Thursday, December 8, 2016

What Happens To Superstitious Christians?

            Wikipedia defines superstition as a belief in supernatural causality. Merrriam-Webster defines superstition as a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.

            Some people are scared or superstitious of certain numbers. There are buildings in the USA that do not have the 13th floor because of the superstition associated with number 13. Many buildings in China skip the 4th floor. Japanese fear the number 9. Italians are superstitious about Friday the 17th. Some fear the number 666.1

            Then there are those who knock on wood or think that it’s bad omen if a black cat crosses their path or if they walk under a ladder. Brazilians consider a wallet or purse dropping to the floor as bad luck.2 Egyptians consider owl as an unlucky bird, for sighting or hearing an owl apparently brings bad luck.3 Astrology, black magic, divination, voodoo and sorcery are also categorized under superstitions.

            Christians are not immune to superstitions, for some Christians practice superstitions. For instance, some Christians consult astrology (horoscopes / star signs, numerology, tarot) or knock on wood or avoid the number 666.

            So what are the consequences for a Christian if he/she practices superstitions?

            For the sake of this discussion, let us categorize superstitions into “lesser superstitions” and “greater superstitions.” The lesser superstitions could be the rather harmless beliefs of walking under a ladder or fear of numbers or the fear of a black cat. The greater superstitions could be the potentially harmful practices of astrology, black magic, voodoo and the likes.

            Without an iota of doubt, the greater superstitions would destroy the Christian since it leads him away from Christ. The Bible condemns the practice of [greater] superstitions because their practice would certainly usher the devil’s rule into our lives. “Scripture condemns those who practice astrology (Deuteronomy 4:19), magic, divination and sorcery (2 Kings 21:6, Isaiah 2:6). Idolatry is also forbidden, and no one who practices it will enter the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:27). These types of practices are extremely dangerous because they open the minds of the practitioners to the influence of the devil. First Peter 5:8 warns us to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,”” says  

            The lesser superstitions are seemingly harmless. Some wonder, “How would it hurt us if we knock on wood or ignore a certain number or avoid a black cat or avoid walking under a ladder?”

            Christians who practice the lesser superstitions reveal two potentially dangerous attributes. First, they reveal a detrimental form of naivety predicted on a bankruptcy of deep thought about their supposedly harmless practices. They do not think through their practices. Second, they reveal their intrinsic spiritual immaturity - a byproduct of ignoring God - whom they profess to believe and love.

            Consider the apparently harmless superstition of knocking on wood. Christians either say ‘knock on wood’ or ‘touch wood’ or they would literally knock on wood when speaking of a prospective good happening to them or their relatives or friends.

            Apparently, the superstitious practice of “knock on wood” has a questionable origin, “…many pagan groups and other cultures—from Ireland to India to elsewhere in the world—worshipped or mythologized trees. Some peoples used trees as oracles, some incorporated them into worship rituals and some, like the ancient Celts, regarded them as the homes of certain spirits and gods.

            Authors Stefan Bechtel and Deborah Aaronson both suggest two connections between knocking on wood and these spirits in their respective books, The Good Luck Book and Luck: The Essential Guide.

            The first possible origin of knocking on wood is that it's a much more laid-back version of the ruckus that pagan Europeans raised to chase away evil spirits from their homes and trees or to prevent them from hearing about, and ruining, a person’s good luck.

            The other origin they suggest is that some of these tree worshippers laid their hands on a tree when asking for favor from the spirits/gods that lived inside it, or did it after a run of good luck as a show of gratitude to the supernatural powers. Over the centuries, the religious rite may have morphed into the superstitious knock that acknowledges luck and keeps it going.

            “In either case, you are seeking protection against envy and anger,” Bechtel and co-author Laurence R. Stains* write. “The envy of evil spirits and the anger of the gods, who take a dim view on mortals bearing too much pride and who get especially annoyed when they're responsible for your run of good luck and you're not grateful.””5

            Whatever the case may be, Christians are to trust, ask and hope in God to bless them. Knocking on wood offers zero returns.

            Blessings are from God and God alone. If God blesses us, then no force on this universe can prevent or repeal that blessing away from a Christian’s life.

            When Christians knock on wood, they imply a disbelief in God. This disbelief in God could grow gradually, for the devil needs only an infinitesimal space in a Christian life to destroy him.

            Significantly, Christians who knock on wood reveal a deep ignorance of God. If they had only known that God blesses those who love HIM [and even those who do not love HIM], they would realize that there is absolutely no meaning in knocking on wood. Ignorance of God is a potential danger, for ignorance of God is predicated on an impoverished understanding of the Bible – a lack of Bible knowledge. When God is ignored in a Christian life, he could practically jeopardize himself while facing problems in life.

            Superstitions, in any form, would harm the Christian spiritually. So why practice superstitions when we can trust in God to bless us?  







No comments: