Into the Weird - Demon Magicians

Introduction

For some people out there superstition colors their entire perception of the world in which we live. Unseen forces and spiritual principalities fritter about to and fro on the Earth wreaking havoc here, tempting people there and constantly leading people astray from the truth. Some see the leaders of governments as in league with demons, aliens, spirits, or forces from another dimension. Some see those same forces as in league with the entertainment industry with rock stars, pop stars and celebrities.

But this series, Into the Weird, focuses only on the far-out beliefs that are on the very fringes of the fringe. So what is the one place the forces of darkness might lurk that no one would ever think to look? A place of innocent entertaining tricks that masquerade as supernatural deeds but which are ultimately harmless illusions, sleight of hand and camera tricks - smoke and mirrors. I am talking, of course, of the world of professional MAGIC.

The dark arts of demonic chalk circles and human sacrifices pictured by paranoid Christians are far removed from the reality of modern day magic tricks... or are they? In this hub I will explore the belief of some that modern day magicians aren't merely performing cleverly designed illusions but that they are really assisted in their illusions by demons who seek to perform false miracles and lead millions astray. Join me once again as we delve into the weird.

demon imagery is common in advertisements relating to magic
demon imagery is common in advertisements relating to magic

Chinese Face Changing

Magic is Real

It surprised me to discover that a growing number of believers on the internet have latched on to this rather ludicrous sounding idea, that mainstream magicians making their living doing magic tricks aren't merely performing impressive acts of misdirection and sleight of hand. Rather the belief is that, as the magicians of old supposedly did, modern day magicians have made pacts with spirits to help assist them in their tricks.

They're not all tricks either, according to believers of the Demon Magician Hypothesis (as I will refer to it), but actual supernatural manipulation of time and space done with the help of demonic entities.

Some of the worlds most famous magicians, from Copperfield to Criss Angel to Penn and Teller to the famed Chinese face changers – all are supposedly aided by the supernatural. The evidence, believers claim, is in plain site, after all how else do you explain these “tricks”. What other explanation could their possibly be to some of these impressive feats? And how would we ever tell real magic from what is merely an illusion, especially when the magicians themselves could mix in tricks that aren't supernatural.

The Devil on your Shoulder

One of the points of evidence often brought up by believers in the Demon Magician Hypothesis is the use of demonic imagery in promotional material used by famous magicians. Everyone, from Houdini right on down to today, seemed content to use images of devils and demons in their act. Often the demon is sat on the sorcerer's shoulder whispering secrets into his ear, no doubt revealing the secrets to manipulating matter and energy to bend the world to his will.

Naturally the magician uses these amazing supernatural secrets, passed on from some hidden realm, to perform parlor tricks at a sold out Vegas theater. Like musicians selling their soul for the ability to play a rocking guitar solo magicians make pacts with demons to gain talent at pulling rabbits out of hats or making a playing card appear in your back pocket.

Jesus Used a Wand???

Jesus the Magician

One of the fears expressed by believers in the Demon Magician Hypothesis is that these conjurers are stealing Christ's thunder and can often be found doing some of Jesus' most famous miracles. For example many magicians attempt to turn water into wine in front of people recreating one of Jesus' most famous miracles with no explanation as to how they are doing it. This looks, to this small fringe of believers, like a dark miracle meant to lead people away from Jesus Christ and perhaps even to foster the belief that Jesus was a magician himself.

The ironic thing is that centuries ago defenders of the faith had to combat the claim that Jesus was a magician. Often times in artwork from the early Christians Christ is depicted wielding what looks suspiciously like a magic wand. Logically if Christ was shown to be just a magician we might find ourselves rejecting his status as the Messiah. Those who fully believe that Christ is the Messiah and the only way to avoid Hell see magicians performing “miracles” as cutting in on Christ's action because they're not always Christians.

Now no magician has ever had proven supernatural abilities or gone around genuinely healing the blind or raising the dead, unless we're counting Jesus, but Jesus says that his followers should be able to do all of this AND MORE. According to Jesus we are meant to know Christians by their fruits so if anyone should be going around turning water into wine it should be Christians. Perhaps instead of hating on magicians who are just doing tricks Christians should work on their own genuine miracles, just a thought.

the symbol that Criss Angel uses
the symbol that Criss Angel uses
David Copperfield flashes the "devil" horns hand sign.
David Copperfield flashes the "devil" horns hand sign.
David Blaine shows off a tool stabbed through his hand to a Doctor
David Blaine shows off a tool stabbed through his hand to a Doctor

Speak of the Devil and He Shall Appear

What's really going on here? Obviously if you follow this series you know that I am a skeptic who reports on these sorts of beliefs from that perspective. So why are magicians using demonic imagery? Why are some of them even claiming themselves to be in league with spirits? Why are stories spread about how some of them went into the woods and came back well versed in magic?

