Social Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Why has no 'real' magician tried to fool the religious?

Asked by KNOWITALL (16090points) January 24th, 2014

Criss Angel and David Blaine regularly freak people out, including celebrities that are fairly smart people. We know there is voodoo and many other forms of mysteries that people are curious about and that can’t be proven to be real or not real.

They also make millions by performances with the power to amaze.

Wouldn’t they make more money by fooling the entire religious community about being prophets?

Why settle for millions when you can have people across the world throwing money at you, doesn’t really matter which religion as many believe in prophets and miracles, not even counting the mainstream secular folk who just want a show.

Just a random thought I found interesting, what do you think?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

73 Answers

Seek's avatar

Magicians are outright condemned in the Bible. Remember the Moses story, with the whole sticks and snakes thing?

Any Christian pastor will not allow a magician in their doors, unless they’re doing simple party tricks, and then they are adamant about calling them “Illusionists” instead of “Magicians”.

Dante placed magicians along with astronomers and diviners in the eighth circle of Hell.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Right, so why not say God sent them and take all the money? I’m surprised no one has done that yet in this land of opportunists (chuckle.)

dxs's avatar

I think someone who claims they are the second advent of Jesus or godsent would find themselves being deemed blasphemous by any Christian group. And this idea can be transferred to any other religion.

Seek's avatar


As much as I hate to admit it~~, even Christians aren’t that stupid. And false prophets are equally disdained.

KNOWITALL's avatar

You guys know I’m a Christian, and I’m not saying theists in general are stupid or anything like that at all, I’m just saying that if someone like David Blaine can fool the general public person to person in a room, then why not take that talent to ‘the dark side’ and create a persona of holiness, an act in other words, that caters to people who WANT to believe.

Even if posed as an act in Vegas, I bet it could gain fame and be taken across the world for easy money. I don’t think it’s as far-out as you guys do I guess. If Jim Jones and Jim Baker can do it to a lesser degree, imagine someone with actual talent, skill and charisma.
Where’s ETpro, this may be good for his book…lol

kess's avatar

Because magicians that fool the religious is not labelled as that kind of magician, they present themselves using labels that is already acceptable to the particular kind of religion.

What I mean is that when the audience thinks the magician performing miracles, who is going to convince them differently.

Same as if the audience thinks they are performing tricks, who is going to tell them differently.

Seek's avatar


The people that get away with it are the so-called “faith healers”.

They use simple tricks to convince people that God is moving on the congregation.

This is generally done by asking for someone with lower-back pain, diagnosing them as having one leg shorter than the other, and thus they are out of balance. Then they put on a mighty show of praying over the short leg, and demonstrate the power of God extending that leg an inch or so. The person, elated, then squeals their delight at their no-longer-hurting lower back.

This all works very well until you get one old man who just will not play along and say that the hearing in his one bad ear is slightly better now. (Bro. Scissom, you’ll never read this, but you rock.)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Okay, let me put it this way. Christians are sometimes freaked out by magic as being ‘from the Devil’ as you know. So they shun it quite often. If David Blaine was to come out as a theist or Muslim, and say that until now he has been afraid to claim it, do you think people would see him as some kind of person sent by God minus the natural suspicion of a faith healer?

Seek's avatar


Because there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God gives those kind of powers to men. Those powers are not “of God” so that person would be considered a false prophet and a magician, and thus a sinner.

I mean, you might get a few crazies interested, but you wouldn’t get mainstream Christians going along for the ride.

syz's avatar

I have a problem with the premise of your question, specifically “can’t be proven to be real or not real.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@syz Whether you can prove voodoo or other forms of magick is subjective because a lot of it is rooted in superstition or culture or religion.

Rarebear's avatar

Okay, here are answers:
“We know there is voodoo” There are people who believe in it, but it doesn’t really exist.

“Wouldn’t they make more money by fooling the entire religious community about being prophets?” These people already exist. They’re called “megachurch preachers”

“Why settle for millions when you can have people across the world throwing money at you…”
Because they have integrity.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear Although you’re cool and all, I’m not sure you’re an authority on voodoo, honeybear…lol. I bet a lot of people would disagree with you, just like theists do.

