Diabolical Deception

Many argued that belief in God would wane with the progress of modernity, becoming merely a memory. Since the Enlightenment in Europe, there was a strong conviction, especially among philosophers and sociologists, that the demise of religion in the face of modernity was inevitable.

Today, in the 21st century, religion is exploding with remarkable strength in areas around the world, particularly on the streets of European cities, both metaphorically and literally. It is impossible not to notice that the rise of faith in a globalized world will have a powerful impact on the shape of politics, economics, and religion itself in the present age. It is inevitable.

However, it is not just about the revival of religion per se. We are witnessing various mutations and hybrids of religiosity. This is evident in the fusion of faith with magic, science with parapsychology, philosophy with astrology, Christianity with Eastern religions—it’s the New Age, a form of contemporary spirituality that is a manifestation of occultism. The foundation of spirituality, in turn, is the belief in the immortality of the human soul. From the Catholic Church (the heir to pagan mysteries and cults) through mass culture, and ending with Protestantism, it is clear that occultism has dominated our religious and socio-cultural reality.

The Sanctity of Life

It is worth noting that the Bible, when it comes to matters of life and death, focuses with incredible passion on life. According to the Bible, death is considered an evil, and its surroundings, such as human corpses, as well as menstrual blood or mourning bread, pose a threat to life and its sanctity. The prevalent belief among people in spiritualism—that is, the belief in the spirits of the deceased and the possibility of establishing contact with them by the living—is practically absent in the Bible. When it is mentioned, it is strongly condemned. This is because the faith in Yahweh is irreconcilable with the belief in the spirits of the deceased; the Hebrew faith is fundamentally intolerant of any forms of ancestor worship. God is the Living God and is for the living.1 Indeed, the Hebrews never developed a cult of the dead, categorically rejecting all forms of ancestor worship as well as cults related to fertility. Any contact with the so-called “afterlife” was strictly forbidden under the threat of the death penalty.

Spiritualism in the Catholic Church

The situation looks quite different in Roman Catholicism. I remember being surprised, despite the awareness that the Catholic Church is considered apostate according to the Bible, at how profound this apostasy is. Certainly, there are many sincere individuals in the Catholic Church who believe in Jesus Christ, but they should be especially aware of the true nature of Catholicism. Catholicism involves the veneration of saints, their relics (such as the head, a piece of a hand, dried blood, bones, hair, nails), masses for the dead, and the Holy Mass, which involves the offering of—as they believe it—the real body and blood of Jesus Christ, constituting an obvious heresy. The Bible clearly states, “… when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God” and “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:12, 14 ESV

It is worth noting that a Catholic mass cannot take place unless the altar has been consecrated, meaning it must contain a fragment of a dead body—a relic of a saint.2 In the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council, this is unequivocal: “… there exists a real communion between the living and the dead, which finds specific expression in the exchange of spiritual goods.”3 If you think about it more deeply, you will come to a rather frightening conclusion: Roman Catholicism is a real, mysterious cult of the dead. From the Catholic perspective, after death, a person as an immortal soul joins the world of spirits, a world divided into hell, purgatory, and heaven.

Catholic Hell

The lie of the theory of the immortality of the soul has become the basis of the Catholic doctrine of hell and purgatory. The image of eternal torment for sinners in hell is quite popular among Catholics and most Protestants. It is complete nonsense that cannot be reconciled with the character of a merciful and just God. The Catholic dogma of hell and its Protestant versions are perhaps among the most repulsive teachings that fallen Christianity can present to the world. What purpose would eternal, hellish torment serve, or even eternal separation from God, when such punishment cannot change the fate of the suffering individual? If there were such a hell, God would be a perverse sadist.

Indeed, Jesus stated that hell is a real place where sinners will end up at the end of the world (Matthew 13:40, 49). According to the Apocalypse, on the day of judgment, the surface of the earth will become a lake of fire—hell, where all sinners, including Satan and his angels, will be destroyed for eternity. What if the term “for eternity” is used in the Bible in the Apocalypse? This should also be explained through the Bible. In the book of Jude, we read that Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an example of eternal fire’s punishment (Jude 7). The “eternal fire” that consumed these cities has long since gone out. Therefore, the word eternal does not refer to the duration of the fire, but to its eternal consequences. The Bible presents only two options: eternal life with God for the saved or eternal death for the condemned, who will ultimately be annihilated in the lake of fire.

