A dramatic battle for life and death is played out every day in the heart of each of us. The outcome ultimately depends only on our will: we will either strongly reject all sin and choose God, or we will remain in sin and be lost.
Why should I follow God?
The answer to this question is clear: only God has the ultimate power over life and death, and only God takes real action in our favour. It is God who, hearing the crying and calling of the Israelites, decided to redeem them from Egyptian slavery. It is God who, seeing suffering and lost people, came in the person of Jesus Christ to heal the sick and feed the hungry. It is God in the human flesh of Christ who condemned all sin, suffered agony and death, and “bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness” (1Pet 2:24). And this same God showed himself to be stronger than death, as it is written: “But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24). And nobody else but the same God gives us His Holy Spirit, so that we can overcome evil every day and gain eternal life: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.” (Rom 8:11). Is it not enough to trust God? Is it not enough to be convinced of His love for us? Is there someone else who would do more than God has done for us? Is it possible to love us any more than God has loved us, and do more for us than he has done? God says through the prophet: “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” (Isa 5:4). Let’s be honest: there is not just one particular reason to follow God and trust Him completely. There is a whole range of reasons why it is worth giving up everything and clinging to God with childlike trust, loving Him and obeying his voice, “for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land” (Deut 30:20). In going away from God and not listening to Him, we not only risk the loss of eternal life, but also of earthly life.
That is why the first commandment of the Decalogue is preceded by the reminder: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”; and only after this does God command, “you shall have no other gods before me.” (Deut 5:7)
Who are the other gods?
God, who made the world and everything that exists, talks about other gods that “are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.” (Jer 10:14–15). There is no reason to trust in any god besides the one God or to worship and praise anyone else, participating in pagan religious cults. And yet people willingly follow false gods, even today, abandoning God and entering into various oriental meditation techniques, divination and the occult, trusting in fortune-tellers and superstitions! “Thus says the Lord: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?” (Jer 2:5).
People using the services of fortune-tellers, healers and mediums or practising yoga, Reiki, meditation, etc. open up their souls to be accessed by evil spirits
In fact, non-existent gods, who are worthless and a delusion, are Satan’s tool. He is trying to enslave us and pull us away from God, who is the very source of our life and happiness. The idol itself is nothing, there is nothing it can do, but in following such a false god, a man opens himself up to demons, as Saint Paul says: “What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.” (1 Cor 10:19–20).
We live in a culture in which the consumer approach of “achieve more with less effort” is widely praised and promoted. We would like to have everything, not giving anything; we appreciate immediate pleasure and we do not want to think about the farreaching consequences of every deed. Satan, knowing this perfectly well,offers evil to us as something attractive, gradually detaching us from God and enslaving us spiritually.
Father Joseph Maria Verlinde, describing how he was caught in the snare of yoga and the occult, points to a number of lies that accompanied the process. During the first meeting about meditation, he was assured: “The technique proposed by us has nothing to do with religion; it only allows one to achieve deeper states of consciousness, which are more conducive to religious experience similar to Christianity” (J. M. Verlinde, The Forbidden Fruit ; Fr. orig. L’Expérience interdite). Apparently, a state of mind that would be conducive to religious experience would not seem to be wrong! It was an attractive proposition. Later, however, his initiation proceeded according to a liturgy called puja, during which the initiator offers sacrifices to idols on behalf of the candidate and he encourages the novice to surrender all his being to the “divine” power. The true meaning of this ceremony is hidden from new participants. Father Verlinde testifies: “The initiator performs miracles in rhetoric to announce the ceremony, while downplaying its importance […]. He was not far from saying that it is just folklore, while in fact puja is an essential element of initiation” (ibid). In this way, you unconsciously submit yourself to the authority of non-existent gods, opening access to your own soul to demons. Similarly, individual mantras given to every new meditator were subject to manipulation. A novice was given the impression that the initiator had received from the highest master secret knowledge necessary to choose a suitable and absolutely personal mantra only for him. During the interview, he had to answer a series of questions, believing that some supernatural process of selecting the appropriate mantra was underway. Later on, however, it turned out that this show was part of the manipulation inducing the novice to believe in the special power of the received mantra and in the spiritual abilities of the master. In reality, the initiator had received from the guru a list of meaningless syllables that were allocated according to the age of the candidates!