The answer is quite simple – because the supernatural SELLS. Part of the mystique in magic and the reason why it works is because most of us in the audience have no idea how the tricks are done. We are flabbergasted to see these sorts of things and the fact that the magician tricks us while we are sitting right there observing carefully makes it that much more mystifying and fun. But this ignorance, this mystery it leaves for us, leaves room for us to fill in the gaps without any education on the subject.

Magic isn't like other subjects, it's difficult to learn and often every magician has some guarded secret, some signature trick that they will never explain. Like with any gap in our knowledge the superstitious and paranoid stand ready to insert an easy answer, one that, given the nature of how amazing some magic tricks seem, carries with it an air of quasi-plausibility.

Speak of the Devil and he shall appear, the old phrase goes. Once you invoke something unexplainable, like demonic forces, spirits, gods, angels or any supernatural forces you will see them everywhere. Suddenly every coincidence is psychic and every bit of misfortune becomes suspect.

And of course the magicians themselves sometimes fan these flames. While folks like James Randi, Derren Brown, Penn and Teller and the great Harry Houdini were all skeptics who opposed Mediums and other frauds as the con artists they are other magicians are open to pretending that they do actually have supernatural powers.

Houdini, famously, went around debunking spiritualists and mediums proving that it was all a trick, hardly the sort of action a man in league with the devil would engage in. But people like David Blaine, Dynamo and Criss Angel, on the other hand, are more open to the claims made about them that they are actually assisted supernaturally. When someone that is the subject of one of their tricks exclaims in astonishment "you're the devil" or "you really are magic!" they might wear a smile on their face and go along with that claim.

Arguments from Ignorance

Probably the most seductive thing about the Demon Magician Hypothesis is that magic tricks are so often left unexplained. It is very rare to see the secrets to a trick laid out by a magician especially one who is still making their living off of magic. So there are no easy skeptical explanations for those of us who accept that such tricks are just that, tricks, illusions. Things on film or up on stage can be staged, faked or manipulated with ease and even so-called “Street Magic” isn't immune to this issue.

Despite what believers might think simply because we lack a complete diagram on how a trick is done doesn't mean we get to assume demons did it. Things that are unexplained do no automatically get put into the supernatural category, that's not how proper logic and reason operate when we're trying to find an explanation for something. Rather what believers are engaged in is an Argument from Ignorance in which they appeal to the mysterious and seemingly supernatural nature of magic tricks in order to claim that they are in fact legitimately supernatural.

If any one of these magicians had genuine supernatural abilities they could prove this to the James Randi Foundation and earn the famed million dollar prize. They could scientifically demonstrate some genuinely supernatural phenomenon and earn themselves untold publicity in the process by submitting to rigorous scientific testing. The problem is such testing doesn't work on most tricks because they are designed to entertain and astound, because they are TRICKS.

Using Actual Magic to Do Fake Magic?

If I could gain demonically assisted supernatural powers the last thing I would do is become a magician. Suddenly possessing the power to bend time and space to my will wouldn't cause me to seek out the nearest stage to perform. Actual supernatural powers, like transmuting physical objects into other objects, could make me rich in an afternoon. Why would I then struggle to become an excellent showman and entertainer and work my ass off with hundreds of staff members to spend my entire life putting on shows for people?

David Copperfield is massively rich, he has a net worth of nearly a billion dollars, but he's been performing magic tricks for decades and decades, selling out venues and working hard. Why on Earth would he do this if his “powers” were genuine? To prop himself up as a false idol? To my knowledge Copperfield doesn't claim he has any real supernatural powers, he doesn't claim to be any kind of god. Magicians may have massive egos in some cases but at the end of the day why would anyone with legitimate supernatural abilities do so many shows and work so hard rather than accruing wealth and power with ease using their powers?

It'd be like if I woke up tomorrow with Jedi powers and decided to become a magician. Why? It makes no sense to me. I have the power to manipulate time and space, maybe even to hypnotize people, to levitate, to do all these things... and I use it to put someone's playing card in their back pocket? That makes literally zero sense.

the logo used by EA Koetting, who claims he give you the secrets to becoming a living god by making pacts with spirits
the logo used by EA Koetting, who claims he give you the secrets to becoming a living god by making pacts with spirits

The True Believers from the Dark Side

It's not just conspiracy happy Christians propagating this view, however, I've found at least one occultist who readily admits to making pacts with spirits in order to gain powers. Ladies and gentlemen, meet E.A. Koetting, someone who claims that he can tell the secrets to becoming a “living god” by making pacts with spirits. Here's a preview of what it looks like to be possessed by one of Mr. Koetting's spirits:

The JUICY Pact?

