CHRIST1.REV The Christian Review, No. 1 (June 17, 1988) Welcome to this, the first issue o

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** CHRIST1.REV ** The Christian Review, No. 1 (June 17, 1988) Welcome to this, the first issue of the Christian Review. I hope this will become a continuing series of articles about Christianity and the occult. This is not meant to be anti-Christian. What is intended is to present a synopsis or overview of anti-occult articles and publications produced by the Christian community. I will try to evaluate and review some of the assertions being made by Christians in their articles and books. There is a lot of material to cover. Christians are verbose if nothing else. Most of the articles I will refer to have appeared in electronic form on this and other bulletin boards. CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTIONISTS I recently read an article called BELTANE.TXT about Christian Reconstructionists. Those are people who feel the Christian Church has been compromised over the years until now it has become devoid of its original value. Christian Reconstructionists are basically Fundamentalist in their outlook, only with a vengence. They are in favor of prayer in schools and against the theory of evolution in schools (they are creationists). They are against abortion, gays, the occult and also everything else which we might call 'liberal'. They basically want to take the Bible totally and literally. And they want to see the United States as a Christian state. That last point is especially scarey, since they are described in this article as advocating the violent overthough of government, and as wanting to institute very severe 'Islamic-like' laws which would include the death penalty for non-christians, gays, and people involved with the occult. Preposterous?...Well, I dropped by the local Christian bookstore to see if I could learn more about this group. I purchased two books, both published by Dominion Press -- 'The Reduction of Christianity', by Gary DeMar and Peter Leithart, and 'A Christian Response to Dungeons & Dragons' by Peter Leithart and George Grant. In 'The Reduction of Christianity' we read, the new age movement is 'demonic' (p. 98), and 'anti-Christian' (p. 101). We also read about 'the building of a Christian civilization' (p. 121), and the idea that 'the idealogy of the New Age is satanic and humanistic. It is a result of the influx of Eastern religious thought into the West. It is, therefore, a dangerous movement that must be resisted by Christians.' (p. 123). Interestingly, the authors say Christian Reconstructionists do not advocate violent overthrow of government (p. 195). There is an anotated bibliography at the end of the book. Apparently, a lot has been written on Christian Reconstructionism, and the books are quite expensive. In the Dungeons & Dragons book we are presented with the tired old argument that the D&D game promotes 'witchcraft and Satanism.' and that participants are 'drawn into the occult' (p. 9). The authors make a great deal out of a few instances, such as '"Freeway Killer" Vernon Butts, who committed suicide in his jail cell...while being held as a suspect in a string of murders.' and who was an 'avid D&D player' (p. 5). Or the case of James Dallas Egbert, a Michigan State University student who committed suicide, alegedly due to his involvment with D&D (p. 3). The authors also suggest the game is violent, advocates sado-masochism, and sex. And then they say, 'We know, we know. This whole thing is just another way that Christians have found to spoil everyone's fun. We can't sleep at night if we know someone is having a good time.' Well you said it, not me...The *fact* is that Dungeons and Dragons is a very popular fantacy roll playing game. If 250,000-300,000 D&D and similar games have been sold, that would seem to be the biggest proof that the game is *not* harmful. After all, it encourages imagination. Why is that so bad? FILE 18 One widely publicised Christian Fundamentalist newsletter these days is 'File 18', published by the 'Cult Crime Impact Network'. Would you believe this publication goes to thousands of police officers around the country? That is what they say, and it is substantiated by the file WITCHBAS.HER, which is mostly made up of File 18's mailing list (don't ask me how we got *that*). Anyway, it is supposed to be published by the Chaplan of the Boise Idaho Police Departemnt, and just recently was approved IRS tax exempt non profit status...Several issues of File 18 are now available on boards around the country, thanks to some kind folks who typed them up to electronic form for the boards. The newsletter is usually quite long, being mostly filled with bizarre police cases and religious opinion about the occult. Although there may be a need for discussion of some of this (I'm not sure there is), there is so much bias and misinformation that this publication does a great injustice to the occult community. Much of this material is trash. It reads like the editor has been watching grade B movies. I certainly hope that anyone foolish enough to resort to File 18 as an 'authority' will at least also consult other sources. One issue of File 18 (FIL18NWS.881), which came out in February, 1988, mentions me by name, my bbs, the phone number and post office box (with an incorrect box number). They credit me as a source. The mention is ambiguous, so that some people have thought I was 'favorable' with anti-occult causes. Of course, I never intentionally furnished the File 18 guys with anything, but then again the board has always been pretty public. This also says something for the quality of their research. They show the old name for the board (was changed