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Evaluation of Channeling
By Gary F. Zeolla
I am Ramtha, The Enlightened One, totally. And who I be I love you greatly. This hour we will open books and see and ponder and enlighten and expand, and you all will be exceedingly glad for it. So be it! (Mahr, p.12).
Thus speaks the 35,000 year old warrior-king from Atlantis (Miller, p.12).
What is this? It is known as channeling. John Ankerberg explains what this term refers to, "Channeling is a New Age term for spirit possession where a willing human "channel" or medium relinquishes his mind and body to an invading spirit who then possesses and controls that person for its own purposes, usually as a mouthpiece to give the spirit's own teachings" (Ankerberg, p.13).
This two-part article will study the basic messages of some channeled entities (often called "spirit guides") and evaluate these teachings in the light of the Bible. But first, a brief history of this practice.
A Brief History of Channeling
Channeling used to be known as spiritualism. It was under this name that it was introduced to the USA in 1848. Margaret and Kate Fox began hearing knockings in their house at Hydesville, NY (near Rochester). The Fox sisters received messages from "the other side" and communicated them to the world (Glasson, pp.47,48).
After this, spiritualism received popular but sporadic attention. It was James Pike who brought spiritualism to the forefront in more recent times. Pike was a liberal Episcopal Bishop who, "turned to Spiritualism after his son's death by suicide in 1966" (Moyer, p.327). His son's name was Jim.
Pike went to several different mediums to try to contact Jim's departed spirit. He recorded his story in the best selling book, The Other Side (1968).
Another person that helped popularize spiritualism in the late 1960's and early 70's was Jane Roberts. She first made contact with a spirit named Seth in 1963 while playing with a Quija board. Seth claimed to have died in 1942 (Roberts, pp.14,15).
Seth began to speak through Jane (Roberts, p.19). Her story of being a medium for Seth and his teachings are recorded in the book, The Seth Materials (1970).
In the 1980's, it was Shirley MacLaine who gave the practice a major boost. Only now, it became known as channeling. Her spiritual journey and story of how she came in contact with several channelers is told in her book, Out on a Limb (1983).
Shirley MacLaine has helped to popularize the channeled entity whose quote opened this article - Ramtha. Ramtha is channeled by J.Z. Knight.
Mrs. Knight first made contact with Ramtha while experimenting with the power of crystals in February 1977 (Miller, p.12). The teachings of Ramtha are recorded by Douglas Mahr in the book, Ramtha: Voyage to the New World (1985).
Most recently, channeling and the search for "spirit guides" is infiltrating science fiction TV. On UPN's Star Trek: Voyager the First Officer is an American Indian named Chakotay. In an episode titled "The Cloud" he led Captain Kate Janeway in a meditation to enable her to attain her own "animal spirit guide" (2/13/95).
More dramatic was a scene on NBC's SeaQuest. In an episode titled "Watergate" a visiting singer, in the middle of a rehearsal, channeled "Minerva." In Grecian mythology, this goddess is the lover of "Neptune" - the god of the sea (3/5/95).
Questions to be Asked
The above named books will be quoted from in outlining and evaluating the teachings of these spirit guides.
The questions to be asked are:
1. Are the teachings of these channeled entities Biblical?
2. Who or what are these spirit guides?
3. Is channeling a practice people should be involved in?
If the entities really are the spirits of the departed, then clearly there must be life after death. This idea the Bible clearly affirms (Matt 22:31,32). But what is the nature of the afterlife? The entities are unanimous in that it entails reincarnation. According to Seth, all of us have been reincarnated; and when we are finished living our series of earthly lives, we will continue to exist in other systems of reality (Roberts, p.125).
Shirley MacLaine was told by "John" an entity channeled by Kevin Ryerson, "You were incarnate several times ..." (MacLaine, p.198). Ramtha is more specific. He (she?) declared to a listener, "You have lived, Entity, 13,342 and one-half times" (Mahr, p.93).
But what does the Bible teach? Hebrews 9:27 clearly states, "And it is appointed for men to die once ...." Resurrection is the hope Paul presents for the dead in 1Corinthians 15, not reincarnation.
The point is, resurrection entails a belief in one life, one death and a final judgment. A person's eternal state is determined by that judgment. Reincarnation, on the other hand, entails many lives, many deaths, no final judgment, and eternity consisting of continual progression for all.
Other verses which teach resurrection and deny reincarnation are: 2Sam 12:23; Dan 12:12, Luke 16:19-31; John 5:28,29; 11:24; Acts 23:6; 24:14f; 1Thes 4:13-18.
The Nature of God
Another central tenant of their belief system is pantheism. As explained by Ramtha, Pantheism is the belief that, " ...all things that are are God" (Mahr, p.27). Thus, with pantheism, there would be no distinction between the Creator and His creation. God is considered to be an impersonal force which is one with the material world.
Pike's son told him in a message from the other side, "Don't you ever believe that God can be personalized. He is the Central Force" (Pike, p.325). Jane Roberts wrote, "Seth uses the word 'God' sparingly, usually when speaking to students who are used to thinking in theological terms. As a rule, he speaks of 'All That Is' or 'Primary Energy Gestalts'" (Roberts, p.240).
Ramtha declares, "God Almighty, that which is called the Principle Cause, The Light Force, the Element, that which is termed the Spirit, that which is conclusive all of Itself, that which is termed the All in All, that which is called Life, indeed" (Mahr, p.21).
These teachings are in obvious contradiction to the Biblical view of God. The whole tenor of the Bible from beginning to end is that God is a personal Being Who is distinct from His creation (see, for instance Gen 1-2; Ps 102:25-28; Job 38-41).
It is with this belief that God is a force rather than a Person that the true nature of these spirit guides begins to come out. Another quote, "'God' - by whatever name he is called, or by no name at all - is seen as the balancing factor in nature.... this powerful force which permeates and balances the universe ... is impersonal ...."
The concept of "God" here is consistent with the previous quotes. Problem is, this statement is not from a channeled entity; it is taken from The Satanic Bible! This book was written by the founder of the Church of Satan, Anton Szandor LaVey. The above quote is from page 40, in a chapter titled, "- Wanted - God, Dead or Alive!" The rest of this article will continue to show how other concepts of the channeled spirits parallel the teachings of Satanism.
Good and Bad - and Hell
Ramtha declares, "God, the Father, the Magnificent, the Isness, the Totality does not have an ego to judge good and bad" (Mahr, p.241). It takes a conscious, personal, thinking Being to make a distinction between good and bad. Since the god of the entities does not have these attributes, then IT cannot make these kind of judgments. And, ultimately, there is no difference between right and wrong.
Ramtha recommends, "... contemplate the love of God; how great this Entity-Self is, that is all encompassing, that will allow you to be and do anything you wish and hold you judgeless. God has never judged you or anyone" (Mahr, pp.61,62). And if God cannot judge people's actions as good or bad, then neither can we. The Satanic Bible proclaims, "Cursed are the believers in good and evil ..." (p.34).
Further, if there is no judgment, there is not need for a Hell. Ramtha states, "There is no such place as hell. There never was and there shan't ever be.... God, The Father, is much too loving of your being and is all matter ... for Him to have such a place would have been like a cancer in His body and it would have eaten Him up. There isn't such a place" (Mahr, pp.89,90).
Anton LaVey heartily agrees, "There is no heaven of glory bright and no hell where sinners roast" (p.33). But what does the Bible have to say on these issues?
First, since the God of the Bible is a personal, thinking Being, He can and does make a distinction between good and evil. As the prophet Amos declared, "Seek good and not evil, That you may live ... Hate evil, love good" (Amos 5:14,15). And, Isaiah warned, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil" (Isa 5:20). Further, any transgression of what God declares to be good is called sin" (1John 3:4).
Given this distinction between good and evil, and the existence of sin, there IS a final judgment coming. Hebrews 9:27, quoted in part earlier, reads in full, "And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." Furthermore, "[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." And, "God [is] a consuming fire" (Heb 10:31; 12:29; MKJV). So the God of the Bible appears to be rather different from the god of Ramtha.
Moreover, the Bible teaches there is a Hell where the wicked are cast into after the final judgment. The last book of the Bible presents graphic depictions of the final judgment and this fate of the wicked (Rev 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:8).
Where is Jesus?
The Apostle Paul wrote, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1Tim 1:15). But if there is no distinction between good and evil, and thus no such thing as sin, as the entities claim, what is the role of Jesus? In the belief system of the spirits, He has very little place. The "departed spirit" of Pike's son told him, "... since I've been here I haven't heard anything about Jesus" (Pike, p.133).
Later, "Jim" elaborated further:
I told you before. I am telling you again. You know I told you. Oh, it is difficult. I'm afraid I might hurt you. I might hurt you. This is what I was telling you: people must have an example. And I have questioned my teachers, and they have said, Jim, you are not in a position to understand - YET! You are not in a position to understand yet. I haven't met him.
They talk about him - a mystic, a seer, yes, a seer. Oh, but, Dad, they don't talk about him as a savior. As an example, you see? ... You see, I want to tell you, I would like to tell you, Jesus is triumphant, you know? But it's not like that. I don't understand it yet. I don't understand it yet. I may, sometime I may, but right now I have got as much to comprehend as I can. You don't want me to tell you what I don't know ... not a savior, that's the important thing - an example ... (p.324; emphasis and ellipses in original).
The spirit guides in the other books which are being quoted from in this article never even mention Jesus. Nobody seems to have ever embarrassed them by bringing up the subject like Pike did.
Of one thing, though, these other entities seem certain: human beings do not need a Savior. As Ramtha states, "Do not preach to this world.... The world doesn't need saving - leave it alone. Indeed." Elsewhere Ramtha declares, "And who is your Savior - You!" (Mahr, pp.130,268).
So human beings do not need a Savior since we can save ourselves. This attitude takes us back to The Satanic Bible. LaVey writes, Say unto thine own heart, 'I am mine own redeemer." And further, ".. for no redeemer liveth" (p.33).
The entities and Satanists do not believe we need a Savior since they do not believe there is such a thing as sin to be saved from. But why do the entities have so much hesitancy when talking about Jesus, or even simply ignore Him?
The Apostle Paul said in reference to Jesus, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (i.e. "the cross" - Col 2:15). Could it be the spirits do not like to talk about Jesus because they are part of the "principalities and powers" which Jesus "disarmed?"
Moreover, Jesus is the central figure in the Bible (Col 1:18). And He is much more than just "an example." The reason for Jesus' coming was to, "save His people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). And he accomplished this salvation when He, "died for our sins" (1Cor 15:3). Because of this, Jesus is our "Savior" (Titus 2:13; 3:6).
And, (in contradiction to LaVey), all those who believe Jesus is in fact their Savior, can confidentially say, "I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH" (Job 19:25; KJV).
An Evaluation of Channeling: Part 2
See the end of part two.
An Evaluation of Channeling. Copyright © 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian).
Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light
The above article originally appeared in Darkness to Light
newsletter in 1995.
It was posted on this Web site in July 1996.
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