Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could join us! In today’s program, we continue a series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archive’s first broadcast in 2008, with the late founder of The Berean Call, Dave Hunt, and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week, they address the question: What Is Occultism? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Dave, to start right off, why write a book on occultism?
Dave: Well, because, as the title suggests, Occult Invasion, occultism – which used to be looked upon as sort of a superstition where you had to go into a darkened séance room, or go see a psychic or crystal ball reading, or whatever – now it has invaded every part of our society including science and education and religion, and even including the evangelical church, so I think it’s a very important topic.
Tom: I find that kind of amazing, actually, that here we are in a day of computers, high technological advances, yet the things “spiritual” – there’s almost a rampant desire, a hunger, for things “spiritual” on a day in which science was supposed to solve all our problems.
Dave: Yes, because science doesn’t really solve problems; it creates a lot of problems, unfortunately. Yes, we have a more high-tech world. It’s…a lot more conveniences in the home and we can do a whole lot more than we used to be able to do, but that doesn’t change the human heart. It doesn’t change man’s desire for purpose and meaning, for love, for companionship. It doesn’t change man’s search for: Where did we come from? Where are we going?
I think in the book I quote Erwin Schrödinger, one of the leading physicists of this century who gave us our modern physics, and he says that science doesn’t have any answer to: Where did I come from? Where am I going? God, heaven, hell, beauty – science can’t tell you why a sunset is beautiful. Science cannot deal with any of the basics that man realizes are most important in life. Einstein, when he came up with his theory of relativity, somebody said, “Well I guess this will show that everything is relative including morals and religion and so forth.” And Einstein said, “This is science. It has nothing to do with religion.” And, of course, that’s a problem, because science can’t really calibrate or examine or come to any conclusions about the non-physical dimension of life.
Tom: Science, also, in some ways has really failed us, hasn’t it? It’s created more problems and it has driven us away, in certain ways.
Dave: Well, it creates emptiness. I mean, it raises more questions than it answers, actually. I remember a scientist friend of mine, one of the really top scientists in the world, saying, “It’s like a hall of mirrors that just keeps going on, ever-receding images.” He said, “Every door science opens, there are ten unopened doors on the other side, and the more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know.” You talk about cloning or some of the things that we are doing today. These raise moral issues and, of course, science is amoral; it doesn’t have any answers for these questions. You can feel satisfied for a while with your TV and your VCR and your computer and all the great things that you can do that you couldn’t do a century ago, but it doesn’t satisfy the human heart.
Tom: But aren’t there some other kinds of – I want to say “drives,” but it’s not really drives but appetites, there, that would move people in the direction of spirituality? I mean, that’s what the Occult Invasion is about. That there is this hunger, this thirst – almost a rampant hunger, thirst, for things spiritual. How do we account for that, Dave?
Dave: Well, because science has come to a dead end. Science realizes that – as I said, you can’t explain love, purpose, meaning, justice, truth, some of the major concepts that man has, and he knows that they are real. You can’t explain those in terms of chemical reactions or neural activity in the brain. And science has come to the conclusion that the physical dimension is not all there is. There is something beyond that.
Now, of course, our society has been driven to that conclusion. You could go back into the late fifties, sixties, seventies – the drug culture opened the door. Somebody drops LSD, and suddenly they are catapulted into a spiritual adventure – another dimension that they didn’t know existed. They meet beings, they get all kinds of revelations on drug trips. And then that opened the door to the gurus from the East who realized that we were ripe for it now, and they came with their Transcendental Meditation, their yoga, self-realization. Much of it was encouraged by psychology – new developments in psychology, transpersonal psychology – in other words, beyond the human being – there’s something out there.
Tom: Also, the new physics, quantum physics – hasn’t that at least made these spiritual ideas more acceptable for those who were kind of moving out of materialism, scientific materialism?
Dave: Well, it depends on who you talk to. Some people would say yes. There are some people who…Fritjof Capra, for example, who wrote The Tao of Physics. But it wasn’t through physics; it was through meditation, through an eastern meditational experience. But physics is not going to lead you directly in – physics will imply, but physics comes to a dead end. And medicine and the medical model of man comes to a dead end and says, “Wait a minute – I mean, we can’t explain thought.”
Your brain – I think everybody, except maybe some behavioristic psychologists, realizes your brain doesn’t think. If your brains thought, you would be the victim or the slave of your brain. You would have no control. So, your brain just makes you do whatever it wants you to do. Of course, the psychologists try to say that we were stimulus response mechanisms. They finally realized you cannot explain the sense of a person’s own identity. A sense of…there’s got to be some meaning, some purpose. What about justice? You see, none of these things are physical.
