Letters We can resist forces of darkness
To the editor:
I was very moved by Cynthia Haase's essay. I don't know if she meant her references to "demons" to be taken literally or figuratively, but I chose to take them literally. As fanatical as that may sound in today's atmosphere of scientific rationalism, and as outrageous as that may appear given my traditional upbringing in a mainline Protestant church, I stand firmly and will attempt to illustrate why.
I believe we are in battle "not against flesh and blood, but against ? the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms," Ephesians 6: 12. I believe demons are real and they target humans, viciously and without mercy. I don't say this to exonerate individuals from personal acts of wrongdoing, for human nature certainly has its share of darkness and evil. Rather, I believe demons � literal fallen spiritual beings capable of pure evil and incapable of even a modicum of compassion, and the spiritual opposites of angels which are so commonly referenced in today's culture � attack humans, taking advantage of human nature. They hate God, but cannot touch God, so they attack the things God loves most: humans. Further, I believe they oppress Christians as well as others. In fact, they probably have a particular loathing for God's own and, while they can't steal the life God grants the believer, they CAN interfere with the believer living a joy-filled life and bringing others to Christ.
How do they gain entrance to our lives? They enter through our volitional acts of sin when we do what God, through His word, has told us not to do, such as when we engage in the occult (consulting psychics, Ouiji boards, astrology, tarot cards, runes, and many New Age beliefs that claim humankind's "God nature"), when we engage in sexual perversions (viewing pornography, engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage), when we use mind-altering drugs and engage in drunkenness, when we lie, when we blaspheme, and things as "simple" as when we covet what another has, have angry outbursts and gossip and speak ill of others. But they also enter through non-volitional acts of evil directed against us, such as when we are sexually abused, or when we are subject to some other severe trauma. This may not seem fair, but demons don't play fair. That take advantage of when people are at their lowest, when their spiritual defenses are down.
How can we guard against them? First, we can't fight them by ourselves. We MUST accept our sinful nature and our absolute need for redemption. We then MUST accept that Jesus Christ died as the propitiation for our sins. We MUST invite Jesus into our hearts and commit our lives to him. Upon doing that, our old self is dead (it already doomed to death anyway) and God's Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. Once we have accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts as our personal savior, we have complete dominion (or rather Christ in us has complete dominion) over all forces of evil. If you, as a believer resist the devil, he will flee from you. We should not take spiritual battle lightly, however: We should take up the full armor of God as described in Ephesians 6:11-18.
Why do I feel moved to write this at this time? Partly because the door was opened by Cynthia's essay to discuss the reality of demonic forces and spiritual warfare, but also because I truly believe that thoughts of suicide and other impulses that seem beyond the realm of comprehension can often be attributed to attack by demonic forces. Without the knowledge of their existence and without the knowledge of the tools with which to fight them, humans will continue to be "in the dark," literally at the mercy of forces of darkness. I encourage you to read the book, Deliver Us From Evil by Don Basham (a skeptic and former UCC minister who has now entered into a deliverance ministry.)
Primary campaigns should be shorter
To the editor:
The only reservation I have about your excellent editorial of March 10 concerning the chaotic presidential nomination system is that it still starts too early. In this proposed system recommended by the National Association of Secretaries of State, the first of four regional primaries would take place in March, with the others following in April, May and June. Thus a very long primary season would remain.
Since the national party convention comes in late July and August, why not have the first regional primary in the first full week of May, the second primary in the third week of May, and the last two primaries in the first and third weeks of June?
The four regions would be randomly assigned to the four week-long periods early in the presidential election year. If federal legislation were written, the Federal Election Commission could establish the schedule. If the 50 state legislatures were somehow to produce the necessary legislation, the schedule could be established by the NASS.
The regional plan, which I discussed in my 1981 book, American Electoral Politics: Strategies for Renewal, was introduced in the 1970s by Senators Bob Packwood and Mark Hatfield. It is an idea whose time has come. I hope the South Dakota Legislature will get behind this idea and urge its adoption before the 2004 election. Your support is most welcome.
Alan L. Clem