Written September 2016
One of the mobile phone crazes which some people spend hours playing is Pokémon Go. This is one of many online games, which have occult connections and can draw its users into contact with evil spirits.
Pokémon, which means ‘Pocket Monsters’, was introduced by the Japanese consortium Nintendo as a game with cards in the mid 1990s. Since the release of the Pokémon Go app in July 2016 it has reached unbelievable heights as users search for these monsters with their smart phones. Sales of the video games have reached more than 200 million copies. The next generation games, Pokémon Sun and Moon, will be released in November 2016 and a live action film is planned to start production in 2017.
The Pokémon are basically a collection of monsters that players can use to fight one another. Pokémon are believed to have special powers and to share the world with humans. The idea of the game is to learn how to collect as many Pokémon as possible on the Pokémon app, train them, and use them against other people’s Pokémon by invoking the various abilities of each Pokémon creature.
The Pokémon song says:
‘I will travel across the land,
Searching far and wide
Each Pokémon to understand
The power that’s inside.
Gotta catch ‘em all!’
Pokémon was created by Satoshi Tajir who was inspired by the Japanese Shinto religion. There are close religious parallels with Shintoism, Japan’s oldest religion which teaches that the world is inhabited by thousands of kami, or gods. When offerings are made to them of food and incense, kami bestow good luck in business, studies, and health, but when disrespected, they can turn vindictive. This is how the Pokémon operate, illustrating the argument put forward by Anne Allison in her book Millennial Monsters, that popular culture phenomenon such as Pokémon demonstrate ‘a kind of ‘techno-animism’, which imbues digital technologies with a spirit or soul’.
The Pokémon monsters have supernatural powers and can grow or evolve. This is facilitated by the Energy characters that ‘make Pokémon bigger and more powerful.’ The source of this power is the pantheistic occult idea of hidden psychic powers within, ‘the power that’s inside’ as quoted in the Pokémon mantra at the beginning of this article.
Rema Marketing has produced an analysis of the connections between Pokémon and the occult realm. Here are some of its observations: ‘Two of the most sought after Pokémon are Abra and Kadabra who have psychic magic powers. Abra ‘uses its ability to read minds, it will identify impending danger and teleport to safety.’ There are occult symbols on Kadabra. His face is an inverted pentagram (a familiar satanic symbol) with a red star on his forehead (symbol of communism, with its desire to destroy faith in God and create an antichrist world government), a lightning bolt symbol on his chest (similar to the lightning bolt of the Nazi SS) and he is giving the satanic salute with his left hand. ‘Abracadabra’ has long been associated with magic powers and has Aramaic roots meaning ‘as I speak, I create’, reflecting the occult belief of shaping the universe according to the practitioner’s will.
Another example is Haunter, a ghost with the ability to levitate and haunt others. Its more evolved form is Gengar which has more attributions one would find with an actual ghost (lowering the temperature around itself and laying curses on others). It appears the purpose of the Pokémon phenomenon is to make contact with these monsters. They can then be used for their powers and they have a mutual contract with the player / magician. As people seek to ‘understand the power that’s inside’ they are being conditioned to accept the idea that mankind can evolve into beings with supernatural powers. Particularly disturbing is the concept that children are being trained to ‘capture’ demon like creatures, train and control them and use them against others. Haunter can hypnotize, eat a person’s dreams, and drain their energy. Abra reads minds. Kadabra emits negative energy that harms others. Gastly induces sleep. Gengar laughs at peoples’ fright. Nidoran uses poison. The psychic type of Pokémon is among the strongest in the game. Charmander, Haunter, Ivysaur, Kadabra, and many more evolve. People are taught to use these creatures to do their will by invoking coloured energy cards, fights, and commands. Much of it is very similar to the occult and eastern mysticism. It conditions those who play the game into accepting occult and evolutionary principles.
Occult expert Bill Schoebelen has written ‘Pokémon players engage in all sorts of activities that would be considered deeply occult if they were done in real life. Like many video games Pokémon is riddled with occult concepts. Concepts like ‘magical stones’, teleportation, ghosts, all seeing eye, psychic power and using spirits to achieve results in the real world are all given in this game realm. All this is contrary to scripture. The Pokémon games and comics teach what I call a magic worldview that is completely opposed to the Bible. The magic worldview is the idea, common to all occult belief systems that there is not really any sovereign Deity over creation. Instead creation is ruled by a series of occult laws. In a sense the universe is like a cosmic vending machine. As long as you put in the right coin (ritual or spell) you automatically receive the right result.’
Pokémon is just one of many ways in which young people are being influenced towards an occult worldview. We have Harry Potter books being read by millions and introducing a world of wizardry and magic spells. A high percentage of cartoons on children’s TV channels have occult themes. If all this stirs them up, then a new app called ‘Headspace for Kids’ is being popularised. Anna Maxted, writing in the Daily Telegraph (25/7/16), tells how ‘Mindfulness’ can de-stress your children and calm down, relax and help them sleep well at night. Sounds like just what every parent needs. Until you look into it and find out that Mindfulness is based on a Zen Buddhist meditation concept practice.
