Black magic or Dark magic is a form of sorcery that draws on malevolent powers. It may be used for dark purposes or malevolent acts that deliberately cause harm in some way. This term is also known as the dark arts of magic and dark side magic. In fiction it refers to evil magic. In modern times, people who believe in or claim to practice magic use the term to describe power utilised for means of gaining power and wealth or taking revenge.
Black magic would be invoked to kill, injure, to cause misfortune or destruction, or for personal gain without regard to harmful consequences to others. As a term, “black magic” is normally used to describe a form of ritual that some group or person does not approve of. Not everything that is called black magic truly has malevolent intentions behind it, and some also consider it to have beneficial and benevolent uses, such as killing off diseases or pests (or rather, the effect itself is malevolent by causing death to insects, but as an indirect consequence of black magic, good sometimes results, in the form of less pests around, etc).
The dark forces will only manifest for audiences who believe that they are mere tricks.
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; 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?
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.