(Close Window)
Topic: Religious Objections?
Message: Posted by: knibby (Aug 8, 2008 07:39PM)
Hey everybody, I've recently got back into magic after a two year hiatus. When I used to do magic I used to perform at a few church fairs etc. doing things such as spongeballs, chop cups, a lot of card tricks , ambition card, card to wallet among other stuff. It always went down a storm. However, starting magic again I have been eager to move more towards mentalism. I am just wondering if Christians would object to a mind reading act (as I wish to start using church fairs for practice). And has anyone been in a situation were someone has objected to your magic because of their religion? I originally posted this in the 'tricks are on me section' and I was advised to post my concerns here to hear your thoughts.
Thanks,
Graeme.
Message: Posted by: Lyndel (Aug 8, 2008 07:50PM)
This info may be helpful to you: http://ricksmagic.com/whydomagic.html


Lyndel
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (Aug 8, 2008 08:53PM)
Richard Osterlind is a good Christian Brother...he's shared with me that his act has opened doors for him to share his faith. I also do mentalism in my programs...it all depends on presentation and what you're trying to portray yourself as.
Message: Posted by: mormonyoyoman (Aug 8, 2008 09:00PM)
I agree that saying you sold your soul for such and such powers (Don't laugh. Some mental magicians have done just that, and let's not forget the cute li'l devils on classic posters.) wouldn't endear anyone to a Christian's heart. There is, however, so much which can be positively shared by demonstrating mentalism effects, not the least of which is the power of one's mind. I'm working with a missionary now to help him develop some magic for gospel lessons, and I might just turn to mentalism to demonstrate a few difficult topics. You never know.

I can verify Richard Osterlind's strong faith and courage. He doesn't do gospel mentalism (Has the category ever been delineated?) he "just" shares the Word after the show with anyone who wants to talk. If working a non-scary act, we mentalists can be, with one show, someone our audiences want to get to know.

*jeep!
--Grandpa Chet
Message: Posted by: knibby (Aug 8, 2008 09:14PM)
Thanks for your input, if I do go ahead with presenting a mind reading act at a local church fair I would , quite obviously explain that I perform illusions for entertainment purposes. But I was just making sure by asking a few christian magicians/mentalists so when it comes to it I don't anger anyone.
Thanks again,
Graeme.
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Aug 8, 2008 09:36PM)
Check out this link and go from there:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/search_post.php?topic=261310&forum=16&post=5595464

Terry
Message: Posted by: brownsentertainment (Aug 12, 2008 05:10PM)
Another christian entertainment states that he simply does tricks for the eyes and puzzles for the mind.
Message: Posted by: Hushai (Aug 15, 2008 02:49AM)
After I did a Gospel Magic effect once, a lady said to me, "You know, magic is DECEPTION!" She said it as though that was an objection to Gospel Magic that disturbed her very much. It got me to thinking that "deception" is not entirely evil. Everything in creation has got to have some good purpose -- and the capacity for deception seems to be deeply engrained in nature and certainly in the human mind. While it can be used for evil, it also has its good uses. Theater is a kind of deception to which we willingly submit ourselves. When we read a work of fiction we are in a sense deceiving ourselves, pretending for the moment that what we are reading is real. Even the ability to read a map presupposes that we can deceive a part of our minds with another part: "Now, here's New Jersey, and Hoboken is right here..." (No, it's not! This is a piece of paper, not New Jersey, and that's a dot on the paper, not Hoboken!) Has anyone else ever thought about this aspect of the matter?
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (Aug 15, 2008 06:58AM)
I don't look at it as deception...Magic is an art form, I help create mystery and entertainment and most of all I minister. 31 Saved this week in one of my programs. Just tell folks that you use special effects...lol
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Aug 15, 2008 10:45AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-15 03:49, Hushai wrote:
After I did a Gospel Magic effect once, a lady said to me, "You know, magic is DECEPTION!" She said it as though that was an objection to Gospel Magic that disturbed her very much.... Has anyone else ever thought about this aspect of the matter?
[/quote]

I would have asked the lady if she used make-up (cosmetics).

Terry
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Aug 15, 2008 12:05PM)
If this is a "church fair", is it for church members only? Or for the general public? If for the general public, as you would not be presenting any kind of gospel message but only general entertainment, I should think you wouldn't have any problem. If for church members, get the pastor's approval beforehand and you shouldn't have any problem.

Except from the overly-superstitious, and there is almost nothing you can ever do to satisfy them! (Maybe take them aside and make them feel very stupid by explaining some of the basic effects - but then they'll still claim you were deceiving people.)

