The Danger In Not Seeing The Danger
C.S. Lewis warned of a day when the naturalistic worldview would become so pervasive that whole societies would actually reject any and all spiritual realities. He predicted that scientism would overtake the world such that the only accepted knowledge would be testable knowledge.
We in the developed world of the 21st century now live within Lewis’ warning. By far the predominant view of our educational institutions denies any realities outside physical realities, and the neo-atheism movement is progressively growing and influencing the rising generation. Even the religious of our society tend to adopt a religion void of spiritual realities. Half of those who identify themselves as Christians in America don’t believe in Satan, demons, angels, or even the Holy Spirit. And those of us who do believe in such things are marginalized as naïve at best and crazy at worst. And then slowly we begin to wonder if indeed we are crazy for believing all this.
Well if you are having your doubts about the existence of a spiritual realm, just fly to Togo (or any culture untouched by modernity’s secularism) and you will see just how outlandish the skepticism of the west truly is. It is an eye-opening experience to be immersed in a culture where nobody, and I mean nobody, has the audacity to deny the spiritual. The spiritual realm is as real to them as the physical, and the two are constantly intersecting with one another. Whether it be demon possessions or voodoo witchery (the picture above is a voodoo temple where they perform sacrifices); these are as normal to them as Starbucks coffee is to us.
The missionary we partner with, Macklann Basse, is in the middle of all this spiritual warfare and part of his weekly routine is to do battle against the evil spiritual forces. We would sit with him in amazement as he recounted his numerous encounters with spiritual darkness, and to honest with you, I found myself strangely encouraged, even emboldened.
Two things were clear: there really is a spiritual realm, and Jesus is in charge of it. Being in a culture with such overt spiritual happenings gave me a glimpse of an unbridled Jesus. This was not the domesticated Jesus of our Sunday school classes; this was the Jesus that causes the principalities of darkness to cower in fear. And because of this, Christians were remarkably confident in the midst of the warfare.
There was one particular voodoo priestess that everyone feared. In fact, Macklann said that he knew people who had died after being cursed by her. While we were there, Macklann got a phone call that she was stirring up trouble, and he told me he was going to have to intervene. I asked him what exactly he was going to do? He said, “I’m going to go see her and tell her stop her.” I asked him if he was afraid, and he said very plainly, “She can’t touch me, Robert. There is nothing she can do. I belong to Jesus.”
That is the type of brazen confidence I saw again and again, which makes one conversation I had with Macklann particularly disturbing. He told me that the most difficult place he has ever been is America. He said it’s scary how oppressed and blind our culture is, and that he could literally feel his soul withering up and his faith weakening during his time in the states. Satan and the hosts of evil have a unique stronghold on the developed world, and the fact that that statement sounds ridiculous to you testifies to the stronghold.
In his brilliant work Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis imagines demons plotting a strategy where they become wholly implausible to modern man, and I think that is happening all around us. What if the fact that the spiritual realm is no longer within the realm of possibility is, ironically, the greatest spiritual oppression this world has ever known. As French poet Charles Baudelaire said and Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects made famous, “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist.”
Make no mistake about it, Satan is real and is working very hard to convince the modern world that he is not real. The most dangerous satanic activity is that you will be labeled an ignorant, antiquated, fool to believe in satanic activity. Covert though it may be, we are indeed living in the heat of a dangerous spiritual battle, and most dangerous of all is that most don’t even realize it.
To hear a man who fearlessly wages war against demonic possessions and voodoo priests confess to me that he is scared of my country was a wake up call. I’m in a battle. TCPC is in a battle. And we need to sober up and live our days acknowledging that reality. The good news is that when we do, we will see Jesus for the warrior He is. The One who rules the spiritual realm is our Defender; we just need to recognize that we actually need to be defended.
The truth is, we do. Satanic work is indeed all around us, and woe to those who do not recognize it There is grave danger in not seeing the danger.
So wake up and cling to Jesus; you’re going to need Him.