But I’m not talking about megachurch preachers who have already disgusted many with their blatant disrespect of moral values and outright lawbreaking. That ship has sailed.

Magicians that take money from amazed people have integrity? Am I in crazy world today when the logical doc is making comments like these?! :)

Rarebear's avatar

@KNOWITALL Show me verifiable evidence that voodoo exists.

“Magicians that take money from amazed people have integrity? ” Yes. It’s called “entertainment’.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear Voodoo really is just communication with spirts right, so since I haven’t done that and various ‘evidence’ has been presented across the world, I’d say it exists in some form. Even my husband swears they had a ghost and had a medium come banish it, so to me, he believes in God and voodoo.

Ah, okay, but for some it’s not just entertainment, it’s talent brought by the Devil. :)

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

Perhaps they do not care about money or power and are satisfied by helping people or making people happy. Not everyone wants or needs religion to give them dispensation or to validate them.

Seek's avatar

I think we’re also missing the fact that magicians are part of a very old tradition that is highly regulated by honour code.

I’m not privy to the particulars of this honour code, but I’m pretty sure “using your powers for evil” wouldn’t be tolerated.

Magic – in the vein of Houdini and the like – is a craft that is mostly passed down from practitioner to apprentice. While I’m sure there are charlatans everywhere, I have a feeling they are the exception rather than the rule.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SwanSwanHummingbird In that case a ‘real’ magician probably wouldn’t be famous or providing entertainment.

@Seek_Kolinahr I just find it curious that of all thing’s, a magician seeking divine power for his/ her magic has not been done, it’s all blamed on darkness and evil but never from God.

Seek's avatar

It’s the Christians themselves that are blaming it on darkness and evil.

The magician himself knows exactly what is happening behind the curtain, and spirits and witchcraft have nothing to do with it.

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

My answer still stands. Maybe they do not care about some sort of religious dispensation.

Berserker's avatar

A lot of what people know about voodoo is unfortunately all taken from movies and crap. Voodoo itself is an African religion with its own deity and the practitioners are said to deal with spirits who serve as messengers. It branches off here and there where voodoo is active, and shamans and witch doctors do brew potions and powdered concoctions with the belief that it will cure diseases and the like. I read this thing that African albinos constantly have to watch their backs, because their blood is valued in certain potions and the like.
But it is a religion, and even if a voodoo guy had the intent to try and fool Christians, Christians themselves would probably want nothing to do with this. That is, IF the voodoo practitioner cared to mingle with Christians. The enslavement of the blacks and their being forced into Christianity during the eighteenth century is still a big part of African history, one which I’m pretty sure they haven’t forgotten.
We should probably be glad that they can’t stick pins dolls to issue pain, or raise the dead.
Regarding voodoo, that’s my answer anyways. As for parlor magicians go, I’m pretty sure just about everybody knows it isn’t actual magic, therefore no Christian will be fooled if some magic man pops up going, dude, I’m Jesus.

KNOWITALL's avatar

So opportunists would stop at disgracing magic due to honor, I just find that hard to believe.

@Symbeline Good points. If theists believe in medium, based on some definitions, they believe in voodoo.

I’m more interested in why a magician doesn’t try to get over on the world to make more money more than the religious aspect people.

Seek's avatar

1. Magicians who are serious about magical study are following an honour code.
2. The Christian religion recognizes magic and rejects it as evil.
3. Someone claiming to use magic by order of god would be considered a false prophet.
4. 1+2+3= more trouble than it is worth.

Besides the fact that if you were found out, some crazy magician would probably have you whacked. And you would be found out, because how else would you become a rich and famous prophet?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Sounds like easy money to me, especially for some magician with big dreams in some podunk town like mine, full of theists just looking for something TANGIBLE to believe in. To show atheists and agnostics there really is someone divine and here’s the proof finally.

BTW, I’m not disrespecting theists by posing this question, I’m just intrigued by the idea.

