Tutorial on Magic for Naive Christians: It’s Just an Illusion!

‘How does he do that?…Pan the camera 45 degrees.’ David Copperfield link

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Update 4:24 PM: ABC starts a new series called "Would You Fall for That?" this Friday link. The descriptor indicates that it might be good for us gullible types.

The creators of “What Would You Do?'' are asking a different question with their new series “Would You Fall for That?'' as they take psychological experiments out of the classroom and onto the street. Public parks, art galleries, tourist attractions and a variety of other everyday locations become settings for social experiments that reveal the fascinating and often humorous ways the human mind can play tricks on us.

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This is when it is fun to have a blog. I get to indulge myself a bit. Ever since I was a little girl, I have enjoyed magic tricks and illusionists. I used to buy those little kits to "amaze my friends" with card tricks and disappearing quarters. I remember when David Copperfield burst onto the scene and made a 7 ton jet "disappear" link. He topped that feat by making the Statue of Liberty "disappear" here. At this moment, I am enjoying a young man on America's Got Talent who does simple tricks in a unique manner here. There is another illusionist on that program who I will get to in a moment.

Back in the pre-computer days, one had to buy books and magazines to figure out how illusionists accomplished their feats. Today, it is quite simple-go to You Tube. I used to assume that everyone, except small children, understood that the so-called magic acts, as seen in shows, are simply illusions performed by talented artists. But not so, especially in the gullible sectors of the Christian community.

Mike Warnke and the "Satan's high priest" gambit

Many Christians are downright credulous.  They hear the word "magic" and immediately think of the "powers of darkness." If I hear about the witch of Endor one more time, I will scream.  How many of you remember Mike Warnke? I am dating myself here. In the 1970s, Warnke claimed to be a high priest of Satan who converted to Christianity. He soon was making bank, appearing at churches and conferences. The Christian community made such a celebrity of him that he appeared on ABC's 20/20. Wikipedia gives a good overview of Warnke here.

In 1973, Warnke's book The Satan Seller was released. Written by Warnke, with help from Balsiger and Les Jones, the book tells of Warnke being orphaned as a child and his introduction into Satanism. Further detailed is Warnke's participation in sexual orgies, alcoholism, and drug dealing; his rise in the ranks of Satanism to the level of "high priest"; presiding over Satanic rituals including magical spells, summoning demons, ritual sex including a ritual kidnap and rape; the attempt on his life — a heroin overdose — that left him angry and disillusioned; his heroism in Vietnam; and how he found Jesus and came home as an evangelist. The story ends with Warnke living happily in California with wife Sue Studer. In fewer than three months after the release, The Satan Seller had become a religious best-seller.

Cornerstone magazine did an investigation and revealed him to be a fraud in the 1990s. Amazingly, he is still invited to speak by some Christian groups who just can't let go. He sure can spin a tale.

Proctor and Gamble "worships the devil." 

How many of you remember this scandal?  Proctor and Gamble was forced to initiate lawsuits to counter this claim that ran rampant in the Christian community. Here is one infamous recording that was submitted to the courts, allegedly made by an Amway distributor. Amway is deeply embedded in today's churches. This rumor spread throughout the United States, causing Proctor and Gamble no end of headaches.

PLEASE MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The President of Procter & Gamble appeared on the Phil Donahue Show on March 1, 1994. He announced that due to the openness of our society, he was coming out of the closet about his association with the church of Satan. He stated that a large portion of his profits from Procter & Gamble Products goes to support this satanic church. When asked by Donahue if stating this on t.v. would hurt his business, he replied, "THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH CHRISTIANS IN THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE."

The outcome?

 In March 2007, Procter & Gamble was awarded $19 million in its lawsuit against four Amway distributors for disseminating rumors tying the company to Satanism.

True story:

I attended a woman's Bible study in which a woman claimed that the Proctor and Gamble president had made the above claim. I couldn't take it. I asked her point blank if she had seen the show. She claimed "a friend" did. I told her that her friend was not telling the truth. To top it off, a pastor in that church sent an email out claiming the same thing. I told him he better retract it or get ready to spend lots of time in a court since P&G was actively suing people who were spreading those rumors after they had asked them to stop doing so.

Magic

Some years ago, a local church had a Christian illusionist provide an evening of entertainment for its members. There was an uproar as some members proclaimed that the church was allowing witchcraft to be practiced. This was the first time I had heard of Christians who got upset over simple illusions. Apparently, these poor souls believed that these were not mere tricks. Apparently, some still do.

Today, I read an op ed piece on The Christian Post that made my jaw drop. The Illusion That Seduces and Bewitches Magicians was written by Dan Delzell who is listed as a CP exclusive columnist link.

Commenting on a trick that I had already seen and knew how it was accomplished, he said:

I had never heard of the magician, Dynamo, until I read about how he floated alongside a double-decker bus in London recently. I watched the video. Personally, I think it was legit. I believe this was a paranormal event and an authentic example of levitation. But it's not like this sort of thing is completely unheard of today.
 

So, this columnist makes the claim that this was a paranormal event! He calls it "legit." He then ends a lengthy tirade against the supposed dark arts and suggests that you will not go to heaven for "floating next to a bus." You cannot make this stuff up!

It turns out much better when you trust in Jesus than when you live life obsessed with magic. So don't fall for the illusion. Don't be seduced by the power, even though the power is very real and alluring. If those evil spirits could levitate your soul to heaven for eternity, they would be worshipping the Creator rather than tempting people to dabble with the counterfeit practices of the occult.

So would you rather float next to a big bus for a few minutes, or live in paradise forever? Both of them require supernatural power. But only one of them will bring perfect contentment to your soul and rapturous joy to your entire being throughout eternity. Hmm. Let's see. That's a tough one. Temporary bus floater, or eternal resident of heaven? Is this a trick question?

Let's take a look at the video in question.

So, is Dynamo on a fast track to hell because he practices the dark arts? Oh good night! When a friend sent me the original video, I simply did a You Tube search for an explanation and found one just below the original video.The question is "Why didn't Delzell do the same?"

So, did Delzell apologize for his histrionics? He wrote another post Christian Illusionists Have a Spirit Within Them here. The answer is "no." He sides steps his original post and commends "Christian" magicians while never acknowledging his epic fail in the discernment arena. Delzell should fall on his sword.

Christians have no excuse for passing on rumors and lies. We are blessed to have resources at our finger tips. They are called Google, Snopes, Urban Legends, and many others. The next time something sounds bit fantastic, do some research. 

The Christian Post link, perhaps responding to pushback on Delzell's paranormal prognostication, published a story explaining how the trick was done. They should have apologized for the original post. Why do Christians, who screw up in public life, have such a hard time saying they ware wrong? Here is the closest they got.

However, it now appears as though the method behind the levitating magic trick has been revealed.

I leave you with a trick that was recently performed on America's Got Talent. Note how the performer, Special Head, sucks you into some sort of Far Eastern mysticism shtick to get you to buy into his illusion. 

Here is the explanation on the same You Tube page.

Lydia's Corner: 1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17 Acts 23:11-35 Psalm 3:1-8 Proverbs 18:14-15

Comments

Tutorial on Magic for Naive Christians: It’s Just an Illusion! — 176 Comments

  1. The chain email with the fantastic story attached drives me crazy, especially when there is some outrageous claim along with it. Most of these can be easily refuted with a simple fact check, but somewhow that does not interest the sender. For a while I was in the habit of “reply to all” with a link to an obvious refutation of the claim. Speaking the truth does not make you popular. I got used to being flamed for my rudeness. Funny, I do not get these emails anymore.

  2. Loren Haas wrote:

    For a while I was in the habit of “reply to all” with a link to an obvious refutation of the claim. Speaking the truth does not make you popular

    Me, too. Those emails really miff me off.

  3. All I can say is when ex-carny Anton LaVey was working his Church of Satan con, there were two groups who swallowed everything he claimed as Gospel Truth. Every word.
    1) CELEBRITIES (AKA bored aristocrats), his targeted marks.
    2) Born-Again Bible-Believing Evangelical Christians.

  4. A pastor in college called these types of folks “suck air christians.” They are always looking for something to suck air about. It’s the Christian equivalent of the National Enquirer. My favorite now is the chain emails that say “It’s true! Verified by Snopes!” Even though it’s not…

  5. Today, I read an op ed piece on The Christian Post that made my jaw drop. The Illusion That Seduces and Bewitches Magicians was written by Dan Delzell who is listed as a CP exclusive columnist link.

    Note the structure of the two excerpts Dee included. I am assuming these reflect the structure of the article itself.

    First excerpt:

    I had never heard of the magician, Dynamo, until I read about how he floated alongside a double-decker bus in London recently. I watched the video. Personally, I think it was legit. I believe this was a paranormal event and an authentic example of levitation. But it’s not like this sort of thing is completely unheard of today.

