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drkptrs1975
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I have heard it said, that being a Magician is wrong because it is a type of lying. Because you are not really doing what many are think you are doing? I say No, because you are acting, and entertaining. The Audiance knows that you are not doing what it appears you are doing?

So is being a magicain lying, how do you back up your opinions on this. Just curious to see how you would answer.
tbaer
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You will also hear people say magic is of the devil, which it is. When you read of magic in the bible it's always referred to as evil.

Having said that, it can be used as a tool to present the gospel, if done in the correct way. I personally never use the word or term "magic" when performing. I tell the audience I will be doing a gospel presentation or will be conducting a biblical application. I have heard others use the term "gospel magic" which to me is appropriate. Some people will be ok with this and others won't.

Always remember when presenting the gospel of Christ, whether it's through gospel magic or any other type of witnessing, there will be some who like it and others who don't. Just look at the life of Jesus, some followed and some mocked.
revlovejoy
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Forms of socially acceptable lying:

Makeup (cosmetics)
Advertising (or marketing, as it's euphemistically called)
Political campaign speeches
Support garments
answering the question "do these jeans make me fat?"
most people saying "how are you?" (they don't want to know)
contact lenses
rogaine
legislative nomenclature (examples are controversial, not trying to flame war)
theater/ special effects


Bottom line: do you do magic to entertain or to create worship of yourself? If not the latter, you're in company of many liars with purpose in the theatrical arts.
paulmagic
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Revlovejoy,

lol! rotfl! I really liked your post. I never really thought of make up etc as "lying".

In the context of "gospel magic", I don't think performing magic is lying as it is if done tastefully, it is wholesome entertainment. It also memorable way to illustrate and teach truths.
Many Blessings!!

Paul
Sammy the Kid
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I believe it is as much lying as acting in a drama skit would be.


Sammy the Kid
BradBrown
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There's a difference between lying and secrecy. I'm not lying just because I won't tell how I make something seem to appear, vanish, float or whatever. I'm just protecting the trade secrets of my profession.

Just like KFC will protect their chicken reciepe, and Coke protects their formula as trade secrets, I am ethically bound to protect magic's trade secrets.

Also, there's nothing wrong with the word "magic." Like many english words, it has multiple meanings. The one that applies to me is "The art of using natural causes, whose operation is secret, to produce suprising results." Nothing wrong with that. (Of course, if you want to use some other word for your performance, that's fine.)

-Brad
Dr Magic
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Magic exercises the parts of your brain that handle dishonesty, secrecy and lying.

People who never lie know that when you don't use those portions of your brain they kind of shrivel up. It becomes more and more difficult to lie when you do not lie often.

When you do magic you may not become more likely to lie, but you do become more able.

If you are concerned about your mental health, stay away from magic. Magic has a long history of drunkards and mental illness. A disturbingly high number of magicians have had to be locked away or permanently medicated.

Does acting like you are doing one thing while you are actually doing another seem as though it would be healthy to the psyche?

Dr Magic

:carrot: Smile
drkptrs1975
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Good Points as well.
BroDavid
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This isn't the first time this issue/question has come up in this forum. (The search facility will yield other discussions on it.)

But I will answer it again as I have before.

You don't have to lie to do magic.

In doing magic, you do deceive people, but you deceive their senses. And that is exactly what I promise to do that. So is that a lie?

Consider too, that God does not judge as men judge us. He looks at our hearts. What is your motive in what you are doing? Is the deception intended to entertain and/or illustrate something, or is done to give you an upper hand or unfair advantage over someone else?

In addition to that, I believe that if you need to tell outright lies to do magic, then you aren't doing very good magic. For example, I do an effect that uses 6 cards. One is blank, the rest are not. I have the spec select a card that is not blank, (chances are 5 out of 6 so I give a free choice on it) Then I lay their card on the table, and deal the remaining cards using the flustration deal that makes them all appear blank. And I say, now I will mix your selected card with "these" as I finish dealing the final card which is blank, and I show both sides of that card. I wont bother finishing the description of the effect as it isn't material to the point.

I have seen a similar effect done using the same kind of deal, and the magicain says "I will mix your card up with these blank ones." But what has really been added, except a lie. They aren't blank. But in either presentation, they appear blank to the spectator. So why lie to tell them what they already have believed?

When items bear a description, I give an accurate one. e..g. "An ordinary handerchief", if it is one. or.. "This apparently empty box." if is isn't empty. I might even ask, "do you see anything in it?"

I really think some magicians spend too much time telling people what their magic should be good enough to show them.

I did an effect the other day where four coins disapear from inside a folded handkerchief. I bang the coins inside the handkercheif and say "are the coins still here?" and then I vanish them, and ask again, "are the coins here now?. Where did they go?" "They are still here, but you can not see them." And so on, and so forth. It is all the truth. There is no real need to lie.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Magi:

BradBrown--
You wrote:
"Just like KFC will protect their chicken reciepe, and Coke protects their formula as trade secrets, I am ethically bound to protect magic's trade secrets."