Purgatory—or how to buy salvation

The Catholic cult of the dead would be incomplete without the doctrine of purgatory. The doctrine of purgatory is not found anywhere in the Bible, but the idea of purgatory was inspired by demons and well-developed in pagan religions. According to Catholic doctrine, purgatory is a place where the souls of the dead suffer, atoning for unforgiven sins. Souls in purgatory can be redeemed by the living who offer sacrifices for the deceased, such as purchasing a so-called Holy Mass for the soul in purgatory. The living can also make offerings for the dead, such as prayer, indulgences, or other religious rituals.4 It is evident that the doctrine of purgatory is a demonic teaching, a fiction, a grand lie that the Catholic Church uses to enrich itself, capitalizing on the fear of its believers who never have certainty of salvation and do not believe in the certainty of the salvation of their loved ones. If salvation can be achieved through suffering in purgatory and the offering of sacrifices, then purgatory invalidates, cancels, mocks, and blasphemes the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is entirely sufficient to save every sinner who, repenting of their sins, accepts the salvation offered freely by Jesus, as clearly stated in the Bible: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The freedom from fear is good news because indeed, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Catholic Heaven

Based on the belief in the immortal soul, if a person, after death, goes to heaven as a reward:

  • Why the resurrection?
  • Why the second coming of Jesus Christ if the saved are already in heaven?
  • Why the final judgment if people have already gone to hell, purgatory, or heaven immediately after death?
  • Why the sacrifice of the Son of God on Golgotha, who died to give people eternal life, if humans possess immortality inherently?

Mass culture shapes reality

German sociologist Max Weber—a classic in sociology at the turn of the 19th century—was deeply convinced of the ongoing rationalization in Western culture, associated with the process of the “disenchantment of the world.” The world becomes increasingly explainable and less mystical. It is a process of moving away from a magical view of reality. In the culture of the Western world, we can indeed observe such a process, which has accelerated significantly since the time of the Reformation and the Enlightenment.  Paradoxically, today we can observe something exactly the opposite. It is a process of enchanting reality through the invasion of occultism into popular and mass culture. Occultism and its forms, such as spiritualism, are now commonplace for the average consumer of culture, more like fast food. Occultism is no longer something mysterious reserved for the initiated but a widely accessible form of entertainment served by popular music, cinema, or streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+. Mass culture, through its content, influences the way its audience thinks about the surrounding reality, thus affecting their language, beliefs, and value system. The language used, in turn, influences the perception of reality. And the cycle repeats.

Mechanisms of cultural industry

Theodor W. Adorno—a German philosopher, sociologist, psychologist, musicologist and composer in the early to mid 1900s—presented an interesting observation on how the mechanisms of the cultural industry work. He believed that popular culture imposes its products on the masses, who are unaware of this fact. According to the researcher, popular culture promotes emptiness, banality, and conformity, and its ideology is false and manipulative. Human masses are entirely defenseless in the face of these products of the cultural industry.5 If Adorno is right, the average consumer of occult media content becomes an easy prey for Satan.

What is Netflix serving today?

Saturated with occult and spiritual symbolism, the latest season of the popular series Stranger Things, created by the Duffer Brothers, is being advertised as even more brutal and terrifying. The series Brand New Cherry Flavor promotes the occult teachings of the Ordo Templi Orientis. The protagonist is an ambitious director seeking revenge on an unscrupulous producer by utilizing supernatural powers. The main themes of the series include witchcraft and cannibalism. Another series is Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in which the protagonist sells her soul to the devil. The main themes of this series are cannibalism and pedophilia. The next item on Netflix’s menu is The Order, shamelessly promoting Satanism. These are just a few productions inspired by demonic forces on an unprecedented scale, as it is now a global, mass phenomenon, and these series are incredibly popular. It seems we have reached a point in history where Satan’s deception of the world through various forms of occultism is complete.

New Age—doors wide open to another dimension

A lot has been written about New Age ideology from a Christian perspective. Therefore, just a brief definition is in order. New Age ideology is a contemporary form of spiritualism, a syncretic hybrid combining occult practices, magic, parapsychology, science, philosophy, Gnosticism, Eastern religions, shamanism, and astrology.

