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Christianity Online The Truth is Out There

From: RSchatte@aol.com [Rebecca]
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 14:33:37 -0400 (EDT)
Fwd Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 03:23:42 -0400
Subject: Christianity Online The Truth is Out There

The Truth is Out There
The X-Files gives us tons of paranormal thrills anc chills. But where is this
roller-coaster ride taking us?

by Chris Lutes


A ghostly figure of a young woman appears before FBI agent Dana Scully. A
look of terror crosses the agent's face as she stares at the creepy image.
Suddenly the figure vanishes. Scully is left to wrestle with what she thinks
she just saw.

Welcome to the bizarre world of The X-Files. During each episode of this
popular TV series, fans of psychic-weirdness follow FBI agents Dana Scully
and Fox Mulder as they track down something straight from a supermarket
tabloid. From buggy-eyed aliens to monstrous genetic mutants to
demon-possessed computers, the show seeks to curdle our blood through spooky
special effects, as it strives to baffle our beliefs about what's real.

The popularity of the series has generated tons of X-Files paraphernalia,
including novels, magazines, videos, posters, game cards, shirts, hats and
even statues of X-Files creatures. And die-hard fans--known as
"X-Philes"--are anticipating a movie based on the series.

No doubt about it, the weekly drama, now entering its fifth season, is very
hot.

Why X-Mania?

So what draws 20 million viewers to this off-beat show? Well, let's start
with those two hip FBI agents assigned to check out "paranormal activity."
There's Scully, the hard-nosed, you-gotta-prove-it skeptic. Then there's
Mulder, Scully's total "dramatic opposite." Believing his sister was abducted
by aliens when she was a child, Mulder is open to the unseen and the unreal.
When Scully couldn't make sense of one bizarre event, Mulder deadpanned,
"Might we not turn to the fantastic for an explanation?"

Along with the drawing power of the series' two stars, there's also the
thrill of a "good heart-pumping jolt," says Brian Lowery in Trust No One: The
X-Files, the official guide to the series' third season. More than that,
though, says Lowery, viewers are undoubtedly fascinated by the idea that "the
world is stranger than we know, and more mysterious than we want to believe."

Yes, the series masterfully feeds our inner longing to believe there's
something very real beyond this world. Just check out the UFO poster on
Mulder's wall that reads: "I want to believe." Over and over, the show
exploits our desire to believe the unbelievable.

>From Entertainment to Supernatural Trouble

Many would say The X-Files is simply an hour of harmless entertainment each
week. And they'd add that the plots are straight from the lively and macabre
imagination of the series' creator. After all, who could possibly believe in
alien autopsies, a sewer-dwelling monster mutant and a teen who zaps his
adversaries with lightning bolts?

Yet amid all the imaginative and unreal stories are hints of the reality of a
supernatural world. But unfortunately, the supernatural presented in The X-Fil
es most often deals with dark, evil and occult themes--things the Bible warns
us to avoid:

"Let no one be found among you," says the writer of Deuteronomy, "... who
practices divination or sorcery, who interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead."

Messing around with the "dark side" of the supernatural is far from harmless.
In his best-selling book, People of the Lie, psychiatrist M. Scott Peck
claims there is a strong tie between demon possession and involvement in the
occult: "It seems clear from the literature on possession that the majority
of cases have had involvement with the occult."

Obviously, demon possession is the extreme. But let it serve as an important
warning: An unhealthy obsession with anything that deals with Satan and the
occult is asking for supernatural trouble.

The Real Truth

"The Truth is Out There," says the popular X-Files slogan. And if we really
want to find the truth, we can't go wrong searching for it in the Book of
Truth--the Bible. Talk about bizarre! Whoa. We don't have to look to Scully
and Mulder to discover some wild and occasionally eerie happenings that we
know have taken place, like:

One incredible sighting. In the first chapter of Ezekiel, the writer reveals
this awesome "sighting":

"I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud
with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the
fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four
living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of
them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were
like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze" (verses 4-7).

Throughout the chapter, the writer offers detail after detail of what he saw.
And what did he see? Well, this was no UFO. It was a very identifiable and
awesome sighting of God's glory:

"This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw
it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking" (verse 28).

It's important to point out that supernatural events from God don't happen
just for the fun of it; there's always a purpose or reason behind them. In
Ezekiel's case, the "vision" served to call the prophet to carrying out a
very difficult task.

