Have you ever seen Rosemary’s Baby? It’s the 1968 horror movie about a young lady who believes that her husband made a Satanic pact to give away their baby. SPOILER ALERT: Turns out she’s wrong … Her husband is not the baby’s real father … Satan is her baby daddy! And little baby Adrian, son of Satan, is destined to conquer the entire world. DUM-DUM-DUM!
(INSERT DIABOLICAL LAUGH HERE)
If Internet rumors are to be believed (and by-and-large they’re not), then the rapper Jay-Z and the singer Beyonce’s baby, Blue Ivy, would be the living embodiment of the movie Rosemary’s Baby.
Immediately following Beyonce’s performance on the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show, internet videos started floating around Christian circles accusing Jay-Z and Beyonce of being a members of the Illuminati as well as Satanists. If you think the Illuminati is a giant Yankee Candle, then you’ve probably not watched cable television in a few years. According to conspiracy theorists, the Illuminati is a secret society of powerful and influential people that lurk in the shadows while manipulating the course of human events to their advantage. The central evidence of Beyonce’s membership in an evil secret society seems to be the triangular hand sign that she flashes during the course of the Super Bowl performance. The Internet trolls argue that hand sign represents the “Eye of Providence,” which represents the all-seeing eye of God as seen on the U.S. Dollar Bill and in Freemasonry (yet another conspiracy favorite). To the contrary, Beyonce has stated that the hand sign is a diamond – not a triangle – and represents the diamond symbol of her husband’s Roc-A-Fella music label (“throwing up a Roc”).
For years prior to the 2013 Super Bowl, nutty theories about Jay-Z have been clogging up the Internet. The use of the phrase “Peace God” in his “Run This Town” song is supposedly a reference to the Five Percenters (or The Nation of Gods and Earths), who teach that only 5% of the world’s population knows about its true origins. Jay-Z has been seen wearing a “Do What Thou Wilst” sweatshirt, which is a reference to British occultist Aleister Crowley. His Roc-A-Wear line of clothes unapologetically lifts symbolism from Freemasonry. Despite repeated denials by Jay-Z and the anger of freemasons finding their symbols co-opted for profit, the rumor mill continues. The conspiracy theorists prattle on: “Is there any other reason why Jay-Z would be using these symbols if he weren’t a Satanic Illuminati occultist Freemason?” Why yes! … He could be doing what musicians and vaudeville acts have been doing for years: Being provocative for the sake of turning a profit.
There’s also the strange theories about Jay-Z’s boo: Beyonce. There’s the rumor that “Sasha Fierce” is more than Beyonce’s alter ego … It’s the name of the demon that possesses and takes control of her body during her live performances. Her song “1 + 1” has been interpreted as Beyonce’s expression of love for the demon that possesses her. And “Halo” is supposedly about Halios, the sun god and the Beast from Revelation 9:11. And then there’s the rumors that Beyonce’s choreography in her music videos is just cleverly disguised Satanic rituals. The All The Single Ladies video is replete with dance moves honoring The Winged Serpent. When you spell their baby’s name backwards (Eulb Yvi), it is rumored to be Lucifer’s name in Latin … Only if you ignore the convenient fact that Lucifer is already a Latin name.
Time to break out the tin foil hats!
Rumors about pop music stars dabbling in the occult really isn’t anything new. For those with grey hairs, they remember Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page’s odd obsession with the occult. The “zoso” symbol that adorned Led Zeppelin’s fourth album and Page’s clothing was a nod to an old alchemy textbook. For a short period of time, Page owned Aleister Crowley’s estate and an occult bookstore. And plenty of other pop artists have dabbled in occult and religious symbolism in their music. Ozzy scared mothers for years by singing about the aforementioned Mr. Crowley while barking at the moon. Alice Cooper’s famous live show included multiple horror props, including a guillotine, electric chairs and boa constrictors. Crowley’s image appears on the album cover to the Beatles’ Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Doors appeared with a bust of Crowley on the back cover of their Doors 13 album. Marilyn Manson’s entire career is one shock-value stunt of religious symbolism after another, including connections to (again) Aleister Crowley, the anti-Christ and Satanist Anton LaVey. Iron Maiden’s song “Number of the Beast” includes a spoken word reading of Revelation and is about a Satanic ritual. And the list goes on and on ad nausem.