As a former Pentecostal Christian this writhing trance-like ceremony looks no different than when people in my Church would be “slain in the spirit”. When a laying on of hands would turn into a bizarre trance state full of chanting in “tongues”. I say that not to lend any credence to a supernatural aspect of this but to say that it looks every bit as pointless as all that writhing about in Church was. Trances like this are present in many religions but what they aren't is evidence of the supernatural. Instead this guy just looks like a crazy guy convulsing in the sand while pretending to be possessed by some undetectable power “from beyond”.

In one video he shows the pacts he's made with various demons and what looks like the word JUICY appears at the bottom. Now personally I don't see this guy as all that different from the many Christian evangelists spreading what they believe but, as a skeptic, I don't see such beliefs as having any merit or evidence behind them and any false belief is more likely to lead to negative results. But at least this guy isn't begging for money in every video rather offering these “secrets” for free.

'JUICY'

What Do You Believe?

How Do Magicians Do Such Amazing Tricks?

  • Most are just doing tricks but some are assisted by demons
  • Supernatural talents unrelated to the Christian worldview
  • All of them are possessed/assisted by demons
  • Through sleight of hand, camera tricks, and other completely natural methods
  • Other - Comment Below
See results without voting

Conclusion

As I said earlier the entire argument of those who believe that magic is real is an Argument from Ignorance. They watch the tricks and can't figure out how they could possibly be done – so the answer must be ACTUAL MAGIC. When coupled with the belief that the Bible is literally accurate in every aspect it's an easy answer to settle on. After all the book of Revelations clearly states that all magicians will end up in the Lake of Fire and the Bible claims that witches and Mediums both exist and are deserving of death.

So for some Christians it's easy to believe that magic is real and is at work in the world today and separating the claims of someone like E.A. Koetting from someone like David Blaine might be difficult. They are both claiming to do a form of magic – though the difference seems to be that Blaine's magic is more impressive than some guy writhing in the desert. One may use a colorful cartoon devil whispering in his ear on his poster, while the other claims to be genuinely in league with Lucifer himself.

For those of us who are skeptics we have doubts especially because of the nature of what a magic trick is. It's supposed to remain unexplained, that's the fun of it. Those who claim that magic and the supernatural are real have not yet met their burden of proof or provided any empirical evidence. If these unseen forces are at work in the world they seem indistinguishable from the workings of coincidence, natural laws, and tricks that take advantage of the limitations of our senses.

Thanks for reading!

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Comments 18 comments

Michaela Osiecki profile image

Michaela Osiecki 8 months ago from USA

I'm a practicing witch and definitely believe in the efficacy of magic, but I am 100% skeptical that illusionists are creating pacts with demons to achieve rather simply sleight of hand magic.


RJ Schwartz profile image

RJ Schwartz 8 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

One of the best reads I've had all day - thouroughly enjoyable, entertaining, and informative. Well done


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 8 months ago from back in the lab again Author

I share your skepticism Michaela, becoming a touring magician doing shows doesn't seem a very likely use of real magic if such a thing exists. I also don't know many who are going around worshiping these magicians as if they are gods or similar to Jesus as the paranoid people who believe this notion seem to suggest.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 8 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Thank you for the comment RJ, I'm glad you enjoyed it!


Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 8 months ago from Cicero, New York

What a fascinating, exceptional and such a detailed descriptions of some terrific intriguing topics. A definite wow factor.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 8 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Quite an amusing hub! It's the devil of the gaps theory. Second verse, same as the first god of the gaps theory. Amazing!


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 8 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Well you know how it goes Austinstar, if somehow it isn't of God than it must be of the Devil. These are the same sort of people who think the Devil started all the non-Christian religions to discredit Christ, what a busy bee the devil must be.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 8 months ago from Irvine

There may very well be supernatural phenomenon, but it can only be labeled as supernatural because science hasn't figured out all the puzzles.

When we get down to the quantum level, there are "strange" events, e.g., one particle affecting another tho miles distant, or how particles behave can be altered by merely observing them. It's as if the observer himself/herself by the mere act of observation has an influence on how particles react.

How far into our physical world do these strange occurrences extend? Science is trying to mesh Newtonian physics with the sub-atomic world, and they are having a heck of a job. Einstein believed that the laws of physics were universal, but are they?