It’s interesting, when you think of Lenin – I guess I’m using the Russian pronunciation of Lenin. He believed that we were just stimulus response mechanisms. He’s an atheist. Scientific materialism, matter, is all there is, and so, you touch something hot and you learn about hot; you touch something cold and you learn about cold. So, every concept that we have comes from something that’s real, that’s in the physical world. You can’t think of something that doesn’t exist. You say, well I can think of a pink elephant. Yeah, but pink exists and elephants exist. I mean, it’s very simple to prove it. Come up with a new prime color for the rainbow. You can’t do it; you can’t even conceive of it!
So that was what bugged Lenin. If all the thoughts that we have are a response to physical stimulus out there, and you can’t even think of something that doesn’t exist, where did this thought “God” come from? What was the physical object that brought this about? Obviously, there is no physical object to bring it about. He tried to say: “Well, that is an insidious lie.” You know, “the opiate of the masses taught by the preachers” and so forth. Yes, but where did they get the idea?
But then, when you think about it a little more clearly, as I mentioned, “justice”… Has anybody ever seen justice? What color is it, and what’s the texture of it, and so forth? Furthermore, you sit in a courtroom, and the judge comes to a conclusion, and you say, “There’s no justice here!” Some people say there’s no justice on this earth. Well, if there’s no justice on this earth, what are they talking about if they have never seen justice?
So, we began to realize that we have ideas that are not the result of some stimulus around. They are innate within man, and you can’t explain them physically. So we realize that there’s a ghost in the machine. Your brain is not running the show; you are running your brain.
Now, what happened on the drug movement – in an altered state of consciousness (and I often quote Sir John Eccles, Nobel prize winner for his research in the brain), in an altered state of consciousness the normal connection between you, that is, your spirit, and your brain is loosened, and that allows another spirit to interpose itself and begin to tick off the neurons in the brain and create an entire universe of illusion. That’s where the out-of-body experiences (so called) come from. Shirley MacLaine has not been out of her body. It’s like a demon playing a video tape. If she’d been out of her body, she would be dead. James very clearly says “the body without the spirit is dead.”
So, science came to a dead end, and science realized there is something beyond. We cannot explain what we are experiencing. There is another dimension to this universe, and we cannot measure it, we can’t manufacture any instruments that will calibrate it, because it’s not physical and all of our instruments are physical.
Tom: Now, Dave, these things that you’re presenting here – this is really the catalyst for moving out of a kind of a scientific materialism, right? This is something that would encourage the world. I mean, we’re seeing an occult invasion, as the book title indicates, so these are catalysts to move people into concepts that relate to spirituality.
Dave: This opened the door to a whole new way of looking at things. But a lot of people aren’t that logical, so how did they get into it? Well, much of it came through the Positive Mental Attitude/Success Motivation Movement, the Human Potential Movement. You’ve got it in the business world. I remember a high schooler, who came to me and said: “What’s happening? I’m taking Business as a senior, and my teacher suggested I write on a piece of paper my ambition in life. What do I want to be? Do I want to be a CEO, or I want to be a CPA, or whatever I want? How much money do I want to earn? Write that, and then put it under my pillow and meditate on it, and that’s going to bring it about.”
So, the desire for power, for success, for control – I want to be in control, you know. And of course, in the area of health, I’ve got two new hips. Well, I used to run six miles every other day. I could backpack, as you know, and carry seventy pounds on my back and run the young guys into the ground…
Tom: Yeah, myself included.
Dave: …in my sixties. Then, suddenly, I can hardly walk. I’m out of control! So I’ve got to have control, I’ve got to recover control in my life, and somebody comes along and says, “Well, look, there’s an infinite potential inside of you, and if you know how to tap into this thing….” Okay, so that opened the door. People didn’t realize – for example, as you know, in our ministry we just got a letter from a father, I think it was, who said his daughter had been involved in yoga for a number of years and she was experiencing, he said, exactly what I wrote about in this book, I think he said on page 225 or something like that.
Dave: Okay, a lot of people didn’t think yoga was spiritual.
Tom: Yeah, it’s just a physical exercise.
Dave: And Hatha yoga, in fact (and she was involved in hatha yoga), claims to be. And suddenly, like the people who took TM, you know, we have interviewed some of them, and suddenly they’ve got a demon sitting on each side of them trying to get in; or suddenly they find themselves up on the ceiling looking down on their body that’s meditating. (Well, they are not really, but something is going on). And…
Tom: That’s the imagery that they are receiving.
Dave: …and they did not intend a spiritual experience. In fact, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said: “It’s not spiritual. This is not religion. This is science,” okay! But they wanted power, they wanted to relax, they wanted to develop their full potential, and so, that, again, is one of the reasons the door was opened.
Then you’ve got science fiction. When…Tom, I am considerably older than you are, so you probably can’t remember, but I remember Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and stuff like that…
Tom: Buster Crab, come on!
