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Article ID: 5020
Age Group: Adult
Posted: January 27th. 2003
Christian Authors 
by Kerr Cuhulain
Part 2: Occultic Handbooks
Some Christian authors have created dictionaries or handbooks in order to educate the public about beliefs that they consider to be Satanic or at least "cultic" in nature. An example of some authors who have attempted this are the works of the prolific fundamentalist Christian authors Josh McDowell and Don Stewart. These two are associated to Campus Crusade for Christ. According to Campus Crusade for Christ, these individuals have the following credentials:
Josh McDowell is a graduate of Talbot Theological Seminary. McDowell has appeared in eight films and two TV specials. He is a travelling representative for Campus Crusade for Christ. McDowell is a resident instructor at the Julian Center in Julian, California. He has authored numerous books, including: Prophecy: Fact or Fiction?, More Than A Carpenter, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Evidence Growth Guide: The Uniqueness of Christianity, More Evidence that Demands a Verdict, The Resurrection Factor, The Resurrection Factor Growth Guide, and Givers, Takers, and Other Kinds of Lovers.
Don Stewart is a graduate of Talbot Theological Seminary and of the International Seminar in Theology and Law in Strasbourg, France. He is a member of the Kappa Tau Epsilon national honour society and pastor at large of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California.
McDowell and Stewart are co-authors of a number of books, including: Answers to Tough Questions, Handbook of Today's Religions: Understanding the Occult, Handbook of Today's Religions: Understanding the Cults, and Handbook of Today's Religions: Understanding the Non-Christian Religions. These books are published by Campus Crusade for Christ's publishing company: Here's Life Publishers.
Let's look at McDowell and Stewart's book Handbook of Today's Religions: Understanding the Occult, copyright 1982. In it McDowell and Stewart state the objectives of this book as follows:
"1) To be a source of information as to what is and what is not an occult phenomenon by clearing up certain misconceptions;
"2) To keep those who are not now involved in the occult from becoming so;
"3) To lead those who are now dabbling in the occult out of such practices and into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; and
"4) To inform the believer who his real enemy is and the Satanic devices used in spiritual warfare."(1)
In fact, as we are about to see, their book probably creates more misconceptions than it clears up. McDowell and Stewart use the term "occult" as a general term to describe anything that they consider to be synonymous with Satanism. Basically they use the term "occult" to describe a whole lot of things that they disagree with. Some of the things that they include under the designation "occult" include: Witchcraft, Satanism, demons, magic, palm reading, fortune telling, ouija boards, tarot cards, spiritism and crystal balls.
McDowell and Stewart rely heavily on the works of the following fundamentalist Christian authors in this book: Kurt Koch, Danny Koren and Paul Meyer, Edmond Gruss, Clifford Wilson and John Weldon, John Warwick Montgomery, William J Peterson, Frank Gaynor, and Martin Ebon. Many other Christian authors are quoted and the text is full of quotations from the New American Standard Bible.
The following general statements by McDowell and Stewart make it clear what their perception of "the occult" is in this book:
- "Playing around with the world of the occult can lead to serious repercussions, both psychologically and spiritually. There is a difference between knowing intellectually that taking poison will kill you and actually taking the poison to experience what you already knew to be a fact. We need to be aware of the workings of the satanic realm but not to the point of unhealthy fascination, obsession or involvement."(2)
NOTE: McDowell and Stewart are treating "the occult," that is to say, Pagan religions and related metaphysical practices, as if they were an addiction and not valid spiritual paths.
- "The Bible categorically denounces any and all occultic practices."(3)
- "For, in most cases, one fruit in the study of parapsychology is an increasing lack of motivation to study the Scripture."(4)
In other words, like Marrs, McDowell and Stewart are saying that they are opposed to anyone showing an interest in anything other than the Bible. They are trying to scare the reader into believing that non Biblical practices are spiritually and psychologically destructive.
