I think we all do it (except maybe some folks on the autism spectrum who can't read non-verbal communication). My dad was a salesman and talked about how his speech changed when he talked to different clients.
From 1 Cor. 9:
19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
This is a good discussion! I love to hear what others think about this stuff.
IMO: Magic is just a word. It's like love -- it can have many meanings and connotations
I did extensive research on this at one time because I needed to know for myself what exactly God said about witchcraft and magic in general.
So, the big evil stuff is:
1. reading clouds or nature to tell the future (I would put tarot cards in this category--the bible mentions several ways to read the future, and God doesn't look favorably on it at all) 2. calling on spirits (divination or channeling) 3. calling up the dead or medium-ship (see Saul having the woman call on Samuel)
Ex. 22:18 KJV Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
In the original Hebrew manuscript, the author used the word m'khashepah to describe the person who should be killed. The word means a woman who uses spoken spells to harm others - e.g. causing their death or loss of property. Clearly "evil sorceress" or "woman who does evil magic" would be the most accurate phrases in today's English usage for this verse.
Most of the "you shall go to hell" stuff is related to pagan gods of the time and rituals of the day when you read the Hebrew and Greek (and you really have to read the original words or the meaning is lost in translation a lot of time cause we don't have the "exact" word to describe it in English. The KJV is the worst for translating the magic texts because of the fear of witchcraft at the time of that translation) A lot of the stuff condemned is your basic pagan practice stuff. I believe hearth magic falls outside these boundaries (this would be stuff like certain herbs warding off certain stuff or a horse shoe over the door), but that's more of an opinion on my part. And, no, I don't use hearth magic.
I think this all falls in the realm of light and dark. Both cannot dwell in the same vessel, therefore if you dabble in the "evil spirits" then you are basically choosing to fill up with darkness.
Having said all that, I do believe in the notion that some are born with "gifts" and not just the ability to "read" people. Maybe this sounds odd or crazy, but I've seen it in my own life. Spiritually, I'm very sensitive. I've seen things--and not all of them good--since I was little. My cousin did as well (they used to have the pastor come over all the time and pray over her, thinking she was being haunted--we now realize she was just super sensitive). I've had someone tell me I have the gift of divination or a psychic (I now believe the Christ centered version of this gift is discernment and prophesy). I've had to fight the draw of the dark spirits a lot in my life. This gift made it very difficult when I was a teen and started seeking out the wrong things to dabble in. I was terrified of things I was seeing and wanted answers--I just didn't look in the right places. Thank heaven my parents loved me as they did, and didn't listen to the "experts." I've learned that the Holy Spirit can use me in powerful ways when I'm willing to open myself up (it's still scary sometimes), and I have to stay grounded in The Spirit and Scripture at all times.
For Mongoose (BTW: some of you will think I'm evil or crazy after reading this): when I get something for a person, I'm not looking at them at all. I close my eyes and that's when I see it--I get a picture of them in a situation. I have to be close to them or have touched them--that's when I see (I call it seeing in The Spirit). I agree that we can get a lot of info just by looking at a person, though. And some just see better than others. This seems to go beyond that, though. I don’t know. Science and spirit do mesh a lot more than people think, sometimes. But I find a lot of times I get confusing signals if I look at them too much.
One of my daughters and my youngest son are already showing signs of having gifts (especially my son). For a while this frightened me cause it was really strong. I just keep praying that God will guide me and show me how to help them grow in Him. Whatever God's plan is for them, I know it will be an important part of who they become.
A gift can be used for good or evil, just like magic in a story. As Christians we should never be afraid to delve deeper into an issue. I think that magic like that in the HP books and the Merlin stories is legend-type magic. It's used by both dark and light alike--the intent of the magic is the real matter. HP doesn't get his power from the devil or God. If you want to get technical he pulls most of it out of himself (unless you count the potions).
I write mostly about faeries or earth magic. In my stories most of my "magic" is organic and comes from the earth--I guess like Celtic Myth. And if God created the Earth then it would follow--in my story--that He created that power. The darkness comes when the power is corrupted and warped by the sin of man. Most of my stories don't have angels and demons. The war is usually within the person: the flesh against the spirit.
You have to move as your conscience guides you, though. What is kosher for one brother may not be kosher for another. And we shouldn't cause our brother to stumble. Hopefully nothing I've said has caused that to happen.
