Word: Pantheism: The belief that a god or force or spirit is in
everything. Therefore everything is sacred. People can worship trees,
wolves, or anything they like. Witches, Native Americans, Buddhists and
many other groups around the world believe in pantheism. The Star Wars
movies and toys makes it even more popular. But God warns us not to
trust in other gods or worship nature.
Eleven-year old Laura loves animals, trees, and all the other beautiful
things God has created. But she didn't like the environmental camp she had
to visit with her class. The camp counselor tried to teach all the
sixth-graders a new way of thinking about nature.
"The counselor led us through the forest," said Laura later. "He told us to
stop to absorb the moment and hug the trees. 'You are the tree,' he told us.
'You are one with all natural things.' He was treating everything as sacred
and calling trees 'mother and father trees.' He was really teaching us
Laura didn't agree with him. She knew about pantheism, because her parents
had explained it to her. And the Bible said that it was both wrong and
dangerous. Just to make sure she was right, she asked him if he believed in
in all things," he told her.
knew that he believed in a different god. Later that day, she became more
student had to collect natural objects "of beauty or curiosity" such as tree
bark, shells, or acorns. "Then we had a ceremony, but they didn't call it
that. We had to take all our natural objects to a sacred place and put them
in a circle. The counselor lit a candle and quoted an Indian saying, 'We're
part of the earth and the chain of life. We're of the earth...' Then we sang
a Christian song with the names of natural objects replacing the name of
an offering to nature," explained the counselor.
knew it wasn't right, and she felt more and more uncomfortable. Finally she
asked to be taken home. But the counselor called her "a baby" and refused to
have to walk," he told her.
was far from home, and Laura wasn't even sure which road to take. Since she
couldn't find a telephone, she had to stay until the end.
week, she was glad to be safe at home. But she felt sad that more of her
friends didn't recognize the dangerous lies. Even her Christian friends
liked the strange stories and shared in the nature worship. "When they told
us Indian myths," said Laura, "I was the only kid in the class that didn't
say, 'Oh, I believe that'."
when her classmates refused to support her either at the camp or in
discussions afterwards, but Laura wasn't discouraged. "I lost some of my
friends," she said. "I know we'll face persecution for being Christians, but
knowing God is much better!"
Bible tells us to thank God for the beautiful planet He created. Yet, more
and more people in America are turning to other gods. They no longer
understand the difference between truth and lies or between right and wrong.
But God gives peace to those who trust Him, even in the midst of mean and
foolish people who hate our God:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness
and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what
may be known about God is plain to them. ..
"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave
thanks to him . . . . Although they claimed to be wise, they became
fools. . . . They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped
and served created things rather than the Creator. . . .
"[S]ince they did not think it
worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over . . . to do
what ought not to be done. . . . They are full of envy, murder, strife,
deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent,
arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey
their parents . . . ." (Romans 1:18-30)
"You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked."
Let's talk about it.
did the camp counselors want Laura and her friends to believe about nature?
Romans 1:18-30 explains why many people hate God and His children. What
happens to those who turn away from the Creator?
Psalm 97:10-11, what does God promise those who are willing to suffer with
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