Monday, September 30, 2013

Hieromonk Seraphim's warnings-About occult teachings

From the writing of the Holy Fathers, we know that the devil's beguilement — is a genuine danger. Apostle Paul warns "…For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Notwithstanding, the devil does not have the power to beguile all, when and as he would like. God restricts his actions. If a man is proud and thirsts to see something super-natural, wonderful, something that others are not worthy to see, he is in great danger of mistaking a demon for an angel.

In spiritual literature this condition is called "enchantment" (from the word "seduction" or "allurement").

In peril of falling into such a state are many willful novices, self-satisfied ascetics, self-proclaimed prophets and healers, as well as people engaged in foolish mysticism, such as; transcendental meditation, yoga, spiritualism, occultism and so forth.

From the accounts of those who had postmortem experiences, there seems to be no indication that they engaged in such practices. In most cases, these were ordinary citizens who by way of some physical ailment died, but thanks to the efforts of their doctors and the success of modern medicine were revived. They were not expecting supernatural visions and, to all appearances, what they saw was allowed by the grace of God so that they might approach their lives with greater thoughtfulness. It's hard to agree with the idea that the Lord allowed the devil to mislead these victims, uninitiated in the spiritual world. Moreover, in accordance with stories gathered by Dr. Morse [7], this same Light was seen by many children who, considering their purity and innocence, are under the protection of the Almighty.

In orthodox books on life after death there are stories of the appearance of demons to the dying and of the soul going through a series of trials (this is detailed below). However, from these stories we see that the demons usually begin to intimidate the soul only after the Guardian Angel has come to escort the soul to the Throne of God. Also, in the presence of the Guardian Angel the demons are obliged to appear in their actual, odious forms.

Regarding the contemporary descriptions of the Light, there exists the difficulty of accommodating them with traditional Christian accounts. In orthodox literature, the Kingdom of Light is described in relation to heavenly ascent, whereas in modern literature, people see the Light before crossing the mysterious boundary that separates the two worlds. We think that the people who have had these experience have not yet been to the actual heaven or hell, but have only had a foretaste of them. When the angels appeared to the saints they emanated light. At Mt. Tabor the apostles saw spiritual Light although still in the physical world. God in His mercy reveals this marvelous Light as an encouragement towards a righteous way of life. Contact with this Light invariably pours out feelings of peace and happiness. The devil's light, on the contrary, brings with it a feeling of revolting disquiet. It fills a person with a sense of superiority and promises of knowledge, but it has no love — it is a cold light.

In addition, the life reviews that people underwent in their contact with the Light, during which they were forced to morally re-asses their actions, and the resulting improvements in their lives all compel us to think that their visions of the Light were good and not deceptions. After all, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16). Does not the devil seek to turn man away from God? How could it be that he would help people strengthen their faith and increase their good deeds?

Nevertheless, in a wider scope, the faithful should always be extremely careful with all visions or mystic experiments. Due to the significant increase in incidents of resuscitation after clinical death, some doctors have proposed creating a new branch of science to study the soul and life after death. There is no doubt that it is possible to gather, compare, and organize the accounts of what the soul sees in the other world. It must be understood, however, that the role of the doctors and psychiatrists is limited to the compilation of individual incidents. Inasmuch as, we, the living, being cut off from direct contact with the spiritual world, cannot plan or control postmortem conditions as we would a laboratory experiment.

We must also remember that man’s life is in God's Hands. Only He determines the moment of death and the destiny of every soul on separation from the flesh. For this reason, attempts to produce experiments in this field are in conflict with the Will of God and bring the experimenter into contact with the fallen spirits of that world. As a result, the data will be inaccurate and the conclusions will be false. In regards to this, Hieromonk Seraphim Rose writes the following: "Many present day researchers acknowledge or at least sympathize with occult teachings in the realm of the out of body condition, only because it is based on an experiment, which is also at the root of science. But, experimenting in the material world differs in essence from experiments in the realm of out of body experiences. In the material world, the objects of study and the laws of nature are morally neutral and can consequently be objectively studied and corroborated by others. On the other hand, the current objectives of study are hidden from man, not easily captured and frequently display their own will with the purpose of deceiving the observer."[8, pg. 127-128]. This happens because the spiritual sphere closest to us is filled with demons, consciously evil beings, who are specialists in the realm of deception. They gladly partake in any experiments and give the experiments their own spin.

Because of this, we must take seriously Hieromonk Seraphim's warning. And so, in our time a string of researchers, having started with authentic medical cases of clinic death, have moved on to personal examinations of out of body experiences. Without the guidance of Christian teachings and the many centuries of knowledge and experience of the Orthodox Church, they started studying the condition of the "astral" body and fell into the labyrinths of occultism. Unfortunately, this happened to Dr. Moody, the female psychotherapist E. Kubler-Ross, and several others. As an example, Dr. Moody, who published three valuable books full of authentic data, began to experiment in the areas of Theosophy and transcendental meditation. He recently published a book on this theme, titled "Coming Back," in which he lays out the typical Hindu gibberish regarding reincarnation. (Please refer to the conclusion for an unraveling of this teaching).

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