This is the audio version of The Berean Call
Glenn Beck, the television and radio talk show host who is best known for his conservative political views, isn't someone
whom we would normally address in our newsletter. Our concerns are usually directed at individuals, programs, or organizations that promote spiritual or theological views contrary to the Word of God. Beck, of late, seems to be making himself at home in that realm, and he's attracting many who call themselves Bible-believing Christians.
His influence among evangelicals is rather odd and may say more about the state of evangelicalism than about Beck's engaging personality. His popularity is proof that there is very little discernment that's based on testing things by the Scriptures--a consequence, in part, of the Church Growth Movement. Marketing principles have become the rule and are being used to fill churches. Biblical doctrines, which convict, have been set aside in favor of psychotherapeutic sermonettes--something to keep the folks feeling good about themselves and coming back for more. There's no doubt that this trend has dumbed down much of the church and has done away with discernment to a great extent.
Anyone who proclaims the name of Jesus--even though his understanding of who that is may be far removed from the biblical Jesus--is nevertheless accepted as a brother in Christ. Conservativism, political or otherwise, is seen to be the glue of spiritual fellowship, and its characteristics have taken on scriptural status and a basis for kinship. I've been told that "Beck must be a Christian because he's all about turning our country back to its Christian roots." That's erroneous on at least two counts.
First of all, Glenn Beck is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He may refer to himself as a Christian, but he's certainly not a biblical Christian. The distinction is as wide as hell is from heaven: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John:9). Mormon doctrine is "another gospel" that exalts "another Jesus." Both false beliefs came out of the deceived and deceiving mind of Joseph Smith. Secondly, "our country" doesn't have "Christian roots," even though some are claiming that our founding fathers were true Christians. Many were not biblical Christians but Christians in name only, who followed the faith of Deism, Masonry, and the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Any early influence in America's history of a biblical nature very likely came from the Pilgrims and the Puritans.
Since I spend very little time watching television or listening to radio programs, I wasn't familiar with Glenn Beck, other than seeing him by chance on Fox News. I found his Catholic background and his conversion to Mormonism rather curious, given my own Catholic upbringing and, years later, my writing for the film documentary The God Makers . What I know about the overwhelming fictional nature of the Book of Mormon had me wondering why Beck's work as a conservative political analyst didn't give him the ability to discern the blatantly erroneous teachings, practices, and historical claims of Mormonism. However, it wasn't until he was invited to speak at Liberty University's Commencement in 2010 (the largest evangelical college in the U.S.) that I was first made aware of his growing influence among evangelical Christians.
The rationale, I was told, for having him speak to the graduating class was that his conservative point of view was consistent with the school's philosophy, and his message was needed at a time when the Obama administration seemed to be pushing this country down a path of socialism. The fact that he is a Mormon was not a concern because his address would be of a political nature, not spiritual . I learned after the event that he rewrote his talk just before speaking because he felt compelled to address spiritual issues. He said that his invitation to speak was not an endorsement of his religion by the university. "[But although we have] differences...we need to find those things that unite us." His speech was infused with religious terms that would appear to bring people together--except for the fact that these terms have very different meanings for Mormons and evangelicals. He frequently referred to the power of the Atonement, to faith, to the gospel, to the Holy Spirit, to personal revelations from God. Does it matter that a Mormon has a completely different understanding of the Atonement and the gospel from what is taught in the Bible?
Beck said, "Turn to God and live." What God might that be? The Mormon one, who has a physical body and lives on a planet near a star called Kolob? Or the One who is spirit and exists outside His creation?
Beck exhorted his audience to seek the truth. But which God is true? He closed his speech by challenging these mostly evangelical graduates to "question everything, including everything I have just told you" and to "read the Scriptures every day...." Would these include Latter-day Saints' scriptures such as the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants , and The Pearl of Great Price ? What about "The Inspired Translation of the Bible," which Joseph Smith wrote to make sure that the Bible was "translated correctly"?
Beck's last words were greeted with a standing ovation from the faculty, the graduates, and their families and friends: "I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen." Were they cheering wildly for the biblical Jesus...or for the Jesus Christ of Mormonism? The two couldn't be more dissimilar.
For those enamored with Glenn Beck and upset with my concerns about him, let's take him up on his challenge to question his words. Many of the thoughts in his Liberty University speech can be found in his new book titled The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life , which he co-authored with psychiatrist Keith Ablow. In it, Beck sets the record straight as to his understanding of Mormonism. That's important because I have heard all kinds of explanations--from his being naïve about the faith fabricated by Joseph Smith to his being led to biblical salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ by various evangelical leaders who have appeared on his television and radio programs. Beck, however, dispels any and all speculation:
I read everything there was to read on [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'] websites and every word of Mormon Doctrine. I treated Mormonism as if it were a hostile witness. For a while I went to the anti-Mormon literature for hints, but I found most of it to be unfair or just plain wrong. I tried every trick I could think of to find a contradiction. The problem was that I couldn't. Mormonism seemed to explain the world and my place in it better than any other faith I had looked at. It answered many spiritual questions that had gone unanswered for me for my entire life. (Beck &Ablow, The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life, p . 149)
In his Liberty University speech, which was often very emotional, he referred to the Old Testament book of Ezekiel and how he (Beck) felt that the call to be a "watchman," i.e., someone who stands guard to alert the people to the evil that could overtake them, was something God had put on his heart to do. It was his calling. If Beck's book is any indication of his "watchman" competency, he is either asleep at his post or has gone AWOL. Isaiah sets the criterion for God's watchman: "To the law and to the testimony [i.e., the Scriptures]: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah:8:20). Does Beck speak according to God's Word? Even if one assumes that he is talking about the God of the Bible rather than the god of Mormonism, or what the Bible declares, it is clear by comparing his views with the teachings of the Bible that he's got them both wrong.
He and his psychiatrist co-author declare throughout their book that God is within everyone : "If God is everything and everywhere and inside everyone, then I figured He had to be inside me, too...." That is a foundational premise to most of what Beck presents. It is pantheism, a belief common to Hindus, Eastern mystics, and popular among New Agers.
The truth is that the God of the Bible is not part of His creation. He created everything out of nothing. If He were inseparable from His creation then He would be subject to the death and destruction that the universe is undergoing. That would deny His perfection.
