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London
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Maybe I am missing something , but I hear a lot of questions about mentalism and christians etc. What is so bad about mentalism...or even psychics for that matter. You are not claiming to be God. What is there to say God doesn't give certain people certain gifts. It has been documented that blind people have painted beautiful pictures and even sculpt. Deaf people have played beautiful music . What is so wrong with "normal" people having a very strong intuition?
Of course ripping people off is wrong no matter if your claim is psychic or if you are selling the ultimate vacuum cleaner. Cheating people is wrong.
I just do not get why seeing things others can't see is so wrong. We do not put down the color blind because their world looks different than ours.
Maybe somene can shed some light on this for me.
THOUGHTfully,

LONDON
Mind Bullets
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I have yet to find any justifiable or compelling argument that disallows psychic entertainment/mentalism in a Christian context. Some have tried. All the reasons given apply to magic as well as mentalism. Yet these same people claim that magic is OK. Some have gone so far as to claim that the Bible prohibits psychic entertainment. Those same people say that magic is OK. For all the discussion I've seen on this, no one seems to be able to prove it without contradicting themselves and/or invoking a double standard.
Denver Dave
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Quote:
On 2005-03-26 17:23, JimHilston wrote:
I have yet to find any justifiable or compelling argument that disallows psychic entertainment/mentalism in a Christian context. Some have tried. All the reasons given apply to magic as well as mentalism. Yet these same people claim that magic is OK. Some have gone so far as to claim that the Bible prohibits psychic entertainment. Those same people say that magic is OK. For all the discussion I've seen on this, no one seems to be able to prove it without contradicting themselves and/or invoking a double standard.


AMEN!!
God Bless,
Denver
Terry Holley
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Quote:
On 2005-03-26 17:23, JimHilston wrote:
I have yet to find any justifiable or compelling argument that disallows psychic entertainment/mentalism in a Christian context. Some have tried. All the reasons given apply to magic as well as mentalism. Yet these same people claim that magic is OK. Some have gone so far as to claim that the Bible prohibits psychic entertainment. Those same people say that magic is OK. For all the discussion I've seen on this, no one seems to be able to prove it without contradicting themselves and/or invoking a double standard.


Let me give this a shot.

I propose that the condemnations from God written down in Deuteronomy 18 were given to keep the Israelites from following heathen customs (divination, necromancy, etc). Those who practiced these "abominations/detestable customs" had no real power. They were simply frauds who led the people astray by making claims that they could perform these various practices. God pulls no punches in stating that He is against it.

If one claims to have these abilities today, that person would be claiming the same thing that was claimed by those individuals in Old Testament times. I see no other way to look at it if one claims to believe the Bible is God's word.

Now for the most part, it is "psychic entertainers" who perform these types of effects that are mentioned in Deuteronomy 18. If they claim that they have a "special" ability or power (or in my opinion, leave the audience with the belief that they have a special power), I believe that they can be classified with those who are condemned in Scripture.

When you use the term "magician," we need to know exactly what you mean by that. Magicians, as most of us know them, do not perform the same kind of effects as psychic entertainers and do not claim to have real power. They perform "tricks." In my opinion, it depends on what they claim.

If one uses an Ambitious Card routine or a TT and claims a special power, I would classify them with the type of magicians that Moses and Aaron went up against in Exodus 7 (the same Hebrew word is used in Exodus 7:11 and Deuteronomy 18:10). They would be included in the condemnations in Deuteronomy 18.

I perform mentalism (could be considered "psychic entertainment," I guess) and magic. In my mentalism I make a disclaimer. I may do so at times in my magic show, but I usually do not see or feel the need.

I deal with much of this discussion in the book "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena" which I coauthored with illusionist Andre Kole.

Hopefully this helps a little with ironing out some of the confusion.

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
Mind Bullets
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Hi Terry,

You write:
Quote:
If one claims to have these abilities today, that person would be claiming the same thing that was claimed by those individuals in Old Testament times. I see no other way to look at it if one claims to believe the Bible is God's word.
I would agree. But does the fact that some psychic entertainers claim -- and in some cases, believe themselves -- to have these abilities for real disallow mentalism/psychic entertainment? If so, then wouldn't the same logic apply to magic entertainment in the church, given the fact that some magicians claim to have real magical abilities? This is the double standard I'm talking about. The original question was, "What's so bad about mentalism?" My answer would be, "The same things that are so bad about magic, although there are magicians who can't seem to see the double standard they apply to this question."