This is already being used in US schools for children as young as five and is now being proposed for use in schools in Britain. Marcia Montenegro has written an article ‘Mindfulness goes to Kindergarten.’ She links Mindfulness to Zen Buddhist philosophy, which teaches that reality as we see and experience it is not, in fact, reality. Mindfulness involves altering one’s thinking and outlook via Buddhist mindfulness meditation.
The article states that children are taught to focus on their breathing, ‘an age-old exercise in finding calm and balance – or their ‘centre.’’ One photograph shows a mother and child sitting in lotus position with eyes closed. Another shows two young children (about age 6) sitting side-by-side in a lotus position as practiced in yoga, with eyes closed. Clearly, there is more than just breathing going on. The breathing technique is part and parcel of the mindfulness meditation. Mindful meditation involves breathing a certain way, which brings one into an altered state where critical thinking and judgment are suspended and one can tap into the inner chi force which is said to be at the centre of our being.
Buddhism absorbed much from Taoism, which sprang from early Chinese shamanistic assumption of a universal force, chi, that infuses the world. Controlling breath was part of controlling and balancing chi, thus achieving health and longevity (in Taoist thinking). This idea of the breath as centring is very similar to the Taoist teaching that one must base one’s self in the flow of chi and thus balance the two forces of yin and yang. In Taoism yin and yang are seen as the impersonal, opposing forces which flow through the universe. When these are out of balance there is disorder in our being.
According to the Bible at the heart of our being is a sinful human nature which we need to be delivered from by repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?’ Jeremiah 17.9. ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man.’ Matthew 15.19-20. We find God’s peace and order in our lives, not by looking within, but accepting salvation from outside of ourselves, by inviting the Lord Jesus to come into our lives by faith: ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him and he with Me.’ Revelation 3.20. He promises to give us a new heart and a new spirit as we are born again of the Holy Spirit through accepting salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Bible shows us that there are only two sources of supernatural power that we can experience on this earth. The first and only reliable source is from God Himself, our Creator and Redeemer who sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. The second source is from Satan and his demons, who are created beings in rebellion against God. Satan’s purpose is to cut us off from the true God and hold us in bondage to elemental spirits, who are in fact fallen angels or demons, under his command. There are no other sources! New Age and occult arts deceive people with the idea that there is an ‘impersonal neutral cosmic type force’ that we can all tap into to draw supernatural power from. Those who open themselves up to this force are really tapping into and drawing supernatural power from demonic spirits who are hiding behind the scenes.
From the biblical point of view the altered state of consciousness which Mindfulness aims at is spiritually dangerous because it opens the practitioner up to evil spirits. The universal ‘chi force’ which is being sought for at the ‘centre’ is in fact under the control of the forces Paul wrote about in Ephesians 6.12: ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.’ The Pokemon are not just ‘pocket monsters’ but can easily turn into ‘pocket demons’ leading people to the wrong source of the ‘power within.’
The Bible says to ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it’ (Proverbs 22:6). ‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil’. (I Thessalonians 5:21-22). 2 Chronicles 33:6 speaks of the evil of King Manasseh, ‘And he made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.’
God was not being a killjoy when He commanded the people of Israel not to get involved with the occult: ‘When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who… practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord.’ (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)
Some of these practitioners believe they are drawing this supernatural power from good spirits who mean them no harm. The Bible tells us that Satan and his demons can appear to us as ‘angels of light’ (2 Corinthians 11.14), in other words, as good spirits, all with the intention of helping us spiritually grow and progress in this life’s journey. The reason that God gives such strict warnings about engaging in any of these occult activities is because these occult activities are ‘door openers’ to the dark side, to Satan and all of his demons.
Paul wrote: ‘Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.’ 1 Timothy 4.1. This is happening in a multitude of ways in the world today and preparing people for the coming Antichrist and the False Prophet who will bring in a worldwide antichrist religion in the Great Tribulation.
This will bring the judgement of God on the world as we read of in the Book of Revelation. When the judgements of God strike the world, the majority of mankind will not ‘repent of the works of their hands … And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts’ (Revelation 9.20-21). This scripture indicates that in the last days these things will be rife in the earth, with people being conditioned to behave in this way. If you took murder and violence, sorcery (the occult), sexual immorality and theft (crime) out of popular entertainment today there would not be much left. All of this is bringing the judgement of God upon the world and preparing for the Great Tribulation period.
Now is the day of salvation and if we will turn to Jesus as Saviour and Lord, He will deliver us from the power of evil. Today we see gross spiritual darkness covering the earth and Satan seeking control of humanity. However there is a greater power available to all those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus, the power which raised Jesus from the dead and is able to give us a new heart and a new spirit which is able to deliver us from the wrath to come. The final conflict between the power of God and the power of Satan will reach its climax at the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth when Satan’s forces will be utterly routed and Jesus will take up His rightful role as King of kings and Lord of lords and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ / Messiah and He shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 11.15. Now is the time to get on Jesus’ side if you want to see the really exciting spiritual action!