The Link Between Channeling and the Spirit World
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr.John Weldon; ©2012|
|What would lead thinking people to conclude that channeling isn’t all fraud and fantasy?|
The Link Between Channeling and the Spirit World
The Link Between Channeling and the Spirit World
Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon
What would lead thinking people to conclude that channeling isn’t all fraud and fantasy? Numerous converging lines of evidence suggest the reality of a dimension of spirits who may be contacted by occult methods. First, the belief in the possibility of spirit contact is universal. It has occurred in all countries of the world throughout human history. This is documented by a great body of research. One study of nearly 500 modern societies revealed that 74 percent accepted the reality of not just spirit contact but of actual spirit possession. Something must account for so universal a belief. The skeptic who claims that such spirits do not exist holds his view in spite of this evidence.
Second, all major world religions have taught the reality of a spirit world. For example, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Taoism, and others all believe in a world of angels and spirits that may interact with people.
Third, possessed people during channeling are able to describe events taking place in another room or on the other side of the world; they exhibit knowledge, power, and abilities which they do not have when they are not possessed.
Fourth, exorcism cannot be adequately explained without assuming the reality of possessing spirits. Jesus Christ Himself believed in the reality of demonic spirits and personally cast them out of individuals.
The real issue here is, who are these particular spirits of ancient and modern channeling? Are they good or evil, and how can we be certain of our answer?
Those most directly involved often say that it is the information that comes through the channel, not the identity of the entity, which is most important. Channeling promoter and leading parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach argues, “I believe channelers can provide valuable information, as long as we don’t get sidetracked in looking more closely at the entity’s identity, than at what is communicated.” Not surprisingly, he also says, “I just don’t buy the actual existence of a Supreme Evil [Satan] or of demonic entities.”
In his introduction to channeler Pat Rodegast’s text, Emmanuel’s Book, Ram Dass, the famous Western guru, says of the spirit guide “Emmanuel” that he merely treasures the spiritual friendship and wisdom Emmanuel gives and, “Beyond this, his identity doesn’t really matter.”
But of course it really does matter, as we will see.
Who do the spirits of modern channeling claim they are? The spirits claim to be many things, but always that they are good. Their most common assertion is that they are highly evolved spirits of the human dead. Further, a recent prestigious poll revealed that over 40 percent of all American adults—well over a third of the nation—claim to have been in contact with someone who has died. Of these, 78 percent claimed they saw, 50 percent heard, and 18 percent talked with the dead.
As noted, the spirits most often claim that they are human spirits who have survived physical death. They claim to be more evolved than we are because they have lived through many lifetimes and discovered the secrets of life and death. Thus, they also claim to reveal important information to people that will hasten their spiritual growth. And the spirits also teach that if enough people will listen to them, they can help to bring a worldwide spiritual awakening. This will produce a universal New Age of peace and harmony.
We should also keep in mind that because the spirits are polymorphs, they are able to appear in the form most desirable or interesting to the one they are seeking to contact. (We provide examples below.) Thus, for those interested in UFO’s and life in outer space, the spirits may appear alien-looking and claim to be extraterrestrials who desire to help humanity. An example is the well-known novelist and contactee Whitley Strieber, whose story was documented in his frightening book Communion and in the movie by the same name.
The spirits may also imitate the exact image of a deceased loved one or claim to help the deceased evolve more spiritually toward God. They may claim to be the various deities of ancient or modern cultures (or God Himself), Jesus Christ, ascended masters, “group beings,” angels, and nature spirits. By doing all this, they spark the interest of the people they are contacting.
They may also claim to be various aspects of the “collective” mind of humanity. (Some of the terms used here include Creative Unconscious, Higher Self, Oversoul, Superconscious Mind, “Super ESP,” Universal Mind, Collective Unconscious.) They may claim to be the Holy Spirit, troubled ghosts, the spirits of animals or plants (dolphins, trees, flowers), multiple human personalities, the inhabitants of mythical cultures (Atlanteans, Lemurians), and more bizarre things, such as an alien computer that exists in the future.
The Spirits and Necromancy
Critics, realizing that some people claim to channel dolphins, vegetables, and computers, simply look on in disbelief. But again, one of the common claims is to channel the dead. What reason would spirits have for imitating the dead? Why do the spirits want men and women to trust them? Put simply—to deceive them.
The Bible reveals that there are evil and deceiving spirits or demons. These spirits are so corrupted they will never be redeemed; they know they will one day be consigned forever to a place Jesus called hell (Matt. 8:29). Thus, the Bible leads us to conclude the primary motive of these spirits is based upon animosity toward God and hatred of people, both saved and unsaved. They hope to take as many to hell with them as they can by seeking to prevent people’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3, 4, 13, 14; Heb. 2:14; 1 Pet. 5:8).
One of the easiest ways to fool people is to appeal to their emotional needs. Con artists do this routinely. Just as routinely, at some point in their lives, people have suffered the loss of a loved one, a friend, or an associate. By claiming to be these deceased persons and imitating them, the spirits successfully play on people’s emotional needs. It will be easier for people to trust the spirits when people think the spirits are a welcome friend rather than a stranger.