Terry writes:
Quote:
In my opinion, it depends on what they claim.
I agree. But the fact that some magicians want the audience to believe they have real magic powers doesn't mean we must condemn all magic in wholesale fashion, does it? The same should be true of mentalism.

Terry writes:
Quote:
I perform mentalism (could be considered "psychic entertainment," I guess) and magic. In my mentalism I make a disclaimer. I may do so at times in my magic show, but I usually do not see or feel the need.
But if someone were to come up to you after your show and say to you, "I know you claim that you don't really have magical powers, but I realize that you MUST say this for legal reasons. I truly believe your magic is real, and I'm grateful to have had the privilege of seeing such a wonderful demonstration of your gifts." It's a matter of degrees, isn't it? Given the fact that mentalism is more likely or most often in need of a disclaimer than conventional magic, does that then disqualify mentalism as a legimate and biblically allowable form of entertainment? There was a less-enlightened time in history when magic and psychic entertainment were indistinguishable. Do you believe the were rules different then? If so, then do you believe the rules may change in the future? Perhaps people will become even more enlightened and mentalists will no longer need to make disclaimers, just as magicians no longer (or less often) do.
Terry Holley
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Jim:

Maybe I wasn't clear in my communication. Let me try it again.

If you claim to have real power via mentalism, psychic entertainment or magic, in my opinion you fall into the category in Deuteronomy 18. If you don't, then go ahead and perform, regardless of how others present themselves.

I have never condemned Performer A's performance (or all magic and mentalism in wholesale fashion) on the basis of Performer B's performance. Just because there may be mentalists/psychic entertainers/magicians who perform the same effects I do and want the spectators to believe that they have "power" does not mean that I am guilty of presenting the effects the same way. You would not be guilty either based on another's performance. You would only be guilty if you performed in the manner of Deuteronomy 18.

I have had Christian's believe I had real power. I have had some believe I was demon possessed! I explain it is a trick. When I do that, I am no longer responsible for what they choose to believe.

I coauthored the book I referred to earlier to help Christians sort through all the confusion that exists these days in regard to psychic phenomena and psychic claims.

I hope this comes across as I'm not sure that I can be any clearer in attempting to answer your questions.

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
Mind Bullets
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Terry,

Thank you for your reply. It answers my questions perfectly, and I am in strong agreement with your views here. There are those who condemn mentalism but give magic a pass, and I wanted to make sure I understood your position.

By the way, Moses also condemns those whose prophecies came true and used their prophetic credentials to entice Israel to follow false gods. See Deut 13:1-10.

Thanks again,
Jim
rogerj
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HI all, I don't have much to say but this, as long as people know you are not REALLY reading their minds with some satanic spirit in you or that you control them like most mentalists say I Think it is fine. PLus most Christians at a magic show it is just tricks anyway. I mean would they higher you if they didn't.
No man can serve two masters, give God the glory and by doing this it will be evident that you are not using sorcery of the Bible, but "trickery" that promotes entertainment and MOST importantly praise God. Oh and pray about it. (I guess that should have been the mosr importatn
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For by GRACE are you saved through faith and not of YOURSELVES it is the GIFT of God NOT OF WORKS so no man can boast.
-Ephesians 2:8-9
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Parson Smith
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Taking a bit of a different tack...
My problem has been not what I believe, but dealing with the beliefs of others.
I have never claimed "supernatural powers" but after levitating for some kids I had some problems.
They told mommy that I floated in the air and mommy started telling people that I had powers that "came from the devil."
People have been exposed to traditional magic and assume that there is trickery. But really good mentalism (including PK) takes them to realms that they cannot explain through "normal" processes.
For example, they know that the girl must have been in the box before she "appeared" or she really didn't dematerialize from the box, she must have moved in some way that we didn't see.
But when someone reads their mind there is no rational explanation, so one is mentally created that may conflict with religious beliefs.
Then again, I could be wrong.
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dcobbs
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I've seen TV evangelists do cold readings and say 'there is someone here with a bad leg' and someone stands up. So I guess that's one valid way of getting psychic stuff into a church context, just make sure you say that all the information you're getting is coming from God.

