Magic, superstition, idolatry, and faith are all very serious and separate topics on their own but they can all be lumped together to make it look as if they are one and the same thing.

If magic or superstition or idolatry becomes intertwined with faith or a church, then there is a real danger that our personal faith could be in real danger. No one wants a church which worships false gods, has magic practices, has elements of witchcraft, or practices which are integrated with superstition.

All cultures in the world have enough evidence of these very dangerous pseudo-religious practices that we, in our own church, should be very careful to examine just how we practice our faith. We should be ready to identify elements of the religions which could appear to be a part of our religious traditions but in fact are not.

It is good to look at each of these separately. What is magic? Magic is an attempt to tame occult powers so that you can have power over others. These powers can range from healing someone to destroying or harming someone. An example of this can be casting spells on people. Some say that the relatively common practice of pouring wax is an act of magic. The church condemns all acts of magic because it contradicts the honour and respect we owe to God.

Superstition is the belief that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two. The expected result contradicts natural science. It often is very closely associated with religion. It deals with good luck, foretelling the future, and spiritual being. The church considers superstition to be sinful because it implies a lack of trust in God, and the violation of the commandments. Superstition attributes an importance in some magical way to certain practices of religion. Some examples of Ukrainian superstitions – mother’s pinning a safety pin on a baby to keep it from bad spirits. If you forget something in a house and have to go back in, then you should look into a mirror before you leave the house the second time. Tying a red string on your hand or putting it on your clothing.

Idolatry is having another god other than the one true God. It not only refers to false pagan worship it also consists in making a god something which is not God. This can include the devil himself, power, pleasure, ancestors, one’s own race, the state, or money. Idolatry rejects the lordship of God, and is compatible with communion with God.

It is our task from time to time to look at our religious or lack of religious practice to see if we are faithful to what God has revealed to the world as it is witnessed in our church and the scriptures. Those things which are not from God will never lead us to God.

+Peter

This post is also available in: Ukrainian