Commentary: Nightline Faceoff Debate-Does Satan exist?


Well if you haven’t watched the Night-line Face of debate on does Satan exist, do so it is worth your while.  The debate is on-line at ABC’s website here: http://abcnews.go.com/nightline/faceoff.

 

The debate participants were on one side Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Churchand Annie Lobert from Hookers for Jesus.  The other side consisted of  Deepak Chopra, New Age author and  “Bishop” Carlton Pearson, former word of faith pastor who now teach “inclusive gospel” and no longer pastors a church.

 

The exchange was definitely interesting. Before getting into what the two sides presented, in observing the debate it definitely felt like a battle between light and darkness.  The last word went to Deepak Chopra who used some ancient Essene quote extolling being “totally filled with a presence of love” that Deepak stated that he wanted that kind of intoxication of love.  It felt like the presentation of the debate wanted to give more merit to Chopra and Pearson’s position.  However, that is not a surprise since the media in general only talks about Christianity or Christian themes when it can shed negative light on beliefs. However, it is worth examining what each person added to the debate. I will discuss each in the order that they presented there thoughts.

 

First of all is Mark Driscoll.  He did present the Gospel in a straight forward manner.  He illustrated that evil exists because Satan and people choose to rebel against God and that Jesus came and took on the guilt and shame and paid the consequences of sin.   He provided many sound rebuttals to comments made by the other side, rebuttals that usually led to avoidance and tangents from the other side. He chose to close with a reading of the word of God which presented the Gospel view of the topic, and definitely felt the Spirit of God as he read the Word of God.

 

Second is Deepak Chopra. He basically engaged in espousing clichéd platitudes that seemed to be the buzz phrases for his point of view.  He basically indicated that evil exists because we all have a shadow and that if we get right with self and get in touch with our divine self, everything would be okay.  His answer for the ever escalating presence of evil was that has change happens there is fear and has fear grows so does violence.  He also suggested that Annie Lobert’s experiences were of self and the dark dungeon she had herself involved in.  Deepak emphasized over and over that everyone has experience and their experience is valid for them.  He indicated that he trusts his spirit over his mind.  He also made a big point at de-emphasizing belief.  He indicated that if something is real, you do not need to believe.  Deepak also claimed that his views were more in line with the scientific facts.  He indicated that creation consists of evolution and entropy, with evolution always slightly ahead.  Deepak came off as arrogant and prideful, constantly referring to people with other beliefs not inline with his thinking as primitive whereas he is enlightened.

 

The third person to engage in discussion was Annie Lobert, a former prostitute is reaching out to share the Gospel with other prostitutes. She was there basically to share her story. She reported how she had personal contact with demons.  She seemed out of her element in the conversation, especially when the other side basically explained as what happened to her as being self-created.  Her main message was that demons do try and influence people and are very active.  By the end of the debate, Mark Driscoll tried to help her share her story and what it meant. She was in tears at the end of debate and emphasized that because she knows the reality of evil, she knows the truth of God and Gospel. 

 

The final person is Bishop Carlton Pearson. He emphasized he used to teach the Bible and use his past as a reason to have “authority” on the subject.  His main point is that we create what we want to create. If we want to believe in demons, we create them.  He made attempts at painting Christians as hypocritical for not being “legalistic” and caring more about money or appearances.  He initially referred to having a belief in an omnipresent, omnipotent, lustful Satan.  When corrected, he changed his statement to “almost” omnipresent, omnipotent.  He clearly expressed belief that the Bible and stories related to Jesus and Satan as being simply myth.  He brought up several times the “eternal torture” as being something in his mind that a loving God should not do.  He definitely spoke of from a morally inclusive point of view with a relativistic view of truth.

 

The debate in total showed the clear contrast between the Gospel of Jesus through the Bible and gospel of inclusiveness. On one hand, you have Satan existing due to rebellion and seeking to destroy others and the other, you have evil as a shadow part of self, that if manifests is self creation.  You have one side that looks to depend on Jesus as an answer for selfishness, the other which looks to elevate self.  One side finds peace in Jesus. The other side finds peace in tolerance or inclusiveness. The question is, what side to you lean toward? 

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