Is Magic Real Or Not?

June 01, 2023

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How should a parent respond when their child's friends claim to practice witchcraft or magic? This episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast, with host Elizabeth Urbanowicz, explores how parents can use a biblical worldview to guide their children in understanding and responding to such situations. She discusses the importance of teaching children not only about what the Bible says about witchcraft and magic but also about how to apply these teachings in real-world situations.


Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the children that God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm thrilled that you've joined me for another episode today. Today's question says, "my daughter has friends who claim they are witches or that they can cast spells. She is wondering if magic is real or not. How do I best explain this to my child and how do I encourage her to handle this situation with her friends?" A very interesting one, and I'm sure a situation that many parents watching and listening have encountered just with how big magic is in the media these days.

Now, before we dive deep into this question, would just ask as always that if you have found this content beneficial, that you make sure that you like and subscribe, that you don't miss any future episodes, and also ask that you would consider writing a review and sharing this content with those within your sphere of influence so that we can equip as many children as possible to understand the truth of the biblical worldview.

Now, as we think through this question of how do we explain the concept of magic to our child, how do we help them navigate this situation with friends who are claiming that they're witches or can cast spells? I think our first question should always be, what does the Bible have to say about this? Because whenever our children come to us with a question, we don't want them to view us as the fount of wisdom and be completely dependent on us for the answers. Because if they simply trust us completely, and anything that we say without ever looking at any other authority, what's going to happen is one day, once we're no longer the primary influencer in their life, they're going to do the same thing, just blindly trust whoever is the primary influencer at their life at that time, and that's not what we want.

So I think what we should always do is bring ourselves and our kids back to what does the Bible have to say about this? Now, the Bible says a lot about magic, about witchcraft, about casting spells, about looking for the future, and I've just pulled out a few verses that I think we can go over with our kids. One of the clearest ones is in Exodus chapter 22 in verse 18, when God is giving his law to the people of Israel, while Moses is up at the top of Mount Sinai in Exodus 22:18, God says, you shall not permit a sorceress to live, okay? You shall not permit a sorceress to live. So what does that tell us right there? It tells us that at that time there were people who practiced magic and spell casting who tried to see the future, who tried to manipulate things through powers that were not from God, and what was God's rule among his people that a sorceress was not permitted to live among the people of Israel. So that tells us a lot about how God feels about witchcraft and about sorcery.

Another passage that speaks about this, it's a little bit of a longer passage, but in Deuteronomy chapter 18 verses 9 through 14, okay, this is the second reading of the law in the book of Deuteronomy, and in this section, God is explaining more about his thoughts about witchcraft and sorcery. And so in Deuteronomy 18 chapter verses 9 through 14, God says, when you come into the land, or I'm sorry, Moses is saying this to the people "When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this."

So as the people are about to go into the land and Moses is once again reaffirming the law that God has given them, he's saying specifically that witchcraft and sorcery and communication with the dead is linked to the Canaanite practices, and it's because of these sins that God is driving the Canaanites out of the land. So Moses is again reiterating that God's people are to have nothing to do with witchcraft or sorcery.

Then I'm sure most of us are familiar with the narrative in 1 Samuel chapter 28, where King Saul visits a witch or a medium in Endor, he has, God has stopped communicating with Saul, and Saul is just feeling desperate. God has already told Saul that he's taken the kingdom away from him, that he's going to give it into the hands of someone else who's going to follow after his own heart. But Saul is just desperate to know what to do. So he goes to a medium or to a witch, and he has her call up the spirit of Samuel. And so in this narrative, Saul is again punished because of how he has chosen to disobey the Lord. And so again, in this narrative, we see that God considers witchcraft and sorcery a sin and abomination to him.

Now, the final passage that we're going to look at together is Galatians chapter 5, verses 16-24. And in this passage, the apostle Paul writes, "but I say, walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh for the desires. The flesh are against the spirit and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now, the works of the flesh are evident, sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, amity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalry, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such things. There is no law, and those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

So in this passage in Galatians five, we see that sorcery is included under the works of the flesh, under the things that lead to death that pull us away from God that are just the exact opposite of the things of the spirit. So we see that in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God shows that so sorcery and witchcraft and spell casting are not from him. And as we look at these passages, we see that witchcraft and sorcery and spell casting that it can be real, that there are the power, that there is God who is in charge of the universe, and he is light, and in him is no darkness, and he has total control over all of the laws of nature, and he can do the miraculous. And then there's a power that comes from the forces of darkness that come from Satans and demons, and it's real and it's sinful because it's trying to find fulfillment in something other than God. It's trying to manipulate the future. It's trying to take control that only belongs to God. So biblically speaking, we see that witchcraft, that spell casting, that sorcery, that these are all things that do not honor God and are things that we should not be involved in.

