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Jerry Falwell, George Barna and Hysteria-Related Activities

Jerry Falwell’s latest column is getting sent around the blogs as a way of raising the alarm about the creeping evils of “secular humanism.” Christine at TalkWisdom reacts to Falwell’s column this way:

The following article truly indicates why we need more Biblically-based Christian culture warriors. Do we want secular humanism to take over the hearts, minds, souls and spirits of our children and grandchildren? Or, are we willing to “fight the good fight” for their sakes?

What is the news that convinces Christine the “secular humanists” have captured her children? She cites Falwell’s column, which reads:

I read with interest late last year a Barna Group report on “the 12 Most Significant Religious Findings from 2006 Surveys.”… The very important report also found that “three out of every four teenagers have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity.”

“Psychic or witchraft-related activity” isn’t secular — it’s alternative supernaturalism. So here, Falwell seems to really be complaining that the competition is making inroads on his turf. But putting that aside — wow! Isn’t it amazing to hear that “three out of every four teenagers have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity”? Let’s learn more by going right to the source: George Barna, who writes the humbly named Barna Report himself.

The survey being referred to is not actually a 2006 survey, strictly speaking. The survey was conducted in 2005, and results were reported nearly a year ago, on January 23, 2006. What was this survey’s methodology? All the report’s summary page will tell us is that “The report, called Ministry to Mosaics: Teens and the Supernatural, is based upon three nationwide studies conducted among more than 4,000 teens by The Barna Group.” There’s no mention of a survey being representative — that is, based upon a random sample of the population of teenagers — and my guess is that with three separate studies being involved, the end result probably isn’t representative, but instead simply exploratory. To confirm these studies’ research method, I’d have to shell out $20 to pay for the full report — which isn’t the typical non-profit research approach, and adds to my suspicion that something other than a representative survey was carried out here.

But we don’t really even need to extend our concern to the method of sample collection in order to address the hairy-scary claim that “three out of every four teenagers have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity.” Look at that phrase carefully: “psychic or witchcraft-related activity.” The first issue is the use of the word “or.” Very few teenagers studied could be involved in psychic activity if a number were engaged in “witchcraft-related activity”… and yet one could relay the impression of a number of teenagers getting involved in psychic play by making this “or” connection. And then there’s the phrase “witchcraft-related activity.” It’s very much like George W. Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction related activity.” Bush wanted us to think he meant “weapons of mass destruction” had been found, but no: all he found were “related activities,” like… people in Iraq talking about them, somewhere, some time. The same thing’s going on here. If you read a little more closely, you find that “witchcraft-related activities” include watching a movie or reading a book that has magic in it. Like, oh, The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.

Three out of four kids watching The Lord of the Rings or reading Harry Potter? Not at all surprising, and not really threatening. Three out of four teenagers “engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity” sounds much more impressively frightening, and is much more useful to someone like Jerry Falwell in drumming up the hysteria (and bringing in the donations to “fight the good fight”).

23 thoughts on “Jerry Falwell, George Barna and Hysteria-Related Activities”

  1. Christinewjc says:

    You asked, “What is the news that convinces Christine the “secular humanists” have captured her children?”

    If you were a regular reader of my blog at Talkwisdom, you would find out about all of the “secular humanism” reasons that are, unfortunately, capturing the hearts, minds, bodies, souls, and spirits of children in these godless days.

    I’m concerned about ALL children, not just my own.

    Perhaps if you would take the time to read the Bible, you might realize the wisdom of this verse:

    Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

    New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson

  2. Jim says:

    Christine, I’ve read the Bible.

    Do you understand the difference between “witchcraft-related activities” and secular humanism?

  3. Christinewjc says:

    As a result of secular humanism, “witchcraft-related activities” have, unfortunately, become more mainstream to the unsuspecting general public.

    Such activities are ungodly and forbidden in Scripture. So, a pastor like Falwell would be particularly concerned about this growing trend in our culture.

    Besides, that topic isn’t the only one that he revealed being concerned about in the article. It just happens to be the one that he used as an example of how minds that are not set upon God and His Word can get caught up into ungodly practices.

  4. Patricia says:

    This is the craziness of the Religious Right: They say, Perhaps if you would read through my entire personal library, then you and I could have a conversation, and my insane ideas would not seem insane any more. Until then, we’re just plum out of luck.

  5. Patricia says:

    Eating lobster on the wrong day of the week is forbidden in Scripture. Why aren’t you spazzing out about that?

    And since when did Thomas Whatshisname copyright the Bible? Is he God?

  6. Christinewjc says:

    Yeah Patricia…thats exactly what I said.

    Get a grip…

  7. Patricia says:

    I’ll get a grip if you get a Harry Potter DVD.

  8. Christinewjc says:

    1Sa 15:23 For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.

    2Ch 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

    Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

    Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

  9. Jim says:

    OK, so you don’t understand the difference. That’s good to know.

    Reading a Harry Potter novel (one of the activities the Barna Group counts as a “witchcraft-related activity”) is “forbidden in Scripture”? Really? Where?

  10. Jim says:

    Wow, you anticipated me by one minute. Come clean: did you use witchcraft to do that?

    Seriously, now, reading a Harry Potter novel — unless you read novels thinking that they are non-fiction, which is really tough considering that novels are labeled with the word “FICTION” on the back cover — is not:

    * “rebellion”
    * “idolatry” (unless you worship your Harry Potter novel)
    * practicing “enchantments” or “witchcraft” (unless the Harry Potter novel is itself some sort of spell)
    * “wrath”
    * “heresy”
    * “envying”
    * “murder”
    * “revelling”

    or any of that. Because it’s FICTION. It’s a STORY.

