Three Questions for James McGrath

John Hobbins at Ancient Hebrew Poetry decided to reinvigorate the blogosphere by starting a meme/blog-a-thon in which two bloggers reciprocally ask each other a set number of challenging questions. He gave me the honor of being first. Visit his blog to read his three questions and my answers:

(1) Reframing the God debate
(2) Scary experiences of God
(3) Faith and science intersect

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  • Anonymous

    Hi James,In your reply to question 2 you wrote:”It also resulted at least in part from reading about the thinking about demons and spirits in African communities that had contact with Western missionaries and/or colonial powers.”Could you point me in the direction of the books you read? I am interested in reading about this but don’t know where to start.Thanks,Rob

  • Hi Rob! I remember reading about how Africans responded to the arrival of Western colonial powers by initially losing their belief in spirits, and then developing belief in spirits associated even with new technological items associated with the colonists. I’m afraid I can’t remember where I read it – it was part of a course on missiology with a strong anthropological component that I took in Bible College. I have a funny feeling it was in a photocopied handout (which I could probably track down) and not in Kraft or one of the other books I read at the time. But I do think Charles H. Kraft is a good place to start if one is approaching the topic as an Evangelical. Let me know more about where you’re coming from and what interests you most, and I’ll see what I can come up with!

  • J R Lucas

    Rob, If you want to go wandering in the desert take a good supply of water! What I’m warning you about is that Demonic forces are REAL, don’t mess with them unless you have a rock solid anchor in Christ. Our psychic/spiritual aspect can induce experiences such that if one is unprepared the results will be unpleasant to the stability of the individual.Yes, James, sometimes it is a genuine disturbance of the mental faculties and self-induced by unbalanced emotions due to an external cause in this life. But when we create anything by thinking on it for long periods of time it causes a reasonance that attracts a specific ‘like-like’ spirit that feeds off the raw emotions.The same cosmic principles apply to above as below. Think on GOD and CHRIST to raise your personal reasonance towards the Light.Rob, if you need to experience such things then do it through prayer to the One True GOD that controls all things. HE can set up a controlled night of terror for you if you so desire. Do not endeavor to bring these forces into this reality by deliberate practice, it is foolish and dangerous to your health. (and enough ignorant people do it across this world)I suggest you watch the film ‘Constantine’ with Keanu Reeves. It’s as close to the truth as the average human needs to experience and understand.In Love and Light always !!

  • Constantine as reality? Hmm…I remember a wonderful criticism someone made of Frank Peretti’s spiritual-warfare fiction in light of Christian principles. The gist of it was this: If the meaning of Christ’s life, death and teaching was victory through self-sacrifice, then why do we seem to favor depictions of spiritual warfare that look like slightly Christianized versions of He-Man vs. Skeletor?

  • J R Lucas

    OK James,”If the meaning of Christ’s life, death and teaching was victory through self-sacrifice…” I have to ask; victory from what? or over whom? (If you don’t subscribe to the “fallen” or rebel angel incident as spiritual adversaries of God and the subsequent creation of the Chief Demon Saklas, Demiurge of Hell and his demonic hordes).You don’t think the Christ Spirit was incarnate to deliver the Hebrews from their false god? and show the initiates the light-power of the One True God? to escape this world once and for good. (even allowing a person as a one-time event human, without belief in the active principles of reincarnation and karma, the Fates, Soul contracts and pre-ordained individual Destiny each human incarnation)I read your other letter on your one-off experience with a mentally ill friend (whom I pray has recovered)which seems to have biased your belief in spiritual warfare with this planet as the centrepiece, however I must ask what are these ministries around the world that drive out evil spirits on a regular basis? and why does the Catholic Church have at least two qualified exorcists in each country of this planet? In the NT I recall various stories about apostles and disciples driving out evil spirits even named(2Cor6:15) and the generic ‘devil’ term used frequently, who was tempting Jesus? Is this the same “Son of God” Satan from Job?Believe in the Constant Battle and Keep the Spiritual Balance in GOD’s favor!PS We favor anything the mind can cope with and the psyche can deal with (-the True Spiritual Forms of “Angels” and “Demons” would not sit well with the general population-) before driving us to the threshold of insanity rather than the vicarious thrills supplied by Hollywood. If you’re not a Constantine fan, try ‘Dark City’ for a real mind-bender.Truth is definitely stranger than Fiction.