On a side note: When I was at Boot Camp OSC did this exercise that was all about finding a plot. We used one question: How is the magic created? You would not believe how many stories we came up with from just this one question. In half an hour. He got two of his novel ideas from previous Boot Camp magic "brainstorm sessions." He says that's how the idea's "world" is created. Through the "rules of magic." In his view: Until you know that you can't write the story.
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2009 2:05:07 GMT -5 by pixydust
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If you are born with a gift, then it somes from God and cannot be evil in and of itself. I applaud your courage in talkign about your family gift, as it can be quite controversial in Christian circles. As you might be able to tell, I believe in family gifts, as they run through my family. My family is also very staunch Church of Christ, and you can't get much more conservative than that.
In my family, such things are noted, listened to and then we go on with our life. None of us have been pulled into witchcraft or spiritualism by these gifts. We are more sure of the power of God by them.
This has allowed me to witness to my step-daughters who were being pulled by the wiccan movement by their false promises. One of those was that if you were born with a family gift, it automatically made you a member of their religion. I was able to show them the dangers of playing with spirits and the traps that were happening to their friends who did so.
There are those who say that no true story ever ends.[br]There are others who say that there is only one true story and we are all a part of it.
One of the philosophical problems I have with magic as a good thing is the issue of compulsion. However it is conceived, whether a substance, or an energy, it is made into a vessel for the excercising of the human will in often extraordinary and forceful ways in a way that compels nature or others to serve that will. Even if the 'cause' is ostensibly good, the compulsion is still there.
In the beginning creation served man. If found its connection to God, its Creator through man, and man's stewardship of nature, his dominion if you will was priestly, lifting up all that participated in Him with thanksgiving to God. He was clothed by God's glory, and received the fruit of the earth without compulsion, and rendered its strength and beauty back to God in his worship and prayer. There were no crafts or trades, for creation gave freely of itself to man's need. There were no arts, for beauty was not fragmented, nor was man forgetful of God's beauty either directly or as invested and expressed within the creation. But all that changed with the fall. Man had to labor, and thus were born crafts and trades, and man's vision and heart became dull, so he made music and other arts to remind his heart of what was lost...but soon enough his tools and his arts were turned to serve not his needs but his will to possess, control, and exploit the world to serve his own blind passions. Magic is an extrapolation and enlargement of this tendency...I will make the universe serve me.
But what would it look like to have a "magical" being who refused that mindset, someone who was served by "magic' rather than who compelled magic to serve. The closest character I've seen of this sort was the oddly placed Tom Bombadil in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The ring had no power to compel him because he lacked all desire to compel others or the world. He served the world and thus lived within it as a lord...practically a prelapsarian Adam figure.
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2009 20:47:21 GMT -5 by seraphim
I'm of the inclination that Magic in and of itself is a neutral entity and it is how it is applied that is good or bad... much like electricity.
Of course that could also depend on the source of magic. If, in your world, magic is a naturally occouring energy source that can be tapped into by some people then my answer stands. If, like in some worlds, it is drawn from other entities or evil sources, then it is bad.
Also some schools of magic would lend themselves to being totally evil, such as necromancy.
Though just having said that makes me wonder what a story about a good necromancer would look like.
I agree, that's how I think of it...It can also just be a skill that some people have, like quick wits or musical ability. It's not good or bad by itself, but the way you use it makes it good or bad.
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2009 11:03:02 GMT -5 by koolteskip
"The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed." -Leonidas, 300
The way I'm planning to handle magic in one of my stories is that it's a highly addictive, downward-spiral type of thing. Think drugs but energetic instead of chemical. A bit of dabbling won't get the character hooked but the real "masters" can't go much longer than an hour without a "hit." And their lives reflect the addiction.
I'm thinking the MC will be one to dabble and experience the high and then have to fight the addiction with a fantasy-world twelve-step program: Magickers Anonymous. Hadn't realized this would take a comedic direction but maybe that's best when dealing with a serious topic like drug abuse.
Post by stardreamer on Apr 12, 2009 22:36:49 GMT -5
So I'm starting this thread with a bit of hesitation, mainly because I'm new and feel a bit awkward starting a discussion, and also because I hope this doesn't hurt religious sentiments. In a Christian Fantasy Novel, should magic, sorcery, necromancy, etc., and subsequently their practitioners, be depicted in a good, bad, or neutral light? I've mine own opinions, to which I'll own up once I see what people think, but I'm just curious about what everyone else thinks without an official doctrine or something being drawn up or consulted.
