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Worldview Made Practical - Issue 3-11

Worldview Made Practical - Issue 3-11

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Published by Freddy Davis
The Gospel According to Madonna: Kabbalah
The Gospel According to Madonna: Kabbalah

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Published by: Freddy Davis on Jun 28, 2008
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05/09/2014

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1
Introduction
The number of religions and cults out there are enormous to begin with, but the number we are becoming aware of is ex-ploding. I suppose it is inevitable with the rise of the information age. Massive numbers of people, now, have the ability toput their beliefs in the public square, and even more have the technology to access that information. It can be very over-whelming.This is why it is so critical for us, as Christians, to understand worldview. Without a simple framework to help us under-stand the massive number of belief systems being thrown at us, it would be almost impossible to comprehend them all.But with the framework that an understanding of worldview gives us, it is a piece of cake. Kabbalah, the belief system weare looking at today is just such a case. Very small in relative terms, but big on publicity. Madonna’s advocacy makes itvery visible, but how can we grasp its tenets? Not so difficult if we know worldview principles.I hope today’s explanation will help your understanding, but especially your ability to share your own faith in our increas-ingly complex world. Let me know what you think. Are these articles helping you? I would love to receive any comments,
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It seems that many Hollywood celebrities are spirituallyempty and on the lookout for something to fill the void intheir lives. Unfortunately they don’t tend to look to the realsource of truth for their answers, but seek out some other avenue.A number of years back Shirley MacLaine made a bigsplash with her advocacy of New Age religion. Oprah hasfollowed in her footsteps in recent times in the New Agearena. There was a time when Transcendental Meditationwas all the rage and was promoted by such celebrities asthe Beetles and film Director David Lynch. Then, of course,there is the celebrity popularity of Scientology with such ad-herents as Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and Tom Cruise.Now there is another fad spirituality which is being popular-ized by none other than Madonna. This religion is not newin terms of the time it has been around. In fact its historygoes back hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of years.Called Kabbalah, this faith is a form of mystical Judaism. Inrecent times, however, a new variety of Kabbalah hasemerged which is becoming the next celebrity religion.In order to get a deeper understanding of this belief system,let’s begin with a general overview of Kabbalah, then exam-ine the modern incarnation which is becoming the fad inHollywood.
What is Kabbalah?
The word "Kabbalah" comes from the Hebrew word mean-ing "to receive,” “to accept," or simply “the tradition.” It pri-marily refers to the revelation from God which has beenreceived by Jews and passed to succeeding generationsthrough oral tradition. As a form of Jewish mysticism, Kab-
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MarketFaith Ministries is an equipping ministry which is focused on helping Christians become more effectivein living out their faith in the midst of the increasingly diverse worldview environment of modern society.
Contact MarketFaith Ministries
312 Anton Dr.Tallahassee, FL 32312info@marketfaith.orghttp://www.marketfaith.orgToll Free: 888-883-0656Phone: 850-383-9756Fax: 850-514-4571
Volume 3 Number 11 June 11, 2008
The Gospel According to Madonna: Kabbalah
 
2
(Madonna - Continued from page 1)
balah consists of a large body of writings on the nature of God, the creation, the origin and fate of the soul, and the roleof human beings. There are also various meditative, devotional, and mystical practices associated with its exercise.No-one knows exactly how old this belief system is. The earliest documents which are generally seen to be Kabbalisticcome from around the 1
st
century A.D. There are, though, indications that at least some of its practices derived from ear-lier times, and it claims to have its origins as far back as Adam. As a recognized branch of Jewish mysticism, though, it isbelieved to have origins around the 13th century A.D. among Jews in Babylonia, Italy and Spain. The Founder of Kabbal-ah is generally considered to be Isaac the Blind who lived from 1160-1236. It is not known for sure whether or not he wasthe original founder, but is considered the “Father of Kabbalah.”Its beliefs are taught in a 23-volume book called the Zohar, which gives interpretations of the hidden meanings within theTorah. Kabbalists believe that every word, letter, number, and even accent mark contains mysteries which can be inter-preted by those who know the secret. The names for God are believed to contain miraculous power and each letter of the divine name is considered to have power for those who know its secrets.Tradition has it that God created the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) before he created the world. ThisTorah is, itself, believed to be divine and it advised God on things such as the creation of mankind. According to tradition,when Moses received the written law from God, he also received a separate oral law, Kabbalah, which was passed fromgeneration to generation.Just as the Torah was accompanied by an oral tradition, there also developed a secret oral tradition around the Kabbal-ah which was only passed to a limited number of initiates. This oral tradition is believed to contain hidden meanings anddivine power which can be accessed by those who are initiated into the belief. So, the central belief of the Kabbalah tra-dition is that the Torah is divine and that by studying its text a person can unlock the secrets of the creation. Followers of Kabbalah believe that its teachings take away grief, pain, misery, worries, and the like.Kabbalah holds many beliefs which closely resemble Greek Gnosticism. As in Gnosticism, Kabbalah believes that only aselect few are able to receive the deeper teachings of the faith. Additionally, they both teach that God created variouslevels of gods who did creative work below them. The lower the level, the further away from God they are.
(Continued on page 3)(Introduction - Continued from page 1)
questions or suggestions you might have. Also, please share this with your friends and encourage them to sign up for the newsletter. And remember, there is further depth you can gain by checking out our books. You can order these onthe website at www.marketfaith.org.I also want to thank those who have contributed to our efforts. You are helping to make it possible for us to continue put-ting out material which is beneficial to the Christian community. For others of you who would like to help our efforts, youcan partner with us by your financial contributions with a
tax deductible
gift. You may send your contribution to: Mar-ketFaith Ministries, 321 Anton Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32312. Of course, you may also donate online by using the“Donate” button on our secure website to make a contribution by credit card.God bless,Freddy
Find these books along with othergreat worldview resources atwww.marketfaith.org
 