Furthermore, if these spirits can be trusted as the human dead, then people will eventually conclude that the Bible is wrong about God judging unredeemed men and women at the moment of death, confining them to a place of eternal punishment (see Luke 16:19-31; Heb. 9:27; 2 Pet. 2:9). And if the Bible is wrong on such an important point, then how can it be trusted at any point? Furthermore, if, as the spirits say, the dead are not judged, then human sin is not an offense to God requiring separation from Him (Isa. 59:2). And if sin does not separate man from God, then Christ had no reason to die for man’s sin (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2). According to the spirits’ views, man’s faith in Christ as Savior from sin is entirely unnecessary (John 3:16).
On the other hand, if what the Bible teaches is true, then men must trust Jesus Christ and receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior. If they do not, then at death they go to judgment, and the spirits have achieved their goal (2 Thess. 1:8-10).
In other words, to deceive people, the spirits imply there is no judgment and that Jesus Christ did not die for the world’s sin (1 John 2:2). In fact, these demons claim that people are divine and as such do not need salvation. What they recommend are “adjustments” in human thinking to conform to the spirits’ teachings. In all this, the spirits have tricked men into rejecting what the Bible teaches about its own authority, God, Jesus Christ, His death, our sinful condition, the necessity of salvation, and final judgment in heaven or hell.
The Spirits Unmasked
So the primary issue in channeling is: Who are these spirits that are influencing our culture? And is there any convincing evidence outside the Bible that these spirits, no matter how good they may initially appear, are really evil? In our eBook The Coming Darkness, we documented that the spirits who speak through channelers are not the benign entities they claim to be. The entire history of the influence of these beings upon humanity suggests this. That these spirits are evil has been documented from history, religion, psychology, and from the experiences of channelers themselves.
Indeed, many occultists, such as channelers, shamans, psychics, mediums, and gurus, have testified that the spirits at times have deceived them. These occultists say the spirits first imitate good spirits but actually proceed to trick, lie to, or injure their hosts. As mentioned before, to aid in their deception, the spirits can imitate virtually anyone or anything. Satprem, a disciple of occultist and Hindu guru Sri Aurobindo, confesses what all occultists know, that the spirits “can take all the forms they wish.”
The harrowing experience of astral traveler Robert Monroe is typical. In one of his many out-of-body experiences, he relates that he was repeatedly and viciously attacked by evil spirits. At one point in the fray, two of them instantly turned into exact images of his two daughters, emotionally throwing him off balance in his fight against them. If occultists testify that the spirits have deceived them, it seems reasonable that the spirits should not be trusted.
Another example is the eighteenth-century medium Emanuel Swedenborg. He spent an entire lifetime associating with spirits. In the Western world perhaps no one had more experience with the spirit world than he did. Yet Swedenborg warned that the spirits were so cunning and deceitful that it was almost impossible to determine their true nature. As an occult authority, Swedenborg told people that demonic spirits are gifted actors who routinely imitate the dead. Thus, in a frightening way, Swedenborg still speaks to us today by saying: “When spirits begin to speak with a man, he ought to beware that he believes nothing whatever from them; for they say almost anything. Things are fabricated by them, and they lie…. They would tell so many lies and indeed with solemn affirmation that a man would be astonished…. If a man listens and believes they press on, and deceive, and seduce in [many] ways…. Let men beware therefore [and not believe them].”
Unfortunately, despite all his cautions, Swedenborg himself fell prey to deceiving spirits by thinking that God had given him special permission to contact the spirit world. Swedenborg ignored the Bible’s warning against all forms of spirit contact (Deut. 18:9-12). The reason Swedenborg ignored the Bible was because he believed that “good” spirits had taught him the truth. Yet the “Church of the New Jerusalem” Swedenborg founded as a result of these “good” spirits’ teachings has always promoted spiritistic revelation that ranks among the most unbiblical material ever printed.
So, can spirits speaking through channelers be trusted? If evil spirits do exist, and since occultists say that the spirits are deceivers, who can possibly know the real motive and nature of any channeled spirit? Obviously, if these spirits are demons, they could mask their evil intent for years and no one would be the wiser. Some objective standard must be found by which to test them. Unfortunately, channelers themselves admit they do not have any such objective standard; therefore, their trust in the spirits is blind. What can we say to channelers to help them reconsider their commitment to channeling?
The Bible teaches that channeling is spiritual deception (2 Cor. 11:14; 1 Tim. 4:1). The spirits’ goal is false teaching, the consequences of which are learned too late, or fearfully realized after death (Prov. 16:25; Matt. 24:24; John 8:24,44; Gal. 1:6-8; 1 John 4:1; Rev. 16:14).
Deception and fraud are facts of life. Even bad men succeed in masking their true intentions to deceive others. Jim Jones may be cited as an illustration. Reverend Jones made many claims to being a minister of God. He was engaged in numerous “good works” through his church. But all along many signs were present that something was seriously wrong with Mr. Jones. Authoritarianism, intimidation of others, physical abuse of children, and irrational acts existed side by side with the “good.”
