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Objections to Magic/Fantasy elements

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Pickles

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I wasn't sure where to post this topic...it crosses lines...but I was under the impression this was a members only area. Because of the topic and people's strong feelings toward it, I felt it best to post this in a protected area.

I'm curious. I know that some Christian groups object to the use of magic in stories, and some prefer realistic fiction only. Where is the line? What types of magic do you object to? Why? Which books with fantasy/magical elements are okay for you? Which are not? Is any mention of a witch bad? What about fairy tale type witches? Witches who are healers? What about stories with objects that have magic powers? What about "super-hero" stories, where a child might possess powers.
If you'd rather PM me with answers that's fine.

I'm not trying to stir up controversy, I'm curious. I live in a very conservative Christian area, and I guess I'm wondering what is acceptable and what is not.  Many of my stories, and my two mg novels in process contain magical/fantasy elements. I do want to appeal to people who find the "Harry Potter" stories to be "too much." And even some of my more liberal Christian friends are uncomfortable with Potter.

I know answers will vary. This thread is not the place to disagree with people who have strong feelings about magic in stories. This isn't a place to gripe about censorship.  This isn't a place to get into a debate.

But I would like to get some viewpoints on how the more conservative/fundamental Christian groups feel about magic in stories.

Again, PM me if you prefer.

Thank you.
#1 - May 17, 2007, 07:37 AM

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Kay,

I don't have a real answer for you, but when the subject comes up I always think it's interesting that most people don't object to elements of magic that are included in fairy tales/folk tales (Merlin/Camelot/Hansel & Gretel) or Greek and Roman myths, (Perseus/Three Hags) which contain lots of the supernatural world. But these times are long past. Perhaps having a modern kid doing magic is more objectionable than having a kid who lived long ago be a wizard?


#2 - May 17, 2007, 08:33 AM

Pickles

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Thanks, Elaine. Well I have known people who have objected to Greek mythology being taught in the public schools. And I heard kids around here just say, "I can't read any books about magic."

I'm just trying to figure out the boundaries.  I'm actually trying to stay "out" of trouble for a change. I probably live in one of the more conservative communities in a rather conservative state. I'm trying to be aware and respectful of other's beliefs.
#3 - May 17, 2007, 08:38 AM

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I think if you are writing real world stories, there's some trickiness in appealing to a certain niche of the population- on the one hand, some people object to any magic that can be taken as witchcraft, but on the other, there are also people who would be fine with magic in a book, as long as it didn't tread on something they consider holy.  For example, if you're writing secular books, some people are going to be unhappy if you have a secular character doing anything that is considered a miracle in their holy text/belief system, unless you're doing very obvious parallels a la CS Lewis.   Others get fuzzy whenever magic is involed, but in my (very unscientific) analysis of this kind of thing, it seems like people tend to have fewer problems with things that are magical, but don't seem to have much grounding in a wider supernatural framework.  In terms of witchcraft, I think there's a real difference for some people between "witches" who use spells or rituals to enact magic and those who don't.  I can't testify to this for sure, but I feel like Sabrina the Teenaged Witch and Bewitched are probably going to get fewer complaints than the kind of "magic" you see in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  

One very common line I've seen people draw is that magic which exists inside a person (with no outside influence) raises fewer flags than the kind of magic that relies on some external force.  In Buffy, Willow often calls on Hecate/Artemis/Etc, and even if you're dealing with Greek gods, you're going to run into more objections if you have spells/magic that involve appealing to some kind of deity than if the magic is simply THERE and your character can use it.  My instinct also says that you can get away with a lot more in a complete fantasy world than you can in something that purports to be set in this one.

As a writer, I've included a lot of stuff in my fantasy novels that some individuals might object to on religious grounds, but as a Christian, I'm comfortable with having written in, in part because of the balance of how real things seem and what kind of magical rules I'm playing by.  If I'm writing something with the intent of really blurring the lines between fantasy and reality and making it seem like what I'm writing COULD be real, then I try to be cognizant of that fact and how readers might respond.  In GOLDEN, the mystical elements are actually pretty mild- one of the girls can see auras; there's a person who can still other people's powers.  Throughout the series, the powers tend more towards psychic than magical, and when I'm writing something that is supposed to seem real, that's what I prefer.  I don't feel like anyone is going to read Golden and try to use it as a how to manual for seeing auras- the nature of the powers I use sort of precludes that.  

TATTOO was a very different story- as is the sequel.  There's a lot more traditionally "magical" elements- spells, greek gods, an emphasis on certain times of year as points of power, etc. But at the same time, the worldbuilding in Tattoo is such an over the top, fantastical mish mash (let's just say the phrase "evil fairy princess who wants to take over the world" is used... more than once) that I don't think anyone is going to look at the supernatural elements in the book and think, even for a second, that it's a realistic depiction of any kind of actual metaphysical possibility.  There are definitely some belief systems that might share some surface similarities with certain aspects of the magical system I used, but the book is not in ANY way meant as an accurate representation of those beliefs or any other- and I don't think anyone reading it would assume it was.

