Thought provoking questions we have received, with our responses
Interesting Emails discussed in this essay:
Should this site ban ads related to Wicca and the casting of spells?
Incoming Email: Is it part of the creation science belief to
believe in and support Wicca and spell casters? Is this something that is
supported in the Bible?
Our response: It is customary to capitalize the names of religions
and the word "Bible." So we have altered the incoming Email which left
both words in lower case.
To answer your first question: Creation science beliefs are typically held by
conservative Christians. There is a wide range of beliefs among Fundamentalist
and other Evangeical Christians about Wiccans:
One minister from Texas preached a sermon a few years ago in which he
advocated that the government commit genocide by rounding up all Wiccans and
stoning them to death. As I recall, he got a sustained round of applause from
A Baptist pastor, also from Texas, also advocated genocide: he suggested
that the U.S. Army round up Wiccans and exterminate them by napalm.
A Wiccan was lynched by a mob of conservative Christians about a decade
ago in the U.S.
But there is also a strong tradition within all wings Christianity in favor
of religious freedom and religious tolerance. Both involve letting others follow
the spiritual and religious path of their own choosing, without discrimination
and oppression -- even though you disagree with their beliefs. As far as spell
casting is concerned, this can be viewed as a form of prayer. A person casting a
spell to influence the weather and a Christian praying for rain are performing
essentially the same function. So, I would suggest that most American
Christians, including those who believe in creation science, support the U.S.
Bill of Rights, including the freedom of religion, speech and assembly. They
would support the right of Wiccans and spell casters to follow their religious
and magickal beliefs, even though they disagree with them theologically.
I assume that you are objecting to the Wiccan and spell casting
advertisements which are part of the Sprinks network, and which sometimes appear
next to our Creation Science and other essays. These ads are placed by Sprinks
and are outside of our control. To remove ads that people want to place would be
censorship. Our group supports freedom of speech.
Your second question asked whether Wicca and occult practices are supported
by the Bible. The answer is both yes and no. There are quite a few instances of black magic, divination and occultic activities
described in the Bible in a positive or neutral light. They involved some of
the great leaders of the ancient Hebrews: Joseph, the high priests, Elisha, and
Daniel. In the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) Paul and Peter are
mentioned. However, certain occult practices are specifically forbidden in
the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). These include: making contact with spirits (not of
God); making contact with the dead; foretelling the future by using lots or
interpreting signs in nature; snake charming, magical knot tying, and spells
which harm other people. These categories do not include the type of spell
casting performed by the people who advertise via Sprinks. They would probably
refuse to do spells that harm others.
There are many themes which run through the Bible. One is intolerance
of other religions. The book of Joshua describes religiously-motivated genocide
and many instances of mass murder of people who were part of a culture that
worshiped other Gods, including helpless newborns, infants, children, men, women
and old folks. On the other hand, the Bible also extensively promotes justice.
In modern times, justice is generally linked to fundamental human rights, such
as freedom of religion, assembly and speech. So I feel that a case can be made
that the Bible both supports and prohibits religious freedom.
Why people reject absolute truth:
Incoming Email: Many people reject absolute truth because they do not like the fact that some day they
might have to answer to a higher power -- God -- who has absolute standards.
To placate their
consciences, they believe that only relative truth exists. Therefore
they think that they are not accountable to a higher power.
Our response: This is a very common belief system. It agrees what
psychologists know is the almost infinite ability for humans to delude
themselves. We hear it mentioned a great deal by conservative Christians on the
web sites and radio programs that we have monitored. But it is deeply offensive
to Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists, and other non-theists. They have no belief in
God, for the simple reason that they see no evidence for the existence of a
deity. Most view the great world religions as having been created by very human
their best attempts to understand deity, humanity and the rest of the universe.
Because these are all purely human creations, their visions all differ.
If non-theists found proof that God exists, then they would willingly accept
God's existence. But they can find no evidence of this, so far. So they develop their
own ethical rules for behavior, independently of religious belief.
They are not trying to avoid consequences. After all, if they accept the
teachings of conservative Christians
and if it turns out that the only true religion is Islam, then they might well be
destined to eternal torture in the Islamic Hell. If they accept Islam, and it
turns out that the only true religion is conservative Christiantiy, then they might well end up forever
in the conservative Christian Hell. So, there is no foolproof way of avoiding someone's Hell.
Humanists and other non-theists will probably continue in their beliefs and base their moral code on
secular principles, unless God decides to reveal himself in some unmistakable
way. Judging on past
performance, this is unlikely to happen during their lifetime.
Is it OK for a newspaper to show a picture of two
This was not a question raised by one of our site's visitors. Rather it is a
question raised by the webmaster. It was triggered by a column of the ombudsman
of the Toronto Star on the editorial page of that newspaper for
The ombudsman asked whether it was ethical for The Star, one of
Toronto's leading newspapers, to publish a certain photograph of two women
without their consent. I recall seeing the picture when it was published. It
showed two young women who were obviously lesbians, deeply in love with each
other, and oblivious to their surroundings. They were attending the Gay Pride
parade in Toronto. The Star published their photograph even though the
photographer did not get their names.
