On this date, August 22, 2022, an airing of the second installment of the Jim Bakker Show with guest Jonathan Cahn took place. It should first be stated that this is not the first time Mr. Cahn has been a guest on said program, nor will it likely be the last. This date being a Monday, the previous airing with him as guest in this sequence took place the previous Friday. On that date Mr. Cahn introduced his new book, which Jim Bakker repeatedly labeled as already a “best seller” (which I doubt to be the case), entitled “The Return of the Gods”. Excerpts from the book’s explanation on Amazon follow:
“Is it possible that behind what is taking place in America and the world lies a mystery that goes back to the gods of the ancient world…and that they now have returned? . . . The mystery involves the gods. Who are they? What are they? And is it possible that these beings, whose origins are from ancient times, are the unseen catalysts of modern culture? Is it possible that these gods lie behind the most pivotal events, forces, and movements taking place in our nation and around the world at this very moment? Are the gods at this very moment transforming our culture, our children, our lives, and America itself? Could this mystery have even determined the exact days on which Supreme Court decisions had to be handed down? What is the Dark Trinity? Who is the Possessor? The Enchanter? The Destroyer? And the Sorceress? Could a sign that has appeared all over America and the world be linked to the gods of Mesopotamia? And if so, what does it actually mean? Could the gods have returned to New York City and an ancient mythology played out on the streets in real time? Is it possible that the gods lie behind everything from what appears on our computer monitors, our televisions and movie screens; to the lessons given in our classrooms; to the breakdown of the family; to wokism; to the occult; to our addictions; to the Supreme Court; to cancel culture; to children’s cartoons; to every force and factor that has transformed the parameters of gender; to that which appears in our stores, on our T-shirts, and on our coffee mugs—to that which is, at this very moment, transforming America and much of the world? Is it possible that behind all these things are ancient mysteries that go back to the Middle East and ancient Mesopotamia? Is it possible that the gods are even affecting your life right now? How can you recognize it? And what can you do about it?”
This excerpt, as well as comments made by Cahn and Bakker, will form the basis of my response. Let it first be said that I really wanted to ignore this because I have seen and listened to Mr. Cahn, with his wild viewpoints, several times on previous occasions on this very show. He is among those that I simply can’t believe anyone follows or takes seriously. Yet, he is a best-selling author, apparently (I have seen no stats myself).
And I will tell the readers what else I have not seen. I have seen NO credentials for Mr. Cahn. Not only does he apparently possess no educational credentials for any kind of ministry, as far as I can tell, but he also appears to possess absolutely NO credentials for calling himself a Rabbi either. Now, people need to understand that today’s Judaism takes the education of its Rabbis very seriously. It is not at all easy to become a Jewish Rabbi. It takes YEARS of intensive study and contemplation. But things are different for those who wish to call themselves “Messianic (i.e., “Christian”) Rabbis (for he is far from the only one). No, for them it seems that the ONLY qualifications are Jewish ancestry and adherence to some form of Christianity. It seems that literally anyone who comes from a Jewish family who converts to Christianity can march around calling themselves a Rabbi! For those who don’t understand how they rationalize this, it’s rather easy. Jesus had no known formal education as a Rabbi either; yet people apparently referred to him as such (although, frankly, the term used did not necessarily mean an actual, educated Rabbi, it simply meant “teacher”). In any case, Mr. Cahn is no Rabbi and has no credentials to be teaching any form of theology at all (I do, by the way). Yet, he has a following.
I really don’t have the time or the disposition to get into all of Mr. Cahn’s wild imaginings and ramblings, which would make a hippie psychedelic trip seem like a boring Mennonite church service. So, let’s get to the nitty-gritty, shall we? Mr. Cahn proposes that the ancient deities were actually real, but it is unclear by his speech if he considers them to have been demons themselves, or if they simply had minions that were demons. Either way, he makes it a point that they were all evil and up to no good, wanting only the destruction of humankind. And he directly claims that because all ancient societies, except for Israel, were polytheistic and, therefore, worshipped these entities – these gods (whatever they were and are) – that all of these ancient societies were by default demon-possessed.
