Summary: This was the introduction of a presentation to a High School youth Rally at our church. I followed this up with material from a book written by Erwin Lutzer and John DeVries on Satan’s Evangelistic Strategy for this New Age which teaches about "the lie"
Youth Rally Presentation on Paganism and The Occult
Ed Skidmore, April 17, 2004
Today the hot new attraction in the religious world among many young people is the cluster of religions often called Paganism or Neo-paganism. Inspired by interest in things “Gothic”, certain rock music, the focus of movies, comic books, and some TV shows, drug usage, and a general desire by some to rebel, the resulting focus on earth religions or nature religions is growing rapidly among some teens and young adults,
Those who call themselves “Pagans” describe their faith as a “modern faith recently reconstructed from beliefs, deities, symbols, practices, and other elements of ancient religion. Some of the main examples of this pagan revival include the following:
• Druids: base their religion on the faith and practices of the ancient Celtic professional class of Europe.
• Asatru: are those who adhere to the ancient Pre-Christian Norse religion
• Wiccans: also trace their religion back to the Pre-Celtic era in Europe.
• Other Neo-Pagans: follow ancient Roman, Greek, Egyptian, or Native American Indian Shaman traditions.
According to the World Christian Encyclopedia there are over ten million in the U.S. who call themselves “Pagans” and practice various primitive religions. The Largest and most recognizable of these groups is the Wiccan group.
Neo-Pagans claim that they are in no way associated with Satanism and that Christian groups make the mistake of associating them with Satanists erroneously. They claim that their religion is “Earth” centered and involves a return to ancient practices that date before the start of Christianity. Their focus is not on Satan, but on magical arts, and the worship of several “nature gods” rather than one God.
The fact is that Neo-Paganism is simply a return to the Paganism and Poly-theism that was rampant in the Old Testament times and was condemned by God in the Bible as an evil abomination. The pagans of that time worshiped idols, participated in human sacrifice, promoted sexual promiscuity and perversity, and participated in various occult practices including conjuring up spirits.
Most Neo-Pagans have the following factors in common:
• Their religion was almost or completely wiped out in the past and has since then been reconstructed from ancient information sources
• They are either duo-theistic or poly-theistic in nature (recognizing a goddess and god or many gods.)
• Most followers are solitary practitioners
• Others are involved in small groups called circles, covens, garths, hearths, groves, kindreds, etc.
• They celebrate four main seasonal days or celebrations each year, associated with the equinoxes and solstices.
• They also celebrate four additional days, spaced between a solstice and equinox.
• They prefer to conduct their religious rituals outdoors where practical
• Many do not conduct their religion publicly for fear of abuse or ridicule.
• They have minimal or no hierarchical structure.
• They have a primary concern for the environment and feel close to nature and its cycles.
• They claim to follow a code that requires them to avoid hurting themselves or others following the ethical statement, “Do what thou wilt, but harm none.”
Pagans believe that no one belief system is correct, and that each person should have the freedom to choose the path that is right for them. Most pagan groups do not possess a strict set of dogma allowing members to follow what ever set of beliefs they wish (apart from strongly-held Biblical beliefs, of course.) They stress love for and kinship with nature with a reverence for the life force and the ever renewing cycles of life and death (like the Theme for Disney’s Lion King, and the theme song, “The circle of life.”) They have a strong leaning towards the concept of Goddess and God as the expression of divine reality. (Like most Old Testament pagan religions did)
Why is there a resurgence of these kinds of religions today? Charlotte Hardman, in a book she wrote on paganism says, “The interest in Paganism today in the UK and USA may be interpreted as a response to an increased dissatisfaction with the way the world is going ecologically, spiritually, and materially; people are disillusioned by mainstream religion and realization that materialism leaves an eternal emptiness.” (Hardman, Paganism Today, Page IX)
What do we need to understand about Paganism and other Occult based religions? There is a common denominator to their beliefs and practices. This common denominator in teaching and philosophy can be seen in the Bible in Genesis chapter 3:4-5 which describes what the serpent told Eve. Virtually all pagan religions follow and promote the same thing the serpent said to Eve as he tempted her to rebel. (Begin material on “The Lie” Satan’s evangelistic strategy for this New Age, Lutzer and Devries)