The Bible’s Viewpoint
Is Superstition Compatible With Bible Teaching?
A JOURNALIST refrained from flying for a year because a fortune-teller had predicted that he would die in a plane accident. People from all walks of life, including politicians, businessmen, actors, athletes, and college students, resort to superstitious practices. In times of uncertainty, stress, or anxiety, they feel that such practices protect them against dangers or help them reach their goals.
Many forms of superstition are seen as quaint or as an inoffensive source of psychological support. The late anthropologist Margaret Mead observed: “Superstitions reflect the keenness of our wish to have something come true or to prevent something bad from happening. The half acceptance and half denial accorded superstitions give us the best of both worlds.” Still, those determined to please God should ask themselves, ‘Is superstition compatible with Christianity?’
The Source of Superstition
Mankind in general has been plagued by fears—fear of death, of the unknown, and of what is called the Hereafter, to mention just a few. Satan, the rebel opposer of God, is determined to enslave people, and he has been feeding such fears with malicious lies. (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9) Satan is not alone in his efforts to lure people away from God. In the Bible, Satan is called “the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12:24-27) Who are the demons? In Noah’s time a number of angels joined Satan in his rebellion against God and made themselves demons. Since then, they have been trying to influence people’s minds. Superstition has been one of their devices.—Genesis 6:1, 2; Luke 8:2, 30; Jude 6.
One of Satan’s lies has provided a base for superstition. It is the belief that an invisible entity survives the death of a person’s body and can come back to affect the living. But the Bible says: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” It further states that “there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom” after one dies.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.
“Something Detestable to Jehovah”
Many individuals have chosen to believe Satan’s lies. Yet, years ago, God gave his people the Israelites clear direction on the matter. “There should not be found in you anyone,” his Word says, “who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.”—Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
Sadly, the Israelites did not always heed this warning. For example, in the days of the prophet Isaiah, some believed that a good crop depended on appeasing “the god of Good Luck”—a superstitious belief that resulted in dire consequences. They lost Jehovah’s favor and blessing.—Isaiah 65:11, 12.
Jehovah’s attitude toward superstition did not change with the coming of Christianity. The apostle Paul urged superstitious people in the city of Lystra “to turn from these vain things [“vanities,” or “superstitions,” The Emphatic Diaglott] to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them.”—Acts 14:15.
Breaking Free From Superstition
There are countless superstitious practices, and all of them have something in common—the lack of a logical explanation. Superstitions can, among other things, lead people into blaming their misfortunes on bad luck rather than accepting responsibility for their deeds.
Happily, many have broken free from superstition. Jesus said: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Clementina, a Brazilian fortune-teller for 25 years, said: “Fortune-telling was my only means of making a living. But Bible truth freed me from superstition.” In reality, regular Bible study and heartfelt prayer to Jehovah God can help us develop inner strength. This can stabilize and balance our thinking, which can lead to sound decisions that prevent calamity and alleviate anxiety.—Philippians 4:6, 7, 13.
The Bible asks: “What sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial [Satan]?” Hence, true Christians must keep away from superstition.—2 Corinthians 6:14-16.
HAVE YOU WONDERED?
▪ Instead of trusting in God, in whom did the superstitious Israelites trust in Isaiah’s day?—Isaiah 65:11, 12.
▪ What did the apostle Paul urge superstitious people in Lystra to do?—Acts 14:15.
▪ Is superstition compatible with true Christianity?—2 Corinthians 6:14-16.
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Superstition lulls people into a false sense of security