I recently read a well-sourced article about a group seeking to wage “spiritual warfare” to gain world domination that has a lot of influence on American politics. The beliefs and activities of this group are all the more shocking to me because I grew up being taught them.
This is my testimony:
I grew up in a church who taught its members to ‘wage spiritual warfare’, such as ‘loosing angels’ or ‘casting hedges of protection.’ We were even promised that we would rule, as gods, like God, over our own realms in heaven. Nowhere, not even in the Bible, does Allah a/k/a God command these activities, grant the powers to conduct them, or promise such powers. The angels are only under his command. It is only he who can protect, though our requests for it may be a factor in His doing so.
So where does this idea, these supposed powers, come from? Not from the known revealed books (the scrolls of Abraham, the Taurah of Moses, the Psalms of David, or the Gospel of Jesus), the little of them that is preserved in the Bible, or what has been added to them. The fixation on Satan- even as an adversary- is both telling and ironic: they deviate from revelation and/or scripture because of him, so it is him that they truly follow.
This is not an accusation. It’s not a manipulation of logic. It’s scriptural.
Turn to Genesis 3.5. There, the serpent promises Eve is that “ye shall be as gods.” The Qur-an confirms this event in several places: 7.20, 20.120. That is not Allah’s promise, it is Satan’s promise. It is his promise that they are walking in. Even if some mystical powers are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, it is not claimed that a prophet under revelation from Allah, is saying that the people will have them. Even if such a claim is made, there is no way to prove it to people who don’t already believe it. So that leaves us with only one available conclusion.
The belief in having divine powers is a belief based on a promise from Satan. In Arabic, and most likely it’s fellow Semitic colleagues Hebrew and Aramaic, the word for Satan means “perverter”. Here, in my church and the larger NAR movement, divine powers and roles are being claimed by humans.
Many people, of course, do not follow a religion or scripture. Nonetheless, it is clear that claims to have (and intent to somehow exercise) magical-esoteric-spiritual powers and the quest for world domination are problematic in any setting, particularly politics.
The use of biblical rhetorical in both the case of the church I grew up in and the NAR is a disguise. The Bible and certainly not the books revealed to Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus are not to blame. In fact, the same thing has been done to many scriptures. Read Paramahamsa Yogananda’s autobiography. In it, scripture is discarded in man’s quest to achieve divinity, and he claims that his guru attained it upon his death and explained it to him in a vision. There are mystical-esoteric-cryptic movements riding the back of every revealed religion that all have striking similarities and parallels. I picked up on this at the least religious point in my life and even made a presentation about it in a comparative religions class. The similarities of these many means that they are in fact one, approaching the same goal of godhood and dominion from many paths. E pluribus unum. Write this off as “conspiracy theory” if you want to, but not before you read the research.
He said: My Lord! because Thou hast made life evil to me, I will certainly make (evil) fair-seeming to them on earth, and I will certainly cause them all to deviate
“Except Thy servants among them, sincere and purified
(Allah) said: “This (way of My sincere servants) is indeed a way that leads straight to Me.
Surely. as regards My servants, you have no authority ,over them except those among the deviators who follow you.
Behold! We said to the angels: “Bow down unto Adam”: They bowed down except Iblis: He said, “Shall I bow down to one whom You Created from clay?”
He said: “Do you see this (creature) who You Have Honored above me?! If You Give me time until the Day of Judgment, I will surely bring his descendants under my influence – all but a few!”
YUSUFALI: When they do aught that is shameful, they say: “We found our fathers doing so”; and “Allah commanded us thus”: Say: “Nay, Allah never commands what is shameful: do ye say of Allah what ye know not?”