time.

The widespread influence of New Age teaching poses a very real, albeit inconspicuous, threat that the church should take seriously. Despite popular belief to the contrary, the multifaceted movement is still going strong, but less overtly now that many of its concepts have become more subtly ingrained into our collective consciousness. The movement is not relegated to a trippy-hippy, tie-dye clad fringe group, but has been embraced by mainstream culture thanks in large part to the army of celebrities that promote its teachings.

For example, there’s been growing respect for, and adoption of, the practices and philosophies of Eastern religions among Christians. One example is Hatha Yoga, which involves poses and hand positions many of which are depictions of Hindu deities. The hand positions are traditionally called mudras and are thought to help manipulate and channel prana, a supposed divine force or breath of the universe.[1] The purpose of Hatha yoga is traditionally a spiritual practice designed to foster the realization that the true self, the Atman, is divine.[2] Many Christians who practice yoga, however, do not buy into the spiritual side of it, using it for the physical benefits of exercise, flexibility, and muscle-strengthening alone. But some argue that by dabbling in such practices, Christians are opening the door to ungodly spiritual influences. The meditation and relaxation practices in yoga that encourage the emptying of one’s mind, for example, is unbiblical in that contradicts our God-given ability to exercise reason and sound judgement. It also conflicts with Jesus’ command to love God with all of our minds—which necessities a conscious mental state (Matt. 22:37; Luke 10:27). Furthermore, some hold that mindfulness and mind-emptying meditation hold the potential to open us up to demonic persuasion. Due to the popularity of yoga among a significant number of Christians, however, this is a touchy subject. The question becomes, can (or perhaps should) Christians safely practice yoga without compromising themselves spiritually? I will default to former New Ager turned Bible-believing Christian, Marcia Montenegro, in her article on this one.

While the strains of New Age thought that have seeped into our churches may not be immediately evident to us all, those who have been saved out of the New Age movement into Christianity are all too aware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing that lurk around us. Two former New Agers who were miraculously saved into the Christian faith, sister bloggers Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews, have expressed their “concern over false teachings that we realized were coming into today’s Church. Having both been saved OUT of the New Age and occultism, we were alarmed when we began to see some of the same things we did in the New Age creeping into the church…only now, these practices have been cleverly repackaged with Christian terminology, rendering them all the more deceptive.”[3]

In his book, O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality, Josh McDowell demonstrates how Oprah uses words that might sound like they are based in Christianity, but her real message is radically different from the Christian faith. Likewise, many of Tolle’s ideas are derived from pre-existing, often ancient beliefs with Christian influences. As Montenegro further explains, “The New Age is always a blend of beliefs; intermingling strands from Eastern accepted wisdom, New Thought, Gnosticism, the occult, and even Christianity.”[4] Yet New Agers believe they are rescuing the enlightened parts of Christianity from centuries of male-imposed dogma and have rediscovered its truth through mystical interpretations of the Bible. And for the undiscerning Christian, their use of Christian terminology can be dangerously misleading.

And where is Jesus in all this? Unfortunately, right up front; the name of Jesus is misused frequently within New Age teaching. Many psychics, astrologers, etc. display crosses or pictures of Jesus on their walls. But the New Age Jesus is aCounterfeit Christ who represents an unapologetic departure from the “constraints” of biblical teaching. New Agers unabashedly claim to have freed Jesus from the shackles of religious dogma (i.e. biblical truth) and consequently, on closer inspection, he bears very little relation to the Son of God we know as Christians.

Indeed, the New Age Jesus is devoid of any salvific purpose, being presented an imparter of wisdom, rather than a savior from sins, despite the fact that Scripture clearly claim His purpose on Earth was to do just that (Matt 1:21; Luke 2:11; Luke 19:10; John 4:42; Acts 13:23; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 Tim 4:10; Titus 2:13; 1 John 4:14).

In fact, the New Age Jesus is generally believed to be a mere man who achieved a high level of spiritual enlightenment, which afforded him godlike attributes. He is esteemed as one of the “Masters,” along with Buddha, Krishna, and others, all of whom illuminate the path for humanity to spiritual enlightenment.