Magicians go beyond merely protecting trade secrets. We present what is not so, and pretend as though it is; that's deception, or to put it more simply, lying. Coke doesn't pretend their product is sparkling wine, nor does KFC claim theirs is breaded veal cutlets. Not revealing the specific recipe responsible for a particular flavour is protecting a trade secret; willfully and knowingly misrepresenting the nature of the thing in question is lying.

BroDavid--
You are equivocating on the term "lying," by claiming that as long as you don't verbalize a misrepresentation of fact, then you're not responsible for the erroneous conclusions drawn by your audience -- even if their misapprehension is exactly what you wanted them to infer.

It seems to me that a lie is still a lie, regardless of the form it takes. Displaying apparently blank cards, knowing and intending that they'll be perceived as nothing other than blank cards, is lying even if it's done in silence.

Logically, I think a better argument is to simply acknowledge that Magic is lying, then address the motive for lying as you've already done. Lying for entertainment
("Luke, I am your father!") isn't the same as lying for personal gain or concealment of wrongdoing ("Nicotine is not addictive").

Leland
BradBrown
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Quote:
Coke doesn't pretend their product is sparkling wine, nor does KFC claim theirs is breaded veal cutlets. Not revealing the specific recipe responsible for a particular flavour is protecting a trade secret; willfully and knowingly misrepresenting the nature of the thing in question is lying.


I have to disagree. As a magician I never claim to have powers that I don't. When I make something appear to float, for example, I am not claiming thet I have actual powers or that the object is really floating. Both from what I say, and the context it is in, it is clear that what appears to be happening isn't what's really going on. I just don't reveal the trade secrets behind the methods. I don't see how I am lying in this instance, either by comission or omission.

Quote:
Lying for entertainment ("Luke, I am your father!") isn't the same as lying for personal gain or concealment of wrongdoing ("Nicotine is not addictive").


I really don't consider "Luke, I am your father!" to be a lie. Because it is presented in the context of a fictional movie, every rational person understands what's really going on. George Lucas wasn't trying to deceive people into believeing these characters really exist or have any sort of real relationship.

In the same way, most magic programs are presented as fictional. The magician doesn't expect people to believe real powers are at work, and rational audience members understand this. They come out of the event thinking "This guy made impossible things seem to happen. I don't know how he did it, but I know it didn't really happen."

Let me try to explain my reasoning another way. Consider the following statements.

"The following statement is false. I am a millionaire."

If I just said "I am a millionaire," I would be lying. However, the first sentence put the statement in a context where it is understood what is really true, so there is no lie. In the same way, most magic programs are presented in a context where people will understand that what seems to be happening isn't what's really going on. They won't know the secrets of what really happened, but they don't come out of the experience believing a lie.

Now, some people do make claims that their magic is real. For example, if I claimed that spirits were making an object move, and presented it in a context where I could expect people to believe it, then that would be a lie. But that's not what I'm talking about here.
BroDavid
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Exactly Brad.

I put my performance into context immediately. I tell them that I am about to trick their minds and their eyes, and will also deceive their other senses.

I then clarify it, by saying that "I am going to try to fool you, and if I am good, I will fool you real good."

There is no question that what I am doing is done for illustration, amazement and entertainment. And I am going to fool them! They know it, they expect it, and I have committed to it.

Having made that clear, I am comfortable that I am not equivocating, even when I cause something to appear one way, when it is fact another. It is not a lie, because it is truthfully doing what I said I would do. But it would be a lie to refer to an apparently blank card, as a blank card. Unless it really is one.

My point earlier which apparently was not clear, is that while you are fulfilling your contract with them (you agreed to fool them, and you will. And they agreed to stay around for it, proven by the fact that they are still there....) you don't need to tell blatant lies in order to fool them.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Magi:


Brad wrote:

""I really don't consider "Luke, I am your father!" to be a lie. Because it is presented in the context of a fictional movie, every rational person understands what's really going on. George Lucas wasn't trying to deceive people into believeing these characters really exist or have any sort of real relationship.""

Actually, George was doing just that; unless he succeeds in suspending disbelief, fans of his tired saga would neither care about his characters nor pay to see them on the screen. It's true that most people understand the context, but that doesn't change the nature of what's being presented: A fiction, a fabrication. A lie.

You also wrote:

"The following statement is false. I am a millionaire."

You offered this example to show that the second sentence is no longer a lie, because of the disclaimer preceeding it. But your disclaimer merely negates the lie, again without changing its nature; the second statement is still a lie, it's just been revealed as such.

BroDavid:

I agree with your framing Magic within the context of entertainment, and both of you have rightly pointed out that your intent within such a context is to fool the audience.

Yet an essential element of deception or other synonym you wish to substitute for "lie" remains the misrepresentation of the facts. You may unequivocally and forthrightly tell the audience that all which follows is a sham, and they may join you in a conspiracy of illusion -- to the mutual enjoyment of all involved.
But it appears disengenguous at best to claim that one's Art is anything other than deliberate and willful misrepresentation. That is, a lie.
[From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lie : Lie,n.
1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

I reaffirm my view that it is more logically tenable to admit that Magi lie, and (as you both have done in your posts) address the reason for, and context of, this Artful lying.

