Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Modern Wizard.

The Alchemists  - Pietro Longhi

Did you know that the idea of a 'Wizard' someone who gains powers purely through inherited abilities or through some energy force is actually a modern invention? I know. I had no idea either, but the more I read about it the more it makes sense. See before the late 19th Century Religion was considered the central aspect of all societies, and so 'magic', just like 'science' before it, was something that could not be divorced from Religion.

Before the turn of the century, magic was viewed as something inherently religious. Either in a good way or a bad way. Pagans thought that the magic came from their gods. Renaissance Philosophers called upon spirits. Buddhists thought they were tapping into the inner spiritual workings of the universe. Christians took things a step further. According to our beliefs not all spiritual powers are good. Therefore the concept of Witchcraft vs Miracles came into play. However, supernatural power was assumed to come from either the Divine as a miracle, or the diabolical as witchcraft.

So how do we get the Modern Wizard? The guy who throws around lightning bolts and fireballs just because he can? The odd answer is that this Modern Wizard is only distantly related to the concept of Warlocks, Priests or Prophets that existed in times before. This is because the Modern Wizard is divorced from the concept of Religion and the Supernatural entirely. Instead, the Modern Wizard's magic is an energy force that he can control, similar to electricity. How did this concept occur?

Basically the Modern Wizard and the Superhero both came around from the same source. Technology. In the 19th century humanity discovered that they could turn the natural forces to their command. The Modern Wizard and the Superhero are simply the fulfillment of the dream of Technology. Magic in cultures used to be something that could not be distinguished from Religion, but now in our modern mindset it is something that cannot be divorced from Science.

Now it's not that Pagan magic is not something that Christians should not look out for. It's still a dangerous enemy that is alive and well in the New Age and the Occult. However, the Modern Wizard, which includes such characters as Harry Potter, Eragon and whatever Wizards you find in Skyrim. And yet, that tends to make more sense to our modern culture then magic coming from Religion. Why? Because we have been trained, Pavlov style, to expect quick and powerful results from Technology.

Should Christians use the Modern Wizard? Well I'll leave that up to you folks. The Modern Wizard does not represent the Occult, but rather Technology.  I personally think that, within limits the Modern Wizard can show the powers and dangers of Science and Technology rather aptly within a Christian spectrum.

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