The quantum guys are trouncing over our known physics by suggesting parallel universes or multi-verses -- in order to make their math work. It's beyond my head but suggests pretty flagrantly that we are still in our infancy when it comes to understanding our own universe.

This is not to say that quantum physics nor its incabability with Newtonian physics leaves open the door for any or all seemingly supernatural occurrences (if there are any -- I suppose there may be some). But at the same time the door isn't sealed shut either.

Supernatural stuff may happen (not likely on a stage as you suggest), but by being supernatural it either indicates a lack of scientific knowledge or a limit to scientific understanding. Yes, it may turn out that science cannot explain all phenomenon -- even with centuries of study.

Perhaps our minds are simply limited -- even the best minds who study this stuff. They will never throw up their hands, so to speak, but we have to entertain the possibility that there is a lot of mechanics to the universe that we may never fully grasp.

Everything we don't understand seems magical -- in a way. Scientists are loath to accept magic into their vernacular. But until scientists come up with a theory for everything, some events will remain out of grasp and thus the door to the supernatural remains open.

Strange stuff does happen. For example precognition. This one might be/should be explained as we delve deeper into the mechanism of the brain. But for now precognition is not superstition. I've experienced it myself. I kid you not -- I've been able to recognize earthquakes before they occur and other weird stuff.

A friend of mine had a dream that disturbed him greatly. The dream centered around the death of his father. He wasn't the type to take much stock in dreams and he had never beforehand talked about any dreams to his fellows at work, but the dream was disturbing enough that he felt compelled to talk about it.

While at work, he received a phone call from a relative who told him that his father had passed away. Naturally, he became a wreck, but the rest of us -- those who had listened to his dream, we're sort of bewildered. Was it mere coincidence? It didn't strike me that way. I was left without any explanation for this odd concurrence of events.

My wife (who happens to be a believer while I am not) has this theory. It's odd, so put on your seat belt. She sees that there could be a destructive confluence that occurred during the Dark Ages. Witches and other heretics were eliminated wholesale in Europe. She suggests that this eradication wiped out an entire genetic class predisposed with the ability to understanding things supernatural. In other words, by eliminating people with ESP-type abilities, we forfeited some part of our natural heritage and are kind of left floundering.

I guess the idea is more of a notion than a theory, but it's interesting. I'd give it more credence if the Inquisition had been a global massacre. But, this was a European event, and I don't see other populations (such as Africans or Asians) as having greater ESP abilities than your average European or American. But, I haven't studied this detail whatsoever. Perhaps other continents had their own purges of spooky people -- I just don't know.

So yeah, magicians/charlatans and the such are just as you described. My only caveat is that while we can dismiss entertainers who are good at playing tricks, there does seem to be something else -- stuff that happens (for now) which can only be classified as "supernatural."

This would include everything that science hasn't been able to catalog -- and the vast majority of scientists would admit this includes a lot of territory.

Some people swear they have seen ghosts. Others swear they have been abducted by aliens. Not all of them are simply liars. They really believe their stories. I tend to dismiss all of this stuff as the product of an over-ripe imagination, but should I be so dismissive?

If I can sometimes predict an earthquake many hours before the actual event, who am I to judge?

I had another precognitive event. Sitting at my computer back in the 90s, probably just reading the news on AOL or emailing someone or listening in to one of their chat rooms, I suddenly got this overpowering message from nowhere. The message was that by this time next year, I would be married. I had already gone through two unsuccessful marriages and wasn't even contemplating a third.

What hit me was that this message literally came out of nowhere and wasn't something to be dismissed or denied. My mind was focused on some trivial matter when this very forceful, overriding idea eclipsed everything, completely out of context. It was as if God himself were whispering into my ear, but I don't believe in God, so I have no way of accounting for this strange event.

To make matters more strange, this "message" came to me as a foregone conclusion -- not as an expect this or that -- but as pure fact with nothing to refute, nothing to argue against.

Why/how did this happen? I don't have an answer. But the "message" turned out to be accurate. And the odds of this happening were off the chart.

I ended up re-connecting with a Russian girl with whom we exchanged two letters and one phone call. She had received a few hundred letters from different admirers and didn't differentiate me from the flock other than to recognize I was the first to respond.

During the eight-year gap, she learned English fluently, so I was amazed when I called her the second time and we were actually able to converse. I just casually visited a Russian women website and happened to find her picture. The photo of her was drastically different from the one I received prior to the invention of the Internet -- yet I recognized her and was amazed she was still up for grabs.

