Recently, the Real Estate section of the
Los Angeles Times had a front-page article called
"Tragedy in Home Leaves Negative Energy: Feng Shui"
(6/6/99). This article was a question and answer column
which applies pop-Oriental religious concepts to the
practicalities of everyday life.
In this column, readers are told how to
deal with such problems as a house with negative
energies emanating from past events like deaths or
violence that may have lingering impact. Feng shui
experts are available to "cleanse" the home or purify
it. Maybe, if feng shui canít help, perhaps a master
realtor and new carpeting will do. Can bad vibes lead to
a deep discount, and a good investment?
The first question on June 6 involved a
house on the market where a husband had shot his wife.
The feng shui expert, Kirsten M. Lagatree, suggested
that the most learned feng shui master could not cleanse
and purify the house.
In the column, the Los Angeles Timesí
readers are told that locating their toilet in the
Southwest corner of their house will drain away
relationships (in particular, their marriage!), while
locating the toilet in the Southeast corner will take
away "your prospects for great wealth." In fact, the
Feng Shui column continues, "there is really no good
place to locate toilets in a house."
This may elicit some humorous chuckles
from our astute readers who donít live in Los Angeles
where large real estate companies advertise their
connections with feng shui masters, but it is a sad
state of affairs for those trapped in these metaphysical
systems of fear who donít know where to locate their
toilets after reading the Los Angeles Times
Having grown up in the home of two
wonderful people, both actors, who for many years
dabbled in all sorts of superstitions, as many in
Hollywood did in the 30s, I am well aware of the power
of these fears. One of the top movie and television
costume designers would not leave her house for days if
her detailed astrological charts suggested that she
would have bad fortune on the days in question. No
amount of reason would get her out of her house.
The cruelty of these philosophies of fear
became clear to me in reading the book, THE SPIRIT OF
THE RAINFOREST: A YANOMANO SHAMANíS STORY by Mark Andrew
Ritchie. In this anthropological text, a former
witchdoctor of a previously un-reached Amazon tribe
talks about the fears associated with his polytheistic,
animistic faith. He notes that: every tree might contain
a bad demon; every problem was a supernatural attack;
and, negative demigods needed to be appeased everywhere,
sometimes by killing, raping or attacking a neighborís
village. Thus, as the respected Ravi Zacharias says,
"Pluralism destroys culture."
We have lived in a society that has
benefited from the fruits of monotheism. We have
benefited from the Christian belief that we live in a
world with a loving God who guarantees that "neither
heights (astrology) nor depths" (such as the spirits of
the rainforest), nor any of the other fears associated
with polytheism, can harm us.
In our safe monotheistic environment, we
have forgotten the destructiveness of paganism. Those of
us who grew up in a pagan environment understand this.
Many Christians dismiss it saying, "Neo-pagan movies
such as STAR WARS have no impact." But, those without a
clear concept of God search for spiritual reality in the
alternative to the loving God who created the world and
said that it was good.
Now, in our pop regurgitation of pagan
beliefs, we have forgotten this. Thus, reading the
Los Angeles Times Feng Shui column made me wonder
how people are going to live without toilets. Is this
far fetched? Try going into cultures where these fears
govern every minute of their lives. For people who do
not know better, this is exactly what is going to
happen. Regrettably, you cannot appeal to reason with
During Easter time a year ago, 90 percent
of the articles in the Los Angeles Times were
anti-orthodox Christian; four percent were favorable to
other religions; and, 6 percent were pro-Passover, as
they should have been.
Why did the pluralistic Romans hate
Christianity, which delivered them from the bloodletting
in the coliseum and the cruelties of their philosophies
of fear? Because Christianity said that there was only
one way and took Jesus at His word, that "no one comes
to the Father except through Me."
For those who want to indulge in
contemporary religious fancies, that is not a pleasant
thought, but usually those who want to indulge donít
think of the consequences: a society governed by their
Maybe there is a hint of a message here
for those who make lifeís decisions based on the
location of their bathrooms, or the magic of numerals on
their front door, or the alignment of planets in the
closing day. Yes, do beware of the demons of feng shui,
indeed, for you may be in danger of going down the
toilet, figuratively, if not spiritually.
Go to those polytheistic societies where
people are otherwise intelligent and ask why these
societies are not successful. The reason is that their
worldview is a self-destructive philosophy of fear,
which is now gracing the front page of the Real Estate
section of the Los Angeles Times.
Is this some editorís idea of how to
promote home sales? Or, how to destroy the housing