So then we need to ask ourselves, so what should our response be to these truths? How should we respond? Well, first, we need to make sure that we do not engage in what God calls evil. Now, I'm sure your daughter's friends are not really thinking that they're really able to control things when they cast spells over them. They're probably just viewing it as fun and something that they enjoy, but still, we should never play with something that God calls evil. We should never play and pretend that we're lying or that we're abusing someone or that we're harming someone, or that we're being unfaithful to a spouse. Those are not things that we play around with. So we should not engage whether in reality or in play in things that God calls evil.

Now, I'm sure some of you listening or watching are thinking through, okay, does this mean that I need to get rid of all shows and media and books and movies and music and anything that takes place in a fantasy world and includes magic in it? Well, for a thorough treatment of that, I would recommend that you see a previous podcast that I did several months ago that discovers what do we do with witchcraft and sorcery in the media? And we talk through how engaging with those things in a fantasy world, in a fantasy storyline can be different than engaging with them in real life. Now, it totally depends on the details and what's going on, but it can be different wherein this question, the questionnaire has asked, my daughter's friends are claiming that they are witches and that they can cast spells, and what do I do with this? And so that's very clear, we should not be engaged in this, whether it's just in jest or in reality. So it should be very clear from these verses that we've seen that your daughter should not be engaged in these things, that she shouldn't be playing with magic and spell casting and pretending to have power that comes from Satan.

So now the question becomes, okay, so how do you handle this situation with her friends? Now, that depends entirely on what the situation is. If these are kids in your neighborhood, that's different than kids at church, which is different than kids at school, which is different than kids you're having over for a play date. So what I would encourage you to do is to really speak specifically with your daughter about friendship and what friendship is. That friendship is walking through life with someone and looking out for their good, truly loving them and enjoying them.

And now I think that there's an example or there that we can think through that's really helpful. Several months ago now, I did a webinar with Dr. Christopher Yuan and we got a question during that webinar about friendship, and he gave this example that I thought was so helpful, thinking through three concentric circles of friends that in the inside circle is friends who are going to be influencing us. So people who are actually going to have an influence in our lives. And those people, we need to be really careful of who those people are that are having a really strong influence on us.

And so in this case, if your daughter has these friends that are saying that they're witches and they can cast spells, these are not people that you're going to want influencing her in a really strong way. So these should not be her closest friends because we want to make sure people in the inner circle are people who are encouraging us to live a life that honors Jesus. Then in the next circle are people that we're influencing them and they're influencing us, maybe not as in a deep way as in our inner circle, but still people that are having some influence on us. And then in the outer circle are people that we are not allowing them to influence us, but we are hopefully influencing them for good.

So if your daughter could have this mental picture in her mind, who are my friends that are on the inner circle that are really forming me and making me more like Jesus, who are friends in this middle circle where I'm helping them become more like Jesus, they're helping me become more like Jesus. And then who is in this outer circle where I'm like, "you know what? I don't think this person is helping me become more like Jesus, but I can be an influence in their lives." And it sounds like with these friends, that they're people that are going to be in the outside circle, people that your daughter should intentionally love and care for, but need to work hard to make sure that they're not influencing her. So I think an easy, not necessarily, not necessarily an easy way, but a good thing to do is to practice ahead of time what to do and say in situations that she knows she's going to encounter.

So first thinking through, okay, what is the goal in this situation? What is the goal as you're interacting with these friends who say that they're witches and that they can cast spells? Well, the goal is the same as in every other situation in life. The goal is to love God and to love others. And so in order to love God, we need to not participate in these type of games that they're playing. In order to love them well, we need to make sure that they know why we don't want to participate. It's not because we're angry at them or we think that the game is dumb. It's because we genuinely believe that this type of playing could harm them. So that's how we're going to love God and love others in this situation. Then to think through, okay, how do we speak the truth to them with gentleness and respect?

Now, practicing this ahead of time will equip your daughter to speak truth with gentleness and with respect, because we tend to get most angry, most defensive when we are not sure what we're supposed to say, and we feel like someone is putting pressure on us to do something that we know is wrong. So if you can practice ahead of time with her what she's going to say, then she'll be prepared for that situation. So just come up with a phrase that she can say, "I'm not really comfortable with this because the Bible says that we're supposed to stay away from so sorcery and witchcraft. Instead, could we play" and come up with something else that they might enjoy to play and PR practice saying that phrase over and over and over again so that she's prepared.

And then also prepare her for what is she going to do if her friends say, "no, we're going to play this whether you like it or not." What is she going to do? Of course, that will be hurtful. We can't get rid of all situations in life that are hurtful. We know that as adults, people hurt us every day as adults, and we need to get used to it, and we need to get used to loving others and being gracious to others. But what is she going to do in that situation? If these are friends out at recess, who else can she go and find and play with? If there's nobody else to play with, can she bring a book? Is there some game that she can play on her own? Can you be intentional with having play dates with other friends after school or over the weekend so that she's being, she's able to develop relationships with other children who are going to continually point her towards Jesus?

Well, that's a wrap for this episode. But as always, as we leave this time together, my prayer for you is that God would richly bless you as you continue to faithfully disciple the children that He's placed in your care. I'll see you next time.

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