Index of FAQ about "Christian" Mysticism


Is Our Society Becoming Mystical?  /  Is the Church Becoming Mystical?


Mysticism seeks direct knowledge of God and spiritual truth through subjective experience. In our society, there has been a general shift toward mysticism. An evidence of this shift is the substantial rise in paganism. Paganism, as a religion, is deeply rooted in mysticism and serves as one of the most blatant examples of mystical practices. According to a 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, “From 1990 to 2001: Numbers of adherents [to paganism] went from 8,000 to 134,000. Their numbers of adherents doubled about every 30 months.”1 Note that these are individuals who have taken the title “pagan” as their religious affiliation.2 This is not the result of Christians labeling dissenters as “pagan.” A subsequent survey observes, “Specifically, the number of Wiccans more than doubled from 2001 to 2008, from 134,000 to 342,000, and the same held true for neo-pagans, who went from 140,000 in 2001 to 340,000 in 2008.”3 Similarly, a 2008 Denver Post article reports, “Their numbers roughly double about every 18 months in the United States, Canada and Europe, according to the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.”4

According to ReligionLink, “Experts say the growth reflects not only increasing numbers of neo-pagans, but also a rise in the social acceptability of paganism. As a result, more respondents would be willing to identify themselves as followers of some pagan tradition.”5 Some of this can be attributed to the media’s excessive interest in the Occult. Some of this is the consequence of rejecting organized religion and of rejecting absolute truth. In any case, there is a decided increase in the number of individuals within America who identify themselves as pagan. Whatever the many reasons for the growth of paganism, the fact remains that it is a clear indication that the spirit of antichrist is extremely active in society today.

Given that, today, society is more likely to influence the church than the church is likely to influence society, it is not surprising to find some of these same proclivities within the church—particularly the attraction to mysticism. For years mysticism has steadily infiltrated the Christian church. Church members and pastors alike have developed a fascination with the mystical. Ursula King is an internationally known scholar on spirituality and interfaith dialogue. In her book Christian Mystics, she observes, “It is probably true to say that recent years have seen a greater interest and fascination with the mystics of all ages and faiths than any previous period in history.”6 Similarly, Leonard Sweet, who is a leading figure in the Emergent Church movement, writes in his book Quantum Spirituality, “Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center. ... In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, ‘The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.’”7 Both society and the church are becoming increasingly mystical.


1. Robinson, “Religious identification.”
2. Many individuals who could rightly be classified as pagan do not classify themselves as pagan, choosing instead to refer to themselves by other titles, such as animists.
3. Ibid.
4. Draper, “Neopaganism growing quickly.”
5. Robinson, “Religious identification.”
6. King, Christian Mystics, 11.
7. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality (Dayton: Whaleprints, 1991), 76, Source: Yungen, A Time of Departing, 160.

Works Cited

1. Draper, Electa. “Neopaganism growing quickly.” The Denver Post, June 26, 2008. Accessed March 18, 2014.
2. King, Ursula. Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies Throughout the Ages. New York: Routledge, 2004. Accessed March 18, 2014.
3. Robinson, B.A. “Religious identification: How American adults view themselves.” Ontario Consultants On Religious Tolerance, December 15, 2001, Last Updated October 11, 2010. Accessed March 18, 2014.
4. Yungen, Ray. A Time of Departing. Eureka: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2006.  2nd ed.


The above comes from our book Sinister Spirit. Check out this book to see how "Christian" mysticism is linked to the spirit of antichrist.


Author: Timothy Zebell, 2014