Is magic religiously offensive to Christians?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by . 1, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I seek facts from Christians and opinions from non Christians.

    How is it possible for a Christian person to be offended at a religious level by magic tricks?

    .,,
     
  2. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    I don't think they could be, unless the trick somehow went against a belief that they held or somehow caused them to sin.
     
  3. Poetic Device

    Poetic Device Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English, USA
    1 Samuel, 15:23
     
  4. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    To clarify:
    The sin of black magic is rebellion. Wickedness and idolatry are arrogance. Because you rejected the word of the LORD, he rejects you as king.
    1 Samuel 15:23


    .,, was talking about magic tricks, not witchcraft.
     
  5. geve

    geve Senior Member

    France, Paris
    France, French
    Could you please elaborate? How is it answering the question "How is it possible for a Christian person to be offended at a religious level by magic tricks"?

    My parents baptized me and took me to mass.
    They also offered me a magic box and attended my astounding magic shows.
    I grew up an atheistic untalented magician, but it left me with the conviction that Christians could take the sight of a wand. :D
     
  6. Poetic Device

    Poetic Device Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English, USA
    Aren't they in the same category? I was raised in a Jewish home and was brought up to think so... Please explain. (I am not being snide or trying to be an ass. I am being honest.)
     
  7. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    I see witchcraft as "real magic." It doesn't have a trick. (If it is possible)

    I don't believe that the Bible says that there is anything wrong with simple card tricks.
     
  8. geve

    geve Senior Member

    France, Paris
    France, French
    Now that you mention it, the plastic wand I had when I was a kid, and in which a flower was hidden (you just had to push a button), was black indeed. :eek:
     
  9. silvester

    silvester Senior Member

    USA
    Mexico, spanish
    I don't think that magic tricks are offesive to christians, "black magic" is but not magic tricks. At least that's my opinion.
     
  10. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    Thats what I was saying.....stuff like that shouldn't offend anyone.
     
  11. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    Wasn't the Bible verse talking about a specific instance of magic? I think it was when King Saul was told to forgo the oracle and he insisted in knowing the future and went to see a witch. Whether the witch indeed was magical doesn't say, I think, but the main point was the disobedience of Saul and that's why he lost favor and David had a chance...
    Or something like that.
    What I'm saying is that there's a wider context to that particular verse, is all...
     
  12. ampurdan

    ampurdan Modstachioed modnster

    jiā tàiluó ní yà
    Català & español (Spain)
    Excuse my ignorance, are you really saying that illusionism (such as tricks with cards, hats, rabbits, sleeves, flowers, etc.) is inmoral for Jews? It's quite startling for me.
     
  13. 94kittycat

    94kittycat Senior Member

    E-town, Canada
    Canadian English
    As a Christian, I don't find magic offensive, exactly. But I do think it's wrong, because the Bible specifically says it is.

    ampurdan, I don't think that simple card tricks are offensive to Jews. But then again, I'm not a Jew, so I could be mistaken!
     
  14. Poetic Device

    Poetic Device Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English, USA

    I think that it also depends on the level of religion. What does not offend a Roman Catholic may very well offend an Amish or Hassidic Jew.
     
  15. Poetic Device

    Poetic Device Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English, USA

    There is nothing to excuse or apologise for. I have sent you a PM as an explanation. ;)
     
  16. faranji Senior Member

    Bahia (Brasil)
    portuñol
    Deuteronomy 18...

    There shall not be found with thee any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, one that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

    For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah: and because of these abominations Jehovah thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
     
  17. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    I believe thats the American Standard Version.

    However, I don't think making a flower coming out of your sleeve is in the same category as
    one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, one that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
     
  18. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    I cannot speak for Christians in general, but to me it would seem that simple magic tricks, such as found at a magic show, would not be considered offensive because they are not really "magic", but rather just prestidigitation -- using clever movements in order to give the illusion of magic. No laws of physics are actually being broken and no spells are being cast.

    So called black magic or magic that requires incantations, casting of spells, the conjuring of spirits (evil or otherwise), etc., and supposedly bypasses the laws of physics, in order to achieve some desired effect are offensive to Christians. No judgment intended, but for informational purposes only, I used to post on a Christian forum and the discussion of the Harry Potter books came up on a few occasions and the majority of the Christian posters believed these books to be (at least) bad, if not evil, as they relate the stories of a young magician casting spells, and actually forbade their children from reading them. Some even went so far as to say these books were influenced by the Devil.

    For the record, I am not a Christian nor do I believe in any form of magic.
     
  19. faranji Senior Member

    Bahia (Brasil)
    portuñol
    Yes, it's from the AS version.