We can get an idea of the kind of people that McDowell and Stewart figure get involved in the "occult" from their inclusion of the following quotations of W. Elwyn Jones from John Montgomery's book Principalities and Powers:
- "Many are escapists... The world of the occult becomes attractive to people who find it difficult to face up to their moral responsibilities. Many dabble with 'other powers', and are drawn into involvement."(5)
NOTE: This is a common fundamentalist Christian argument: That refusal to accept the Christian faith is a sign that you are shunning your moral responsibility and being an escapist, as if the Christians ought to be the sole judges of what is moral.
- "Many more are superstitious."(6)
NOTE: So are many Christians, as evidenced by the kind of nonsense being written by them about "the occult" in these pages.
- "All are victims... as Christians we oppose and condemn all occult practices. From a Biblical perspective there is no room for negotiation or compromise here. God judges and condemns all traffic with demons and we can do no less. In the sight of God they are guilty of transgressing his law. Each one is a victim too- the victim of powers immeasurably more powerful and knowing than he is. What kind of person is he?
"1) The curious...
"2) The conformist...
"3) The dissatisfied...
"4) The sad...
"5) The rebellious...
"6) The psychically inclined...
"7) The offspring of practising occultists...
"8) The credulous..."(7)
In other words, curiosity is considered to be a threat to McDowell's and Stewart's conception of Christianity. Don't ask questions, they are telling us, just believe. They take a similar stand against anyone dissatisfied with the church. The second category, "the conformist," seems to be a contradiction here: Isn't religious conformity exactly what these two are advocating? According to this list being sad makes you a transgressor in the eyes of God. No sadness allowed! You will all be happy! That's an order! Obviously the credulous persons here are McDowell and Stewart.
In a fashion typical of other Satanic Conspiracy myth supporters who we have examined in this book, McDowell and Stewart advocate "spiritual warfare" and blame the current problems within the Christian faith on deviation from the "Cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith."(8) There is that conformity principle that Jones claimed was and "occultic" practice. McDowell and Stewart teach that people who experiment with things such as ouija boards and Tarot cards are soon drawn into deeper levels of Satanic activity, which is absurd. They believe that the current increase in popularity of "New Age" beliefs is a sign of the approaching Apocalypse.
On the subject of Witchcraft, McDowell and Stewart make some of the standard remarks that we have found over and over in similar literature. For example, they say that "The black mass is said in honor of the devil at the witch's Sabbath"(9) and that "Christians should have nothing to do with the black mass or any satanic or witchcraft practices. They are perversions of the true Gospel."(10)
The black mass is a perversion of Christianity, but it was created over the centuries through Christian folklore. Wicca isn't a perversion of Christianity. It isn't related to Christianity at all. As I have pointed out several times already, the black mass is a Satanic ceremony, not a Wiccan one.
McDowell's and Stewart's descriptions of initiations into Witchcraft are straight out of the literature of the Inquisition. For example they state:
- "If someone wanted to become a witch, there was an initiation process. Some of the techniques were simple and some were complicated, but there were usually two requirements. The first requirement was that the would be witch must join of his or her own free will. The second requirement was that the prospective witch must be willing to worship the Devil..."(11)
- "When a person became a witch, he or she entered into a pact with Satan to worship him. In making this covenant with the Devil, the initiate promised to serve him as the Christians promise to serve Christ. Moreover, Satanists had their own liturgy which was a parody of the liturgy said by Roman Catholics."(12)
As I pointed out before, Wiccans do not recognize Christian mythology, including Satan. Wiccans aren't going to enter into a pact with an entity that does not exist. Wiccans aren't going to borrow Catholic liturgy, since Wiccans already have their own. McDowell and Stewart are simply regurgitating Inquisitional nonsense here.
McDowell and Stewart go into more detail. They claim that:
"When a witch is initiated she is symbolically 'sacrificed' to the sun god, and this ceremony takes place while she is lying naked on the altar. The power of the witch is said to be heightened by the mysterious force that is within her own body, and when clothing is worn that power is supposedly obstructed. Their delusion is that they will gain pleasure and enjoyment in this world, especially of a sensual nature and that in a coming age Satan will overcome the Christian's God and return to the heaven from which he was once thrown out."(13)
Wiccan initiations do not involve human sacrifices, symbolic or otherwise. Nor is anyone required to lie naked on altars in Wiccan ritual. The remark about the "mysterious force" being unable to pass through clothing is interesting, since this would mean that "Witches" of the sort described by McDowell and Stewart would be unable to curse or cast a spell on another person unless that person were unclothed. Of course this is all academic, since Wiccans are restrained from harming others by their principle law: The Wiccan Rede.
McDowell and Stewart then supply us with a description of a "Witchcraft initiation" obtained from two unidentified girls:
"They had to go to a graveyard in the dead of night, walk across a man sized cross, and denounce any belief in Christ. Afterwards, a ritual was performed and the girls had to drink the blood of animals that had been skinned alive."(14)
Typically, the girls are not identified and no details are given that would allow the reader to corroborate their claim. Large groups of people performing rituals involving skinning animals alive (which would have to be a noisy process) in graveyards (usually situated not to far from habitations) would surely have been noticed by someone who would then have called the authorities, don't you think?
At one point McDowell and Stewart claim that "[Anton] LaVey... has recently written a book on man-catching for the would be Satanic witch."(15) LaVey (now deceased) was a Satanist, not a Wiccan. LaVey was the founder of the Church of Satan in San Francisco in 1966. Any ritual that LaVey wrote would be for Satanists, not for Wiccans. It is a well known fact that LaVey had no use for Wiccans.
McDowell and Stewart spout a lot of the same nonsense about Halloween that we have seen elsewhere in this series:
- "The date witches celebrate above all others is October 31, which is All Hallows Eve or Halloween. It is believed that on this night Satan and his witches have their greatest power... The celebration honored their god Samhain, lord of the dead."(16)
NOTE: Here is that urban legend about "Samhain the God of the Dead" again. Wiccans don't belong to Satan.
- "However, true witches and followers of witchcraft still preserve the early pagan beliefs and consider Halloween a sacred and deadly powerful time. Having turned their backs on the God of the Bible, they invoke the help of Satan, fallen from God's favor and relegated to darkness."(17)
Here McDowell and Stewart are simply assuming, incorrectly, that ancient Pagan beliefs must be Satanic because they aren't Christian. This is obviously a variation on the old adage that if you aren't with me, you must be the enemy. McDowell and Stewart state that:
- "Witchcraft is still evil and is still rebellion against God."(18)
- "Witchcraft is a put-down and a revolt against some to the establishment beliefs in organized religion, science, and rational thinking. The historic connection between witchcraft and drugs and sex also has undoubted appeal. Here is a set of beliefs that claim to be part of an extremely ancient religion. Yet this is a religion in which drugs and free sexuality are not condemned, but might be encouraged. Despite all the publicity and all the witch covens that have been organized, witchcraft still is not taken seriously."(19)
Note how McDowell and Stewart use the terms "organized religion" and "rational" to describe Christianity here, as if all other religions were unorganized and irrational. They speak of a "historic connection between witchcraft and drugs and sex," but the only thing historic about this is that members of the Christian church have historically alleged that Pagans use illicit drugs and engage in sado-masochistic sex. Wicca doesn't just claim to be part of an ancient religion, it can be conclusively shown that elements of Wiccan faith can be traced back to ancient Pagan practices.
Given that Wiccans do not recognize the Christian God, it is hard to figure why Wiccans would want to rebel against a non-existent deity.
McDowell and Stewart use the same tactic we have already seen others utilize of making vague claims of the police finding connections linking Witchcraft to Satanism and criminality. As usual, no specific incidents, no dates, names, places or even names of investigators or police departments are given. The following statement by McDowell and Stewart is a good example of this:
"Most people have thought of witchcraft as something that only the superstitious gave any credence to... Today, in a massive spin-off from the culture wide interest in the occult, this has all changed. Tens of thousands across America- some of them with university degrees- are dabbling in witchcraft... Some of this is a fact. But unfortunately much of it isn't. Murder after murder has been linked to the craze, with the murderers openly admitting to the police or reporters that they worshipped Satan. Police, more and more frequently are finding grim evidence of both animal and human sacrifice."(20)
As McDowell and Stewart suggest, "Some of this is a fact," specifically the information about many modern Witches having university degrees. "But unfortunately much of it isn't," specifically the part that McDowell and Stewart have added concerning animal and human sacrifice.
The resource materials on Witchcraft used by McDowell and Stewart consist largely of centuries old Inquistional manuals on demonology. For example, McDowell and Stewart quote the following list of "ancient requirements for becoming a witch" from Francesco-Maria Guazzo's Compendium Maleficarum, which was written in 1608 CE:
- "1) Denial of the Christian faith...
- "2) Rebaptism by the devil in a new name.
- "3) Symbolic removal of the baptismal chrism.
- "4) Denial of godparents and assigning of new sponsors.
- "5) Token surrender to the devil of a piece of clothing.
- "6) Swearing allegiance to the devil while standing in a magic circle on the ground.
- "7) Request to the devil for their name to be written in the Book of Death.
- "8) Promise to sacrifice children to the devil, a step which led to the stories of witches murdering children.
- "9) Promise to pay annual tribute to the assigned demon...
- "10) Marking with the devil's mark in various parts of the body... so that the area became insensitive.
- "11) Vows of service to the devil...and to keep silence on their traffic with Satan."(21)
McDowell and Stewart give horrid descriptions of "witches" from William West's Simboleography (1594 CE), Gratian's Decretum and Pope Innocent VIII's infamous Papal Bull which started the Inquisition: Summis Desiderantes Affectibus (1484 CE). McDowell and Stewart give honourable mention to Jacob Sprenger's and Prior Heinrich Kramer's Maleus Maleficarum. They do admit that the Inquisition and the later Salem witch trials resulted in many innocent people being killed. McDowell and Stewart further admit that the Inquisitors used brutal and dishonest methods in their witch hunt. Yet they mildly shrug it off, stating that it was "unfortunate that much of the persecution came from professing Christians doing it in the name of God." They state that the death penalty for such heresies was inappropriate. Curiously, the Bible which they use, the NASB, differs from the King James translation in Exodus 22:18, stating "Thou shalt not allow a sorceress to live", rather than the King James' "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Actually they more often cite Deuteronomy 18:8-12 in their book.
McDowell and Stewart fail in their first stated objective, since they are perpetrating misconceptions about the occult, rather than clearing them up. It is these misconceptions that they use to try to accomplish their three other objectives.
Another good example of an author who has written a "handbook of religion" is William Glenn Watson. Watson was the minister of education at the First Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas. He has been a minister of education for several decades. Watson is a graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Watson is the author of A Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions. The dedication to this dictionary reads as follows: "And with grateful appreciation to the late Dr Walter R Martin, whose cassette tape series "World of the Cults" catapulted me into a deeper study of cults and a greater concern for those involved in them." Dr Martin was the founder of Christian Research Institute and was an outspoken critic of anything not fundamentalist Christian.
We can get an idea of Watson's philosophy from the individuals that he lists as resources in his bibliography under the titles "New Age" or "Occult." Some of them you will find elsewhere in this series. The list includes:
- Brooks Alexander, a prolific evangelical author. Watson lists Brook's book Spirit Channelling in this bibliography. Other books by Alexander include: The God Men, The Occult, The Final Threat, Occult Philosophy and Mystical Experience, Relections of an Ex, A Generation of Wizards, Dancing in What?, The Coming World Religion, Neopaganism: History and Overview, Scientology: The Technology of Enlightenment and What is Spiritism and Why are They Saying Those Awful Things About It?.
- John Ankerberg and John Weldon, authors of The Facts on Spirit Guides and The Facts on the New Age Movement.