Seek's avatar

Give it a shot then. Let me know how it works out. I learned how to make an egg disappear into a handkerchief once.

Berserker's avatar

@KNOWITALL Off topic, but I’ve always wondered that. Do Christians believe in ghosts and vampires and stuff. A lot of mythology about ghosts and vampires, in fact pretty much all the modern ones, involve Christianity itself. Therefore do they believe in, say, voodoo spirits? I guess it can depend on what branch of Christianity you’re in? Some may approve, others not.

But to get back to your question, now that I think of it; there have been a lot of ’‘prophets’’ who have announced the coming of Judgement Day, and have convinced people to quit their jobs and everything due to this…but I have no idea if those kinds of stories were about the prophet grabbing evreyone’s money.

One example is Roch Thériault. This guy was from here, and had his little cult and they lived out in the woods awaiting the end of the world. The guy mistreated his people, horrible, horrible stories. He was eventually trialed and jailed, and in prison, during an interview, he admitted that he was not a believer, and was using the faith of his disciples to exploit them. What an asshole.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Symbeline Some do, some don’t. I don’t but my husband and his family does. I probably would if I came face to face with one, but that hasn’t happened and I’ve been to a lot of creepy places. He is also able to be hypnotized and I’m not, so maybe we’re different in some important way.

Magic is probably one thing I could believe in if it was done right, seriously Blaine freaks me out a little bit, and I love his calm demeanor. If it was of God, then I wouldn’t feel guilty opening myself to it, that’s what made me think of this opportunity per se.

I’m really nothing but a believe now, was raised Southern and Fundamental Baptist, converted to Catholicism at 17. I’m a very practical no-nonsense type, not the dreamer type at all, I make thing’s happen.

ragingloli's avatar

Because real magicians have honour, and fully admit that everything they do is trickery and deceptions.

ragingloli's avatar

Unlike hucksters like Uri Geller, and every single fortune teller, homeopath and chiropractor who have no honour and pretend to have actual paranormal powers.

filmfann's avatar

Wonderful question! Lurve for that!

To deceive the religious, you would need to show your inability to be wrong. Who could bear up under that requirement?

ragingloli's avatar

Every single pope.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli Eh, not really, many non-Catholics think Catholics aren’t real christians anyway, trust me. My family about flipped out when I converted.

ragingloli's avatar

And it was catholic policy to regard non-catholics as “not real christians”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli I assume you were talking to me instead of yourself, but yes, that’s a fair statement. My family says catholics worship Mary, don’t use a ‘real’ Bible and all kinds of kooky things, it’s hard to deal with so I just don’t. :)

ucme's avatar

I’d like to see Blaine walk on water or resurrect himself, wonder if Jesus knew any card tricks :)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme Criss walked on water and floated on top of the pyramid casino in Vegas, it was cool. Jesus probably had some wine and hung with the disciples playing dice or something, no big deal.

ucme's avatar

I prefer Burt Wonderstone myself, looks a little bit like the nazarine too…which is nice.

Rarebear's avatar

My gaster is flabbered. Sleight of hand is talent brought on by the devil? Really?

How do you feel about people performing by regulating air through their vocal cords in regular harmonic fashion? Or people who pluck pieces of steel under tension over a hollow box?

Rarebear's avatar

@KNOWITALL Criss didn’t REALLY walk on water and float on top of a pyramid. It was an illusion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear Aw, I know it’s illusion but some people think it’s of the Devil, like it’s real.

You don’t think I’m THAT gullible do ya? I don’t even believe in ghosts, come on!!

Get your gaster unflabbered, you’re taking me too literally brudder. It was just an amusing little thought I had, would make a good book though.

Rarebear's avatar

@KNOWITALL Whew. Okay. Thanks. I was worried for a sec. Sorry about that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear hahaha, feel free to call me out on my sanity anytime, just having some funzies here. It gets so serious & predictable sometimes I like to mix it up.

talljasperman's avatar

Sounds like the movie “The Man Who Would be king”.

ninjacolin's avatar

@KNOWITALL, have you not seen this video by the great grandson of L Ron hubbard?

ninjacolin's avatar

You might also enjoy this list of faith healers.
Notable video: Randi exposes Peter Popoff – He went from making 4 million dollars a year to bankrupt.