    Barring the fact that 33 could've hardly qualified as young in the year Naught, that line strikes me as a pithy and pretty accurate synopsis of the New Testament.

    As for .,,'s question, I guess some Christians resent any kind of supernatural competition. They'd like to have the monopoly on all things numinous ;) !
     
  20. TRG Senior Member

    english USA
    I don't know how, but it seems people are able to get their shorts in a bunch over just about anything these days. That this is an important issue among Christians has somehow escaped me, so I offer my opinion (as a non-Christian) that the question is impertinent.
     
  21. Sarah<3 Junior Member

    California
    English; USA
    I am a christian, and I am in no way offended by magic tricks. In fact, I've grown up attempting them (usually unsucessfully!) They seem perfectly innocent to me.

    However, there are more traditional sects that believe that anything that promotes magic, whether real or not, is wrong by association. Thus the Harry Potter controversy.

    I believe most christians today would agree that magic tricks are acceptable.
     
  22. Poetic Device

    Poetic Device Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English, USA
    OKay, I asked because if I use a Christain Bible I use KJV. In any event, I think that I am understanding what everyone means when it comes to the kiddie tricks. I said what I did because I was always taught that it is the gateway to the other stuff... However, as far as real magic needing spells, what about those weird words that you say beforethe trick? Isn't that a spell?
     
  23. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I will type slowly to ensure that I can think straight and that my message will not be misconstrued.

    I challenge you! That is a base canard!

    How is my question impertinent on any level to any person at any time?

    .,,
     
  24. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    Its just kids saying thinks that they have heard before and have no idea what it means. I think phrases like "abracadabra" are just a joking conjurer's incantation with no force behind it, like hocus pocus and other meaningless phrases.
     
  25. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    May we leave Mister Potter and his mates out of this discussion. There is a witches discussion that may be more appropriate for that.
    Mister Potter and his mates practise real black magic which is a far cry from card tricks and pulling a hare from where you sat or is that a rabbit out of your hat?

    .,,
     
  26. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    Open sessame is just a play on "Open says me". Nothing magic.

    .,,
     
  27. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    I really don't know the origin of the phrase "open sesame," but the fact that is sounds very close to "open, says me" may just be a coincidence, as it is also a direct translation of the Arabic -- "iftaH ya simsim" -- which predates the English usage.

    Back to the topic though, I don't see why a Christian would be offended by magic tricks, but I guess I can understand how some may think it would lead to other forms of practicing magic, even though I think that believe is unfounded.
     
  28. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    What does it mean in Arabic?

    .,,
     
  29. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Oh, I forgot to add that. "iftaH" just means open, "simsim" means sesame, and "ya" is just a vocative particle used when directly addressing someone (or in this case something), like the English "Oh" -- "Open, Oh sesame."
     
  30. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Deutschland (Hamburg)
    German/Germany
    Magic is entertainment, everyone knows it is just show, trick, illusion. This is morally neutral like theatre. Of course it might be possible that a specific trick deals with religious motives which in turn might be religiously offending.

    Witchcraft and sorcery in the bible are used to describe real supernatural tricks. According to the bible, these witches and magicians are to be killed. They are not offending, though, they are perceived as threat and enemy.

    Kajjo
     
  31. geve

    geve Senior Member

    France, Paris
    France, French
    I like that analysis! :D The Bible should forbid the tools to rework images and videos, too, for it makes anyone virtually capable of walking on water.
     
  32. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I can't help being reminded of Simon Magus:

     
  33. curly

    curly Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    I don't really understand. What's the definition of 'real' magic? And also of black magic? I wouldn't have any idea how to search for that in a bible, does anyone know?
     
  34. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Deutschland (Hamburg)
    German/Germany
    Magic can mean "magicians trick" as in an entertaining show. This is only an illusion and everybody knows that it is a trick. The trick only appears to be supernatural or unexplainable, because you do not know the trick the magician uses. As soon as you know the trick, everything is clearly normal.

    Magic can also mean the belief that some people possess abilities exceeding those of the physical, natural world. They can do supernatural things, like Harry Potter. This is what we call real magic in this thread. Real magic contradicts natural laws.

    Black magic refers to real magic with a background or intention of satanic actions or actions related to the devil.

    Kajjo
     
  35. CrazyArcher

    CrazyArcher Senior Member

    Israel
    Russia/Russian
     
  36. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Deutschland (Hamburg)
    German/Germany
    No, I don't think so. If we would miss some parts of nature (as we most certainly do at the current state), everything natural would still be natural. I understand magic to exceed natural laws -- both the known as well as the currently unknown laws of nature.

