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Brian Lehr
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Christmas magic show sparks outrage

Bible miracles 'recreated' – including making virgin pregnant
Posted: December 17, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

A Christmas magic show on British television claiming to recreate miracles – including making a virgin pregnant – has been condemned by Christian groups.

"The Magic Of Jesus," broadcast on the independent Channel 4, features illusionists Barry Jones and Stuart McLeod attempting to see if eight New Testament "feats" are possible, reports The Sun newspaper of London.

The performers sought to raise a headless corpse from the dead, cure a blind person, feed 5,000 soccer fans with five loaves and two fishes and walk on water, the paper said, but angry Christian leaders said Jones and McLeod are dishonest.

"Maybe these two fraudsters could try being crucified to see if they can rise three days later," said Bishop Michael Reid, founder of television watchdog the Christian Congress for Traditional Values.

"The big difference between a couple of tricksters performing illusions and our Lord's miracles is that Jesus actually healed people, raised the dead and forgave sins," Reid argued.

In the "Virgin Mary" illusion, the performers passed an ultrasound scanner over a woman to demonstrate she was not pregnant. Then, just seconds later, the scanner purportedly picked up a heartbeat, though the woman never had sexual intercourse.

John Beyer of Mediawatch said the program "seems to me a calculated attempt to cause offense."

The show will be broadcast December 28.
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Profile of rossmacrae
the program "seems to me a calculated attempt to cause offense."

Yeah - exactly. And if the story is true, doesn't that put the whole thing squarely into the category of "hate speech?." If it were aimed at debunking events in the life of Mohammed, or demonstrating how all of the miracles in the saga of Moses and the Hebrew people, nobody have let it get past the "how about we make a tv show where we..." stage.

But we ought to read with a reservation - so many sensationalistic stories turn out to have no basis in fact. The source ( sure looks "tabloidy" - Elvis's ghost is probably in there somewhere announcing his marriage to JonBenet.
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Profile of revlovejoy
Isn't that pregnancy bit a complete rip-off of something Copperfield has just started doing in his stage act?
Lee Davies
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Just to clarify on ill-informed gossip…

The show will be carrying out a range of illusions inspired by the life of Jesus.

Channel 4 says the show, currently being filmed, is not intended to offend Christians.

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I think any time you are trying to use magic to recreate the miracles in the Bible you are demeaning the whole concept of the miracles. We as magicans, must not try to convice the audience that we are doing real religious miracles. We should entertain and sometimes provide a message, but not convey ourselves as miracle workers who can raise the dead or heal the sick. Just my humble opinion.

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I don't think it is entirely new - wasn't there some big controversy a decade ago about some of the Moses miracles being reenacted? I recall someone deciding that holding a particular snake in a particular spot will paralyse it and cause it to appear like a stick. Not sure on the source of that, though...

But on the topic of Moses and Magic, remember that the first few plagues Moses declared were duplicated by the Egyptian magicians (Exodus 7:11,22 and 8:7). In the end, God was still shown to be sovereign among the people. But how stupid were the magicians for summoning MORE frogs to swarm the land?!?!
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Is this the same program with "Christian Illusionist" Brock Gill?

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Kevin Ridgeway
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No it is not the same program as Brock's show that aired this past weekend.

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There were conjurors and magicians in Jesus' day and I'm sure many people lumped Jesus into that category. It is no different today. There will always be those individuals or groups that try to discredit Jesus. That they try to demean my faith upsets me, but Christianity thrives under persecution. We should stand up to our beliefs, but I think God can take care of Himself.
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David Juraschek
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One of my heroes, Andre Kole, participated in a program where he recreated some of the miracles of Jesus, such as walking on water. A wonderful Christian witness and Godly example, Mr. Kole's presentation was done in a way to bolster - not demean - the miraculous nature of the things Christ did.
As I recall, his presentation indicated that modern science, concepts and technology - as well as extensive preparation were required for him to perform simulations of real miracles witnessed 2000 years ago. As such, while what he did was thouroughly amazing, it made even more concrete the authenticity of what Jesus did.
The technology, mechanics, understandings of physics and so forth that we have today - which allowed Mr. Kole to perform illusions were simply not available at the time of Christ.
I suspect that the British program doesn't have the same lofty ambition in it's presentation. Nevertheless, even if they don't bother to expose the methods they use to perform their illusions, any thinking person will realize that the effects performed are based on relatively only recently understood concepts and methodologies.
Without exposure, Christian illusionists today may find that this presentation can be used to make concrete the point that any man in Jesus' time didn't have the facilities, science and material available to him that we have today - and with which we are able only today to counterfit authentic miracles. This may actually turn out to be a wonderful open door for witnessing to the reality and miraculous nature of the things that Jesus Christ did 2000 years ago.
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