A king gets a psychic reading. OK, get ready for this one. It's really weird.
Seeking advice about his future, King Saul contacts the local "psychic
network." Let's just say it was a very bad move that only made matters much
worse for the king. Check out the whole story in 1 Samuel 28.

One big-time demon possession. In various places in the New Testament, we
find frightening stories of people who've been possessed by demons. One of
the wildest appears in Mark 5:1-20. Here we find a naked, demon-possessed guy
who lives in a graveyard. Taken over by a whole mess of evil spirits, the
"demoniac" breaks free from iron chains and spends a lot of time screaming
and slicing himself bloody with sharp rocks. But there is a happy end. Jesus
comes along and chases the demons into a herd of pigs.

The dead live! The Gospels record several cases of individuals rising from
the dead. In one situation, Jesus actually has some people open the stone
door of a friend's mausoleum. Obviously, everybody is expecting to be blown
away by the stench and sight of their decomposing friend. But Jesus steps in
and orders the dead man to come to life. The man obeys. For the whole story,
see John 11:1-44.

Then, of course, there is the most amazing and important supernatural event
of all history--the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

X-ing out Fear

As we look into the supernatural events of the Bible, we find something we
won't find in The X-Files: Hope. Typically, each X-Files episode ends with an
eerie feeling that all is not right with the world. In fact, according to The
X-Files, the world is an unsettling place; we're only seconds away from the
next horrible and unexplainable experience. Obviously, these kinds of endings
are quite intentional. After all, Mulder's "death" in last seasons
spellbinding finale "forces" viewers to return to this fall's season
premiere.

Along with building the suspense, the show's eerie storylines leave a feeling
that, in the end, all is hopeless. The mysteries of the world are to be
feared.

Not so with the Bible. Oh, there are some really scary supernatural
happenings in there. But in the end, we are not left with a feeling of
hopelessness and dread. We are left with the reality that a powerful and
loving God is very much in control of both the natural and supernatural
worlds. He will conquer evil. He will give never-ending life to those who are
his people.

Here's what John sees as a great and wonderful ending to world history
(Revelation 21:1-5):

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first
earth had passed away ... I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, comingdown
out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her
husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling
of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and
God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from
their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for
the old order of things has passed away.'

"He who is seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he
said [to me], 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"

Yes, the truth is not only out there, but it is a truth packed with hope. It
is the everlasting truth found in God's Word--the Bible.

Tune in to this Truth regularly for a supernatural experience.


Make the Most of X-Mania

With the popularity of TV series like The X-Files, you may get some cool
opportunities to share the real side of the supernatural with your
non-Christian friends. When TV shows, movies, novels and magazines that deal
with the supernatural come up in conversation, you can:

Pass on some cool novels. Christian authors have written some thrilling
novels about the supernatural, such as:

This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. Angels and
demons duke it out in these best-sellers. And while not about
angelicconflict, Peretti's Prophet and Oath also give an imaginative
"glimpse" into God's unseen world.

C.S. Lewis' sci-fi trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and
ThatHideous Strength. These classic fantasies explore the reality of good and
evil as they affirm God's eternal, unchanging truth.

All Hallows' Eve by Charles Williams. The cosmic consequences of both good
and evil choices drive the spellbinding plot of this supernatural thriller.

Be a great listener. If your friends are into programs like The X-Files, they
probably love talking about it. So let them, and avoid making quick "judgment
calls." During your conversation, find out why they are interested in shows
about the supernatural.

Tell some true stories. The main article, "The Truth Is Out There," lists
several Bible passages that show how the supernatural has broken into the
natural world. Tell them about these and other exciting stories that come
from the Bible. And let them know that from beginning to end, God's Word is a
SUPERnatural book.


Go a step further. If your friends show interest in the Bible's take on the
supernatural, start a Bible study based on the passages listed in "The Truth
Is Out There." Include other passages, too, especially those about Jesus'
miracles. Or study one of the Gospels, looking specifically at the
supernatural acts performed by Jesus. If you or your friend get confused
about anything, ask your pastor or youth pastor to join in your
conversations.

Obviously, any study you do needs to serve as more than just a fun look into
the supernatural. It needs to help your friends see they can be changed
supernaturally. So eventually, you'll want to share passages about the need
for a relationship with Christ, like John 3, Acts 9 and Ephesians 1:17-2:9.


Copyright (c) 1997 by the author or Christianity Today, Inc./Campus Life
magazine. For reprint information call 630-260-6200 or e-mail <A HREF="mailto:
cledit@aol.com">cledit@aol.com</A> September/October 1997. Page 32



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