Deception is real, especially among those into religious syncretism:
Deception exists. The problem is, those most likely to be deceived are those who don’t think deception exists – or that they are immune from it. And much of the population susceptible to deception are those who are into relativism, subjectivism, and emotivism – in other words, most modern secular folks!
If they deny that objective absolute truth exists, then they will toy with anything and everything that fits their fancy. But the notion of truth of course means that some things are not true – some things are false. When you buy into a worldview that says that truth is relative and happens to be whatever you think it is, then it is hard to say that some things are false, or wrong. So anything goes.
Nonetheless, those most into such relativism can still get quite upset if you dare to suggest they might be wrong. They can go on all day about how open they are and how tolerant they are, but as soon as you seek to share truth with them, they can get very ornery – and very intolerant.
Many of those into New Age mumbo jumbo and Eastern thought especially fit the bill here. And I recently had another very good example of this taking place. It had to do with something I had shared on the social media from the American Christian “activist mommy” Elizabeth Johnson.
She had posted a video interview she did with a former witch. I tagged a friend of mine who was also once involved in witchcraft since she would likely be interested in seeing it. The interview in question is found here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=396653095561900
But a friend of hers – but not of mine – came along and started carrying on about how witchcraft and Christianity get along just swimmingly. She actually said this:
Why can’t witchcraft and Christianity go hand in hand? Why is it evil to be a witch? I am proud to call myself a witch. I love Jesus Christ and God/dess, and I also love to garden, I see magic everywhere, I acknowledge the spells I speak with every word, I love tarot, and honour natures rhythms, I adore astrology and I love practicing rituals for growth and love and harmony for all beings… I don’t understand why these two beautiful philosophies are so often opposing each other when it’s so clear to me they are really one at heart. If anyone can explain I am all ears.
Needless to say my friend and I both challenged her on this. We assured her that the two are NOT compatible. My friend spoke of her testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4pqnUfgZJQ
And I urged the gal to look at this article for more detail on these matters: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2022/01/09/a-closer-look-at-witchcraft/
But it seems she was not interested in what either of us had to say, and she did not even seem to bother looking at the links we shared with her. She kept posting loony stuff instead. For example she posted one meme saying “All religions are based on astrotheology” I said: “Um no, not even close.”
Her reply to me and other was often the following: “Haha. Blessings!” As if she was so loving and accepting and nice and we were somehow the bad guys here. Others challenged her as well, and then her true colours started coming to the fore. She made a few replies then took her ball and ran away.
She said to one Christian: “wow so rude! Everyone is allowed to have their own perspective – in the end that’s all that’s going on – nothing is objective. Despite your rudeness! I wish you nothing but blessings and peace.” And to another she said: “I’ve sourced information from all over the place, but ultimately I make decisions about my beliefs from within. I will be withdrawing from any contact with you and all your friends.”
As I say, with those words she pulled out. Hmm, this gal offers us the full package: she is fully deceived; she has bought the whole relativism and subjectivism nonsense; and she gets upset whenever someone dares to challenge her. Her openness and tolerance quickly fly out the window and she turns on you for actually thinking differently from her.
I have come across so many people like this. As to their ‘love and acceptance,’ they are often as fake as you can get. They only love those who fully agree with them and dare not ask any hard questions. As soon as they are challenged in any way they get all upset, throw a hissy fit, and head for the hills. So much for inclusion and acceptance and love!
And the Eastern thought they embrace is riddled with contradictions and errors. Consider two of her lines: “nothing is objective” and “ultimately I make decisions about my beliefs from within”. Oh dear. So if nothing is objective and everything is just personal taste and preference, then why does she get so mad when folks share their ‘opinions’ with her?
And when she insists that there is no objective truth, does she include her own views and beliefs in this? Or does she in fact think that her beliefs are somehow right and true. She must, otherwise she would not be trying so hard to get everyone else to accept her beliefs and worldview.
But it is not just this bogus ‘I love and accept everybody’ baloney. It is not just this ‘truth is within’ nonsense. Behind all this is the real problem: the fact that she and others like her are in such deep deception and are utterly clueless about it.
As I said, deception is real. The biblical Christian is fully aware of this. Trying to find “truth within” is a fool’s errand. Trying to ‘harmonise’ witchcraft and Christianity is a joke. She may know a bit about witchcraft, but she obviously knows nothing about biblical Christianity.
The Bible warns against both deception and syncretism time and time again. As to deception, a classic passage is Jeremiah 17:9-10:
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Relying on your own ‘inner compass’ as your basis of truth and knowledge in a fallen world will steer you right away from God and truth and to the very pits of hell. It is an objective and external source of truth that we need – God himself. And many other passages speak about the need to watch out for deception, such as:
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” -Matthew 24:4
While evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. -2 Timothy 3:13
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. -James 1:16
So great care is always needed. Satan is a liar and goes about seeking to deceive us all. And plenty of folks, including those fully into the New Age Movement and the like are fully ensnared by the enemy. Moreover, when it comes to syncretism (trying to combine and merge different religions and claim they all are equally true and can be happily amalgamated), the Christian should know what to do.
When it comes to things like witchcraft, you do NOT, as a Christian, try to find compatibility and connections with it – you reject it fully and renounce it soundly. You have nothing to do with such things. Simply looking at how God instructed his people to deal with false gods, idols and false religions should make this clear. Here are just two examples:
Exodus 23:24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.
Deuteronomy 7:5-6 This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
It is the same in the New Testament:
Acts 19:13-20 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus that Paul preaches!” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. The evil spirit answered them, “I know Jesus, and I recognize Paul—but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. Then fear fell on all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had become believers came confessing and disclosing their practices, while many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver. In this way the Lord’s message flourished and prevailed.
That is how we are to deal with the occult, with witchcraft, with New Age practices, and so on. We do not seek to accommodate ourselves to it – we are to repudiate it completely. See more on this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2018/04/14/on-dealing-with-idols/
But as mentioned, so many folks are fully deceived in these areas. And that would include far too many people claiming to be Christians who are utterly clueless about what is going on with this. So we must always be on guard. As Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:24, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”