Ed
Message: Posted by: MagicMatthews (Aug 15, 2008 05:09PM)
I think this is an important topic because some people are very naÔve and tend to think that anything that they cannot explain must be supernatural. It is also important to be very clear on this to an audience as the practice of real magic or sorcery or divination or witchcraft, is condemned in the Bible. Leviticus 19:26, Deuteronomy 18:10, Deuteronomy 18:14, 2 Chronicles 33:6 2 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 21:6, Acts 8:9, Acts 19:19.

I agree with Terry in calling it "Special Effects." Duane Laflin uses the terms "Mystery object lessons" and "Surprises for the eyeses."

I don't know if it is just my area, where people are pretty easygoing, or it is the way my wife and I present, but I have not really had much of a problem with this issue. However, I do remember one time I admit, that a young lady who was a very committed and active Christian saw me perform a simple cups & balls routine! Her reaction made me laugh at first because I thought she was joking, but then I got worried when she looked at me as if I was possessed. She was telling me that this was evil and of the Devil. I tried talking my way out of it saying, "It is just an illusion. There is a perfectly rational explanation for this. It is the oldest trick in the book!" LOL. She still never believed me and always seemed very distant to me after that.

This was years ago, and I think I'm a bit older and wiser now, and because of the way we present, we don't really get any objections.

But suppose we do get into the situation I described. Do we expose for the sake of someone's conscience? How do we avoid our liberty becoming a "stumbling block to those who are weak"?

1 Corinthians 8
"9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idolís temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."

Can we substitute "meat" and "food" for "magic"?
I'd be interested in what people think about this.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 15, 2008 06:39PM)
I think a great analogy for most people, is to ask them how a car works, or how a plane works, or how a computer works. Some people know and some people don't. However, it doesn't make it evil for those who can't explain it, just because you don't understand how it works. It's simply something you don't know, but there is the possibility of learning about it, if you want to study.

We go through much of life accepting puzzles and mysteries for what they are. Magic tricks should be no different than that.

I don't think it's necessary to tell them the secrets. It's much like spoiling a good book or a movie, by telling them whodunnit, or by skipping forward to the end yourself.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: MagicMatthews (Aug 15, 2008 08:46PM)
Thanks Donald, That's a good analogy.
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Aug 15, 2008 10:07PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-15 18:09, MagicMatthews wrote:

How do we avoid our liberty becoming a "stumbling block to those who are weak"?

1 Corinthians 8
"9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idolís temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."

Can we substitute "meat" and "food" for "magic"?
I'd be interested in what people think about this.
[/quote]

If you substitute "magic" for "food" and "meat" and carry the idea through, this is what you have:

1 Corinthians 8
"9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge performing magic (tricks), will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to perform magic (tricks)? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if magic makes my brother stumble, I will never again perform magic, lest I make my brother stumble."

The idea of a stumbling block is that your involvement in a "certain something" will embolden someone who believes that "certain something" is wrong for them (sinful?) and then they participate in that "certain something."

So it's really about their participation in it, not about their likes and dislikes.

I've never come across anyone who was offended by my magic being tempted to perform it against their conscience, so I really don't believe my performing has ever been a stumbling block in the true biblical sense of the word. And I doubt that many of you have had the experience either.

Terry
Message: Posted by: MagicMatthews (Aug 16, 2008 12:11AM)
I must agree with you on this after reading into it, Terry, but what could you say then may be happening spiritually for the person who sees the Christian illusionist and calls it satanic? As I mentioned earlier, this has happened only once to me, and that was a long time ago.

By the way,
[quote]
I would have asked the lady if she used make-up (cosmetics).

Terry
[/quote]

That line's a classic. I wouldn't mind using that.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 16, 2008 12:19AM)
Steve (MagicMatthews) -

Have you read [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=164580&forum=198&0]this post[/url]?

There are also other resources out there that discuss whether "magic tricks" are evil.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: MagicMatthews (Aug 16, 2008 01:39AM)
Also on the FCM site. Probably if the Internet were around back then I would have referred this lady to it. That gets me thinking, I wonder if she thinks the Internet is evil? Haha.
Message: Posted by: Hushai (Aug 16, 2008 03:40AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-15 11:45, Terry Holley wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-08-15 03:49, Hushai wrote:
After I did a Gospel Magic effect once, a lady said to me, "You know, magic is DECEPTION!" She said it as though that was an objection to Gospel Magic that disturbed her very much.... Has anyone else ever thought about this aspect of the matter?
[/quote]

I would have asked the lady if she used make-up (cosmetics).

Terry
[/quote]

Terry, that's great. I wish I had thought of that. Another example of deception in everyday life, one that a great many women engage in without a second thought.

Magic (the kind the Magic Cafť is all about) IS deception, without a doubt. We are not REALLY doing the things we SEEM to be doing, just deceiving the eyes and the mind into thinking (however momentarily)that we are doing it. There is a "trick" involved, and that means it's deception, even if our spectators know it's some kind of deception. But, my point is that that does not automatically make it evil, as that lady apparently assumed it did.
Message: Posted by: ChrisG (Aug 16, 2008 09:48AM)
As far as being ask about magic being deception, I ask the person if they watch TV. Is that deception or entertainment?

My opening includes the Russian Rings and I explain: A well known magician (Harlan Tarbell, in book one lesson one of the Tarbell course in magic) says "the art of a magician is to take you to a land of enchantment a fairyland of wonder" and another in his book "Greater Gospel Magic" (Duane Laflin) says "a Magician does special effects without the use of cameras".

This has helped answer the questions before they are ask.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 16, 2008 10:18AM)
Also keep in mind that some you encounter would rather be right in what they initially thought & said, as opposed to consider another point of view. But that shouldn't stop you from trying to explain to them initially.

- Donald

P.S. I like this quote (read it in an Andre Kole book):

"I love magicians because they are honest men", said author Elbert Hubbard. "They tell you they are going to fool you and then proceed to do it. But no matter what happens at the show, when you get home you will still have your watch, your pocketbook, and your appendix, and that is more than I can say for some of my non-magician aquaintances."
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Aug 16, 2008 11:28AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-16 01:11, MagicMatthews wrote:
but what could you say then may be happening spiritually for the person who sees the Christian illusionist and calls it satanic? As I mentioned earlier, this has happened only once to me, and that was a long time ago.
[/quote]

I don't think that's my responsibility. As long as I am confident in what I am doing as far as presenting entertainment or lessons or what have you, and I am not trafficing in evil spiritual powers nor trying to make others believe that I am and they can too, then I am of a clear conscience. Whatever is going on in the other person's mind is not in my power to control.

I actually did this to a world-class performer one time - I accused him of using demon powers because "I can see no other way you could have done that!" Oh, the pride and arrogance behind that statement that I could not then see!

We see someone who can do complex math in their head, or create an epic novel or beautiful song, and we marvel at their possession of gifts and skills far beyond us. But we see someone who can pull a silk from a TT and call him a devil??!? Are we too proud to say, "You are far more clever than I!" Are we too proud to admit there are things we don't know? And some things we "absolutely know!" are wrong?

If a person is not willing to give me the benefit of any shade of doubt, and will not engage me in a serious discussion with the intent on being humble enough to be wrong, then I am not worried in the least what my presentation is doing to them spiritually - their own pride and lack of teachability is doing far more damage than I could ever do!

Ed
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (Aug 16, 2008 02:14PM)
I actually had a lady call me who saw me perform on Christian Television to tell me that she was bothered by it, but I told her that we had seen many people saved and if God endorses what I do, then it's fine with me.

I've seen 31 saved this week in one program alone...
Message: Posted by: Hushai (Aug 17, 2008 01:19AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-16 10:48, ChrisG wrote:
As far as being ask about magic being deception, I ask the person if they watch TV. Is that deception or entertainment?
[/quote]

I would answer that it's both deception AND entertainment. That is my point. Some, if not all, entertainment has an element of deception in it. As Elbert Hubbard seems to have been saying(see Donald Dunphy's post above -- that's a good quote!), magicians are "HONEST deceivers." They deceive you, but in the very nature of what magical entertainment is, you KNOW you're being deceived, and you love it (we hope). And that's O.K.!

A paradox: a bad magician promises to deceive you, and doesn't -- you see through his tricks -- so, you have been deceived in a different way, and this time you don't like it at all! :)
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (Aug 17, 2008 04:57AM)
Wouldn't you say a critical part of deception is that a person is unawares that they are being deceived? That's the thing about deception...those who are being deceived don't know they are...Those who attend our programs know that we are not really doing "magic" and know that there is some sort of method we are using...if you go to a restaurant and order a specialty that they never reveal the receipe, is that deception? No...you're enjoying the benefits of the meal, you don't have to know how they created it. Those who watch us perform may not know how we do it, they just know it's not real, but enjoy the entertainment value, or lessons that we teach.

Now if you're trying to come across as having real powers...that's deception and you're in a whole other category by yourself.

For those poor souls who actually think we are working real magic...they have been subjected to wrong thinking or bad teaching. You could create a small handout that could give to help them understand the correct nature of our ministries.
Message: Posted by: Hushai (Aug 18, 2008 05:31PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-17 05:57, Terry Owens wrote:
Wouldn't you say a critical part of deception is that a person is unawares that they are being deceived? That's the thing about deception...those who are being deceived don't know they are...[/quote]

I disagree. I can deceive MYSELF, as when I pretend something: one part of my mind deceives another part. This is what keeps psychoanalysts in business. But I believe some self-deception is healthy and normal, as when we behave as though the map is the territory, even though we know it isn't, or when we "make believe".

