America is Getting More Religious !!

“That’s good”, you say.

No, it’s bad. As traditional Christianity is experiencing declining membership in America, pagan religion is experiencing a huge upsurge in growth. In fact, according to one recent survey, witches now outnumber Presbyterians in America (1.5 million to 1.4 million).

Wicca

Wicca has effectively repackaged witchcraft for millennial consumption. No longer is witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic. It's a 'pre-Christian tradition' that promotes 'free thought' and 'understanding of earth and nature. Such repackaging is deceptive, but one that a generation with little or no biblical understanding is prone to accept.

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From 1990 to 2008, Trinity College in Connecticut ran three large, detailed religion surveys. Those surveys have shown that Wicca grew tremendously over this period. From an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in 1990, they found there were about 340,000 practitioners in 2008. They also estimated there were around 340,000 Pagans in 2008.

Pew Research Center studied the issue in 2014, discovering that 0.4 percent of Americans, approximately 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan, meaning their communities continue to experience significant growth.

As mainline Protestantism continues its devolution, the U.S. witch population is rising astronomically. As I said, there may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil.

Portrayals of the occult as either fun or morally neutral have been appearing more in culture in recent years and in light of growing interest. Companies like cosmetics giant Sephora have attempted to capitalize on it, marketing a "Starter Witch Kit" to consumers interested in dabbling in witchcraft.

New Age

The term ‘New age’ is actually outdated, having given way to modern terms like “Integral” or “Progressive” spirituality. I use the term here, because it still resonates with most people.

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The growing popularity of "New Age" beliefs likely stems in part from fewer Americans following traditional religions, according to political analyst Ruy Teixeira.

"The data suggests this is the fastest growing religious group in America, are people who don't hold any firm religious beliefs," Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said Wednesday on Hill.TV's "What America's Thinking."

According to a Pew Research Center poll, 62% of Americans hold New Age beliefs, such as astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in trees or mountains. 78% of those who held at least one New Age belief said they did not affiliate with any particular religion. 61% Of respondents who identified as Christian said they held at least one New Age belief, compared with 22% of atheists and 56% of agnostics who said the same. 

Witches in Baltimore

Young black women are leaving Christianity and embracing African witchcraft in digital covens.

“We may not be Christian here, but we still pray,” said a woman dressed entirely in white as she addressed a large audience of black women. Standing behind a lectern, speaking in the cadences of a preacher, she added, “I understand God more now, doing what I’m doing, than I ever did in the Church.”

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The call and response that followed (“No one’s going to protect us but who?” “Us!”) was reminiscent of church—but this was no traditional sermon. The speaker, Iyawo Orisa Omitola, was giving the keynote address last month at the third annual Black Witch Convention, which brought together a large number of women in a Baltimore reception hall. The small but growing community points to the hundreds of young black women who are leaving Christianity in favor of their ancestors’ African spiritual traditions, and finding a sense of power in the process.

Over the past decade, white Millennials have embraced witchcraft in droves. Now a parallel phenomenon is emerging among black Millennials. While their exact numbers are difficult to gauge, it’s clear that African American pop culture has started to reflect the trend. In the music industry alone, there’s Beyoncé’s allusion to an African goddess in Lemonade and at the Grammys; Azealia Banks’s declaration that she practices brujería (a Spanish term for witchcraft); and Princess Nokia’s hit “Brujas,” in which she tells white witches, “Everything you got, you got from us.”

While some witches said they were finished with Christianity, others said they still attend church, and argued that Christianity and African witchcraft are complementary, not mutually exclusive. As one witchlet put it, “The Bible ain’t nothing but a big old spell book.”

Social Justice

Traditional religious belief—as we stated— is dying, especially among younger generations like millennials (AKA Gen Y) and the new generation below them, Gen Z. And the Left in particular is jettisoning traditional religion at a phenomenal pace. Between 2007 and 2014, disbelief in God doubled among liberals (from 10% to 19%) according to PEW. So what are these people turning to?