    Note that the writer of the article is completely taken in by a stage magic effect and believes it to not only be completely legit, but Occult. I have never seen such levels of belief in the Occult even among “MOMMs”, i.e. “Masters of Mighty Magick” Occult Fanboys. (And I’ve run into a couple doozies.)

    Second Excerpt:

    It turns out much better when you trust in Jesus than when you live life obsessed with magic. So don’t fall for the illusion. Don’t be seduced by the power, even though the power is very real and alluring. If those evil spirits could levitate your soul to heaven for eternity, they would be worshipping the Creator rather than tempting people to dabble with the counterfeit practices of the occult.

    Direct segue into a Jesus Juke. Makes me wonder if he ended the article with the Four Spiritual Laws and an Altar Call Invitation.

    I have had personal experience with Witchfinders-General. I’ve been in (in order) SF litfandom, Dee & Dee gaming, proto-anime fandom, comics fandom, Furry fandom, and My Little Pony fandom. Every one of them that has been noticed by the mainstream has attracted Witchfinders-General denouncing them as Satanic and Occult(TM). The name of Christ does NOT have a good odor after you’ve been repeatedly damned to eternal Hell by the Witchfinders-General for your passion (in the original sense of the word).

  6. I remember when I lived in Haiti someone had a Christian magician from the US perform. He was advertised as the “Boco Chretien” which translated means “the Christian Witchdoctor”. Understandedly, some of the missionaries had problems with that. 🙂

  7. Kristin wrote:

    A pastor in college called these types of folks “suck air christians.” They are always looking for something to suck air about. It’s the Christian equivalent of the National Enquirer.

    “Suck Air Christians” — good line, Kristin!

    “Always looking for something to suck air about,” like Kyle’s Mom looking for the next Righteous Cause. Always looking for new witches to burn.

    In the Fifties it was E.C.Horror comics.
    Around 1980 it was Dungeons & Dragons.
    in the Nineties it was Harry Potter.
    Who’s Next?

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I have never seen such levels of belief in the Occult even among “MOMMs”, i.e. “Masters of Mighty Magick” Occult Fanboys. (And I’ve run into a couple doozies.)

    You’d think that Christians would be the ones with the ‘discernment’ to distinguish what is truly of a spiritual nature and what is just a fun trick of illusion. The fact that Christians are the ones so easily duped by everything is a serious facepalm for the faith.

    The chain emails that bug me the most are the fake “gang initiation” ones that make people overly-scared of the world. Again, Christians are the ones supposed to “not anxious about anything” but instead, everyone’s shaking in their boots about all sorts of nonsense.

  9. My kids participated in Upward basketball for a few years – not because it was a Christian organization, but because they are incredibly non-athletic and it was a good program for them to experience playing the sport.

    At a couple of the end of year programs, an illusionist came to perform. He made it very clear that he was NOT a magician, but an illusionist.

    Oh, bother. Kids (and adults) are just amazed by his talent. Who really cares what you call yourself?

    By the way, I’m rereading the Harry Potter series this summer – for the 4th time. There are times where I really wish people like the Weasley’s existed. They seem to understand how to work together with others unlike them.

  10. Kathi wrote:

    ’m rereading the Harry Potter series this summer – for the 4th time. There are times where I really wish people like the Weasley’s existed

    True story. My son was delivering popcorn for the Boy Scouts. We stopped in one neighborhood. He got out of the car and put his Harry Potter book down to carry the popcorn to the lady who had purchased it. She was sitting on her porch, sorting books that she sold to local schools.

    She told me that I should not let my kid read Harry Potter-evil and all that. I suddenly realized what book company she worked for. I asked her if she sold Harry Potter books as part of her job (I knew the company did sell them). She looked away and said “Yes.” “So,” I said,”It’s OK so long as its part of your job and you make a commission?”

    We hurried back to the car. My son said “You got her, Mom!” Needless to say, we didn’t try to sell her any more popcorn!

  11. I remember growing up in the eighties and the amount of rumours and fear mongering drove many sane people away from the church. Rock music had satanic messages, the game Dungeons and Dragons channeled supernatural powers, that book about the Satanist turned christian I read from our church library. We lived in a small northern Canadian town, the nearest city was a 14 hr. drive away (if the ferry was on the side of the river when we arrived, if not, 16 hours), winters were brutal, so no one drove down in the winter. All this to say – our little church library was all I had for connections to the evangelical christian world, and the rumours of a demon under every doily.

    Despite having a great friend who was a Christian and many friends in church, I eventually drifted away from church (but kept the friendships). It really wasn’t about Jesus, but Christian culture – every book in school was questioned by my youth group friend’s parents, debit cards were a step towards having the number of the beast inserted onto your right hand. Years later, when I began to go back to church with friends I met at University at a different church in a different town, that sort fear mongering was gone, and I felt freer to ask questions.

    Of all my friends (who I still keep in contact with on Facebook) from that time, very few are still Christians, and those who are are no longer living in that town.

    The internet is eroding this type of fear-based Christianity, but when I went to South Asia, a lot of those attitudes reared up in the Christians I was visiting with – suddenly having a snake draped around your neck for a photo was evil, drinking water from a stream was evil (never mind potentially bacteria laced), the wandering Sadhus (Hindu holy men) were evil – I put my foot down on that one and said they were no different than any other Hindu – and you never saw such a reaction as when a little French boy, at the guest house were were staying at, was training to be a buddhist monk – head shaved, burgendy linen robe, et. al – his mom was a monk too. The most annoying part to me was that the buddhist mom had adopted a native to the area (Sikkim) little boy and no one freaked out about him being raised buddhist despite also being a French citizen.

    I just enjoyed having the two boys to practice both my French and Tibetan with. They were great little teachers. The Christian group I was with managed to completely upset two British ladies who had been born in W. Bengal (when India was still part of the British Empire) and were visiting to see where their parents had grown up, and they encountered all the hostility and negative reactions to the little boys – who ran freely around the guest house.

    Sigh. I gave money to Sadhus, not to get photos, got pictures with the supposedly ‘demon possessed’ snakes, hung out with the locals, I ended up staying on while everyone left to work in an orphanage, and – guess what? The orphanage “leader” was a fraud, he wanted more money the moment I left, he didn’t even have a children’s home – but the locals sure appreciate all the evangelical gullibility – they knew they just had to say the right things and they would get the cash. Of course, back home, that pastor and his wife always sold what they were up to in India as “doing amazing work” but, hey, Christians don’t need proof.

  12. Kristin wrote:

    My favorite now is the chain emails that say “It’s true! Verified by Snopes!” Even though it’s not…

    😆 One of my Uncles, now in his 60s, retired about three years ago and just got a computer. He was totally new to the internet.

    Soon, I was getting about ten to 15 e-mails a day from him with the same old funny pictures and rumors from ten or more years ago.

    For the e-mails that contained urban myths, I would send him an e mail back with the Snopes link correcting it. I did this over several months before he caught on you cannot believe everything you see just because it’s on the internet.

    But – he then began forwarding me urban legends that had text in them saying, “This is not a hoax. I already checked Snopes. It’s on Snopes that this is true!”

    So, I’d go to the Snopes site to verify his stories/links, and Snopes would say, “This is a fraud.” 😆

    So I’d send my Uncle that link. I had to go through this about another 3 – 4 months before I stopped getting the hoax or urban legend e-mails from him.

  13. Kristin wrote:

    You’d think that Christians would be the ones with the ‘discernment’ to distinguish what is truly of a spiritual nature and what is just a fun trick of illusion. The fact that Christians are the ones so easily duped by everything is a serious facepalm for the faith.

    “Discernment” originally meant to see the truth beneath the surface, to size up and understand a complex situation. (Napoleon Bonaparte was said to have a natural talent for his in politics, a natural talent to size up and “read” a complex political situation at a glance. According to my old D&D Dungeonmaster, it’s also the symbolism behind the highest-ranking card of the Tarot deck, The Fool. “Fool on the hill; Man of a thousand faces standing perfectly still; See the sun going down? Well, the eyes in his head see the world spinning round…” Seeing the reality beneath the appearance.)

    Now in Christianese, “Discernment” has come to mean “DEMONS! DEMONS! DEMONS!” hiding under every bed, just like Witches in the Burning Times. In the words of one friend, “constantly terrified that Satan is going to stick his Woopee Cushion under their collective butts.” Plus the Inner Ring appeal of being Christianese Masters of Mighty Magick, sniffing out Witches and casting out Demons in Spiritual Warfare(TM) like high-level D&D characters. I’ve got a couple horror stories along those lines, and you probably do, too.

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    My Little Pony fandom. Every one of them that has been noticed by the mainstream has attracted Witchfinders-General denouncing them as Satanic and Occult(TM).

    And don’t forget you’re not a manly man Driscollian he man, so you are failing to live out your biblical manhood. (According to some Christians, not me.)

    You’re supposed to be watching MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) on Spike.

  15. Lin wrote:

    @2:59…… don’t forget about the “evil “cabbage patch dolls.

    You know where that began? Some tabloid — National Enquirer, Weekly World News, one of those. Made the jump onto 700 Club and got broadcast all over the Christianosphere as Gospel Truth. Just like the demon-possessed D&D miniatures screaming as they were melted down a couple years before. Any day now, I expect to start hearing the same about My Little Pony figurines.

  16. (giggles) Some people can be so superstitious about stuff. It cracks me up. He actually though the man was actually floating along side a bus?? Seriously?!

    Christians at times are the worse gossips around!

    Remember when Jerry Falwell stated that Tinky Winky, one of the Teletubbies, was a homosexual role model for children?

    Where do they come UP with this stuff?

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    in the Nineties it was Harry Potter.
    Who’s Next?

    Some preachers are still on Harry Potter.

    Because some types of Christians are always lagging behind pop culture.

    Most of them (the tele evangelists, at least, who are usually the ones who hop on these anti pop culture trend bandwagons) have not even heard of Lady Gaga or Rihanna.

    How do I know? Because they have not yet begun blasting Gaga or Rihanna for being too “Texual” or bad role models.

    They are still screaming about Harry Potter being demonic or pro Wiccan.

    Hmm. Let’s see, their next group/ trend/ person to lambast may be the Spice Girls. Or Britney Spears. Or Marilyn Manson. (They’re from the late 1990s, early 2000s, and preachers tend to be like 10 – 15 years behind the rest of America.)

    (It depends, though – the mega church guys try to stay more current, but the TV ones, no, they still think it’s 1995 to 2003.)

  18. Daisy wrote:

    You’re supposed to be watching MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) on Spike.

    With all the Buttery Doughy guys screaming for blood?
    “I CAN BEAT YOU UP! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!!!”

    A couple years ago, one pastor/blogger who WAS a retired MMA cage fighter (didn’t want to press his luck after his third concussion) analyzed some of MD’s sermons and public statements on the subject. He concluded MD was the worst type of MMA fanboy — the Buttery Doughy guy who is into it just to see people get hurt (and have the vicarious thrill of Beating Them Up by proxy). Two thousand years ago, he’d be crowding the arena-side seats in the Amphtheatrum Flavium, screaming “KILL! KILL! KILL!” at the gladiators.

  19. Val wrote:

    It really wasn’t about Jesus, but Christian culture

    I see that as being true with Christianity today. It’s one of several things that is turning me away from the faith.

  20. @ Sergius Martin-George:

    Baaaahahaha!

    A god who would use a simple sleight-of-hand to trick well-meaning believers out of his glorious riches, well…he just sounds like not a very nice god at all.

    This (well, not the clock thing, but the general fear-mongering) is in fact what drove me from much of my evangelical upbringing. There were just so many ways to get it wrong, so many ways to make God angry without even meaning to, so many things to be afraid of, so many ways to make Jesus cry, so many ways to be “lukewarm”. Eventually I just got tired of it and decided to stop being afraid–I realized it was hampering me for no good reason, since I was afraid of things the Bible didn’t even say to be afraid of! The God (and faith) I’ve found on the other side is just so much nicer.

  21. I just added this update to the post.

    Update 4:24 PM: ABC starts a new series called “Would You Fall for That?” this Friday link. The descriptor indicates that it might be good for us gullible types.

    The creators of “What Would You Do?” are asking a different question with their new series “Would You Fall for That?” as they take psychological experiments out of the classroom and onto the street. Public parks, art galleries, tourist attractions and a variety of other everyday locations become settings for social experiments that reveal the fascinating and often humorous ways the human mind can play tricks on us.

  22. The original post.

    I don’t remember hearing about Mike Warnke back in the day, or maybe I did, but he didn’t register. I do remember Bob Larson, who sounds similar to Warnke. TBN used to show Larson’s demon shows at night every week.

    I also remember the Proctor and Gamble rumors.

    There’s another magician (video is on You Tube) who did the same stunt, but used a fake arm attached to a building, not a bus.

    Stuff like this, attributing an illusion to the demonic, makes all Christians look like nuts. I wish Christians maybe thought things through a little more before publishing those types of pages.

  23. Hannah Thomas wrote:

    Some people can be so superstitious about stuff. It cracks me up. He actually though the man was actually floating along side a bus?? Seriously?!

    Tell me about it.

  24. Catcat wrote:

    There were just so many ways to get it wrong, so many ways to make God angry without even meaning to, so many things to be afraid of, so many ways to make Jesus cry, so many ways to be “lukewarm”

    It is all about a God who loves us all very much. We have so many real problems in our lives-abuse, pedophilia, war, poverty…Who has time to make more stuff up?

  25. Daisy wrote:

    I wish Christians maybe thought things through a little more before publishing those types of pages.

    It is a lot more fun to pretend that there are floating guys getting ready to pounce on you. I bet Satan is laughing his head off.

  26. Daisy wrote:

    There’s another magician (video is on You Tube) who did the same stunt, but used a fake arm attached to a building, not a bus.

    Criss Angel is an excellent magician. He floated off the top of a building in Vegas. I just saw a video on how he did that one as well. My son thought Angel was cool when he was in middle school.

  27. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen stuff on Facebook that can be easily verified by less than five minutes’ work on Google. One of my FB friends, who is also a Christian, IMed me a few months back saying, “Apparently no one spreads rumors and gossip like Christians on Facebook.”

  28. @ dee:

    I’m not sure if he’s the guy or not. The guy in the video I saw with the fake arm attached to the building appeared to be in his 50s or 60s, I think he had a British accent, and if I remember right, wore glasses. I looked for the video on You Tube but can’t find it again.

  29. One thing I find interesting about all this is that historically the church has (at least at times) made a distinction between allowable “natural” magic, that is, exploration of the natural forces of God’s creation (what has of course now been codified as science, but was much less straightforward back then) and forbidden “demonic” magic which involved attempts to communicate with/summon spirits, etc.

  30. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t remember hearing about Mike Warnke back in the day, or maybe I did, but he didn’t register. I do remember Bob Larson, who sounds similar to Warnke.

    Warnke liked to pretend he was really an ex high priest of Satan. He liked to look a little scary. I believe he was a darn good actor. (or is that a bad actor?)

    Larson is very odd in a different way. He believes that he got physically bitten by a demon and likes to show pictures of the bite. He also says that demons leave him messages scrawled on the steam on glass of his mirror when he is taking a shower. Kid you not.

    He believes in incubus and succubus (I think I’ve got that right). These demons have sex with humans! I think he also believe that spirits inhabit inanimate objects so he recommends having a demon cleaning session in your house because “you never know.”

    Call 1-800 Ghostbusters.

  31. I would love to be able to “fly” like the actors in certain types of martial arts movies – or, for that matter, Peter Pan! – but I’m not sure my aging body could take the stresses of the flying rig.

    I wonder if this foolish columnist thinks that Peter Pan really flies in stage productions?!

  32. Garland wrote:

    forbidden “demonic” magic which involved attempts to communicate with/summon spirits,

    That is true. However, superstitions have ruled the day from the get go and many of the parish priests, etc. also were superstitious.

    I raed a fascinating article on how the Catholic church decides who is demon possessed and needs an exorcism. There are lengthy processes to rule out all sorts of things.They only do a handful each year after the exacting fact finding. Compare that with some of the nuts in the post evangelical church who see demons behind every bottle of sour milk.

  33. dee wrote:

    I think he also believe that spirits inhabit inanimate objects so he recommends having a demon cleaning session in your house because “you never know.”

    Oh yeah, I do remember some of that.

    I used to watch Larson’s TV show. I do remember he feels that objects can be evil or Satanic, or just not appropriate for Christians.

    I told numo on an old thread that Larson thinks Halloween is evil, and was even opposed to Christian mothers putting a baby bib on their baby – and he showed a video clip of what he meant – a bib with cute, cartoon, smiling jack o lanterns.

    They weren’t even scary looking ones, they were smiley and cute.

    Perry Stone (tele evangelist) believes that demonic spirits can get access to your family or spiritual life if you permit certain itmes to stay in your home, even if you don’t know they are there, or their origins.

    That was the weirdest thing to me. According to Stone – even if you do not know that an item has a demonic background or associations, God will still permit demons to torment you. Why would God permit a Christian acting in ignorance to be demonically plagued? That doesn’t make much sense to me.

  34. @ Daisy: The demons in inanimate objects and/or rooms of houses was a common belief in the charismatic circles I was in.

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to pray against demons when I visited certain places, not *that* many years ago.

    The whole NAR/Third Wave thing (reiteration of older superstitions) is just poisonous! But it *does* make people feel like they ahve worth and are doing their part in a cosmic battle, which – imo – comes down to being players in a real-life “xtianized” version of Dungeons & Dragons. Except that the ideology behind it is quite scary – and the theology has very little to do with actual xtianity, though most of its practitioners are fooled into believing that it is the same thing.

    Not. (They rarely talk about Christ’s death, resurrection and victory over sin, death, etc. … quite a giveaway as to their real beliefs, I think.)

    I had to revert to the Apostles and Nicene Creeds – I mean, thinking through them – in order to see where things were off in the NAR. (Since That Church is *heavily* invested in a particular line of NAR thinking/acting/”missions.”)

  35. Oh it’s embarrassing, isn’t it? These guys make the church look like a bunch of cretins.

  36. I am reminded me of C S Lewis’s introduction to the Screwtape Letters in which he talks about mankind’s two equal and opposite errors re demons, ie not believing in them at all or seeing them under every bush.

    In fact Christian illusionists are often well placed to expose some things that are passed off as supernatural but which may have other causes, including human agency.

    Also talking of Internet resources, a friend recently had a go at me recently about music and told me that there were “plenty of Internet resources available” on the subject. Unfortunately, at the risk of sounding a bit sour, I think I know exactly the sort of “Internet resources” he has in mind – usually the type with half the page in garish colours and the Caps Lock on.

  37. Kolya wrote:

    I think I know exactly the sort of “Internet resources” he has in mind – usually the type with half the page in garish colours and the Caps Lock on.

    I have always wondered why people who write those blogs-usually with bright blue and red-think that anyone will read that nonsense.

  38. numo wrote:

    I would love to be able to “fly” like the actors in certain types of martial arts movies – or, for that matter, Peter Pan! – but I’m not sure my aging body could take the stresses of the flying rig.
    I wonder if this foolish columnist thinks that Peter Pan really flies in stage productions?!

    Yeah, that would be cool. Lacking the appropriate magical powers, I can’t do it either (aircraft, cable cars, zip slides, abseiling etc have to do instead).

    However…

    There is such a thing as “lucid dreams” – that is, ordinary night-time dreams except that you actually know you’re dreaming. I get them from time to time, and of course, when you’re dreaming, physics doesn’t apply. So if I concentrate properly, I can dream that I’m flying. That can be cool, because it’s still a realistic dream.

  39. @ Nick Bulbeck: The original version of My Little Pony was condemned as being just that – evil, demonic – by some of the nuttier evangelical/charismatic types during the 80s.

    Ditto for Transformers. Demonic, especially because the toys were so hard to break apart. (I wish I was making this up; I heard it from the pulpit.)

  40. @ numo: So-called xtians (evangelical/charismatic) are SO gullible. (I was, once… though I never believed in the scares re. toys, Procter & Gamble, etc.)

  41. dee wrote:

    Larson is very odd in a different way. He believes that he got physically bitten by a demon and likes to show pictures of the bite. He also says that demons leave him messages scrawled on the steam on glass of his mirror when he is taking a shower. Kid you not.

    I first heard of Larson in the pages of Kooks Magazine, described as “Jack Chick’s hatchetman for Satanic Rock & Roll”.

    From this, he sounds as much into “demons(TM)” and Spirits as Aliester Crowley. A “Master of Mighty Magick, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

    Was it Larson or John Todd who got into a fistfight with Warnke backstage at Melodyland over “You Stole MY Shtick!”?

    He believes in incubus and succubus (I think I’ve got that right). These demons have sex with humans! I think he also believe that spirits inhabit inanimate objects so he recommends having a demon cleaning session in your house because “you never know.”

    Incubi & Succubi? So did the guy who wrote Malleus Maleficarium. Now that guy was obsessed with demon-witch sex; I suspect the Malleus were his own forbidden kink fantasies given “respectable” form. Kind of like my take on MD’s “I SEE THINGS…”

    Again, Larson sounds so into “Spirits” I’m thinking the Fox Sisters as well as Creepy Crowley. Or Tatted Todd and “ANGELS! ANGELS! ANGELS!” And I have had run-ins with Spiritual Warfare MOMMs who KNOW that “spirits inhabit inanimate objects”. Internet Monk said these types “make me think I stepped into a bad Star Wars prequel”; I’d say more “Call of Cthulhu” myself.

  42. numo wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck: The original version of My Little Pony was condemned as being just that – evil, demonic – by some of the nuttier evangelical/charismatic types during the 80s.

    They say that a dying horse makes a horrible scream. I have no wish to hear that scream from the throats of Fluttershy or Rarity as they burn for witchcraft. And any Witchfinder-General would have to go through a couple thousand Bronies to get to them.

  43. Kolya wrote:

    I am reminded me of C S Lewis’s introduction to the Screwtape Letters in which he talks about mankind’s two equal and opposite errors re demons, ie not believing in them at all or seeing them under every bush.

    I remember Lewis’s words as more like “There are two errors mankind may fall into regarding the race of Devils. Either deny their existence completely, or take an unhealthy interest in them. And the Devils hail a Materialist or a Magician with equal delight.”

  44. I wonder how many Christians who would laugh at the things mentioned in the article and comments believe someone like Benny Hinn or Todd Bentley when they talk about hundreds of people being healed or raised from the dead? When asked for documented proof of a single incident, they always come up with zero.

    A guest pastor at a congregation I used to attend, said, during a sermon, “Wouldn’t it be cool to raise the dead? You can, you know.” I later asked him of one proven case. He said he saw a man on a video say that he witnessed it. People think that because God *can* do these things, He’s doing them all the time – they’re just never around when they happen.

    Concerning healing: I believe that God does this occasionally, but certainly not on command.

  45. Dee,

    Does this mean that if I continue to watch old re-runs of I Dream of Jeannie that I’m going to hell? Can I do it safely until I need glasses?

  46. Gullibility is a symptom of ignorance.

    And many Christians are intentionally ignorant of lots of things, and when you try to bring them out of said ignorance they plug their ears all the more.

  47. JustSomeGuy wrote:

    … many Christians are intentionally ignorant of lots of things, and when you try to bring them out of said ignorance they plug their ears all the more.

    Ain’t that the truth! I think it’s often due to a desire to not have things change and avoid conflict. It doesn’t work forever, but it can work for awhile. Ignorance can be bliss … till God pulls back the curtain and then … YIKES! It’s egg on the face!

  48. In full disclosure, I have been gullible. However, when the truth became crystal clear for one and all, I realized my tendency to protect and defend the leadership simply because of their position, and it was then I also realized how unloving I had been to others in doing so.

    “Love others!” is a serious command God gives.

  49. Wait, didn’t Anton LeVey write the same story that Dee described Warnke of writing? I think the author I read was Anton LeVey for some reason – HUG who is who?

  50. Val wrote:

    21st C. teens (2013-2019) decade will be about the evils/demonic influences of incorrect gender roles (groan).

    Actually, Owen may look young, but he’s already out of his teens. 😉

    I think he’s 32. Imagine what he’ll be like at 40 or 50!

  51. Anon wrote:

    Can anybody say BOB LARSON! ?

    So now “exorcism” is being touted as a treatment for the sexually abused? As if nouthetic counseling wasn’t bad enough!

  52. I really don’t think Jesus is afraid of any of these things. So, I figure, why should I be?

  53. Val wrote:

    Wait, didn’t Anton LeVey write the same story that Dee described Warnke of writing? I think the author I read was Anton LeVey for some reason – HUG who is who?

    No clue. There’s a lot of Larry/Moe/Curly cribbing going on. What I DO know is that a lot of LaVey’s Satanic Bible was said to be cribbed near-directly from Crowley. Why come up with a story when you can swipe it?

  54. CHRISTIANS FREAKING OUT ABOUT MAGIC!!!! GRRRRRRRR

    !@#*%^$%*@$)$%&$T*$%

    BOOM (sound of Hester’s head exploding)

    Seriously now. My friend is a magician and has gone through some real hell over this, though unfortunately I can’t share the best story here because someone involves reads the blog.

    Maybe Delzell should take a Defense Against the Dark Arts class. It could help him out the next time he sees someone levitating next to a bus.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK8G_VAuEnk

  55. The peddling and purveying of fear and paranoia has pushed me away from a lot of segments of evangelicalism and American Christianity. Megachurch near us had one of the top elders warn everyone about the evils of Harry Potter a few years back, from the pulpit. At the same church, one of the pastor’s major sermon illustrations was found on snopes as not credible. And don’t get me started on how evangelicals react when I tell them I grew up in a Muslim country and that most Muslims don’t like the extremists any better than we do, or that using the word Allah to refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does actually happen and might even be a good way to bridge understanding.
    Fear is easier to sell and takes a lot less thought for both the “leaders” and the sheeple.

  56. Anon wrote:

    Can anybody say BOB LARSON! ?

    Yeah, we were talking about him earlier in the thread. I used to watch his show every week. It was broadcast on TBN.

  57. A more recent example of a scam artist in the Christian ranks is Ergun Caner. He had a serious problem telling the truth regarding his past, alleging ties to Islam, etc. At one point I think he rose to Dean of Liberty College in Lynchburg. The trustees were slow to remove him even after he was exposed as a fraud, but eventually they did. I think he now works at some small fundamentalist Baptist College in Texas. There are still those who believe his story.
    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=5478

  58. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    numo wrote:
    @ Nick Bulbeck: The original version of My Little Pony was condemned as being just that – evil, demonic – by some of the nuttier evangelical/charismatic types during the 80s.
    They say that a dying horse makes a horrible scream. I have no wish to hear that scream from the throats of Fluttershy or Rarity as they burn for witchcraft. And any Witchfinder-General would have to go through a couple thousand Bronies to get to them.

    (For the record, HUG. I like you, I enjoy your comments, but I honestly think you go too heavy on the brony/furry stuff. I think we all get your background at this point. I’m a huge Homestuck, but I don’t bring it up in this context…)

  59. @ Sergius Martin-George:
    Val wrote:

    @ Sergius Martin-George:
    LOL – the 21st C. teens (2013-2019) decade will be about the evils/demonic influences of incorrect gender roles (groan).

    Yes, I mean this teen decade (not his age) will be all about raising young people to fear anything that isn’t strictly complementarian (strict gender roles).

  60. At one point when our daughter was pre-school we got her some videos out of the local library, one of which was a feature-length compilation of animated “My Little Pony” episodes. The production, “plot”, and above all, the songs on that vid were so bad they could only have been conceived in the presence of Pure Evil. Not even Clementi’s piano music plumbed such depths as that. The key-changes alone made me want to vomit.

  61. Seriously, though, a (female, btw) Christian author I know of has a couple of interesting points to make on the topic of discernment.

    One is that suspicion is not the biblically-mentioned gift of discernment. The corollary is that one must be very wary of “spiritual Discernment” that merely confirms our innate prejudices. Indeed, we are instructed to test spirits, not just discern them.

    The other is that, whilst the specific manifestation of “discernment of spirits” mentioned in 1 Corinthians probably refers mainly to angelic/demonic spirits, it’s a truism that the most important spirit to be able to discern (small “d”) is the Holy Spirit himself. Once you know the Shepherd’s voice it’s much easier to spot impersonations.

  62. Per Harry Potter, the best one I ever heard came from an Adventist:

    1. Fallen angels are pictured in Revelation as stars that fell from heaven.
    2. The “home of the stars” on earth is Hollywood, CA.
    3. Harry Potter’s wand is made of holly wood. COINCIDENCE?!
    4. Holly is used by Wiccans to lull people to sleep.
    5. Therefore Hollywood is run by sorcerers and demons who want to put you to sleep spiritually.

  63. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    This is just a knockoff of Gosse’s Omphalos, the idea that God created everything 6000 years ago with the airtight appearance of 13.4 Gigayears of backstory. It didn’t fly then and it doesn’t fly now.

    It creates a dilemma about God. Is He in the business of tricking us? THis also contradicts Romans which indicates that nature teaches us about God.

  64. Muff Potter wrote:

    Does this mean that if I continue to watch old re-runs of I Dream of Jeannie that I’m going to hell?

    No, because she is entirely submitted to her “Master.”

  65. Val wrote:

    Wait, didn’t Anton LeVey write the same story that Dee described Warnke of writing?

    When there is a story that sells, everyone wants to get in on the business.

  66. John wrote:

    At the same church, one of the pastor’s major sermon illustrations was found on snopes as not credible. A

    I’ll do you one better. I went to a church in which the pastor told a “true story.” Always perk up your ears when they say “true story.” It wasn’t. I found it on Snopes. I wrote the pastor who apologized. 6 months later, he repeated the “true story.”

    I was told by another pastor that it is a traditional for pastors to exaggerate and make up stories. I asked him whether that was found in the Bible. I was not liked a whole bunch. Don’t go there anymore.

  67. Hester wrote:

    1. Fallen angels are pictured in Revelation as stars that fell from heaven.
    2. The “home of the stars” on earth is Hollywood, CA.
    3. Harry Potter’s wand is made of holly wood. COINCIDENCE?!
    4. Holly is used by Wiccans to lull people to sleep.
    5. Therefore Hollywood is run by sorcerers and demons who want to put you to sleep spiritually.

    I can’t take it. No wonder the “Nones” are on the rise.

  68. Muff Potter –

    I would have never dreamed in a million years that you would be supporting comp doctrine. What are you thinking watching Jeanie serve her master? 😉

    Seriously, though, was that show a subtle parady of the passing of the 50’s, or wishful thinking on some writers part for a return to that era in the midst of women wanting equal validation?

  69. “It really wasn’t about Jesus, but Christian culture”

    This was a big part of my christian upbringing!! My mom LOVES this stuff. (sigh) We saw Mike Warnake in person and read all his books. Then there was that utter scare monger Constance Cumbey. Oh I actually saw a video where Prince Charles is the anitchrist. There was the video about music Hells Bells. Of course this is just light reading compared to……..wait for it…….
    *************************************************************TaDa->
    Pigs in the Parlor by Frank and Ida Hammond

    rush out and get yourself a copy\sarcasm off

  70. @ dee:

    Dee, I love your HP story! Way to go mom!

    For our knitting enthusiasts out there…I just bought the Unofficial Harry Potter knits. It looks promising!

  71. Hester wrote:

    Per Harry Potter, the best one I ever heard came from an Adventist:

    Hester – It’s like playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Only they made it in 5!

  72. Dee–yes yes yes re the “true story” thing.

    That is one of the things that drove us right out of evangelicalism: the tendency to use made up tales to drive home a point or wring out tears, etc, and pass them off as true stories.

    We finally could not swallow one more lie told to try and get people to “choose Christ.”

    Looks like I won’t be a “none” much longer. I’ve found a place I fit.

  73. dee wrote:

    Hester wrote:

    1. Fallen angels are pictured in Revelation as stars that fell from heaven.
    2. The “home of the stars” on earth is Hollywood, CA.
    3. Harry Potter’s wand is made of holly wood. COINCIDENCE?!
    4. Holly is used by Wiccans to lull people to sleep.
    5. Therefore Hollywood is run by sorcerers and demons who want to put you to sleep spiritually.

    I can’t take it. No wonder the “Nones” are on the rise.

    To quote Agent Smith, “I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell.”

    Might the shallow superstitions and easily disproven internet legends be a contributing factor to the generational divide in churches also?

    It’s hard to have a conversation with some of the older folks in my church, because any conversation is never more than a nanometer away from a jump into the parallel universe of ridiculous political hoaxes and rants on why President Obama is the antichrist.

    I know there are many sane political conservatives; many (though not all) of my peers who are conservatives know that, for example, Rush Limbaugh isn’t infallible and inerrant (and I lean that way myself). But the youth in my conservative Baptist church tend to view the adults as “hateful” and “conservative bigots” – in their own words – as if those things go hand in hand. The ones who are crazy spout off mindlessly, and the ones who probably aren’t crazy don’t refute what the crazies say. So members of the younger generation can end up with the impression that everyone besides themselves believes that way.

    The youth see right through the silly fables, and some have told me outright that they don’t pay attention to anything many of the adults say. Because these fanciful (?) legends are mixed so thoroughly with the [actual] gospel, the truth that they need to hear, they’re blocking out. It pains me that we have thrown out opportunities to share the good news with these kids because of our insistence on tolerating and even encouraging this irrationality.

  74. Josh wrote:

    But the youth in my conservative Baptist church tend to view the adults as “hateful” and “conservative bigots” – in their own words – as if those things go hand in hand.

    Our generation has screwed it up with our silly urban legends and our bowing at the altar of American conservative politics as if it were headed by Jesus Himself.

  75. @ John:

    “The peddling and purveying of fear and paranoia… Fear is easier to sell and takes a lot less thought for both the “leaders” and the sheeple.”
    +++++++++++++++

    so very true. I get the feeling that christians (who are immersed in Christian culture of the present) are especially afraid of making mistakes. Of making decisions.

    Is it because of more knowledge & information? And free access to knowledge & information? Perhaps. (& of course much of it is simply untrue, or laced with untruth, to begin with).

    My sneaking suspicion is that this is all a seedy advertising campaign. Some of the powerbrokers in Christian culture have laced their message with untruth on purpose. With subtle “fear mongering”, in order to get people to think they way they want them to. To “buy” the way they want them to — to emotionally “buy in” to a method, a plan.

    I do believe that behind it all, in the darker corners of their psyche, is the desire and need to control. And self-preservation and aggrandizement, as the people who “buy in” will also buy products and services with their pocketbooks (books, conferences, expensive education, tithes, offerings, donations…. all of which keep the industry machine running to continually churn out salaries and major perks).

    I think some (many?) Christian powerbrokers truly have believed the sky is falling or about to fall. And so they scurried around cheeping “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” (with their emergency escape plans at the ready). And then they discovered….. it sells!

    Murky.

    (I think there’s a certain amount of the diabolical at play — but I suspect many professional christians observe the success and sway, and simply climb aboard the fear mongering train with their own solution to sell, which they believe in whole-heartedly.)

  76. @ elastigirl:

    …which brings me back to one thing: Jesus isn’t afraid.

    He’s not scared.

    What an incredible waste of time, emotion, energy, relationship, & money to go there.

  77. @ elastigirl:

    …which brings me back to one thing: Jesus isn’t afraid.

    He’s not scared.

    Fear — one NASTY red herring. What an incredible waste of time, emotion, energy, relationship, money to go there.

  78. Hester wrote:

    Per Harry Potter, the best one I ever heard came from an Adventist:

    Adventists also believe The Mark of the Beast is a forthcoming “National Sunday Law”, where the Federal Government forces everyone to go to church on Sunday instead of Saturday/Sabbath.

    Adventists have shall we say “unique” takes on a lot of things.

  79. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    At one point when our daughter was pre-school we got her some videos out of the local library, one of which was a feature-length compilation of animated “My Little Pony” episodes. The production, “plot”, and above all, the songs on that vid were so bad they could only have been conceived in the presence of Pure Evil.

    Had to be “G3”. There have been four “generations” of MLP; the current one (the one I’m familiar with) is the fourth (G4), My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Here’s John DeLancie’s in-character orientation to what’s going on in ponydom today:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV-OF9wZWDs

  80. Kolya wrote:

    I am reminded me of C S Lewis’s introduction…

    Once I quoted something from Lewis to a friend and he became very somber: “Don’t you know that C S Lewis was a WITCH?”

  81. Elastigirl said: “I think some (many?) Christian powerbrokers truly have believed the sky is falling or about to fall. And so they scurried around cheeping “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” (with their emergency escape plans at the ready). And then they discovered….. it sells!”

    I remember around 20 years ago going with my Mom to a church service with a special “end times” guest speaker who said “we probably had a year left” and then had a tableful of books, etc. to sell after the service.

  82. Simon the Magician from Acts Ch 8 is an interesting case study. Too little mentioned in Church Discipline discussion. Especially intriguing to me is that Luke doesn’t make the end of the story too clear. When Simon asked Peter to pray for him, did this mean he was sincerely reforming from his wickedness?

  83. John wrote:

    And don’t get me started on how evangelicals react when I tell them I grew up in a Muslim country and that most Muslims don’t like the extremists any better than we do, or that using the word Allah to refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does actually happen and might even be a good way to bridge understanding.

    Thank you for trying, John! I get the same reaction, fwiw…

  84. Shannon H. wrote:

    I remember around 20 years ago going with my Mom to a church service with a special “end times” guest speaker who said “we probably had a year left” and then had a tableful of books, etc. to sell after the service.

    “ALL THE PROPHECIES ARE BEING FULFILLED EVEN AS WE SPEAK!!!!! WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A 1978!!!!! OR EVEN A 1977!!!!!”

    It is now 2013.

  85. Bt wrote:

    Hello! I’ve been lurking for weeks and this struck a chord with me! I couldn’t help be reminded of a great classic Christian Rock song by Petra in the 1980′s (yes, I said the 80′s) about this very issue. Take a listen:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGJqw2ENM6k

    I was looking for that one on YouTube much earlier in the thread, but couldn’t find it. Like the YouTube dedication to Fred Phelps. A little historical background on the song and its time:

    Remember the “backwards garble” track about halfway through the video? Petra put that song out in 1985, when (ominous drum roll) BACKWARDS MASKING was THE core of the Satanic Conspiracy that all Christian Culture/Spiritual Warriors were mobilizing against.

  86. @ Shannon H.:

    “I remember around 20 years ago going with my Mom to a church service with a special “end times” guest speaker who said “we probably had a year left” and then had a tableful of books, etc. to sell after the service.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    I remember similar things myself. Aside from hellfire and brimstone raining down, some fear the sky falling on their own castle (male privilege, male ego, career, emotional safety) and turn it into a commodity. All such castle-owners, or wanna-be castle-owners, eagerly buy.

    Some just fear not hearing “well done, my good and faithful servant”, and turn THAT into a commodity.

  87. dee wrote:

    Our generation has screwed it up with our silly urban legends and our bowing at the altar of American conservative politics as if it were headed by Jesus Himself.

    And seeing how these things usually go, the younger generation (my generation) will probably screw it up in a completely different way.

    That said, I feel I must make explicit that I appreciate the many people of all generations who don’t think Jesus is exclusively intimate with the SBC and Republican party (which go hand in hand, of course). Sadly, there just aren’t [m]any of them at my particular church. But I take comfort that they (and all y’all) exist.

  88. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “ALL THE PROPHECIES ARE BEING FULFILLED EVEN AS WE SPEAK!!!!! WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A 1978!!!!! OR EVEN A 1977!!!!!”
    It is now 2013.

    Forgive me, I’m a bit younger, so I missed out on the prophecy scares of the ’70s. That said, did anyone else see echoes of the same thing in the …

    BUY A GENERATOR AND FOOD SUPPLIES THAT WILL LAST FOR MONTHS. THE GRID WILL BE DISRUPTED, AND THERE MAY BE WIDESPREAD VIOLENCE. YOU MAY WISH TO HAVE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION STORED AWAY IN A SECURE LOCATION. COULD THE EVENTS THAT WILL COME IN THE YEAR 2000 BE … the signs of the times of … [whispers] the rapture?

  89. @ Josh:

    oh yes. good grief.

    people with mics need things to talk about. audiences need things to hear. that was just to easy all ’round to resist. a ready-made topic requiring very little prep.

  90. Josh wrote:

    BUY A GENERATOR AND FOOD SUPPLIES THAT WILL LAST FOR MONTHS. THE GRID WILL BE DISRUPTED, AND THERE MAY BE WIDESPREAD VIOLENCE. YOU MAY WISH TO HAVE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION STORED AWAY IN A SECURE LOCATION. COULD THE EVENTS THAT WILL COME IN THE YEAR 2000 BE … the signs of the times of … [whispers] the rapture?

    Ah, yes, the Y2K Rapture Scare. I saw so many Christian books on the “free bookstands” at various truck stops and Interstate restaurants (most naming Bill & Hillary as The Antichrist) from the late nineties on. I think some are still on the freebie stands.

    How many True Believers have eaten their way through all their Y2K freeze-drieds and MREs? Or shot off all their ammunition?

    Oh, and the Survival Refuges (with adequate fire ports and cleared fields of fire) more than one tank of gas from any major city or Interstate are still a hot item. Now it’s for the Coming Inevitable Global Economic Collapse — “IT’S ALL OVER BUT THE SCREAMING! COULD THESE BE THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES OF… (whispers) The Rapture?????”

  91. elastigirl wrote:

    Some just fear not hearing “well done, my good and faithful servant”, and turn THAT into a commodity.

    Avoiding Eternal Hell always has a commodity value.

  92. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    BACKWARDS MASKING was THE core of the Satanic Conspiracy that all Christian Culture/Spiritual Warriors were mobilizing against.

    As usual, the Christian Culture Warriors were about 20 years behind the times, inspired by Conspirator John Lennon, who hinted at the truth of Paul’s untimely demise via backwards masking (Who buried Paul? Paul no more. Turn me on, dead man.)
    :0

  93. @ Dave AA:

    Dude, Christian Activists have ALWAYS been late adopters; they were still using flannelgraphs in the age of Velcro and PowerPoint.

  94. dee wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    The key-changes alone made me want to vomit.
    Laugh of the morning!

    Thankyou, Dee… though the music itself was anything but funny.

  95. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Oh, and the Survival Refuges (with adequate fire ports and cleared fields of fire) more than one tank of gas from any major city or Interstate are still a hot item. Now it’s for the Coming Inevitable Global Economic Collapse — “IT’S ALL OVER BUT THE SCREAMING! COULD THESE BE THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES OF… (whispers) The Rapture?????”

    Yep. And don’t forget to buy gold, because it’s the only currency that will still have value. Some things never change (well, not from 1999 through the present, at least).
    dee wrote:

    @ Josh: Then, Y2K. I actually knew people who bought generators and went “off grid.”

    Oh, my parents would have bought a generator if they could have afforded one! We knew another family who bought one; they sold it at a yard sale several years later, unused.