These tricks do happen. People do get fooled and dump money in their pockets.

flutherother's avatar

God performed the best magic trick when he created the Universe. Pulling rabbits out of a hat that wasn’t there.

ragingloli's avatar

And the worst part is, even after being exposed as a fraud, he is still successfully defrauding gullible christians:

MadMadMax's avatar

I want to see a person with no legs – a vet from one of our wars – verifiably wounded in action and legs removed – I want to see him cured. Two new perfect legs grow right in front of everybody and the guy gets up in his new bare feet, and says “holy shit, I believe.”

But it never happens. Ever

stanleybmanly's avatar

Professional courtesy.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

You mentioned Criss Angel. Criss is religious, Greek orthodox.

He routinely pulls magic tricks that are “savior like”. He has walked on water. He raises birds from the dead and on or around Halloween he supposedly raised a donated corpse from the dead. He has also done a magic trick where he supposedly made Jesus’s face appear on a tortilla chip. On the internet the question has been raised but when I looked I ironically find that Criss Angel is supposedly of the devil. :/

ninjacolin's avatar

^ that article is soooo stupid.
The author believes he is the anti-christ more than anyone will ever believe he is the christ.
Some people are problematic-believers. It’s like they are sooo guillible they would believe something completely wrong even if it’s in opposition to something they want to say isn’t right.. really perplexingly silly.

jerv's avatar

You’ve never seen Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!, have you? Oh, wait.. .that’s more about debunking…

Anyways, magicians are primarily entertainers. Their job is to sell tickets. They do that by doing things that make people want to buy tickets.

MadMadMax's avatar

@Rarebear No missing legs. I want to see a guy with no legs grow new legs.

What’s God’s problem with amputees? It seems it’s beyond him.

Just another claim I’m supposed to believe based on faith.

Rarebear's avatar

@MadMadMax Tim Minchin doesn’t have a song about missing legs.

MadMadMax's avatar

@Rarebear Even Jesus didn’t cure an amputee. He kept to the standard magic tricks.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

^ Do you have real proof and facts to prove that?? Just wondering.

ragingloli's avatar

@MadMadMax is right. I never cured any amputees.

MadMadMax's avatar

@KaY_Jelly I’m not even convinced he was one guy from history – He probably existed, I can’t say for sure, but a mythology grew around him after his death that made him into a god figure..

“The New Testament, especially the gospels and the Pauline epistles, are of no historical value;

The failure of ancient non-Christian writers of the 1st century to mention Jesus shows that he did not exist;

Christianity was syncretistic and mythical in its beginnings.

Kropotkin's avatar

“Why has no ‘real’ magician tried to fool the religious?”

Why do you think one hasn’t?

Derren Brown did a TV programme where he did exactly that, and more. He even converted a room full of atheists. To keep within ethical guidelines, he revealed what he had done to everyone afterwards.

Magicians, or at least a subset of magicians, specialise in cognitive illusions—in manipulating our psychological and cognitive tendencies—the exact same thing that religion has evolved to do.

Paradox25's avatar

I’m not sure what you’re really asking here, but I think I do and I’ll give it a try. Perhaps it’s not the intention of many professional illusionists to rip people off, but simply to entertain others who enjoy watching them perform. Perhaps they love the challenge of fooling and amazing normally intelligent folks. Many of these tyes of folks, siuch as Angel love the challenge and adrenaline rush they receive from performing.

Actually it is much more likely for the religionist to manipulate other religion followers. Priests used to hide inside of statues several hundred years ago making others believe that God was talking to them. We see the concept of phony faith healers on tv too.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

@MadMadMax Do you even realize how illogical your choice looks to me??

Just break down what you said to me.

