Sunday, October 28, 2007

Magic is Real

At least that's what my daughters tell me. I had another talk with them this weekend about why they don't want to read any more fantasy books. I asked them where they got the idea that magic (even the fictional kind)is bad. They told me they had never heard anything about it at church; only their mother and grandmother had ever said anything about it. I asked them if they were told why it was bad. "Because it opens a door for demons to come in."


I asked them if they had ever seen me doing anything evil (aside from reading evil books). They had not. Whew. I then grabbed my copy of the Bible and set it in front of them. I asked them to find a passage in there that said magic is evil. Amazingly enough, Erica was able to find a couple that she said supported her. Both of them were in the book of Acts. First up:

Acts 13:7-12

7He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8But the magician Elymas (for that is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now listen—the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind for a while, unable to see the sun.’ Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he went about groping for someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

Erica was adamant that Elymas was bad because he was a "magician." I asked her if the problem was that he was a magician or that he was opposing Paul and trying to "turn the proconsul away from the faith." She said both, but I said that magician is just his job description. It could say "the blacksmith Elymas." The problem isn't that he is a magician. It is that he is trying to lead people from the faith. She grudgingly agreed.

Her next example was Acts 19:13-19
13Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’ 14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15But the evil spirit said to them in reply, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ 16Then the man with the evil spirit leapt on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. 17When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. 18Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. 19A number of those who practised magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books* was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins.

I told her that the problem here seemed to be that these people were claiming to have powers that they didn't have. I also said that many of these people who claimed to be magicians deceived people and conned money out of them. I said magic wasn't any more real then than it is now, but that people would make fraudulent claims about magic (or anything else) to deceive people. Erica and Shaena both agreed that the problem was deceiving people and taking their money. However, Erica hit me with this:

"I believe magic is real."

What? She didn't know anyone who had done "real" magic. She didn't know anyone who knew someone who had done "real" magic. She didn't know any stories of "real" magic being done. But, she "knows" magic is real. I told her that aside from one or two crazy people in the world, no one believes magic is real (yeah, yeah, I know that there is a lot more than one or two. I wasn't going to get into that with her).

I also tried to explain to her the difference between faith and reason. She tried to tell me that it is "obvious" God exists. When I told her that there is no proof for God's existence, she just reiterated her point that it is obvious because "how could everything be alive" if it were not for God. I tried to say that you can't prove God exists and that if there was solid proof there would be a lot fewer atheists in the world. I told her you have to take it on faith that God exists, but that faith is not a bad thing. I told her that my friend, Jeromy, has said he has grown more through faith than reason. She nodded and seemed to think about that.

I left it at that. The whole talk probably lasted a little over an hour. These conversations always seem to leave me mentally drained. Erica was crying a little bit by the time we were done, but she doesn't seem to have hard feelings over these talks. Two minutes later, she gave me a big hug and said, "I love you."

I love you, too, Erica. That's why I won't give up on you and your sister.

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