The Word of God says that the born-again believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and that his body is the temple of God (Ephesians:1:13; 1 Corinthians:3:17). This is conditional, based upon faith in the biblical Jesus, and it involves God's taking up residence within the believer. God is not, nor does He become, a part of humanity.
If God were part of everyone and within everyone throughout all eternity (Beck &Ablow , Seven Wonders, p. 85), then He would be part of the evil makeup of every human. Of course, Beck and Ablow fervently deny that mankind is evil: "People are inherently good. Our souls are magnificent and capable of extraordinary performance" (p.165). That may make some "feel good about themselves," but it's contrary to numerous Scriptures that address the nature of man. The prophet Jeremiah tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (17:9), and Jesus said in Mark:10:18, "There is none good but one, that is, God."
That truth of the Bible poses a huge problem for psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, especially a Freudian psychotherapist like Keith Ablow. How so? He's in the business of facilitating a person's relief from the troublesome problems of living by helping him find his "true self, the really lovable and loving person you are at your core..." (Beck &Ablow, p. 185). The key to recovering the "real you," Ablow and Beck explain, involves a process of "digging up the painful parts of your life story..." (p. 107).
Nearly all psychotherapies assert that mankind's problems are caused by painful issues external to the person, such as emotional traumas, parental abuses, environmental conditions, a bad hair day, etc. Ablow tells us to "Accept that today's negative emotional and behavioral patterns are almost certainly connected to painful memories and unresolved conflicts in the past" (p. 131).
However, if it were acknowledged that the root of the problem is the innate evil within humanity (as the Bible declares, yet psychology denies), Ablow and his colleagues would be out of business. Just as a leopard can't change its spots, neither can the mental health practitioners do anything to change a person's sin nature. Only God can do that. Yet the charade in pursuit of the "higher self," "human potential," "self-discovery," and "the God-given reservoir of personal power inside you," (p. 50) continues to delude and deceive the masses.
Beck's description of his "life story," especially how he was led into Mormonism, is a reflection of what the pseudo-Christian cult is all about: it majors on the subjective and the experiential (e.g., a personal "burning in the bosom" experience from God). He believes that God guided him into the faith of Joseph Smith through a series of inexplicable events in his life. He says that God-ordained "coincidences," which he calls "bread crumbs," are available to help everyone "find their paths to embracing the truth" (p. 152). He and Ablow continually exalt the subjective and experiential through their promotion of "gut feelings," "intuition," "the third ear," and "the inner voice of truth inside us--the voice of God" (p. 265). They write, "Practice listening to your gut....In order to do this, you need to listen for inner voices inside you" (p. 274).
When discernment depends upon gut feelings and inner voices, it's a recipe for spiritual disaster: "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness" (2 Corinthians:11:14-15). The Bible tells us to put no trust in subjective experiences but rather to trust in God's written Word: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John:8:31-32). Jesus' prayer to His Father certifies how He wants believers in Him to know Him and the truth of His teachings: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John:17:17).
Mormonism is rife with occult beliefs and practices, whether they be rituals taken from Masonic ceremonies to supposed communication with the deceased through baptism for the dead. This makes the Latter-day Saints extremely susceptible to demonic deception. Yet Glenn Beck seems to have added more false doctrine to an already bizarre belief system. He lauds the first-century heresy of gnosticism and gnostic books such as "The Gospel of Thomas"; he endorses communication through silent meditation ("Connect with the miracle of spirit, of God, that has lived inside you from long before you were born. You will be rewarded..." (p. 85); and he and Ablow espouse the Eastern mystical teaching of spiritual energy as an "immeasurable force that you can tap into to dramatically improve your existence....It is nothing less than your connection to God" (p. 113).
Lest someone object to one or another of the religious or psychological concepts Beck and Ablow are serving up, the two fall back on ecumenical pragmatism: "How can you begin to do this? Some people go to psychotherapists. Others go to pastoral counselors. Others begin to meditate. Still others start with twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon. Whatever works for you is what you should do, but we've developed a four-step plan to help you get under way."
Perhaps the reason I quote the following verse more than any other in my recent articles is because I see the church and its shepherds looking more and more to the ways of man rather than to the Word of God: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs:14:12). Glenn Beck has no answers for those who are truly God's people. Nevertheless, I pray that he will come to the knowledge of the truth.
I also pray for greater discernment among those who claim to follow the biblical Jesus and the Word of God. Jesus declared to His disciples (which all true believers in Him are) that they were to "Take heed that no man deceive you" (Matthew:24:4). He was referring specifically to the last days, the time just prior to His return. It would be characterized by massive spiritual deception. For more than three decades Dave Hunt and I have been addressing the various elements the adversary of God has used to deceive the world and the church. Of late, our TBC articles have pointed out how the unifying beliefs that are common to diverse religious groups (and anti-religious groups!) are rallying them together with amazing speed. Their mission is fixed upon the earth as they unwittingly work toward building the kingdom of the Antichrist and his apostate religion. TBC
Prayer does not mean that I am to bring God down to my thoughts and my purposes and bend His government according to my foolish, silly and sometimes sinful notions. Prayer means that I am to be raised up into feeling, into union and design with Him; that I am to enter into His counsel and carry out His purpose fully.
— Dwight L. Moody
Question: I recently purchased and watched the DVD The Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers ....As a homeschool mom, [I have found that] much of the material out there for homeschool use speaks of the godly foundations of this country [with] a real call in the homeschool community to raise up the next generation of Godly leaders to "take back" our country for Christ. I have always struggled with this idea and have felt uncomfortable using materials that teach this view. I was wondering if you could recommend any books that might help us further understand the role of Freemasonry in our nation's history and the significance of a whole generation being raised to believe that our nation has "Christian" roots and that we must take it back for Christ?
Response: Thanks for your comments and concern. Although there are few books written on this subject from a Berean's perspective, our prayer is to continue addressing this matter in the articles we write and in the resources we offer through The Berean Call .
The Masonic deception is deep and wide and somewhat esoteric, yet in our day it is becoming increasingly obvious in all forms of human expression through architecture, art, the media, ecumenism, and works salvation. At the heart of Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism is the worship of Lucifer, the "light bringer," who promises enlightenment and exaltation (self-deification) to mankind through occult mysticism and ritual. Of course, we know that this ancient lie began in the Garden (Gn 3:4-5) and remains unchanged to this day.
