Tag Archive: Charisma

Is Game of Thrones Pornographic?

game of thrones sex scene 2

My wife and I are avid watchers of the HBO hit drama, Game of Thrones (GOT). In the most recent episode, Ramsay Bolton, a psychopath of epic proportions, was eaten alive by his dogs — a just reward for such a vile man. Every GOT episode has moments of violence and sex, as does virtually every TV drama. Viewers watch dramas such as GOT because of its edgy and provocative story lines.

This fact has posed a big problem for Evangelicals who see themselves as the judges and arbiters of what is good TV and what is moral or immoral. This problem arises for these keepers of national morality when their followers ignore their warnings and admonitions and tune in to shows such as GOT. Millions of God-fearing Christians watch each episode of GOT. Evangelical preachers, irritated by the failure of church members to pay attention to them, increase their GOT rhetoric, hoping to finally get through to Christians who love the violence and sex, not only on GOT, but also on numerous other pay-TV dramas.

In recent weeks, I have noticed that several Christian websites have labeled GOT pornographic. Ben Kayser, a writer for CHARISMA , had this to say about Game of Thrones:

The HBO series Game of Thrones has been quite comfortable with controversy for the six years its [sic] been airing. Beyond the graphic sex scenes frequently included in the show, the series also includes many storylines that include incest, extreme bloody violence and multiple graphic depictions of rape that are clearly gratuitous, even from the perspective of mainstream and liberal critics.

However, somehow the creators manage to convince viewers that what they’re watching isn’t pornography, meant to titillate and shock, but is instead “art.” Even many Christian viewers find ways to excuse the show so they can enjoy some entertainment they find compelling and exciting. That said, recent data from the X-rated site Pornhub, as reported in The Daily Mail, reveals that Game of Thrones not only is linked to pornography usage, but scenes from the show are being used as porn directly.

HBO is in a legal battle with the porn website over the sites use of sexually explicit clips from Game of Thrones, which HBO states breaches their copyright of the content. Additionally, Pornhub revealed that internet porn usage decreased when HBO was airing a new episode of Game of Thrones and only increased back to the average number of users four hours after a new episode had aired. According to The Daily Mail, the data “also found searches for Game of Thrones-related videos and pictures of characters also rocketed by nearly 370 percent on the day of the [episode] premiere.”

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HBO is a premium subscription channel. Only those who subscribe to the channel can watch its programming. As with all pay TV channels, easily offended Christians are free to NOT subscribe. Don’t like a channel’s content? Don’t watch it. Personally, I am sick and tired of Christians whining and complaining about what’s on TV. Currently, there are a dozen Christian TV channels on DIRECTV. DISH, along with other pay TV providers, also have numerous Christian channels. If offended believers want to watch saved, sanctified programming, why not tune into one of these channels? I am sure there are plenty of Little House on the Prairie reruns for Christians to watch. Why spit and fume over what heathens are watching on channels such as HBO and Showtime?

game of thrones sex scene

Here’s the dirty little secret Christian moralizers don’t want you to know. MOST Christians don’t watch religious channels. That’s right, most Christians know the God-oriented channels have very little good programming. This is why they tune into shows such as GOT. Whatever one might think about GOT violence and sex, it is a superbly written, directed, and acted TV drama. I am of the opinion that we have entered a golden era of TV programming. There are so many good dramas on TV now that it is hard to decide which ones to watch. Channels such as AMC, FX, USA, Syfy, TNT, TBS, and BBC have, in recent years, produced numerous top-notch dramas. Even third tier channels are getting in on the act. This means that TV viewers have a plethora of programs to choose from. Christians and non-Christians alike have dozens of programs they can watch. There’s no need to bitch, moan, and complain about supposedly offensive programs. Viewers are free to change the channel until they find one that meets their personal preferences.

Is GOT pornographic? Of course not. Kayser and his fellow Puritans should spend some time on PORNHUB if they want to see what REAL pornography looks like. Better yet, since most Evangelical pastors have personally viewed porn, why not just ask them if GOT is pornographic. Even better, survey church members and ask them, compared to YOUPORN, REDTUBE, and other porn sites, if GOT is pornographic. If we-never-lie Christians are honest, they will say no, GOT is not pornographic.

Kayser  bases the premise of his post on Sunday PORNHUB viewer data. The Daily Mail reports:

Last month it was revealed online viewing of porn dropped by around four per cent – equating to millions of people – while the first episode of the new series aired.

Data from Pornhub showed the number of active users in the U.S. started decreasing in the hour before the show started and did not return back to average levels until four hours later.

It also found searches for Game of Thrones-related videos and pictures of characters also rocketed by nearly 370 per cent on the day of the premiere.

Emilia Clarke, who plays blonde princess Daenerys Targaryen and who regularly appears naked in the show, was the top search.

She was followed by Natalie Dormer, as Margaery Tyrell, and Sibel Kekilli, who plays Shae.
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Kayser thinks this data proves that GOT is pornographic. Does it? Of course not. First, GOT is not pornographic, so there is no correlation between GOT viewership and PORNHUB use. Kayser wants readers to think that there is connection between porn use and GOT. In Kayser’s mind, prior to tuning into GOT, viewers are watching internet porn. Once GOT comes on viewers switch from one porn source to another.

Second, there are other explanations for reduced PORNHUB traffic. The biggest reason for the reduced traffic numbers is the number of prime time dramas that are now scheduled for Sunday nights. As every avid TV watcher knows, there are numerous programs to choose from. Currently, Games of Thrones, Outlander, Hell on Wheels, Preacher, Ray Donovan, Roadies, Murder in the First, and Silicon Valley are scheduled for the 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM Sunday slot. In the Fall, broadcast networks will add eight or ten more programs to the Sunday night mix. And come September, Sunday Night Football will broadcast 17 weeks of NFL games. It seems to me, then, that PORNHUB traffic numbers drop, not because of GOT, but because viewers are switching to their favorite Sunday evening programs.

