“…magic was integral to the development of Christianity and other religions…,” claims Shaily Shashikant Patel of Virginia Tech University who is an Assistant Professor of Early Christianity in her article, “Is magic immoral? It played a role in the development of early Christianity.” Patel promotes herself as an “expert in ancient magic and early Christianity, [to] study how magic helped early adherents develop a Christian identity.” To that end, she explains how it’s her endeavor “to return magic to its proper place as a part of the Christian tradition.” It’s her belief that attempts to separate magic from Christianity was nothing more than a colonialist European construct that sought to make Christianity supreme above all other religions when it isn’t supreme, in her “expert” opinion.
Patel believes Europeans devised the idea of Christian supremacy in order to oppress indigenous peoples they encountered around the world to make the non-Europeans believe their native magic traditions were inferior to the wondrous “magical” deeds of Jesus and his apostles. In the course of explaining her beliefs, she does what is often typical of people who seek to re-define and twist words in the Bible by stating, “the Greek words magi and magic actually mean …” As if that isn’t bad enough, Patel then proceeds to share her view that the account in Acts where Peter confronted Simon the magician was just a story, not an actual event, to teach Christians how to distinguish between magic used for others’ benefit versus magic used for personal gain. Drawing from her narrative, the associate professor then concludes, “…in elevating Christianity above magic, these writers created false distinctions that linger even today.”
Ms. Patel is the typical false teacher that the Bible warns about numerous times. In both the Old and New Testaments, the Lord raised red flag warnings against magic, from the time Moses warned God’s people against magicians, sorcerers, diviners, and witches (who all use magic) to the times John in Revelation assured us that people involved in magic and its occultic foundations would have their place in the lake of fire. Neither Jesus nor his disciples ever had anything to do with magic.
To say that the miracles of the Lord Jesus and his disciples was magic is to speak blasphemy. Magic and its enchantments have always been associated with those who worshiped idols instead of worshiping the one true and living God, as demonstrated at their first mention in the Bible in Genesis 41. In that chapter, we see from the beginning that the magicians and their enchantments were powerless and ineffective at giving Pharaoh the comfort he and his people needed about his dream from the Lord. Only Jehovah could give the interpretation of his dream to Pharaoh because, as the originator of the dream, only he was in a position of supremacy and sovereignty, so he used his servant Joseph to share his message.
Since everyone who used magic in the Bible used it in association with their heathen religions, we know for a fact that they were into the occult because Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17, and other scriptures tell us they sacrificed to devils. Deuteronomy 12 even tells us that they were so morally depraved that they offered human sacrifices to their false gods. This is how we know that Patel’s attempt to equate the worship of the living God with the use of magic is outright blasphemy. Jesus is Lord and Savior, a member of the Godhead, so never did he ever violate his own word with any occultic involvement in magic. The miracles he and his disciples did were works of our Heavenly Father (John 10:32).
Source: Shaily Shashikant Patel, Is magic immoral? It played a role in the development of early Christianity , TheConversation.com, April 14, 2021.