Christianity 201

July 15, 2020

Should Christians Use Diving Rods (Witching a Well)

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Two weeks ago some Christian leaders surprised me by posting a Facebook meme wherein a person was holding a forked tree branch, and you were to leave a comment if you knew what it was the person was doing.

The practice is called ‘dowsing’ — it is sometimes called ‘witching a well,’ which should cause lots of red lights to appear on your dashboard — the branch is called a ‘divining rod.’ (More info at Wikipedia.)

Anyway, I truly wondered why they were playing at that practice and determined to be informative, I started assembling some internet citations together which you see below. I never really finished the project, but as it was already over 1,300 words, I thought I’d share it here as is

(I do need to add that some Christian farmers have used this tool and there is divided opinion among some believers on the nature of so doing.)

Got Questions:

While anyone can walk around with a forked stick, dedicated dowsers believe they are using a sixth sense to channel the earth’s energy. They believe the “universe” is speaking to them and revealing buried truths. Using a dowsing rod is similar to using a Ouija board. It is an attempt to gain information through “positive or negative energy” that is supposedly controlling an inanimate object. While some argue that the earth is water-rich enough that almost anyone can predict a water source if they drill deeply enough, others point out that the accuracy of dowsers seems to be significantly higher than that of random guesses.

The Bible addresses practices such as dowsing in Hosea 4:12: “My people consult a wooden idol, and a diviner’s rod speaks to them. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.” The “diviner’s rod” has been variously interpreted as a magic wand, an Asherah pole, or some type of wooden staff used to predict the future or guide seekers into “wisdom.” The occult diviner’s rod condemned in Hosea sounds similar to a dowsing rod—in fact, another name for a dowsing rod is “divining rod,” because the purpose of dowsing is to divine the location of water or precious metal. According to Hosea, the Lord places divining rods, idolatry, and prostitution in the same category. But why would God be opposed to a harmless means of discovering a water source?

The bottom line is that dowsing is a form of divination, a practice strictly forbidden by God…

The Berean Call:

So what happens is you begin to believe that there’s some kind of a power in your subconscious mind. They have all kinds of explanations. Some “universal mind” out there, and you can tune into this. This is how religious science, science of the mind, and so forth, these things work, and the next thing you know, you have begun to believe that there is some force, or some power, some spirit. It doesn’t matter what you want to call it. Some higher power.

It’s not the God of the Bible, but something that you want now to commit yourself to, and you want to become in tune with this thing so that you can use it to your own ends. That’s the lie of the serpent in the Garden. And then next thing you know, I’m a regular little god! I can use what I think are supernatural powers.

So it’s very easily—a person is very easily drawn into this. Now, how would they protect themselves from this? Well, of course, if they know the Bible, they would know that it’s not biblical and they’re warned against it. But even if you don’t know the Bible, you would realize, “Wait a minute! This isn’t normal. There’s something going on here.”

All About Spirituality:

Dowsing is a form of divination — attempts to know hidden knowledge or the future through a supernatural means, apart from the God of the Bible. An biblical example is in Acts 16:16: “One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters.” You will notice that this girl was demon possessed. She was practicing a form of divination, similar to dowsing.

Women of Grace:

[M]any Christians also believe in dowsing as a divine gift and attempt to justify the practice by appealing to the Bible. Unfortunately, the scripture passages they cite refer only to digging wells or searching for water – never dowsing – which they claim is because the verses were mistranslated. If they were correctly translated, they would supposedly mention dowsing.

However, there is only one direct reference to dowsing in Scripture and it’s hardly an endorsement. “My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; for a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God” (Hos. 4:12).

►► Condemnation is not limited to conservative Evangelicals. For example, The Eternal Church of God, an offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God, has this to say:

…Nanay Selda says SHE IS GUIDED BY A ‘FORCE’ WHEN SHE EXTENDS HER ARMS USING THE GUAVA BRANCHES… After she’s used the branches, one can see red welts on her palm, evidence of struggle WITH A FORCE, which shows UNUSUAL STRENGTH in such small frail arms. When I asked how she did it, she snapped like a bitch warning her pups, ‘I don’t know so don’t ask me.’ One water expert… had this to say…’ There is no empirical basis for water divining, yet it works. Water witches have not studied hydro-geology academically, but they know it intuitively.’”

The fact that water divining sometimes “works,” does not justify us to reach the conclusion that Christians can use this method. We read, for example, in Deuteronomy 13:1-4:

If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams and he gives you a SIGN or a WONDER, and the sign or the wonder COMES TO PASS, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is TESTING you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church:

The Bible gives a most positive answer to this. The references may easily be found in both Testaments. They are described, and the inference is clear that they have been a commonplace occurrence in the life of mankind since Adam disobeyed. They are positively identified. There is clear warning that the spirits must be tested to prove their origin before having anything to do with them. The manner of testing them is made plain. The deceiving spirits are identified as evil angels—those who chose to be on the side of Lucifer who became Satan, and whose one and only intention is to deceive mankind and to lead away from the one true God. These deceiving spirit entities, benevolent, seemingly honest, sincere and wise, historically and presently lead mankind away from God by being truthful just enough to establish acceptance, and then the completely destroying lie is slipped in as innocently as if it were a continuation of the preceding truths. These lies are anti-God, every one of them.

So, there are spirit entities. There are two classes. Only one of them is amoral, lying, and hurtful. They are among us, and have been since Eden. They can materialize at will and convince us of reality that is not so. They are masters of the hoax. Eve, our first mother, and presumably the most intelligent woman ever to have lived was taken in by the first hoax lie, “. . . ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” without the least hint of the terrible consequences that accompanied the risk. They have been successfully hoaxing the intelligent among us ever since. According to the Bible, they were created as a higher classification of beings than man. Since their rebellion they have used this higher condition (which all of us know well) to defraud us. They fit every known need in an understanding of the occult. We submit that dowsing is an occult act, and has been known as such from ancient times.

The fact that dowsing has an undeniable physical element does not detract from an understanding of its occult aspects. There need not be any confusion over this.

…So…had you heard of this before now? What are your thoughts?

February 18, 2020

Biblical Writers Knew Economic Inequity

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:30 pm
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When I first started interacting with various Christian blogs, one of the first I was aware of was Andrew Jones aka Tall Skinny Kiwi. I still receive his newsletter and this week he quoted this Proverb:

There is abundant food in the field of the poor, but it is swept away by injustice.” Prov. 13:23

Contextually, the Proverb falls between two others I would consider unrelated, and BibleHub, which usually offers various cross-references to similar passages is somewhat sparse with this one.

Still, economic inequity is well known to all of us and it can appear in various forms. In its plain form, the verse is talking about a situation where the land produces food in abundance, but people are going hungry.

More recently, we’ve heard stories where developed nations have sent containers of food following a natural disaster, only to learn later that the supplies were being hoarded in warehouses to which the common people did not have access.

But is this proverb saying something more, or something entirely different? The website offers what follows. To better understand the commentary, here’s the verse in the KJV as they are using it:

Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

Hard work brings profit, but it can be lost by foolish decisions. The poor may labor hard at farming, with much increase from their Creator. Their focused labor on a small plot of land bears good reward for their table. But other poor men, even with some advantages, may squander greater gain by following harebrained schemes that take it away.

Tillage is the tilling and cultivating of ground for raising crops. Farming was the first profession in the world, and it is a good work. It is the most basic business or investment, providing a clear view of capital, labor, and profit. Depending directly on God’s blessing, seeds are placed in the ground to wait for His increase. And He does give increase!

The average return for wheat is 200. One wheat seed planted results in 200 new ones. One bushel planted results in 200 new bushels. That is a return of 20,000%! The average return for field corn is 800 times, or 80,000%! The average return for rice is 2000 times, or 200,000%! There is much food in the tillage of the poor. You have never seen this kind of return in any investment portfolio of the rich and famous, for the world’s best hedge fund managers or investors can only sustain about 30% per year over time.

Want of judgment is the lack of good sense. It is foolish vulnerability to ideas that will not work. It is listening to vain persons and their schemes. It is a lack of discretion and prudent management. It is the rejection of critical thinking and cautious pessimism. It is wishful thinking instead, trusting more in hopes and dreams than careful analysis.

Want of judgment is hasty decisions, poor choices, lack of foresight, and risky presumption. It believes everything it hears. It is frustration with the old way of doing things and impatience to experiment with something new. It is the desire for a free lunch, no matter how many times it has heard there is no such thing. It is the dream that there are shortcuts that can lead to wealth, though the wealthiest, Solomon, denies the idea.

The proverb deals with poor farmers. They have plenty of food, for they labor at a godly trade day after day, year after year. But there are other men who may not even have enough to eat. What happened? They gave away their increase by foolish decisions. The lesson here is the value of hard work and the importance of wise financial management.

continue reading here

Dake’s commentary also places the onus on the poor farmers themselves:

The poor may sow enough to have plenty of food, but lack of management often keeps them in poverty. They have very little foresight. When they get something they quickly spend it or have a big feast and then go without for a long time.

Again, I go back to the commentary at LetGodBeTrue:

When the government approves a lottery, who lines up first for tickets? The man tired of farming! He dreams of how he will spend his millions. He can list how he will use his riches. He eagerly takes the “much food” from his tillage and gives it to the state in a no-win deal designed for the foolish and naïve. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

So again…what about the example I used at the beginning and the way in which I interpreted the verse for today’s headline? Does the translation Andrew Jones is using put the wrong spin on this?

I think that either way, we see that the ecosystem — to be clear, with this word I mean climate and agriculture — is able to sustain life on Planet Earth, but human intervention, whether individual or collective, is what spoils the harmony of that system. As God designed it, there is food for all.