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Daily News and Prayer is inspired by The Christian Science Monitor, one of the most important (and most underappreciated) newspapers in the world. Posts are usually (but not always) responses to articles in the Monitor about events and trends that call for prayer.

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Disinformation and occultism

Once in a while someone produces a piece of journalism that illuminates some dishonesty or harmful intent that was right before our eyes but we never quite saw. It usually takes courage to do this and also a bit of innocence, in the best sense of the word: an inability to be cynical.

The New York Times published an article yesterday describing an investigation by free-lance journalist Adrian Chen into something called the Internet Research Agency, a group of workers in Russia whose sole job is to shape opinion about Russia and President Putin. The means they use in most cases are false information and confusion, sown mainly on the Web. They pose as people and organizations that do not in fact exist, they create fake news, and they attack those who represent what they perceive as anti-Russian views.

Disinformation is the traditional term for this, but it’s more insidious than simply lying. Chen met with one woman in Russia to find out more about this shadowy group, and she brought along as “protection” a hulking, heavily tattooed guy she said was her brother. It turned out he was a known neo-Nazi, and Chen was secretly filmed talking with him (the woman was cleverly shielded from view), and the video then posted on YouTube as “proof” of the reporter’s ulterior aims.

I mention Chen’s article because of the importance to prayer of understanding what is going on in darkness as well as in light. Prayer is the ultimate healing action because it gets at the mental root of physical outcomes. When things are going on mentally that are hidden, they wreak havoc unless they are exposed and dealt with. 

Chen has performed a valuable service by bringing “The Agency” (the title of his article) to light. Russians are wonderful people (I spent five years running a business there), and their culture is rich in art, music, literature, and extraordinary sports accomplishments. But there is also a longstanding tradition in Russia of occultism – that is, using secret methods to influence people to think and act in ways they would likely not do if they knew what was happening. Occultism was a primary element of Socialist Realism during the communist era. It was one reason the Communist Party installed Lenin’s body (and, for a while, Stalin’s) in the mausoleum in Red Square – to preserve it until Soviet scientists could figure out how to raise the dead through occult techniques. There’s a fascinating book published by Cornell University in 1997 about the history of the occult in Russia.

The Internet Research Agency is a modern-day form of occultism, and the fact that it is now exposed casts into suspicion anything pro-Russian on the Web. That isn’t fair, perhaps, but that’s the disservice this group, and whoever is behind it, has done to their country.

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