Though I was involved in Hinduism, Taoism and Buddhism prior to becoming an atheist, I didn’t think of that as being part of the occult. However, the definition of the word might lead you to think of Eastern religions as being part of the occult –
Definition of “occult” (Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionary, Cambridge English Dictionary)
- of or relating to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies
- Mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena
- relating to mysterious or supernaturalpowers and activities
- beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding; mysterious
- Communicated only to the initiated; esoteric
- not revealed
- hidden from view
I saw the connection between Eastern mystical religions and the occult soon after becoming a Christian. As I learned more about that connection, I shared my findings in Bible studies and other speaking opportunities.
I was a well-known atheist in the area where I lived in the late 1960’s and early 70’s because of hosting a daily radio talk show where religion was often a topic of discussion. I was a “strong” atheist and used my position to challenge and mock the beliefs of religious people, especially Christians.
After becoming a Christian, I received many invitations to share my story at churches, religious group meetings and on Christian radio programs. The earliest notes I’ve found from my talks about atheism is from a talk I gave on radio more than 40 years ago. I share these notes with the hope they might help you understand the thinking of atheists and the great privilege we have to share Christ with them.
In our last Teaching Notes, we began looking at Biblical Hermeneutics – how to study the Bible for correct interpretation and application of God’s Truth. We started with Observation.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Correct “observation” is vital to handling the Word of Truth accurately. In these Teaching Notes we look at what follows Observation.
One of the best classes you can take in Bible college is Biblical Hermeneutics – how to study the Bible for correct interpretation and application of God’s Truth. The next two Teaching Notes will look at some of the basic aspects of Hermeneutics.
So much of what we know about God comes from the Bible. We’ve already seen what the Bible teaches about God, the Trinity, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We now look at what the Bible teaches about the Word of God.
In our last Teaching Notes, we shared a brief presentation about the Holy Spirit. We now look at the Spirit of God in more depth.
We know what we know about God because He revealed Himself to us. We find His revelation in His Word, the Bible. God reveals Himself to be the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and all life within the universe.
“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” Deuteronomy 4:39
God also reveals Himself as our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble. Even if the earth is removed, and mountains are carried into the middle of the sea, and waters roar and are troubled, and mountains shake with the swelling, we will not fear. Why? Because we know God is in complete control.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
In our last study we looked at God’s plan – a plan Father, Son and Holy Spirit designed together in eternity, before creation, before time began. We saw how the plan unfolded in the garden of Eden as the serpent deceived the woman and through that deception has deceived “the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). We saw how God quickly took control of the problem and presented the solution – “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). Jesus Christ won that victory on the Cross.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
In our last study we looked at God’s Eternal Plan that Father, Son and Holy Spirit purposed together “before time began.” Genesis 1 is a recounting of how God revealed the Plan and how it culminated in God’s crowning achievement – man (male and female). God (elohim) made (na’a’seh – let us make) man (adam) “in Our image” (besalmenu), “according to Our likeness” (kidmutenu).
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (NIV)
Standing fast or firm in your faith is a vital part of the ‘Christian walk.’ The primary word for ‘walk’ in the New Testament is peripateo. It was used in the physical sense in the Gospels and Acts. Paul used the word in a figurative sense.
The Greeks understood the figurative definition to be: ‘live, conduct yourself.’ The way a person ‘walked’ meant the way they lived their lives and conducted themselves.