Now, please just think about that on a rational level for one moment, if you will. Every society in the ancient world was possessed by and guided by demons and evil gods which, by default, literally means that every person who lived in said societies along with every single thing they did had to be evil. So, by extension, then, the great civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome (which I haven’t heard him mention yet), along with that of ancient Mesopotamia (which he has mentioned), had to be evil. Every person who lived in those civilizations – Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Galen – you name them – along with every single thing they did – the creation of democracy itself and/or the republican form of government (which our own government has been modeled on from our very beginning) – all of that had and has to be evil because demons and evil gods inspired it all. For the reader’s understanding here, even the Bible doesn’t go that far.
Thus, to the proposed question “[i]s it possible that behind what is taking place in America and the world lies a mystery that goes back to the gods of the ancient world…and that they now have returned?”, the obvious answer for Mr. Cahn is “yes, they have returned”. Of course, you really have to be a little bit quirky, in my view, to even propose that ancient gods have somehow “returned”, as if they had gone somewhere else and are suddenly back. But, I suggest that this very construction demonstrates his lack of theological training. It seems to me that no actual theologian would even consider proposing such a scenario. But he makes it even worse, as stated on the Jim Bakker Show, by comparing this supposed return to the parable of Jesus in which Jesus speaks of someone who had been demon-possessed, but who had become well and healed from this, only to become possessed yet again later. Matthew 12:43-45 reads:
“43 Now when the unclean spirit comes out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they come in and live there; and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
Here, Cahn expands a parable that is clearly about an individual person (and has nothing whatsoever to do with the present time) as an example, into a parable meant for the nations, specifically the USA. Of course, this isn’t the only biblical passage that is routinely taken out of context by so many, and expanded into something that is supposed to have present national implications. This is a new characteristic of end-times biblical “experts”. In so many words, not only is this not a standard interpretation, it isn’t the interpretation presented down through the centuries.
But let me be clear what Cahn is saying here. He is stating that the old gods and their demonic hordes had been cast out of the world, for the most part, by Christianity, but now they are returning as evidenced by our current wicked ways. He is stating that the ancient deities are causing us to decline into immoral activity and thought, just like in ancient times when Israel strayed and worshipped other gods. And Cahn openly stated that America was founded as a “new Israel”. Therefore, since our foundation was Christian, and we are straying from that, the fault lies in the return of the old gods! So, everything that people today observe as evil and immoral is being caused by the return of these ancient deities. Well, if Christians wanted someone or something to blame other than themselves, Cahn has handed that to them on a silver platter! By extension, then, anyone who dares to worship any of these deities must be evil, bent upon the destruction of our culture and nation, and worthy of biblical mandate. They certainly don’t belong in America, now do they?
Yes, everyone should be afraid of these gods who have “returned” to take up their places again. Most notable, according to Cahn, of these gods is Ba’al. That Ba’al was never established in the Americas in ancient times or even up to now is irrelevant to a mind like Mr. Cahn’s. Ba’al is coming back! And all of the hideous consequence of his “return” are at play, including, but not limited to, child sacrifice in the form of abortion (not a strictly new idea since most televangelists make the same equation) and other grotesque sexual perversions, such as sex change operations! Notice that the listed perversions focus on sex (usually focusing on women), just like they invariably do whenever conservative religious zealots are ranting about what is wrong with society and culture. It’s literally ALWAYS about sex! If anyone still wonders why America is such a pent-up culture, I have just handed the answer to you. For these people, no matter what they say, sex is little more than a necessary evil with only one goal – procreation. Anything outside of that is against the will of their god. So, for them, any type of perversion or immorality naturally leads back to sex somehow.
Thus, Cahn equates Ba’al with the entity he calls “the destroyer”, who brings with him all of the perverse sexual sins of the universe! And Ba’al, in the mind of Cahn, has “returned” in order to destroy us! Cahn further claims that one of these gods visibly manifested itself on camera and he has a film of it, but I have not seen said footage as of yet. Regardless, said entity does not have to manifest himself as some kind of ghost or anything. No, he is manifested as – get this – the statue of the bull on Wall Street. I kid you not! I won’t even get into the rationalization necessary for this. He sort of explained it. And it was ridiculous and repugnant! But, obviously Ba’al is not just there, he is practically everywhere – on the internet, on TV, even in some churches! And, of course, he is in our schools seeking to pull away our darling little children and eat them!