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For many, traditional religious belief is being replaced by social justice philosophies as religions. Social justice is thus rapidly becoming the new religion of the Left.

Social justice is a broad term generally referring to "a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society." Legitimate social justice is perfectly fine and reasonable, but in recent years "social justice" has morphed into a new ideology based on an obsession with exaggerated perceived "victimhood" and "oppression," where getting the right gender pronouns are as important as actual oppression. Today the term "social justice warrior" (or SJW for short) refers to the kind of person for whom social justice is important, but who is gravely confused as to what real justice and fairness is, and how it pertains to individuals and society.

For example, a SJW will argue for "equality" but then insist that all differences in equality of outcome are due to racism and/or sexism and not other factors. To the fact that there are more men in physics and engineering, or more male CEOs, they will argue it is due to cultural or institutional sexism, and not because more men simply like those professions and strive for those positions according to their created distinctions. SJW’s will insist that we have a 50/50 representation of men to women in all fields that women don't already dominate and that "fairness" means equality of outcome. And any challenge of this as an idea, or as a practicality, will get you tarnished as a sexist who's enabling patriarchy.

And this is when social justice starts to reveal itself as a weird religion: there's a determination of the way the world ought to be regardless of the facts. These ideas are held with dogmatic fervor, and anyone challenging them will be ostracized and effectively accused of heresy, which encourages extreme tribalism, group-think, and ideological purity. In other words, it is one of the fastest-growing world religions.

Here are a few doctrines of the false religion of social justice:

Gender is a social construct.  Biological sex differences aren't real objective things. Sex and gender are all based on ideas from patriarchal societies.

Criticizing Islam is racist.  Muslims are oppressed by Western cultures both historically and today, and that makes them a protected class. Islam is a religion of peace and Mohammad was a feminist. As such, neither Islam nor Muslims can be criticized and any such criticism is racist, bigoted, and Islamophobic. Any claim that there's legitimate criticism of Islam is just disguised white supremacy.

Black/brown people and women are always more oppressed. There is a scale of oppression such that all black people are more oppressed than all white people, and all women are more oppressed than all men, regardless of other factors. 

You're not allowed to talk about women's issues if you're a man, or talk about racism if you're white.  Men are not allowed to have public opinions on women's issues like feminism, sexism, or the #MeToo movement, and they are especially not allowed to offer any criticism. In fact, any time a man corrects a woman in any way it's "mansplaining," and sexist by definition. 

If you don't want to have sex with or date a trans person, you're transphobic.  It is no longer acceptable to have gender preferences with whom you want to date or marry unless you're gay. Refusal to date or have sex with a trans person must be due to sexist, homophobic, patriarchal heteronormative attitudes. In other words it is sinful.

In addition to these stated dogmas, many SJWs will act as if all white people are collectively responsible for racism, slavery, and colonialism, and all men are collectively responsible for all the sexism and the mistreatment of women that has ever happened. This is absolute truth for these new fervid zealots.

I'm one of a small (but growing) number of people in Adventism noticing how social justice has blossomed into a popular pseudo "religion" over the past few years. It has adopted its own unchallengeable dogma, disregard for facts, conformity, heresy hunts to weed out critics, and extreme commitment to ideological purity. Ironically, for them, sin is any kind of judgment. I know. I know.

Paganism

It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly pagan. The rejection of Christianity has left a void that people, as inherently spiritual beings, will seek to fill. Witchcraft and other pagan religious practices increased in the U.S. over the past few decades, with millennials turning to astrology and tarot cards as they turn away from Christianity and other traditionally dominant Abrahamic religions.

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In 2010, Syracuse University appointed its first “Pagan Chaplain” of Hendricks Chapel, its interdenominational place of worship. Others, like Air Force, have followed suit, including designating specific areas on campus for pagan or spiritual worship.