The New Age Jesus is disturbingly more Jedi than he is biblical. A widespread New Age belief is that Jesus is actually a separate being from a divine entity, which is often referred to as “the Christ.” Many prominent New Agers, like Tolle and Byrne, perceive “the Christ” as being impersonal, cosmic, and abstract in nature—in essence, a “Christ-force” or “Christ-consciousness.” New Agers claim that this Christ-force took possession of the body of the man, Jesus, in order to guide humanity towards a process of spiritual evolution. “The Christ” is said to lie dormant within each person, waiting to be fully realized so that humanity as a whole may experience spiritual awakening.[5] As Andrew Harvey puts it in his virtual seminar, The Christ Path, “By seeing Jesus’s life with fresh eyes, we take him off the pedestal as an untouchable Savior and begin to see him as a way-shower for all of us to embody more of our innate divinity as we co-create a more just and compassionate world.”[7] 

The Christ-force theory finds its origins in the Gnostic movement that begun in the second century AD, as a heretical sect of early Christianity. Basic Gnostic beliefs hold that humans are emanated from a Supreme Being and are divine spirits trapped inside physical bodies. In Gnosticism, salvation of the soul from the material world is achieved through the realization of gnōsis[8]—esoteric or intuitive knowledge of the truth—rather than the atoning death of a Christ figure. Some Gnostics identify Jesus as an embodiment of the Supreme Being who became incarnate in order to bring gnōsis to the earth. Others, like contemporary Gnostic Reverend Todd Ferrier, founder of The Order of the Cross, suggest that the word “Jesus” was merely a codeword assumed by a historical being. Most Gnostics believe that there has been more than one authentic Messiah, and that “the modern Christian claim that Jesus was the only Christ (or Messiah) is simply not tenable.”[9]

While the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus are central to the Christian faith, in Gnostic tradition the crucifixion is deemphasized (along with the Trinity and other inconvenient truths about Jesus). The Institute for Gnostic Studies states: 
For the Gnostic, pain and suffering are part of the fallen world’s condition…certainly Jesus suffered perhaps inasmuch that he had to take a fallen physical vessel as in the indignities of his crucifixion. However, there is no grace in suffering. The aim is to transcend matter, not wallow in its more painful aspects. The suffering and death of Jesus illustrated the reaction of the ignorant to the Gnosis, while his resurrection illustrated how death and matter could be overcome. It is irrelevant whether Jesus physically came back from the dead or not, since the Gnostics and Jesus have such contempt for matter, it seems highly unlikely that the resurrection had much to do with a re-enlivened corpse. It was an awakening to light, a Transfiguration rather than some ghastly re-animation.[10 emphasis added]In Gnosticism, Jesus’ role is not to die on the cross as ransom for our sins. Instead, “Jesus comes as a revealer, a bringer of Gnosis, an opener of doors, he works to shatter the prison that locks the true Self into the body and awaken the light which is hidden within the heart of man.”[11] The New Age Jesus paves the pathway for humanity to spiritual enlightenment. 

Another manifestation of the New Age Jesus is the astrological Jesus, aka the Piscean Avatar. Former astrologer, Montenegro, explains how in astrology, Christ has become the living symbol of the Piscean Age that spans from His birth to 2,000 years later. Montenegro states: “Since Jesus is considered a higher spiritual being, an Avatar, by many astrologers, he embodies the highest aspects of Pisces: universal love, compassion, sacrifice, intuition, servanthood, martyrdom, and spirituality.” Like the biblical Jesus, the astrological Jesus possesses character traits that set him apart from most men—yet thisCounterfeit Christ is not unique in his deity. In keeping with New Ageism, “The astrological Jesus is still a New Age Jesus, or, in more contemporary terms, the Jesus of the new spirituality. Jesus is the man who realized Christ-consciousness, the innate divinity in all men.”[12]

And therein lies the rub. It’s that old Satanic lie that we can attain personal godhood—the same lie that’s been repeated over and over throughout history in Gnosticism, the Religion of Reason, Marxism, Mormonism, secular humanism, selfism, and the New Age movement—to name just a few—which all hinge on the belief in human perfectibility/deification though human effort. These false religions, spiritual awakenings, and philosophies each distract from—or attempt to completely negate—the human need for a supernatural Savior. (For more on this refer to our previous post on “A Brief History of Bad Ideas“).

And so there is, in fact, nothing “new” about the New Age Jesus at all…He’s been slithering around since the original fall of man in Genesis 3 when Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the lie that if they accessed secret knowledge or wisdom (Gnosticism), their eyes would be opened (enlightenment), and they wouldn’t need to submit to the sovereign God anymore, for they themselves would be as God is. (Gen. 3:1-5). Satan knows exactly how to appeal to our innate desire for self-deification now—just as he did then.

