This extract is taken from chapter 6 of the book Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose! entitled "False Gods"
The following are some specific forms of the occult prevalent in our contemporary culture:
- The power branch of the occult
Acupressure, acupuncture, astral projection, hypnosis, levitation, martial arts (those that invoke supernatural spiritual power), mind control, mind dynamics, parakinesis, table-tipping, telekinesis, “touch” healing, witchcraft.
- The knowledge branch of the occult
Astrology, automatic writing, “channeling,” clairaudience (hearing “voices”), clairvoyance, crystal balls, diagnosing by color therapy or a pendulum, divining, ESP, handwriting analysis, horoscopes, iridology, kabbala, mediums, mind reading, numerology, omens, palm reading, phrenology, séances, tarot cards, tea-leaf reading, telepathy, “witching.” Also, all books that teach occult practices.
Also included under this heading are all false religions or cults that claim supernatural revelation but contradict the Bible. Distinguishing between true and false in this realm is like distinguishing between straight and crooked in the natural realm. Once we have established a standard of what is straight, we know that anything departing from that standard is crooked. It makes no difference whether it varies by one degree or by ninety degrees. It is crooked. In the spiritual realm, the Bible is the standard of that which is straight—that is, true. Anything that departs from the Bible is false. Whether it departs by little or much is relatively unimportant. Some of the subtlest deceptions are those that appear to differ only a little from the Bible.
Particularly dangerous are religions that misrepresent the Person, the nature or the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The New Testament, for example, presents Jesus as “God manifest in the flesh,” but Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that He was a created being. Again, Islam rejects the claim of Jesus to be the Son of God, and denies that He ever actually died on the cross. Yet the atoning death of Jesus is the only basis on which man can claim forgiveness of sins.
The following are some of the many false religions or cults that are active today: Anthroposophy, Black Mass, Children of God, Christadelphians, Christian Science, Freemasonry, Inner Peace Movement, Jehovah’s Witnesses (Dawn Bible Students), Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), New Age Movement, Religious Science, Rosicrucianism, Scientology, Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Unification Church (Moonies, One World Crusade), Unitarian Church.
Also, Eastern religions or cults, such as Baha’i, Buddhism, Confucianism, Divine Light Mission, gurus, Hare Krishna, Hinduism, Islam, Shintoism, Transcendental Meditation, yoga.
- The branch of the occult operating through physical objects, etc.
Amulets, ankhs (an ankh is a cross with a ring at the top), birthstones, charms (e.g., for wart removal), crystals used for healing, hallucinogenic drugs, “heavy metal” rock records or cassettes, hex signs, “lucky” symbols (e.g., inverted horseshoes), Ouija boards, pagan fetishes or religious artifacts, planchettes, talismans, zodiac charms.
God’s estimate of those who are involved in the kinds of practices listed above is stated plainly in Deuteronomy 18:10–13:
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. NIV
Notice that those who engage in these occult practices are classed in the same category with those who sacrifice their children in the fire to pagan gods. Under the Law of Moses, the mandatory penalty for all such practices was death. It is important to recognize that books can be channels of occult power. When the professing Christians in Ephesus were confronted through the ministry of Paul with the reality of Satan’s power, their reaction was dramatic:
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. Acts 19:18–19, NIV
The only appropriate way to deal with such occult material is to destroy it completely—by fire or by whatever means may be most suitable—even though the value of the material destroyed may be very great.
It has already been pointed out that the occult, like the "immoral woman," is constantly changing its ways. Therefore, no final or exhaustive list of occult practices can ever be offered.