I’ve been out of the loop for a while due to ill health and various problems, but two news reports recently caught my attention and led to one conclusion: that the inherent self-centredness of mankind is asserting itself with the aid of many legal and social processes.
But that is no surprise to bible readers who always knew that “in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! [2 Tim 3:1-6]
These traits are showing in churches and in the world, and I will give a few examples.
The Girl Guides have replaced their pledge to “God and the Country” with “be true to mySELF” and “my community”.
Girlguiding is a leading UK charity for girls and young women with 546,406 members. It runs the Rainbows which is for five to seven-year-olds, Brownies, for seven to 10-year-olds, Guides for 10 to 14-year-olds and the Senior Section for 14-25-year-olds.
Girl Guides will no longer pledge their devotion to God when they join the organisation, it has been announced. The phrase “to love my God” has been dropped from the promise after a consultation suggested different words are needed to include the non-religious. Instead, girls joining the organisation will now be asked to “be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.
The move has been welcomed by secular groups who said it was a “hugely positive” development. The new promise also asks guides “to serve the Queen and my community” instead of “the Queen and my country”.
Chief guide Gill Slocombe said: “We hope that our new promise will allow all girls – of all faiths and none – to understand and feel proud of their commitment.”
Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society, said:
“By omitting any explicit mention of God or religion the Guide Association has grasped the opportunity to make itself truly inclusive and relevant to the reality of 21st century Britain.”
No wonder the secularists, atheists, humanists, inclusivists and all manner of other ism’s and ist’s are rejoicing! They are winning the day. They have run rings around the Girl Guides, in changing the “love of God” to self-idealism, as if believing in yourself was the highest achievable aim; they also replaced patriotism with respect for “the community” which includes all cultures and faiths and transcends national borders.
Man of Steel
- See Trailer: http://screenrant.com/man-of-steel-trailer-2-2013-superman/
- See Commentary: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/churchofthemasses/2013/06/man-of-steel-movie-of-slop/
Even the new Superman Movie “Man of Steel” is turning to religious propaganda, albeit of the most ridiculous kind, to “make us all think” about racialism, superhuman powers and the destiny of mankind. Certainly there is a suggestion that God is a repressive anachronism and we now need to unleash our innate humanity to survive the coming apocalypse. Superman is the new baby saviour!
As always, the clues are there for those “in the know” to pick up, but movie-writers and directors know full well that the great majority of the audience are gullible sheep who ignore all the clues and just enjoy CGI and fast-action fights to the death.
This is not, however, entertainment, but a genuine life-and-death struggle going on between the Almighty and his opponents.
The oh-so yawn-worthy predictable story line of almost every fantasy on TV or screen, takes the familiar path of God being repressive and judgemental, holding back the development of the species by his arrogance, or need for control, and the enlightened rebellious young “messiah” forging a courageous new path to bring the world into touch with a higher goal, often (as in Man of Steel) suggesting that a powerful ancient being is behind our progress to civilisation but that we must now make the final giant leap to full emancipation.
This always includes “love” (accepting everyone and everything), “the brotherhood of man” and “global unity”.
The S Symbol
At one point, an official asks Superman what the S stands for on his top – he replies it’s not an S, “in our world it stands for hope“. (Well, we thought it stood for Superman, but let’s let that pass…)
For some in the movie world, the S in a triangle stands for “Scientology”. [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbols_of_Scientology] But it goes deeper than that.
Apart from being an obvious representation of the Snake, Serpent and Satan, the hidden message of the S (or Z – remember the “Mark of Zorro” with a fiery ZIG-zag as his symbol?) is the “sigma” symbol. Our letter Z is the backwards version, the double version of which is the swastika. (In fact as you probably know, there are two forms of the notorious swastika in antiquity, the forwards and the backwards version.) See this page on the “SIG rune” related to the sigma and swastika.
Apart from the brief diversion into symbology, it’s clear that the film makers intended to plant a deep religious meaning in Man of Steel, amounting to the same old tripe we have heard a million times, relating to Man’s ability to rise above the slavery of his “love for god” and take charge of his own human destiny. You will hear this in the trailer, link above.
And so back to my point – the rise of humanism and the love of self.
Portrayal of the False Messiah
One commentator to whom I linked above said in the Man of Steel review:
As for the vaunted religious references, well, they really aren’t that profound, guys. Superman stands in front of a window of Jesus. WOW! Superman is – get this – the Son of a wise and loving father – MIND-BLOWING! THAT’S JUST LIKE YOU-KNOW-WHO!!!! Superman in the movie is 33 YEARS OLD!!!!! Holy Summa Theologica, Batman! I hope every church is ready this weekend for millions of converts! Because how could the average pagan brain resist THAT kind of deep magic wisdom!? Good grief.
What is wrong with us? First I came up with the notion that this fawning reaction to so very little was coming from the fact that Christians are desperate to see some of our stuff in mainstream culture. Particularly, too many Evangelicals today desire with everything in them to be beloved of the secular culture. They strain and writhe around, finding things to bless in the ever-rising swamp of Post-Sexual Revolution cultural decay.
