What is your opinion of magicians and magic shows? Are they just fun or should we be more concerned about them? I’m not asking about those who profess to have “powers”, just those who pull rabbits out of hats type stuff. The kind of things you know are “tricks” and it’s fun to see if you can figure out how they do it.
First, you are right that there is a difference between the fun, sleight of hand, card trick, pull a rabbit from a hat type of “magician” and the ones who give the appearance of demonic or black-magic power.
There are some guys today like David Blaine or Cris Angel who make the hair stand up on your neck. Some of their illusions are without a doubt meant to give you the impression they are tapping supernatural power… whether they are or not, is doubtful, but indeed possible. However, they certainly want to leave you with the opinion that they possess “powers”, not simply skills. Even their dress, vocabulary and demeanor is meant to give an aura of “unknown power”. They appear sinister, not fun.
In those cases, even if it is all smoke and mirrors, they are TRYING to give the impression of black magic or demonic power (even if they wouldn’t label it that), so it is most certainly not befitting a Christian. This type of appearance and practice is condemned in Scripture: Isa. 8:19; Isa. 44:25; Isa. 47:12-15; Deut. 18:10-12; Acts 8:9-24; Acts 13:6-11; Acts 19:13-20; Rev. 21:8; Rev. 22:15. The magicians condemned in the Bible were sorcerers attempting to use demonic power, or wanting people to think they were supernaturally connected. They weren’t doing card tricks, they were attempting to use (or pretend to use) demonic power to deceive or gain power.
As for the common “magic tricks”, birthday party magicians, illusionsits and card trick specialists… there is typically no appearance or attempt to display demonic or supernatural power. It’s a trick, a sleight of hand, a skill… and no one thinks or deceived into believing otherwise. These are illusions or skills, and represented as such.
Like all things, there has to be some discernment. If you simply label all “magic tricks” as unChristian, then it can be taken to ridiculous extremes. My two and three year old think they can wave their magic finger at the van door, and open it themselves when I’m behind them pressing a button on my key chain. Is that practicing or teaching sorcery? Is a really cool card trick demonic? Is making an elephant “disappear” black magic?
It is a quantum leap from having a coin magically appear from a kids ear, to the illusion of levitating which clearly suggests supernatural power. However, should you see an illusionist who is also dabbling in the occult, or “black magic”, you should have nothing to do with them. Again, the keyword is always the same: DISCERNMENT.
Again, God doesn’t give us checklists. He gives us a conscience, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and His Word. With those three things we are equipped to discern the difference between innocent sleight of hand, fun entertainment… and the attempts by man to appear supernaturally (demonically) empowered.