The ombudsman defended the publishing of the photograph because it was taken
in a public place. They had every legal right to do so. But I wonder if it was
an ethical decision. Consider one scenario: The two women appeared to be of
college / university age and may well have been students who were dependent on
their parents for accommodation and/or financial support. If they were in the
closet, and were "outed" by the photograph, the repercussions on their
life/lives could have been quite severe. Their parents could have disowned them,
thrown them out of the house and/or terminated their financial support.
My feeling is that The Star had every legal right to publish the
photo. But, with the prevalence of homophobia in North American society, the
impact of this could have been severely negative to one or both women involved.
As it happens, one of the women had been "in the closet" and was "outed"
by the photo.
Was Irenaeus correct? Will God refuse to forgive a sin after one is saved?
Incoming Email: A young person, who was apparently "saved" earlier
in their life, has recently committed a sin. They are worried that they are "doomed
to Hell because God won't forgive...[the] post-conversion sin. Please help me
interpret this quote by Irenaeus, it makes me feel such great despair."
"Christ will not die again on behalf of those who now commit sin because
death shall no more have dominion over Him...we should beware, lest somehow,
after [we have attained] the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to
God, we [will] obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but rather be shut out
from His kingdom." Against Heresies," Book 4, Chapter 27, Section 2:
Our response: There were literally dozens of conflicting beliefs
circulating around the early Christian movement at the time of Irenaeus. In
fact, there were three different "denominations" within primitive Christianity:
The Jewish Christians who got wiped out by the Roman Army when
Jerusalem was destroyed.
The Pauline Christians who followed the teachings of Paul. They
survived and became the Catholic Church.
The Gnostics who believed that Jesus was a spirit being who came to
earth give people special knowledge so that they could escape their
earthly bodies and attain Heaven. Some were adsorbed; others were exterminated by
the Pauline Christians.
But even within Pauline Christianity, there were lots of conflicting views
expressed. Back in those days many people agreed with Irenaeus that the act of
being baptized wiped away one's sins. Thus, a lot of people put off baptism
until the last moment, when they were dying. Constantine was one of these. There
were more conflicting beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God the Father and the
Holy Spirit than one can count on the fingers and toes. Gradually, over the
first few centuries of the church's history, these different beliefs got
straightened out at a series of church councils. In each case, one official
position was chosen by majority vote, or by political pressure, and the others
were declared heretical. One of the heresies was this belief by Irenaeus. The
church rejected his teaching on this matter.
Within the Roman Catholic Church, baptized members who commit a sin can have
them forgiven through a church sacrament of confession. Within Protestant
churches, saved individuals can have their sin forgiven by sincerely confessing
it to God. Even actions which one's denomination may consider great sins can be
forgiven this way. Of course, if murder, assault or some other crime is
involved, there are often additional legal consequences with secular
We can approach your concern in another way. If you have been saved, then you
are a child of God. God has some of the same feelings towards you as you have
(or may have in the future) towards your children. If you are a conservative
Christian, then you probably believe that there are only two destinations after
death: Heaven and Hell. Now: could you imagine your child doing something so bad
that you would send him or her to be eternally tortured in some kind of prison?
I am certain that you will feel that there is no crime so terrible that you
would abandon your own child in this way. By the same logic, could you imagine a
kind, loving God who would abandon you -- one of his own children -- for doing
Will Africans form the bulk of the deaths during the end times?
Incoming Email: The Bible states that during the end times, about
one third of the world's population will die. Do you think this will mainly
involve the citizens of Africa?
Our response: Almost all of the end time prophecy in the Bible
is derived from two books: Daniel and Revelation.
Christianity is a divided religion. There are over 1,000 Christian faith
groups in North America alone. They may be roughly divided into two groups:
conservative and liberal believers.
According to liberal theologians:
The Book of Daniel was not prophecy
written by Daniel in the 6th century BCE. It
was rather past history written in the 2nd century BCE, disguised to masquerade
as prophecy. It thus refers almost entirely to events that happened
prior to about 180 BCE. It has nothing to do with today's events or
According to liberal theologians, the Book of Revelation is a fairly
typical example of writing in the Jewish Apocalyptic tradition which was common from
200 BCE to about 200 CE. It dealt with the persecution of the early
Christian church under Nero and other Roman emperors, and has nothing to
do with today's events or future happenings.
According to conservative theologians:
Daniel and Revelation are the main sources of end-time prophecy. The Bible
contains many references to a great battle at that time which will result in
massive loss of life. Revelation 9:15 talks about four angels killing one
third part of humanity in a massive act of genocide -- apparently by cremation
and chemical warfare. But there is no indication in the Bible which identifies
which third will die. The holocaust could be spread over the entire earth, or
might be concentrated on one or more continents. To identify the deaths as
coming from Africa is purely speculative.
