Doctor Strange – Modern Paganism

If you’ve been under a rock and unaware of the Marvel Studios’ pillage of the blockbuster tentpole movies over the past decade, then you can check out their latest trailer below. But before you do, I’ll note that I was pleased when they had Anthony Hopkins’ Odin from the Thor movies declare, “We are not gods!” In those movies, the myths of the Norse gods is explained as aliens who have technologies that mystify us, which we call ‘magic.’

Well, watch this trailer for Doctor Strange:

 

A few things stand out: First of all, Marvel has not shied away from the “mystic arts.” The story of Doctor Strange is that he’s a brilliant neurosurgeon whose hands are damaged in an auto accident. While recovering, he is taught about the mystic arts and becomes a warlock, having access to power of which most of us mortals remain unaware. And, he has the name ‘Strange’ because … coincidence.

Onward!

The narrator, who I guess is his teacher, says a few interesting things. She says she’ll show our hero “how the world works,” and that “our reality is one of many…” The mystic arts allow people to “harness engergy and shape reality.”

A tagline in the trailer is CHANGE YOUR DESTINY.

If there was some hesitancy to dive head first into paganism with Thor, Odin and Loki, it’s gone with this movie.

I’ve recently been reading a book called Ancient Paganism. The author, Ken Johnson, outlines the common roots of paganism and traces it back to Satan and the other fallen angels.

Ancient Paganism by Ken Johnson

He cites various sources, including the book of Jasher, which actually has been lost to history, according to credible sources. The only two alleged books have both been shown to be either complete fabrications, or an ancient rabbinical text that wouldn’t date back before the time of the first few centuries (at best). The latter was endorsed by Joseph Smith, of Mormon fame, which certainly doesn’t add any credibility.

Now that I’ve noted a glarring issue with one of the man’s sources (others include the book of Jubilees and the Talmud) I’ll get on with the interesting part.

He notes that all paganism traces itself back to the earliest days where humans rejected God in favor of their own worship. Satan, Dr. Johnson theorizes, introduced the idea of emanations, a doctrine that supposes that God emptied Himself into Creation, thus depleting His power, and possibly even dying.

Because of this, pagan worship includes ancestor worship, because the ancestors don’t die, they just get reincarnated into the energy that is the universe, or the multi-verse, and thus still exist. We are all connected with the Force … etc.

Magic is knowing how to tap into the god-energy that is all around us in the universe and bending it to our purposes. Sometimes this will involve fallen angels or demons, but more often, it is simply control of natural power (as it seems to be with Doctor Strange).

This ties in to the multiple realities that has become accepted because of the scraps we hear from the quantum physics research. If you’re not a nerd, you might not have heard much about this. Basically, quantum physics is … way over most people’s heads. But it invols the concept of multiple realities, particles existing simultaneously in two places, and on and on.

Personally, I believe that quantum physics will demonstrate that there are multiple realms, for sure. They may mirror our world, but are not the same. In other words, they are the spiritual realm inhabited by the fallen angels.

Pagans believe we can come close to those realities on certain nights of the year. For instnance, the Winter Solstice has been thought to be a magical time, not because of colorful wrapping paper, tinsel and lights, but because our reality and other realities were overlapping (this was a premise in Thor: The Dark World).

According to Ken Johnson, Norse mythology held that people might see a white-bearded Odin riding across the sky (at Christmas!) riding an eight-legged horse. Now, we have the myth of St. Nick riding across the Winter Solstice night riding in a sleigh with eight raindeer. Tomato, Tomahto.

The idea of changing destiny is interesting … essentially, Marvel’s story seems to suggest that God is not in command of our ultimate destiny … we are.

I’m not going to delve into the free will vs. divine selection here. Humans certainly have responsibility for their actions … but that’s not what’s going on here.

We have the magic circles, the incantations (or WiFi passwords? Okay, that was funny), and the idea that our thoughts can shape reality (thoughtforms).

This is clear paganism. Is it an innocent story? I suppose we can read fiction about witches and princes who transform from frogs, and so on. We can watch movies about “The Force” and see the heroes journey.

But are we just swimming with the current? Are Christians adopting the mystic arts and paganism without realizing it? Do we see prayer as a sort of incantation that bends reality to our thoughts? Or are we recognizing that the only prayer that “works” is the one that submits to God’s good will?

In the trailer Doctor Strange is asked, “how did you become a doctor?” His answer, “study and practice, years of it…”

Interestingly, it looks like the magic arts are a bit easier to come by than years of study and practice! Basically, it’s a fast-track to being a god (or Jedi).

Christians need to be careful we remain separate from the world, including the pagan ideology that appeals to those who have rejected the truth in favor of worshiping the creation and its supposed ‘energy.’

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4 Comments

  1. I am sure that there are those of there to whom this applies, but I am generally pretty quick to shrug off the idea of avoiding fiction that opposes a biblical worldview.

    I am much more concerned about those who teach the same things under the cloak of a Christian worldview, and I’m not so sure that clearly fictional entertainment makes people more susceptible to that.

    This might just be an area where I’m being naive, but this seems pretty harmless to mature people in general and mature Christians even moreso.

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    1. I agree that mature people can discern between truth and fiction. But, we wouldn’t go watch a movie that was openly featuring a protagonist that was fighting for a clearly pagan cause. Or, if the movie were made to be a propaganda piece about Wicca or, say, the Church of Satan, we’d have no interest.

      Couch those ideas of natural energy, or some Force within a sci-fi world, or within the Marvel Universe, and suddenly we find it entertaining.

      I’m not passing judgment on the movie, per se. And I certainly wouldn’t condemn someone for going to a movie. It’s for each to decide for him/herself.

      I’m just pointing out that what we’d reject outright if presented in a less fictionalized form suddenly becomes entertaining if we add superheroes and Jedi (and, between the two, I think Star Wars is far more blatant a propaganda for pagan religion).

      As for this slipping into Christian teaching, it’s already happening. All the time. It’s the tares sown in the wheat. It’s amazing how conversant Christians are regarding the Star Wars mythology. Do they know their Bible as well?

      If not, then they’re not mature and they’re ripe for the deceiver.

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      1. I’m not so much concerned about the pop culture aspects slipping into teaching as I am the outright pagan nature of supposedly mainstream christianity. The prosperity gospel and big flashy healing ministries are probably the most obviously pagan, and those weren’t pulled out of pop culture, they are predatory “ministries” preying on that twisted fallen aspect of our nature.

        Something like a goateed Benedict Cumberbatch waiving his hand around doing magic is too grand an image to be dangerous in my view. If you want to find the the dangerous influences you look to the more mundane, like the corner yoga studio or the reiki class at your local library. They are just nondescript enough to sneak into the corners of our lives.

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      2. I agree that the yoga classes and other mystic things that people accept are dangerous. Christians accept meditation and other “emptying the mind” exercises as simple relaxation techniques. And it’s all insidious because it takes hold. And we see how people respond. When you suggest that yoga is actually a pagan worship ritual, you might as well have tried to take the ring from Gollum.

        But, I think this mysticism in movies is just as tricky because it is so blatant. I don’t know your age, but I’m assuming you probably know about Threes Company or Bosom Buddies. Those were sort of in-your-face with “non-traditional” situations. Of course, they tried to nod to traditional values to some extent. But they made people comfortable with a certain set of circumstances. Same thing with Full House. These would be viewed as comedies, and over-the-top. But, first we laugh. Then we become complacent, then we accept. If these ideas came from fallen angels and are meant to deceive the world away from the Truth, should we enjoy the stories that advance the “mythology?” Similarly, would we be okay with smut in a movie because it’s all fake? I think there are Christians who buy into the idea that they can “look past” it, but they’re really soaking their minds in lustful images.

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