After lollygagging away most of the summer, the last few months have been very busy for me, between painting one-quarter of the house and attending to all the red tape associated with finalizing the repairs to our house from the damage caused by the March windstorm. But I have made time to follow a couple of television shows. No, I’m not much of a television watcher. Most of the offerings are pure garbage and I’d much rather read a good book, but there are a couple of shows I’ve squeezed into my schedule:
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: Season Two – After having watched the entire first season of this reality TV exposé, I have seen the first six episodes of the second season. Scientology is about as cultish as it gets; abusing its members emotionally (and church employees physically) and fleecing them of their life savings. Leah is relentless in her attempt to expose her former “church” for what it truly is. As I pointed out last season, after leaving Scientology, Leah returned to the Roman Catholic church where she had been baptized as an infant. So, she has traded one false religion for another. The abuses of Scientology are shocking, but Roman Catholicism has its own sordid history of abuse and corruption. While the Roman church has softened much of its militancy, it wasn’t all that long ago that Protestants viewed Catholicism in much the same way Remini’s viewers are witnessing the “excesses” of Scientology. Is there anything more cultish than the Catholic convents of yesteryear, that were full of virginal “brides of Christ” replete with wedding rings, who were strictly isolated from their families? The bottom line is the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone cannot be found in either Scientology or Catholicism.
The Exorcist: Season Two – My wife and I have somewhat unusual testimonies in that horror films were a part of our journey to accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, particularly “The Exorcist” (1973) and “The Omen” (1976). We were both raised in the Catholic church with its impersonal rituals and ceremonies, but these films presented evil as a very real entity, not as just some vague notion as we were used to. And if evil was real and personified, it followed that goodness was also real and personified. Our intellectual “belief” in a God would eventually lead to reading God’s Word and trusting in THE God. My wife is still a fan of horror films, although I have little interest outside of watching this show with her. We watched the entire first season of “The Exorcist” and have seen the first episode of the second season. The same two Catholic priests are hunting for demons to exorcise and a troubled foster family appears to be next on their list. As I watch the show, the thought that’s always in the back of my head is that the truly dangerous characters in “The Exorcist” are not the demonic ogres but the pious priests who propagate a false gospel. I think it’s quite ironic.
Most believers would be aghast at a Christian watching such a show as “The Exorcist,” but I’ll defend my “square peg” viewpoint as I did last year. Satan is no dummy. No one is going to voluntarily sign up for an Anton LaVey-ish caricature of Satanism except for a few social misfits. No, Satan’s most effective work is creating religious institutions that present false gospels (and secular institutions that philosophically deny God). Souls end up following a counterfeit works religion rather than accepting Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. American believers wouldn’t come within ten feet of “The Exorcist” with it’s Hollywood stereotype demons, but gladly embrace Catholicism with it’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit as a Christian entity (or eagerly soak up the “health and wealth” nonsense on TBN). Does not compute. “The Exorcist” may not be your cup of tea, and I get that, but I pray the Holy Spirit uses the caricaturish depictions of evil on this television show to bring souls to the Savior as He did with my wife and I.
“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” – 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
Postscript 1: In the last episode of “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: Season Two,” Leah is outraged over Scientology’s view of homosexuality as deviant behavior. Isn’t she aware that her current church officially teaches that homosexual practices are a sin? Relatively few Catholics actually know their church’s doctrines. But of course doctrine fluctuates in Catholicism depending upon how liberal the parish priest (or current pope 😁) happens to be.
Postscript 2: Scripture certainly teaches that demons may tempt believers, but they cannot possess those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It’s interesting that most of the alleged cases of demon possession I’ve heard of or read about involved baptized Roman Catholics. Priests exorcise possessed Catholics, but who is going to exorcise the priests?