Once reserved strictly for cults of "Christianity," what we are witnessing today is a revived interest in various strands of Kingdom-Now "take over the world" dominionist theology interwoven with mysticism. This "convergence" shares the same spiritual core of demonic deception that lies at the heart of Freemasonry. Some participants believe they are working for "good" (to establish a physical kingdom of God), while others focus on the universal brotherhood of man, seeking "hidden knowledge" of enlightenment and divine power (Prv 14:12, Mt 6:23). Masonic goals and beliefs transcend religious organizations and are found among those who seemingly have no connection with the spiritual.
Glenn Beck is a prime example. His popularity among conservatives and Christians has spawned a growing spiritual convergence of Catholics, Mormons, evangelicals, and political conservatives who are joining hands to beat back the encroaching tyranny of socialism through political activism and unity of "faith." For starters, such an unequal yoke is forbidden by God (2 Cor:6:14). Although few may be aware of what they are ultimately contributing to, they are nevertheless working toward the establishment of a humanistic New World Order of "peace and prosperity" that will ultimately be ruled by a false messiah, Antichrist, who will be seen initially as "an angel of light" (2 Cor:11:3-15). Their faith in him will be the final "strong delusion" that will even deceive many who profess to be Christians (2 Thes:2:3-12).
Beck's personal fascination with and admiration for the Founding Fathers--some of whom were committed Freemasons--is not surprising, considering that the principles of The Lodge (a.k.a. The Brotherhood and The Craft) are quite compatible with the goals and ideals of Mormonism: "Ye shall be as gods." When compared to the declaration of one of the most revered authorities in all of Freemasonry, Albert Pike, Beck's own spiritual ideas fit well with Masonic teachings. In The Lost Keys of Freemasonry , Pike affirms:
The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha, or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth.
This declaration is highly compatible with what Beck writes in his latest book The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life , especially his declaration of the universal truths found in all religions. Moreover, Beck's Mormon faith draws heavily from Masonic doctrine and ceremonies. As you may know, Joseph Smith himself was, for a time, a Mason who "borrowed" many of the secret rites and rituals to start his own brand of "illumined" religion that came to be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As the strong delusion (that man is part of God, and/or may become a god) begins to manifest more profoundly--even in conservative and evangelical circles--it is critical that believers test all things and hold fast that which is good (1 Thes:5:21). Furthermore, Christ's Bride is instructed to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph:5:11).
Therefore, while it is alarming to see this satanic deception enticing Christians to join forces in an unequal yoke with Mormons and other "people of faith," it is simultaneously very exciting to realize that God's Word is proving itself true, even before our very eyes (2 Tm 4:3-4). This realization should only serve to spur us to evangelism and service to God, with an eye on eternity rather than on "fixing" this present world to secure "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Instead, may our hearts and minds be set on "redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph:5:16).
TBC believes that The Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers presents a perspective that is more historically accurate than the popular "Christian History" writers who in effect glorify the Constitution over God's Word and glamorize Washington, D.C. as a "Christian" capital.
Upon a more careful inspection and study of our nation's capital, it becomes plainly (and painfully) evident that many of the buildings, monuments, inscriptions, paintings, and zodiacs in D.C. clearly point to a Greco-Roman-Egyptian-Babylonian origin that is tied to a worship of stars and their mythological deities--which in turn serve to "hide in plain sight" their true source of inspiration and deception: Lucifer, the light bearer of Masonry and the first fallen angel, who masquerades as the "morning star" (Is 14:12).
For all of these reasons, we exhort Berean-minded believers to recognize the dominionist-oriented, "manifest destiny" theology and to carefully and prayerfully examine these "back-to-our-Christian-roots" and "Patriotic" teachings in the light of God's Word, to see "whether those things were so" (Acts:17:11).
Question : Why are you and other "discernment" writers so critical of Rick Warren and his new Daniel Plan? What difference does it make that Rick Warren turns to some of the best secular doctors in the nation to help the church with its battle over obesity, physical fitness, and mental health? After all, Christians don't have to ensure that their cars are repaired only by Christian mechanics, and their toilets unstopped only by Christian plumbers. If you've got a problem with your physical body, isn't it far more important to have the very best doctor's advice, regardless of their religious background?
Response: As long as one's mechanic or plumber isn't incorporating unbiblical spiritual content in his service to a believer, his religious background shouldn't be a problem. However, that is not the case with the eminent doctors that Rick Warren has selected to minister to his congregation and those hundreds of thousands who follow his ministry. All three of the medical doctors are practitioners of various forms of Eastern mystical meditation and occultism, which they promote in their well-being programs of body, mind, and spirit. No doubt their medical science education gives them valuable insights into the workings of their patients' bodies, but what of mind and spirit? The mind is not the brain; it's part of man's nonphysical makeup. There is no objective science of mind. There is only the metaphysical kind. There is no objective science of the spirit. There are no scientific instruments for evaluating a person's spirit. It's purely a subjective religious matter.
Furthermore, your question reflects the religious pragmatism ("whatever works") that leads many believers to abandon biblical authority, compromise their faith, supplant the gospel, and even endanger their very lives. The journey of departing from the Truth may not begin with such stark choices, but often ends with tragic spiritual consequences. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal:5:9).
In reality, however, your question presents a textbook-perfect "straw man" argument--defined as "creating the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition...without ever having actually refuted the original position." In this case, you are comparing the evaluation and repair of a physical object, such as an automobile or toilet, to the diagnosis and prescription for human beings, with regard to their physical as well as mental and spiritual health. As followers of Christ, we should indeed be convinced (and convicted) of our need to care for our physical bodies, all the while recognizing that they are temples of the Spirit of God (1 Cor:3:16). As Paul explained to Timothy, "Bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Tm 4:8). Attempting to care for our bodies in ways that are antithetical to God's Word is sinning against our Creator.
An additional concern over Rick Warren's latest church marketing campaign has nothing to do with helping believers improve their level of physical fitness (which is understandably connected to emotional health as well). Rather, it is Warren's boastful claim that The Daniel Plan is nothing short of "God's Prescription for Your Health," a statement that must be thoroughly evaluated and challenged.
To begin with, the biblical Daniel wasn't in need of a diet or program to help him get into top physical shape. To attempt to use him as a spiritual model to motivate Christians to healthy living demonstrates either an ignorance of the Scriptures or a dishonest marketing ploy.