  96. @ dee:
    To be fair about all the Y2K stuff, it only ended up not being a problem because a lot of people did a lot of hard work. That’s for the technical aspect of things (not the superstitious “big round number” predictions). But the risk WAS real, even if some people took it too far.

  97. Jeff S wrote:

    To be fair about all the Y2K stuff, it only ended up not being a problem because a lot of people did a lot of hard work. That’s for the technical aspect of things (not the superstitious “big round number” predictions). But the risk WAS real, even if some people took it too far.

    That’s a good point. The media exaggerated a bit (they tend to not have a clue about technology, so it’s understandable if not entirely excusable), and the “Rapture Ready” crowd got exponentially more carried away.

    Just wait, we’ll get to do this all again in 2038…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

  98. @ Jeff S: My friends in the tech world were working on the problem and had fixes in place long before the “good Christians need to buy caves to hideout” movement began. The fact that not one light blinked at the turn showed that the problem was well under control.

    So, some of my acquaintances who took classes on how to use a hoe (I kid you not), bought up garage full of seeds,purchased goodness knows how many MREs, learned how to make soap, purchased guns, etc. told me I was stupid not to get my panties in a wad. I tried to explain that all the “we are going down” books written by Christians were baloney . They told me I would be sorry.

    So, when nothing happened, I asked them if they thought that maybe I was right after all. They said nothing happened because all of the good Christians who raised a stink saved the world by raising concerns. I tried to show them papers written by “heathens” in science who were working on the problem for over a decade. They refused to listen. But then again they believe the Pope is the antiChrist.

  99. @ Josh: Let’s start writing books and giving conferences on how to go off grid for 2038. I heard so many sales pitches for Y2K that I think I could do the huckster sales pitch really well.

  100. @ dee: Well, those kinds of crazy survivalist types weren’t just fundies – some of them were quite thoroughly non-religious, unless you can count belief in conspiracy theories as its own religion. (In some cases, that might well be true!)

    As for classes on how to use a hoe, my mind is boggled!

  101. @ dee: Or maybe someone could make lots of money teaching people how to do stage-style sword “fighting,” a la “Revolution.” (Which I watched religiously, even though I actually think it’s a pretty bad show. ;))

  102. @ numo: I like Revolution, Under the Dome (loved the cow who split in half), Siberia, Falling Skies and every conspiracy show that is available. I have extremely poor taste in TV. I like weird, survivalist shows. It gets it out of my system so i can attempt to be more rational in my day to day life. I want to learn to shoot a bow and arrow like that young woman can in Revolution.

    So, I’ve got this idea. We can buy up all the old Y2K books and change the dates and sell them for the looming 2038 or the “mark of the beast” embedded chip date. I also learned how to make washing machine soap when I watched an episode of the Duggars. I watched that one, the new baby one and the Creation Museum one-had a good laugh. So we could do classes on how to make soap! We could make bank, Numo. Then we could finally start our TWW monastery.

  103. @ dee: were I watched the 1st episode of Under the Dome and thought that the special effects pretty… underwhelming.

    Lately I’ve been on a bender with Scandinavian-made crime shows; The Protectors, The Eagle, Annika Bengtzonn, Wallander, The Killing (original Danish version).

    I think the character in Revolution is a poor copy of the central character in The Hunger Games trilogy – who is an accomplished bow hunter trying to keep her family fed in what seems like a post-nuclear war US (well, remnants of what once was the US). I can’t explain why Revolution holds my attention – on the one hand, i think it’s pretty bad, but on the other, I enjoy watching it.

    Go figure!

  104. JustSomeGuy wrote:

    Gullibility is a symptom of ignorance.
    And many Christians are intentionally ignorant of lots of things, and when you try to bring them out of said ignorance they plug their ears all the more.

    That’s it in a nutshell. Sad but true.

  105. @ dee: If Siberia was a *bit* sillier (and more obviously a parody of reality shows), i think I’d love it. I watched the pilot, and for a while I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be serious or not, though it quickly became clear that it is a parody.

    I wish the “Viking princess” hadn’t been eliminated in the 1st episode – she struck me as being clueless enough to be kind of fun.

    fwiw, the show was shot in the Canadian Rockies.

  106. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    @ Dave AA:
    Dude, Christian Activists have ALWAYS been late adopters; they were still using flannelgraphs in the age of Velcro and PowerPoint.

    But that’s because flannelgraphs are awesome! Am I dating myself? 🙂

  107. @ dee: I’ve watched *very* little network TV since the early 70s… though I do get hooked on certain things. “Northern Exposure” is one of my all-time faves.

    PBS is my go-to, though since late 2011, I’ve mostly been watching via my Roku streaming player – Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. My favorite British detective show from recent year: Foyle’s War (set in southern England during WWII). But it’s as much about the social climate as it is about detection – makes for very interesting and nuanced storylines.

    But then, I also like Glee (even though I can’t stand some things about it, and even though it’s often really annoying or just not well-thought out). I also watched Smash faithfully, though I *hated* the 1st season.

    ah well. To each his/her own, i guess!

    P.S.: I love Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra and Adventure Time. (All cartoons, though the 1st two are fantasy martial arts stuff set in alternate-universe version of East Asia and the Pacific Rim.)

  108. @ numo:

    Foyle’s War — inDEED! Ever watch The Vicar of Dibley? One of my favorites. Maybe it’s one of those things that grows on you. If you ended up watching Red Dwarf episodes Meltdown, DNA, White Hole, or Camille… please tell me you laughed.

  109. elastigirl wrote:

    Foyle’s War — inDEED! Ever watch The Vicar of Dibley?

    Elastigirl — I thought I had the entire Foyle War series (sets 1-5). Am I missing something? I don’t have that episode. Help!

  110. @ Janey:

    oh, Vicar of Dibley is a TV series itself. Dawn French as a female Vicar in a small village in England inhabited by very colorful characters. Delightful.

  111. Lately I’ve been on a bender with Scandinavian-made crime shows; The Protectors, The Eagle, Annika Bengtzonn, Wallander, The Killing (original Danish version).

    I absolute LOVE the original Swedish version of Wallander.

    Talk about an unconventional leading man!

  112. Josh wrote:

    Yep. And don’t forget to buy gold, because it’s the only currency that will still have value. Some things never change (well, not from 1999 through the present, at least).

    I used to have to field calls from someone who “Accepted Glenn Beck as his Personal Financial Planner”, i.e. “GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GUNS! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GAWD!”

    Can’t remember who I heard this one from (and it was only a couple weeks ago), but someone recently told me a funny skit about a Glenn Beck-type walking into a McDonalds in a post-collapse future and trying to buy a burger with a $25 million gold ingot:

    “Uh, we don’t have change enough for that. Couldn’t you just swipe your card/chip in your forehead/right hand instead?”

    “Uh, we could sell you $25 million worth of Big Macs. I hope you have a big appetite. Do you want fries with all of them?”

  113. @ elastigirl: I’m working on Red Dwarf – kind of took time off from it to finish up Annika Bengtzon and binge-watch the Killing (Forbrydelsen) and Orange is the New Black.

    I do like Dawn French, but the man with the odd speaking habits kind of got on my nerves, and I’ve never made it past the pilot.

    Have you seen Father Ted? *Superb* comic timing (the housekeeper especially), and a great send-up of many things, Irish and not.

  114. @ elastigirl: Another show I love: The Hour (BBC). Am upset at the Beeb for refusing to make a 3d season – probably so they can finance another go-round of “Snog Marry Avoid.” YUK.

  115. numo wrote:

    P.S.: I love Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra and Adventure Time. (All cartoons, though the 1st two are fantasy martial arts stuff set in alternate-universe version of East Asia and the Pacific Rim.)

    (Tried Gravity Falls? It is, oddly enough, a great show on the Disney channel. Kinda in the same vein as Adventure Time, though less edgey in some ways. You might enjoy it.)

  116. I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said, so I’ll just share this documentary from 1996 of David Blaine doing card tricks all across the USA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xg2Cbe5XCY

    I have to admit, I wasn’t much of a fan of Blaine because he’s done some “stunt magic” in more recent years but I do like this video.

  117. dee wrote:

    They said nothing happened because all of the good Christians who raised a stink saved the world by raising concerns. I tried to show them papers written by “heathens” in science who were working on the problem for over a decade. They refused to listen. But then again they believe the Pope is the antiChrist.

    Reminds me of this joke:

    A pastor once made an investment in a large piece of ranch real estate which he hoped to enjoy during his years of retirement. While he was still an active pastor, he would take one day off each week to go out to his land and work. But what a job! What he had bought, he soon realized, was several acres of weeds, gopher holes, and rundown buildings. It was anything but attractive, but the pastor knew it had potential and he stuck with it.

