This article, from Mother Jones, has some smirk-worthy quotable bits. It’s subject is the recent convention of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians:
To demonstrate one of his favorite bits of legerdemain, Laflin selects a boy named Drake and asks him to mark a quarter. “This quarter represents Drake’s life,” announces Laflin, delivering a stream of well-rehearsed patter. “Now, it’s a treasure, isn’t it?” He places the coin in a small box, and retrieves a silver cube, which, he says, represents God’s will for Drake’s life. “Would you like to know what’s in the cube?” Laflin asks. Drake nods. Music swells from a set of portable speakers. “There’s only one way for you to know–you must give up your life. You can keep the quarter or pick God’s plan for your life. What’s your choice, Drake?”
After a moment’s hesitation, Drake picks God’s plan. Laflin hands him the silver cube. Nervously, the boy lifts its lid–only to find that it contains six smaller boxes, nested like Russian dolls. Inside the final box is a handkerchief with two quarters inside. One is unmarked; the other is his original coin. “When you make the decision to live for God and give your life to him, God gives your life back to you so you can live for God,” Laflin says as Drake stares at the coins in amazement. After Laflin finishes his lecture, audience members–mostly middle-aged men and teenage boys–line up for autographs.
Any comment from me would be superfluous. At least they seem to have gotten D and D right:
But the relationship between the magical arts and evangelical Christianity is not without controversy. After all, Deuteronomy explicitly forbids witchcraft, divination, and sorcery, and Revelation warns that “those who practice magic arts” will wind up in “the fiery lake of burning sulfur” along with deviants, unbelievers, and murderers.
Contemporary critics have lumped magic shows in with Dungeons & Dragons and Ouija boards as another example of Satan’s deceptions. J.K. Rowling’s wizards inspired a stream of anti-occult critiques, including the book Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick. And when two secular Scottish magicians created a TV show in 2005 called The Magic of Jesus, in which they replicated biblical miracles, a Pentecostal bishop suggested that they attempt a new trick: crucifying themselves.
It’s hard to imagine going through life being that stern and humorless. Here’s one more:
That’s a trick question, of course. For some gospel magicians, the very fact that their powers aren’t supernatural is proof that the biblical miracles were real. “I carry tons of equipment in order to do my shows,” says André Kole, a famed magician who consults for David Copperfield and has mastered an illusion where he appears to walk on water. “If Jesus was a magician, you’d have to visualize 2,000 years ago Jesus and the disciples walking through the dusty streets of Galilee wearing sandals, with three diesel trucks behind them carrying all their equipment.”
Or maybe Jesus was a better magician than Andre Kole. Or maybe, just maybe, Jesus didn’t really walk on water, and his disciples just made that up.