I dug through my piles of junk to locate her phone number and it still happened to be in operation -- even after eight years. So, I called and was amazed to find that she had learned English. I called her during the post-Perestroika years when even talented Moscovites found living to be at a near fringe level. She had just recently called it quits with a rich German guy, so I might have called a few weeks earlier and just gotten her mom on the phone (who never learned English).

I ended up paying thousands of bucks to AT&T for long-distance calling. (This was way before calling cards and other avenues of savings were available.) It was costly but when you zero in on someone, you don't think much about the money factor. The phone calls impelled me to go to Russia for a visit. Things went well, so I began the huge headache of beginning a fiancee visa with the INS. The process took nearly a year. But by that summer, I had my Russian dream-girl in the US and we became married.

Strangely, the marriage has endured now some 18 years. We have huge differences (such as religion) but the thing keeps going on.

This is all background material to my initial observation of a strange message coming out of nowhere. Even moments after "hearing" this message, I sort of dismissed it or accepted as a possible fact that didn't require much afterthought. The fact that the message turned out to be accurate can be dismissed as an extremely odd coincidence.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 8 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

rj - Well, just because something seems incomprehensible to us in our present state of intelligence, it doesn't mean that we should insert a supernatural explanation.

Remember when lightning bolts came from Zeus or Thor or some other god?

Just because we don't yet understand the sub-atomic world, or even the super-atomic world, it doesn't automatically mean that a god or a demon did it!

All it means is that we have yet to discover the mechanisms of the universe.

Maybe we never will.

I say, we're here, we're queer (as in unusual), and we need to use reason and logic before jumping to supernatural conclusions about things.

But, whatever floats your boat, right?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 8 months ago from back in the lab again Author

rjbatty,

"The quantum guys are trouncing over our known physics by suggesting parallel universes or multi-verses -- in order to make their math work. It's beyond my head but suggests pretty flagrantly that we are still in our infancy when it comes to understanding our own universe."

Indeed and for every question satisfactorily answered there seems another mystery waiting in the wings to be solved. But that's science for you, it's a very gradual process that only reaches tentative answers and is always updating with better information. There is a quote that comes to mind which states the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose but that it is queerer than we CAN suppose. It may be that we will one day reach questions for which answers are beyond our comprehension. All of the math involved in quantum physics seems quite beyond mine!

"They will never throw up their hands, so to speak, but we have to entertain the possibility that there is a lot of mechanics to the universe that we may never fully grasp."

Indeed and as Neil Degrasse Tyson says the Universe is under no obligation to make sense to us or conform to what we think or how we want it to work! We can only do our best and right now our best is science.

"I had another precognitive event. Sitting at my computer back in the 90s, probably just reading the news on AOL or emailing someone or listening in to one of their chat rooms, I suddenly got this overpowering message from nowhere. The message was that by this time next year, I would be married. I had already gone through two unsuccessful marriages and wasn't even contemplating a third."

A strange tale to be sure but how often do these sorts of events happen to us in our lifetimes? I'm not referring to the result but to the sudden flash that something will change or happen or those instances where we think of a song or a loved one or some future. Sometimes we hear that song on the radio later that day and think it's odd. Sometimes we find out good or bad news about that same loved one we were thinking of. Sometimes the event that popped into our minds comes true... but how often do these things MISS and not come to pass? We so often forget the misses, the songs that flutter through our minds that we don't hear again for weeks months or even years, the loved ones that pop into our heads that have nothing new to report when next we talk to them, etc.

And how might these events effect us and drive us, even subconsciously, to achieve the thing in our mind? I am not discounting your experience, it sounds like a strange one indeed and I could tell similar stories myself - but the number of times the "prediction" comes without the hit, the number of misses, make it seem unlikely indeed that anything supernatural is at work.

It would be nice to believe there is something more to the world around us, something that guides us in these paths, some flashes of a possible future. Something more and perhaps something supernatural, who knows. One thing is for certain there is plenty left to be explored and explained, for some this leaves them open to superstition and that was very much the case for me when I was younger. But now it makes me more careful, more skeptical, the more I want to believe the more intellectual caution I must exercise, however comforting or pleasant those beliefs may seem.

Thank you as always for your comment rjbatty


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 8 months ago from Irvine

A very valuable response to my post. I totally overlooked the misses issue entirely. I've had predilections that didn't pan out. So yeah, it's sort of easier to focus upon things that occur as being supernatural and disregard the ton of stuff that never amounts to anything.

