A Case Study In Religion & Magic

I was watching a film this morning that shared the title of this post and I heard an interesting statement which I thought I'd share:

"...like people everywhere (the Azmat) feel the need to understand the workings of the world. Grasping the ungraspable and taming the supernatural is a matter which falls into the realm of religion. This is a case study of how magic and religion play a crucial role in helping a jungle-bound people cope with eternal fears of existence...Like all people, the Azmat use religion and magic to deal with the forces that threaten them. Ritual, is the visible expression of religious thought and gives a sense of control over unpredictable events....Ritual gives one a sense of control over the supernatural, the sense of knowing the unknowable and changing the unchangeable."

This got me thinking about "Christian rituals." Do we perform our rituals to make ourselves feel as though we have some kind of control over the divine? Is there an underlying element of this in baptism? Communion? Sermons? Prayer? What do you think?


  1. Our rituals can definitely become such if we approach them thinking that we are in charge. Their true purpose, however, is the opposite--submission, followed by empowerment. We empty ourselves before the Lord and are clothed with His love, goodness, grace, and glory. This happens in communion, prayer, baptism, etc. We die with Christ, only to be raised again.
    At least that's how I see it.
    This reminds me of something I read today over at Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It was a sermon (381 AD) by Gregory Nazianzen on baptism. He likened it to an "illumination," something that we receive rather than control.
    Here's the link if you're interested-- http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.iii.xxiii.html

  2. Clay,
    Thanks for all of your comments, I love hearing from you. Intersting series you have going on at your blog--it is very...You!

    Thanks for the "word" from the Lord. We'll surely listen. Thank you.

    As for the campaign...I need not say anything else about it, I'm glad it's over though.

    Pertaining to this post on rituals. I agree with you. Funny, though, how reading one thing gives us a sound perspective on how to approach something else that we read at the same time. Don't know about you but that seems to happen to me quite often.

    Good hearing from you Clay. Hope all is well.