Now, Religion in the News. In this segment, we report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This provides a sometimes disturbing evaluation of the state of today’s Christianity.
This item is from USA Today, dated November 1996. “Kabbalah is the rage in Tinseltown”. It’s not a new beauty aid or trendy club. “It’s the kind of thing Jews don’t talk about,” TV’s Roseanne noted. It’s something you’re told when you’re growing up that only rabbis know about after forty years of study.
I’m a Catholic shiksa, actress Diane Ladd says, but I’m on a spiritual journey and I believe we can learn from all religions. She was introduced to Kabbalah by comedian Sandra Burnhart who had been referred by her personal trainer. Ladd is so excited about Kabbalah that she took daughter Laura Dern to an L. A. area Kabbalah Learning Center. “These are the kinds of things you want to pass on to those you love.” She also clued in pal Connie Stevens. Jeff Goldbloom took the basic course, Barry Diller and Dolly Parton attended a private class. Roseanne explains, “They say that the Bible is the how, and Kabbalah is the why. It’s all about time and space. I hate to say this, but I will,” says the comedian actress who is Jewish. “The Jews were lost for awhile, but now they’re on their way back.” Kabbalah is about connection between mind and body, astrology, Atlantis, reincarnation and computers.
Tom: The Kabbalah, Dave. Jewish mysticism. This is in our theme for this program and some down the line. The theme is occultism. Kabbalah is occultism isn’t it.
Dave: Yes. Maybe we need to define occultism, which we haven’t yet.
The world of the occult is a secret world, non-physical. You have to be initiated and it’s something that you can manipulate. You can learn the secrets of this. You can learn the formulas, you know and when the witch doctor slits a rooster’s throat and sprinkles the blood in a certain pattern, (it must be) and he mumbles a formula, then the gods have to come through. And it’s called in the opera, Foust. Dr. Foust made a bargain. It’s called the magician’s bargain with Mephistopheles, the little demon. So basically, in exchange for power, you get to be in control, but you lose your soul. And now this is happening in the so-called Christian world as well. If you give into the desire for power, you really sell your soul, because God is not going to play that game. The real God. So you get in touch with the god of this world who will play that game, who will pretend to give you power. So Kabbalah works by formulas, works by numbers and signs and mystical workings. This is not the straight forward method of the true God.
Tom: Well it’s not the Bible. I mean it’s based on the Torah, but it’s actually secret meanings. Esoteric understandings of what—
Dave: Right, but you see the way we can discern, because we need to talk about discernment. What’s wrong with this? Well God doesn’t work that way. He is open and straight-forward. Jesus said, “I don’t say anything in secret.” This is not a secret technique. “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples. You will know the truth; the truth will set you free.”
These are secrets and there are techniques involved. As soon as you have a technique for getting in touch with the spirit world and where you can make it happen in your life and the lives of others, as soon as you are into that, that’s not God. That is the god of this world.
Tom: Right, and also you’re at a loss here, because it’s not God’s objective word. You’re having to buy into some subjective interpretation that someone has with no recourse. No way to discern whether it’s true or not.
Dave: It’s a secret they pass on. Well—
Tom: But there’s an appeal in that isn’t there? I mean here you have the Hollywood group. They are excited about it. Something new, something novel, something that has power.
Dave: We all want to belong to an exclusive club.
Dave: It makes us a little bit better than others.