“You practise the sacred techniques in the hope of gaining side effects about which we do not in the least care, and you are not bothered about the deep changes that these techniques cause in your inner being!”
Father Verlinde points out that within the circle of the guru, among people who were most familiar with the principles of yoga and who were practising it most correctly, sicknesses occurred frequently. Paradoxically, yoga is propagated in the West as a way to improve health, while in the East, when their disciples fall ill, the highest yoga masters call doctors who practise scientific medicine, and not “natural” or “alternative” medicine! “For a technique promising the moon – relaxation, physical and mental development, self-control etc. – the doctors’ diagnosis was rather depressing: premature aging!” (ibid). Showing the “bait” and hiding the true doctrines from potential converts is a common practice in false religions. This is testified by all those deceived who finally discovered the truth about the only true God and abandoned false idols. This method is also frequently used by Muslim missionaries, who do not tell women that in the paradise promised by the Koran their role is limited to serving men, copulating with dark-eyed houris (cf. Sura 36:55–57, 44:51–54). Neither do they tell the millions of Africans and Afro-Americans subjected to Islamisation that, according to the Koran, every black person goes to hell and will not be saved, even if they accepted Islam (3:106–107). Before any black Muslim masters the Mecca Arabic dialect well enough to understand the meaning of this racist verse, they easily deceive the world with fairy tales about the universality of Islam. Besides, Allah himself appears as someone who engages in intrigues and does so better than anyone (Koran 3:54).
The lies of this type are so cleverly designed that you may never learn that you have been manipulated. They are adapted to the mindset of the modern European, whose vigilance is dulled by the stream of foreign words and terms, and if something makes him anxious, it is explained that at his level of consciousness it cannot yet be understood. In this context, however, what is most amazing is people’s widespread and increasing faith in omens and horoscopes, which at first glance should seem pointless. A. Wronka, from the Effata movement, asks simple questions: “Can a coloured piece of paper, cardboard, or plastic – a card – tell us something about the future? Planets and stars are after all dead mixtures of rock and gas, they do not have mind, will, etc. Can pieces of glass or crystal of which balls are made tell us anything?” (Magic, divination, possession, Węgrów 2009). And yet in the “civilized” twenty-first century millions of “educated” Europeans spend millions of euros on divination and horoscopes.
The props of demons
Let’s look at astrology, which claims that the influence of the stars and planets on human fate can be accurately calculated. My character, abilities and fate can be affected by objects millions and millions of miles away from me, whose mutual position at the time of my birth was decisive. I need to ask a question to those interested in astrology: which astrologer has ever made an amendment to the actual position of the stars at the time of a person’s birth? If we know that the nearest star is 4.3 light years away from us, that means that at the time of my birth an astrologer sees it in a place where it was 4.3 years earlier. If, however, there is another star next to it, 100 000 lightyears from Earth, then, in fact, it was in this place 100 000 years before my birth, and we really do not quite know where it is now. It’s quite possible that it has burnt out and does not exist anymore, while astrologers still include it in their calculations. Not to mention the fact that the two stars are only seen next to each other, while in reality the distance between them is enormous. I would like to mention here that according to astrologers human fate is influenced by all the planets, which would mean that the whole of astrology before the eighteenth century was false. If, in the eighteenth century, the planet Uranus was discovered, and its influence started to be considered, that means that all the previous horoscopes prepared without it had to be wrong. In the nineteenth century, the planet Neptune was discovered, and since 1930 astrologers have had to take into account the influence of yet another new planet: Pluto. The credibility of astrology, both ancient and modern, is equal to zero, since the impact on the fate of man is attributed to the stars and planets visible to man, and not those that are near or far. If we see a star today that burned out 100 000 years ago, according to astrology it has the same influence on children born today as a star that is visible next to it, but in fact was at that location four years ago. If we know today about the existence of a planet which yesterday was not known, then yesterday it did not exert influence on us, and today it does, because the newspapers wrote about it. Just in case, I want to inform amateurs reading horoscopes that since 2006 the planet Pluto has officially stopped influencing human lives, as the 26th General Congress of the International Astronomical Union stated that it does not fit the definition of a planet. Thus, for several thousands of years, Pluto did not determine the character traits and fates of people, then for seventy-six years it did, and now again it does not. I think these examples suffice for us to agree with A. Wronka, who wrote about cards, stars, coffee dregs, pendulums and other items used by diviners: “These are all just props, intermediatory objects between man (seer, medium) and an intelligent evil spirit who gives through them tips and predictions” (ibid). Indeed, if divination and horoscopes just did not come true, we could simply have a laugh at the naive person who believes in the power of the stars that are still visible, but no longer exist in the sky. However, since predictions do come true, there must be specific spiritual power behind them – a deceitful power opposing God.