Kayser went looking for “proof” that GOT is pornographic and he found it in PORNHUB’s raw traffic data. Kayser finds correlations where there are none. Until a proper study is conducted, it is impossible to conclude that PORNHUB’s traffic drop is due to people switching to GOT. At this point, it is just as likely that the traffic reduction is due to Evangelicals attending Sunday evening church services, fellowships, and activities. Scandalous? Perhaps, but then so is the notion that GOT is pornographic.

Instead of blaming the Evangelicals who regularly watch GOT, the Keysers of the world blame programmers, casting them as tools of Satan used to bring down Christian America. These Fundamentalists refuse to understand that most Americans — including some of their fellow Christians —  reject “Biblically” based codes of morality and conduct. Keyser and others like him are free to NOT watch GOT. What others watch is none of their business. If viewers want to watch violence and sex scenes, they should be free to do so. Evangelicals tend to be capitalistic promoters of free markets, yet when it comes to TV programming, Christians demand the government step in and regulate what subscribers can watch.

Christians are free to produce programming that meets their moral standards. That they don’t reveals that Evangelicals are not interested in such programming. Like it or not, many Christians love Game of Thrones. And like it or not, many Christians are going to view pornography. Program viewing is quite personal. Each of us has programs we love and hate. And that’s the beauty of the free market system. We are free to watch whatever we want. Don’t like a program? Consider a program offensive? Change the channel. All Evangelicals have to do to avoid what they deem “pornographic” is to change the channel or not subscribe to HBO.

Have You Developed a Demon-Free Zone Over Your Life?

jentezen franklin

Jentezen Franklin, pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia; Gwinnett, Georgia; and Orange County, California

Jentezen Franklin, a writer for CHARISMA and pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia; Gwinnett, Georgia; and Orange County, California, wants to know if Christians have developed a demon-free zone over their lives. According to Franklin:

Scripture tells us that spiritual battles are taking place all around us because we live in two atmospheres at the same time. One is a physical atmosphere that we can see, smell, hear, touch and taste. The other is a spiritual atmosphere that we cannot see with our natural eye or experience with the rest of our natural senses but which is very real.

The devil knows the power of atmosphere, and as believers, we need to know it as well. Whenever possible, Satan will try to tempt you into the wrong atmosphere in order to make it easier for you to fall into sin.

Channeling Frank Peretti, Franklin believes that there is a physical atmosphere (world) that consists of what we can see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. Most people call this reality. Franklin believes that there is also a spiritual atmosphere (world) that cannot be seen or experienced with our senses. Most people call this insanity. In this beyond-reality world, Satan and God are busy fighting to the death over the lives of Christians. God wants winners, Satan wants losers. If God is all that Christians such as Franklin say he is, why doesn’t God tell Jesus’ brother to knock it off? Surely the creator of the universe has the power to stop Satan from molesting his children. And if he does has this power, why then is it up to Christians  to have demon-free lives? What good is God if he can’t at least be the Orkin man of the spiritual realm, ensuring that Christian lives are demon free.

According to Franklin, yes God is everywhere (omnipresent), but he doesn’t manifest his presence equally. If Christians want God to manifest himself, they need to be living in the “right” atmosphere. The reason that most Christians have demon-infested lives is because they are living on the wrong side of the tracks. If Christians want to be demon-free they must be willing to change where they live.

Franklin reminds Christians that they are at war with Satan, and this war cannot be won through education or money. Instead, poor and stupid Christians are called on to wage war against Satan in the power of Spirit. Franklin must not have a TV in his home. When I turn on any of the dozen Christian channels I am “blessed” to receive with my DIRECTVpackage, all I see are $1,000-suit and Rolex-wearing modern-day Elmer Gantrys attacking Satan’s strongholds. These mighty men of God have no need of more soldiers. Cash, MasterCard and Visa will suffice.

Franklin gives Christians a surefire way they can know whether they are battling demons:

A sure sign of demonic possession is someone empowered with incredible strength. Demons will often energize people in this way (Mark 5). Those who are demon-possessed may have spontaneous reactions of uncontrolled cursing when the name of Jesus Christ is spoken. An evil spirit can cause contortions in facial features and countenance. People’s eyes can become glazed and even roll back in their heads. Their appearances and even their voices will change. When people are set free, they will usually come immediately back into their “right minds.” Their voices will normalize, and you will see a total change in demeanor.

Wait a minute. I thought Franklin was concerned with Christians demon-proofing their lives? If demon-possessed people are the problem, wouldn’t it just be easier to form Demon-Free Colonies® and avoid contact with the demonic denizens of the world? Perhaps Franklin — a seasoned charismatic pastor — knows that there are just as many demons in the church as there are outside. Demons, demons, demons, everywhere. What’s a Christian supposed to do?

Franklin reminds Christians that they are to be demon molesters:

Satan and his demons prefer to do their work without being exposed. They definitely don’t like to be identified and cast out. Demons will resist exposure and will resist anyone who attempts to bring the light of God upon their hidden works. Once the enemy has gained ground and set up the kind of culture he desires, he wants us to buzz off and leave him be.

According to Franklin, the best way to hassle Satan and expose his works is to create a climate of light. In other words, megachurches needs to quit dimming the lights when the praise and worship team strikes up the band. Evidently, when the lights are dimmed Satan and his merry band of demons are free to attack those who are watching the show. Want a demon-proof church? Turn on the damn lights!

