Thursday, March 17, 2011
Occult, parapsychology, spiritualism and magic
My parents taught me that all around us are good and evil spirits that can influence our lives. They can hide things and manipulate what we see and hear and experience. If I am not careful, the bad or evil spirits can deceive me or lead me into doing things that are bad for me. However, if I do what I need to do to surround and protect me with good, benevolent spirits, my life will go well for me. There is some kind of an all-seeing eye that is available to both good and evil spirits that can not only see physical things, but can see into my heart and thoughts. This is depicted on LDS temples in prominent locations.
While on my LDS mission, there were numerous stories about the bad things that happened to Mormon missionaries who dabbled in magic by playing with ouija boards, calling out evil spirits or otherwise 'playing with fire' by tempting bad spirits. The power of evil spirits was emphasized by Biblical powers that showed threats and magic magic that can be manipulated by evil spirits.
As a growing boy, I accepted these powers as real and to this day have not touched a Ouija board game. But as I learned more about spiritualism, magic and other types of illusion and deception, I became more and more skeptical about magic in all its varieties -- including Biblical magic expressed today as 'miracles'.
My understanding was further enhanced by my personal studies in psychology, sociology, social psychology and hypnotism. I am amazed at the power of the human mind -- both conscious and sub-conscious. I am now convinced, however, that as strong as the mind is, it does NOT have the power to resort to magic in all its varieties. Magical thinking is particularly a target of my skepticism.
In magical thinking, we 'THINK' that by just putting a thought in our mind we can alter reality in ways that does not require us to do anything else. This now gets to the supernatural powers of prayer, which will be a topic of another blog.