The fact that the three doctors chosen by Warren to implement his church-wide regimen are widely recognized in their field of medical expertise is not in question. What every participant must ask is how the doctors' personal religious worldviews shape their understanding of the human mind, body, and spirit--and whether or not these extra-biblical worldviews will infect the so-called Daniel Plan's "prescription" with spiritually dangerous ideas and practices.
Dr. Mehmet Oz was born to first-generation Muslim parents in Cleveland, Ohio. His father's side of the family embraces Sharia law. Dr. Oz claims to be influenced by Sufism ("whirling dervishes"), a mystical Islamic contemplative practice in which the "adept" spins himself into an altered state of consciousness in order to commune with Allah. Through the influence of his Protestant wife, he adopted some of the teachings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, the founder of a pseudo-Christian cult that denies the Trinity, believes the Last Judgment is past, and teaches that "all who do good from the truth of their own religion" will be accepted into heaven, since "doing good conjoins oneself to God" (http://www.religiousherald.org/index . php?option=com_content&task=view&id=650&Itemid=110).
Oz believes hypnosis can and should be used to address emotional and addictive behaviors. One of his secrets to maintaining a calm presence, says Oz, is practicing Transcendental Meditation, of which he is a national spokesperson: "When I meditate, I go to that place where truth lives," he said. "I can see what reality really is, and it is so much easier to form good relationships." Oz's wife, Lisa, is a Reiki Master, a very occult form of deep massage. He praised Reiki as his "favorite treatment that could change the future of medicine forever." He explained, "It broadens dramatically the spectrum of where we might be able to go in our bodies, and this is the area of energy medicine." Concluding one episode of his popular TV program, Oz ordered millions of viewers: "Try Reiki!"
Dr. Daniel Amen, another of Rick Warren's "Daniel Plan" doctors, is founder of the famous Amen Clinic, which purports to diagnose brain-behavior disorders and prescribe dietary, chemical, and meditative treatments. Licensed in both child and adult psychiatry, Amen is an ADHD specialist who practices non-medical treatments, including hypnosis, meditation, relaxation, and eye-movement desensitization. Dr. Amen recommends that everyone should strive to meditate daily for 12 minutes and recommends "an active form of yoga meditation called Kriya Kirtan." He explains that this Kundalini-based Hindu practice "is based on the five primal sounds: saa , taa , naa , maa , and aa ." (An interesting choice and order of syllables for Christians to "contemplate:" Sa - ta - na ...).
In his bestselling book, Making a Good Brain Great , Amen instructs readers to "write a poem or love letter to your brain" (p. 240). He is also an enthusiastic activist for tantric sex, which is a Hindu practice that incorporates mysticism during intercourse to attain a higher state of pleasure--and divine consciousness. In reality, this ritual behavior invites demons into the marriage bed.
Dr. Mark Hyman is the third member of Rick Warren's "Daniel Plan" triumvirate. He is the author of: UltraCalm: A Six-Step Plan to Reduce Stress and Eliminate Anxiety . The book presents his "simple, powerful method for generating a peaceful and harmonious state in the body-mind." Hyman's "prescription" to achieve this level of "natural healing intelligence" is not even camouflaged in pseudo-scientific language but expressed in outright New Age terminology. His "audio learning program" presents "breathing meditations and visualization exercises for feeling calm, confident, and in good spirits." (Can you say "contemplative self-hypnosis and self-affirmation"?) On this, he certainly agrees with Dr. Oz and Dr. Amen: that "mind-body medicine...is now the most important medical frontier." Dr. Hyman's books are quite popular throughout the New Age and metaphysical community. Our great concern, however, is that they will be featured and promoted wherever The Daniel Plan is taught.
Rick Warren, as a shepherd of thousands of sheep and one who has been called "America's pastor," is responsible to the Lord for what he is feeding them. Tragically, he has brought in hirelings (and worse) who will lead his sheep into meditative techniques that are "doctrines of devils" and will open them to direct communication with "seducing spirits" (1 Tm 4:1).
AP, 2/15/2011: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Plans to Form Political Party [Excerpts] —Egypt's long banned Muslim Brotherhood said Tuesday it intends to form a political party once democracy is established, as the country's new military rulers launched a panel of experts to amend the country's constitution enough to allow democratic elections later this year.
The panel is to draw up changes at a breakneck pace—within 10 days—to end the monopoly that ousted President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party once held, which it ensured through widespread election rigging.
The initial changes may not be enough for many in Egypt calling for the current constitution, now suspended by the military, to be thrown out completely and rewritten to ensure no one can once again establish autocratic rule. Two members on the panel said the next elected government could further change the document if it chooses.
[TBC: While the U.S. mainstream media can barely contain its glee, and celebrates the Egyptian revolution as a victory of "democracy," reports indicate that the 18-day mob in Cairo was largely orchestrated by American technology, with ties to the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. State Department. Google engineer WaelGhonim told CNN, "this revolution started on Facebook." The corporate-sponsored, nonprofit activist group, "Movements.org" also championed the Egyptian revolution. Co-founder Jared Cohen is "director of Google Ideas and an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations." Previously, he advised the U.S. State Department (under Secretaries Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton) on terrorism and counter-radicalization, the impact of connection technologies, and development of the "21st century statecraft agenda." This agenda, evidently, included orchestrating an Egyptian coup to rout a 30-year ally of the U.S. and Israel and enable the Muslim Brotherhood to gain a seat at the table in what is being hailed as a new Middle East "democracy." One is reminded of Psalm 2: "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision" (Ps:2:4-5).]
AFP, 2/11/2011: Ahmadinejad Says "The Final Move Has Begun" [Excerpts] —President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said...that a new Middle East is being created...as he backed the Arab uprisings.
"We will soon see a new Middle East materialising without America and the Zionist regime and there will be no room for world arrogance (the West) in it."
In his fiery style, Ahmadinejad showed his messianic beliefs...saying the world was witnessing a revolution managed by Imam Mehdi, the 12th Shiite imam who disappeared as a five-year-old in the 10th century and who Shiites believe would return on the judgment day.
"The final move has begun. We are in the middle of a world revolution managed by this dear (12th Imam). A great awakening is unfolding. One can witness the hand of Imam in managing it," said Ahmadinejad.