last fall). The file which they refer to is my course on magick (now reisued as Magick.Arc). So you see, they are crediting me for 'exposing' my own file! Ridiculous. They apparently never actually read the articles, since my name occurs in them. They list all 11 articles by title, (from the outline) even though only 9 of them had been released at the time that issue of File 18 came out (Magick 10 and 11 weren't released until the end of April). This is also apparent when they draw conclusions such as that the purpose of the first article in the course is to 'recruit' people into the occult...This would all be very funny, if it wasn't that some people seem to believe them. I had an inquiry from some guys doing research at the Department of Defense (!) into occult conspiracies. It made its way to me even with the wrong address. I only saw that issue of File 18 recently, but I had sure heard about it before. I may have more to say about that issue next time. However, I saw a different issue a while back, and already wrote up a review of it, which follows. That issue is dated October 23, 1987 (FIL18NWS.875). It describes what they call 'adult survivors' who are alleged to have been 'born into satan worship or black witchcraft', 'reared as a child by a coven', or to have voluntarily joined a coven. Among the signs suggested to verify that these people are telling you the truth, are being overweight, and having a preference for softdrinks. (Give me a break! Are they telling us that all the millions of Americans who may be overweight or who happen to like Pepsi are Satanists?). And here is some new information which I am certain every psychiatrist in the country will be excited to learn -- sometimes there are 'demons manifesting as multiple personalities' (they're serious about this!). Brainwashing techniques used by 'satanic' groups are discussed. I would like to point out that despite what File 18 says, most people in the occult are averse to brainwashing. For a better, unbiased discussion of brainwashing, see the files MINDWASH.ARC and BRAINWASH.TXT. A discussion of 'white and black witchcraft' in File 18 is full of generalizations and errors. Apparently, they consider fervent prayer undesirable. Real Christians, it would seem, must never become emotional during their worship. Reference is frequently made to Anton LeVey's 'Satanic Bible' and to Mike Warnke's 'The Satan Seller'. I haven't seen The Satan Seller, but LeVey isn't an especially reliable reference for this material. Occult bulletin boards are mentioned, along with the suggestion that law enforcement agencies should 'monitor' the boards. Occult boards are lumped together with boards for 'the paedophile' and 'the pornographer'. The implication in File 18 is that some readers should 'do a little hacking', in other words, that they should attempt to disrupt the boards or try to knock them off the air! They then quote a short bbs list (probably from Compuserve, as an account number is given), saying about it, 'These BBSs were known to have been carrying discussions pertinent to paganism, magick, freethought, and liberal religion'. (Since when does our constitution permit law enforcement and govenrment agencies to be concerned with religion, and at taxpayers expense?) They list the magicknet conference on Fido, and several boards on the echo (a number of them no longer running, or which are no longer on magicknet). Then several other occult boards are listed. File 18 next goes into a discussion on unicorns, aledging that the unicorn is an occult symbol, and that it was adapted as a symbol of 'The New Age Movement'. Then it says the New Age Movement encompasses women's liberation and gay rights (it goes on). And it concludes by saying the unicorn is the anti-Christ...Implications, women's liberation, gay rights, and everything occult are caused by Satan. I won't dismiss the entire newsletter as utter nonsense (dangerous utter nonsense at that, because of the misunderstandings it promotes). It does seem to have glympses here and there of sanity (very few). The problem is how to separate fabrication, bias, misinformation, and poor research from fact. For example, the newsletter discusses a group in Colorado, Ananda Marga Worldwide, which I have not heard about before, so I cannot verify it one way or the other. But if what they say about the group is true, then it may indeed be worth mentioning. The newsletter aledges that this group's leader, R.P. Saker, is in jail in India. The group is stated to say their 'members are the only people qualified to manage nuclear weapons.' And this group is said to be militant. File 18 quotes the group's guidebook as calling for the "blood of American cops to run in the street...". (If anywone has more information on Ananda Marga Worldwide, please let me know, or post a message or a file about them. I believe in full disclosure of verifiable facts about such groups.) This issue of File 18 also discusses animal mutilations. Of course, most occultists have nothing to do with animal mutilations. Such practices are repugnant to mainstream occultists. Some of the issues raised by File 18 are difficult ones. I would have dismissed most of these stories out of hand until recently. Now it seems that even some pagans are beginning to wonder if there actually are such practices going on. It is very unfortunate that File 18 (and many other Fundamentalist Christian publications as well) wastes so much time and effort criticizing mainstream occultism and liberal attitudes, when, it is possible they could form an alliance with the occult community against a common enemy. =========== Phil Hansford, Mysteria (818) 353-8891 (modem only)

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