“Your ignorance or lack of interest does not change the fact that the holy techniques have such an effect on you, for which they were created”
Do not let yourself be cheated
Talking about various spiritual practices of the Orient, Fr Verlinde mentions that “all these magical powers, no matter from what tradition they originate, assume a certain medium ability of the person who has them.” (ibid). So, in fact, all kinds of spiritual exercises – yoga, meditation, acupuncture, acupressure and eastern martial arts (invented in monasteries as further steps towards gaining power over spiritual “energies”) – are intended to open up the human soul to demons. Spending a few years around yoga masters, Fr Verlinde saw how they reacted to the behaviour of Europeans practising yoga techniques for relaxation, health improvement, mind control, etc. They say, “You practise the sacred techniques in the hope of gaining side effects about which we do not in the least care, and you are not bothered about the deep changes that these techniques cause in your inner being! […] Your ignorance or lack of interest does not change the fact that the holy techniques have such an effect on you, for which they were created.” It does not matter whether you use acupuncture or sit in the lotus position for fun or for opening chakras – the chakras get opened anyway, and the demons gain free access to your heart.
Unfortunately, the testimonies of exorcists are clear: in Europe, the number of demonic possessions is growing rapidly, and they originate in the breaking of the first commandment. People using the services of fortune-tellers, healers and mediums or practising yoga, Reiki, meditation, etc. open up their souls to be accessed by evil spirits. The initial fascination and illusion of health recovery or obtaining supernatural power usually leads to demonic dependence, and sometimes also to possession. Additionally, unconfessed sin gives demons a foothold in the human heart, which is why it is so important to make sure that you remain in a state of sanctifying grace, and to frequently use the sacrament of reconciliation.
Unfortunately, the testimonies of exorcists are clear: in Europe, the number of demonic possessions is growing rapidly, and they originate in the breaking of the first commandment
Whom will you trust?
One of the most fashionable and recent lies in the West is reincarnation, supposedly proven by the Buddha himself, who also shows people the exit (salvation) from the cycle of new incarnations. The problem is that the Buddha regarded all his incarnations as illusions; from the point of view of Western culture, illusions and delusions are not evidence for the existence of any kind of reality. What is more, logically speaking, if reincarnation is an illusion, is it not easier just to not believe in it? Meanwhile, the Buddha and his followers promise us pie in the sky: just trust them, and you will be pulled out from the cycle of incarnations. To become a Buddhist, you need to say the triple act of entrustment: “I seek refuge in the Buddha, I seek refuge in the Dharma, I seek refuge in Sanghia”. Bearing in mind that the basic premise of the Buddha is the illusory nature of everything, even our self, we cannot fail to notice that such trust looks rather like trusting in a magician, who is to save us from our delusions. In addition, entering the whole area of lies and trusting in any non-existent idol, we run the real risk of becoming dependent on demonic forces, and even possessed. Another simple act of entrustment looks totally different: “Jesus, I trust in You!” Jesus Christ, the real (and not imaginary) God, became a true man of flesh and blood. He truly suffered for our sins, which were really leading us towards real eternal death, and then He truly rose from the dead, leaving no shadow of doubt to any of his disciples about the reality of all the events leading every human being to salvation. Therefore, trusting Jesus is a reasonable, rational and sensible step that leads to eternal life and does not bring disappointment.
So let us not be afraid to entrust ourselves totally to Jesus, together with our soul, spirit and body. Let us avoid sin, rise up from failures, confessing our sins, and let us cut ourselves off from all the practices of the pagan world of demons. A Christian living constantly in communion with God has nothing to fear: evil spirits do not have access to him or her. A demon can start working only when we give him permission, either unwilling to abandon some sin or falling into a deceitful trap set up by him. “Do not make room for the devil” warns St Paul (Eph 4:27), and St James assures us: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Jas 4:7).