Spiritism—How Viewed by God?
“TO LIKE and dislike the same things, this is what makes a solid friendship,” said the Roman historian Sallust. Indeed, a friend is one with whom you have the most in common, a person you can trust. Likewise, God looks at us as friends and allows us to draw closer to him if we like and dislike the same things he does. This means that we are attracted to such qualities of God as love, peace, kindness, and goodness, and that we are making earnest efforts to imitate these traits in our life.—Galatians 5:22, 23.
To find out if spiritism is approved by God, we might first examine its fruitage. (Matthew 7:17, 18) Does it help us to develop appealing godly qualities? To find out, let us look at two real-life examples.
Divination, Harassment, and Death
Asamaja Amelia, a middle-aged woman in Suriname, was 17 years old when she first became involved in divination, a form of spiritism. Since her predictions came true and inquirers benefited from her advice, she was highly esteemed in her community. (Compare Acts 16:16.) But one thing troubled her.
“The spirits that spoke through me were kind to those who sought their help,” she says, “but at the same time they made my life miserable. After each sitting, I felt beaten up and could hardly move. When night fell, I hoped for some rest, but the spirits did not leave me alone. They kept disturbing me, talking to me and keeping me awake. And the things they said!” She sighs and looks down, shaking her head in aversion. “They loved to talk about sex and insisted on having relations with me. It was shocking. I was married. I did not want to be unfaithful and told them so. It did not help. Once an invisible force overpowered me, touched and squeezed my body, and even bit me. I felt wretched.”
‘Spirits encouraging sexual immorality? That is farfetched!’ you may exclaim. Are those spirits really that debased?
“It’s even worse!” says Izaak, mentioned earlier. “One night we were called to help a sick woman troubled by a spirit. The leader of the group—the medium of a stronger spirit—tried to chase the spirit away. For a whole day we pleaded for his spirit’s help. We danced and played the drums, and gradually the woman improved. He ordered her spirit out, and this worked. ‘We gained the victory,’ beamed the leader. Then we sat down and relaxed.”
Izaak’s gesticulating arms rest for a moment while he pauses meaningfully. Then he continues: “For a while all looked well, but then a scream broke the silence. We rushed to the house where it came from and saw the leader’s wife. She was crying hysterically. Inside the house, we found her little daughter—her head facing backward! Some force had wrung and broken her neck, killing her like a chicken—apparently, the revenge of that ousted spirit. Sickening! Those spirits are sadistic murderers.”
Spiritism and “the Works of the Flesh”
Uncleanness, sexual immorality, and murder—as encountered in these two experiences with spiritism—are traits squarely opposed to God’s personality. And that helps to identify who those spirits truly are. They may pretend to be messengers of God, but their immoral and murderous works give them away as imitators of God’s enemy and history’s first murderer, Satan the Devil. (John 8:44) He is their leader. They are his helpers—wicked angels, or demons.—Luke 11:15-20.
But you may ask: ‘Do these satanic traits show up in spiritism only on rare occasions? Could spiritism as a rule put me in contact with good spirits that would help bring me closer to God?’ No, the Bible lists the “practice of spiritism” with the other “works of the flesh” that are directly opposed to Christian qualities.—Galatians 5:19-21.
At Revelation 21:8 “those practicing spiritism” (“those conversing with demons,” The Living Bible) are put in the same category as “those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and fornicators . . . and idolaters and all the liars.” How does Jehovah regard willful liars, fornicators, murderers, and practicers of spiritism? He hates their deeds!—Proverbs 6:16-19.
Exploring spiritism, therefore, amounts to loving what Jehovah God hates. It is like rejecting Jehovah, being in Satan’s camp, and siding with God’s archenemy and his helpers. Now think of this: Would you want to be close to a person who takes sides with your enemies? Of course not. Rather, you would stay clear of that individual. Obviously, then, we can expect the same reaction from Jehovah God. Says Proverbs 15:29, “Jehovah is far away from the wicked ones.”—See also Psalm 5:4.
Spiritism Leads to Death
Dabbling in spiritism is also life threatening. God viewed it as a reason for capital punishment among his people in ancient Israel. (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:9-12) So it should come as no surprise that practicers of spiritism “will not inherit God’s kingdom.” (Galatians 5:20, 21) Instead, “their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire,” which denotes “the second death,” or eternal destruction. (Revelation 21:8) True, today some of Christendom’s churches may tolerate spiritism, but the Bible’s viewpoint has not changed.
What if you have already taken the first steps on the road to spiritism? Then you will do well to stop immediately and make a turnabout. Follow the divinely inspired advice that God’s prophet Isaiah gave to the Israelites of old. Their situation resembles that of people today who engage in unclean practices but think they are worshiping God at the same time. Hence, there are vital lessons in their experience. What lessons?
Heed Isaiah’s Warning
A look at the first chapter of Isaiah shows that the Israelites had “left Jehovah” and had “turned backwards.” (Isa 1 Verse 4) Although they had gone astray, they continued presenting sacrifices, holding religious observances, and offering prayers. But to no avail! Since they lacked an inward desire to please their Creator, Jehovah said: “I hide my eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I am not listening.” Those Israelites had revolted against him by taking up unclean practices, even to the point of ‘filling their hands with bloodshed.’—Isa 1 Verses 11-15.
Under what circumstances would Jehovah accept them back? Note the requirements spelled out at Isaiah 1:16. He says: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean.” So if we take that counsel seriously, we will quit or refrain from unclean practices, including spiritism, one of “the works of the flesh.” Since we know that the evil mind behind spiritism is that of Satan the Devil, we will develop a hatred for it.
Then we should remove all objects connected with spiritism. Izaak did so. He says: “One day I gathered all my spiritistic belongings in front of my house, grabbed an ax, and chopped them to pieces. My neighbor screamed that I would regret what I had done. While she was screaming, I poured gasoline over the pieces and burned every single item. Nothing was left.”
That was 28 years ago. Did Izaak regret his action? On the contrary. Today, he is serving Jehovah happily as a Christian minister in one of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Isaiah 1:17 gives this further counsel: “Learn to do good.” That requires studying Jehovah’s Word, the Bible, so as to find out what is “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) And applying that newly found knowledge will lead to refreshing blessings. That is what Asamaja found out.
Despite bitter opposition from relatives and neighbors, Asamaja courageously studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and shortly thereafter broke with spiritism. Then she dedicated her life to Jehovah God and was baptized during an assembly. Now, some 12 years later, she says gratefully: “Since my baptism, I have not been troubled by spirits.” And she recalls with a smile: “The night following my baptism, my sleep was so deep and undisturbed that I was late for the next morning’s assembly program.”
Today, both Izaak and Asamaja can heartily say with the psalmist Asaph: “The drawing near to God is good for me.” (Psalm 73:28) Indeed, drawing near to Jehovah has brought them physical and emotional benefits. But most of all, it has given them an inner peace and a close relationship with Jehovah.
Such blessings far outweigh the pain and struggle required to shake off the yoke of spiritism. Breaking away, though, can be an ordeal. Lintina van Geenen, a woman in Suriname, had that experience. Next, we will see how she wrestled for years but finally succeeded.
[Picture on page 5]
Asamaja Amelia relates: “The spirits . . . made my life miserable. . . . And the things they said!”