Culture At Large

Is "black magic" real?

Andy Rau

You may not have seen it, but the forces of darkness were humiliated in front of hundreds of millions of TV viewers earlier this month in India. Sanal Edamaruku, president of the skeptic group Rationalist International, challenged India's most powerful black magician to use his dark powers to harm or kill him on live national television. You can read all about it at their website, but suffice it to say, Sanal is alive and well today, despite a lot of spooky black magic theatrics.

The incident has generated a lot of blog chatter—and the massive number of people who tuned in to watch it suggests that it's a topic that interests a lot of people there.

It got me to thinking about Christian beliefs regarding black magic. It wasn't that long ago that (many branches of) Christianity in the US went through a phase of near-obsession with black magic, satanism, and the occult; remember the "Satanic Panic," Mike Warnke, and the like? I read Bob Larson's novel Dead Air as a kid, and while I now look back on it rather sheepishly, it had me convinced for a while that dark powers and black magic were alive and well in modern America—and could harm me if I wasn't on guard against them.

All this came to mind while reading the above account of the black magician's failure to demonstrate his powers on Indian TV. How seriously do Christians today take the idea of black magic? Do you believe that a black magician in India could tap into real, evil supernatural power, or does the very thought make you roll your eyes in disbelief?

If I were to poll most of my evangelical Christian friends with that question, I think the response would be that while they don't take black magic very seriously, it's not something they're prepared to completely dismiss. That said, I do know a few Christians who claim to have experienced evil supernatural attacks or incidents.

But I'm curious what you think, so I've put together a little ThinkChristian poll. It's just off on the right side of the page in the sidebar. Take the poll, and share your thoughts in the comments below!

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Theology