But Jones had power and appeal. He had an “explanation” for the evils and the failures. As a result, many ignored the warning signs and believed he was godly. The end result was the tragedy of a mass suicide for over 900 people. A similar example can be seen in the life of David Koresh and the 1993 tragedy in Waco, Texas, where 80 people lost their lives. The same type of situation exists with the spirits who seek to contact men. They claim to be good. They claim to be sent from God. They claim to enlighten us. But sooner or later, all the warning signs are evident.
Unfortunately, people who would never trust a stranger are trusting strange spirits by the thousands. Yet there are dozens of points of similarity between spiritism (or channeling) on the one hand and the classical phenomena of demonism on the other. This includes the demonism of China, India, Japan, and other countries, as well as the demonism described in the Bible. Thus, those who trust the spirits do so even though the history of spiritism is littered with evidence that these beings are really demons.
Anyone reading the life stories of occultists will conclude that the spirits bring as much pain and suffering into their hosts’ lives as they may safely rationalize The spirits know what they can get away with and how to cover their tracks; they are master psychologists with long experience in dealing with human nature. Perhaps this is why the channelers themselves sometimes doubt the motives of their spirit helpers.
- Erika Bourguignon, ed., Religion, Altered States of Consciousness and Social Change (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1973), pp. 16-17; Table Two.
- Orthodox Christianity and Judaism are almost alone in condemning contact with the spirit world. The practice is accepted, variously, among Hindus, Buddhists, Sufis, Sikhs, Muslims, Kabbalists, Taoists, animists, etc. See the extensive discussion in James Hastings, ed, Hasting’s Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, n.d.), Vol. 4, pp. 565-636.
- This is proven beyond reasonable doubt by both the history of the occult and modern data from parapsychology. See e.g., Alfred Douglas, Extra-Sensory Powers: A Century of Psychical Research (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1977), pp. 87-360; Alan Gauld, The Founders of Psychical Research (NY: Shocken Books, 1968), pp. 153-364; Naomi Hintze and Gaither Pratt, The Psychic Realm, What Can You Believe? (NY: Random House, 1975), pp. 135-223; Norma Bowles and Fran Hynds, Psi-Search (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), pp. 51-91.
- John Warwick Montgomery, ed., Demon-Possession: A Medical, Historical, Anthropological and Theological Symposium (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1976); cf., Malachi Martin, Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans (NY, Bantam, 1977); T.K. Oesterreich, Possession: Demonical and Other Among Primitive Races, in Antiquity, the Middle Ages & Modern Times (Secaucus, NJ: Citadel, 1974); William M. Alexander, Demonic Possession in the New Testament: Its Historical, Medical and Theological Aspects (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980); John L. Nevius, Demon Possession (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1970).
- Loyd Auerbach, Reincarnation, Channeling and Possession: A Parapsychologist’s Handbook (NY: Warner, 1993), p. 313; cf. p. 319.
- Ibid., p. 314.
- Pat Rodegast, Emmanuel’s Book (Weston, CT: Friends Press, 1986), p. xvii.
- Jon Klimo, Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987), p. 3.
- Ibid., p. 1; “The Dowser’s Prayer,” The American Dowser, November 1977, pp. 15-16.
- Although Strieber has recently expressed confusion over the meaning and even reality of his experiences as described in Communion and Transformation, this is hardly an unexpected phenomenon in the world of the occult. Rationalists see his “confession” and confusion as proof of Strieber’s mental imbalance or as fabrication of the story. But since his demonic experiences were largely implanted into his mind to begin with, and since Strieber had a strong background in the occult, and has, apparently, been under psychiatric care (a not infrequent occurrence among those heavily involved in the occult), his own personal confusion on this issue is hardly unexpected. This does not however, convince us that the materials relayed in these books were only fabricated by Strieber to sell books. They might have been; however, they fit the pattern of genuine occult experiences so well we doubt this.
- Klimo, Channeling, pp. 15,18,168-84; Elliot Miller, “Channeling—Spiritistic Revelations for the New Age” (Part 1), Christian Research Journal, Fall 1987, p. 14.
- John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness, eBook.
- Satprem, Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness (NY: Harper & Row, 1974), p. 199.
- Robert Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body (Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1973), pp. 138-39.
- Samuel M. Warren, A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (NY: Swedenborg Foundation, 1977), p. 618; cf. Slater Brown, The Heyday of Spiritualism (NY: Pocket Books, 1972), p. 63.
- Emanuel Swedenborg, The True Christian Religion (NY: E. P. Dutton, 1936), pp. 667-669; Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell (NY: Swedenborg Foundation, 1940), pp. 265-268; Rev. John Whitehead, Posthumous Theological Works of Emanuel Swedenborg, Vol. 1 (NY: Swedenborg Foundation, 1969), p. 452; Samuel M. Warren, A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (NY: Swedenborg Foundation, 1977), pp. 376-377.
- John L. Nevius, Demon Possession (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1970). See Chs. 2, 8-10, 14-18, p. 322.