Dave: Well, that was too late for me. I’m thinking way back when I was a child. And we never took it seriously. I mean it was fantasy. I can tell you, the kids today watch science fiction, and they take it seriously because they know it can happen.
Okay, so we’ve got a whole new mentality: “There’s a fantastic potential for us human beings to do…we can move objects, physical objects, with our minds without touching them, and we can develop this potential, and, wow! – we’re going to do amazing things! The next step in evolution isn’t going to be physical. It’s going to catapult man into another dimension of reality. A new species will be formed….” I mean, on and on it goes, but it’s the old lie of the Serpent in the Garden.
Tom: Dave, before you get on with that, it’s interesting – some people would think, Well, wait a minute! We just came out of a time of materialism when people didn’t want to hear about things spiritual, didn’t believe in things spiritual. And now we have this great interest in spirituality. Wouldn’t you think – I mean, some evangelicals tell us, “Hey, this is a great opportunity! Now people are interested in things spiritual, and they are going to be directed right to the Word of God; they are going to hear the gospel; they are open for it.” But it’s not working out that way is it?
Dave: It’s getting even worse. The worst delusion you can have is not just science, physical science. You can deal with that, but spiritual science, religious science, Christian science, you know. It’s interesting because Jesus foretold this in Matthew 24, when the disciples asked, “What will be the sign of Your coming,” the end of the world, and so forth, Jesus said: “Beware that no one deceive you, for many will come in My name.” That was an audacious thing for an itinerant preacher, ex-carpenter – never been outside of His little country of Israel – for Him to dare to say, “In the last days, when they are looking for a world leader, do you know who he is going to claim to be? The Christ! He’ll claim to be Me.” And Jesus said “False prophets and false Christs will arise, and will show great signs and wonders so that, if possible, they could deceive the very elect.” And He says, “They will deceive many.
So, Jesus was talking, in contrast to what we would have thought a few years ago, you know: science would reign supreme; “We’ve got men walking on the moon, we’ve got computers. I mean, nobody believes in God anymore. Nobody goes to church. Nobody is involved in spiritual things. Materialism has won the day.” We would have thought, even fifty years ago…
Jesus, nineteen hundred years ago, said: Let me tell you something. There is going to be an explosion of interest in spirituality, and it isn’t going to be good. It’s going to open the door to a delusion that’s far worse than any delusion that physical science could impose upon man.
Tom: Well, lets talk a little bit about discernment here. Why isn’t it… evangelical Christians in particular, those who believe in the Bible, would be more discerning about what’s going on, but it doesn’t work out that way. At least, based on our research, based on the letters that we receive, based on the books you’ve written, that’s not the case.
Dave: Well, I can remember back in the late thirties, one of the most popular books, at least in evangelical circles was by Harry Rimmer. It was called The Harmony of Science and Scripture. And our big thing was, if we could just get science on our side, you know. And so some people fall for this. Now, when science or psychologists (which psychology is not science), but when scientists, psychologists, begin talking about spirituality, we think, Isn’t that great? They’re on our side. We’re too eager to pick up a partner that is not following the Word of God or following the truth. Then, what happens is, you have people using “God words,” the same-sounding words, but they have different meanings. And then people say, “Well it doesn’t really matter so long as you believe in a higher power. Who cares, you know?”
No, that won’t do, because God says there are false gods out there, and He identifies himself very clearly, and He’s not going to compromise on this.
So, we have an incredible delusion that is taking place now within the evangelical church. We talk about “people of faith,” for example, Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition. They talk about people of faith. What faith? What do you mean? A false faith is even worse than no faith, because a person that doesn’t have any faith, you could, maybe help him to recognize that and that he needs faith. But somebody who thinks he’s got faith – faith is not a force, but we’re getting that impression now. The positive confession people teach that. Norman Vincent Peale taught that. Robert Schuller teaches the same thing. Robert Schuller, for example, says, “The most powerful thing in the universe is possibility thinking. You can do miracles with possibility thinking.”
Well, if the most powerful thing in the universe is possibility thinking, what happened to God, you know? Norman Vincent Peale said, “Positive thinking is another word for faith.” Well, wait a minute! You can be an atheist and teach positive thinking seminars and be a positive thinker. So, now we get a confusion of terms, and people are deluded into thinking they have faith when they don’t have faith. Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” Now, if your faith is not in God but it’s in your own human potential or some higher power that could be a front for Satan, then you’ve got some serious problems.
Somebody says, “Well, this is narrow minded. I mean, how can you be so narrow minded? I mean, somebody is talking about a higher power, I mean, let them alone!” No, there are false gods, there are false concepts.
So now, one of the things – I think we may have talked about it before, I can’t remember. But they are doing experiments (yeah, we did talk about it) where you have somebody – well, you have a control group of people in a hospital, and some of them are prayed for and some of them are not. What do you know! The ones that are prayed for seem to get better, and Christians are very excited. “Wow! Isn’t that wonderful! See, prayer works!”
