About Those Tarot Cards
In my book Meet Generation Z, I detailed my assessment that one of the spiritual allures of Generation Z – based on early observations – would prove to be all things occult.
Sometimes I hate it when I’m right.
Here is what I wrote then:
“A keenly felt emptiness, resulting from a secularized, materialistic world, has led to a hunger for something more, but many are unable to go further than the search for an experience. As a result, an extraterrestrial will serve as well as an angel, a spiritualist as well as a minister. Borrowing from the late historian Christopher Dawson, we have a new form of secularism that offers ‘religious emotion divorced from religious belief.’
“So God is out, but ghosts are in.
“This situation reminds me of something CBS head Leslie Moonves once said when unveiling a fall television lineup heavy on the occult in order to reach a younger demographic in a state of cultural change. After canceling Emmy-nominated and critically acclaimed Joan of Arcadia, in which a young woman speaks to God, in favor of The Ghost Whisperer, a supernatural drama about a woman who communicates with the spirit world, Moonves declared, ‘I think talking to ghosts may skew younger than talking to God.’”
Unfortunately, this is proving to be prescient. Consider the new embrace of tarot cards by Generation Z. As Heather Greene notes in a Religious News Service article:
“Generation Z has been the driving force behind the renewed popularity and mainstreaming of the age-old esoteric system. As Theresa Reed, known online as The Tarot Lady, put it, ‘It’s not just for witches anymore.’”
This is clearly concerning. But of equal concern is how few Christians would find this alarming. In fact, many Christians consider something such as tarot cards to be harmless. Which is why before we can engage Generation Z at their point of spiritual need, perhaps we should address our own.
Tarot cards involve the disclosure or communication of information unavailable to humans through normal means. This would also include things like horoscopes, fortune-telling and psychic hotlines. That knowledge comes from somewhere, and if it’s not from God through the sources that God has ordained, then it is through the evil one and his forces. There is no “power” floating around out there that just exists—neutral and impersonal. There is no kind of cosmic consciousness or voice for secret knowledge about the future of a human life that can be tapped into. Everything falls under heaven or hell, good or evil, God or the evil one.
Further, God alone knows the future. Nobody else has that kind of power. Not even Satan. Don’t fall into a dualistic view that puts God and Satan on equal footing. They aren’t. Satan is a fallen angel, created by God. He is neither all-powerful nor all-knowing, which is why the Bible says in Zechariah that,
“... diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain” (Zechariah 10:2, NIV).
And in Isaiah, we read these words:
“I am the Lord, the Creator of all things. I alone stretched out the heavens.... I make fools of fortunetellers and frustrate the predictions of astrologers” (Isaiah 44:24-25, GN).
In his book Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium, Mark Edward admits that for decades he posed as a psychic and peddled what he calls “junkyard superstition... to the gullible, the lonely, the hopeful and the dim.” He’d been a dial-a-psychic with the “Psychic Friends Network,” a party psychic, a mentalist, a rent-a-psychic, a palmist, a fortune-teller and a graphologist. He admits in his book he has no paranormal powers and neither does anyone else. He just relied on his intuition, common sense and empathy.
Yet while it’s a fake industry, engaging it isn’t a game. The reason is because the attempt itself brings you into the world of the occult; you’re purposefully attempting to make contact with a force or power other than God, which means you are inviting a contact with the evil one.
And make no mistake—the invitation will most certainly be accepted.
This is why the information that comes from these sources can sometimes be accurate. While Satan is not on equal footing with God and is not all-powerful nor all-knowing, he and his fellow demons are still supernatural beings with staggering levels of power. They may not be able to tell the future, but their knowledge about the present is beyond ours. All to say, just because the knowledge is accurate doesn’t mean you are dealing with something holy. You’re not.
You’re dealing with something demonic.
Generation Z, as all generations that have come before them and all that will follow, have an innate spiritual longing. God put it there. It’s called a soul and is reflective of what it means to be made in the image of God. We were created both to respond to and relate with the living God. When our souls are separated from a right relationship with God, the spiritual yearning does not dissipate. It simply looks for other things to fill the spiritual void.
The world of the occult has long stood ready to meet this spiritual need. Tragically, this generation has no idea what it is engaging. And even worse, many Christians are not even aware they are in danger.
James Emery White
James Emery White, Meet Generation Z (Baker), get the book on Amazon.
Heather Greene, “Tarot Booms as Generation Z Sorts Out Spiritual Path,” Religion News Service, April 26, 2021, read online.
Mark Edward, Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book After “I Believe” is now available on Amazon or your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and a former professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Hybrid Church: Rethinking the Church for a Post-Christian Digital Age, is now available on Amazon or from your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit churchandculture.org where you can view past blogs in our archive, read the latest church and culture news from around the world, and listen to the Church & Culture Podcast. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @JamesEmeryWhite.