The following letter has arrived in the editorial office of the Russian Orthodox magazine Foma (named after St. Thomas the Apostle):
Tell me why the Church forbids magic after it works? I recently heard a priest warn his parishioners about the dangers of healing with baths and special prayers. This has always amazed me. I don’t even understand what is wrong with God here, when it really helps people get rid of pain? Why does the Church define healers as servants of the devil, and how then do they differ from the Blessed Matron, from the elders, from the priests, whose prayers also often perform miracles? What is it, that church healers are in competition with their “non-systemic colleagues”?
And what is wrong with, for example, harmless divinations that can not cause any physical harm? It seems to me that one of the Fathers of the Church (perhaps following his pride) has simply said once that healing, healing, and all other magic are manifestations of the dark forces, and people have accepted this as true, blindly following the established rules ”of the Church.
Respectfully yours, Nikolai, Pskov Region.
How does the Church relate to magic and why, says psychologist Alexander Tkachenko
Conspiracy theory – who is behind the witches and folk healers?
The shortest answer to this, dear Nikolai, may be this:
The Church forbids magic, precisely because what is not mentioned in your question “this” really works.
And now it’s time to talk in more detail about what exactly “this” is.
For the uninitiated, magic is an analogue of the term “black box” used in cybernetics. There they call a device in a circuit whose principle of operation is unknown. All that is known is that the signal passing through it changes its characteristics at the output. And what exactly happens inside the “black box” does not matter. Let’s say that specialists have to test the work, for example, on a telephone exchange. For this purpose, they will not check in detail all the details and diagrams of a very complex device, but will simply ring all the lines. And if there is an output signal, then the device is working. And everything that is between the input and output signal is exactly this “black box”.
There are devils lurking in the black box…
We use the “black box” method every day and in our daily lives, as unexpected as it may sound. For example, a person has a headache. And what does he do? That’s right – take a pill, say Analgin (signal at the entrance to the system). After a while, the head stops hurting (signal at the exit). What happens in the body after the small pill gets into it, the person usually does not care at all. All that matters to him is that his headache is over.
But what if instead of taking an Analgin tablet, he injects himself with a potent drug, such as morphine? From the point of view of the “black box” principle, nothing will change: there is medicine at the entrance and a result at the exit in the form of relief from suffering. So “this” works. But after some time, the use of opium in humans will inevitably cause problems that are far more serious than ordinary headaches.
Therefore, morphine, like a number of other drugs, is kept on a strict record and is prescribed only with prescriptions, which are checked in the pharmacy three times. And doctors, long tired of such warnings, again and again categorically forbid self-medication, knowing what sad consequences the principle you have stated can lead to “but it works”. Yes, it works. However, if you do not know how and why, you are always at risk. Sometimes – at the risk of death.
Magic from this point of view is a classic “black box”. Someone’s cheek was swollen, the doctors were treating, treating, but something didn’t work out. He went to the “healer”. She ran her hands over his face, whispered incomprehensible words, sprayed her cheek with “charged” water. And the next morning the swelling was as if it was gone! And what happened? What is the principle of this treatment? What is at its core? This is not important to a person at all. He is overjoyed that his pain is over.
So, Nicholas, the Church strictly forbids such methods of treatment, precisely because these methods work, but the “healers” themselves vaguely explain the essence of their action, or do not explain it at all. As already mentioned – a typical “black box”.
And since this is not about electricity or pharmacology, but about “spiritual energies” and “ethereal biofields”, it may suddenly turn out that there is the most common rage in this “black box”. Yes, yes, this same fallen angel. An evil spirit, an enemy of God and a murderer of men.
Or maybe not; or it may be as you write, Nicholas. It could be a strange phenomenon, the individual ability of individuals, the still unknown possibilities of our nature, etc., etc. Yes, anything can be. Theoretically. And then what to do? Should we play Russian roulette with our salvation?
Isn’t this the sapper’s textbook choice – whether to cut the red wire of the bomb or the blue one? If you knew, you are lucky. If you make a mistake, however, there will be nothing to bury.