Tom: Right! And also, it’s scientific.
Dave: Yeah, but wait a minute. Who’s praying? It doesn’t matter! Buddhists, Hindus, or somebody…you give them a placebo, okay? We now understand the “placebo effect.” A placebo is just a sugar pill – it doesn’t have anything of any substance in it, but you tell them that “this will stop your headache,” or “this will give you a good night’s sleep,” and in fifty to sometimes eighty or ninety percent of the cases it does what you tell them it will do, but it has no ingredient in there for doing it. And now, people say, “Well, but you see they believed that it would happen. Isn’t that wonderful? That shows what faith is!”
Now, what we have done, we’ve turned God into a placebo. It doesn’t matter who He is, but just so long as we believe there’s some higher power out there. But what does a placebo do? Placebo has no power. It activates something within you, and this is what they’re looking for. They are looking for...to tap into something within mankind. So then, they are being led astray. Rather than being brought to faith in the true God, they’re being brought to faith in some placebo effect.
Tom: This also attracts evangelicals – those who claim to be Bible believers – because it has a ring of science to it. They don’t take the time to discriminate, that is, to discern the difference between what biblical faith is and what, you know, what they are being offered or sounds like, as you said earlier, it has the terminology of it.
But there is a greater deception here. For example, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, when he started out with his Spiritual Regeneration Movement, it didn’t go over, did it? Because it was too spiritual sounding at the time. But then he changed the name of it. It became the Science of Transcendental Meditation. Now, he was able to get that into places where he was cut off before. And people in the church were attracted to it because now it was no longer Hinduism, or a Hinduistic technique, a yogi technique. It became “science.”
Dave: Well “science” is the sacred cow. So, if science says it, why, everybody believes it. But that’s not the way it works. Scientists are just as messed up in their lives, they have just as many divorces, they commit just as many suicides. They’re troubled by meaninglessness, purposelessness, unhappiness, misery, you know – just as much as anybody else because science doesn’t help. So, then why should I be influenced by science when it comes to spiritual matters? I’ve got to know God.
Tom: But it’s effective, though, isn’t Dave? And I guess that’s my point.
Tom: It influences people; it attracts them for reasons that you were developing before – power. “I want this in my life.” “I want to change this. I could go God’s way, but this is not religious; this is scientific.”
Dave: Well, you hear that all the time, Tom. People say, “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious.” In other words, I don’t want any dogmas. I just want to do my thing, you know. I just want to flit out here into some spiritual realm and just experience it and enjoy it. That’s going to lead you into horrible destruction.
But, Tom, let me try to illustrate how simple it is to be lead astray. Most people, I would say – in fact, I would say most Christians – I haven’t taken a poll on it, but I think most Christians – they think that faith is something like, “I’m praying for something. If I can just believe…” (we probably mentioned this before, but I think it bears repeating), “If I can just believe that what I’m praying for is going to happen….” They think that’s “faith,” and they try to believe they’re praying for healing, praying for a job, or whatever, and they try to “believe” that this is going to happen.
That’s not faith! Faith must be in God. Faith is believing that God will do it. Well, then, that changes the whole formula! It may not be God’s will. It may not be God’s time. It may not be God’s way. So, that’s the difference between trying to develop this “higher power” that’s going to activate – you know – going to develop my potential, or recognizing that there is the true God who has communicated to man in His Word. And He’s told us that our problem is sin, and we’re separated from Him, and being willing to be reconciled to Him on His terms, and then to submit to His will for our lives.
Tom: The objection to that – whether it’s vocalized, articulated, or not – but the objection of the heart, the flesh, here, is that, “Yeah, but I want to be in control. I want these things to happen when I want them to happen. And, if I can somehow make God….” I mean, you know, they may not say, that, but that’s the heart. You want to be in control. Isn’t that the attraction?
Dave: I remember when Ruth and I were first married. We got on our knees. We wanted to surrender our lives to the Lord, and we did. But I had a fear in my heart: As soon as I say, God, you can have me. Do whatever you want with me, bingo, He’s going to ship me off to Red China as a missionary to be martyred by the Communists, you know. Because, somehow we think we’re smarter than God, and we’re afraid He’s going to be too tough on us. But, if we only realize that He’s smarter than we are, and He really loves us, then I don’t want to be in control! I want God to be in control.
Tom: I know, I agree. But, nevertheless, the occult invasion – it’s because of this, as you said earlier, this hunger for power, this hunger for control, it’s overtaking not only the world, but, to our grief (and others out there, not just us) it’s making great inroads into the church. And, we’re going to discuss that next week. We’ll pick up on the Occult Invasion, a book that is very important because it addresses something that is just prevalent throughout the church and throughout the world.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s Occult Invasion is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael, thanks for being here and we invite you back again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.