Christian, do you unintentionally delve in religious superstition and magic?

A number of years ago I spent a couple of days with a hiking club in the rural Eastern Cape province of South Africa.  

On the first night of the back-breaking, blister-producing trip, a few of us sat around the fire and a sangoma joined us – one of SA’s few white witchdoctors.

He was dressed in typical traditional garb and wore amulets and charms to ward off various spirits.  He asked us if he could throw some herbs into the fire to cleanse the air of evil spirits.

Most people around the fire were very keen as (I guess) they thought that any kind of cleansing from any kind of spirit could only be a good thing.

Apparently, he then purified the air of evil spirits.

A number of things interested me about that evening:

1. The witchdoctor, unlike so many people today, acknowledged (like the Bible does) the existence of the spiritual world

2. The witchdoctor naively thought that some strange smelling smoke could drive away evil spirits

The Bible teaches that Satan and the demons are powerful beings and couldn’t care less about which herbs you throw on the fire.  One needs someone more powerful than Satan to bind him or overcome him. Cf. Mark 3:27

3. The witchdoctor gave me insight into the typical, worldly religious worldview

Many people think that they, like the witchdoctor, can control or manipulate the spiritual realm by performing certain rituals, saying certain words or wearing certain charms.  This is the essence of religion.

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Spirituality kills

There are very few old school atheists around today. Most people believe in god, an unseen spiritual world and the existence of evil. Most people pray especially when facing difficulty or illness. There are numerous books on “higher consciousness”, “channelling”, “conversations with God” and your “personal angel”. Day time talk show hosts advocate prayer, though it’s your preference as to who or what you would like to pray to. Our world is very spiritual, but they have no clue about Jesus.

We could have been in Ephesus in the 1st Century. A very spiritual city – even boasting the temple of Artemis – but ignorant about Jesus. They prayed, recited special chants, wore good luck amulets to ward of evil and also believed in the existence of personal “spiritual assistants” who helped out from time to time. The average Ephesian practised magic as a way to manipulate whatever god was available to help in the desired way, like getting a girl to like you.

Continue reading Spirituality kills