You gals are sharp! You are always asking questions that stretch me and challenge me to dig deeper into God’s Word. I love that about this blog! Recently one of you asked a great question about whether or not God’s Word allows us to enjoy media focused on magic and fantasy. I think this a great question, and to be honest it is one I’ve not thought much about before. Together, let’s explore this topic and see if we can dig up some Truth.
I think our first line of defense when searching for Truth should be to dig in to the Word of God. It is always the right place to run to when you’re looking for answers. But does the Bible address magic? You bet! Let’s take a look.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says this, “ Let no one be found among you who…practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord…”
There may be some unfamiliar terms there. Let’s break them down. The word “divination” refers to the practice of telling the future through supernatural means. We might see this in movies when someone is looking into a crystal ball or reading cards in order to predict the future. Sorcery refers to the practice of placing spells. This is what we usually refer to as magic, and you certainly can see a lot of it through mainstream media. In fact, I bet without much thought at all you can think of several television series or movies based on magic practices.
Leviticus 19:26 says clearly, “do not practice divination or sorcery.”
The verse in Deuteronomy also says that God finds it detestable for someone to be a medium. What is this verse referring to exactly? A medium is a person through whom the spirits of the dead are alleged to be able to contact the living—in other words, someone who talks to the dead.
Leviticus 20:6 warns, “if a person turns to mediums and wizards…I will set my face against that person.”
But there’s more. In Galatians 5:19-21 witchcraft is named as one of the acts of the sinful nature. These passages also warn that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Revelation 21:8 lists those who practice magic among the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the idolaters and the liars.
These are strong warnings! God is obviously opposed to us practicing magic. But I doubt that many of you are casting spells or communing with the dead, though if you are tempted to experiment in this way—don’t! God’s warnings on this topic are severe! But, if God calls his people to stay away from practicing these things, should we also avoid watching them on television or in movies.
During our nationwide survey we asked about your exposure to these themes. More than 80% of the girls we talked to had watched supernatural and spiritual themes in movies or on TV. We didn’t get the details about exactly what they were watching, but we’re guessing they’re talking about shows and movies that are based on fantasy and contain at least a little magic.
This leads us back to the question that some of you asked here on the blog. Can exposure to these themes be dangerous? We think so. In fact, we’ve learned that it’s easy to become comfortable with evil when we are exposed to it casually or repeatedly. For many of us the themes of magic, sorcery, and even communing with the dead are so common to us that we don’t think twice about their potential impact on our spiritual lives. Combine a constant stream of exposure with a lack of awareness about what you’re really watching and things can get really sticky!
What’s more, many of these plots are dark and have a tendency to dwell on death and evil. As children of God, we have the freedom to dwell in the light! A fascination with darkness is no longer fitting.
John 3:19-21 says this, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
There probably are some television programs, and movies and books that we should stay away from if we are committed to pursuing truth. Even so, I think that to say that all media that involves magic and fantasy is “bad” is painting this topic with too broad of a brush. In fact, one of the most-well known fantasy series ever is “The Chronicles of Narnia.” It was written by well-known Christian author, C.S. Lewis and contains many biblical themes.
My recommendation is to use a litmus test that applies to many areas of our Christian walk. I call it the “whatever test” and it is based on the passage Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
If you can honestly say that the media you’re using is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, you are probably on the right track. But steer clear of dark themes and movies, television shows and video games that portray demonic forces, witchcraft and magic in a positive way.
I’d love to hear what you think! I bet your insights will continue to stretch and impress me!