CHRIST1.REV The Christian Review, No. 1 (June 17, 1988) Welcome to this, the first issue o
** 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.
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?
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
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.
(818) 353-8891 (modem only)
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank