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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Fellowship of Christian Magicians! » » Would performing a Seance illusion be considered "un-christian"? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mikewarner
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Hi All,

I'm thinking of using a Seance routine in my next show and was wondering if anyone here had any thoughts on whether it's appropriate or not for members of our faith to perform such a thing.

Let me know,

Mike
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Perhaps you could frame it around another concept?
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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Dougini
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Yeah, Mike...I'm afraid some Christians may be offended. You'll get Bible quotes thrown at ya for sure... Smile

Doug
J-L Sparrow
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I wouldn't do a trick involving a séance, or anything to do with fortune tellers. If you still want to do the trick, I'd take Harris' advice and frame it around another concept.

Here in the United States we have a gag toy called a "Magic 8 Ball". It's essentially a pool/billiard ball that can supposedly foretell the future. Since the concept of a billiard ball foretelling the future is such a silly concept, pretty much nobody takes it seriously. I don't know what your trick is about, but maybe you can make it work with a Magic 8 Ball theme, as I don't think anybody would be offended by that (and many would probably find it humorous).

Whatever you go with, if you're still nervous that some people might take offense, you might consider giving out a verbal disclaimer saying that everything you perform is a trick. Themes dealing with mind reading and spirits tend to make people think what you're doing is real, moreso than with "smoke and mirror" tricks. Claiming that what you're doing is just a set of magic tricks tends to put doubters' minds at ease and make them less likely to accuse you of dealing with the occult.
mikewarner
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My understanding is that Bible forbids real magic (assuming there is such a thing), not tricks for entertainment.
I'm sure If I made it clear at the very beginning that the whole show is one big illusion, it shouldn't pose too much of a problem.

Mike
Mike Maturen
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The problem won't be whether or not they believe he is doing "real magic", but in the APPEARANCE of such. If there is a brother or sister who is weak in the faith, or perhaps someone who has left the occult and entered into the Church, you could be potentially causing a real stumbling block.

I would agree with the disclaimer statement...but I was also stay FAR away from any effects that resemble anything occultic.
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Donald Dunphy
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Mike -

Are you planning to do this in a show for a Christian group (for a church), or another type of audience?

If you are performing for a regular (secular) audience, then a simple disclaimer might be enough. From my experience, it would seem that (well-meaning) Christians are more concerned with magic tricks and illusions being accomplished by occultic forces.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Russo
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Don't know if you could find it, but in a WAY BACK issue of GENII there is a FULL Seance act and how to do it- if your really interested P/M me and I"ll try to get Issue number. - Its pretty eazy and good to use for an exposea(sp??) P.S. the act is one that is done at the Magic Castle- Hollywood. Ralph (russo)Rousseau- Happy THANKSGIVING ALL
Dougini
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Myself, I have learned time and time again...NOT to do magic for religious people. Christian or not. Unless it's sponge bunnies and silks. As much as I am a Christian...I cannot STAND religion! At 58 I have lived long enough to realize the more I learn, the more I realize how much I DON'T know!

Doug
Danny Kazam
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What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

The reality is that we live in dark times where vampires, zombies, etc are depicted as heroes, cults and occults are popular than ever before. It's a fallen world and we can't be so naive, nor assume that all entertainment is spiritually good for us to either perform or watch.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Ephesians 4:22-24
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
wwhokie1
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The only way I can think that it would work would be to frame it as proof that seance's are fake, and you are going to demonstrate that by performing one using tricks. But even then I would not take it seriously, in fact you will probably need to poke fun at the very concept throughout. Even with this idea, I would be very cautious and know a lot about my audience and whether or not they would be ok with the idea.

However, if your audience is a secular audience, then it just comes down to how you feel about it.
Danny Kazam
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It comes down to how God feels about it. Although entertainment is a grey area, we should still seek the scriptures. We are after all, bought and paid for by the blood of Christ.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
mikewarner
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I perform mostly for secular audiences. My question was really about whether it was acceptable for a Christian to perform something like this.
Danny Kazam
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Ask yourself these questions. Why would something not exceptable for a Christian to do in front of other Christians be exceptable in front of non Christians? Are we to only be examples to others of our faith? Should we only be witnesses to only those who are fellow believers, and then go into the world and do the things the world does?
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Danny Kazam
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I found this article that I think articulates it better than I. I found it to be very true.

http://www.umdcatholic.org/Northern%20Cross/Media.pdf
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Donald Dunphy
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Here's my thinking (the rationing behind my earlier post).