Guardian, 2/22/2011: Iranian Warships Transit Suez [Excerpts] --Two Iranian warships have crossed the Suez canal en route to Syria in a move that Israel said it viewed with the "utmost gravity."
Last week, Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, described the Iranian move as a "provocation that proves that the self-confidence and impudence of the Iranians is growing from day to day....Regrettably the international community shows no willingness to deal with these repeated Iranian provocations."
[TBC: Concerns over Iran's year-long "training mission" include the potential supplying of weapons to Hezbollah.]
Foreign Policy Magazine, 2/17/2011: In sharp reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council [Excerpts] —The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.
In exchange for scuttling the Palestinian resolution, the United States would support the council statement, consider supporting a U.N. Security Council visit to the Middle East, the first since 1979, and commit to supporting strong language criticizing Israel's settlement policies in a future statement by the Middle East Quartet.
Dear Brother Dave and T. A.,
Thank you for faithfully sending me your monthly newsletter. Your articles and teachings on real Christianity bless my soul....Bro. Dave, your book Cosmos should be read by everyone! The battle of evolution vs. creation is so clear....As a 75-yr-old retired Kindergarten teacher, I am still in the process of learning...learning to get closer to the Lord. TBC has been a God-given blessing for years! May God keep you and grant you many more years. AW (GA)
Thank you for the DVD/book set about yoga. I had read the book before, but the DVD adds to and reinforces the book's warnings of yoga being dangerous. The DVD had much valuable information of itself. I belong to a Christian book club, buying books by mail or online. Yes, they offer (I don't buy) "Christian" yoga DVDs and books. I've tried Laurette Willis' Praise Moves--just yoga under a "Christian" umbrella. I wasted a lot of money [and] over 40 years (of being a believer) by getting into and out of yoga, other Eastern practices, contemplative prayer, the whole mysticism genre. I didn't know that these are dangerous to our minds and our walk with God. Only His Word, His love, can save us, keep us, and complete our lives. Thank you! VW (NE)
Dear Dave, Tom, and Berean Call Staff,
This note is to thank you and tell you how much I appreciate your ministry. I have learned so much and was made aware that some of what goes on in the name of "sound" teaching is not so sound. When I was using an internet service, I read your newsletters online. Your articles on psychology, emergent church, etc., opened my eyes to what is being filtered into many of our evangelical churches. Many Christians are not Bible students at home and are in danger of being deceived. Because of apologetic ministries like The Berean Call, many can still read and hear the warnings.Thanks be to God for your ministry and the determination He has given you to stand firm as a Watchman pointing out the danger to His people. May God deep you strong in your commitment to God and His Word despite persecution. May God continually bless and prosper you and your work. CF (CA)
Dear Dave, T. A., Staff and families,
Wishing you God's blessings in the New Year and we just want to say "Thank You!" for your ministry to us for so many years. Recently we have given out about a dozen copies of An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith, such an excellent resource to express what the Bible says the Christian life is about...it can be given to non-Christians and "religious" people alike, since the apologetic is for a relationship with God and the Lord Jesus Christ, not appeals to join a church denomination or to follow a "leader." I thank your staff for their efficient and loving manner in filling book/literature orders, too! LC (WA)
I just want to tell you that I recently finished reading The God Makers and found it a fascinating and in-depth treatment of Mormonism. I learned more about the Mormon religion from your book than I ever thought I would. Sadly, they are next to impossible to win to the Christ of the Bible and the biblical doctrine of Salvation by grace. Thank you so much for such detailed information. God bless you! KV (email)
I don't know how often it is that a book like your What Love Is This? is read and considered by one who is seeking the truth on the issue, or is considered honestly from one on the other side (it makes sense that often these books are read by those who are already convinced of their stand) but, I have been incredibly confused on the issue and leaning toward Calvinism for several months. I should say that several months ago I had written and asked about getting a copy of your book but [didn't have] the money to purchase one. A few days ago, I was surprised to get a copy of your book from your ministry in the mail. It was incredible timing because I was right at the verge of accepting Calvinism, but I read your book, and I praise God for the simplicity of the Gospel it reminded me of and called me back to. Thank you! VR(email)
Dear T. A. McMahon, Dave Hunt, and Staff,
Thank you for your most informative January 2011 newsletter. The article "The Temporal Delusion, Part 3" shows us definitely how the church is being diverted and the stage set for the finale. The examples you cited of the YMCA and the Salvation Army should be adequate to show how misguided the social ills-driven program is. The review of The Hole in Our Gospel, including its endorsement by Christian "leaders," gives us a frightening view. Jesus' ministry and Paul's ministry were consistently aimed at the spiritual needs of the hearers, and material needs were secondary (alongside the ministry of the Word of God). I don't see anywhere in the New Testament where the aim of Christian ministry included an effort to solve the big problems of society, like hunger, poverty, and "social injustice." These will not be solved until the King returns! Keep up the good work of helping us see the trends! TF (email)
Dear Berean Call,
Thank you again for your many efforts to try and help the body of Christ to discern the errors of our day. That is certainly an admirable endeavor. We have subscribed to the newsletter for several years now and benefited from it, but recent correspondence in support of your dispensational views has prompted us to look more carefully at our association. The pamphlet you mailed, "End Times--How Close Are We?" honestly is quite confusing. After studying the Scriptures, we find that we do not subscribe to these views. As a result, because of your emphasis, and in the interest of time and economy, we regretfully request you to remove us from your mailing list. Please listen to those who are courageously speaking up--asking you to reconsider what you are teaching others--and understand that parting ways is not our first choice. It is a decision that is both difficult and grievous. Division is not what Christ intended. Our prayers will be with you as well as the memories of that which has been helpful. AC (OR)
I write to commend your excellent work A Calvinist's Honest Doubts Resolved as it is similar to my own thinking. I found that when I embraced Calvinism, my compassion for the lost waned. After all, if the non-elect are predestined to Hell why have compassion for them? I also heard a tragic story of a pastor and his church that went so deeply into Calvinism [that] the pastor became depressed by its fatalism and committed suicide. Anyway, keep up the good work, and don't be intimidated by your opponents! RH (England)
You all do a remarkable job and a tremendous service to the Body of Christ! I marvel at your accurate research and good documentation on current trends in the real world of spiritual warfare. May God grant you courage, wisdom, and the abundant means (intellectual, spiritual, and economic) in your efforts to clarify and defend biblical truth. RM (email)
