Television shows featuring exorcisims as entertainment. Lucifer as a crime-fighting hero on television. Occult symbols used in music videos.

References to demons seem to be everywhere in American culture. And the rise in occultism comes at a time when experts, including Catholic priests who specialize in the rite, claim exorcism is becoming more common.

Now, Karl Payne, author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” argues America is becoming desensitized to images of evil promoted by the mass media.

“Yes, pop culture is glorifying occultism and demons, and you would have to be living under a rock to deny this current reality,” he told WND. “And if a person had WiFi, the Internet or cable television, he could still find it in the desert, under that rock.”

Payne, the pastor of Leadership Development and Christian Education at Antioch Bible Church and the former chaplain of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, argues the promotion of demonic imagery is troubling because it hinders believers’ ability to avoid spiritually dangerous things.

“Familiarity can deaden inhibitions,” he explained. “Curiosity can shorten the life of a cat. It can also draw naïve, curious or bored human beings into the world of spiritism or the occult that can have very real and dangerous consequences. The entertainment industry’s decision to glorify the brutalities of spiritism and occultism has steadily moved the profane into something popular within at least a growing percentage of listeners and viewers.

“The Third Reich of Nazism clearly demonstrated that if you tell a lie loud enough and often enough some people will believe it, even if that lie results in the justification of murdering millions of innocent people. I still think it is more than an irony that some of the same entertainment pundits that view evangelical Christianity as extreme, and conservative Christians akin to dangerous terrorists for their pro-God and pro-life convictions, view and promote occult baloney as harmless, healthy entertainment.”

Payne was especially critical of how Christianity has been driven out of civic life even as overt Satanists campaign to insert their own beliefs into the public square.

“Spiritists and occultists demanding the right to promote their views while they attempt to systematically demean or censor orthodox Jews and conservative Christians from the public square, boardroom, school room, ball field or awards shows are speaking and acting in a blatantly hypocritical manner,” he told WND.

“The world would be a better place if we had more people following the golden rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. If your daughter’s car broke down in the middle of the night, would you rather she be approached for help by a Christian pastor or a Satanic priest? And yet, much of the media glorifies the Satanic priest and ridicules the Christian pastor.

“It might be a good thing to remember that the entertainment industry produces just that, entertainment, and sometimes that entertainment being pumped into front rooms and across media screens and devices can be hurtful rather than helpful. Should we care how this impacts children and adults? I think so!”

Demonic imagery, including sigils, references to pagan symbols such as the “eye of Horus,” and pentagrams, are now regularly featured in music videos and even on clothing in mainstream stores such as Hot Topic, as columnist Megan Fox recently observed at PJ Media.

And demons and the occult are now a staple of prime time television. The television show “Lucifer,” recently renewed by Fox for a third season, even portrays the devil as a cool, crime-fighting detective in Los Angeles. It would be difficult to argue America even still possesses a mainstream Judeo-Christian culture.

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The New Yorker recently published an article by Alex Ross observing that many early modernists were heavily influential by occult and mystical traditions.

“[M]ystics … prepared the ground for the modernist revolution of the early twentieth century,” Ross wrote.

Pastor Carl Gallups, author of several books including his most recent, “When the Lion Roars,” says Christian culture has been systematically dismantled, and he shares the view occultism was a part of this process.

“Yes, the distinctly Christian worldview has been in the process of being purged from modern visual arts, of all forms,” the pastor told WND. “But this should not surprise us, as art is merely following the political and cultural norms of the society in which it exists.

“We are living in decidedly prophetic times. The demonic outpouring of the last days, predicted in the Bible, is now among us. And, that outpouring is certainly making its presence known in the world of ‘art,'” he said.

“Think of the dramatic rise in abject pornographic displays, all manner of sexual perversion as well as the vilest forms of vulgarity imaginable. Every day these ‘expressions’ are becoming increasingly status quo and touted as normal and even healthy. I even recently saw an article insisting that regularly shouting vile obscenities was actually good for our health and increased our life expectancy. With that overwhelming influx of demonically influenced evil comes the constant shoving out of all things divine. We are living in an era of unprecedented ‘value replacement’ – evil is now called good, and good is now called evil.”

Gallups urged Christians not to simply give in to the spirit of the times, and he suggested believers practice discretion about what kind of entertainment they allow themselves and their families to consume.

“These facts make it even more important that born-again believers exercise extreme caution and spirit-led discretion when it comes to how we entertain ourselves, and the kind of things that we allow to enter our hearts and minds through our senses,” he said.

“Romans 12: 1-2 says it like this: ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.'”

Payne also encouraged Christian alternatives to mainstream entertainment and resistance to an anti-Christian culture.

“Do Christians have a responsibility to walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, attempting to take their thoughts captive to Christ regardless of the filth that surrounds us on a daily basis?” he asked rhetorically. “What does it mean that as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are supposed to be in the world, but not of the world?

“We live in a country that still allows diminishing religious freedoms to its citizens, and we should take advantage of the situation while we have the opportunity to do so because that door is closing. Proverbs 23:7 indicates that if you can control a person’s thinking, you can control their subsequent actions. We typically think before we act. The entertainment industry understands this principle and uses it to their financial and philosophical benefit. The community of faith needs to wake up. We have lost our culture and we are losing our children to an education system and an entertainment/media industry that is willing to promote and tolerate anything but conservative religious or political points of view.

“Our culture demands tolerance for all while it practices open intolerance toward those it disagrees with in point or principle. We watch it, whine about it, and take it. We finance the demise of our families and faith, and roll over like trained dogs or seals. It is time to stand, as it says in 1 Corinthians 16:13, ‘Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.'”

And Gallups also says one of the best answers to a degenerate culture is for Christians to develop their own media.

“I am heartened by the Christian entertainment industry’s relatively strong success in making inroads into the artistic community,” he said.

“True Christian music, painters, actors, comedians, authors, and movie producers have helped to provide quality and wholesome alternatives to the putrid trash being churned out by much of the world’s ‘artistic’ and entertainment industry. While the world sinks further into decadence and debauchery, the true Christian has an increasing opportunity to seek art and entertainment elsewhere. I don’t know how much longer we will be able to shine this ‘light,’ but I encourage Christian artists to keep it up! I also encourage believers to wholeheartedly support these artists while we are still able to do so. As the world grows darker, we must endeavor to increase the light of Jesus and the Gospel with every opportunity we have. This is our day – and the Lord has raised us up for ‘such a time as this!'”

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