- Eric Barger, author of From Rock to Rock. Barger believes that rock music leads youth into Satanism.
- Will Barron, author of Deceived by the New Age.
- Dave Breese, author of Satan's Ten Most Believable Lies.
- Tal Brooke, author of When the World Shall Be As One. The foreword to Watson's book was written by Brooke, who is the President/Chairman of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project.
- Mark L Bubeck, author of The Adversary and Overcoming the Adversary.
- Russell Chandler, author of Understanding the New Age.
- Constance Cumbey, author of Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow.
- C Fred Dickason, author of Demon Possession and the Christian.
- Roger Elwood, author of The Christening, a novel depicting what happens when three boys "dabble in the occult". It is interesting to see that Watson is using a work of fiction to support what he purports to be a factual book on "cults."
- Mel and Norman Gabler, authors of What Are They Teaching Our Children?
- Norman L Geisler and J Yutaka Amano, author of The Infiltration of the New Age.
- Douglas Groothuis, author of Confronting the New Age, Revealing the New Age Christ and Unmasking the New Age.
- Edmond Charles Gruss, author of The Ouija Board, and Cults and the Occult.
- Michael Haynes and Paul W Carlin, author of What They Do Not Want You to Know.
- Jay Howard, author of Confronting the Cultist in the New Age.
- Karen Hoyt, author of The New Age Rage.
- Dave Hunt, author of Beyond Seduction and Peace, Prosperity and the Coming Holocaust.
- Arthur L Johnson, author of Faith Misguided.
- Jerry Johnston, the author of The Edge of Evil that I discussed earlier.
- Berit Kjos, author of Your Child and the New Age.
- Kurt Koch, author of many books such as Occult ABC.
- Dan Korem, author of Powers and coauthor (with Paul Meier) of The Fakers.
- Bob Larson, author of Satanism: The Seduction of America's Youth, Larson's New Book of Cults, Dead Air and Straight Answers on the New Age. I discussed Larson elsewhere in this series.
- Peter Leithart and George Grant, authors of A Christian Response to Dungeons and Dragons.
- Texe Marrs, author of books like Ravaged by the New Age which I discussed elsewhere in this series.
- Walter Martin, mentioned above. His book The New Age Cult is listed in Watson's bibliography.
- Richard Maybee, author of Unmasking Satan.
- Johanna Michaelsen, author of Like Lambs to the Slaughter, who I discussed elsewhere in this series.
- Elliot Miller, author of A Crash Course on the New Age Movement.
- Robert Morey, author of Battle of the Gods.
- Gary North, author of Unholy Spirits: Occultism and New Age Humanism.
- Russ Parker, the author of Battling the Occult that I discussed earlier in this article.
- Frank E Peretti, author of Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness, both fictional accounts of how the "New Age" affects our educational system. Once again, Watson is using fiction as a basis for a supposedly factual dictionary.
- Phil Phillips, author of books like Turmoil in the Toy Box that I discuss elsewhere in this series.
- James Sire, author of Shirley MacLaine and the New Age Movement.
- F LaGard Smith, author of Out on a Broken Limb, a book which attacks Shirley MacLaine's book Out On A Limb.
- Merrill Unger, author of Demons in the World Today.
- Thomas Wedge, author of The Satan Hunter.
- John Weldon co author (with James Bjornstad) of Playing with Fire and co author (with Clifford Wilson) of Psychic Forces and Occult Shock.
Also named in Watson's bibliography, in the "general" section, are Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, who I discussed earlier in this article. Watson also lists the following organizations as resources: American Family Foundation, Answers in Action, Bob Larson Ministries, Christian Apologetics: Research and Information Service (CARIS), Christian Ministries International (CMI), Christian Research Institute (CRI: founded by the late Dr Walter Martin), Home Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, Interfaith Coalition of Concern About Cults, Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Witness, Inc., Evangelical Ministries to New Religions, Ex-Mormons and Concerned Christians, Free the Masons Ministries (part of Saints Alive in Jesus, mentioned later in this list), Frontline Ministries, HRT Ministries Inc., J.O.E.L. Ministries, Missionary Crusader, Mormonism Research Ministry, New Directions Ministries, Parent's Music Resource Center, Personal Freedom Outreach, Probe Ministries International, Saints Alive In Jesus, The Teaching Ministry, Utah Christian Publications, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Utah Missions, Warnke Ministries, WATCH Network, and Watchman Fellowship, Inc.
In the preface of A Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions, Watson defines the term "cult" follows:
"Cult is used in its general sense: a deviation, a counterfeit of classical Christianity, a group whose authority for cardinal beliefs is something or someone other than the Bible. Most deny the Trinity and the incarnation of Jesus Christ, that is, that He is and always has been God. Such groups also give emphasis to salvation by works..."(22)
In other words, if it isn't fundamentalist Christian, it is a cult. Note how Watson suggests that his definition of "cult" is a generally accepted one. In fact, it is only accepted by evangelical Christians like Watson.
Watson defines the term "occult" as follows:
"Occult comes from a Latin word meaning 'hidden, secret, or mysterious.' It refers to groups who openly credit Satan or the spirit world for their abilities. Satan, spirits, or gods and goddesses are worshipped and give power for the practitioners to cast spells or curses, divine the future, and communicate with the dead. Occultic groups are entirely opposed to Christ and Christianity."(23)
Watson is correct in stating that the term occult comes from a Latin root meaning "hidden," but how can this be said to apply exclusively to Satanists? Many denominations of the Christian church have practices or offices which could be labelled "occult," as they are not open to public scrutiny. Watson, in the next sentence, contradicts himself by declaring that "it refers to groups who openly" admit what they are up to. Either its open or its not.
As you may expect from his definition of the term "cult," Watson names a great many different non-Christian groups and individuals as cults or cult leaders, in a style reminiscent of Larson's New Book of Cults. Many of these aren't religious at all and the list clearly reflects what Watson is opposed to. Some of the people listed as cult leaders by Watson are well known Wiccan leaders and/or authors, including: Frederick Adams ("founder of the Goddess Kore Cult"(24)), Margot Adler (author and respected journalist), Deborah Fender (whom Watson describes as a "feminist activist and member of the Covenant of the Goddess, second largest national witchcraft organization"(25)), Raymond and Rosemary Buckland (founder of the Seax tradition of Wicca, author), Zsusanna Budapest (a well known feminist), Laurie Cabot (founder of the Witches League for Public Awareness, whom Watson describes as the "officially christened Witch of Salem, Massachusetts"(26)), Ed Fitch (author), Gavin and Yvonne Frost (founders of the Church and School of Wicca), Sybil Leek (author), and Alexander and Maxine Sanders (founders of the Alexandrian tradition of Wicca- Alex died many years ago, a fact which Watson seems unaware of).
Pagan organizations listed as "cults" by Watson include: Church of All Worlds, Church of Circle Wicca, Covenant of the Goddess, Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Cymry Wicca, Forever Forests (an environmental organization founded by the late Pagan musician Gwydion Penderwen), the Georgian Church (a Wiccan tradition founded by the late George Patterson), Green Egg (the newsletter of the aforementioned Church of All Worlds), Mother Earth Church, Nemeton, Odinist Committee, Odinist Fellowship, Order Aurum Solis, Ordo Templi Astarte (OTA), Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), Radical Faerie Movement (whom Watson describes as a "Group of homosexuals who connect their sexual choices with pagan nature religion"(27)), Ravenwood Church of Wicca,, Saxon Witchcraft (founded by the aforementioned Raymond Buckland), Seax-Wicca Voys (also founded by Buckland), Seax-Wicca Seminary (also founded by Buckland).
Some of the other organizations and people listed as cults or cult leaders in Watson's dictionary include: Amnesty International, Richard Bach (author of Johnathan Livingston Seagull and One), Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (founder of Theosophy), Fritjof Capra (a physicist), Carlos Castaneda (an author and anthropologist), Arthur C Clarke (a science fiction writer), Melitta Denning (a New Age author), John Denver (musician), Matthew Fox (a Catholic priest), Gaia (a name of the earth Goddess in Greek myth, which Watson describes as "New Age name for the living planet Earth, which is worshipped as being one with us."(28)), Greenpeace (an environmental organization), The Hidden Path, Llewellyn's New Times (a newsletter which Watson misidentifies as a "publishing house for cults..."(29)), Osborne Phillips (New Age author), U Thant (former Secretary General of the United Nations), Unitarian Universalist Association (an umbrella organization under which Wiccans often conduct services) and Zero Population Growth. Last but not least, it is amusing to see that Watson also lists well known Christian televangelists Oral Roberts(30) and Robert Tilton(31) as "cult leaders." I have to agree with Watson's assessment in the case of these two.
Watson lists a number of fantasy role playing games in A Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions, including: Arduin Grimoire, Dragon Quest, Dungeons and Dragons, Powers and Perils, Stormbringer, Villains and Vigilantes, Warhammer and Warlock of Firetop Mountain. All of these listings, except the listing for Dungeons and Dragons, have the same definition: "Fantasy role-playing game, similar to Dungeons and Dragons, that teaches occultic practices."(32) The Dungeons and Dragons definition is: "Fantasy role playing game that teaches occultic practices. It has been called a 'catechism of the occult.'"(33) Only by people like Watson.
Watson lists the old science fiction television show Battlestar Galactica and describes it thus: "This movie and television series (now in syndication) contains images of Mormon theology and history."(34)
In A Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions, Watson describes magick as follows:
"Magick (occult magic): Conjuring spells in the exercise of power over someone or something. Some occult magicians classify 'magick' in three types: (1) Black magick is used to hurt others. Satanists use black magick. (2) White magick is considered 'good' and is used to help others. Witches call themselves white magicians. (3) Neutral magick is involved with neutral forces in nature, which can be used for good or evil purposes...
"A magick circle is used to call on spirits to do what the occultist wants. The occultist prepares for this ritual by following requirements described in the grimoire. Drugs, alcohol, or sex may be used to heighten powers just before the ritual. During the ceremony, the desired spirit is summoned by various incantations. The ritual must be precisely done so that the spirit will not get out of control."(35)
By classifying Witches as occultists, Watson is implying that Wiccans practice the sort of ceremonial magick which he describes here, which is absurd. Drugs and/or alcohol are well known to diminish power. They ground out any energy that you try to raise. That is why serious Pagans don't use drugs and alcohol in magickal rites. Watson's definition of magick continues:
"Symbolism is extremely important in magick. Knots in a string symbolize strangling the life out of a victim. Sacred things that are backwards or broken have power. Salt and iron can be used to control demons. Copper, the color green, the dove, and the swan are used in love spells. Iron, the color red, and the number five are used in hate spells. Different colored candles have different meanings. One of the most notorious black magicians was Aleister Crowley."(36)
In cord magick the magician focusses on the object of the magick while tying the knots: Thus the knots serve as a tool to focus the will. The object of the cord magick could be almost anything. One cannot assume that such knots always symbolize "strangling the life out of a victim" as Watson suggests. I've seen all manner of other colours used in love spells. As far as a Wiccan is concerned, "sacred things" that are backwards or broken are simply backwards or broken. I'm sure that the "sacred things" that Watson is referring to here are Christian scriptures, which is something that Pagans aren't going to use.
Watson defines "The Book of Shadows" as a "Sacred book of witchcraft. Also can refer to a notebook of occult magic spells and rituals kept by people involved in Satanism."(37) Actually a Book of Shadows it is a personal journal or notebook of Wiccan magick and ritual. Satanists don't use this term. Watson seems to think that we treat a Book of Shadows like scripture, which is not the case.
Here are some of Watson's definitions of other common terms:
- "Divination:... All divination leads persons away from faith in God."(38)
NOTE: I know of many Christians who use forms of divination like Tarot. It doesn't seem to affect their belief in Jehovah.