This is just a brief note to thank you for the articles you are writing about apostasy in the church. The term "Evangelical" has completely lost its meaning due to apostasy. The Bible prophesies that gross apostasy will be one of the signs of the end times, and we are seeing those prophecies fulfilled before our very eyes today. And you are certainly correct in attributing it to a lack of knowledge of God's Word. DR (email)
I am absolutely compelled to tell you how much I thoroughly enjoyed your article "Born That Man No More May Die" ["Christ and Christmas"] in December 2010. Excellent, as usual. Thank you again! Your newsletter is always enlightening as is Tom McMahon's. I have been a privileged recipient for years, and hope to be for years to come. I have and will continue to pray for both of you, Courageous Christians. RG (WI)
Praise the Lord for this ministry and that you never pump for money like so many other ministries in a "Madison Avenue" [approach], or "God is broke." Thank you that you make tents as Paul did and don't pressure or advertise like the others. Your messages are "for such a time as this." NR (VA)
Dear Friends at TBC,
I first saw Dave Hunt in the 1980s on TV. Loved him then, and still do! Also, T.A. and Edwin have been such a true blessing, as well. You wonderful people take such a loving interest in the people who support you. My heartfelt thanks. YS (MN)
Thank you for exposing the danger posed by Glenn Beck in your recent newsletter. It reminds me how important it is for Christians to be careful about who and what influences them. I continue to pray for the success of your ministry. JR (NC)
[Re TBC NewsWatch, 02/11] What bothers me most is Rick Warren saying [that] all 5,000 small groups will go through the "Daniel Plan" (or else?). I have seen this trend of using small groups in large churches to control and reinforce the teaching that the Bible is not enough--you need to do this "other" thing. I lead both a men's small group and a couple's small group [at my church]. (I'm a former Celebrate Recovery leader.) In both our small groups we have scrapped the "package DVD/small booklet study guides" format, and have just been using the Bible alone. We just had too many serious issues going on in people's lives, e.g., broken marriages, bankruptcies, etc., and just couldn't keep fooling around anymore. The results have been amazing. Last week I asked our couples group if they wanted to do the DVD things again. Everyone was quick to say no, let's just stick with the Word!...You guys are right on with what's going on in our churches, and what you say is making a difference! DC (email)
If you've been reading our newsletter for the last six months or so, we hope that you've noted our mention of some unbiblical trends that are attracting followers as never before and leading them in a rather ominous direction.
Although biblical prophecy is either denigrated or distorted by growing numbers of professing Christians today, no one can deny the perfect accuracy of Scripture's prophecies and their fulfillments regarding Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection, at His first coming. Therefore, we can trust the Bible completely in everything that it has to say about what will take place in the future.
This needs to be underscored because too few are paying heed, which may well have spiritually disastrous consequences. In His parable of the fig tree, Jesus exhorts those who follow Him to be aware of the times: "When they now shoot forth [buds], ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (Luke 21:29-31).
Our previous articles have presented many details of what is transpiring today that is either actively contributing to the apostasy or completely disregarding major prophetic events, so here is a summary of some of the things that will take place (perhaps sooner than many think considering the increasing number of significant signs): The Rapture of believers, the Great Tribulation and the reign and worship of Antichrist, Armageddon, the thousand-year reign of Jesus, the incineration of the heavens and the earth, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, where sin will never enter.
Any participation in any program that doesn't recognize these prophetic truths of God's Word is a joining of forces with antichrist goals.
T. A. McMahon
Are this season's extreme weather and mass animal deaths signs of Divine judgment?
The winter of 2010-2011 brought extreme weather not only to the United States but to the entire world. Record-setting rain triggered massive floods and mudslides from Australia to Mexico; bulb-shattering blizzards brought minus temps across most of North America. Despite new records of ice and snow in many states and cities, "global warming" proponents maintain that this extreme cooling trend does not contradict but rather reinforces the scientifically dubious theory of consumer-driven CO2 "pollution."
In addition to many unusual and catastrophic weather events--which are not only claiming lives but contributing to a worldwide food and commodity crisis--there have been bizarre accounts of near-simultaneous animal deaths around the world, including massive "kills" of numerous species of fish, birds, crabs, and even cattle. Over 40 such incidents were reported in less than 30 days between December 17 and January 14, ranging in scope from a few dozen to a few million . The widespread nature and curious chronology of these events is causing many Christians--and even some reporters--to ask if these sudden mass die-offs are natural, man-made, or prophetic in nature.
As many astute observers and biblical watchmen have reported for years, we do see an increase in the "signs of the times" of which Jesus warned in Matthew:24:3-25--first and foremost in spiritual deception, but also in "wars and rumors of wars," as well as volcanic activity and "earthquakes in divers places." Though some argue that this geophysical uptick is simply due to keener instruments of detection, the recent earthquake "swarm" along the New Madrid fault produced over 500 quakes between September and December 2010 alone--prompting some to draw a potential correlation to the animal deaths in central Arkansas. Other researchers point to the fact that Arkansas is home to the nation's largest "fracking" (hydraulic fracturing) operation for natural gas exploration and recovery. Nonetheless, some believers still blame the quakes on the "sinfulness of man," and many others are wondering if these mass animal fatalities are also prophetic indicators of God's impending and/or increasing judgment of the planet.
In a video blog on her website, Latter Rain "prophetess" Cindy Jacobs, founder of the "spiritual warfare" group Generals International, suggested that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was responsible for the mass bird and fish deaths reported in and near Beebe, Arkansas: "It could be because we've said it's okay for people who commit these kinds of [homosexual] acts to be recognized in our military, for the first time in our history, there is a potential that there is something that actually happened in the land , where a hundred thousand drum fish died...and these birds just fell out of the air."
Though correctly denouncing homosexuality, there are numerous problems with the inferences drawn by Jacobs. For example, how does this explain the dozens of other chronological wildlife deaths around the globe? Additionally, such immature and mystical assertions serve to malign God's character and reinforce negative stereotypes of our Creator as spiteful and capricious. But although Charisma magazine (whose publisher seems enamored with Latter Rain heresy) continues to provide such false teachers a platform in the church, the liberal media understandably had a heyday with Jacob's correlation--though not quite to the degree that it did when Pat Robertson blamed the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake on that nation's history of vodoun (voodoo). Such shameful declarations do not disqualify God's Word but rather prove the biblical warning: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you...by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Pt 2:1-2).
