Magic And Miracles (4)

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The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse

Following last week’s thread, what is the difference between praying for a miracle and casting a spell? I can only give you my impression/opinion. Let’s start with magic. One of the characteristics of magic that strikes me as different from Christianity has to do with manipulation. It seems to me that the sorcerer, sorceress, warlock, or witch sees himself or herself as mastering a skill or craft which makes possible the manipulation of people, nature, circumstances, and even supernatural entities.

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Sorceress by Frank Frazetta

To the extent that Christians try to cajole God for favors, I think they are behaving more like magicians than disciples. God is not a trained animal act, and he does not perform at our bidding. Does this mean that he should not be asked to intervene? Not necessarily. It depends on three things as I see it: what we are asking for, our motivation for doing so, and our attitudes about ourselves in relation to God.

William Blake
William Blake: Jesus giving sight to Bartimaeus

Without requiring all of my readers to believe as I do, I think it is helpful to look at how the scriptures describe (often by implication) the nature and purpose of miracles. In my own reading and contemplation I have settled (again) on three characteristics. First, miracles provide genuine help to those who need it. Second, they reveal some aspect of the character and nature of God. Third, as a result of this, they require something of us in the way of humility, commitment, and submission to a higher authority. Assuming (again, as the scriptures imply) that this authority is benevolent and has our truly best interests at heart, God should not be expected to conform to our limited and often misguided agendas. You may not believe he exists, but if you do, this has to be considered.

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Grace by Rhoda Nyberg (painting from 1918 photograph of Charles Wilden taken by her father, Eric Enstrom)

Some of you may remember that in a previous post (THE GODDESS MENTALITY – PART 3 from this same Myth and Reality category) I stated that I do not respect powerful people simply for being powerful. Seeking supernatural empowerment in and of itself can be very destructive. What if we get what we want? Will we use it for good or ill? Are we even in a position to be able to tell the difference?

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The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1674)

It makes sense to me that God’s gifts, however commonplace or unusual, would be granted on his terms. Finally, by asking for the wrong things or for the right things for the wrong reasons, do people simply delude themselves and thereby compromise their abilities to function in the real world? On my ABOUT page, I say something to the effect that fantasy can give us a beneficial perspective  from which to examine reality. When fantasy becomes too much of our reality, the balance shifts toward distortion and dysfunction.

Okay, enough of the heavy stuff. I promise to  lighten things up and have more fun next week. Teaser: So what does Wonder Woman look like?

Gadot-Wonder-Woman1

 

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8 thoughts on “Magic And Miracles (4)”

    1. Thank you for your comment. Please keep in mind that some of what passes for science is not science at all (as I claimed in part one of this series). Conversely, some of what passes for paganism isn’t historical paganism, either (as I claimed in part two). I appreciate your reading of these posts.

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    1. I honestly think that non-Christians would do well to consider it as well. Before accepting or rejecting anything, it is good to understand what it really is, and these types of comparisons can assist that process. Take care.

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  1. As for Wonder Woman, my brain just will not accept the current actress from the movies. To my mind she looks far too cutesie for me to take her seriously., although her acting seems okay. That actress just doesn’t have any emotional or or physical weight, or gravity to her. I know I shouldn’t only focus on her looks, but I just don’t like her. The irony is that I really want to like her, though.

    Oh, and if you can manage to watch American Gods on Starz network you will have a great deal of happiness. It’s got mythology to spare. If you can’t watch it then Neil Gaimans book of the same title is worth the read.

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    1. After what you’ve just said, I need to stress that my post for next week was already scheduled, so please don’t be offended when you read it. It certainly isn’t aimed at you. Do let me know what you think as its a bit tongue in cheek. I understand your concerns, though, and I must admit to having seen a hint of that myself. Due to her training in the Israeli military, I sometimes wonder if Gal Gadot could kill her critics with her thumb. I’m being facetious, but I really am intrigued by the possibilities of this movie. I like the idea of this character being portrayed by a female director. I think the actress might have been inhibited by a limited script in the B v S movie, so here’s hoping… Oh, and American Gods did get my attention since it worried me that I might have been beaten to the punch on some short stories I am writing (happily, I wasn’t – the concept is almost entirely different). Thanks for your comment, it has me thinking.

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