But, having said that, some stuff still floats above the day-to-day imaginings. When something inserts itself above/beyond the flotsam of day-to-day imaginings, particularly for guys like ourselves who are adverse to the supernatural, it does cause one to wonder.

I wouldn't want anyone to leave the door open to superstition. I think every individual has to reconcile himself/herself with the cosmos as he/she sees fit. Superstition, in my mind, is embedded with a kind of indoctrination of one kind or another, and there is nothing worse than taking anything "on faith." I'm a hard-boiled skeptic and avoid collectives (as Jung used the phrase) in any shape or manner. If someone tells me they were probed by aliens and can supply an amazing amount of details, I remain skeptical. I don't believe they are lying to me. No. I believe them. That is to say, I believe they are trying to communicate something authentic, but I am reluctant to buy into their story. In other words, I believe that what they are trying to convey is the truth in their own minds.

This is not dissimilar from Christians who believe (based on faith) that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. I guess it's not really that similar but somewhat. Something unique can be associated with Christianity in order for it to get such a big boost forward. The story of Jesus may have provided the juice. The Old Testament left a lot unanswered. Beyond the ten commandments, it didn't offer our species with much about how to live our ordinary lives. How do you live as a mortal being with an inevitable extinguishment date?

The New Testament sought to answer a lot of these lingering questions. Placing God on Earth was a marvelous idea. In the New Testament, you get an idea about how to live your life. But it's incomplete, as we can see from artists such as Nikos Kazantzakis and his novel The Last Temptation of Christ. A real Jesus would be as susceptible to temptation as the best of us. And of course, his novel was condemned by the church. Martin Scorsese's film received similar flame.

Strangely enough, upon seeing the film, I immediately read the novel, and found both inspiring and actually helped me gain a better appreciation of Christianity. I was a fall-out Christian, someone leaning more toward Zen Buddhism, then I saw the film, read the book, and I got more from these two deliveries than nearly two decades as a forced Catholic.

Rather than trying to bury this material, the orthodox churches should be mailing out the novel to everyone. It states upfront that the story is not based on the gospels but depicts the novelist's own struggles between the flesh and something more saintly.

The novel (and movie) presents:

My principal anguish and the source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onwards has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh.

Within me are the dark immemorial forces of the Evil One, human and pre-human; within me too are the luminous forces, human and pre-human, of God - and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met. (Kazantzakis 1988, p. 7)

But all of that is a side issue. I think your take on the supernatural is on mark, and you manage to discredit "believers" in such an aplomb manner is very skilled. It's not just good writing but an intuitive sense of discretion.

Man, you are becoming super-prolific. How do you do it? I'm linked to you so everytime you post something, I have to go there. And your stuff isn't junk. You really think out your clauses. You either have a cabinet filled with material or I don't know what/how you can keep producing material of this quality at such an amazing pace. I can barely keep pace with you.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Titen

Interesting and enlightening! I both agree and disagree (if that's possible!).

I love watching a good illusionist at work, my favorite used to be Paul Daniels (from the UK back in the eighties) who once made a million pounds disappear from a safe suspended from the TV studio ceiling! Seeing the security people panic was a classic!

I agree with you that most of this stuff is harmless illusion, and I agree that 95% of what goes on in Pentecostal and 'Charismatic' churches is 'self induced' and sometimes self deluding fake, BUT I've seen the real deal from both sides too often to say it's all that way!

One of your commented says it's because science hasn't explained it yet, but you have to accept that science may never explain these things! They may always be a mystery.

By the way you ask why would these folks claim to 'be in league' with demons? Could it be that with each one we get more and more used to the idea and slowly they're preparing us for the biggest con of all-the replacement Messiah (that's what Antichrist means)

Just a thought.

Lawrence


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 8 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Lawrence,

"By the way you ask why would these folks claim to 'be in league' with demons? Could it be that with each one we get more and more used to the idea and slowly they're preparing us for the biggest con of all-the replacement Messiah (that's what Antichrist means)"

I don't think so. Again I have to reiterate from my hub - WHY would they be doing stage magic if they were legitimately supernatural? Sure a few of them have their rabid fan base who follow them around as if they are the best thing ever but so do plenty of non-magician celebrities. If you ask me people like Taylor Swift and Beyonce have a higher chance of being the "antichrist" then someone who comes out on stage and does some tricks. After all someone would have to be pretty easily convinced or stupid to sit there in the audience and actually believe these people are performing real magic, real miracles, and act as if they are the Messiah.

If some demons wanted to discredit Christ these folks wouldn't be famous stage magicians they'd be gurus, cult leaders or politicians and they wouldn't be up on stage admitting to being magicians/illusionists they'd claim to be real miracle workers right?

