In 1965, “Do You Believe in Magic?” was a song by The Lovin’ Spoonful. In that era, many would have associated the word magic with little more than the romance of a love song or with magicians who delighted audiences with card tricks, vanishing coins, or any other illusion they had up their sleeves.
But today, the subject of magic has far broader associations. The Harry Potter series has captivated millions (young and old alike) with the unfolding story of an unwanted stepchild who discovers that he has untapped powers of wizardry. A film version trilogy of The Lord Of The Rings has exploded at the box office and renewed interest in the magical world of Middle-Earth.
In our modern world, public reaction to the word magic is as diverse as its many expressions. Some still think of magic as the world of the illusionist or as an imaginary world of makebelieve. A growing number, however, are inclined to pay money for a few moments with someone who claims to be able to tell the future or speak with the dead. A visit to the local library or bookstore shows the growth of interest in occult practices, witchcraft, and sorcery. Some are dead serious about acquiring supernatural power.
The ground swell of interest is understandable. The world of magic taps into our fascination with supernatural knowledge and power. It runs parallel to a religious desire for something more than the visible world we experience every day. Many are desperately trying to find a way to control their world.
The growth of interest in magic, however, also raises questions for those of us who don’t want to be either gullible or uninformed about something that has become such a part of our culture. If we are followers of Christ, how can we be discerning enough to know whether an interest in the supernatural is innocent or dangerous?
To address such concerns, we will answer four important questions: (1) What are the popular views of magic? (2) What does the Bible say about magic? (3) Why is it dangerous to experiment with magic? (4) What’s the difference between real and make-believe magic?