Ok, nevermind I’ll do it for you:

#1 “I’m not even convinced he was one guy from history”
#2 “He probably existed”
#3 *“I can’t say for sure”* 
#4 “but a mythology grew around him after his death”


Who’s death? If you aren’t convinced, then there is no way he is a guy from history of any signifigance to you especially if it is a mythological story to you.

Btw, you can’t just copy and paste answers from Wikipedia without a reference and that idea you posted is based on an argument which is supported by Richard Dawkins which may I add that if you are going to support his ‘theories’ as the ‘true gospel’ for atheism then lol because we are talking about a guy who is as delusional as his book The God Delusion because William Lane Craig called him out on that.

And just in case you don’t read my link, Atheism does not prove the non existence of a God but theism does not prove the existence of a God so either way one or the other is not going to ‘convince’ you until there is verifiable proof for either side, until then choose a side.

It seems like you’ve chosen yours and thats your perogative, but boy oh boy it certainly makes no sense to me when you are quoting from Wikipedia as your knowledge of the the choice you’ve made.

So since that isn’t even a comment about The New Testament coming from your mouth then I will refrain from actually answering it.

ninjacolin's avatar

@KaY_Jelly actually, it’s not humanly possible to choose what you want to believe. In fact, that’s exactly what illusionists (aka. Magicians) rely on to make their craft work. They know that if they enact specific sets of behaviors, that their observers will have no choice but to believe… “The ball disappeared” or “He guessed my card” or “He escaped that explosion” or what have you.

However, a professionally trained magician isn’t always required to achieve that effect. Sometimes a person can simply live a particular kind of life, meeting only particular kinds of people and being exposed to only particular kinds of ideas.. as a result of this very specific, lifelong set of input to that person’s brain, they are left with no choice but to believe “There must be a God and she has 8 arms” or “There must be a God and he is risen.” or “There must be a God and he needs me to gather a congregation.” or even.. “There must not be a God at all.”

Evidence always dictates beliefs. Always. There is never a choice in the matter.

Now, I’ve heard it said that some holy books say there is a such a thing as choice without providing any evidence to support it. To me, it is apparent that any book that claims this is wrong. So, the author of the book could not have been in-tune with reality.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

Imho, we can either choose to follow the Lord or we can choose not to. If it’s true and God knows all, that doesn’t mean that just because He knows what you’ll choose that He is forcing you to make the choice that is right for Him. If that was true we would all go to Heaven and there would be no evil and we would all be Christians, but we are not and it is a question that eludes many people. “If He is the creator than why can’t He just make himself known, why can’t He just tell us what to do, why does He make us suffer” and so on and so forth. All I can say is that as a follower of Christ I don’t have these questions, because I’ve come to know the answers.

You mentioned the bible @ninjacolin, so if you look at these verses

Joshua 24:15

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Revelation 3:20

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Imo, @ninjacolin judging by those scripts and if God is the creator (which is my belief) then God gives us freedom to choose.

If we do not have free will then maybe that could mean this is some kind of matrix and so who’s making our choices for us?

If and it has been known to happen you can focus on things going on around you, which some people can do, and they are able to catch things and not fall for the magic trick, because illusion is about drawing your focus to a certain spot and then other things tend to happen that you just seem to miss.

Also, since illusion is about tricking your brain so I guess you could say that you don’t have a choice at that moment because it’s just that the illusionist floods your brain or tricks it with so much stuff that in that moment it is overloaded. But, some people can figure out the illusion and many people are tricked, most people know that many of the tricks go against laws of physics, so without proof you can either choose to believe it or choose to not to or choose to look for what the cause of it was, in the end you may be slightly embarrassed that someone was able to pull something over on you that easy, or you may be thinking wow. But logically since we do not see people all across the country levitating and taking up airspace then something is not as it appears. So you can choose to believe that or choose to be a little more rational.

And no I am not saying that following Jesus is irrational. If you notice I said “we don’t have a choice at that moment”. I also can’t say for sure what actually happened in Jesus’s time. I can only go by what is written in the bible, which is not written by 1 person or an author as you thought. In fact the bible is historically significant.