Franklin concludes his post with advice for demon-proofing one’s life:

We are to fast, pray, praise, worship, intercede, and stand and wage war in the spiritual realm so that our enemy, the devil, cannot work his way into our lives and squeeze the life out of us, rendering us ineffective for God.

Why, this is what Evangelical pastors have been preaching for as long as I can remember. Generations of Evangelicals have heard that they need to do these things, yet Christians remain every bit as “worldly” and “sinful” as the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. Perhaps it is time for the Franklins of the world to change their message, admitting that the real problem is not Satan and his demons, but human want, need, and desire. Evangelicals continue to “sin” because they are, above all else, human. Instead of blaming negative (sinful, bad) human behaviors on Satan, perhaps it is time to put the blame where it belongs — me and thee. Satan isn’t the problem, humans are. Instead of focusing on mythical beings such as Satan, Franklin would better serve his readers by challenging them to alter their own their behavior.

CHARISMA Writer Complains X-Men: Apocalypse Rips off the Bible and Calls Jesus a Mutant

apocalypse

Jessilyn Justice, assistant news editor for CHARISMA, is upset that the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse movie calls Jesus a mutant. Even worse, the movie rips off the BibleJustice writes:

The latest installment in the X-Men franchise stirs the water of blasphemy by claiming Jesus was the original mutant—and that the Son of God is one in the same with other major religious figures.

“I’ve been called many things over many lifetimes,” says the titular character known as Apocalypse. “Ra, Krishna, Yahweh.”

The fictional story follows the omnipotent En Sabah Nur, later known as Apocalypse, who terrorizes the globe for centuries with his four horsemen.

“You are all my children, and you’re lost because you follow blind leaders, but I am here now. I’m here for you,” Apocalypse says.

Sound familiar? That’s not the only rip-off from the Bible…

Video Link

Here’s the thing: Jesus WAS mutant. He was a man and a God. Seems quite mutant to me. And as far as ripping off the Bible. As the movie trailer suggests, the authors of the Bible likely ripped off  beliefs and practices from other cultures and religions. Perhaps Justice, a 20-something, ought to spend some time studying the history of Christianity and the development of Biblical texts and doctrines.

I wonder if Justice has thought about how similar En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) is to the Christian God of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation?  Born 5,000 years ago, around the time Abe and his fellow sheepherders were cooking up Jehovah, En Sabah Nur spent time ” traveling around planet Earth, convincing civilizations that he is a deity (inspiring different myths as a result) and manipulating them into fighting wars.” (Wikipedia)  According to Wikipedia, Apocalypse “awakens from hibernation of thousands of years and decides to end humanity and to take over the world.” Kind of sounds like the Book of Revelation, yes? For seven years, the Christian God rains judgment, violence, and death upon the inhabitants of the earth — slaughtering most of the human race. Perhaps X-Men: Apocalypse is actually an accurate depiction of Jehovah and his mutant son Jesus.

A Devil Worshiper Might Live Near You or Sit Next to You at Work, warns Jennifer LeClaire

barack obama satan worshiper

Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor for CHARISMA Magazine, is a Charismatic Christian version of Joseph McCarthy — the noted Communist hunter of the 1950s. Everywhere LeClaire looks, she sees Satan and his demon worker bees. In a March 18, 2016 article published on Charisma’s “news” site, demonphobic LeClaire warns that Satanism is on the rise. LeClaire writes:

Satanism is rising—and rising rapidly. Beyond shows like Lucifer that paint the devil as simply misunderstood and the distribution of Satanic Temple materials in some schools and the Satanic black mass at an Oklahoma City civic center and the monument to Baphomet in Detroit—these are just a few recent examples—there are the senseless deaths of young men like Edwin Juarez Palma.

Police in Mexico arrested a trio of Satanists who allegedly killed a friend in the process of trying to morph him into a vampire. Palma, the victim, was reportedly strangled, beaten and slashed in the neck before he died. The Satanists wrapped his body in a plastic bag and ditched him.

“Police say Edwin, known as Piwa, was killed after being fooled into taking part in an initiation ceremony to become part of a satanic cult called the Sons of Baphomet 1,” the Daily Mail reports. “Instead, he was tortured after having his hands tied behind his back after one of the alleged killers persuaded the others their victim should be sacrificed so he could return to life as a vampire.”

Clearly, these kids are deceived at best and deluded at worst. Two of the suspected killers are 18 and the other one is 25. According to Encyclopedia Satanica, the average age of a Satanist is 25 and most are single male Caucasians. Satanists are politically diverse, work a range of occupations and come from Jewish, Catholic, Protestant or agnostic backgrounds. Most were involved in other religions before they converted to the literal dark side.

Who knows? A devil worshipper might live near you or sit next to you at work.

By the best statistics I can find, there were 50,000 Satanists in the world in 1990, according to the Ontario Consultants of Religious Tolerance, and that number rose to as many as 100,000 in 2006. Of course, that was a decade ago—and a lot has changed in a decade. More recently, the Catholic Church warned of the rise of Satanism and the occult. And God’s Ghostbusters reports there are more than 200,000 registered witches and up to 8 million who have not officially unveiled themselves.

Dark forces are also invading Christianity. Three out of every 10 teenagers have played the Ouija board, had their palms read, and eight out of 10 have read horoscopes, according to a Barna Study called “Teens and the Supernatural.” The survey reports 29 percent of Christian teens did not see anything wrong with it. Eighteen percent said they read horoscopes, but do not think it really predicts the future. And another 8 percent said they read it, but feel guilty about it.