    Is any work of fiction a “witchcraft-related activity” because it tells untruths?

    By this standard, Disney’s Cinderella counts as “witchcraft-related activity”. Why, then back in the middle of the last century, the percentage of children engaged in “witchcraft-related activities” must have been astounding!

    Have your children watched “Veggie Tales”? Witchcraft-related activities! We all know that vegetables don’t talk or have eyes — that would be an enchantment!

  11. Christinewjc says:

    Gal 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

    Gal 5:8 This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you.

    Gal 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (bold mine)

  12. Jim says:

    Oh, so Galatians tells us that reading any work of fiction is forbidden.

    Good to know. Enjoy your crusade.

  13. Odd Claude says:

    Jun 7:24 Ye are a prune, and I shall pluck the apart.

    Jun 1:13 Christine, I speak unto thee, and say that thou art quoting a book whereas it proveth naught.

    Jun 12:21 Lo, thou shalt give Patricia a check for one hundred dollars, and it is the will o’ the Lord! (bold by God)

  14. Christinewjc says:

    Perhaps you will “get my drift” if I discuss another “fictional” book.

    “The DaVinci Code” was supposedly fiction, too. But the plot was used in a way to “exchange the truth for a lie” (see Romans 1:25) about the Person of Jesus Christ. The book’s premise blasphemed the name of Jesus Christ. This “fictional” book tries to convince the reader that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross for man’s sins and that he “married” Mary Magdelene and physically had children with her.

    It may be permissible for non-believers to revel in such a book, but not for this Christian. I’m not interested in any books that promote witchcraft…whether they be fictional or not.

  15. Jim says:

    You mean, like withering fig trees and raising the dead?

    Bully for you. You have the right to believe what you believe. Enjoy your crusade. But don’t expect me or that many other Americans to get apoplectic about the sin of reading fiction.

  16. Odd Claude says:

    Well, Christine, it may be permissible for you to worship the zombie Jesus, but not for this Jujufarist. As a follower of the prophet Jujufarian, I’m not interested in reading books in which people are asked to worship corpses of executed prisoners that are supposed to have been risen from the dead in what sounds a lot like a Voodoo ceremony… whether there were dolls with pins stuck in them or not.

  17. Alan says:

    I’ve always suspected there was something disgusting about getting “married” and physically having children. Now we know it’s demonic as well. The very thought!

    But why is Christine still using King James translation with all those silly ye‘s and –eth endings? Nobody talks like that any more and the original languages don’t have any grammar forms like that either. The only reason I can think of for adding language like that to the original words of the Bible is to try to fool people into thinking there is some magical hocus-pocus surrounding those words as translated in 1611, instead of the truth, that they were written down by scribes and by real people.

  18. Patricia says:

    Hm. Could it be that Christine is stuck in the past?

    Never mind. She’ll throw you some hocus-pocus to shut you up, using those Bible verses as a kind of magic spell. She’s a dark Biblical sorcerer!

    Hocus Pocus John 4:13! Kapow!

  19. Alan says:

    Christine doesn’t use the standard abbreviations for books of the Bible either, so it’s hard to figure out what she’s talking about.

    You will notice in the Bible it will say “you will not suffer a witch to live”, then almost in the same breath, it says the king wanted to know the future so he went to consult the Witch of Endor. If the witches were all killed off like it says, how did he find one so fast?

    And what about all the divination practiced by the prophets? Ezekiel 25:5 says “I will turn Rabbah into a pasture for camels and Ammon into a resting place for sheep.” If you go to the American embassy in Amman, Jordan, you will see sheep walking past it to this day. Ezekiel wasn’t messing around. That was one serious spell. But the witches apparently didn’t belong to the same union, except maybe the witch of Endor, because when it came to divination by any of them, it was suddenly all “I breaka you leg” time.

    This Biblical stuff isn’t just some kids’ fantasy tale about fairies and flying around on broomsticks either; they really believed in the divination–entrails or whatever it was. There is a whole lot in the Bible if you really read it instead of just skimming around picking up the parts that are convenient to justify whatever you want to do, which in Christine’s case is to prevent other people from smiling or having any enjoyment.

    If DaVinci Code was so upsetting for Christine, I’m definately going to have to find a copy .

  20. Jim says:

    Wait a minute… how does Christine know what the DaVinci Code does and says and contains, unless…


  21. Mark says:

    Jimmy boy, Patricia dear, and Alan aka Aaron

    Your mocking sneers make me smile. Christine has indeed offended you, all truth will offend you. Good ‘luck’ with that.

    “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (Romans 1:24-25)

    Jim, btw , Christine knows she is a sinner, that’s what makes her different from you, among other things.

  22. Ryan Hulce says:

    Christine lists in her blog that some of her favorite movies are “Ghost”, “Back to the Future”, and “E.T.” End of discussion.

  23. Alan says:

    Aaron? The brother Moses got to speak for him because of some speech impediment? Sorry, I’m more into the New covenant.

    Read a bigger chunk of this Bible verse, starting with Romans 1:22-27. This is Paul speaking, not Jesus, and the TNIV talks about worshipping “images made to look like mortal human beings and birds and animals and reptiles” which resulted in “men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one onother.” Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality, but Paul more than made up for it. This passage clearly has nothing to do with witchcraft, but is one of Paul’s diatribes against homosexuality, which he blames here on idol worship. Hmmm. Wonder whatever they were up to back there in antiquity.

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