Rather than flatly rejecting Jesus altogether based on the biblical claims about Him, then, New Agers have incorporated the figure of Christ into their occultist beliefs. And by using Christian vocabulary and loosely reappropriating Christian concepts, they have pulled the wool over the eyes of an alarming number of Christians. This strategy of deception is an age-old ploy of Satan: high-jacking God’s truth by using partial truths to lure people in and ultimately to dupe them altogether. Remember that Satan “disguises himself as an angel of light” and “his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:3, 14-15). In the same way, the New Age Jesus masquerades as one who will lead us to our own inner light. 

For this reason, it is important for us as Christians to be aware of the erroneous ideas about Jesus that are propagated by the New Age movement—along with its books, its proponents, its self-esteem gurus, its practices and teachings—so we may escape its ungodly influence, and cling instead to God’s Word on the authentic Son of God, who is the only way, the truth, and the life.

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from Dr.Brian Mattson 

In Darren Aronofsky’s new star-gilt silver screen epic, Noah, Adam and Eve are luminescent and fleshless, right up until the moment they eat the forbidden fruit.

Such a notion isn’t found in the Bible, of course. This, among the multitude of Aronofsky’s other imaginative details like giant Lava Monsters, has caused many a reviewer’s head to be scratched. Conservative-minded evangelicals write off the film because of the “liberties” taken with the text of Genesis, while a more liberal-minded group stands in favor of cutting the director some slack. After all, we shouldn’t expect a professed atheist to have the same ideas of “respecting” sacred texts the way a Bible-believer would.

Both groups have missed the mark entirely. Aronofsky hasn’t “taken liberties” with anything.

The Bible is not his text.

In his defense, I suppose, the film wasn’t advertised as such. Nowhere is it said that this movie is an adaptation of Genesis. It was never advertised as “The Bible’s Noah,” or “The Biblical Story of Noah.” In our day and age we are so living in the leftover atmosphere of Christendom that when somebody says they want to do “Noah,” everybody assumesthey mean a rendition of the Bible story. That isn’t what Aronofsky had in mind at all. I’m sure he was only too happy to let his studio go right on assuming that, since if they knew what he was really up to they never would have allowed him to make the movie.

Let’s go back to our luminescent first parents. I recognized the motif instantly as one common to the ancient religion of Gnosticism. Here’s a 2nd century A.D. description about what a sect called the Ophites believed:

“Adam and Eve formerly had light, luminous, and so to speak spiritual bodies, as they had been fashioned. But when they came here, the bodies became dark, fat, and idle.” –Irenaeus of Lyon, Against Heresies, I, 30.9

It occurred to me that a mystical tradition more closely related to Judaism, calledKabbalah (which the singer Madonna made popular a decade ago or so), surely would have held a similar view, since it is essentially a form of Jewish Gnosticism. I dusted off (No, really: I had to dust it) my copy of Adolphe Franck’s 19th century work, The Kabbalah, and quickly confirmed my suspicions:

“Before they were beguiled by the subtleness of the serpent, Adam and Eve were not only exempt from the need of a body, but did not even have a body—that is to say, they were not of the earth.”

Franck quotes from the Zohar, one of Kabbalah’s sacred texts:

“When our forefather Adam inhabited the Garden of Eden, he was clothed, as all are in heaven, with a garment made of the higher light. When he was driven from the Garden of Eden and was compelled to submit to the needs of this world, what happened? God, the Scriptures tell us, made Adam and his wife tunics of skin and clothed them; for before this they had tunics of light, of that higher light used in Eden…”

Obscure stuff, I know. But curiosity overtook me and I dove right down the rabbit hole.

I discovered what Darren Aronofsky’s first feature film was: Pi. Want to know its subject matter? Do you? Are you sure?

Kabbalah.

If you think that’s a coincidence, you may want a loved one to schedule you a brain scan.

Have I got your attention? Good.

The world of Aronofsky’s Noah is a thoroughly Gnostic one: a graded universe of “higher” and “lower.” The “spiritual” is good, and way, way, way “up there” where the ineffable, unspeaking god dwells, and the “material” is bad, and way, way down here where our spirits are encased in material flesh. This is not only true of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, but of fallen angels, who are explicitly depicted as being spirits trapped inside a material “body” of cooled molten lava.

