Christian Groups Insist Magicians Working With the Devil

July 20th, 2013
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This is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard in a while.   Apparently some Christian groups in the UK are claiming that the tricks and illusions preformed by magicians are evidence that they are working with evil spirits or the devil.  The magicians, some of whom are actually Christian, have defended their performances, insisting that they are not, in fact, doing anything supernatural, but are using illusions to create the appearance of something that is not really happening. Or that, at the very least, it’s an attempt to convince people of magical powers of the occult.

Via the Christian Post:

Christian Magicians Rise to Defend Themselves as Not Involved With the Occult

Christian magicians are rising to defend themselves against assertions made by a Christian Post columnist that the performance of magic may involve the occult.

They are upset with columnist Dan Delzell’s opinion that the U.K.-based magician Dynamo’s illusion of levitating alongside a red London double decker bus was real. Delzell related the performance to “witchcraft and contact with evil spirits, and the presumption that the art of magic is a gateway to demonic involvement.”

Delzell’s column incited a number of Christian magicians to leave comments criticizing his assumption that magic performances are linked to demonic power. These magicians included Jim Munroe, who works with worldwide ministries; Rob Robinson, a Christian magician and mentalist; and Joe Turner, who is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians and served on the board of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Munroe, who has worked with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, I Am Second, and Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ), told The Christian Post on Monday that he received Delzell’s column through a secular magician friend and felt compelled to respond to it.

He is concerned that statements such as Delzell’s can hurt the Christian witness. He wrote a comment under the opinion piece, “The Illusion That Seduces and Bewitches Magicians.”

“I can tell you, with full authority, that the ‘magic trick’ created by Dynamo is in fact a ‘trick,’” Munroe stated. “Its effect is in no way achieved by supernatural means. It was achieved by natural means, and its purpose was to illicit a reaction similar to Steven Spielberg’s when he created the dinosaur in Jurassic Park: that of wonder … Don’t write about things that you don’t know anything about because you widen a gap with individuals that I am trying to shrink. You counteract the very inclusion that Jesus shared.”

This is so stupid it’s amazing anyone, even a fundamentalist would buy into it. The only thing I can think is that they are so prone to magical thinking that when they see something that appears to defy the laws of nature, they assume that it must, in fact, be magic. One wonders if they apply this same thinking to anything which produces an effect by means that are not readily observable. For example, why do mobile phones produce voices from distant people? Is it invisible electromagnetic waves or the power of Satan?

Any honest magician will tell you, at least candidly, that there’s nothing magical about what they do. Their illusions are exactly that. Their skill is to use misdirection, props, optical illusion and special effects to make it seem as if the impossible is happening.

Here is the illusion that some Christians are so up in arms about:

As far as illusions go, this is not even that amazing a performance. In fact, it’s a variation of one that has been around for decades. Appearing to balance in the air while ones arm is against a building or some other object is a classic. It’s possible that Dynamo is using a different method than the classic way this is done, but he’s probably doing it the standard (and fairly obvious) way.

Note that in the video he is not seen getting up onto or coming down from the bus except from his own camera’s perspective. This hides what is actually happening and makes it impossible to see if he is just being lifted or lowered by a forklift or host. It also does not show his arm coming into contact with or leaving the bus.

The way this is done is simply by wearing a harness under ones clothing and using a sturdy support connected to the bus to support the weight of the performer. The strut is bolted to the side of the bus and hidden inside a realistic fake arm, which appears very real from a distance. The performers real arm is tucked to their side in their clothing.

Here is a picture of another performer doing a similar illusion on the side of a building during setup.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 20th, 2013 at 10:15 am and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Just LAME, Not Even Wrong, Paranormal, religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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14 Responses to “Christian Groups Insist Magicians Working With the Devil”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    Religion itself has hardly needed the help of rationalists to make it look ridiculous; for several centuries, Catholics and Protestants burnt one-another at the stake over minor points of theology when they weren’t burning heretics, apostates and witches. Michael Servetus, for instance, was burnt at the stake in Geneva in 1553, for his claim that God was not three, but one, thus becoming the founder of the Unitarian movement, and also for denying the efficacy of infant baptism.

    The core of Christianity has never been humility, but arrogance. This is a faith that claims its followers have privileged contact with an immortal, omniscient being, that claims that believers are especially loved by the most powerful intelligence in the universe, and that those who believe most devoutly will be rewarded after death with cushy lives in paradise, while the rest of us burn in torment for eternity.

    Given this ludicrous world-view it is no surprise that the reaction of some of these deluded people to the work of an illusionist is to ascribe it to supernatural agency.

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  2. 2
    Alan(UK) Says:

    depletedcranium writes about what he does not understand. Does he know what it is like praying every night and morning to bind Principalities and Powers; to be constantly on the look out for Demons; to have to memorize Bible verses to quote when confronted with the Powers of Darkness; to be unable to trust anyone until you are sure that they are Walking in the Light?

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  3. 3
    Anon Says:

    There is also this.

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  4. 4
    James Greenidge Says:

    Such crank and zealot over-the-wall groups are far and in-between and aren’t indicative the mind-set of greater congregations, but unfortunately too many in the media wish to label them otherwise.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

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  5. 5
    Q Says:

    Just watching it I think the way the illusion is done is pretty obvious. The hand never leaves the bus. It just seems like it would be pretty obvious that it is based on using the arm to hide a support. Even a child could figure that out. I am not saying it’s not cool looking. It’s a good way to get attention for a product (which is what the video is all about, obviously) and it’s a clever promotion. It’s just not exactly hard to see that it’s an illusion.

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  6. 6
    Sean McKinnon Says:

    Just goes to show that unflinching belief in religion does not automatically make one remotely intelligent.

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  7. 7
    Shafe Says:

    Sounds like the Christian Post is to Christians, as Greenpeace is to environmentalists.

    (captcha sucks on IPhone keyboard.)

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  8. 8
    DV82XL Says:

            Sean McKinnon said:

    Just goes to show that unflinching belief in religion does not automatically make one remotely intelligent.

    When you think about it we are talking about people that believe that what is written in a third-hand translation of a poor transcription of a Bronze-age oral tradition supersedes observed reality.

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  9. 9
    PsihoKekec Says:

    Apparently they never bothered to watch that old Penn & Teller show on magic.

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  10. 10
    Blake Says:

    Isn’t Christian Post a joke website? At least I hope it is, the headlines and articles are absolutely ridiculous!

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  11. 11
    Anon Says:

            Blake said:

    Isn’t Christian Post a joke website? At least I hope it is, the headlines and articles are absolutely ridiculous!

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  12. 12
    Anon Says:

            Blake said:

    Isn’t Christian Post a joke website? At least I hope it is, the headlines and articles are absolutely ridiculous!

    See Poe’s law.

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  13. 13
    Brian-M Says:

    Thanks for mentioning the fake arm. Looking at the video, I was assuming that there was a hidden support behind his arm, until we got a view from the back and and I saw no sign of a support.

    But then again, I also saw no sign of any of the many cameras that would be needed to film all those different angles, including the one that would have to have been strapped to his chest for the end (the little phone camera he was holding wouldn’t have been good enough), so I guess the cameras must be magically invisible too.

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  14. 14
    Dionigi Says:

    Hope he paid the fare. London transport will be after him.

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