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Monday, December 5, 2011

Spirit Guides: Con Men from the “Other Side”?

Yesterday I received a Fraud Alert from American Express. It seems someone used an electronic gizmo to capture the numbers on my card. Within moments of receiving the bogus charge, AMX sent me an email. I phoned customer service, the charge was denied, and the next day I received a new card.

This electronic phenomenon is something new. But con men have always been a problem. Usually con men take the role of friendly fellows, eager to help you make millions by investing a few thousand in their mine in Outer Mongolia. You can usually spot a con man by his deep, abiding concern for – you guessed it – you! He doesn’t really know you (although some con men may be old friends), but there is no doubt about his utterly benevolent and totally selfless passion to watch out for your best interests.

That’s one reason I’m a little curious as to why so many people seem convinced that “spirit guides,” as one web site puts it, “are here to help, offer guidance, comfort, and yes—even advice.” The same site later assures us, “this is their sole purpose, to offer the living their help and guidance.”
I don’t know about you, but if some disembodied spirit showed up at my house, I doubt that I’d be quite so eager to take “I’m just here to help,” at face value.

Still, thousands and even millions world-wide welcome spirit guides with the proverbial open arms. And, according to another web site, “all you need is a sincere desire to make such a connection. Keep an open mind, and above all, be patient.” I have no data on just how many Americans claim association with one or more spirit guides. But with the New Age Movement, which has morphed into some 150 neopagan faiths (paths), with the growth of Wicca, and with some 60 supernaturally based TV series, the idea that an ordinary persons can have access to a spirit guide is becoming more and more popular. While ancient literature ascribes the powers of sorcerers to spirit “assistants,” and while spiritists and mediums traditionally have claimed to have a special connection with beings from the “other side,” popular belief in spirit guides has now commoditized the supernatural, offering supernatural guidance to the man on the street.

Before we’re carried away by enthusiasm, however, we might want to ask a few questions. Who or what are these spirits supposed to be? What is the basis for believing in their existence? What basis is there for assuming they are benevolent? And even if some are benevolent, are there other beings out there that may be hostile?

Of course Christians will want to ask what the Bible says about spirit guides, if anything. But one doesn’t need to be a Christian to think carefully before rushing off to make contact with a supernatural being about whom one knows nothing. That’s a little like running out onto the lake after the first freeze just to see if the ice is safe. Most of us would at least hesitate at the water’s edge before taking that first step.

So, who or what are Spirit Guides?
That’s a hard one to answer. Still, people in every ancient and modern civilization testify to the existence of spirits. In the ancient world as in contemporary paganism people believed in a spirit world populated by a variety of entities These were gods and goddesses, spirits of the dead, heroes and harpies, the evil and the good. Spirit Guides may be drawn from any of these categories, although ancients tended to look at them as demons.

Today the general consensus is that the spirit guides are disembodied spirits who were once human beings but have “passed over to the other side” (died). According to one web site these persons “chose to remain in Spirit so they could advance spiritually while helping others still living learn their life lessons.” Since these spirits supposedly live on a “higher vibrational frequency than mortals do,” we can’t see, hear, or sense their presence.

Spirit guides are quite different from the guardian angels we were told about as children and read about in the Bible. Those angels of the Bible are pictured as having an impact on what happens in the “real world,” and have even appeared to human beings. Take a look at under the category of Angels, and you get the impression that angels are still actively helping God’s people in real, concrete ways.

So if most believe we can’t see, hear, or sense the presence of spirit guides, how do we contact them? And how do they contact us? The answer seems to be that we meditate, focus, and mentally send the message, “I want to make contact with my Spirit Guide.” As to how they contact us, the most common answer is that they put thoughts in our heads.

Many folks will tell you sincerely that they not only have one or more spirit guides, but that the spirit guides have helped them. If we believe in a Spirit World that’s parallel to our world, and I do, I’m not prepared to challenge their testimony.
At the same time, I’m not ready to assume the “help” spirit guides offer is as benevolent and disinterested as the web sites claim.

The fact is proponents of spirit guides themselves warn that there are evil entities out there, and even suggest ways to protect yourself when seeking contact. One “prayer” (I guess you can call it that) addressed to the god or goddess of your choice begins, “I ask your protective White Light to surround me” and asks that “only beings of Light shall be allowed to enter my sacred space.” Most who believe in spirits recognize that there are Dark Spirits out there, but reassure folks that if they intend to contact only benevolent spirits the bad ones won’t show up. Personally, I’m not so sure we could tell the difference. The Bible even warns that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). How can we know if the spirit guide we contact is benevolent or one of Satan’s demons in disguise?

What if a person only has positive experiences with a spirit guide? Doesn’t that prove the spirit is benevolent? Maybe. But what if these spirits really are like con men from the “other side”? After all, someone who wants to suck you into a scheme that is in his best interest is surely going to claim that what he does is in your best interest. And a good con man will provide some real benefits . . . until he springs his trap.

What bothers me is that with a spirit guide, I really don’t know whether the being I’ve contacted is truly benevolent or just pretending to be an “angel of light” until he springs whatever trap he’s set. The fact that a spirit guide may help me now is hardly compelling evidence that it’s truly my interests he’s looking out for.

What does the Bible say?
Most Christians today and throughout the ages also believe in a spirit world. Their picture of that world is shaped by the Bible, which pictures the spirit world as a realm created by God and populated by two types of spirit beings, angels (who are loyal to the Creator) and demons (fallen angels to rebelled with Satan before the creation of the material universe). In Deuteronomy 18 and other passages the Bible warns against attempting to contact beings in the spirit world, partly because believers are invited come to God directly, and partly because the only contacts humans can make on the “order side” are with demons. Biblical demons surely are con men from the other side. They promise help, but all they really want is—you guessed it—you!

Now, I don’t want to discourage any fascination you may have the spirit world. It’s a very real realm, and what happens there does have an impact us and our lives. A couple generations ago when people bought into the notion that “science” had proven that this world is all there is, folks ignored the spiritual and spirituality. Today there’s an increasing realization that there is more to reality than the material universe. People are searching for more meaning to their lives than a sterile pseudo-scientific outlook can provide. So you should be commended for your interest in the spiritual.
The only thing I hope is that you won’t be like the person who dashes out onto the ice before checking to see if it’s really safe.

And that in your search for spiritual reality you won’t overlook what’s given meaning to the lives of billions of individuals for thousands of years – a personal relationship with the God of the Bible through trust in Jesus.

Pastor Jochem’s book “The Spirit Universe: A Christian View” is available in the Amazon Bookstore. His book is an invaluable resource to have on hand if you are interested in general information needed for investigating the paranormal, deliverance ministry, or counseling those hypersensitive to the spirit universe or those who are dealing with the occult and negative spirits. The book contains reorganized content from the blog, expanded information, and new content which will not be published in this blog. For more information and to order the book, click Here

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