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The Kabbalah Center 
While it is important to know the general information above, the particular form of Kabbalah which is becoming popular among celebrities is an offshoot which is considered by many to be nothing more than a cult. This form is expressedthrough The Kabbalah Centre.
What is the Kabbalah Centre? 
The Kabbalah Centre claims to be a spiritual and educational organization dedicated to bringing the wisdom of Kabbalahto the world. Its leaders maintain that it has existed for around 80 years in its current form, but does see its roots in histori-cal Kabbalah. The Centre is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation which is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.The organization serves its constituency by providing Kabbalah courses online and through its local affiliates. Their claimto uniqueness is that they provide access to the teachings of Kabbalah in a simplified, user-friendly system. The teachingis marketed as a universal system for self-improvement which is available to anyone, regardless of religion, race, age, or gender – for a price. This simplified system of Kabbalah was created by the leader of The Kabbalah Centre, Philip Berg,and his wife, Karen. They currently claim approximately 3.5 million followers.Philip Berg was born in New York as Feivel Gruberger. Prior to founding his religious organization, he was an insuranceagent. He got into Kabbalah when he married the niece of a leader of one of the Kabbalah schools in Israel, Tzvi Brand-wein. However, he later left Brandwein's niece, and their eight children to marry his current wife, Karen. Berg claims thetitle of Dr., but there seems to be no record that he actually earned an academic degree.
Subscription Information
If you would like to receive
Worldview Made Practical 
as afree email subscription, simply go to www.marketfaith.organd click on the sign up link.
Past Issues
of 
Worldview Made Practical
are availablefree of charge in .pdf (Acrobat) format in the archives athttp://www.marketfaith.org.PERMISSION TO REPRINT: If you wish to reprint thismonth’s article in your own print or electronic newsletter,please include the following paragraph:Reprinted from
Worldview Made Practical
; a free e-zineproduced by MarketFaith Ministries featuring practicalteaching and life tools to help Christians become more ef-fective in their faith life. Discover MarketFaith Ministries atwww.marketfaith.org.Berg maintains that the modern incarnation of the Centrewas founded in Jerusalem by Rav Yehuda Ashlag in 1922.Upon his death, leadership was taken on by Rav YehudaTzvi Brandwein. It was during this time that Berg beganstudying Kabbalah. Following Brandwein’s death, Bergclaims that he was designated to take over as the leader.This claim is disputed by Brandwein’s son and others whocontinue to run the school in Israel. Additionally, both Jew-ish academics and religious leaders of both orthodox andcontemporary schools of Jewish mysticism condemn himas a charlatan and consider his group a cult.After Brandwein's death, Philip Berg and his wife Karen“reconstituted” the Kabbalah Centre in New York in 1965.Then, in 1984, they moved the headquarters to Los Ange-les and opened a center there. Karen and their sons Yehu-da and Michael serve as “Directors” and “Spiritual Leaders”of the organization. It currently has over fifty branchesworldwide, including major ones in Los Angeles, New YorkCity, London and Toronto. Berg has managed to parley hisefforts into a very lucrative enterprise for his family andclose associates.In current times, the most prominent celebrity follower isMadonna. However there are other celebrities who alsofollow this teaching. These include such people as AnthonyKiedis, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Donna Karan, DavidBeckham, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Zac Efron and Lau-ren Conrad.
What Are the Basic Teachings of the Kabbalah Centre? 
Berg claims that Kabbalah answers the ultimate questionsof human existence such as who we are, where we comefrom and why we are here. He claims that its teachings areable to purify the soul, as well as to banish disease, de-pression and discontent by means of the teachings con-tained in the Zohar.
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Support MarketFaith Ministries
The purpose of MarketFaith Ministries is to equip the Bodyof Christ to become more effective by sharing the practicalapplications of worldview. We are involved in developingtraining and resource materials for that very purpose. If you would like to partner with us in this effort, you maysend your tax deductible contribution to MarketFaith Minis-tries, 321 Anton Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32312.

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