As for what science may or may not explain I don't think there is anything supernatural to demonic possession. When you say you've witnessed "the real deal" I am curious as to what you mean. I saw exorcisms and supposedly "possessed" people in my time and heard a great deal of different people "speak in tongues" as well as doing it myself on more than one occasion. I never saw anything that I feel needs a great deal of explaining, certainly not a supernatural explanation. And all the video I've seen of such possessions since has been underwhelming to say the least.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Titen

I'd originally just intended to answer with my opinion and move on but I couldn't help thinking about this hub a little today so I'm back.

I tend to agree with you about why would these folks be doing 'stage shows' if they really were able to summon the 'dark powers' but it's those like 'Dynamo' (whom you claim says or allows his followers to think he is) to have 'demonic powers' and it worries me that people would use the occult as a sales gimmick!

I don't know if he isas I've never been able to watch one of his shows! I don't know why but every time I've tried I just get a creepy feeling! (Yet other illusionists no problem!)

As for my experiences, well I'm convinced we all have a guardian Angel!

Actually the Ancient belief was we had two, one Angel recording the good stuff and a Demon recording the bad, and it's pre-christian from Babylon (the belief is) from the Babylonian religion that also gave us astrology!

As for me and guardian Angels mine has worked hard over the years keeping me safe from times when I should have been mincemeat, shot and incarcerated (as a missionary in some places it goes with the territory!) on numerous occasions. I've touched on some of the incidents in some hubs.

These are my experiences and there's no way I could ever prove them to anyone else, in fact I'm usually reluctant to mention for obvious reasons.

Hope you see where I'm coming from.

Lawrence


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 8 months ago from Irvine

One of the fables that Christians like to recite is that Earth is a kind of testing ground -- a place where good and evil can play out their respective powers -- to either prove the righteousness of God or to give Satan his chance to turn "souls" away from the almighty. For me, this seems little better than a dog fight or a chicken fight.

I'm unaware of any bet placed between God and Satan wherein good or evil would ultimately triumph in a neutral domaine played out by innocent mortals. And, if they had placed such an unseemly bet, what would that say about our leading characters?

For Satan, a win would "justify" his being able to torment God's creations for eternity. (That's not much of a win.) For God...? What would he obtain if the majority of mortals adhered to his law? I suppose it would puff-up his ego that he could create likenesses of himself that were predisposed to embrace goodness over evil. Does God really need this kind of reassurement? Or is God, after all, lacking some degree of self-confidence? Why have a contest against Satan -- supposedly one of his own creations? The whole scenario sounds a lot more like Zeus figuring out a way to supplant the Titans who proceeded him. Only in this case the battle occurred on Olympus.

I'm quite sure that we all possess our inner-demons. If part of the bet was for God to take a hands-off policy while Satan could work his stuff, it wouldn't change the initial challenge. In effect, by God saying (as it were), Satan, do your worst, you'll still fail, he put an egregious burden upon humankind -- as if we were little more than bugs in an insect jar.

No, we don't have guardian angels. I don't care if the Babylonians gave us astrology -- it's a bunch of shit.

Hey man, whatever gets you through. If you believe you have a guardian angel, that's fine with me, but how do you know absolutely sure that this angel is sent by God and not Satan? (Refer to "The Last Temptation of Christ." The devil is supposed to be the ultimate deceiver, so what makes you so absolutely certain that you are serving a noble cause and not one geared to send us all to an apocalypse?

Good Christians wouldn't want to send nonbelievers into a lake of fire, would they? Would they? Your God seems to have another idea. A noble God wouldn't want to torment his subjects -- but he does -- and for what purpose ...? To prove a bet against Satan?

If God is the creator of everything, and even if he gave man "free will," would this be sufficient grounds to let his fallen angel torment you forever? I may only have an earthly understanding of the cosmos, but I'm just not into torture for having repudiated a belief in a numinous god.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 8 months ago from back in the lab again Author

rjbatty,

"Does God really need this kind of reassurement? Or is God, after all, lacking some degree of self-confidence? Why have a contest against Satan -- supposedly one of his own creations? The whole scenario sounds a lot more like Zeus figuring out a way to supplant the Titans who proceeded him"

Apparently he does if the Bible is to be believed, God is constantly being praised, worshiped, bowed to, and submitted to. Obedience and submission are big themes in the Bible and I have talked to Christians who say that not only were human beings created to glorify God but that God's glory is the only reason he even created the Universe. God is apparently a self-absorbed tyrant who needs us all to believe in him and bow before him - OR ELSE.