Dan
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London
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Leap of faith with Steve Martin....Great movie
THOUGHTfully,

LONDON
mentalvic
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Perhaps a safe and reasonable way to introduce mentalism into a routine would be to use it in a play? A mentalist would make a great Barjesus or some other sorcerer or false prophet. (See Acts, Chapter 13 for more on this.)

A mentalist in a Christian routine, one who pretends to speak to the dead or read minds or levitate, etc. certainly would be a hard sell,

Quote:
On 2005-03-28 10:19, dcobbs wrote:
I've seen TV evangelists do cold readings and say 'there is someone here with a bad leg' and someone stands up.


See, at that point, I'd suspect a stooge. If my leg were really bad, I don't think I'd be standing up so much as having someone lifte me up (or maybe I'd just raise my hand.)
There she was, a dodgy old prune in a tiara, rushing at me waving a sword. Do all knights suffer this whilst being made?
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Surely if "they" have no-way to explain what you have "performed"......thats the point of doing it? ( I'm not talking about selling the Gospel with magic now.....)
I agree with Mr Ammar, "take no prisoners", and Dai Vernon who said "the last thing we have to fool is the mind".

What I find hard to understand is the fact that many of you have said that many Christians need to be told in this day & age that its not the real deal & that we don't have demonic powers........this I think is very disturbing!.

Dave
Donald Dunphy
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Thank you, Terry, for a voice of reason. I was getting ready to complain.

Rightly or wrongly motivated, there are people within the church who are concerned that both magic and mentalism are occultic. They may have these opinions for a variety of reasons, whether it was spiritual discernment, or uninformed opinion, or something they read or heard, or something they were taught.

If we wish to perform in those venues, we may have to deal with those people in advance of the show, or at the show, or after the show. I have even had to deal with well-meaning Christians in the public arena, affecting non-message bookings at malls, public schools, and other places. How you deal with this concern shows your character, and your love for others.

Have you prepared an article or book on the subject? It might help in some cases, but sometimes they aren't willing to even listen to evidence that what you are doing is illusion.

I would, under no circumstances, do a show or any demonstration of entertainment talent (cold reading, etc.), and attribute that to being a spiritual gift from God. The spiritual gifts of discernment and prophesy are different.

You might have to answer to others within the church regarding the action of pretending to have God's gifts when you don't, but I would be more worried about answering to God. Scripture is pretty clear on this issue, and that is why I think it is right when entertainers step up to the plate, and make it clear they have no powers to achieve their entertainment.

God cares about our authenticity.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
magickdabid--uk
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Getting ready to complain?.........why?, how we deal with these issues shows how we behave as Christians....doesn't it?, after all many of us forget that Jesus sat & ate with the so called sinners, then asked them to follow Him.

I get the feeling that many in our audience sit there with their judgemental blinkers on waiting for someone who doesn't quite have the same veiw as they have.

If this was "any" other performance art we would feel that we were cheating the people watching by feeling that we couldn't give it our all. As a performance art I have to quote Doc Shiels...."why do so many magicians actuallyhate the idea of real magic? I suspect that they are scared of it-terrified. that's why they keep repeting....its only a trick...its only a trick."

As a Christian, no-one had to tell me the diffrence.......

Dave
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Quote:
On 2005-03-30 09:36, magickdabid--uk wrote:
Getting ready to complain?.........why?,

...

I get the feeling that many in our audience sit there with their judgemental blinkers on waiting for someone who doesn't quite have the same veiw as they have.


Because this forum is about the discussion of gospel magic, and it seemed like some of the posters were bordering on attacking Christians.

Yes, there are problems within the church. There might be some people that feel that some evangelists use cold reading and other magic techniques to deceive their audiences into attributing to them power and financial gain. There is obviously a time and place to call them out. And those that call them out need to be above reproach themselves.