Leland
John Long
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Without minimizing lying ,

( I do not lie when a woman asks "does this make me look fat", I don't have to say she looks fat, but I will not say "no" if the truth is yes. If someone asks me how I'm doing, like at my chiropractor's office today, I said I have bronchitus; I'm not going to say "great" when I feel like ****. I have very strong feelings about this. Sad but in our culture, there are times when people expect you to lie - I avoid doing so. Many do not understand this.)

I tend to view most of what I do in a magic performance as acting. I do not make any pretense about having special powers (I like how Andre Kole made clear that he does not possess any special powers - "any 8 year old can do what I do, with 15 years of practice"). I am entertaining, hopfully.


Yet, I do like BroDavids: "You don't have to lie to do magic", and how he works around what might otherwise be lying. I will give some more thought to that - I have been somewhat concerned with the "deceit" issue here, even though it is clear to my audience what I am about. Leland, you made a good point too - I will be giving more thought to this.

As to the term "magic", there was some web site that pointed out that the term in the Bible that may be translated magic, should be understood to mean witchcraft. I can't verify this on my own(I'll have to fire up my WordSearch program), but I can accept that to be true. Then there were the guys who tried to duplicate the plagues.. Bottom line, the same word can have different meanings; it is our responsibility to convey to our audience what we are, and what we are doing(or not doing).

John
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ufo
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It seems to be that you really have to deal with the "magic" and "lying" issue on two levels. First, for yourself: How do you really feel about magic and what do you think God thinks of what you do with it? This would mean you have to study what the Bible says about it and what your flavor (denomination, etc) says about it and so forth. Some soul searching is truly in order. If you discover that you are okay with magic and you believe God is okay with what you do with your magic, then the next level is: Others.
Will you abandon doing magic because it may cause some to "stumble" over it by their own misconceptions or ideas? Or are you able to do what you do and leave room for others to disagree and not like it (or you in some cases). These are the big issues that form a basis for living with magic as a believer, not the technicalities of spoken or implied falsehoods and all the subcatagories that can be conceived. Do what you do based on your convictions.

-Ed

P.S. Do you mean Darth Vader isn't Luke's father? Man, you just don't know who to believe anymore. (jus kiddin')
"What's your drug?" she asked. "Hope" he said, "The most addicting one of all."
Pasq
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Hi chaps,

I maybe only postng here cos I'm trying to get back into the "inner thoughts" section (50 posts required) because my wonderfully humourous posts are so frequently deleted, nevertheless -

There's a section in "penny for your thoughts" called "Keep A Little Something Back". It was chiefly about mentalism but I proposed that all magic is about the title of that thread. Couple that with the "signature" of someone in that room, which suggests that a "magic trick" is an "honest lie" and I find myself quite refreshed.

The mentalist Ian Carpenter (who has a website - look for his name) is a Christian. I've been to a lecture of his at a Christian festival "Greenbelt" in England and exchanged a few emails with him (not under this name) & I found him very encouraging with this paticular Christian issue & mentalism/magic.

I'm perfectly happy with mentalism as it currently presents itself.

Any questions? Happy to reply.

Pasq.
Sparrow in a barrow.
Daniel Faith
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It all comes down to what's in your heart.
Revlovejoy cracks me up. Good laugh for the day.
Daniel Faith
Clifford the Red
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You guys crack me up. Some people just love to feel guilty about something.

I think Jesus summed it up well in Matthew 12:11-12

"11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep?"

Far better to focus on doing good to and loving our fellow man than worrying about technicalities. The Pharisees and Sadducees were hyper-critical of Jesus in relation to the religious law. They even criticized him for healing a man on the sabbath because technically it was breaking the sabbath. That is just the height of missing the point! Serving our fellow man is the highest form of spirituality as he made clear time and again. Instead of worrying about if magic is technically lying, it is far more important to assure that your magic isn't boring or pathetic. I think entertaining with this art and giving the gift of a message is service and of importance. If you are going to serve - Be Excellent.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
paulmagic
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Thanks for your post Clifford. I find that I really want to do what is right but sometimes even the simplest matters ends up so "complicated" I want to live by grace but if I am not careful, too much qualifications, rules, guidelnes for the guidlines etc seems to tie me in knots.

I think this was very similar to the problem Jesus had with the Pharisees of his day who not only had the LAW but had the ORAL LAW to guide the interpretation fo the LAW, and then they had rules and traditions that built a fence round the ORAL LAW as well to make "thriply" sure that no one came close to even a hint of breaking the Law. But these rules and traditions were actually not Laws.

Back to gospel magic, I wonder whether in some of our discussion, we are not simply in danger of making "rules / guidelines" that are far too restrictive that actually stifle us rather than set us free to serve, bless and enjoy.
Many Blessings!!

Paul
Clifford the Red
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Quote:
On 2005-05-25 01:18, paulmagic wrote:
Thanks for your post Clifford. I find that I really want to do what is right but sometimes even the simplest matters ends up so "complicated" I want to live by grace but if I am not careful, too much qualifications, rules, guidelnes for the guidlines etc seems to tie me in knots.


So, is being tied up in knots and complications, that prevent us from doing good in the world, following the right spirit?
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
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