Clearly, the prince of the power of the air is working overtime and seeing the fruits of his labors. Books and movies about boy wizards captured the attention of a generation and a fascination with vampires is ultimately what some believe led to Edwin Juarez Palma’s demise. (Palma had interest in vampires as a hobby, according to news reports, allowing an open door for the Satanists to deceive him.) We know that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), but he’s really the father of lies (John 8:44) and he wants to take a [sic] many people to hell with him as he can. Palma was a victim of the devil’s empty words.

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Got all that?

LeClaire warns readers that many Christian teenagers have “played the Ouija board, had their palms read” and have “read horoscopes.” Sadly, where most thinking people see entertainment, LeClaire sees dark forces out to steal the souls of unwitting people. Many readers of this blog can remember when they too thought that inanimate objects were demon-possessed and had the power to lead people into darkness. Who can forget the 1980s and all the hysteria over certain toys. Here is a video of Phil Phillips, author of Turmoil in the Toy Box, warning Christians about the demonic forces that lurk in toy boxes:

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The 1970s gave Evangelicalism the dangers of Satan-inspired rock music and backmasking. The 1980s and 1990s found Christians all worked up over the occult, Satanic human sacrifices, and ritual child abuse. Sadly, Evangelicals have a propensity for believing any explanation that helps them to understand what they perceive as the collapse of Christian America. Who and what gets the blame changes with time, but the perceived power behind it — Satan and his demons — remains the same. It is hard to believe — in the twenty-first century — that there are still people who think that the Devil and his minions lurk in the shadows, working to overthrow the Christian God.

church of satan

LeClaire thinks the increase of news stories about the Satanic Church is proof that Satanism is increasing. LeClaire seems ignorant of the fact that members of the Church of Satan do NOT worship Beelzebub. I wonder if demon hunter LeClaire has ever bothered to read the FAQ on the Church of Satan’s website? I doubt it. Had LeClaire read it, she would have found out:

Why do Satanists worship The Devil?

We don’t. Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.

Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”

Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person.

Do Satanists perform sacrifices?

No. We are atheists. The only people who perform sacrifices are those who believe in supernatural beings who would consider a sacrifice to be some form of payment for a request or form of worship. Since we do not believe in supernatural beings there is no reason for a Satanist to make a sacrifice of any sort.

Where would Christianity be without Satan? Created by God, Satan is Jehovah’s protagonist. Without Satan, how would Christians explain the existence of evil? Without the prince and power of the air, sin would lose much of its power. Without Lucifer, Evangelicals would lose the greatest excuse ever cooked up by religious fanatics — the devil made me do it!

Video Link

LeClaire thinks that much of the evil in the world can be attributed to Satan, demons, and their influence over people. As Joseph McCarthy did sixty years ago rooting out people he thought were Communists, LeClaire warns that Evangelicals could have neighbors or fellow employees who are devil worshipers. How will Christians know if Morningstar’s followers are nearby? LeClaire doesn’t say. Perhaps enlightened Evangelicals have some sort of spidey-like tingling that comes over them when Satanists are nearby. Or maybe the Holy Spirit warns Christians with some sort of radar-like beep that demons are near. I wish LeClaire would be clear. How can Christians KNOW when Satan and the Demonettes are playing nearby? From everything that I have read — reports of religious leaders committing horrible crimes — people have much more to fear if pastors, priests, and church leaders live nearby. Of course, LeClaire would respond by saying that predator preachers are under the influence of Satan and are being used by him to give Christianity a bad name. Funny how Le Claire and her fellow Evangelicals never become aware of Satan’s influence until AFTER a crime has been committed. I would think God would have some sort of advance warning signal set to alert Christians that certain pastors are under the influence of the Evil One. Surely God doesn’t want Christian children and teenagers raped, molested, or abused, right?

People need not fear Satan or God. Both are fictions of the human imagination. It is when we allow God, Satan, and their imaginary powers stand in for goodness and evil that we become deceived. As a humanist, I believe that the power to do good and evil rests solely with people. God and Satan become middlemen who rob humans of rewards for doing good and responsibility for doing bad. Once people break free of the Christian God and his sidekick Satan, they are then free to see and experience life as it is. Ouija boards? Horoscopes? Palm readings? Harry Potter? Wizards? Witches? Occult-themed movies? Harmless fun. I have yet to meet or know of person who was led over to the mythical dark side by Potter and his Hogwarts friends. To LeClaire and her fearful compatriots I say, SATAN IS NOT REAL! Repeat after me, SATAN IS NOT REAL! Yes, Satan has his own program on FOX, but the star of the show — Lucifer Morningstar — is actor Tom Ellis, not the mythical Bible character with the same name.

Of course, Fundamentalists such LeClaire will view this post as PROOF that Satan is real. Here’s Bruce Gerencser — once an Evangelical pastor — now saying that God and Satan are a myth. There is nothing I can do about such accusations. People prone to think inanimate objects have power and evil hides under every rock have lost the ability to think and reason. They will remain this way until they come to the place where they realize that they have built their entire lives on what Jon Stewart affectionately called: Bullshit Mountain.

Do Evangelical Beliefs Lead to Mental Illness?

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Charismatic Evangelical and Conspiracy theorist Lisa Haven

Do Evangelical beliefs lead to mental illness? Yes and no. Certainly, Evangelicals, thanks to their religious beliefs, are, to some degree, deluded. They believe things that aren’t true, but I am not inclined to think that this means they all have some sort of mental illness.  All of us are capable of self-delusion. That said, I do think some Evangelicals are mentally ill, and thanks to their beliefs, they see their illness as God giving them some sort of inside information about the world. These Evangelicals are the religious version of Mel Gibson in the movie Conspiracy Theory. Let me illustrate this with a YouTube video put out by a Charismatic Evangelical named Lisa Haven.