Well, one truth that few can dispute is that much of this really isn’t terribly “new”, as far as effort is concerned, at least. From the outset Christians have worked in every possible way to denigrate, castigate, and vilify any and all of the ancient deities. They have sought to blame them for all of the ills of humankind down through the ages. And, naturally, they have tacitly transformed them into hideous demons! Thus, obviously, those who worshipped them were deluded or evil.
The funny thing here is that, for some reason, Cahn’s rationale necessitates that somehow America (the USA) was not among all of those other nations that were ruled by these gods since it’s founding was on Christian principles. How he can rationalize this would take some major mental gymnastics, I am sure. But that in and of itself negates his premise. For if the USA was exempt from this trend, then a “return” of ancient gods here would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. But somehow he rationalizes this by pointing – get this – to the 60s and 70s, to hippie culture, insinuating that everything we see today is emanating from that period in our history. So, apparently, the USA was god-fearing, then it turned to Ba’al for a couple of decades, then it returned to god, but now Ba’al and other gods are returning! I can just hear some hippie asking Cahn for some of whatever he is on! But it wouldn’t be a pleasant trip, I suspect.
As of this date, Mr. Cahn is slated to be the guest for a few more days, something that is rarely done on this program. I can only imagine what may be in store. But this does feel like an opening salvo of persecution of Pagans in this nation. After all, what are good god-fearing evangelicals who listen to this tripe supposed to do? Are they just supposed to read his salacious book and then forget about it? Is it supposed to be just another round of Christians whining about all other religions? No, it seems to me that there is more at work here. Mr. Cahn has created a picture of warfare here. The evil gods and their followers MUST be destroyed!
My response to all of this is certainly not to be confrontational in-kind. It is no desire of mine to stir up people to confront Christians in any way whatsoever about this wild buffoonery. But it is necessary that people be informed about the clouds on the horizon here. I note that Mr. Cahn seems to wear black exclusively. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. I like wearing black myself. But, while people would see his adornment of black as, perhaps, a sign of piety, I, as a Pagan, would be seen by many as evil for doing the same. If I don the black, I must be of Satan! Hmmm.
Regardless of whether evangelicals like Mr. Cahn like to hear it or not, the USA was founded on a concept called freedom. Let me state the word again – FREEDOM. That includes what we call freedom of religion. That’s not a new “woke” concept, regardless of what some may think. I broke away from Christianity because of the myriad of outright lies and falsehoods that the religion espouses, not so much what they believe, but what they do. It’s not about belief, as such. People who have any real understanding of Paganism know that it just isn’t about “belief”, it’s about right actions. That naturally flies in the face of those like Mr. Cahn who go to great lengths to show that all evil, including evil actions, flows from evil beings who somehow have complete sway over people like me. To someone like Mr. Cahn, religious freedom is ONLY for people who follow HIS god.
But let me explain that there really can be no greater expression of freedom than to leave the self-debasing, unhealthy, monotheistic religions with their psychological garbage about how evil humankind is without their god, to embrace the purity and beauty of polytheism or even simple animism. And that truly is the ultimate expression of freedom. It is my freedom! No longer wallowing around in self-loathment and self-pity because of what some ancient ancestor supposedly did. I have tasted of true enlightenment and true beauty, two things that the monotheist claims the polytheist knows nothing of.
In my mind it takes a heart that truly loathes itself to make the kind of claims that Mr. Cahn is making here. But I truly hope that that heart finds enlightenment in this lifetime. For my part, I will strive to die well and, hopefully, carry my own level of enlightenment into the next life, starting all over again. For we Pagans understand that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves – our lives in the here and now – and that it all continues into infinity. Our lives don’t stop when the physical body can no longer function and we don’t transition into some spiritual realm of bliss and unending worship of god. We transition into the next life, and the next, and the next…. This world can be a frightful and cruel place. But that is what makes it a place of spiritual growth. It is what our souls need as a purpose for existence. And we don’t concern ourselves with base and petty spiritual warfare. So, people like Mr. Cahn can paint our blessed deities as evil or whatever. But that only demonstrates the darkness in their own hearts. I, for one, am free of it. And at my death I want the world to witness the FREEDOM I possess. And that freedom includes more than anything else freedom from the fear of death. I wish everyone had what I have in that basic, fundamental freedom.