And yes, some well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people attack magicians and mentalists. Its all about how we deal with it, when it happens to us.

I understand that you feel by acknowledging that we aren't genuine, that we water down our impact of the magic. You feel it destroys the illusion.

However, it is important that we also deal with other people (our audience), and address their concerns. This is the part about, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18) Some people don't understand that magic or mentalism isn't genuine. They simply believe it is real power, and comes from occultic sources.

Just because you get that it isn't real, doesn't mean they are foolish or judgemental for not getting it, too.

This discussion should be something useful to other members doing gospel magic. How have you dealt with this sort of condemnation, when it happened to you? Has it ever happened to you?

When I went through this, I have tried to be calm and non-judgemental. I tried to share facts, and explain. When it wasn't listened to, I did not label them in my mind. I prayed for their understanding, and prayed that God would help me to love them, dispite our disagreement.

When we are being wrongfully judged, we are not called to judge back. We are called to respond with kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Christ died for his bride, the church. We are commanded to love the church, despite its blemishes. He sees her as spotless and white. We still need to go to church, and live and worship with sinners. After all, they have to live and worship with me. Smile

I must have been reading some things into posts, because although there was truth being spoken, it wasn't done to further the discussion of doing gospel magic at churches. It was turning into an "attack the fakirs hour".

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
rogerj
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Im sorry I just had to say somehting. I recently read someone say that televangelists do cold reading and so as long as you mention your knowledge comes from God everything is all right. I do not believe it is a good idea to "read" someones mind and say it came from God. That is honestly almost like having supernatural powers and everyone that is borderlined in a church decerning if mentalist is bad or not in church could be greatly confused or distressed to now think you have the knowledge of what people think given by God.
I think that is truly leading them on to believe you have supernatural powers.
I hope I didn't offend anyone, I was in no way attacking the Christian. Please write back if I should explain further or apologize for misunderstanding.
RogerJ
ROGERJ
For by GRACE are you saved through faith and not of YOURSELVES it is the GIFT of God NOT OF WORKS so no man can boast.
-Ephesians 2:8-9
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Donald Dunphy
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That's what I said, too, just in another way. Don't fake it, and pretend its a real gift. I totally agree, that can shipwreck the faith of many believers.

Quote:
On 2005-03-30 08:26, Donald Dunphy wrote:

I would, under no circumstances, do a show or any demonstration of entertainment talent (cold reading, etc.), and attribute that to being a spiritual gift from God. The spiritual gifts of discernment and prophesy are different.

You might have to answer to others within the church regarding the action of pretending to have God's gifts when you don't, but I would be more worried about answering to God. Scripture is pretty clear on this issue, and that is why I think it is right when entertainers step up to the plate, and make it clear they have no powers to achieve their entertainment.

God cares about our authenticity.

- Donald


For further Scripture evidence of the dangers of this, read Acts 19:13-18.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Dan Ezell
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There is a clear difference in having fun while pretending to read the minds of others and actually trying to make others believe you have supernatural powers of mind reading or other psychic abilities. It is common sense for MOST people that the magic we do is mere trickery. This is not true for psychics. Many people truly believe in psychic powers. If you do, this is your choice, however, there is a REAL reason why psychics legally have to use the word “entertainment” when referring to their abilities. Magicians are not legally required to use such a disclaimer. Why? Because in our country the government recognizes that magicians are safely presumed to be doing mere tricks that simulate powers. On the other hand our government recognizes that psychics may not be perceived in this same manner, therefore they are required to use the word “entertainment.” As a Christian I am not comfortable using my learned skills to claim I have supernatural powers.
Dan
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As a univesity professor in special education I advocate the use magic to increase self-esteem of children with disabilities. Also, many magic tricks can easily be tied to academic lessons. More importanly, magic can be used to create friendships with children with and without disabilities. Smile
rogerj
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Thanks for pointing that out Donald I appreciate your input.
RogerJ
ROGERJ
For by GRACE are you saved through faith and not of YOURSELVES it is the GIFT of God NOT OF WORKS so no man can boast.
-Ephesians 2:8-9
All RogerJ products can be found at www.skilledmagic.8k.com
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