Should A Christian Consult A Psychic?

Let me state right at the beginning that I am not a christian, I don’t even spell christian with a capital C. (I USED to be a christian, but that’s another story.)

However, I do think quite a lot about religion, because it is such an important facet of society, and I like to think I’m fairly well-informed on the subject.

So, when one of my christian colleagues tells me she knows an “incredible psychic” she wants me to see (to overcome my scepticism of all psychics) my first reaction is: Should this person, who believes in an all-knowing, omnipotent god (note, no capital G) be consulting someone who claims to be able to see the future using paranormal powers?

As far as I am aware, this is a very un-christian thing to do. Aren’t they supposed to have faith that their god already has their future all planned out and is taking care of them, and whatever happens will be for the best because it is “God’s Will”?

Don't you trust me??

The christian god doesn’t like his followers to consult fortune-tellers and psychics. His own holy book has numerous passages such as:

  • Deuteronomy 18:10-12
  • There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord
  • Leviticus 19:31
  • “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.

To an interested observer like me, that seems pretty clear!

Assuming we can agree that the christian god has declared consulting psychics, fortune-tellers and mediums to be verboten, the question is: why do so many practising christians do it? There could be several reasons:

  • they have never properly read their own holy book, so they don’t know they shouldn’t be paying some charlatan to contact their Auntie Emily from Beyond the Grave to tell her that her cat just died and will be joining her soon (As if she didn’t already know!),
  • they have read the book but they don’t think it applies to them – so it’s okay to pay a fortune- teller to look into their future – perhaps the tall, dark stranger really is out there, just waiting for you to come into his life, if you cross that lady’s palm with silver….
  • they know it applies to them but they don’t care – which means they don’t take their own deity seriously. Apparently, that course could lead to eternal damnation – fire and brimstone, guys in red latex body-suits with pointy sticks and all that?
  • they DON’T SEE THE HARM.

Let’s examine that last point.

Psychics rely on people’s belief in their apparently “paranormal powers”. People don’t always think critically, so it is pretty easy to fool them using pretty standard techniques. There are many famous instances of psychics cheating – James Randi has written extensively on the subject, and has offered a $1 million prize to anyone who can demonstrate any paranormal ability under controlled conditions. Many have tried, and all have failed.

Psychic con artists take people’s money and feed them lies, prey on their grief at losing a loved one, mislead police investigations and just generally waste everybody’s time.

If you want to read about the harm caused by psychics, please read What’s the Harm? The website draws on reports from all over the world and makes for horrifying, disturbing, often tragic reading.

Here is a very instructive lesson on How To Be A Psychic – do you recognise any of these steps from the last time you visited a psychic/fortune-teller/clairvoyant? You should – they’re commonly used ploys to get you to believe the bullshit they’re about to feed you!

So, should a christian consult a psychic? Should anybody? What do you think?

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2 comments on “Should A Christian Consult A Psychic?

  1. There could be another reason practising Christians consult psychics: rationalization and “interpretation”. The relationship between the Old and the New Testaments is a complicated one, and Christians who’d like to make use of psychics can easily rationalize away the relevant OT passages in the same way in which Christians rationalize away all the unpopular bits. (Giving up all one’s property is pretty inconvenient, so there are many strategies for explaining away Jesus’ radical – and consistent – injunction against wealth. It’s even easier to explain away unpopular OT passages because of the above-mentioned relationship issue – some bits suggests ‘not a letter’ of the OT is to be changed, others say that the NT supersedes the old.)

    I’ve always thought that even IF the Bible were infallible, it would help us little. What use is an infallible but obscure and difficult to interpret book?

  2. You’re right, Mike. There are many ways to interpret the bible, depending on what you WANT to believe! Personally I dont think the bible is good for anything. It’s not even a good moral guide. And it makes a very wonky crutch!

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