Halloween is approaching, and the theaters and TV channels are flooded with ghosts, zombies, monsters and worse.
Just entertainment, amusement and not representative of anything real, right?
Karl Payne, an expert on demonology and the author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” believes these elements of Americana sometimes are more than just “fun and games.”
“When you live in [a] culture that glamorizes this, when you live in a culture that encourages people to get involved in these type of activities, do you not think that there are some people, from all age groups, who get lured into the occult through the culture we promote?” Payne asked.
Payne said he saw clear examples of “desensitization” the last time he watched television.
“This culture is like demonism on steroids. The last time I turned on the TV, one channel was heavily promoting a gory show on zombies and then on another, a show on witches that flirted with the occult was being heavily promoted. The proliferation of media like this desensitizes the public’s awareness of the evil in the world around us and opens up individuals to demonic influence,” Payne stated.
The two shows he cited are some of the most popular on TV right now. “The Walking Dead” is known for depicting gruesome violence and follows a group of human survivors in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. It just broke cable television records with its latest season premiere.
“American Horror Story” has also topped the ratings chart, and its new season is set to focus on witchcraft and the occult.
Payne disputes the notion that media, like these two shows, promote no harm in daily lives.
“There’s the notion that this stuff isn’t real, it’s all ‘fun and games,’ and we shouldn’t worry about it. But the fact is that a part of this stuff is real, and it hurts real people in real life,” he said.
He said a woman he helped counsel was heavily involved with the occult and suffered extreme emotional torment from her experiences with the “dark side” – an impact that continued to affect her life years after she left it behind.
“She was still demonized, there were still areas of her life that were under control by demonic influence that she had opened up her life to, and she didn’t know how to get rid of it,” Payne explained.
Payne was able to combat the demonic influence through techniques that he describes in detail in his book “Spiritual Warfare.”
“We got rid of it through a process that I describe in Chapter 8 of ‘Spiritual Warfare’ and when we finished, she was a whole new person,” Payne continued
Payne believes that people should avoid media and cultural forms that promote these negative associations and enjoy culture with more positive messages. He contends it’s naïve to think that these influences won’t end up causing harm.
“If people play games with the occult long enough and still believe they won’t end up hitchhiking with the demonic, they’re naïve,” Payne stated.
In his book, Payne issues a provocative, biblically based challenge for all Christians, regardless of their denominational, ecclesiastical or theological loyalties, to consider the subject of spiritual warfare in general and demonic warfare in particular.
“Spiritual Warfare” offers practical hope for the believer and help for those that struggle with the very real issues of spiritual combat, he said.
Among the questions he addresses:
- What does it mean to be demon possessed?
- Identifying the fight: The world, the flesh or the devil?
- Why are so many people today fascinated with the subjects of demons, vampires and witchcraft?
- What are the keys to successfully confronting demons?
- Do demons really haunt houses?
- How can anyone living in the 21st century still believe in the reality of demons and their ability to attack people?
- Why is deliverance ministry so often portrayed as a “circus” by the media?
- Why are so many Christians paralyzed mentally and emotionally by demonic powers?
“Spiritual Warfare” offers a fascinating Bible-based and Scripture-backed examination of demonic oppression, demonization and possession.
Payne earned his Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry degrees from Western Seminary in Portland, Ore. For over 25 years, he has offered training on spiritual warfare through his discipleship and apologetics writings.
He serves as pastor of leadership development at Antioch Bible Church near Seattle and is the founder of Transferable Cross Training Foundation. He also serves as the chaplain of the Seattle Seahawks NFL team.
WND recently reported Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared in an interview his belief that the devil is a real being.
His interviewer, Jennifer Senior of New York Magazine, was shocked by his statements.
Senior: You believe in heaven and hell?
Scalia: Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?
Scalia: Oh, my.
Senior: Does that mean I’m not going?
Scalia: [Laughing.] Unfortunately not!
Senior: Wait, to heaven or hell?
Scalia: It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.
Senior: But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it?
Scalia: Of course not!
Senior: Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
Scalia: I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell. I mean, that’s what the pope meant when he said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ He may have recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?
Senior: Can we talk about your drafting process –
Scalia: [Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the devil.
Senior: You do?
Scalia: Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
Senior: Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
Scalia: If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.
Senior: Have you seen evidence of the devil lately?
Scalia: You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.
Scalia: It’s because he’s smart.
Senior: So what’s he doing now?
Scalia: What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.
Senior: That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the – devil’s work?
Scalia: I didn’t say atheists are the devil’s work.
Senior: Well, you’re saying the devil is persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
Scalia: Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the devil’s desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.
Scalia: What happened to him?
Senior: He just got wilier.
Scalia: He got wilier.
Senior: Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the devil?
Scalia: You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the devil! Most of mankind has believed in the devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the devil.
Senior: I hope you weren’t sensing contempt from me. It wasn’t your belief that surprised me so much as how boldly you expressed it.
Scalia: I was offended by that. I really was.