PAGANISM and CHRISTIANITY

(You can listen by audio; pause the audio to follow page links, then, when you are ready, resume the audio. Please note: I use page links for important details in lieu of footnotes and references.)

ARE YOU PRACTICING PAGANISM, ‘UNAWARE’?

Tell me it is not so.  Where do you fit in?

From Answers in Genesis

64% of Americans agree that “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.”

Only 52% agree that “the Bible alone is the written word of God.”

Only 58% agree that “God is the author of Scripture.”

65% agree that “everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”

44% agree that “the Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.”

51% agree that “the Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses.”

Only 47% agree that “the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches.”

59% of Americans agree that “worshiping alone or with one’s family is a valid replacement for regularly attending church.”

Only 45% agree that “churches that do not preach from the Bible should not be considered a Christian church.”

Only 49% in churches agree that “sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.”

Only 49% agree that “abortion is a sin.”

42% agree that “the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior doesn’t apply today.”

38% agree that “gender identity is a matter of choice.”

45% agree that “modern science discredits the claims of Christianity.”

52% agree that “by the good deeds that I do, I partly contribute to earning my place in heaven”

Only 60% agree that “Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.”

Only 52% agree that “it is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

Only 54% in churches agree that “only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”

From the Pew Research Center

Survey among Christians, when asked, “Do you believe in God”. (Pew Research Center on belief in God)

Survey year Believe in God; absolutely certain Believe in God; fairly certain Believe in God; not too/not at all certain Believe in God; don’t know Do not believe in God Other/don’t know if they believe in God Sample size
2014      76%     18%       3%      1%     1%         1% 25,048

Pew Research on casual sex among professing Christians

Half of Christians say casual sex – defined in the survey as sex between consenting adults who are not in a committed romantic relationship – is sometimes or always acceptable.

  • Six-in-ten Catholics (62%) take this view, as do 56% of Protestants in the historically Black tradition, 54% of mainline Protestants and 36% of evangelical Protestants.
  • Among those who are religiously unaffiliated, meanwhile, the vast majority (84%) say casual sex is sometimes or always acceptable,
  • including roughly nine-in-ten atheists (94%) and
  • agnostics (95%) who say this.
  • The religiously unaffiliated, also known as “nones,” are those who describe themselves, religiously, as atheist, agnostic or as “nothing in particular.”

From CNS News

A study released by the Rasmussen Reports polling firm on Good Friday found that only 64% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

From the Cultural Research Center – George Barna Research

Today, 176 million Americans claim to be Christians—69% of the population. Yet, only 6% of U.S. adults—which is 9% of those identifying as Christians—possess a biblical worldview, believing the Bible to be accurate and reliable, among other convictions.

That’s according to a new study by researcher George Barna and the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University in Glendale, Arizona.

Large majorities of self-identified Christians also report many beliefs “not in harmony with biblical teaching,” according to the survey. These include:

  • 72% argue that people are basically good
  • 66% say that ‘having faith’ matters more than which faith you pursue
  • 64% say that all religious faiths are of equal value
  • 58% believe that if a person is good enough, or does enough good things, they can earn their way into Heaven
  • 57% believe in karma

By contrast, the survey cohort termed as Integrated Disciples—a small subset of those claiming to be Christians—are noted as being consistent in their beliefs and integrating those convictions into their behaviors.

  • 99+% believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful and just Creator of the universe who still rules the universe today
  • 99+% believe that the Bible is the accurate and reliable words of God
  • 96% claim that every moral choice either honors of dishonors God

However, Barna’s survey finds that even some believers classified as part of this highly discipled cohort hold to some views that “challenge biblical principles.” Those “shocking” beliefs of Integrated Disciples include:

  • 52% argue that people are basically good
  • 39% contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity
  • 33% believe in karma

“There is a remarkable level of self-deception (even among) born-again Christians,” said Barna, commenting on his recent worldview research. “It represents a huge educational challenge for those responsible for biblical worldview development.”

Many postmodern churches are teaching a type of gospel that does not conform to the Bible and, in fact, reveals many of the traits and teachings of Paganism. Likewise, a majority of people claiming the name of Christian may not be Christians at all. Many postmodern Christians don’t fully believe the Bible and practice aspects of Paganism.

Pagan comes from the Latin word paganus, which means “country dweller”; paganism can refer to polytheism, (the belief in many gods), or the worship of more than one god, such as in ancient Rome. A pagan is also considered to be one who, for the most part, has no religion and indulges in worldly delights and material possessions; someone who revels in sensual pleasures; a hedonistic or self-indulgent individual. Another, more modern term is neo-paganism, which refers to some of the contemporary forms of paganism such as Wicca, Druidry, and Gwyddon.

Modern “pagan” practices are actually similar to their ancient counterparts in that they rely heavily on hedonism—sensual gratification and self-indulgence and the pursuit of happiness and pleasure to the exclusion of everything else. In ancient times, sexual ceremonies were a major part of pagan religions. The Old Testament references these perverted religions in such passages as Deuteronomy 23:17, Amos 2:7–8, and Isaiah 57:7–8.

Though they are numerous and varied in their practices and beliefs, pagans do hold to some similar beliefs. For example:

• The physical world is a good place, one to be taken pleasure in by everyone.
• Everyone is considered to be part of this Mother Earth.
• Divinity reveals itself in every facet of the world.
• Every being, man and animal, is a derivative of the Divine. As such, all are gods and goddess.
• Most pagan religions do not have gurus or messiahs.
• Doctrine is superseded by one’s own responsibility.
• Solar and lunar cycles are significant in pagan worship.

From a Christian viewpoint, pagans are generally characterized as those who are caught up in any religious ceremony, act, or practice that is not distinctly Christian. Correspondingly, Jews and Muslims also use the term pagans to describe those outside their religion. Others define the term paganism as any religion outside of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity; whereas some argue that a pagan is anyone with no religion at all.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Furthermore, since they, (pagans), did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).

In spite of common assumptions, most pagan worshipers claim they don’t believe in Satan. However, there’s no question that Satan is their chief source of influence and control. Though they will deny it, they deify him in their worldly and sensual practices. Paul tells us plainly how Satan works in the lives of people without God, through his power, his signs, his deceit, and his lies:

“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12).

That Satan is alive and well is powerfully evidenced in these pagan practices. This was not only clear in the times of the first-century church, but also in today’s postmodern world. To the faithful believers who know the Lord, pagan worship is what it appears to be—the power and deceit of the prince of this world, Satan (1 John 5:19), who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). As such, paganism should be avoided.

CHRISTIANITY

According to Wikipedia, Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the world’s largest religion, with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as Christians, make up a majority of the population in 157 countries and territories, and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (called the Old Testament in Christianity) and chronicled in the New Testament.

According to CARM (Christian Apologetics And Research Ministry), Christianity is a religion based upon the teachings and miracles of Jesus. Jesus is the Christ. The word “Christ” means anointed one. Christ is not Jesus’ last name.  Jesus is the anointed one from God the Father who came to this world, fulfilled the Old Testament laws and prophecies, died on the cross, and rose from the dead physically.  He performed many miracles that were recorded in the Gospels by the eyewitnesses. He is divine in nature as well as human. Thus, He has two natures and is worthy of worship and prayer.

According to GotQuestions.Org,, the term Christianity seems to imply a religious system in the same way that Islam and Buddhism are religious systems. Within religious systems are core beliefs, along with codes, rules, and standards that must be mastered in order to achieve a desired end. Christianity does not fit that definition and therefore the term can be slightly misleading.

Jesus did not come into the world to start another religion. There were already plenty of religions (see Acts 17:22–23), including Judaism, which had begun as a relationship with Almighty God (Leviticus 20:12) but had deteriorated into another religious system on par with idol worship (Matthew 15:8). Jesus came to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), to seek and to save the lost—those separated from God by their sin (Luke 19:10)—and to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:32). With that said, those who follow Christ do share some core beliefs.

Biblically speaking, Christians are those who are forgiven of their sins and who have entered a personal relationship with Almighty God through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 10:9–10). In order to become a Christian, a person must fully accept as part of his or her own personal worldview the following core beliefs:

• Jesus is the Son of God and is equal with God (John 1:1, 49; Luke 22:70; Mark 3:11; Philippians 2:5–11)
• Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; John 8:29)
• Jesus was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins (Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 15:2–4)
• Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:46; Mark 16:6)
• We are saved by the grace of God; that is, we cannot add to or take away from Christ’s finished work on the cross as full payment for our sin (Ephesians 2:8–9)

PAGANISM contrasted to CHRISTIANITY

  • The physical world is a good place, one to be taken pleasure in by everyone.
  • The physical world is fallen and, for now, is ruled by Satan. (1 John 5:19)
  • There is pleasure to be found in the world, but as Christians we are strangers to this world, scattered about, being distressed by various trials for the proving of our faith until Jesus returns. (1 Peter 1:1-9, Matthew 24:29-31)
  • Divinity reveals itself in every facet of the world.
  • The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun. (Psalms 19:1-4), but the Bible says we are to worship only God, and not to worship His creation (Romans 1:25).
  • Every being, man and animal, is a derivative of the Divine. As such, all are gods and goddess.
  • We are made in the image of God but with a flaw and afflicted by the curse of sin and condemned to eternal damnation. It is only by being born again by the Spirit of God by His grace and great mercy and through our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, are we to be saved from destruction.
  • Some false religions and cults teach that we are ‘made in his image’ and that we become like gods. This is a twisting, a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the Bible which says ‘we will become like Him’.
  • Doctrine is superseded by one’s own responsibility.
  • There is a way that seems right to a person, but ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12)
  • Our good deeds are no better than filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
  • God will judge us by our deeds. (Romans 2:6)

Again, scriptures say, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but ends in death.” Proverbs 14:12).

The Apostle Paul emphasizes “the whole counsel of God” as a way to affirm the completion of his duties toward the Ephesians and to remind them of the Truth, WHICH IS ALSO OURS TO AFFIRM TO THE WORLD AROUND US. Paul warns, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!” (Acts 20:29–31).

The whole counsel of God includes some things that are difficult to hear—the fact that we are dead in sin and deserving of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1–3) and the fact that we cannot save ourselves through works (Ephesians 2:8–9). The gospel is a call to repentance and faith. Believers will face persecution (John 16:33) and likely be considered foolish. But none of these things can dissuade us.

We should follow Paul’s example and also preach and live the whole counsel of God. All Scripture is inspired, and all of it is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16). We must preach it and live it in its entirety and allow the Holy Spirit to use His sword as He sees fit (Ephesians 6:17). Paul did not share half-truths or only parts of the gospel; rather, he shared all of what God has revealed. We must do the same. (see GotQuestions.Org)

The Bible warns us of this ‘Deluding Influence’,the mystery of lawlessness which is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He, (The Holy Spirit), is removed. Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved.  For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,  in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” (2 Thesslonians 2:7-12)

In these Last Days, as the Bible says, the spirit of antichrist is present. False christs and false prophets will arise and will provide great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. We must hold fast to the example of sound words which we have heard and in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Jesus says, I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 

Let’s not forget to pray for one another as the Day of our Lord draws near.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

 

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