So why are so many popular artists obsessed with religious imagery of one type of another? The issue is shock value and salesmanship – not Satanism. Elvis swung his hips and the ladies swooned. Madonna sung about her fictional virginity, produced a book simply titled “Sex,” and labelled herself a “boy toy.” Every member of Marilyn Manson’s band, including good ol’ Brian Warner (a/k/a Marilyn Manson), is named after a bombshell movie star and a serial killer. Everything about Lady Gaga’s “Judas” video, including hunky versions of Jesus and Judas, screams controversy for controversy’s sake. And who could forget the burning crosses and taboo romance of Madonna’s infamous “Like A Prayer” video. The art of shocking people to attract interest and make a profit is as old as P.T. Barnum. Considering many people are obsessed with Discovery channel conspiracy theories about Freemasonry, it’s no wonder that Jay-Z slapped their symbols on a t-shirt with a high price markup. Controversy sells.
In terms of dealing with music and the occult, Christians are certainly called to be discerning of what is Godly and what is deception in a hostile world. Colossians 2:8 states: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” The precious treasure of the Gospel that has been entrusted to all believers must be protected and preserved (1 Timothy 1:3-7; Jude 3). The believer must also be wary of the corrupting temptations of the world and the devouring interests of the devil (1 John 2:16; 1 Peter 5:8). Christ repeatedly calls for the believer’s shrewdness (Matthew 10:16; Luke 16:1-13).
However, “discerning” does not mean falling for every wacky conspiracy to go viral across the Internet. Many believers will gullibly believe any hot gossip that supposedly comes from a “Christian” source. To the contrary, believers are supposed to test EVERY source of information against the Scriptures – particularly supposed “Christian” sources. I’ve said it before: Not every source claiming to be “Christian” or “Biblical” is Christian or Biblical. 1 Timothy 6:3 states: “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” In discerning whether a “Christian” message is authentic, many believers will make a judgment based on how passionate and earnest the message is, how slick and professional the production is or how many starving children the organization has fed … None of this matters in terms of genuine discernment. The mark of discernment is whether the message matches up with the words of Christ. If the “Christian” message contradicts Christ, then have nothing to do with it.
In terms of how discernment is made, the fact that believers are spending large amounts of time parsing the supposed demonic dance sequences of Beyonce videos is equally as troubling. Popular culture has increasingly become the art of provocateurs, and we gain no insight from scripted and market tested fame-mongering. In John 7:24, Jesus states: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” And making accusations about the demonic imagery of Beyonce’s choreography and Jay-Z’s Satanic hoodie is the epitome of judging by appearances. Let’s turn the tables: Do we judge whether someone is a Christian by their music, clothing and hand gestures? Most certainly not … Believing in Jesus is a heart issue (Romans 10:9-13). A person could be pirouetting in a pink tutu wearing a witch doctor’s mask while poking needles into a voodoo dolls … It still wouldn’t solidly tell us about their spiritual condition. More importantly, God Himself judges the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10).
Make no mistake: There is no reason to laud the music of anyone mentioned here. Christians SHOULD be discerning about the actual messaging within popular music. Unfortunately, believers are busy making a Satanic scavenger hunt out of pop music lyrics instead of discerning the plain statements glamorizing a life of consumerism, promiscuity, violence, alcoholism and godlessness. My point is not to go on some epic rant about the horrors of “secular” music … My point is that believers have stopped caring about “secular” music at all. Many adult believers have become fed up long ago with “secular” music and tuned into KLove Christian radio and gave up on the outside world. Then believers pompously hurl eccentric gossip about the Satanic new world order and Freemason handshakes instead of giving a reason for the hope that we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:17). We have developed a distinctly alternative Christian culture instead of engaging the world at our doorstep.
It’s far too easy to stick our heads in the sand instead of getting our hands dirty by demonstrating Christ’s love for our neighbor. Christ does not call us to do the easy thing. We remain as Christ’s shining city on a hill … And we must allow Christ to use us to engage and penetrate the darkness of the world. Christ never gave up hope in us … We must not give up hope that His Word can bring the lost home. We must discern … We must engage … We must point towards rescue. If Christ is our hope, then we must not write off anyone as being beyond hope.