So! What do you think?
I'm actually of the oppinion that magic is good or bad depending on how it is displayed. Ok, so here is what I mean...
God created the heavens and the earh. How? With his own power, of course! But can we, as humans, explain his power? Explain the supernatural? No. That is where we came up with magic. We couldn't explain the supernatural or God's power, so we came up with magic in the medeavle times and in the more modern times we have turned to "science".
I still prefer the term "magic".
In one of my manuscripts I have developed magic sort of like this: We, as christians, know that god spoke and the world was. In my book the God figure sings and things are. His voice imprints signiture energys into things whether living or dead. If these energies weren't there, or somehow dissapeared, the thing (whatever it was) would simply cease to exist. There wouldn't even be dust as that too would need signiture energies. Those characters who are close to God in thier relashionship and being are the ones that can tap into his magic and use it for thier benifit.
The villian, my lucifer character, he too has a type of magic, but it is a twisted form of the real god's.
So anyway, yeah, I think magic is good in a fantasy book depending on how you use it. Necromancy though.... I would just plain leave that alone.
And does anybody else dislike the way our fantasy genre is being taken over by vampires, zombies, and the undead? I'm getting really tired of it!
you can, of course, make magic be something like has been mentioned here, in your fantasy universe, but that would not be in keeping with its actual application. Thus the need for definitions.
My other objection is that in reality, humans can't "tap into God's" anything, whether you call it magic, or science (which I wouldn't) or the Holy Spirit (which I would). And that's the difference. The issue of compulsion, to use Seraphim's word. Does the one who uses the "magic" of your universe, use it at their own will, for their own ends, or do they ask God to do something and wait and hope and trust that God will do it?
Stephen Lawhead was kind of fuzzy on some of this, but it worked in the universe of his story. The druid priest called on the Swift Sure Hand to summon the storm. The Swift Sure Hand was clearly allegorical to the Holy Spirit, given the context in the story, and so it seemed the priest was praying and expecting a sign and wonder. But how often have pagans attempted to control the elements by the use of un-godly magic? So by the result, it appeared that the priest used magic, and thus violated the law of God.
Or St. Patric was said to have asked God to stop a snow storm summoned by druid priests, and God fulfilled his request. A youth pastor I know said that his youth group prayed for snow and it snowed, and they prayed for the snow to stop, and it stopped. Looking at the weather patterns at the time, it was definitely not "normal" for it to snow and stop snowing when they asked for it to do so.
All that to point out that third party observers can't always tell the difference, and readers might not be able to tell the difference, but there is still a difference between magic, science, and the miraculous, and magic is not of God in our real world, though it might be in someone's stories.
Some struggle through the desert because He said . . .[br][br]". . .If you would be my disciples, you must take up your cross daily and follow me"
Post by The Blue Collared Philosopher on Apr 21, 2009 11:56:04 GMT -5
I've only read a few posts, but here is my opinion on magic. In a fantasy setting: Magic isn't wrong or right. Your magic is connected to the rules of your world. It depends on where the magic comes from, what the user intents to do, and what it does to the user.
In this world, the earth that we all live on, with the rules of our world, i would say that magic is for the most part evil. Not because can't be used for good, but because the good don't need to use it. In reality, i think that "magic" would be better defined as "demonic activity." If you are calling on a power outside of your own, and your not calling on God...then it must be demonic.
And when we call on God and "Magical" things happen, I would call that a "Gift" or "Miracle." And i think that these "gifts" must be used...with...um...wisdom. If you have a "gift", make sure that you use it Biblically. If you are trying to follow the God's Word, then your heart is at least in the right place.
Live Pure, Speak Truth, Right Wrong, Follow the King
Post by The Blue Collared Philosopher on Apr 21, 2009 20:26:26 GMT -5
Um...well...torainfor, i've never actually read Harry Potter. I want to, but i haven't. I saw one of the movies, and it was very good. Um...so...with my limited knowledge about Harry Potter, i would say that it is fantasy. From what i know, Harry Potter's world doesn't follow the same rules as our world...so, to me, it is fantasy.
Live Pure, Speak Truth, Right Wrong, Follow the King