In 2014, Loyola University Chicago — a Catholic institution — christened a new pagan student club. Also that year, the University of Washington’s student newspaper launched a column dedicated to delving into Wiccanism.

A 2015 report in Inverse argued that the increase in interest might also be traced to a passion for environmentalism, as well as a decreased interest in organized religion among young people.

“Have you sacrificed a maiden on your altar today?” While this question isn’t being uttered (yet), the question “What’s your sign?” is, we’re told, more common now, with Millennials glomming onto astrology as part of a larger embrace of “paganism.”

It’s ironic that Millennials, a hipster group eschewing the old, would dial back religion more than two millennia. But it makes sense: As belief in Christianity in the West wanes, a spirituality vacuum is created. In this case it’s sucking in old beliefs long ago discarded as old mistakes.

As Market Watch writes,

“More than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science, compared to less than 8% of the Chinese public. The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016. It is now worth $2 billion annually, according to industry analysis firm IBIS World.”

Pagan or Wiccan student groups are present on a number of college campuses — both secular and religious — across the nation. The growing normalization of such practices, albeit still a minority, corresponds with the decline in Christian belief.

But none of this explains why, in this purported “age of reason,” paganism is being resurrected. The simplest answer, however, was found in something that the College Fix related:

“I think one of the things that really helped solidify for me that Paganism was the path for me was the almost complete freedom I had,’ the vice president of the Pagan Student Union at the University of Baltimore told Inverse. ‘There is no one holy text we all must read, there is no organized church service which is mandatory to attend, there is no concept of original sin or any pressure to be perfect people. Paganism is exactly what you want it to be.’”

In other words, it’s “designer religion.” Some may say that this just reflects the Millennial generation: People who were coddled and catered to and never told no by their parents don’t want a religion that says no. In fairness, young people didn’t originate the “If it feels good, do it” creed and aren’t its only adherents—I well remember the 1960’s. But whatever the age group, these untrue believers are merely putting a pseudo-intellectual veneer on hedonism. Out-and-out hedonism would be more honest.

The Barna Group research company found in 2002 that only six percent of teenagers believed in “an absolute standard of right and wrong” — and it hasn’t gotten any better since then.

Summary

Humanism is on the run. And our world is getting more religious. How does that jive with our end-time expectations? A couple thoughts:

Worshipping a Beast or an ‘image’ is idolatry. In the Time of the End, false religion persecutes genuine religion (Revelation 14:9-11; 13:15-17). That false religion is rising now, is altogether unsurprising. It will join with false nature worship (radical environmentalism), and apostate protestantism. Apostate, after all, means backsliding or abandoning true religious belief. When you abandon true religion, you end up in the arms of false religion. And that false religion utterly hates true religion (the Remnant).

As liberal pastors and Conference leaders involve themselves in spiritual formation, and social justice ideology, they are steadily distanced from the faith of the Everlasting Gospel, substituting in its place political opportunism and intellectual laziness.  Their goal is helping the State amass ever-increasing power in order to do "good things." This—unbeknownst to them—is playing into an end-time scenario where the State assumes moral control over human conscience.

Witchcraft is the absolute opposite of God’s way of life. It is a religion inspired by Satan and his demons. Witchcraft is nature worship. Worshiping the Earth, sun, moon, stars or animals can never bring a person true spirituality.  Only worshipping the Creator—who is forever praised—can bring peace and joy into your life.

This stuff is slowly coming into Adventism, in the guise of yoga, labyrinths, emergent Church mysticism, ‘spiritual’ formation and social justice religious fervor.

Resist it, friends, and stand tall for Jesus Christ!

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Sources:

https://www.thecollegefix.com/students-young-americans-turn-paganism/

https://qz.com/quartzy/1411909/the-explosive-growth-of-witches-wiccans-and-pagans-in-the-us/

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-millennials-are-ditching-religion-for-witchcraft-and-astrology-2017-10-20

https://www.newsweek.com/witchcraft-wiccans-mysticism-astrology-witches-millennials-pagans-religion-1221019