    Every week he’d go to his ranch, crank up his small tractor, and plow through the weeds with a vengeance. Then he’d spend time doing repairs on the buildings. He’d mix cement, cut lumber, replace broken windows, and work on the plumbing. It was hard work, but after several months the place began to take shape. And every time the pastor put his hand to some task, he would swell with pride. He knew his labor was finally paying off.

    When the project was completed, the pastor received a neighborly visit from a farmer who lived a few miles down the road. Farmer Brown took a long look at the preacher and cast a longer eye over the revitalized property. Then he nodded his approval and said, “Well, preacher, it looks like you and God really did some work here.”

    The pastor, wiping the sweat from his face, answered, “It’s interesting you should say that, Mr. Brown. But I’ve got to tell you — you should have seen this place when God had it all to Himself!”

    http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/r/responsibility.htm

  118. @ numo:

    Thanks for all the ideas, numo. Haven’t heard of Father Ted or The Hour. You’ve seen Ballykissangel, right? Totally delightful. Until Father Clifford and Assumpta Fitzgerald left the plot. What about Lark Rise To Candleford — also totally delightful. At least seasons 1-3. Haven’t seen beyond that.

    I’ve also been watching Naked and Afraid on Discovery. I’ve really enjoyed it (to my surprise). Especially the one with Kelly and EJ in Tanzania. From what I’ve seen, the women totally rock.

  119. @numo
    Thanks for that tip, Numo. I think I’ve seen all the ones they have on YouTube, so now I can see the rest.

    @elastigirl
    While we’re talking tips with Numo, Stephen Tompkinson, who played Father Clifford on Ballykiss, has a terrific murder mystery series called “DCI Banks,” all the episodes of which are on YouTube, and who knows where else. Not a comedy, of course, but if you like the actor, he’s really good in his own series.

  120. Hester wrote:

    5. Therefore Hollywood is run by sorcerers and demons who want to put you to sleep spiritually.

    And I thought I was bored by movies because nobody in Hollywood had an original thought. Now I know — it’s demons! Love it.

    Have to say, I’m enjoying the Brit TV discussion. Have not seen all or even many of the shows discussed (although I will be looking on Netflix), but I am a little bit in love with Doc Martin. Hoping to see a new season there sometime in the near future.
    Oh, and the original House of Cards series — really, really good.

  121. This time it is about fake miracles taking the place of Jesus. What? Jesus levitates next to busses?

  122. Jeff S wrote:

    The pastor, wiping the sweat from his face, answered, “It’s interesting you should say that, Mr. Brown. But I’ve got to tell you — you should have seen this place when God had it all to Himself!”

    Excellent teaching story! It gives both meaning and non-meaning to the tired and worn out Christianese aphorism: ‘…God is in control…’

  123. @ elastigirl: BallyK – no, as I never seemed to be able to catch the 1st season, back when it was making the rounds on PBS. I think amazon.com has it, though – they have Father Ted; so does Hulu Plus.

    I’ve watched parts of Lark Rise… and like the cast a lot, but the “romance” aspects kind of got to me. (Sorry!) However, I might just get back to it.

    Liked Cranford (mainly for the cast, performances and filming) and North and South, though!

  124. @ Sergius Martin-George: Thanks for the tip!

    I’m going to get burned out on Scandinavian noir detective shows sooner or later, and revert to their British counterparts… But then, there’s *another* Danish show I really want to see, “Borgen,” which is about the 1st (fictional) woman prime minister in Denmark. (they’ve since elected a woman to the post IRL.)

    fwiw, The Killing (Danish original) has a *lot* of political intrigue mixed in with the murder investigations – faacinating combination, to my mind.

  125. @ Dee & HUG:

    Don’t worry, that Apophis meteor will fix the problem for us in either 2029 or 2036 by beating those 17,000 to 1 odds that it will hit!

  126. @ Josh:

    “I know there are many sane political conservatives; many (though not all) of my peers who are conservatives know that, for example, Rush Limbaugh isn’t infallible and inerrant (and I lean that way myself). … The youth see right through the silly fables, and some have told me outright that they don’t pay attention to anything many of the adults say.”

    Where are these kids? One of my friends my age said that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to serve in government. And I don’t even live in the Bible Belt. In my experience they’re worst between ages 15-18. Then the really hardcore ones “implode” and become atheists, or something that’s equivalent in the eyes of their parents (like Buddhists or UCCs).

    That being said…I agree that the solution for young people is not to tune out everything the older generation says. Though I can see how that could be hard when the wisdom hides under a thick layer of political conspiracy theory frosting. Most of the people in my real life aren’t like the ones you described, thankfully (except some on FB). Where I get the bombardment of conservative conspiracy theories is the internet and it’s really getting old.

  127. Hester wrote:

    Where are these kids? One of my friends my age said that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to serve in government. And I don’t even live in the Bible Belt. In my experience they’re worst between ages 15-18. Then the really hardcore ones “implode” and become atheists, or something that’s equivalent in the eyes of their parents (like Buddhists or UCCs).
    That being said…I agree that the solution for young people is not to tune out everything the older generation says. Though I can see how that could be hard when the wisdom hides under a thick layer of political conspiracy theory frosting. Most of the people in my real life aren’t like the ones you described, thankfully (except some on FB). Where I get the bombardment of conservative conspiracy theories is the internet and it’s really getting old.

    Many of the kids I work with in my church’s youth group are unchurched, so that may explain the discrepancy (I do live in the Bible Belt – right in the rusty buckle thereof). My sample size is nowhere near large enough to make any generalizations, though what I see anecdotally does line up with the research on the Nones with which we’re probably all familiar by now.

  128. Hester wrote:

    Don’t worry, that Apophis meteor will fix the problem for us in either 2029 or 2036

    Gotta start writing the book o how to survive a meteor hit. I will have the inside scoop-a gospel avoidance of a biblical meteor.

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  130. Daisy wrote:

    You’re supposed to be watching MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) on Spike.

    I like MMA – I call it my guilty pleasure. Why “guilty”? Because it is impossible to have a Christian worldview and believe that beating men created in the image of God to a bloody pulp is wholesome. And for what it’s worth, I also enjoy drawing and painting, manliness intact.

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  132. I have to wonder if the Christianists have to insist that Illusion is Magic – as in a suspension of the laws of nature due to some evil power – because if they treat it in a rational manner it will cause them to question their belief in miracles. And miracle working evangelists who are able to cause you to dance on your maimed limbs and your wallet to magically fly out of your pocket.

  133. KalleOskar wrote:

    because if they treat it in a rational manner it will cause them to question their belief in miracles.

    Interesting thought. Jesus was big on verifying miracles. He sent those cured from leprosy to the priests who were taught to recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease. Christians should demand that all miracles be carefully verified by physicians before making such a claim.

  134. Josh wrote:

    many (though not all) of my peers who are conservatives know that, for example, Rush Limbaugh isn’t infallible and inerrant (and I lean that way myself).

    Not INFALLIBLE? You mean, not completely in error – anything he claims as truth is utter partisan BS more often than not!

    (sorry for the rant)

  135. elastigirl wrote:

    …which brings me back to one thing: Jesus isn’t afraid.

    He’s not scared.

    Fear — one NASTY red herring. What an incredible waste of time, emotion, energy, relationship, money to go there.

    Great comment.

  136. Garland wrote:

    One thing I find interesting about all this is that historically the church has (at least at times) made a distinction between allowable “natural” magic, that is, exploration of the natural forces of God’s creation (what has of course now been codified as science, but was much less straightforward back then) and forbidden “demonic” magic which involved attempts to communicate with/summon spirits, etc.

    AKA Magic vs Occult.

    This was one of the themes of a fanfic novel I assisted on last year — a crossover between Manly Wade Wellman’s “Silver John” series and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Here’s two paragraphs that illustrate the difference between natural magic and occult “Magick”:

    “Arrgh, that’s not how magic works! A spellbook is just, just a book! Okay, it has magical knowledge in it, and some private or classified ones have protective geases on them so ponies who weren’t given permission can’t read it, but the book itself is just wood and fabric and paper!” She lowered her head and shook it, and she looked and sounded tired when she looked back at me. “It just, magic’s not supposed to work this way!”

    Your magic right here,” I reminded her. “Where I come from, it’s all rightly different. Let me guess, magic’s a natural thing in your world, isn’t it? Something like fire or water or air, a part of the world?” She looked kindly confused, but she nodded at me. I looked around at her friends and I saw wondering looks on their faces too. “But where I come from, there’s no natural magic, or next to none. You’ve got to ask other things for it, angels or devils or spirits, and if they want to help you, or you pay them off enough to make them want to, you can do it.”

  137. Just recently I got a letter in my Facebook mail who said if God is going to heal me of all my health problems (especially I had a cancerous tumor removed recently and still might have cancer cells in my body), and give me money to pay my bills, I must take all of the Harry Potter and anime stuff off of my Facebook page.