Magic HAS to be deception, or the attempt at it. It's deception even when I KNOW you're deceiving me, if I don't know the method whereby you're doing that: are you using a force in this card trick? Or controlling the card to the top of the deck? Or what? Even an experienced magician may not be sure, and so may be deceived by another magician. Both of them know it's not "real" magic, but one may still deceive the other, about something.

I am trying to be philosophical and theological here. I am trying to examine the most basic meanings of "deception." It is a matter of definition, but I think what I am saying comes closer to the truth of what we are doing in performing magic.
Message: Posted by: uncleperry (Aug 18, 2008 06:07PM)
Hushai,
Afraid I have to agree with Terry here. Deception, by definition, requires the recipient to walk away "unaware" of the fact it has happened. I follow the process you're explaining; just think a different word would make a better label. We don't want anyone to link "deception" and "Christian". It should never be our goal to deceive.
'unc.
Message: Posted by: Mark005 (Aug 19, 2008 06:15AM)
Well, then take it another way. You can't watch any movie about Jesus because the actor playing him really isn't Jesus, so THAT is deception.

Oh, wait, that means we can't watch most movies or tv shows, because those actors are deceving us because they are not the people they claim to be.

Hmmm... we have to throw out works of fiction as well, its not real, its deception!

Fatuous as it was, I hope my example will serve to point out the problem with their position.

Moreover, when the Bible speaks to magic and witchcraft, it is really speaking about making people believe you are speaking for God, or have God's powers when you do not. You know, putting a radio reciever in your ear and saying you hear the voice of the Lord.

I find it highly unlikely that anyone would believe that a person making cardbord rabbits change color, or rings link and unlink, is saying this is a miracle from God.

Which brings us to the problem with this topic. When we bring mentalism into the world of Gospel Magic, the question is, "Is the line I am doing tricks, not using unseen powers" clear?

Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is very different in the minds of the audience, than showing them you know what they are thinking, or wnat they were going to do before they did it. All disclaimers aside, to the lay audience, that is not "magic".

In my own Church I caused some discomfort by calling myself a conjurer. If you look the word up, it says in the defination "one that performs slight of hand or illusion". It shook so many people up I was asked to use the word "magician".

IMHO, and I am aware others will disagree, mentalism in gospel magic is a bad idea. Not only because of how it will be viewed, but how difficult it will be to do mentalism and take the focus off of you to put it on the Lord.

Just my thoughts...
Message: Posted by: MagicMatthews (Aug 19, 2008 09:00AM)
I think that yes, we have to be clear about what we're doing to avoid confusion. Some people think that the magician actually is doing magic. Unfortunately, this is reinforced by some out there who present themselves as having real powers.

I think if our presentation is truly entertaining, then a lot of these things are not really an issue. The entertainment value can misdirect them to avoid thinking about our magic as real "magic."

Also, in regards to mentalism: Mentalism is more a style of presenting an effect, rather than the effect itself. e.g. I use the Sketch-O-Magic all the time, but I would not call it mentalism, however It could easily be considered mentalism if I choose to present it that way.

[quote]
On 2008-08-19 07:15, Mark005 wrote:
In my own Church I caused some discomfort by calling myself a conjurer. If you look the word up, it says in the defination "one that performs slight of hand or illusion". It shook so many people up I was asked to use the word "magician".
[/quote]
Ha - that's funny.
Message: Posted by: Hushai (Aug 19, 2008 09:28PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-18 19:07, uncleperry wrote:
It should never be our goal to deceive.
'unc.
[/quote]

Then, we can't do magic. Have you never read in a magic book any sentence like "This move is very deceptive"? It's always intended as a recommendation when the author writes that, not a condemnation of the move. "Deceptive" means "useful for deception." We have to face it -- magic, in our sense, IS deception, and that's O.K.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Aug 21, 2008 09:05PM)
The Only Resistance I have gotten was people think it is deception and that is wrong. Actually in the Bible God has actaully bless Deception. It is only wrong when it's only goal is to benifit you or destory someone else, other than that, deception is OK.
Message: Posted by: MagicMatthews (Aug 21, 2008 09:31PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-21 22:05, drkptrs1975 wrote:
Actually in the Bible God has actaully bless Deception.
[/quote]
Would you like to elaborate?
Message: Posted by: Terry Holley (Aug 21, 2008 09:44PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-21 22:31, MagicMatthews wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-08-21 22:05, drkptrs1975 wrote:
Actually in the Bible God has actaully bless Deception.
[/quote]
Would you like to elaborate?
[/quote]

How about Rahab?

Terry
Message: Posted by: MagicMatthews (Aug 22, 2008 08:50PM)
Good example. Here deception was used to achieve God's purposes.