Unfortunately, the false prophets of the Latter Rain movement aren't the only ones implying an apocalyptic explanation for this winter's extreme weather and unexplained animal deaths. Many otherwise doctrinally sound Christian leaders, writers, and readers seem to be coming prophetically "unhinged" at events like these. But could this sequential die-off be related to other unexplained animal fatalities, such as the catastrophic honey bee "colony collapse disorder" that began in 2006 and continues to threaten U.S. crop pollination and production?
As most astute readers would agree, the answer of "global warming" (allegedly resulting in "freak freezing" and weather-related animal fatalities) fails to explain the extent of these events. Since scientists cannot determine a biological or chemical cause in the vast majority of these unexplained and apparently "unrelated" deaths (according to mainstream media reports) it is understandably tempting to assign some divine significance to make sense of them. However, because we are clearly not living in the "great and terrible" day of the Lord (Joel:2:11,31) Bereans must look for either a natural or a man-made explanation. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there is plenty of evidence that points to some logical--though disturbing--explanations for extreme weather as well as recent and ongoing wildlife fatalities.
If chemical, biological, and "divine judgment" causes are not the most reasonable explanations for the strange animal fatalities, then one is left to look for another unseen source--namely, things that can travel invisibly through air and water and are generally undetected by humans. Space does not permit a full report and analysis of known government programs, but readers should at least be made aware of several that daily impact our world. Alaska's HAARP (High-frequency Active Auroral Research Project) is capable of "shooting" earth's ionosphere with 3.6 megawatts of power, bouncing this concentrated energy beam back through the atmosphere, even penetrating the ground. (This incredible jolt is equivalent to eight hours' output of Hoover Dam--enough electricity to supply power for 1.3 million people in a typical work day.) It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that this invisible "ray gun" could pose serious side effects for the environment as well as all living creatures--especially those that God created with sensitive receptors for navigation and communication (like birds, bees, bats, and even fish).
Most of us are aware, to some degree, of the bombardment of our airwaves and our bodies with above-ground radiation--but what about the earth's bodies of water? In a disturbing report, Rosalind Peterson documents government destruction of marine life in the recently expanded "sonar training exercises" affecting "literally every coastal state and the Gulf of Mexico":
The United States Navy will be decimating millions of marine mammals and other aquatic life, each year, for the next five years, under their Warfare Testing Range Complex Expansions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. The National Marine Fisheries Service...has already approved...more than a dozen...Warfare Testing Complexes, and is preparing to issue another permit for 11.7 million marine mammals (32...species), to be decimated [by sonar and explosives] along the Northern California, Oregon and Washington areas of the Pacific Ocean. ( News With Views , 8/11/2009)
On December 29, in the midst of the mysterious animal deaths, another exceedingly curious event took place in Victoria, Canada. For several hours, the GoldstreamRiver ran bright green--the color of antifreeze. Local reports called the mystery "solved" when the color source was identified as the "non-toxic" chemical, fluorescein. Nontoxic? Used in radiology, a medical source says "fluorescein injection can cause severe allergic reaction, shortness of breath, hives, severe itching or circulatory collapse...and in rare cases, death." Most news stories suggested that it was merely an elaborate "prank," indicating that "the chemical is usually used to trace leaks from septic tanks and can be bought online." However, no ongoing or subsequent investigation revealed how or why the costly ($11.50/oz) chemical was delivered into the river, or by whom .
These examples are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full range of military-industrial abuse of the environment (while simultaneously purporting to be concerned about its protection). With the U.S. government and other global super powers all battling "invisibly" for supremacy and control over space, the airwaves, the oceans, and even the weather (all in the domain presently given to Satan--Eph:2:2, Job:1:7, etc.) the fact is clear that sinful man continues to meddle with God's created order in ways that are not natural--and, are, in fact, potentially destructive on a global scale. Armed with the knowledge of such known operations, should believers automatically spiritualize every "unexplained" event and ascribe such "acts of God" to the Lord?
There is no doubt that we live in increasingly perilous times--and that birth pangs of things soon to come are being seen and felt in many ways. But as even the limited evidence we've presented suggests, this winter's extreme weather, animal deaths, and even earthquakes are not the beginnings of God's divine judgment, which will occur post-rapture (1 Thes:5:9). Rather, these events appear to be the consequences of entropy, in conjunction with the wickedness of men (Ps 2, Gal:6:7, 2 Tim:3:13) devising an antichrist dominion over the earth--which is itself a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
- Mark D insmore
Mysterious Animal Death Chronology
Below is a partial compilation of strange or unexplained animal deaths reported world-wide that some say are "prophetic" signs of the times. In reverse date order:
Does Modern Meditation "Maximize" Your Mind?
An excerpt from America: The Sorcerer's New Apprentice  by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon originally published in 1988.
Most dictionaries still categorize sorcery as an "evil" form of occultism in distinction to so-called "white magic." However, many of today's anthropologists, including best-selling authors such as Michael Harner and Carlos Castaneda, see sorcery (like all categories of occultism) as a neutral technique for manipulating reality for either good or evil--as with the dark and light side of the Force in Star Wars . There are others, however, who warn that it is as dangerous to become involved in white magic as it is in any other form of sorcery.
Drugs were only the first step into the world of mystical experiences. The real power was to be experienced through Eastern mysticism. Aware that the eager pursuit of "altered states of consciousness" while tripped out on psychedelics had rendered a generation vulnerable, the Eastern gurus lost no time invading the West with their cosmic gospel of reincarnation and Nirvana. Disciples flocked to them by the millions to learn techniques for achieving the same altered states through meditation which they had previously reached on drugs....
