How do people use religion for deception?

Posted: July 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

Pascal said, “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” Incorrect Pascal Quotes

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We are, as Paul taught, triune beings, not dual natured as some erroneously ascribe to him: We are body, soul, and spirit. We have a physical body; a mind, with its will and emotions; but also a spirit. That spirit, sadly, lies virtually dead for most people, but we intuit it, so we try to stuff things into it that won’t quite fit: Sex, power, wealth, strange religions. All of these are but a shadow of the real thing: sex—intimacy; power—self-control; wealth—contentment; “religion”—God. Many a charlatan, cultist, and mystic has used this spiritual “desire” for their own personal gain, either through “magic” (sleight of hand); feel-good self improvement programs; promises of peace through this activity or that program (at a nominal fee, of course); or promises of a return of wealth in the money you send them. Modern “prosperity teachers” are simply an echo of the Pharisees of whom Jesus spoke 2000 years ago, “They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” (Luke 20:46–47) How often do we hear of the poor old widows who send televangelists thousands of dollars, bankrupting themselves, because that cheat has told them that God would miraculously turn those donations into even greater wealth? How many will hold huge crusades before thousands of poor people in southeast Asia, the Philippines, or Africa, taking up offerings of money from people who don’t know where the next meal is coming from, only to fly back to the US in their private jets or first class accommodations, completely forgetting about the people who make them rich. Ever notice how few of these people go to Europe or Australia? It’s nauseating. Indeed, “These men will be punished most severely.”

These people have their forerunner in a man named Simon, Simon the Sorcerer (See Acts 8:9–25). “Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria…Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw…When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John… When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit…Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’

“Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.’”

According to Iranaeus, he was the founder of Gnosticism, which would make him the first “cult leader”!

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