The following video details Haven’s belief that the United Nations is a secret front group for the nefarious New World Order.  This video has already been viewed over 40,000 times (85,000 people subscribe to Haven’s YouTube channel). The video is 11 minutes long, but I do hope you will watch all of it. Doing so will allow you to understand what follows. Be prepared to see lots of air quotes.

Video Link  (Sorry, for some reason embedding this video causes my RSS feed to break, so you will have to view it on YouTube)

As I watched this video, I was, at first, amused, and then quite sad. I told Polly, Here’s a young woman whose mind has already been ruined. Imagine, for a moment, where Lisa Haven will be 25 years from now? Will she still be, to use her words, “digging deep and finding truth…spread (ing) truth no matter where it lies?” Or will she be taking psychotropic drugs, wondering what went wrong? I’m sure some Evangelicals will object to me categorizing Haven, a mother of four children, as mentally ill, but any non-religious interpreter of her video would come to the same conclusion.  Remove the religious context and Haven’s rant sounds eerily like the rantings of a crazy person.

In a video titled 18 Unsettling Predictions For 2016: Warning You May Get More Then You Bargained For!, Haven makes 18 predictions (all grammatical errors in the original):

  1. Increased crime and more terrorist threats (due to mass immigration and influx of Refugees, he wants to bring in 10,000 alone in 2016)
  2. Rise of Islam and anti-semitism. Christianity will either stay stagnant or decrease.
  3. Economy will continue to falter, maybe even a “Global Recession.”
  4. America will becomes more third world in nature.
  5. More gun laws and restrictions will be enforced.
  6. An Increased amount of race riots and civil riots.
  7. More movement into the New World Order, Pope Francis will continue his push in this direction, likely embolden it.
  8. Increased earthquakes, tsunamis, weather activity as predicted in the Bible and the warning letter sent to FEMA by prior presidential advisor John L. Casey.
  9. More fusion centers, NSA surveillance and more suppression of truth over the Internet (things like Facebook, twitter, Google, will all work together to oust truths and suppress reality).
  10. A move in the direction of policed streets in the name of “safety.” Increased activity of military helicopters, drone activity, domestic military drills, etc. More laws will be passed promoting this.
  11. Possible World War III due to numerous rumors now transpiring with Russia, who is currently preparing for war against the United States and they want the battlefield to be Syria.
  12. Patriots, Christians, Conservatives, Libertarians, Gun Owners and Veterans will become more of a target.
  13. Activity in the Middle East will embolden! More war activity in Jerusalem, more attacks on Israel as the Bible predicts.
  14. If Obama has his way, due his clean power plan, our energy prices will increase.
  15. Increased demoralization done under the banner of “political correctness.”
  16. More technological advancements, including more movement in the direction of a global ID, Mark of the Beast style (however their goal is not to have this fully in place until 2030)
  17. World governments will become bolder in their tyrannical moves.
  18. America will either have a revival or be apathetic.

While there is an element of truth in some of Haven’s “predictions,”,  it should be clear to readers that her conspiratorial thinking is being driven by her Evangelical beliefs concerning the Bible and eschatology (future events).  Over the years, I have met numerous people such as Lisa Haven. Every one of them had one thing in common: Evangelical Christianity.

In a recent News2morrow interview, Haven shared how she views the world:

Another one – and I just put this story out yesterday, don’t know if you saw it – we could be having a repeat of what had happened in the Soviet Union here in America. And what I mean by that, in order to silence political opposition the Soviets started labeling political dissidents as a psychiatric disorder. The official label was sluggish schizophrenia.

They started labeling people with these titles, basically silencing any opposition that they had.  When I dive through some of the information I see in America, I see some of that being mimicked here. However they’re labeling it as conspiracy theorists and that could open a whole realm. I mean, you can say bible prophecy is a conspiracy theory. You can say a certain realm of patriotism is a conspiracy theory. The term is so broadly used.

There are various reports of research being done at colleges basically studying the minds of conspiracy theorists and labeling them with personality disorders. Again, when something like that happens, I’m like “Ahh!  What is the game here?”

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I think, what could happen, is that they’re targeting political dissidents, basically the ones that are in opposition to what they want to play out – which would be your patriots, constitutionalists, veterans, Christians. They’ve been specifically targeted on numerous documents. We were targeted on Project Megiddo. There’s the right wing extremist documentation that we have today, and the presentations that they’re giving to our military. These are some of the, quote unquote, “right wing extremists” that are being labeled and targeted.

I think the reason why they’re doing that is, when something happens with the economy and we go into chaos, they’ll have reasons to go round up those dissidents – right wing extremists, as they label a lot of us. They could say that they’re rounding them up to prevent riots, and would send them to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) camps that they’ve set up. And they don’t call them FEMA camps – the official government term is internment camps.

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Persecution can come in many forms. Right now there is a huge push of persecution against the reality of Christ. Right here in America! — that’s what we’re seeing starting. And that’s being turned into the lunatics that believe a lie. And part of that psychiatric diagnosis is that they are bringing in religion. So you can see what we might be headed in the future with something like that. They’re even claiming in some studies that I’ve read that it could be a medical diagnosis.

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It’s hard to say, but I think we can push it back. We can delay it definitely. We’ve also seen the leaking of possible false flags that were planned by the government but were diverted because people in media have gotten it out. Sometimes people will say, “Oh but it never happened!” No, it didn’t – thankfully! Because it got diverted through media outlets, especially the alternative media.

The mainstream media seems to be government run. They can’t regulate the alternative media and that’s why they’re pushing that net neutrality (legislation) to put it on the lap of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).  Now if they can silence alternative media, they can implement their plans. But it can be diverted by waking up the masses.

What is it that drives Haven’s thinking? What leads a bright young woman to think that chem trails are poisoning all of us and that drinking tea will cleanse us of its deleterious effects?  What causes Haven to abandon her youth and devote her life to chasing after black helicopters, the New World Order, and Jesus? Two things: her belief that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Words of God and her literalistic interpretation of these words.

Haven is the poster child for what happens when someone really, really, really believes the Bible. Haven attends a charismatic church that, week in and week out, reinforces her end-times, conspiratorial beliefs. According to Haven’s website, she is taking classes through the International School of Ministry (ISOM), an online Charismatic Bible college. ISOM is operated by Berin Gilfillan and his wife Lisa. Both have secular degrees (University of Michigan, Michigan State), proving yet again that educated people can be quite deluded.

According to the ISOM website:

Each Trimester of ISOM study consists of 32 teaching sessions of training. You can click on each of the blue buttons below to explore the wonderful content of those five Trimesters. They contain a total of 160 sessions of teaching from 30 renowned instructors such as Jack Hayford, John Bevere, Joyce Meyer, A.R. Bernard, Reinhard Bonnke, Marilyn Hickey, Brian Houston, T.L. Osborn and Bill Winston to name a few.

This ISOM program is tried and tested and has been used around the world by over 330,000 students with wonderful results. Now that ISOM has make-up and review classes online, it is even more friendly for use by pastors and churches. Please note, however, that ISOM is NOT focused on high theology, but on practical training and impartation.

….

Many people who previously graduated with doctoral degrees from another institution have commented on how ISOM was so impartational and so different to their previous studies. It is possible for people to start ISOM at a higher level, but not recommended as ISOM core really contains some classic content. We allow students of any age to participate in ISOM. I have graduated two 11 year old students and one 91 year old.

The Gilfillans also give pastors an opportunity to have an ISOM in their church. According to the ISOM website, “ISOM is the world’s largest video Bible School and is being used in more than 15,000 locations, in 142 nations and in more than 70 languages.” The skeptic in me says, I would love to see ISOM’s and the Gilfillans financials. I suspect a lot of money is being made through “training” gullible Evangelical Christians for ministry. One such person is Lisa Haven.

Will Haven’s ISOM training encourage her to think critically? Of course not. The Gilfillans readily admit that ISOM ” is NOT focused on high theology, but on practical training and impartation.” In other words, all that ISOM training will do for Haven is reinforce her belief that she is called by God to expose the evil New World Order and all its attending conspiracies. Here is a list of some the classes Haven will have to take to get a degree from ISOM:

  • Foundations of the Faith
  • Supernatural Living
  • Praise & Worship
  • Fear of the Lord
  • Old Testament/New Testament Survey
  • Living by Faith
  • Jesus Our Healer, Today
  • Church-based training (or how you can start your own ISOM franchise)
  • Altar Call
  • Spiritual Breakthrough
  • Wilderness Mentalities
  • Spiritual Warfare

I have no doubt that the training provided by ISOM will only increase Haven’s conspiratorial delusions. While it would be tempting to put all the blame on Haven for her craziness, the truth is her church, pastor, parents, husband, ISOM, and tens of thousands of adoring YouTube followers, have made Haven into the person she is today.

Is Lisa Haven mentally ill? I don’t know. I’m not a doctor, so I am not qualified to make such a diagnosis. I can say, based on the videos I have viewed, Haven does exhibit the signs of someone who is mentally disturbed. Sadly, as many former Charismatics will attest, mental illness is just a typical Sunday night worship service at the local Charismatic Evangelical church. (If you doubt this, take some time to read the posts on WorldnetDaily and Charisma websites.)

Unless Lisa Haven has some sort of rational epiphany, there’s little that can be done to help her. Sadly, being deluded is not a crime (even though Haven thinks she will one day be imprisoned for her beliefs). She has been taken captive by her Bible and literalistic Evangelical beliefs. She will remain imprisoned until she sees the light and comes to realize that her entire worldview is based on lies.

Note

In the future, I plan to put on my investigative reporter hat and investigate ISOM and the Gilfillans. I’m particularly interested in following the money trail.

Shemitah: Those Crazy Charismatics and their False Gloom and Doom Prophecies

shemitah

Michael Snyder recently wrote an article for CHARISMA titled 10 Things That Are Going to Happen Within 15 Days of the End of the Shemitah.  Snyder thinks that bad times are coming soon:

Is a great shaking coming to America? An amazing convergence of events is going to take place during the last several weeks of September 2015.

Many are suggesting that this could indicate that something really big is about to happen. In fact, some vendors of emergency food are reporting shortages because so many people are stocking up on food and supplies in anticipation of what is coming…

…It all starts with the end of the Shemitah year on Sept. 13. During the last two cycles, we witnessed historic stock market crashes on the very last day of the Shemitah year (Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar)…

…On Sept. 29, 2008 (which was also Elul 29 on the biblical calendar), the Dow plummeted 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one-day stock market crash of all time in the United States.

Now we are in another Shemitah year. It began in the fall 2014, and it ends on Sept. 13, 2015.

So will we see a stock market crash in the United States on Sept. 13, 2015?

No we will not, because that day is a Sunday. So I can guarantee there will not be a stock market crash in the U.S. on that day. But as author Jonathan Cahn has pointed out in his book on the Shemitah, we have witnessed major stock market crashes happen just before the end of the Shemitah year and we have also witnessed major stock market crashes happen within just a few weeks after the end of the Shemitah year. So we are not necessarily looking at one particular date.

And this time around, a whole bunch of critical events just happen to fall in the period of time immediately following the end of the Shemitah year.

The following are 10 things that are going to happen within 15 days of the end of the Shemitah:

Sept. 14: Rosh Hashanah

Sept. 15: The Jade Helm military exercises are scheduled to end.

Sept. 15: The 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly begins on this date. It has been widely reported that France plans to introduce a resolution that will give formal U.N. Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state shortly after the new session begins…

Sept. 20 to Sept. 26: The “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel” sponsored by the World Council of Churches.

Sept. 21: The U.N. International Day Of Peace. Could this be the day when the U.N. Security Council resolution establishing a Palestinian state is actually adopted?

Sept. 23: Yom Kippur

Sept. 23: Pope Francis arrives at the White House to meet with Barack Obama….Francis is the 266th pope, and he will be meeting with President Obama on the 266th day of the year, leading one Internet preacher to wonder if “something is being birthed” on that day, since 266 days is the typical human gestation period from conception to birth.

Sept. 24: The Pope addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Sept. 25 to Sept. 27: The United Nations is going to launch a brand-new sustainable development agenda called “The 2030 Agenda.” …

…”Unlike Agenda 21, which primarily focused on the environment, the 2030 Agenda is truly a template for governing the entire planet. In addition to addressing climate change, it also sets ambitious goals for areas such as economics, health, energy, education, agriculture, gender equality and a whole host of other issues. As you will see below, this global initiative is being billed as a ‘new universal Agenda’ for humanity. If you are anything like me, alarm bells are going off in your head right about now.”

Sept. 28: This is the date when the Feast of Tabernacles begins. It is also the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015…

…Many have also suggested that the Large Hadron Collider “is scheduled to perform a controversial experiment in September,” but so far I have been unable to find any solid confirmation of this.

Just recently, author Jonathan Cahn released a new video in which he expressed his belief that a “great shaking is coming to America and the world.” He points to the biblical pattern of desecration preceding judgment, and he is convinced that we recently witnessed a historic act of desecration here in the United States…

Snyder makes sure he covers his prophetical ass by saying:

I am fully convinced that the months ahead are going to dramatically change life in America, but whether it happens right now or not, I am 100-percent convinced that a great shaking is coming to this nation at some point.

Snyder operates The Economic Collapse website, a site with dozens of affiliate and advertising links. While Snyder dispenses all sorts of financial advice, the real purpose of his site is to make money for Michael Snyder. While the world collapses into to chaos, Snyder wants to make sure that he has a pile of gold and silver so he can continue to live the good life. Wait a minute, I thought the rapture was imminent? No worries, Jesus is delaying his return so people like Snyder, John Hagee, Jim Bakker, and the numerous charismatic TV preachers can gather up enough wealth to make them quite comfortable in God’s new heaven and earth. Either that or these preachers of doom and gloom are the descendants of Elmer Gantry, out to fleece the flock. My money is on the latter.

Thewhoopass charismatic landscape is littered with false prophecies, yet spirit-inspired prophets continue to utter prophecies, hoping that the gullible will forget the past, fear the future and keep sending them money. Driven by fear of the unknown, well-meaning Christians buy into the what people like Snyder are selling. Sadly, for many Christians, they’ve spent their whole life fearing things that never happen.  Could the U.S. stock market collapse? Sure. Could the U.S. economy collapse resulting in massive unemployment, inflation, and poverty? Sure.  But, if these things happen, is it because of God?

Uncounted Evangelical prognosticators are certain that God is going to judge the United States because of abortion, homosexuality, the legalization of same-sex marriage, or any of a number of Sodom and Gomorrah like sins. But, here’s what I don’t understand. If God judges wicked, vile, sinful America, won’t his judgment fall on devout, sincere Christians, the very people who are watchman on the wall and standing in the gap, two of the popular descriptions for those who love what God loves and hate what God hates?  What kind of God punishes people for doing what he commanded them to do? Shouldn’t God open a can of whoopass on people like me and give the faith the keys to a Mercedes? Why punish Team Jesus?

The U.S. stock market could collapse and the global economy could slide into a worldwide recession or depression, but the reasons for this will be greed, consumption, and market manipulation. No God needed. Humanity is quite capable of plunging the world into financial chaos all on its own.

Charles Attempts to Understand the Fundamentalist Mind

god and knowledge

Several months back, I asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you would like to ask a question, please leave your question here.

Charles asked:

I know you are probably going to slam me for asking this, but it really is something I have noticed time and time and time again across my nearly 63 years of life—and I am at a bit of a loss to understand it. So, here goes:

Why do Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe that the sole purpose of communications media (books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, blogs, etc.) is to “teach me how I should live my life” in this world. All of my semi-fundie aunts are dead now, but they grew up in rural Tennessee in the period 1910-1930. In later years, (1930s onward), they would scrape up enough money to go to a movie, and they would go with the apparent notion that Joan Crawford will today on the movie screen “teach me how I should live my life if I move to the city.”

Whenever a fundie wants to banish a book from the public library, ban a movie, or whatever, the excuse is always something along the lines of: “Well, I’m afraid this book (or this movie) is going to teach people wrong things about…”

I gotta be honest with you Bruce. I think these people are just plain nuts. For example, I saw a DVD of the movie “Lucy” recently. At no time did I insert it into the DVD player, kick back in my easy chair, and say, “Scarlett is gonna teach me how I should live my life with this movie.” If I pick up the newest Superman comic book, I never say, “Superman is going to teach me a lesson on how I should live my life.”