But in a spiritual sense it is still simpler for the sapper. If he perishes saving people (that is, in the language of the gospel, he gave his life for his friends), he will be met by angels in the afterlife, and Christ will tell him, “All you have done for one of these little ones. you did it for me. Come, blessed by My Father, and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you! ”
The client of the magic receptions can live long in this world, thanks to the efforts of his “healers”. But after death, he will finally see face to face who is really behind these amazing and incomprehensible healings. And only then will he understand what true happiness is. But it’s too late. The demon from the “black box” does nothing for the people without bringing to his account the retribution for the “services” rendered. By giving him (even unconsciously) his body for healing, man has in fact made a deal with the evil spirit and submitted his soul to his will. His whole life from that moment on has passed under the sleepless “patronage” of a being whose sole purpose is the eternal destruction of his “ward”. This is who such an unfortunate person is waiting for. It’s scary to even imagine what that means – to be in the community of a murderous demon after your death. And it all started with some trifle, a swollen cheek.
The existence of God, demons, angels cannot be proved rationally; no doubt it is achieved by faith. However, as Pascal says, a thought experiment can be made: “If there is no God and I believe in Him, then I lose nothing. But if there is a God and I do not believe in Him, then I lose everything.
Karma and its adherents
It is from this loss of everything that the church protects its members, even in those cases where the “healers” are not just charlatans, but actually have an extensive and in some cases completely successful practice. But the Church does not do this for competition reasons.
Saint John Chrysostom wrote: “Let us be sick, it is better to stay sick than to fall into wickedness for the sake of liberation from disease. The demon, even if healed, would do more harm than good. It will benefit the body, which will soon die and rot, but will harm the immortal soul. Even if, by God’s permission, demons sometimes heal (with spells, etc.), such healing is a test for faithful Christians. And not because God does not know their faithfulness, but because they learn to accept nothing from demons, even healings. ” As you can see, Nikolai, this is not even about some “redistribution of the market.” “We’d better stay sick…” – that’s the whole competition.
Yes, there have always been people in the Church whom God has given the gift to heal from diseases. But we can distinguish them from the magicians on one of the most basic grounds – that they never attribute the performed healings to themselves, to their abilities, to their connections with the “etheric world”.
At all times they preach with a loud voice that the true healer of souls and bodies is only our Lord Jesus Christ, Who created man and is therefore able to heal every disease. And they always direct their prayers for healings to Him, to the Mother of God, to the holy favored ones of God.
Another important point: holy healers have always been church people. Either they were clergymen – bishops, priests and deacons, or pious lay people who regularly pray in the temple, do not miss worship, confess, partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Which is not the case with “sixth generation hereditary magicians-healers.” Magicians can also declare themselves Orthodox, adorn themselves with crosses from head to toe, make an iconostasis on each wall of their reception room, hang a chandeliers in front of the icons and smoke incense during their magic sessions. But do these people go to church? How often do they confess and receive communion? Who is their clergyman? Did he bless them for their “healings”? There will be no simple answers to these simple questions. While it is possible that they asked for a blessing, they certainly did not. Priest Daniil Sisoev (shot in 2009, having received repeated threats for his active missionary work and denunciations of paganism and Islam), describes a case from his practice when he was approached for such a blessing:
Yes, I have been blessed to practice so-called “folk medicine”. This often starts with a lie. First, “Bless me with herbal medicine!” Well, the Church doesn’t mind herbal medicine. And then there was a similar dialogue:
– How exactly will you treat?
– I will treat with herbs. And in order to act better, I will read prayers to them.
– And who told you to read such prayers? And what are these “prayers”?
– Well, some spiritual forces joined us, an angel (or a saint) came to us.
“Are you sure it came from God?”
– But how can you think that the one who came to me is not a saint ?!
Of course, I have not given any blessing to such people. I am not aware of any cases where priests have given such blessings. “
To all this we can add that for the magicians adorned with crosses and icons, healing is only one of the other services, along with “breaking spells and attracting magic for love, removing the crown of celibacy, diagnosing karma” and all other types magical events. Even just on the list of “services” offered, it is easy to see that behind the activities of such healers are the aforementioned “black boxes” with demons lurking inside.
Source: The article by Alexander Tkachenko was published in the magazine foma.ru
(to be continued)