When I do a show for a regular audience, I do not feel the need to tell the audience that what I'm doing is just tricks. As a rule, they don't think that what I do is accomplished by supernatural means. No one ever asks me to heal their friend, or pick their lottery numbers for them. They don't think I have real powers. They think it is just tricks and illusions. No one is concerned about me doing a show. Kids and adults try to figure out how it works (this is why a "sucker" trick works in a magic show).

However, when I do a show for a Christian audience in a church, I find the need to tell (or remind) the audience that what I'm doing is just tricks. As a rule, Christians tend to be more sensitive about the issue of magic tricks and illusions. Especially in a church setting. This may come across as a little blunt, but I find Christians to be a little too superstitious. Some are worried about the occult in an over-the-top way. They see supernatural where most non-Christians might see science (again, many non-Christians see a magic trick as just a trick / mystery / puzzle). Now am I saying that there is no such thing as the supernatural?... absolutely not! Am I saying they give a little bit too much credit to Satan and the occult?... yes! (Many of our problems are because of our sinful nature, and not because Satan is controlling us.)

I'm just saying that the audiences and mindsets are different. They think different towards me, and so I think different towards them.

Keep in mind that I have done thousands of shows over the past 35 years, both in the public and in churches. So, I'm just sharing my perspective / experience. Your own may differ.

- Donald

P.S. Personally, I have done a mental epic in some of my shows (mind-reading), but never a seance type of trick. Although I've done that trick in a magic show for a church now and then, I always approach it with caution. However, I don't feel the need to be extra-cautious about doing that in a regular show. That's an example of thinking differently towards different audiences.

BTW, I once read a very clever presentation for a seance type effect. It was a routine by Paul Osborne using a Palanquin Illusion. It was shown empty, and then bells and plates were put inside. Then movement and noise, always opening the curtains to show no one inside. At the very end, the curtains are opened one more time and one or two assistants are produced from the empty illusion. I thought that was a clever presention for that illusion.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Danny Kazam
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Hi Donald, I am someone confused. If a church hires you to do a magic show, and are expecting you to perform magic, why do you feel you need to clarify that what you do is just tricks? I am assuming they hired you and you didn't just walk in and start performing tricks.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Donald Dunphy
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In nearly all of the churches that I've been invited to perform at, between the time that I've been promoted and the day of the show, the pastor has heard from some "concerned" people within the church. They are concerned about the church having a magician, magic show, illusionist, etc. It's not the pastor or church board that is usually concerned -- otherwise they wouldn't have hired me. This is pretty normal. That is why I give the reminder / disclaimer at the beginning of my show in those settings, because of the more sensitive audience.

Surely this must happen for other performers doing gospel shows (or even regular shows) at a variety of churches.

Duane Laflin does a disclaimer in his shows (I think he does it regardless of the audience). "Surprises for the eyes", etc.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
ChrisG
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I use a disclaimer in every program no matter where I perform. The disclaimer is not for those that hired me, it is for those who believe my performance is more than entertainment. Even with the disclaimer there is almost always someone who believes.
"Consensus is the negation of Leadership"

M. Thatcher
Danny Kazam
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I realize we are drfting of topic, but since we are, I have never used a disclaimer, even in churches. Never felt a need to. If the Pastor hires me to perform in the church, and I am available, I go and perform. If the Pastor was to come to me and tell me that some people in the church had an issue with him hiring me as a magician, I would ask if he resolved it by explaining what is that I do. If he tells me no, some still think it's real. One, I would immediately wonder why his congregation does not believe him, and second, why he is still hring me to perform if there are some people in the congregation who have an issue with it. I would have no problem declining the gig. I don't need to clear my conscious before performing for anyone. If I felt some guilt about performing for certain type of people, I would decline.

Cris, you say that even though you make a disclaimer some still believe. Who do you make the disclaimer for? Your sake, or their sake? I ask because it seems your disclaimer fails to put everyone at ease, and I am trying to understand this. I am looking to learn more about this, thanks.

I suppose it's easier for me to decline than perhaps most because I don't need the gig, and I don't want to compromise just for the sake of getting a gig. I am not saying, Donald and Cris, that that is the same for you. I don't know why you still perform even though that is the situation you both are aware of when performing in a church. I'm still someone confused, and fail to see the rational of it. That could just be me. Smile

Anyone read the article I linked to?
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
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