EDITORIAL -- Seers, Sorcerers, and Seances (II)
In a previous article, we talked about some of the scriptural proscriptions against astrology, witchcraft, or black magic. This strange mixture of pagan religion, superstition, quackery, and big business is sweeping our land, as I wish to show in this article. See last weeks articles for the scriptures which condemn "star-gazing."
Nearly everyone in this country has heard of the predictions of Jeane Dixon, or read Carroll Lighters horoscope column, or heard of Bishop John A. Pikes alleged communion through ,several mediums (including one Christian, church preacher, Arthur Ford of Philadelphia) with his son who had shortly beforehand committed suicide.
But these false prophets are only the tip of the iceberg. That is much more! Twelve hundred daily newspapers in the United States now publish horoscope columns. Twenty years ago one hundred papers carried such a column.
Sybil Leek, "a self-proclaimed, practicing witch," counts 400 "authentic witches" among her personal friends in the United States, and estimates that the world witch population is eight million. There are estimated to be ten thousand Americans who make their livings fortune-telling." And some members of the church are not reluctant to patronize these witches! Many business firms now employ full-time astrologers. New Yorks Abraham and Strauss department store is reported to have retained Lloyd Cope in 1969 as its official astrology consultant. One member of the New York stock exchange "likes to conclude important deals at three A. M. because of his astrologers counsel," as reported by Life Magazine. Joseph Bayly states: "Witchcraft is probably been helped with the historic problem of its image by the recent movie Rosemarys Baby, and by the television series, Bewitched; the latter features a beautiful witch, Samantha" (What About Horoscopes? p. 27).
If you doubt that astrology and witchcraft are widespread in this country, go to a local bookstore or magazine display rack and note the book and article titles. One such bookstore had the following titles: Astrology for Everyday Living; Astrology Made Practical; Fortunetelling With Cards; Dreams and Your Horoscope; Your Character in the Stars; Numerology; Your Future in Your Hand; Astrology Answers Your Questions; Astrology, Mythology, and the Bible; Astrology and Your Destiny; The Tarot Revealed; and Your Sun Personality.
Then there are all kinds of specialized astrology books. One hundred thousand gamblers bought Astrology and Horse Racing in a recent year. The spring 1972 Saturday Evening Post on p. 36 has a regular feature entitled "Dog Horoscopes," by Liz Tresilian, sub-titled "A Dissertation on matters of canine zodiacal import," in case you are worried about your dogs future.
Or you can buy Your Babys First Horoscope; Astrology for Teens; or How to Find Your Mate Through Astrology. Then there is an Astrological Guide to Good Health; or a Five Year Diet and Health Horoscope; or Cooking with Astrology, and a Zodiac Cookbook. Then there are other books entitled Astrology and, the United States, and The Bird-feather Astrological Space Book. Then there is Astrology for Hounds, or Cat Horoscope Book. Like other false religions, just nearly any kind you want!
According to the New York Times, each book in a series on the signs of the Zodiac has sold 2.5 to 3 million copies every year. In less than two years, Doubledays occult Universe Book Club attracted over one hundred thousand members from all ages, sexes, and localities. Bayly reported: "A Bantam sales executive says that the market for his companys occult line is primarily in the Bible-Belt and the Deep South." (P. 10). Frankly, I do not know what the implication of that statement is.
But with this modern outbreak of what is alleged to be witchcraft, what should be the attitude of Christians toward it? In 1691-92, at Salem Village, Massachusetts, there was an outbreak of what was adjudged to be witchcraft. Initially two people were fascinating some teenage girls during winter afternoons with palmistry, fortune telling, necromancy, magic, and spiritism. The Salem community became so wrought up over this resurgence of black magic that they conducted the now infamous Salem "witch trials." Before the matter was ended in Salem Village, nineteen alleged witches were hanged!
Now I am not advocating the hanging of anyone, but I do think the attitude of Christians toward these self-confessed witches should be different than what it oftentimes is. Salems extreme reaction to witchery drove the black magic business underground for three centuries. It now has been exhumed and given respectability by some who do not even profess really to believe in it. Some forms of witchcraft have become afternoon and evening fun-games, even to some Christians. Bayly speaks of "Our light and frivolous approach to the unseen spirit world today, our craze for horoscopes and mediums, fortune-tellers and Ouija boards-turning it all into one big game . . ." (p. 45).
These who claim to be witches and fortune-tellers affirm that they have contact with the unseen and evil spirit world. If you do not believe they do have such contact, you should certainly leave them alone and not patronize them. And one is paying their fee, whether he pays it directly to the fortune-teller or medium, or whether he buys a newspaper or magazine in order to read his horoscope. And if one really believes he has contact with some mysterious spirit world through a Ouija board or a fortune teller, he has accepted already the deadly sin of sorcery. Whether he believes it is for real, or just uses it for an afternoon or evenings fun, the Christian should have no part in satanic stargazing or sorcery. (One More Article to Follow)
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 29, pp. 3-4