"If God is the creator of everything, and even if he gave man "free will," would this be sufficient grounds to let his fallen angel torment you forever? I may only have an earthly understanding of the cosmos, but I'm just not into torture for having repudiated a belief in a numinous god."

What purpose would such torture possibly serve? Centuries ago Christians used to believe that those in Heaven would be able to watch and enjoy the torment of sinners in Hell. It was a reward, a perk, of Heaven, to get to watch those who deserved it get rent limb from limb by demons as their flesh melted off. That should tell you a bit about how far human compassion has come, forced to the forefront not by religion but by increasingly secular values. Used to be when there was a hanging in town everyone would have a party and come out to the town square in their best clothes to watch. Now we're so worried about executing an innocent person we are debating whether we should have a death penalty at all and we certainly aren't allowing spectators to bring their families.

Our societies have changed for the better and become more empathetic and compassionate. In many cases this seems to be in spite of old religious beliefs rather than because of them.

And the end times are always near and the demons are always running amok, this has been the status quo for 2,000 years despite the fact that things are SLOWLY getting better especially in regards to how human beings treat one another.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 8 months ago from Irvine

I'm less optimistic (as usual). When I read about mass graves in Mexico or large-scale beheadings in the Middle-East, I don't see a great deal of advancement of our species.

We live inside what feels like a kind of protected bubble called the United States. For this we have to accept wire taps, drones, a militaristic police force, severe censorship of the media, etc. You say, "Our societies have changed for the better and become more empathetic and compassionate." Where did you get this idea?

Our societies invented things like cluster bombs, rail guns, laser-guided missiles, ever more lethal stealth aircraft and submarines, etc. I don't get a sense that just because we haven't used all of this tech that we won't.

And we continue to maintain thousands of nuclear weapons -- up-arming them them so they will be more impervious to ground defenses.

Yeah, we no longer have public hangings where even children could witness some poor slob kicking off his boots, but now all of this sort of stuff goes on behind closed doors. People continue to be killed off in the name of justice -- around the world. We just don't see this on television.

People continue to be tortured, and this is something else we don't get to see on television.

You'd like to believe that "things are slowly getting better." I disagree. I think the ugliness has simply gone underground.

Has there been advancement? Yes. There is a trend toward some kind of liberalization but it's tepid. You can hold a gay parade in downtown San Francisco but try having the same in Red Square. The "queers" would be beaten to death... even if they could get a license to hold such a parade, which they wouldn't.

It's only your sense of optimism that rankles me.

If you mean by "slowly," you are referring to eons, well maybe okay, but I see as much stupidity, ugliness and persecution as the good old days only today we have better ways of masking the depravity.

What did our own government do in Guantanamo besides water-boarding? What sort of defilements did we resort to? We'll probably never know.

You are a humanist and want to believe that even without religion, we are headed on an upward path, that we are somehow progressing. I simply have to disagree. We can agree that religion isn't helping humankind, but in my mind, with it or without it, mankind remains killer apes.

We've become more sophisticated in how we perform our massacres. Technology and mass media give us this false impression that we have advanced to a more civilized state. But this is only a mask. Behind it we remain as barbaric as those of the Middle Ages -- maybe worse.

Watching a B&W video of a bomb released on ... who knows what, seeing a cloud of smoke from the viewpoint of an aircraft thousands of miles above -- is that how things are "slowly getting better especially in regards to how human being treat one another"? It certainly seems more clinical. We kill death-row inmates by lethal injection, although this too sometimes goes awry. That's supposed to be more humane and clinical too.

"Demons are always running amok." They may no longer take the guise of demonstrable characters wearing goat horns on their heads, and people seem to be able to express themselves more openly (in certain quarters of the world), but we remain beastial. Our technology and organization has only enabled us to focus our beastiality. Religion has almost nothing to do with any of this. Our sense of killing each other has (if anything) jumped to a quantum level.

Believing that humanity has the capacity to control itself, limit itself from "evil," is a naive concept. Religion has failed us. But sensing that mankind has an intrinsic tendency toward benevolence is fallacious and almost as dangerous.

Mankind at large no longer fears God. Thus, we need some kind of other Big Brother because we cannot control ourselves.

When the various states of the USSR were under Kremlin rule, even the Islamic states kept quite. When the USSR fell apart, and many countries obtained their own statehood, they fell into chaos. Lesson? People may very well need a Big Brother or a God or something to strike fear in their hearts. It's a sad testimony to our species, but there it is.


Luther Seed profile image

Luther Seed 6 months ago

Wow awesome article and a insightful read. Thanks

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