I am a professional anthropologist. Human culture and society are my business, but this one is a little hard to understand. On occasion, I have wondered if this is a uniquely American disease of the mind with religious roots. For example, when the first pioneers pushed westward across the Appalachian Mountains into Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the Bible was often the only book they owned. It was viewed as a book whose primary purpose was to “teach them how they should live their lives.” Historically, is it possible that they uncritically transferred this notion to every form of communications media that arrived on the scene?

Even nowadays, you can here fundies say, “I don’t like that short story because it does not teach a good moral lesson.” I just want to say back, “Well, maybe the author did not want to teach you a good moral lesson because he was just writing a story that he wanted to tell.”

What goes on in the minds of these people?

Here’s what I know for sure, the Christian fundamentalist operates from six presuppositions:

  • Their God, as revealed through the Bible, creation, and conscience,  is the one true God
  • The Bible is God’s divine revelation to humanity and contains everything necessary for life and godliness
  • Every person is a sinner in need of salvation
  • There is eternal life beyond the grave
  • Heaven/eternal kingdom of God is where Christians will spend eternity and hell/lake of fire is where non-Christians will spend eternity
  • This life is preparation for eternal life after death

Because Evangelicals believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, it becomes the foundation for how they view the world and live their lives (in theory anyway). This thinking permeates every aspect of their lives. It is not uncommon for Evangelicals to label themselves as “people of the book.” The Bible becomes a written oracle that speaks infallibly pertaining to life and godliness. It becomes THE truth above all others. Throw in the notion that the Holy Spirit lives inside Evangelicals as their teacher and guide, and is it any surprise that Evangelicals think the way they do?

Everything in the Evangelicals’ lives is filtered through the pages of the Bible. When they see something in the media that lines up with their beliefs, this is viewed as God giving them a life lesson or reinforcing their beliefs. Since most Evangelicals think homosexuality is a sin, they can turn to Romans 1, 2 and see that their view of the world is going to hell in a hand basket is affirmed by the Bible and recent events such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and the persecution of Christian wedding cake bakers.

Evangelicals often equate the smallest of things to God. From finding their keys to discovering a $20 bill in a pair of pants, every unexpected “blessing” is a sure sign of the truthfulness of the Bible. These “God sightings” are proof that they are on the right track and that their beliefs are true. So, when a Tim Tebow or some other sports star praises Jesus, they see the star’s words as an affirmation of their beliefs. Same goes for utterances about God at the Grammy Awards, Country Music Awards, and other show-biz award shows. Never mind that many of the singers are praising God for songs that promote debauchery and sin. All that matters is that they thanked God or their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Woo Hoo! Another God sighting!!

Evangelicals are also obsessed with eschatology. Always on the lookout for Jesus coming to rapture them away, they look for signs of his soon return (even though they are commanded not to do so). Again, this kind of thinking leads them to “see” God and signs everywhere they look. From RFID chips being the mark of the beast to mathematical formulas that predict the exact date of the rapture, Evangelicals seek out “evidence” for their eschatological beliefs. In doing so, they overlook the obvious; first century Christian expected the second coming of Jesus in their lifetime, yet here we are 2,000 years later, no Jesus. Perhaps Jesus likes his digs in heaven and is not coming back or his body lies silent in an unmarked grave outside of Jerusalem.

Evangelicals also believe God speaks to them, either through the Bible or through the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. When a person has God speaking directly to him, it is possible to see almost anything as a lesson or message from God. Spend some time on the CHARISMA website and you will come away thinking that Evangelicalism is actually an insane asylum. No belief is so far-fetched that it cannot be attributed to God. Years ago, a woman stood up in one of the churches I pastored and told a story about God appearing to her. A devout Evangelical Christian, she said God came in the night and spoke to her. Wanting to make sure it was God and not the devil, she asked for a sign. All of a sudden, she saw a blue light and she knew it was God. I thought then, as I do now, that she was confusing a blue light special at K-Mart with a visitation from God. (Note also the number of Republican candidates for President who say the Christian God TOLD them to run.)

Throw all these things in a bag and shake them up and what you end up with is a Christian version of McCarthyism. Everywhere Evangelicals look they see their God. When they pray for Grandma and she gets better they think God did it. When God doesn’t answer their prayer and Grandma dies? It’s God’s will. Either way, everything traces back to God. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

god said it

Understanding this explains why their thinking drives you nuts. As a man of science, you value evidence and facts. While you are still a believer, you do not check your brain at the door and ignorantly view the world as the Evangelical does. Evangelicals will likely say that they too value evidence and facts, but their evidence is the Bible, not what can be understood through reason, healthy skepticism, and the scientific method. When confronted with a challenge to their beliefs, the Bible and faith always win.

This is why I do not get into arguments and lengthy discussions with Evangelicals. The path always leads back to faith and THE BIBLE SAYS!  Once the Evangelical appeals to faith, there is no hope of a meaningful discussion. Just today, an Evangelical preacher “proved” to me that Jesus resurrected from the dead. How?  He quoted the Bible. In his mind, God said it and that settles it.

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Holy Spirit Tells Jeremiah Johnson That Donald Trump is the Trumpet of God

donald trump

According to the CHARISMA website, Jeremiah Johnson is a prophetic minister. In other words, God talks directly to Johnson. Johnson, an elder at Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida, recently heard from God about Donald Trump: (link no longer active)

Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.”

Well, one thing is for sure…Donald Trump is a blowhard, the next Herb Alpert of God’s brass band of fools.

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