- "Grimoire: Manual of occult magic rituals and spells. Some of the more widely used grimoires are The Black Raven, Eighth to Thirteenth Books of Moses, Enchanted words of Black Forest, The Genuine Fiery Dragon, The Key of Solomon, The Lesser Key of Solomon, The Little Book of Romanus, The Necronomicon, Saint's Blessing, The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, the Spring Book, The Spiritual Shield, and the Testament of Solomon."(39)
NOTE: Each of the texts named here is listed separately in A Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions, and each is defined as follows: "Popular occult magic spell book." Watson correctly identifies Howard Phillips Lovecraft as the author of the Necronomicon elsewhere in his book, but seems to be completely unaware that Lovecraft, a fantasy writer, wrote the Necronomicon as a piece of fiction.
- "Heavy Metal Music: ...Its lyrics and the actions of the performers on stage promote occultic practices..."(40)
NOTE: Really? Sounds like Watson has bought into the "rock music causes Satanism" myths that we saw other evangelists disseminating elsewhere in this series.
- "Occult: ...a term that covers wide-ranging practices including astrology, other forms of divination, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, Satanism, and Hindu/occult ancient wisdom groups such as ECKANAR, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, UFO cults, self-styled prophets, and the New Age movement ...Although some of the 'unexplained' phenomena in the occult is supernatural (demonic), much of it is fakery. Occultic influence pervades society in subtle ways. Children's cartoons and toys, particularly those that are fantasy-oriented, are laden with occultic imagery. 'One of the greatest protective coverings of the occult is that people do not believe that it exists' (WATCH Network)."(41)
NOTE: This is the same trick that we saw Watson (and so many others) using earlier, grouping anything not Christian under the title "occult." The WATCH Network has been discussed elsewhere in this series.
- "Fantasy role playing games offer children and young adults what amounts to a catechism of occultism. Gary North says, 'These games are the most effective, most magnificently packaged, most profitably marketed, most thoroughly researched, introduction to the occult in man's recorded history'..."(42)
NOTE: Many evangelicals besides Gary North have made outrageous claims of this sort. What Watson is either unaware of or overlooks is that some of the Fantasy Role Playing Games out there are Christian.
- "Runes: Spiritualist method of divination using tiles inscribed with letters from the Viking Rune alphabet. Runes are cast and interpreted from these twenty four characters. It is considered a magical alphabet and is used by occultists to write their pacts with Satan."(43)
NOTE: There is nothing Satanic about the Norse beliefs from which the runic alphabets originated. Such alphabets may have more or less than 24 runes. There have been cases when those dabbling in Satanism have used runes to write, but they have also used other magical alphabets and have even invented their own ciphers in some cases. To suggest that all of those that Watson classifies as "occultists" use them at all, never mind use them to write pacts with Satan, is absurd.
- "W.I.C.C.A.: Acronym for Witches International Coven Council Association. A coalition of witches whose aim is to coordinate efforts of diverse groups of witches."(44)
NOTE: Here is the W.I.C.C.A. Letters myth again. I showed you earlier that this organization never existed.
- "Witchcraft: Occultic practice motivated by the lust for power, knowledge of the future, and control over opposing forces... A group called W.I.C.C.A. is trying to coordinate efforts of all the diverse groups of witches... Rituals, spells, and charms in grimoires are followed to the letter in order to achieve the desired results. Ceremonies include sexual rituals and drug use. Reincarnation and lycanthropy are taught..."(45)
NOTE: This is a new variation on the W.I.C.C.A. myth. The original version said that W.I.C.C.A. was an international organization plotting world domination. Here it has become a institution coordinating efforts to use sex rituals and drugs to become a werewolf.
Obviously Watson has a very biassed perspective with regards to comparative religion. Watson is woefully unaware of the practices of Pagan spiritual groups. His dictionary is virtually useless as a resource to students or investigators.
| ABOUT... |
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).
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