After studying with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his ashram in India, the ever-popular Beatles led multitudes of their worshipful followers into transcendental meditation and other forms of yoga. Many other well-known Americans also began to practice and promote TM. In The Relaxation Response , which went to the top of the best-seller lists, HarvardMedicalSchool associate professor Herbert Benson praised Maharishi and TM's results. Unfortunately Benson made no mention of the frightening spiritual side effects, of the suicides and insanity, or of the fact that the mantra (a secret word to be repeated while meditating) is not the meaningless sound which Maharishi represents it to be but instead is the name of a Hindu god. Moreover, according to the authoritative texts on yoga, the repetition of this sound in meditation is a call to that entity to possess the meditator.... [pp. 30-31]
In [a later] book, Your Maximum Mind , Herbert Benson reminds us that an ongoing project for many years "at the HarvardMedicalSchool has been the exploration in the Indian Himalayas of the frontiers of the mind." Sponsored by major foundations, the research has centered on the psychic powers of Buddhist monks. In January 1985 a film crew sent by Benson (following an invitation from the Dalai Lama) documented some incredible events. In one test, the dressed-for-the-Arctic Harvard team set out in zero-degrees-Fahrenheit weather from a 17,000-foot-elevation monastery accompanying ten monks [each] wearing only sandals and a light cotton wraparound cloth. At 19,000 feet on a rocky cliffside ledge, "the monks took off their sandals and squatted down on their haunches...leaned forward, put their heads on the ground, and draped the light cotton wrappings over their bodies." Benson continues the account:
In this position, being essentially naked, they spent the entire night practicing a special type of gTum-mo meditation called Repeu ...a light snow drifted down over them during the early morning hours. No ordinary person could have endured these conditions. We're sure of that. Yet the monks...simply remained quietly in their meditative positions for about eight consecutive hours.... Finally, at the...sounding of a small horn, they stood up, shook the snow off their backs, put their sandals on and calmly walked back down the mountain again. [pp. 55-56]
...Stephen Williamson, director of the Institute for Bio-Acoustics Research, warns against techniques whose goal is to bypass the conscious, rational mind where information is accepted or rejected. Yet this is precisely one's condition in the "altered state" being sought by millions for "enlightenment." And Herbert Benson, despite some ambivalent warnings, even recommends his "Relaxation Response" technique as a means of "pass[ing] into the so-called hypnotic state" precisely because, as he says, "...in this state of enhanced left-right hemispheric communication.... 'cognitive receptivity' or 'plasticity of cognition' occurs, in which you actually change the way you view the world." It hardly seems advisable to make a major change in one's thinking in such a fluid mental state. Such active promotion of delusionary altered states by leading members of the medical and psychological professions has given the New Age consciousness revolution an undeserved aura of "scientific" credibility that has persuaded millions of people to get involved.
Personnel director Richard L. Watring makes clear his reason for objecting to New Age training techniques involving "a state of altered consciousness." According to Watring, "self-hypnosis and other consciousness-altering techniques induce a mental state that denies trainees an opportunity to make reasoned decisions about the information they are asked to accept as true." Herbert Benson realized this also and warned that his "Principle of the Maximum Mind" could be "employed in what has been called a demonic fashion...we must always be aware of the possible dangers." By "demonic" he simply means that the high suggestibility of the meditative state may also open one to being influenced to an evil or destructive end.
One of Watring's major concerns is that in altered states, basic belief systems can be manipulated. Benson issues a similar warning, but not out of concern for the validity of a belief. He apparently sees no relevance in whether a value statement is true or false . In fact, those concepts seem to have no meaning for him. His only concern is that his readers remain "positive" about whatever it is they already believe, whether truth or lie, because this attitude enhances what he calls the "faith factor," which in turn elicits the placebo effect that releases potentials for health and happiness allegedly hidden within the brain.
The issue, according to Benson, is not whether Jesus, for example, was a self-deluded maniac, deliberate impostor, or who he claimed to be (the only three possibilities). Nor does it concern Benson that likening the monotheistic and personal Judeo-Christian God to an impersonal pantheistic force may involve a complete contradiction. The only real value in religious dogmas or symbols, as Benson portrays them, is to arouse faith in the same manner as a placebo does. This arousal will then allegedly trigger the release of chemicals in the brain, will initiate glandular reactions, and will unleash a variety of latent human powers. Consequently, we don't actually need "God," "Buddha," "Jesus," or the "Star Wars Force," and whether they really exist or not is immaterial, since their only value is as placebos to trigger faith in our own innate powers.... [pp. 137-139]
Some researchers are accepting the evidence that instead of producing thought, brain activity is a result of thought, and must therefore originate independently of the brain and apparently outside the physical dimension. The scientific materialist is naturally reluctant to accept such a conclusion in spite of the evidence, because it undermines his entire worldview. Even someone like...Herbert Benson, who at times seems to give a nodding assent to the nonphysical nature of mind, persists in attributing the origin of thoughts to the physical substance of the brain.... He writes:
A healthy brain cell stores and transmits information which ultimately becomes what we know as thoughts . It's very difficult to describe exactly what happens in this process because the whole act of thinking is so complex, with enormous numbers of brain cells interacting in our mental processes.
Yet a mere 20 pages further in the same book, Benson contradicts himself by referring to Sir John Eccles's experiments as though he agrees with his conclusions that the brain is a machine operated by a nonphysical entity, the mind....He...quotes famed neurosurgeon and brain researcher Wilder Penfield: "The mind is independent of the brain. The brain is a computer, but it is programmed by something that is outside itself, the mind."...Logic itself compels us to conclude that the human brain...doesn't think at all....
Whether a person seems to be predominantly moral or immoral, aesthetic or vulgar, artistic or practical does not originate with and cannot be blamed upon a certain hemisphere of the brain, even though that part may be used by the brain's ghostly operator when expressing these characteristics. Yet this modern myth persists under the promotion of such highly regarded experts as Herbert Benson (who goes so far as to say, "We have become prisoners of the left sides of our brains"). [pp. 152-153]
...Benson says that his Relaxation Response "acts, in a rather extraordinary fashion, as kind of a door to a renewed mind and changed life." We have already pointed out that this altered state removes all basis for objective evaluation, renders the participant vulnerable to suggestion, and is not the condition to adopt new world views. [pp. 262]
[ TBC : In an interview posted on Rick Warren's The Daniel Plan website (http://www.saddleback.com/thedanielplan/ ), Dr. Daniel Amen explains to Warren that meditation is an important exercise for dealing with stress and suggests that it would be helpful for those who participate in The Daniel Plan. He claims that Dr. Benson's "Relaxation Response" technique has no religious basis. Warren seemed to concur, or at least raised no objection to the suggestion.]
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