Admittedly, they make pretty nifty movie characters, but they’re also notorious in Gnostic speculation. Gnostics call them Archons, lesser divine beings or angels who aid “The Creator” in forming the visible universe. And Kabbalah has a pantheon of angelic beings of its own all up and down the ladder of “divine being.” And fallen angels are never totally fallen in this brand of mysticism. To quote the Zohar again, a centralKabbalah text: “All things of which this world consists, the spirit as well as the body, will return to the principle and the root from which they came.” Funny. That’s exactly what happens to Aronofsky’s Lava Monsters. They redeem themselves, shed their outer material skin, and fly back to the heavens. Incidentally, I noticed that in the film, as the family is traveling through a desolate wasteland, Shem asks his father: “Is this a Zoharmine?” Yep. That’s the name of Kabbalah’s sacred text.

The entire movie is, figuratively, a “Zohar” mine.

If there was any doubt about these “Watchers,” Aronofsky gives several of them names: Semyaza, Magog, and Rameel. They’re all well-known demons in the Jewish mystical tradition, not only in Kabbalah but also in the book of 1 Enoch.

What!? Demons are redeemed? Adolphe Franck explains the cosmology of Kabbalah: “Nothing is absolutely bad; nothing is accursed forever—not even the archangel of evil or the venomous beast, as he is sometimes called. There will come a time when he will recover his name and his angelic nature.”

Okay. That’s weird. But, hey, everybody in the film seems to worship “The Creator,” right? Surely it’s got that in its favor!

Except that when Gnostics speak about “The Creator” they are not talking about God. Oh, here in an affluent world living off the fruits of Christendom the term “Creator” generally denotes the true and living God. But here’s a little “Gnosticism 101” for you: the Creator of the material world is an ignorant, arrogant, jealous, exclusive, violent, low-level, bastard son of a low level deity. He’s responsible for creating the “unspiritual” world of flesh and matter, and he himself is so ignorant of the spiritual world he fancies himself the “only God” and demands absolute obedience. They generally call him “Yahweh.” Or other names, too (Ialdabaoth, for example).

This Creator tries to keep Adam and Eve from the true knowledge of the divine and, when they disobey, flies into a rage and boots them from the garden.

In other words, in case you’re losing the plot here: The serpent was right all along. This “god,” “The Creator,” whom they are worshiping is withholding something from them that the serpent will provide: divinity itself.

The world of Gnostic mysticism is bewildering with a myriad of varieties. But, generally speaking, they hold in common that the serpent is “Sophia,” “Mother,” or “Wisdom.” The serpent represents the true divine, and the claims of “The Creator” are false.

So is the serpent a major character in the film?

Let’s go back to the movie. The action opens when Lamech is about to bless his son, Noah. Lamech, rather strangely for a patriarch of a family that follows God, takes out a sacred relic, the skin of the serpent from the Garden of Eden. He wraps it around his arm, stretches out his hand to touch his son—except, just then, a band of marauders interrupts them and the ceremony isn’t completed. Lamech gets killed, and the “villain” of the film, Tubal-Cain, steals the snakeskin. Noah, in other words, doesn’t get whatever benefit the serpent’s skin was to bestow.

The skin doesn’t light up magically on Tubal-Cain’s arm, so apparently he doesn’t get “enlightened,” either. And that’s why everybody in the film, including protagonist and antagonist, Noah and Tubal-Cain, is worshiping “The Creator.” They are all deluded. Let me clear something up here: lots of reviewers expressed some bewilderment over the fact there aren’t any likable characters and that they all seem to be worshiping the same God. Tubal-Cain and his clan are wicked and evil and, as it turns out, Noah’s pretty bad himself when he abandons Ham’s girlfriend and almost slays two newborn children. Some thought this was some kind of profound commentary on how there’s evil in all of us. Here’s an excerpt from the Zohar, the sacred text of Kabbalah:

“Two beings [Adam and Nachash—the Serpent] had intercourse with Eve [the Second woman], and she conceived from both and bore two children. Each followed one of the male parents, and their spirits parted, one to this side and one to the other, and similarly their characters. On the side of Cain are all the haunts of the evil species; from the side of Abel comes a more merciful class, yet not wholly beneficial — good wine mixed with bad.”

Sound familiar? Yes. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, to the “T.”

Anyway, everybody is worshiping the evil deity. Who wants to destroy everybody. (By the way, in Kabbalah many worlds have already been created and destroyed.) Both Tubal-Cain and Noah have identical scenes, looking into the heavens and asking, “Why won’t you speak to me?” “The Creator” has abandoned them all because he intends to kill them all.

Noah had been given a vision of the coming deluge. He’s drowning, but sees animals floating to the surface to the safety of the ark. No indication whatsoever is given that Noah is to be saved; Noah conspicuously makes that part up during an awkward moment explaining things to his family. He is sinking while the animals, “the innocent,” are rising. “The Creator” who gives Noah his vision wants all the humans dead.