“Two of the greatest 20th-century archaeologists, William F. Albright and Nelson Glueck, both lauded the Bible (even though they were non-Christian and secular in their training and personal beliefs) as being the single most accurate source document from history. Over and over again, the Bible has been found to be accurate in its places, dates, and records of events. No other “religious” document comes even close.”
~Institute for Creation Research

It all adds up you just have to look, the only thing we can’t say for sure is what events in that time that took place, but judging by the accuracy, I would guess it’s not far off.

Back to the magic. These are 3 of Criss Angels most used stunts.

You do not have to believe everything you see, the choice is yours.

Walking on water.


ragingloli's avatar

If “he” knows what you will choose, then your choice is predetermined, set in stone, and can not be altered.
Now ask yourself who set this cascade of choices in motion.

ninjacolin's avatar

@KaY_Jelly I promise you, if I could choose to believe in angels and heaven, I would. They seem like really cool things. But I can’t. It’s not possible because I happen to “know” better. It would be like me asking you to believe in Santa Claus. I mean, it’s not like Santa Claus is a bad concept, it’s fairly cool actually. But try as you might, don’t you find it impossible to believe?

I don’t choose to be atheist. And I wouldn’t say you choose to be Christian either. Instead, you and I simply agree with what we’re convinced of. We might label our persuasion “choice” but it really isn’t anything voluntary. Certainly isn’t anything I can be blamed for. There’s a large number of things I would love to believe were true which I simply can’t and I’m sure you suffer the same human limitation as I do. The belief in the non-existence of your God, for example, is one such limitation for you, I’m sure you’ll find. Meanwhile, the existence of your God is one for me.

@KaY_Jelly said: judging by those scripts and if God is the creator (which is my belief) then God gives us freedom to choose.

I understand that the book says we have such a freedom, but in practice it doesn’t seem at all possible. It seems more like that ability is itself a myth.

It’s like reading the wrong manual for a machine. The manual says: “Push the red button and turn the dial to 95.” Meanwhile, the machine in front of you only has 6 buttons and they’re all white. The instructions simply incongruent.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

@ninjacolin that simply confuses me.

I was an atheist at one point in my life and before that a practicing Satanist.

You just can’t tell me that we do not get to make a choice about the knowledge or the ignorance that we fill our heads with.

If I am standing in front of a machine and I have the wrong manual then I will pull the machine apart if I have to to figure it out.

Oh no machine you do not defeat me.

Just for reference I was once told that in order to cut the lawn I had to put the lawnmowers engine together, I’ll save you the backstory because the person definatley does not need too much of my time, but I had no knowledge and no manual, and I did it.

Must be my daddy’s blood coming out in me. He was a racecar driver and a trucker. He knew a lot about engines, didn’t teach me any of it he didn’t think I was interested he also wasn’t around much. I would after his death though teach myself how to drive stick shift on my first brand new car which I still have, w/original clutch, over 120, 000 miles on it and I’ve never stalled it..imagine that! My dad would be proud. I’m now in the process of getting my truck driving licence.:)

So anyway should of saw the look on said persons face when said person came home and I was cutting lawn. =-O

@ragingloli That still doesn’t mean “that just because He knows what you’ll choose that He is forcing you to make the choice”, So therefore it is not predetermined, God could merely be sitting back and:
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Doesn’t mean you have to listen. Obviously.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Kropotkin lol, I’d have to see that to believe it.

DISCLAIMER – This was a fun random question, the God/ religion debate doesn’t have to rear it’s head in every single thread people.

Seek's avatar

^ Uh… what?

“Why has no real magician tried to fool the religious?”

I have to say, If I had asked this question, I would have been crucified.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Okay, good point, it really was a random thought that I didn’t think would turn into another Does God/ Heaven exist

Berserker's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Haha yeah, I wonder if in places where they practice Buddhism, they debate about it on forums all the time.

Kropotkin's avatar

@KaY_Jelly What do you mean by “choice”?

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther