Created  Sep. 4, 2011                   

Irrational Fears and Beliefs
especially related to entertainment and what is forbidden


Sub-headings:
The Premise
A Refresher Course
The Devil Claims  . . .
Music Associations
Images, Idols, Iconography
Tolerance and Judging
Whose the Judge, Anyway?
On Pagan Associations
Stand UP 4 Your Rights!
Rights With Limits
Pagan Obsessions
Demonic Obsessions
What Are Your Priorities?

Related Articles


The Premise
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The Bible certainly does prohibit some things. Non-marital sex, murder, stealing, and all sort of other goodies. We are forbidden to get involved with any witchcraft, magic, spiritism, or occult practices. But nearly every Christian denomination I have ever known of has plenty of forbidden taboos that allegedly place us at the mercy of the demons, no less. Anything from R-rated movies to many types of music, and oh so much more. They have placed music, especially the more modern forms commonly known as rock n roll, rock, disco, rap, punk, hip-hop, pop, dance and club music, just for starters.

It is said that the demons take over if you buy and/or listen to this stuff. Or if you see a horror movie or TV show, you are certain to go straight into the arms of the demons and become their slaves. I have a world of concerns about the absurdity of these notions. And where do they come from? A lack of sound reasoning from the Bible and irrational fears and beliefs. To be more specific, they expect total absolute perfection and not the slightest indulgence of any type. They are extremists and I have written about them in another article: "Our Sinfulness." I also link to this at the end of this article. I believe this article would be most helpful to the topic here, too.

But clearly, "Our Sinfulness" was not enough. Crazy notions still come up. So now I write yet another article, covering a few more points. I will review the basics of  "Our Sinfulness" and take off from there.



A Refresher Course
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We are all greatly burdened with inherited sin. It often sabotages everything we try to do.

Our sinful condition deserves mercy, compassion, and understanding, not strictness, harshness, and condemnation without reason.

Ecclesiastes 7 has a dire warning about being too righteous or too smart and bringing desolation and/or destruction to ourselves. Some would call this fanaticism or extremism. We must not be too righteous nor expect anyone else to be so. As we judge others, so will we also be judge the same way by God.

Ecclesiastes 7:
15 In my vain life I have seen everything; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness,
     and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evil-doing.
16 Be not righteous overmuch, and do not make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself?
17 Be not wicked overmuch, neither be a fool; why should you die before your time?

[BBE]
16 Be not given overmuch to righteousness and be not over-wise. Why let destruction come on you?
17 Be not evil overmuch, and be not foolish. Why come to your end before your time?

[GLT]
16 Do not be too much righteous, nor make yourself overly wise; why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be very evil, and do not be a fool; why should you not die in your time?

[Roth]
16 Do not become so very righteous, neither count thyself wise beyond measure,––wherefore shouldst thou destroy thyself?
17 Do not be so very lawless, neither become thou foolish,––wherefore shouldst thou die, before thy time?

[YLT]
16 Be not over-righteous, nor show thyself too wise, why art thou desolate?
17 Do not much wrong, neither be thou a fool, why dost thou die within thy time?

"The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light" (Luke 16:8).
We need to give careful thought to what we demand of ourselves and others. Jesus saw that we might be inclined toward token righteousness and not be practical or reasonable.

Acts 15:
19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 
20 but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity [fornication]
     and from what is strangled and from blood.
Acts 15:
28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:
29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and
     from unchastity [fornication]. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.

(RSV) 1 Corinthians 4:6 . . . that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written . . .

Put another way, we do not add to the Bible or take away from it. Not to the left and not to the right. but many have gone far beyond the commands of God and they do not have that right. I will show you what I mean shortly. But I would still advise reading my article "Our Sinfulness," for it is comprehensive and very thorough.

But when it comes to demons and the fear of them, Christians get downright insane. Anything supposedly involving in any way, the demons, must be feared and avoided. So I take you all back to the original prohibition against practices that open you up to demonic influence and intervention, so you can avoid such things. I treat this more thoroughly in my article, "Lying Signs and Wonders," which I also link to at the end of this article.

Deuteronomy 18:
9 When you come to the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you, you shall not learn to do according
   to the hateful acts of those nations.
10 There shall not be found in you one who passes his son or his daughter through the fire, one that uses divination,
     an observer of clouds, or a fortuneteller, or a whisperer of spells,
11 or a magic charmer, or one asking of familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one inquiring of the dead.
12 For all doing these things are an abomination to Jehovah. And because of these filthy acts
     Jehovah your God is expelling these nations before you.
13 You shall be perfect with Jehovah your God. 
14 For these nations whom you shall expel listen to observers of clouds, and to diviners.
     But as to you, Jehovah your God has not allowed you to do so.

Here are two other versions that use similar but slightly different words to describe the practices forbidden.

(RSV) Deuteronomy 18:
10 There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,
     any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer,
11 or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

(BBE) Deuteronomy 18:
10 Let there not be seen among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter go through the fire,
     or anyone using secret arts, or a maker of strange sounds, or a reader of signs, or any wonder-worker, 
11 Or anyone using secret force on people, or putting questions to a spirit, or having secret knowledge,
     or going to the dead for directions.

Now today, we know these often as being spirit mediums, channelers, black magic, spells, incantations, shamanism, witch doctors, voodoo, psychics, fortune tellers, astrologers, many pagan practices and forms of worship, divination, tarot card readers, talking to the dead, Ouija boards, New Age type things similar, and so many other similar types of things.
And whether they are legitimate practices or intended frauds, they are wrong on one account or another. The greatest danger is that these types of practices, is that the demons do have the right to open up communication and influence those who ask or let them in, so to speak.

As well, these practices, some of which do not seem to incur the visitation of the demons (maybe), they are not good sound thinking, what we might call rational hygiene. Dirty, cluttered, or lazy minds can be a real problem. They cause irrational thinking and behavior-actions. So we want to lean our heads, so to speak, even as we clean our outside bodies. And as certain methods and procedures have been created to insure sound results in law, science, medicine, journalism, history and the like. And when those methods and procedures are not observed, the results are often corrupted or ruined. Innocent people convicted, wrong ideas in science, flawed journalism, deadly medical accidents, and so on.

Superstition is what we might say is intellectual laziness or sloppiness. We have something bad happen, and we blame some omen or a spirit, or demon, or god. Superstition is a very primitive fleshly reaction. It is not based on sound reasoning. And how do we get or identify sound reasoning. Why, God is the source of all such sound reasoning and wisdom. So we read the Bible ever so carefully to know how God wants us to think and behave.

So the above are how we can become victims of demons, and they are principally the only ways we can get in trouble with demons. Now what is not said there is important, too. It does not say R-rated movies will open you up to the devil and his demons. Nor will buying modern music, typically favored from the mid 50s onward, suddenly allow the demons to come into our lives. Yet these very things have been suggested by fanatics and extremists. If you listen to the devil's so called music, rock n roll, for instance, then the demons will take your soul away with them. Now let me show you why this is particularly stupid, irrational, and downright insane.



The Devil Claims  . . .
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2 Corinthians 11:
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15 So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.
     Their end will correspond to their deeds.


The Devil would have you believe that he is Mr. Wonderful, a benevolent spirit of light and pure good intentions. Why butter would not melt in his mouth. Such a nice guy and so caring. Indeed, our governments masquerade in much the same costume. They care so much about us. What would we do without them. But let me make this damn clear. They are no such things. The Devil and his earthly followers hate humans and want to kill us all. They want to ruin all of the creation of God. like a spoiled out of control 3 year old brat, the devil is mad cause he can not have his way and he wants to strike back at God and men for not letting him have his way.

But he tells us how great we are, butters us up, promises great things for us, because he loves us, you know. Or at least, he would like us to believe that. But Christians should know better. But the Devil is also good at taking credit for things he is not responsible for, sort of like Al Gore inventing the internet, as I have heard alleged.

The Devil would have us believe that he invented sex and that we should be able to enjoy it more and with others, and not be limited to just one partner, heaven forbid. All focus is on our having a good unrestrained time, without any concern for the kids that might come about from these reckless impetuous sexual encounters. Kids need extreme stability and security from their parents. So the world that parents live in must reinforce this vitally important family unit by making all society and laws protect it and reinforce it.

But sex is not the only thing Satan has laid claim to. Far from it. Why, modern music all comes from the Devil! You didn't know that? Well, he says it does. Many Christians seem to believe him, too. As technology, transportation, medicine, and so many other things have evolved and improved over the centuries, so has music. And just as computers did not come about for the public or even the military, till WWII and after, so it was with music, too. Music reached its most appealing forms as we entered into the 1960s. In fact, all around the world, the young were embracing this new music, perhaps best represented by the Beatles, who were even big underground in the Soviet Union, where it was proclaimed that western music and society was decadent.

As a result, older generation all over the world lost the credibility and respect of the young due to being so silly and stupid about music, attaching far more to it than it deserves. And oddly enough, Communism condemning modern decadent American music found a common ally here in the USA. OH, its true! !ts true! Americans, so many of whom claimed to be Christians, were right there joining in with the communists in proclaiming modern music was the tool of the devil, who has always been presumed to be decadent, of course.

Now while all this was going on, this new music was spreading everywhere like a raging, out of control, forest fire, or Mt. St. Helen on steroids to the millionth power. Now I was only 5 when I 1st became aware of the Beatles and 6 when I really started to hear lots of their stuff. My aunts were 6 and 10 years older than me and they were huge Beatles fans. Music changed as soon as the Beatles landed in NYC and their hits had been playing on the air and the publicity machine had been stoked. My aunts and the Gerardo boys, who were about 6-12 years older than  myself, were huge fans, as were nearly any of the young. So my brother and I were exposed. But more so me, since I was barely old enough to react to it all.

But the appeal of Beatles hits was immediate and strong. I loved the stuff. There was a Beatles cartoon that would play their music with the words, too, I think. But those 1st days and 2 years or so of Beatles records were relatively tame compared to what would come in mid 66 onward. That does not mean it was bad but it was not understood by parents or older generations. A similar thing happened with comedy, TV, movies, etc. Comics, even and other pop culture. the new generation had a different experience of life during and after WWII, than any previous generation had ever had. WWII did so much damage our society and culture that we were never to recover. The kids born into this new hell had a different way of seeing and reacting, due to the new hell they lived in.

Everything that had ever worked in the past, did not work any longer. The same old tired washed up ideas were now useless, if they were ever good to begin with. so there was this odd generation gap, a break in continuity that came about with the Baby Boomers, we we call the post WWII born generation. and who was seeing it all and enjoying this. Yeah, the devil and his followers were right there noting how the parents were alienating their kids over the new changes in the world, especially in music.

So that the Devil's aims might more fully prosper, he used this growing gap against parents and kids, dividing them and isolating the young, as well. the parents were not up to the challenge of what the new situation presented. They were no help to their kids. The kids were no help to themselves. They relied, quite naturally, on the parents, who failed and abdicated their responsibility. So that left an open gap to be filled and the "shepherds" of our society stepped in to give the kids a bunch of lies to live on. The leaders wanted to further alienate the young from the old, just in case a few of the old still had some brains. The old were happy to cooperate.

And music was the primary tool the social engineers used to widen this gap considerably. The music was so irresistible and compelling. You felt wonderful. So many new feelings and expressions were coming out through this music. And it is  here that we need to pause and consider more about that dimension of this discussion.


Music Associations
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Prior to the advent of "Rock and Roll," music in the USA, particularly on radio and the movies, since TV did not come along till 1953, was very subdued and easy going, smooth, restrained, all very similar, very careful. Americans were terrified of anything that was jubilant, energetic, excitable, enthusiastic. These were too close to sexual feelings to most. Mind you, while sex does have much in common with those words just mentioned, those feelings can be easily experienced without love or sex. Some songs have become sports anthems due to the same feelings. Even the military has adopted such songs for their motivating highs.

But parents were never ever prepared to deal with sex properly and adequately. They would run and  hide, instead, avoiding the subject. And as best as they could, they would censor and suppress the kids for feeling excited or enthused as is a natural feeling when you're young. Parents have lost all memories of what is was like to be young. That is the problem. We need to remember what being young and feeling young is like so we can identify and sympathize with our kids.

So we had the toned down Lennon Sisters and Lawrence Welk for entertainment. We had crooners galore. And don't get me wrong. I have come to respect many of those crooners and their style. But there are lots of other types of music as well, but not then. Now some folk music offered a bit of pep and zest but it was not given a lot of room in public. And then there was one other form that hid out in certain bars and clubs and remote places where only certain people went. Blues, jazz, and the predecessor of rock n roll, rhythm and blues. Gospel could be quite peppy and enthusiastic, too. These influences were played out by African Americans. They were not allowed in the mainstream. If you did engage in such music, you did so privately or at your own risk. Elvis took that risk. Some took him for being black, since they only heard him and did not see him. And then the music got noticed by the young in Great Britain and caught on. Blues was big and so was the Rhythm and Blues.

The "Black" music was not perfected. It was still evolving. The British took it and ran with it. It was the Beatles who sweetened it and added a hook, and it was off. And it came back to where it had started, in the USA, but changed, sweetened, perfected. And it was scary and broke all the rules. Elvis was a nightmare. All that motion and feeling. It was immediately interpreted as sexual. Dirty minds always think the worst.

Now it is true that some black artists did weave sexual innuendo into their lyrics. The very words "rock" and "roll" are evidence of that. But often, many were not aware that sex was being referred to in many of those incidences. But all music came to have the opinion that it was all about sex. This was stupid, primitive, prejudice, narrow minded, likely bigoted, too. So the entire Boomer generation got branded as "sexual." Some were! Many, no doubt, were! But the music, of itself, was not anything in particular and applies to many feelings and contexts. So all those emotions that sort of typically represent feeling excited or high, or getting high, got a bad label and so did anyone liking them. The young are naturally excited and enthusiastic about life in their early years. It is 100% God-given and natural! It was crowned the devil's music and in doing so, we condemned many generations of the young to be alienated from the previous parental generations. The social engineers never had to do a thing.

But when the social engineers saw how this music divided generations, they decided they needed to get into it and start using it more. Advertisers flocked to it. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon. They encourage the old and stupid to continue their hate of the young music so that the engineers would have the young all to themselves. Many groups were encourage to rebel in lyrics, and promote sex (without marriage and full of unbridled passion and lust, of course). And in TV, movies, music, magazines and whatever, they wore less and less and become more and more provocative. Decadence was in full swing. but it was not the fault of the music. It was those who encouraged complete abandon and promoted unbridled lust as if it was just fine. The late 60s came to embrace this among the counter culture but by the late 70s, it was mainstream. Disco openly flouted promiscuous sex and drugs. Rock also reveled in sex, drugs, and rock n roll.

So while music had been joined, by the engineers, with corrupt morals, the 2 do not automatically go together. Not at all! But no one recognized this. Lets blame the music. Now it is said by so called "whistle blowers" of the secret elite that music masters are offered to the the demons or devil and it is prayed that each person who buys a copy of these mastered presses of vinyl LPs of the day, would be swept away by the music and that the demons would be allowed into the hearts and minds of each buyer. Well, you can pray or hope for anything you want, but that does not mean you will get it.

Christians pray for good results, but knowing that it does not mean that all will listen or accept God, or whatever. Nor has it every been known publicly, openly, and notoriously that LPs and later CDs were offered in sacrificed and prayer to the ambitions of evil. Nor do we even have any proof that this is so. It is the allegation of one so called whistle blower of the council 13 or 33 of the Illuminati. But he looked awful young to be in that circle and normally, anyone defecting and blowing whistles is quickly killed. he was allowed to spread the word. I say he was a plant. He tells us that all music coming form the music industry is, in essence, the property of the devil. and by buying an LP or CD, you are worshipping the devil. Oh, yuh! And I am the Queen of England, too.

Never has buying an LP ever signified anything, other than perhaps either good or bad tastes. Nothing on the record or in the store, with such terms prescribed and binding. So therefore, it can never be said that a purchaser of any LP, in and of itself, does anything but deliver some music to listen to. It does not invoke demons. But rebelling against the laws of God could. And saying stupid things such as your listening to the devil's music, or you worship Satan by buying that Beatles album, might place you in the ranks of the devil's brigade since you are aiding and abetting his evil cause by promoting this stupid nonsense that drives the young far away from ignorant superstitious adults and parents. And why not? Anyone dumb enough to give the devil credit for music is not worth listening. The young are right. Worst of all, you many who promote the demons in music bring great reproach upon truth and God. For God neither approves or condemns modern music in whole or completely.

So the best way to help the devil? Say music is automatically associated with demons, even though it is not. Be narrow minded and condemn all music without any thought or reasonableness. Be as ignorant and superstitious as you can be. And whatever you do, never give anything an ounce of thought. Just hear that word "demon" and go nuts. Oh, you already have. Sorry to bother you!

Let the devil claim he invented rock n roll. Let him suggest he owns and controls all the music. I don't believe him about anything. He lacks credibility, according to God. Evidence seem to bear it out, too! I don't listen to the devil. I prefer God, myself. You listen to whoever you like the most. I guess that's the devil right now, huh? I hope you will consider a change of heart.


Images, Idols, Iconography
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Next on our list is Sacred Geometry. Typically used by secret societies like Freemasons and other similar groups and imitators, they often involve geometrical images and shapes in their symbolism. So do we ban all geometry shapes and call them forbidden and demonic? Sounds insane, does it not? Geometry is also found throughout nature and is very useful and handy to all sorts of human design and endeavor. Just because some use good things in bad ways does not make the good things illegal, satanic, or immoral. Many even say words of pagan origin are not proper to use. I say people who say those stupid things without using their heads are not proper to listen to or bother with. Some are dietary fanatics, suggesting that foods not specifically approved of in the Bible are to be avoided. By personal choice, fine! But it is not a requirement of God.

Humans have gone nuts with avoiding things because they are or were used by pagans. But it is not our fault if pagans must resort to music, art, geometry, diet, or whatever to live or use in their worship or whatever. Those who seek to avoid any pagan connections whatsoever will find that is impossible. Pagan live as we do and use the same things we do. This does not make them pagan, demonic, or satanic. The devil uses all things and would like ignorant people to think that all good things are his creation and worse, wants us to believe that God hates such things so that we might not think so well of God, either. But God does not hate language, shapes, music, sex, or anything like those. They were all invented by God for use by His people. Do not listen to the fanatic freaks who see demons around every corner. I have known such who are obsessed with demons and avoiding them. I avoid them by leaving them and concern for them out of my head. I have more important things to think about.

The devil's best tactic is to get us distracted, often by paying too much attention to him and his helpers. Even in sports, when an opponent wants to beat his adversary, he often tries to irritate the adversary, or get his distracted, thinking more about what he should not, and not paying attention to what he should. We easily lose sight of what is important. Our priorities get all messed up and out of order. Balance, priority, proper focus, these are what we need to strive for. Pursue the most important things and forget the trivial.

This is why I often recommend avoiding the really small stuff as a concern. We can get all caught up in it and forget the more important things. But ignore the petty, and you will have time for the more important and higher priorities. That is why avoiding the petty is so vital. It is a dangerous but easy trick to fall for. It happens so often and Christians are often the most guilt of it. They will worry about their thoughts rather than their actions or words. They will strain out gnats while gulping down camels.

I have made a point of showing in other articles how being excessively righteous or showing one's self to be excessively wise is destructive. Extremes are misplaced emphasis. Make a list of the 10 most important things and worry of those. Stay far away from number 25 or beyond. The devil hangs out around that area.


Tolerance and Judging

The next 3 sections come from my "Conscience" article. they need to be here, too. Copy and paste!

The tolerance that I am referring to has to do with allowing views other than your own to be expressed and applied by others in their lives. And tolerance in recognizing that Christians can, should, and will believe differently in regards to some doctrines and beliefs. I want to show that this is the will of the Holy Spirit and Jesus, himself. How could that be? Read on. There are a number of issues that are not directly addressed in the Bible and must be left to individual interpretation, not group interpretation. The Bible warns "Do not go beyond what is written." [New International Version]. I hope to show that the Bible insists on an attitude of tolerance and respect for one another's views.

God knows hearts and He judges according to what is in our hearts. Paul cautions us in 1 Corinthians 8:2 that "The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know." [New International Version]. Knowledge changes with our understanding and experience. Paul best illustrates differences in understanding in Romans 14. It is here that our individual accountability to God is stressed as well as judging each other and our differences of understanding and practice. I will start with verse 10 from the New International Version.

Romans 14:
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother?
For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: 'As surely as I live, says the Lord,
Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

What Paul is saying here is that we will only have to account for ourselves and not anyone else. Christians should not be judging each other in matters of conscience and individual understanding such as whether something is proper to eat or not. God does the judging. Only God! So Paul continues in verse 13.

Romans 14:
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind
not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus,
I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

Col 2:    [Revised Standard Version]
16 "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink
        or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.
17 These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."

What Paul makes clear here is that nothing in regards to food or observances (among other things) is unclean unless your thinking makes it so. If you think it is then it is. If you think it not then it is not. Paul then sums up the matter in verse 22.

Romans 14:
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.
Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith;
and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

If we think something is wrong then it is. It is a Christian's conscience that is at the heart of his/her being free to do something or not. His conscience will either excuse/permit him or condemn/deny him in matters. Paul here uses a word we translate as faith but in this context the word believe/belief or understanding would be more proper. So a man who doubts, who is not certain about a matter, then he should not betray that doubt and do it anyway. Let me replace the word "faith" in the last sentence of the last scripture quoted: "Everything that does not come from a 'certainty of understanding' is sin."

If we act without certainty then we are being foolish and sinning. On the other hand, if we are acting according to a certainty of conviction and understanding then we are guilt free. Of course, at a later time we may come to a change of understanding. But as long as we honestly base our current actions on things we are currently convinced about then we will have no problems. To thine own self be true.



Whose the Judge, Anyway?
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This topic is born out in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 10 by the Apostle Paul. Romans 14 discusses the matter of judging one another in the Christian congregation. Not judging as in a criminal trial with judgment and sentencing but the sort of judging that has more to do with what we think about someone else; our opinions of them. Or maybe even what we say about them to other people. This is the judging being written about in Romans 14.

Verse one starts out saying: Romans 14:1(RSV) "As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions." The KJV puts it: "[but] not to doubtful disputations." Young's Literal T says: "not to determinations of reasonings;" And Green's Literal: "not to judgments of [your] thoughts."

We are to welcome newcomers but not let them disrupt, starting fights and arguments and disputes about every silly little thing. Little things that the newcomer may not understand clearly in his uncomplete understanding. But Paul goes on to explain it further. He points out how "One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables." (RSV, verse 2). Paul then counsels in verse 3: "Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?"

Isn't Paul clearly showing how one believer might understand something differently than another believer, perhaps due to their inexperience, being new to the faith? It would seem apparent that each is to behave and act according to his own personal understanding of a matter and not according to the thinking or judgment of his brother in the faith. In verses 5 and 6 Paul shows other things that people may differ on but each one does it to God, whatever it may be.

Paul sums it up in
Romans 14:
10:
"Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother?
      For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
11 for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
     and every tongue shall give praise to God."
12 So each of us shall give account of himself to God.

An important point is now made in verse 13. Instead of passing judgment on one another, "decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother." Verse 14 goes on to explain.

Romans 14:14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean."
Really, it is our thinking that condones or condemns something, making it clean or unclean. Isn't that what Paul is indicating?

Paul basically tries to point out that it would be terrible if our brother was being injured because of what we eat. It would be better to avoid meat than to hurt a brother. This is not "walking in Love." It is not that Paul really believes that eating meat might harm or injure a brother but he uses such a silly idea to get his point across. Eating meat is such a small thing and preserving our brethren such a big thing. Paul summarizes it for us in
Romans 14:
19
"Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding."
And in 21: "it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble."

We may have God's permission and the permission of our own conscience to do something and yet it would still be wrong if it would stumble a brother. So while we should not judge each other, we should look out for each other and take care not to do something that could endanger the spiritual welfare of one of our brothers or sisters in the faith. Seems reasonable enough. Love for others is to be the motivating factor and not selfish love of ourselves and our 'rights.'

Paul sort of repeats himself to emphasize his points in Romans 14 verse 22: "The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. 23 But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." Again, what we believe inside ourselves is between us and God and He, and no one else, will be the one to judge or excuse us. But if we act out of a lack of faith, not being thoroughly convinced but having a lingering doubt, then we become guilty of violating our own conscience. For that God can and will hold us accountable.

Paul continues to hammer in Romans 15:1: "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; 2 let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him." Always lets us build up our brothers, right?

This lesson of 'thinking makes right' and 'building up (looking out for) our brothers' is important, doubly so, when added in with a similar lesson in 1 Corinthians 10. Here in verse 23 and 24 we see the familiar theme we just covered: 1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor."



On Pagan Associations
Paul Makes an Important Distinction
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But now Paul takes a big leap in 1 Corinthians 10 verse 25 as he states: "Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience." Why? It has to do with the origins of the meat. Some meat might be sacrificed to a pagan god with the leftovers being sold in a meat market. It also has to do with associations we might make with the meat. Notice what Paul says in verse 27 (Green's Literal T):

1 Corinthians 10:
27 And if any of the unbelievers invite you, and you desire to go, eat everything set before you,
     examining nothing because of conscience.
28 But if anyone tells you, This is slain in sacrifice to idols, do not eat, because of that one pointing [it] out,
     and the conscience; for "the earth [is] the Lord's, and the fullness of it." [Psa. 24:1]
29 But I say conscience, not that of himself, but that of the other.

This is such a big point. A 'pagan' invites you for a meal. Paul says, Eat! Do not question its origin! You are not required to know its origin. Fine. But if someone should deliberately make an association between eating and a 'sacrifice' then you should not eat for the sake of the conscience of those around you even if they are 'pagan.' What is important is not where it came from but what associations are made for it at the moment you are about to eat; yes, the present. The past need not be considered. All things are clean to Christians. If no associations are made then we are free to partake. If a bad association is made then we must decline. Only the present circumstance condones or condemns our partaking. Verse 32 commands us to consider all those around us, both believers and non believers as well.

Could this idea of "only considering the present associations" be applied to things such as practices originating in paganism but now lost or pagan names as well? Consider the fact that in Romans 16 we have Christians with pagan names such as Narcissus in verse 11. Narcissus was a Greek mythological character. Hermes in verse 14. Hermes was a Greek god who had wings on his feet (ankles) and was known to Romans as Mercury. In verse 15 we have Olympas, which name was the name of a Greek Goddess. Elsewhere we have Apollos, whose name clearly relates to the Greek god, Apollo. Yes, these Greek Christians were up to their necks in pagan origins and yet continued with these pagan names. Why didn't they change them? Why didn't Paul make them change their names? Quite obviously, they didn't need to; it was not required, despite the fact that these names were quite clearly pagan, much as Baal might be considered pagan. Baal is not any more or any less pagan than the Greek gods were. Do you see what I am getting at? What if a person had a name that had Baal in it? Would he be required to change it? Not if we consider Romans 16 to be indicative of God's view. So even using the name of a pagan god can be allowable depending on why it is used.

May I also point out that there are cities in both the Old and New Testaments which are named after pagan gods and referred to by those pagan names by the writers of these various books of the Bible. Evidently Israelites used these pagan names to refer to these cities. Why not? After all, it was not they that chose those names. But in order for everyone to know what city they were referring to, they used the name for which the inhabitants of those cities chose to identify themselves.

Now if using a pagan name is permissible then how much more so should it be if we have ordinary words whose meaning originated from pagan thoughts, ideas, or practices. Take the word 'disaster.' Dis-aster. See the Aster. Easter. Ashter. Ishter. Ishtar. Egypt knew her as Isis. She is one of the most well known pagan goddesses of the ancient world. The word 'disaster' meant discord in the stars. She was the Queen of the heavens. She represented the stars.

If we were to say something was a disaster, it would mean that it was a chaotic mess or a tragedy. That is the only meaning attached to that word today. But we who are educated know the origin of that word comes from a pagan idea. The ancient Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Viking Norsemen were indeed, pagan peoples with pagan origins. But God welcomes them all now due to the sacrifice of His son. And they are welcome in whatever tongue (language) they speak, even though many of their words have been inspired by ancestral pagan ideas or thinking.

Is it important to assess whether a word's etymological origins are pagan or not? Based on what we have learned from Romans and Corinthians, I would emphatically say no! It would depend on how we used it. If for some odd reason, American society in general declared that using a particular word constituted worship to a pagan god then we would avoid using it. That has not, and likely will not - happen. Otherwise all speech is clean as all food is. Even if we still carried around the remembrance of Aster when using the word disaster we would still not sin in my mind. Paul used the Greek idea of Hades (land of the dead) in his writings. It had that pagan association even as he used it at that moment that he was writing.

What about practices or observances whose origins were pagan. I would still say that what is important is whether a particular action or practice still currently has the pagan association with it. The origin of Halloween certainly was a pagan one but it definitely no longer carries that connection in most people's minds today. That is not to say that there are not any people who do not carry on the original observance. I am sure there are a few who do. I believe there are those who practice some sort of witch craft and observe the original Halloween in Salem, MA although the true Salem existed largely in Danvers, MA to be historically accurate. Danvers and Salem border each other.

But even these witches recognize that the original Halloween is not carried out by many, other than themselves. Dressing up like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck and receiving candy from our neighbors certainly does no harm to God or our relationship with Him. There are no religious associations to be found. I believe this is the case with many such holidays or practices. If they have no current, present connections with anything which God does not permit, then they are permissible. We have enough to concern ourselves with in the present to start worrying about the past or the future too much.

Ecclesiastes 7:16 warns: "16 Be not righteous overmuch, and do not make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself?" I think this could be important to consider. We could spend so much time weeding out the pagan gnats while ignoring more important camel like matters (Mat 23:24). We may turn off many who might otherwise come to know God. You may scare them away with extremism. I do not think it that profitable a course to embark upon. Here is where I recommend 1 Corinthians 13, the 'Love' chapter.

Of all the things we can pursue, Paul says that by far, love is the most important. Love of others, that is. All other things can be in vain if they are not accompanied by love. Love avoids extremism. Love tries to be reasonable and modest (humble). Love is not headstrong but soft and considerate. One might not start out headstrong but could end up that way if they continue in things extreme such as many who have discovered the origins and histories of customs, habits, culture, beliefs, and the like. Please don't go that way.

(RSV) 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 
5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love outlasts all the other things such as prophecies, tongues, or what have you. Consider love when you discuss the scriptures with people. Earnestly try to consider what they are trying to say. We all believe we are right but we want to continue to ponder things and be considerate of the fact that there still may be need of refinement in our ideas from time to time and even a need to occasionally discard an idea or two in favor of new more correct ones.

Humility and modesty should make us realize that we can still be wrong and that we never come to a complete understanding without any error. There will always be room for improvement. That is why good Christians should only insist on the bare essentials of beliefs. There are absolute certainties, there are near certainties, there are fairly certain's or likelihood's, there are possibilities, and then there are doubts, uncertainties, not likely, nearly impossible, and absolutely not. There is a lot of room between the first and last of that list, namely, absolute certainty and absolute impossibility. With every belief, ask yourself, how much can I say this or believe this with certainty and without doubt.

We might have come from different religious backgrounds or a non-religious one. Maybe different political backgrounds or cultural backgrounds. Important beliefs or ideas can come into conflict with each other. You may at times have to pick between one of 2 conflicting beliefs. That is when deciding how possible or impossible it may be for a doctrine to be right or wrong will be useful. It is also useful in determining how strongly you should insist or not insist on something as being accurate or unchangeable.

Many people expect complete unity and agreement on all thought. This is completely in error. Only when Christ returns shall we all be directly shepherded and have our understandings all corrected and united. Till then, the various sheep and goats must grow together the Christ alone will do the judging and separating between sheep and goats. We do not determine that.


Stand UP 4 Your Rights!
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Don't let other intolerant and judge-mental Christians tell you what to think or believe. Nor let them tell you music is from the devil. Lies are from the devil and too many Christians have been serving him, though they do not realize it  . . .  maybe!

Sex, when it is done within the context prescribed and ordained by God, is great. Enjoy it with reckless abandon and full blown passion, with your husband or wife only, of course. And enjoy your music, whatever type it is. Yes, it might be exciting energetic powerful motivating aggressive type stuff. Nothing wrong with those feelings by themselves. They can be felt in both good and bad situations. We have the right in our private moments, to revel in and enjoy our music without limits, really, just as we might with sex with a partner or self stimulation and imagination. What you do in private is your own business. Tell others to shut up and mind their own business and take their demons and stick them where the sun don't shine! We got enough superstition and irrational fears in our sub-conscious. We don't need the demons there, too.

And do not listen to unsubstantiated allegations that may very well come from the Illuminati or others and may not be the truth at all. They are liars like their father the devil. If your purchase of an LP or CD is to invoke demons worship or invitation, then it better say so on the cover or otherwise, buy it in good conscience and faith. Lots of claims are made about many things and those in power love to spread many lies in among truths. You'll never know for sure just what is what. And as long as that is the case and it can not be substantiated, ignore it.

Now there are things that can be substantiated quite easily. Secret Societies and all followers of the devil love pagan images, idols, icons, etc. If you see these, you know what they stand for and who they are. They are pagans, at the least. But not all pagans serve the world elite, either. Nor is it invoked that if you buy a CD with a pagan image on it, that the CD is pagan. Pagan imagery is on every bill of currency and you do not object to those. People are more alienated from God than ever before. But we do not judge those who are not in the house of God. We only judge those, to the degree necessary, who are among our own.


Rights With Limits
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While music, all by itself, does not imply anything, much music is associated with videos, images, and symbols that are clearly immoral or pagan or maybe even with bad intent. Our liking a song does not by itself associate us with the choices of musicians or promoters. But if we imitate them or do as they suggest, dress like whores or sluts, engaged in sex activity forbidden by God, or go around in intimidating scary dress to alienate people or make them afraid, then we are not honoring God.

It is natural to imitate. We see it and model it. Our fashion is often influenced by what we see. If we see it all the time, we think it is OK, by virtue of it being common place and deemed "normal." It is not, even it everyone else does it. God forbids it. It is natural to follow the crowd or the flock and it takes guts and courage to go against the un-Godly grain. But that is the task before us.

But something missed by many Christians is that it is good to keep up on what people are seeing and how they are reacting. We need to be able to talk to people about those things. So while many object to R-rated movies or worse, we may find certain movies helpful to know about by seeing them. by seeing fictional portrayals, we do not invite demons or sin. There are a rash of movies now promoting UFOs, Aliens, angels and demons, and other related subjects that will come into play as regards the deception of the New World Order and the Antichrist. We need to know what we are up against to battle it. Some might want to see the movie to know how things are portrayed, so we can understand the reactions of people to them.

Sex is openly portrayed and promoted. Morals are gone. We can not let ours go, too. There are dance behaviors we can in no way imitate. Nor can we perform certain music the way some do, acting as if they were strippers or worse. We really need to give attention to how we might be influenced by our culture around us. For instance, I notice now, from the laundry that gets left in dryers because it is so small and skimpy, that thong underwear is all the rage and even among the very young, it would seem. Now, thongs don't do much good if they are not seen. The idea of many in wearing them is to thrill an intended viewer, like a boyfriend or someone you get picked up by. But if there is no intent to show it off, then why buy and wear it? Something to think about. What might some conclude if you are in the fitness center and putting on or taking off a thong to shower or whatever. it is something important to consider. Some might think you are just like them, ready to go, if the opportunity comes up. Is that what you want them to think? You decide!

The world and people have become very alienated from God and His rules. We should stand out and apart from the world that largely follows the devil and will all die in not many more years. If we do not stand out and seem much like them, we are not doing something right. It should be noticeable since the gap is so wide now. Without saying too much more, I only urge you to give careful thought to everything you do. Wearing a thong will not violate any command by itself. And if you do not undress in front of others, no one will know. It is not the thing itself that is bad. It is the intentions you communicate to others.

So we want to be aware of any and all signals that we might be giving out. we want people to know where we stand, even without uttering a word. We let our light shine in a dark world.


Pagan Obsessions
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I have encountered many persuasions of those who are obsessed with avoiding pagan practices or give far too much attention to demons. I cover the most outstanding ones.

Pagan Holidays

1st up, those who obsess about Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and other such events. True, all these have pagan origins. Also true is that most people do not even know that. As well, those "holidays" as observed today are nothing like the original observances. Even pagans will tell you that. They ought to know! Christmas was not the birth of Christ. Isaac Newton explains how it was the observance of the winter solstice, then on the 25th. over nearly 200 years, the precession of the earth's tilt now reaches the solstice on the 21st. It has moved 4 days over time. but it was never Christ's birth. He was born near to the fall equinox (now Sep 21, but used to be Sep 25) or maybe late summer, like early September.

No one has any business calling it Christ's birthday or celebrating him on it. On the other hand, for the sake of the kids, giving a gift, without "Jesus' birthday" reason violates no scripture. What you do with a day almost everyone has off is your business. It might help not imitate the masses in decorations. It would be wise to avoid pagan symbols, though it could be said that decorating a tree does not make one an observer of the original pagan custom and I admit this is true. But why look and act so much like the world. To stand apart is a good thing. It might allow you a chance to explain why you do not get all decked out.

Pagan Customs, Origins

I am not sure what to put here but a common pagan practice might be spells or charms, related to magic. Herbal usage for medicinal purposes would not be exclusively pagan or forbidden. Many tokens and symbols are pagan and worn or displayed, even as some do with the cross. These would be wrong. But there are some things of pagan origin and practice that are not invoking demons or sinning.

Many of our words are of pagan origin and meaning. For example, the word "disaster" comes from the words discord and Aster, the female god of the heavens/stars. It meant essentially, discord in the stars. Heaven was unhappy with something for which a disaster was the result. We use those words in a non-pagan context. You might be surprised how many of our words originate with pagan ideas of the past. We need not concern ourselves with these. Our language has lost all connection to the origin context. Meaning change often on the centuries in any language. We only have to be concerned with the present meanings.

Pagan Names

Many personal names were taken from the gods of Greece, Rome, and other nations. Many Bible names are the names of pagan gods or partly of pagan Gods. Could this idea of "only considering the present associations" be applied to pagan names as well? Consider the fact that in Romans 16 we have Christians with pagan names such as Narcissus in verse 11. Narcissus was a Greek mythological character. Hermes in verse 14. Hermes was a Greek god who had wings on his feet (ankles) and was known to Romans as Mercury. In verse 15 we have Olympas, which name was the name of a Greek Goddess. Elsewhere we have Apollos, whose name clearly relates to the Greek god, Apollo.

Yes, these Greek Christians were up to their necks in pagan origins and yet continued with these pagan names. Why didn't they change them? Why didn't Paul make them change their names? Quite obviously, they didn't need to; it was not required, despite the fact that these names were quite clearly pagan, much as Baal might be considered pagan. Baal is not any more or any less pagan than the Greek gods were. Do you see what I am getting at? What if a person had a name that had Baal in it? Would he be required to change it? Not if we consider Romans 16 to be indicative of God's view. So even using the name of a pagan god can be allowable depending on why it is used.

Pagan movies, books, myths, etc.

Perhaps you have seen the Clash of the Titans, the early 80s version or the remake. It was a story of pagan myths and religion, Greek to be specific. Watching that movie does not make you pagan. In fact, it is rather silly and harmless for we now none of it is true. Why fear it? Ecclesiastes 7 warns about being too righteous and suffering much harm for it. We avoid the really big serious sins and if we do so, Acts 15 says we are doing fine. The body of Apostles made it clear that the Spirit only required serious observance of just 4 things. We could expand that list a little but the point was that it was not a big list and the little stuff is just not anywhere near as important. Worry about observing Love rather than hunting down pagans and demons.

Further, we should not be bothered by those who practice paganism. We should only be bothered by those we are directly associated with (in church and worship) who call themselves Christians and yet sin in major ways. Pagans are not threat to us, for one sin is not worse than another and nearly everyone sins a big ways all the time. We can still be on good terms with them all.


Demonic Obsessions
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I have known some really crazy people over the years when it comes to demons. Some so called Christians are obsessed with them. They see them around every corner. they look for them everywhere. here are some of the crazy obsession I have head among Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs). Because demons and things of demonic origin, they would avoid many items, movies, you name it! Since many mythological characters are said to be or demonic origins or character, they were "demonized" and carefully avoided. Elves were demonized, so no elves in books, movies, or cartoons. Smurfs, because they resembled elves, were clearly demonized and avoided. Pac Man was demonized because the 4 mops with eyes that chase the pacman were said to be ghosts, so they were demonic, of course. You could not refer to the god of good luck or fortune referred to in Daniel 11, I think it was. Why? Because the god of fortune or good luck was a pagan god. Some even said Satan was behind it. So you can't use the word luck, which is the word used in their Bible Translation. The list goes on and on.

I have met former Church of God (Herbert Armstrong was the founder) members who had all kinds of words you could not use because they were pagan or demonic in meaning, use, or origin, theoretically. Many who subscribe to fanatical use of God's proper name, which I accept as the traditional Jehovah, though I do concede that Yahuwah or Yahuweh would be more correct. Some say Yahweh, not believing in the middle syllable. In fact, these ones also suggest that if you use the wrong version of the name, you are doomed and will  die at Armageddon. We call these "Sacred Namers" as they are obsessed with that topic far more than any other. So don't slur those vowels or "God" will get ya! And heaven forbid you speak it with an improper accent. God will make a hell just for you!

Some of the more obscure Christian groups are obsessed with demonic possession and casting out demons. They look for the devil in everything. The devil does rule the world for the present, but that does not mean we avoid everything in the world. We do not pay too much attention to the devil and his angelic following from which demons come from.

Then we have these many movies coming out dealing with UFOs, aliens, sometimes demons, vampires, werewolves, spirits, ghosts, hauntings, and so much more. You will not go to hell or be inviting demons, necessarily by watching some of these. Some of these new ones, in fact, deal with the very things the antichrist will be bringing with him. It might pay to see them so you know what you might encounter in others who have seen them. Watching them does not make you a worshipper of them.

We do want to avoid all magic, witchcraft, and anything occult or psychically related. If we do meddle in these, then we might being to have some demonic problems. That is why we are commended to avoid them.

Really, these things I suggest are just common sense for rational reasonable people. But weirdoes always venture far outside good healthy boundaries. To me, the less attention paid to the demons, the better. We don't ignore them entirely. We do know they exist. They do communicate with some humans. They may even be directing the most powerful ones in their decisions. But they are of no concern to us. We worry about God, obedience, and love for all.


What Are Your Priorities?
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The main problem with superstition, paganism, demonism, and other foolish pursuits is a lack of balance, perspective, and priority. We strain the gnat while gulping down camel. Instead of paying attention to things like avoiding improper sexual activities, or pursuing love and good works, studying the Bible more carefully or more often, we go off on silly things that do not matter much. Better to pursue good all the time rather than always worry about the bad or forbidden.

An example is the Assemblies of Yahweh. Every holiday season, they feature major articles on pagan origins and avoiding the holidays in any and every possible way. Are there not far more important things to pay attention to? I think so! But mot topics deserving much discussion, get none with the Assemblies of Yahweh in their magazine, the "Sacred Name Broadcaster." In fact, the Sacred Name is yet another obsession of theirs, while ignoring the more important things. No sense of priorities.

What would I suggest now? What they did in Acts 15! Avoid sex without marriage, idols and idolatry, blood, and murder. I would also suggest much time devoted to prophecy, for much of the Bible is filled with prophecy and for very good reason. We are going to be lied to in a very tricky deceptive way and we might get fooled if we are not up on things. If we are doing these, then we will not have a lot of time left for demons and pagans and superstition.



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