“But we by the mention of Christ crucified put all demons to flight, whom you fear as if they were gods. Where the sign of the Cross is , magic is weak and witchcraft has no strength.
Tell us therefore where your oracles are now? Where are the charms of the Egyptians? Where the delusions of the magicians? When did all these things cease and grow weak except when the Cross of Christ arose? Is It then a fit subject for mockery, and not rather the things brought to nought by it, and convicted of weakness?” St Anthony of the Desert, Against Proud Philosphers
It is a very important thing for Christians not to forget that we do not have a monopoly on the spiritual world. People do not pray to idols, perform strange rituals or offer direct worship to false gods because they do not get anything out of it; they just don’t get anything good out of it.
Illusions, false consolation, spirits of lust, pride, worldly power or any of the thing that the prince of the world can offer is often times enough for people to sign up their name on the dotted line to become a full blown practicing pagan or devil worshiper.
It appears that many people are signing up. The US Air force academy built a Pagan worship circle somewhat recently The “Church of England” wants to paganize things up a little bit and not convert the pagans, but allow the pagans to convert the "church of England" .
And I could provide examples from my own life of the growth of paganism. Next to the University of Riverside, CA there is a large witchcraft store that not only sells wares for all your pagan needs, but teaches both in-store and online classes on how to practice magic. On Meetup.com there are 3 (2 relatively large) groups for pagan meetups within 5 minutes of riverside and only 2 for the Bible (and of those two one is for singles and the other is for homeschoolers and they are much smaller than the 2 largest pagan groups).
According to some Poll numbers there are now over 1 million pagans in the US Based on the most recent survey by the Pew Forum on religion, there are over one million Pagans estimated to be living in the United States. Step back for a minute and consider how many devout Catholics there are in America?
Yet we know that wherever the Kingdom of God is idols lose their strength, demons are cast out, sorcery is confounded and the such like and the weakness of demons is truly revealed, so how can their be this growth and what does the spread of paganism say about the state of Christianity?
For one it says that there is a lack of saints. Luke 17:20 tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us. The incarnation of God as Man and us becoming adopted children of God has made even our very breath a means of expelling demons. The very mention of the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (which can only be done by the Spirit) demands immediate reverence and respect from every being. There is more to the anti-Christianity of the pagan world than an irritation with the superficiality of so much that is presented as Christian.
“We however make our proof not in the persuasive words of Greek wisdom as our teacher has it, but we persuade by the faith which manifestly precedes argumentative proof” St Anthony of the Desert
Our Holy Religion is the most consistent, reasonable and logical religion but yet, without a living faith preceding its manifestation throughout society it will fail to win converts through persuasion. It will fail to break through the strangle holds of the works of the flesh made manifest.
Before becoming distraught though over the idea that to confound pagan worship we would need to be the greatest Saints, I wish to assure you that common but faithful Christians are enough to confound demons and put them to flight. However, it is a faith that must be visible so that God have Glory through his mocking of demons
“But when, as my fine fellow proceeded in the rites, the frightful things assailed him, unearthly noises, as they say, and unpleasant odors, and fiery apparitions, and other fables and nonsense of the sort, being terror-struck at the novelty (for he was yet a novice in these matters), he flies for help to the Cross, his old remedy, and makes the sign thereof against his terrors, and makes an ally of Him whom he persecuted. And what follows is yet more horrible.
The Seal prevailed: the demons are worsted, the terrors are allayed. And then what follows? The wickedness revives, he takes courage again; the attempt is repeated, the same terrors return; again the sign of the Cross, and the vanishing demons; the neophyte in despair.” St Gregory Nazianzens Section 55-56 First Invective against Julian the Apostate.
Notice here that Julian the Apostate who is being initiated into diabolic rites having already turned his back on his Christian faith, makes a sign of the Cross out of habit when in fear at the manifestation of a demon, and the demon is immediately put to flight.
There is very little doubt that Julian at this stage is not in friendship with God, and yet a little sign of the cross still confounds the demons. Imagine the power that the Sign of the Cross has from a faithful Christian!
My friends, there is a reason why certain policies wish to forbid the wearing of Catholic sacramentals at work, ban the mentioning of the Holy Name of Jesus, strip crucifixes out of every building and why the devil assails weak Christians to not make visible signs of the cross when among other companions.
God, through these Holy gifts confounds the demons and confuses their plots and wickedness. Consider the great promises just to families who enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Be assured that when God allows himself to become dethroned visibly by the taking down of Signs of Faith, by the passing of obscene and evil laws, or the persecution of the faithful that he is making manifest that protections and blessings are being removed.
So what is the state of Christianity with the rise of paganism? My dear friends, it is better already if you resolve today to live an authentic Catholic life and do all that you can within your authority to honor God. Enthrone the Sacred Heart in your house, wear a crucifix in public, make bold signs of the Cross everywhere and constantly say the Holy Name of Jesus with great reverence. The Pagan world did not stand a chance against the power of God that was with the 12 apostles, so let God arise and let his enemies be scattered!