By a neat segueway, that statement takes me into my second news report, from the Daily Telegraph UK. This one is even more incredible. It is the move to paganise the Church in order to attract converts! (Somehow, I feel it wouldn’t have been so bad if there was a genuine religious conviction that paganism was the correct path to follow, but to do such a thing merely to bump up attendance figures seems a double betrayal.)
The church is training ministers to create “a pagan church where Christianity [is] very much in the centre, to attract spiritual believers.” Ministers are being trained to create new forms of Anglicanism suitable for people of alternative beliefs as part of a Church of England drive to retain congregation numbers.
Reverend Steve Hollinghurst, a researcher and adviser in new religious movements told the BBC: “I would be looking to formulate an exploration of the Christian faith that would be at home in their culture.”
I first suspected when I read this, given the propensity of the media to get everything Christian wrong, that this was – as some commented – drivel. So I went in seach of the facts.
The Telegraph news report was based on a BBC Radio interview (listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b02x9f4j at about 1.25) with Steve Hollinghurt as guest speaker. (He is on Facebook.) I listened to the radio broadcast, and confirmed that the Telegraph reported correctly what was said. I might try to upload it to Youtube if I have time.
On Stephen Hollinghurst’s LinkedIn profile page, he describes himself in these words: “He helps run Elemental, a venue offering Christian Spirituality at the Glastonbury festival, and Christian stalls at Mind Body and Spirit fairs. He has an MA on Post Modernity and New Age and Paganism in Britain today..”
ELEMENTAL: “… how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements , to which you desire again to be in bondage? [Gal 4:9-10]
To my dismay and concern, I then followed the suggested links given in the radio broadcast, to find much more in the same vein, of blending pagan practises with “the church”, although it’s not the Church of the bible, the Body of Christ who are commanded by God to avoid ANY association with the gods of old.
I might add that plenty of genuine Anglicans will also find this man and his beliefs disturbing and wrong. However, the very presence in the Church of England of such influential ordained ministers, and their web of connections to post-modern and pseudo-pagan groups is a cause for shame.
Celebrating the Earth and its Spirits
It was very troubling to find that there are “churches” that call themselves Christian yet are openly and thoroughly pagan. They worship at the full moon, celebrate the solstices, go to Stonehenge and Glastonbury, and chant to the trees, waters and stars. The lame excuse for such celebrations is that Christians must be inclusive and reach out to all spiritual people in a respectful, open way in order to “engage with the alternatives” for the sake of the gospel. To which I say, poppycock! They are not presenting the gospel of salvation to pagans at all, they are joining in!
Here are two pieces of evidence, both mentioned during the broadcast:
These are groups who celebrate creation, dance in circles round a fire, worship outdoors and “worship, meditate, pray and practice with the trees, at the spring, along the shore.”
From their website and Facebook pages:
East Midlands Forest Church (Facebook) About:
Many people can describe transcendent moments in nature where they feel deeply connected to something bigger than themselves and Forest Church is a way to explore that connection within community; a new way of being Church… a fresh expression of church drawing on much older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside… it attempts to participate with creation… we aim to learn, worship, meditate, pray and practice with the trees, at the spring, along the shore.
Events list: Summer Solstice Shindig
We’re going to have our celebration ritual followed by a Summer Pudding event afterwards until about 5-5:30pm. If you would like to bring a wholesome fruity dessert or cake or a natural drink to share, please do. Home-grown, local and, or organic are especially welcome, to honour creation in our celebration of summer solstice’. All welcome, of faith or no faith.
This website and the owner were not only commended during the BBC broadcast (by Steve Hollinghurst, as above) but the owner Sharon Dewick (reportedly an Anglican) was interviewed and told how she gives card readings where you pick a card that “gives you a tingle” to show it’s the right one that “gives you a word”. And so forth.
There is so much more, but time and space are short, so please visit her website to see what this is all about, where you can “find your angel, by name, learn about chakkras and star signs, and go to a Workshop to explore the magical qualities of the Archangels”.
So far wrong, it’s off the radar screen
How in anybody’s mind this particular woman and her website could have been a good example of “the Church training its ministers to reach out to pagans”, I cannot imagine. Personally, if I were given, by the most prestigious British Radio broadcaster, five minutes of prime-time breakfast radio to speak up for the Church or Christianity, then mentioning the Forest Church and Nature’s Workshop wouldn’t in a million years have featured on my list. What WAS he thinking?
But I think I already know what he was thinking – and he’s right: many people who are “religious” and who call themselves Christian have no satisfaction in what they believe or do at traditional services. They see nothing wrong in looking to alternative forms of worship. Because their focus is on SELF – self-satisfaction, self-will and self-worship!
As the bible says, “their god is their belly” and that word means more than just greed for food and wine, but the emptiness of illicit sex and the sensual “worship” of material things. They have no conscience, and no fear of the occult. They see no need to avoid the pagan, celtic or even the demonic experiences that are offered by the “new churches”.
And so as we run towards the end of all things, even those who name themselves as Christians turn to the sun, moon, stars and the physical elements to satisfy their own desires.
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things [Phil 3:18-19]
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. [Rom 16:17-20]