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Magic & "Magic: the Gathering"


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How Pokemon and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children


New on August 15 (scroll down to John's 2nd letter)


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First letter from John: This is not meant to be offensive---
Hi I am a 15 year old 4.0 student at a Catholic High School who has never had sex or done drugs or drank. I play magic the gathering not because of the evil demon dead bad kill everyone black minions, but because it is strategy and I love strategy. I believe in god and my year long magic stretch has not affected that one bit.

I also think that saying that magic's rules turn kids into automatons (yes i know what that means) is unfair. You must be open minded to play magic because there are over 1500 cards for your opponent to play, so you must consider each move careful, partly because most cards bend or break the rules. But by saying that magic's rules turn kids into automatons is the same as saying that societies and gods rules turn kids into automatons. Lets say I walk into school, and a girl asks me to have sex that afternoon. I automatically say no because god, and society, and the center for disease control say no. It is an automated response, i don't think about it. I know this is a good thing but you still see my point.

I can't find the word "automatons" anywhere on our website. Can you tell me where you saw it so I can respond to your question in the right context?

My old priest always used to say that there is no one way to interpret the bible, so when you give scripture passages that you interpret to say something in response to a letter, someone else can interpret that to agree with their statement.

There have been many attempts to reinterpret God's word in order to twist what He told us about Himself and His ways in the Bible. The truth makes many uncomfortable, so they look for ways to avoid accountability to His guidelines while still calling themselves Christian. That's why I prefer to quote the actual Bible verses and provide the reference. Then anyone can look it up and see what God has told us, not my interpretation of it. For example, look at Psalm 119:11

Then look at Postmodern thinking. It may help explain the difference between us.

What I'm getting at is that your opinion about magic and everything else is just that - OPINION. My opinion is not right and yours isn't because opinions are not correct. So what your saying about magic is your opinion, there is nothing to back it up, just like there is nothing to back mine up. So please admit on your website that your view on issues is not gospel and is certainly not fact but opinion.

please respond to this letter, at the most, post it, at the least send me an e-mail. o, I am an intelligent person, please don't say that your opinion of the bible is right, because there is no proof. Also posting this may lighten up some opinionated comments.

Here are some other Scriptures (not my opinion or interpretation) that might help. I am not saying that all these verses apply to you or to this issue, but they are welcome reminders of how easily we can flow with the culture and justify our actions when they clash with God's truth:  Conforming to the culture

Second letter from John: In response to your comments, I have pulled a quote from your site. In regards to responding to the rules of Magic, your site states: "These responses become increasingly automatic, a reflex action." Now I realize that you did not specifically use the word "automaton" but if you look at the definition of the word, which I pulled off of Merriam-Webster online, it states that an automaton is "a machine or control mechanism designed to follow automatically a predetermined sequence of operations or respond to encoded instructions". Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the two meanings identical. Just because you didn't use the word doesn't make the meaning change, it just makes it sound better.

No, John, the two meanings are not identical. Humans, even when driven my their reflex responses to various stimuli, are not the same as machines. They can still choose to say no to their cravings. In any case, you cannot apply your meaning to the words I had written. They don't fit the context. 

Anonymous: I wanted to comment on your view of Magic the Gathering. I can understand that some people, mostly of the strong Christian side, are concerned with the images and the over all "feel" of the game.

But like most people that are trying to prove thier point, you leave out two of nondark sides of Magic. The green side symbolized by the tree, and white symbolized by the sun. Green encourages growth, life, nature, and squirrels. White encourages protection, life, and the use of angels.

In the game they both work together, the two color's cards actually work very well together, and the cards are actually stronger against their opposite color, white actually best against black, but black has no such power over white. But yes, there is the "dark side", the black and red colors do deal with fire, death, and yes demonic visions are used on the cards.

But you are not forced to use any color or play the game period !!!

You say the game is "evil", do you know that is game has kept teens out of trouble, off the streets, and it helps introverted people make friends. But with young kids parents should control what thier children have access to. No one of maturity feels like a god, wizard, mystic of some sort when playing this card game. That's absurd !

I'm not concerned with the "feel" of the game. I'm not sure I even know what you mean by that phrase. But I am concerned about the spiritual message it communicates. The fact that you emphasize "good" powers or forces -- including angels and colors that supposedly protect and encourage growth -- make me more concerned. For this occult  way of thinking is totally contrary to the truths about God and His creation.

For example, the "good" angels that are part of your spiritual system are the "fallen angels" or demons in the Bible. See Isaiah 5:20

The worldview behind magic is incompatible with the Christian worldview. When you blend the two, you end up with a belief that is occult, not Christian. Just as a drop of arsenik would poison a glass of water, so even the slightest bit of synthesis mixing Biblical truth with these occult suggestions would begin to distort the faith of someone who wanted to follow God.

From Aaron: Is it possible to work magic through the power of Christ? If I can save somebody's life using magic, but at the cost of my immortal soul, should I still do it? Thanks.

As a Christian, I must answer "no" to both questions, Aaron. God  doesn't contradict Himself, and He tells us that the source of the magic is the spiritual enemy of His people. Magic  involves the use of various occult  formulas for contacting spirits and  manipulating their forces according  to the human will. They contradict  God's  grace on every point.

Jesus said, For what profit is it to a  man if  he gains the whole world,  and loses his own soul?"  What counts  is  eternal life, not this short  life here on earth. Anyone willing to sell  their soul to satan to extend  life here on earth (for themselves or  anyone else) would be a fool. Wouldn't you agree?

Second letter from Aaron Weiner: Thank you for carefully defining magic in  your reply.   The question now becomes: Is what Jesus did magic? Is what Moses did  magic?
Mark 3:13-3:15 (KJV) [tells us]: "And he goeth up into  a mountain, and calleth [unto him] whom  he would: and they came unto him.  And he  ordained twelve, that they should be with  him, and that he might send them forth to  preach, and to have power to heal  sicknesses, and to cast out devils."
Jesus is granting his part of his power to  ordinary people.   Apparently, these people  can then use that power autonomously. The healings that Jesus, and presumably  his followers, perform definitely have a  magical "feel":
John 9:6-9:7 [KJV] When he had thus spoken, he spat on the  ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he  anointed the eyes of the blind man with the  clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the  pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation,  Sent.) He went his way therefore, and  washed, and came seeing."
Is there a palpable distinction between  miracles and magic?   Miracles seem to be  magic worked through the power of God by  human agency.   This implies that not all  magic is satanic, only that which does not  come from God.
As for my second question, I agree with  your reply.  It does seem foolish to sacrifice  one's betterment in the next world for  another's betterment in this one.   What if by  saving someone's life using unholy means,  however, you gave them an opportunity to  confess and be saved?   Would you then be  sacrificing your own soul for the sake of  their's?  It seems paradoxical to go to hell  for an altruistic act. I don't think  God still explicitly forbid the use of magic.

Actually, He does. The Levitical laws concerning sacrifices for sin were completed in Christ at His death on the cross, but the moral law -- including the Ten Commandments stand forever. The main difference in their application now is that Jesus gave us His Spirit to enable us to follow His ways. We obey the moral law by His strength rather than our own.

He tells us  in Deut 18:9-12 that anyone who participates in witchcraft, sorcery (or magic), spellcasting, divination, necromancy and other timeless pagan practices is an "abomination" to Him. That Scripture alone should cause us to turn our backs to any participation or delight in popular paganism. But many other Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation bring the same warning.   

Previous comments about Magic: the Gathering are on this page: Pokemon & and Magic: the Gathering

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