The cornerstone of New Age ideology is Satan’s lie from the garden of Eden. The serpent, serving as a medium through which Satan speaks, says: “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5

The New Age movement proclaims the same message as Satan’s original lie: You will certainly not die; you will attain enlightenment—your eyes will be opened, you will be like God, deciding for yourself what is good and what is evil. A person engaging in any practice popular in the New Age movement stands at the threshold of widely open doors to another dimension filled with beings who hate and despise humanity. One might say that New Age doesn’t concern us Christians. So what’s the problem then?

New Age Church

The problem is that the “ideas and practices of the New Age movement reflect those propagated by the new charismatics.”6 The charismatic movement is a global religious movement that includes around 700 million charismatic Christians today—Protestants, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Messianic Jews—who have experienced the so-called “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” It is the most dynamically-growing segment of Christianity. How is it possible that such different Christian churches with mutually-exclusive belief systems are united by one “spirit,” one movement, one revival? It is only possible because what binds all these charismatic Christians together is occultism—supra-rational and supernatural phenomena attributed to the Holy Spirit. The phenomena present in the charismatic movement are not the work of the Holy Spirit but of the satanic spirit introducing a false “gospel of unity” based on “shared spirit experience” above the teachings of the word of God. Its aim is to create a “spiritual unity” that connects all Christians, essentially embracing and unifying people of all denominations and religions under one “syncretic spirit.”7

Beliefs and practices of charismatic churches

If we examine the teachings of leaders in some parts of the charismatic movement, they proclaim the same as leaders in the New Age movement:

  1. Higher consciousness—the belief that people are “enlightened” through meditation, mystical experiences, revelations, visions, and speaking in tongues.
  2. Guidance by higher intelligences—angels, extraterrestrial beings, spirits of the deceased—and the belief that they can bring hidden knowledge to people.
  3. Spiritual revelations aimed at renewing the world and uniting people.
  4. Media—every individual can become a spiritual medium or prophet to receive messages from God.
  5. Techniques leading to altered states of consciousness that subject the mind to the influence of higher intelligence—visualization, meditation, self-hypnosis, mantra, speaking in tongues, chanting the same phrases in a loop.
  6. Golden age of the Earth—preparing the world with its political and religious structures to welcome “Christ,” who will rule on Earth.8

During charismatic services in some churches, there are manifestations that cannot be explained by the work of the Holy Spirit. People imitating monkeys or chickens, barking like dogs, falling into convulsions on the ground, and bursting into uncontrollable laughter are just a few examples. Just turn on YouTube to see similarities between charismatic phenomena and the practices of Hindu gurus. For instance, when a guru touches the forehead of their followers, they may fall to the ground, laugh, shake, or experience ecstatic revelations. A similar power was wielded over his patients by the French physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815), the father of modern hypnosis and spiritualism. It is not a coincidence that such behaviors are typically the result of involvement in occultism and, at the same time, symptoms of possession, especially when spiritual manifestations are accompanied by convulsions, seizures, screams, uncoordinated movements, and the imitation of animals.9

Unity in diversity

Ellen G. White predicted with remarkable accuracy over 100 years ago this improbable religious syncretism, which is a characteristic sign of the contemporary era, in the final times:

“The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience. As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.”


  1. Scherer, Filozofia śmierci od Anaksymandra do Adorno, tłum. W. Szymona, published by WAM, Kraków 2008, p. 109
  2. ordo.pallotyni.pl/index.php/dokumenty-o-liturgii/wprowadzenia-do-ksiag-liturgicznych/318-obrzedy-poswiecenia-kosciola-i-oltarza, accessibility: 09.10.2023
  3. Pastoral note of the Episcopal Conference of Emilia-Romagna, document published in a book: P.J. Śliwiński, A. Zwoliński, H. Cisowski, A. Regiewicz, Kościół a spirytyzm, published by M, Kraków 2001, pp. 247–272
  4. katechizm.opoka.org.pl/rkkkI-2-3.htm, accessibility: 13.11.2023
  5. Łagosz, Ezoteryka a popkultura — przenikanie symboliki ezoterycznej do strefy kultury masowej (zarys problematyki), publisher Ośrodek Badawczy Facta Ficta 2018, p. 222
  6. Michael G. Moriarty, The New Charismatics, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan 1992, pp. 270, 271
  7. poslaniecsadu.pl/wydalismy,2.html, accessibility: 14.11.2023
  8. Dunkel, Apokalipsa, Orion plus 2001, pp. 134, 135
  9. Ibiden, p. 135
  10. G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 588

Marcin Watras lives in Katowice, Poland. He is interested in the philosophy of religion and trends in society. He works for the European Union.