    I do not really care. Call it black magic, too, if you want. I just believe that "black magic" is commonly associated with devil's work. Maybe we should call all morally wrong magic black magic. What's the difference? It is only a kind of religious belief anyway.

    I do not belief in any kind of supernatural things, call it whatever you want.

    Kajjo
     
  37. amnariel

    amnariel Junior Member

    Sarajevo, B&H
    Bosnia and Herzegovina - Croatian
    How do you mean by own will?


    As Christian, better say Roman Catholic, I don't find magic of any kind religiously offensive personally to me. I know that many Christians find it offensive, even threatening, but my humble opinion is that if I'm confident enough in what I believe in, if my personality is strong and I do not fall under influence of everything new and strange to me, magic is in no way offensive.
     
  38. CrazyArcher

    CrazyArcher Senior Member

    Israel
    Russia/Russian
    @amnarial: I mean under "by own will' being able to harm others with no connection to Satan or any other entities.

    @Kajjo: I still happen to miss how you distinct between natural and supernatural. If you dont fully understand the laws, how can you tell if a certain thing exceeds them or not?
     
  39. amnariel

    amnariel Junior Member

    Sarajevo, B&H
    Bosnia and Herzegovina - Croatian


    Then your remark is off topic since magic is always connected to something mystical, whan we don't understand, something linked to Satan, devills, ghosts, all things we are affraid of because we are not sure are they around us or not. What can a person do by own will? Kill? Kill with a spell? Spells authomatically include some kind of magic, in this case, bad, evil magic.
     
  40. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Deutschland (Hamburg)
    German/Germany
    You might not be able to tell the difference in every instance. But whether I or you believe in supernatural things is easy to say: It is our own belief!

    I most certainly believe that there is nothing supernatural. Whatever happens has a normal explanation -- no matter whether we understand them or not. Nature is not depending on us understanding it!

    Kajjo
     
  41. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    It's pretty simple.
    If it happens it is real.
    If it can only be described using imagination and faith it is supernatural.

    .,,
     
  42. curly

    curly Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    But if magic is something exceding the natural world wouldn't christians find technology offensive? (although I suppose some religions do this)
    How can anything exceed the natural world? If it happens then it's natural isn't it?
     
  43. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    What is a spell?
    What is evil magic?
    How do you kill with a spell?
    How do you link to Satan, devils and ghosts?

    .,,
     
  44. xrayspex

    xrayspex Senior Member

    Florida USA
    USA English (southern)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    -Arthur C. Clarke
     
  45. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    This is one of those oft-repeated, but largely meaningless quotes. If you showed various modern technological gadgets to a 19th (or even 18th) century scientist, these things would probably look to him like magic at first sight. However, it would be easy to explain him the basic principles of how all this stuff works, and as soon as he started using them, he would quickly see for himself that there is nothing even remotely magical about any of these things.

    A superstitious, unscientific mind can be easily deceived into believing that some unfamiliar technology is magic. But to claim that technology and magic can be "indistinguishable" as a matter of principle is just silly.
     
  46. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    Precisely.
    A staff in the hands of a person trained to use a staff will disable so many fully armed warriors so quickly that to the untrained eye it looks miraculous.
    A rifle in the hands of a marksman will disable so many fully armed warriors that to the same eye magic bolts must surely exist.
    CO2 in solid form plus H2O in liquid form with a small sleight of hand thrown in is a witch's cauldron.
    Mirrors and smoke and magnets and shades befuddle the bewilderable.
    Never have so many been fooled by so few for so long for such gain.

    .,,
     
  47. faranji Senior Member

    Bahia (Brasil)
    portuñol
    To further clarifymplicate matters, let us not forget that there is magic and there is magick.
     
  48. TRG Senior Member

    english USA
    The subtle introduction of the idea that Christians in general are somehow offended by or opposed to magic would be a canard. I was merely expressing an opinion as you had requested.
     
  49. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    There was no subtle introduction of anything of the kind.
    I was open and honest in my incredulity at such a concept. I thought that I was a little unfair in that I was asking a basically biased question and challenging anybody to support it.
    I didn't believe then and I don't believe now that Christians in general are offended in any way by magic tricks.
    I believe that some cloth-eared redneck fundamentalist Christians pretend to be offended by card tricks and sleight of hand when they want to derail a discussion and I have just received confirmation of that.

    .,,
     
  50. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    I disagree.
    Apart from the fact that the quote implies a lack of information about the workings of the technology, the quote hinges on the 'sufficiently advanced' - and you are saying that a scientist from the period you mentioned would understand them.

    That's very different from (a) an ordinary person understanding them, and (b) not allowing for as much 'advancement' as Clarke intended.
     

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