Satanic Ritual Abuse happens a lot.
Incoming Email: There is an error on your web site. Incidences of
Satanic Ritual Abuse have been documented throughout history. Almost
everyone knows this is true. Why do you insist that this form of abuse does
not exist. It seems to be part of the hoax which maintains that sexual abuse
of children is non-existent. Why you are spending so much time discrediting
survivors? You are aiding the perpetrators by taking this stance. If you
want to stop the suffering of children, open your minds to the reality of
Satanic Ritual Abuse.
Our response: First of all, we do not deny that Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) exists. We do say that it is extremely rare
and may even be non-existent. Recall that we have a very restrictive
definition of SRA: it must be abuse motivated by a desire to worship Satan.
Other groups have a much wider definition of SRA.
Events that some people include within their definition of SRA have
There does appear to have been an incident in France in (as I recall)
the 17th century which would qualify as SRA by some group's definitions.
But it appears to have been motivated by financial considerations and not
There were also tens of thousands of documented cases of memories of
SRA starting in 1980 when the book "Michelle Remembers" was
published. These cases surfaced over about a 15 year interval until they
essentially stopped in the mid 1990s. But these cases were traced back to recovered memory therapy which is now known to
create enormous numbers of false memories. It seems that all (or almost
all) of the alleged victim-survivors either went to therapists who
believed in SRA, or to mutual support groups who believed in SRA. In an
ironic twist, some parents in Ontario, Canada were accused by one of their
children of engaging in SRA. But they knew nothing about Satanism, so they
asked me to address their group and explain what Satanism was.
There was a very large study done in the U.S. involving about 13,000
therapists. One case of Satanists abusing their child was uncovered. But
it was not the conventional type of SRA; rather it was the parents
engaging in consensual ritual sex, and doing it in the presence of their
son. This is regarded as child abuse in most jurisdictions.
Finally, there was a massive study in the UK where three abusive
pedophiles, working independently, were found to engage in sexual
molestation of children. But the perpetrators knew nothing about Satanism;
they simply used Satanic trappings and pretend rituals to better control
Depending on one's precise definition of SRA, there certainly have been
some proven cases in the world. But none, to our knowledge, meet our
definition. None were actual physical or sexual abuse motivated primarily by
worship of Satan. All were either motivated by mental illness, a sexual
interest in children, or financial gain.
Some people do indeed "know" that SRA is widespread. But we feel they are
basing their knowledge on faulty data. To our knowledge, there has never
been a real case of Satan worshiper(s) sexually or physically abusing
children in a valid Satanic ritual in North America during the past century.
Most investigators have found that the accusations of SRA are without
grounding in reality. They are based on false memories created during
therapy or presence in a mutual support group, or (rarely) by an individual
following procedures in a book such as the Courage to Heal. They also
note that most clients who go to therapists who use Recovered Memory
Therapy (RMT), where those therapists:
Believe that emotional problems in adults are caused by their abuse in
a former lifetime create memories of such abuse in a former lifetime.
Believe that emotional problems in adults are caused by abuse by LGM
(little green men) onboard UFOs develop memories of abuse by LGM on board
There is even a case of a therapist who believes that emotional problems
in adults are caused by abuse events that have not happened yet. She finds
that most of her clients develop memories in the present time of abuse that will only happen in the future.
There are lots of people who discount the validity of SRA but who also
believe that sexual abuse of children is a widespread problem. They are
motivated by a desire to stop the suffering of people with false memories of
SRA, and their estranged families of origin. I have never come across a
person who discounts the validity of SRA and who also believes that child
molestation is nonexistent. Trust me, people can believe that SRA is
non-existent (or at least extremely rare) and still believe that abusive
pedophiles and hebephiles are a real problem -- perhaps our main social
Please consider the possibility that tens of thousands of individuals are
having their emotional health destroyed by false memories of SRA. That is,
they have are real-feeling memories of events that never happened. This, I
feel, is the real SRA problem. Many of these victims of RMT are severely
disturbed, have suicidal ideation, are slashers, etc. They need help to
realize that their memories are unrelated to real events. Only by that route
will they be healed.
We do see an incredible amount of suffering by people who have SRA
memories created during therapy. But we feel confident that these memories
are false. The way to healing is for the alleged victims-survivors to
realize that they were never abused, but that their memories are an
unintended, accidental result of an experimental, unreliable and dangerous
therapy whose efficacy and safety had never been studied.
If we uncover a real case of SRA in which victims were physically and/or
sexually abused and in which the prime motivation on the part of the
perpetrator(s) was to worship Satan, we would try to be among the first to report
Copyright © 2000 to 2010, by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2000-SEP-23
Latest update: 2010-NOV-16
Author: B.A. Robinson