Many reviewers thought Noah’s change into a homicidal maniac on the ark, wanting to kill his son’s two newborn daughters, was a weird plot twist. It isn’t weird at all. In the Director’s view, Noah is worshiping a false, homicidal maniac of a god. The more faithful and “godly” Noah becomes, the more homicidal he becomes. He is becoming every bit the “image of god” that the “evil” guy who keeps talking about the “image of god,” Tubal-Cain, is.

But Noah fails “The Creator.” He cannot wipe out all life like his god wants him to do. “When I looked at those two girls, my heart was filled with nothing but love,” he says. Noah now has something “The Creator” doesn’t. Love. And Mercy. But where did he get it? And why now?

In the immediately preceding scene Noah killed Tubal-Cain and recovered the snakeskin relic: “Sophia,” “Wisdom,” the true light of the divine. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

Okay, I’m almost done. The rainbows don’t come at the end because God makes a covenant with Noah. The rainbows appear when Noah sobers up and embraces the serpent. He wraps the skin around his arm, and blesses his family. It is not God that commissions them to now multiply and fill the earth, but Noah, in the first person, “I,” wearing the serpent talisman. (Oh, and by the way, it’s not accidental that the rainbows are all circular. The circle of the “One,” the Ein Sof, in Kabbalah, is the sign of monism.)

Notice this thematic change: Noah was in a drunken stupor the scene before. Now he is sober and “enlightened.” Filmmakers never do that by accident.

He’s transcended and outgrown that homicidal, jealous deity.

Let me issue a couple of caveats to all this: Gnostic speculation is a diverse thing. Some groups appear radically “dualist,” where “The Creator” really is a different “god” altogether. Others are more “monist,” where God exists in a series of descending emanations. Others have it that the lower deity “grows” and “matures” and himself ascends the “ladder” or “chain” of being to higher heights. Noah probably fits a little in each category. It’s hard to tell. My other caveat is this: there is no doubt a ton of Kabbalistimagery, quotations, and themes in this movie that I couldn’t pick up in a single sitting. For example, since Kabbalah takes its flights of fancy generally based on Hebrew letters and numbers, I did notice that the “Watchers” appeared to be deliberately shaped like Hebrew letters. But you could not pay me to go see this movie again so I could further drill into the Zohar mine to see what I could find. (On a purely cinematic viewpoint, I found most of it unbearably boring.)

What I can say on one viewing is this:

Darren Aronofsky has produced a retelling of the Noah story without reference to the Bible at all. This was not, as he claimed, just a storied tradition of run-of-the-mill Jewish “Midrash.” This was a thoroughly pagan retelling of the Noah story direct from Kabbalist and Gnostic sources. To my mind, there is simply no doubt about this.

So let me tell you what the real scandal in all of this is.

It isn’t that he made a film that departed from the biblical story. It isn’t that disappointed and overheated Christian critics had expectations set too high.

The scandal is this: of all the Christian leaders who went to great lengths to endorse this movie (for whatever reasons: “it’s a conversation starter,” “at least Hollywood is doing something on the Bible,” etc.), and all of the Christian leaders who panned it for “not following the Bible”…

Not one of them could identify a blatantly Gnostic subversion of the biblical story when it was right in front of their faces.

I believe Aronofsky did it as an experiment to make fools of us: “You are so ignorant that I can put Noah (granted, it’s Russell Crowe!) up on the big screen and portray him literally as the ‘seed of the Serpent’ and you all will watch my studio’s screening and endorse it.”

He’s having quite the laugh. And shame on everyone who bought it.

And what a Gnostic experiment! In Gnosticism, only the “elite” are “in the know” and have the secret knowledge. Everybody else are dupes and ignorant fools. The “event” of this movie is intended to illustrate the Gnostic premise. We are dupes and fools. Would Christendom awake, please?

In response, I have one simple suggestion:

Henceforth, not a single seminary degree is granted unless the student demonstrates that he has read, digested, and understood Irenaeus of Lyon’s Against Heresies.

Because it’s the 2nd century all over again.

Postscript

Some readers may think I’m being hard on people for not noticing the Gnosticism at the heart of this film. I am not expecting rank-and-file viewers to notice these things. I would expect exactly what we’ve seen: head-scratching confusion. I’ve got a whole different standard for Christian leaders: college and seminary professors, pastors, and Ph.Ds. If a serpent skin wrapped around the arm of a godly Bible character doesn’t set off any alarms… I don’t know what to say.

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