- He pulls people down when they want to go up.
- When the Church tries to escape an error, the devil drags the pendulum down so that it swings rapidly beyond the center point and a new and opposite extreme (error) is reached.
Several people I know (and am praying for) have adopted new religions that emphasize self and the physical world. Adherents to new paganism develop a strong social feeling of connectedness to others who also have rejected the Christian faith of their fathers and adopted unrestricted self-expression. In reaction to the abandonment of Christian liturgy, these new religions color their ceremonies with strong physical and pseudo-spiritual elements because they believe occultic symbols haness powerful energies. For example, see one Christian's description of Burning Man that he describes as Satan's birthday celebration, with lots of rituals and symbolic ceremonies. [And please, please remember to tell our Saviour how sorry we are for the terrible sins of blasphemy that have been committed at these pagan ceremonies.]
Nature-based spiritualities, such as Neo-Paganism and Wicca, are what happens to "homeless minds" who lose confidence in the Christian faith--usually because they haven't been taught it, embrace self-gratification, and because they see a weak and decaying Church.
A previous post on super-environmentalism dealt with a form of new paganism that worships nature rather than the God of Abraham--the Father of Jesus Christ. New paganism also features drugs, nudism, mystic stories, seances, and eastern spiritualities that fill the voids left by the modern Church. The new paganism turns people inward to rely on their subjective selves without any controlling institutions, and to experiment according to their own personal desires.
While there are new laws that replace the ten commandments, new pagans most often rely on the empty promises of the devil to give pleasure. "If it feels good, do it" is the new commandment. The joy of the soul is forgotten when the pleasure of the senses is practiced.
How can the Church counter paganism's new spiritual outlet in what appears to be a post-Christendom world? One Protestant writer says that "cults are the unpaid bills of the church." I believe it is more realistic to say that new religions are the maggots that were hatched from eggs laid by the Lord of the Flies in the wounded flesh of the bride of Christ.
Pope Benedict XVI and many new and faithful Bishops are paying past due bills. They are also removing dead tissue so that the remaining living tissue can adequately heal and grow. It may take almost 20-25 years before the Church can be sufficiently strengthened with (1) charity, (2) truth, and (3) beauty to attract and serve the next generation--the children of the New Pagans.