Anyway, long and babbly, and I'm not sure how helpful it was, but there it is.  
#4 - May 17, 2007, 09:10 AM
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 02:05 PM by Jen »

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Yes, Jen, actually very helpful...because "you're from around here."

Thank you very much. It gives me a lot to think about, and also points out some other hot buttons I wasn't aware of.
#5 - May 17, 2007, 09:15 AM

I am also a Christian who writes fantasy, and I tend to get annoyed with Christians who try to say so much of fantasy is somehow evil.  Most of the people who get hung up on Harry Potter haven't even bothered to read it, in my experience.  Waving magic wands and saying some words and making stuff happen.....suuuuuuure, that sounds believeable.  That happens in real life all the time.   It's so obviously an instruction manual for being a real witch.  ::)

I'm not sure I have ever read a fantasy novel that handled the magic in a way that bothered me.  I am actually a big fan of Buffy.  Sure, Willow was supposedly a witch, but none of that was supposed to be REAL.  It's a fantasy.  There aren't really vampires either.  It's fiction.  It's fun.  (Come on, I mean, Angel got turned into a -puppet- at one point.  Soooo scary and evil.)  To me, the modern books and shows are no different than the old myths, which I also love.  I was raised in a Christian house, and no one ever tried to keep me from reading that stuff.

I do worry sometimes about how some of the people I know will react to the magic in my books.  I always use some form of elemental magic, which could make people more prone to accuse me of putting wiccan stuff in my books.  But I don't.  I don't think people can actually control the elements, so it's fantasy to me.  And most of my friends are Christians and are huge SF and fantasy (and even horror) fans.

Part of me wants to advise you to be careful because I know all too well what kind of crazy notions a lot of Christians have about fantasy.  But on the other hand, we have such great fantasy stories written by Christians--C. S. Lewis (who was already mentioned), Tolkien, Madeline L'Engle, and Stephen Lawhead.  Fantasy is a great escape to a place that doesn't exist.  I don't see the harm in it, and I hesitate to tell anyone to water down what could be a great story, just because they were afraid of offending someone or causing a controversy.  We live in an age of people getting offended about EVERYTHING.  Maybe they all just need to learn to cope.  :D

You never really know what people are going to freak out about, so I don't know if you can truly prepare to avoid it.  My advice?  Just write what you love.
#6 - May 17, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Just for the record (because I can't bear the idea of anyone thinking I don't like Buffy), it's my all-time favorite show.  And oddly enough, I know plenty of people who are "against" Harry Potter, but who enjoyed Buffy and Charmed- which just goes to show that as much as I try to make sense of what it is that might alienate potential readers, sometimes, I just can't see the pattern. 

One thing that sort of gave me pause about Buffy, though, was how they explicitly identified Willow as Wiccan- I think they were trying to give her powers some "real life" grounding, but in the world they built, that wasn't entirely necessary- and it's not like they ACCURATELY portrayed Wicca (insofar as I've been able to tell), which makes me wonder why they bothered with the label at all.
#7 - May 17, 2007, 10:43 AM
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 03:12 PM by Jen »

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I too was raised in a very traditional Christian home -- except that my parents, especially my dad, believed that books were the basis of expanding our minds.  So they encouraged me to read anything and everything -- and they talked with me about any books that were 'questionable.'

But when I was teaching in a 'Christian' school, I had a parent object to THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE because of the witch in the title.  She'd never read it and had no idea that C.S. Lewis was a Christian (yeah, you can bet I listened to her opinions about things!).  I had friends growing up who wouldn't read fairy tales (I still have a couple friends like that) -- but I would say, overall, it's what Jen said:  Any mention of witches or spells or anything that can be associated with 'evil' will turn such Christians off.  No one on my mom's side of the family will read Harry POtter -- they're all convinced there's evil in the books.  ::)

I write lots of fantasy (okay, only fantasy), but I do steer away from anything dealing with spirits and the afterlife and such -- more because I generally don't write dark things (and often those are more aligned with darker, edgier stories) than because I'm worried about offending anyone (like my own family).  One thing that even my parents objected to was Ouji boards and anything having to do with demons or possession.  They no longer worry about that (nor do I), but that's also not something I would write about...personally.

however, I read Jengt's book, which deals with possession, and I liked it.  So when it's done well...:)

Your books are so witty and wry, Kay, I can't imagine anyone complaining...but then, who would've thunk they'd complain about Lewis?
#8 - May 17, 2007, 11:20 AM
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Pickles

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I guess there is such variation, there is no way of knowing. I just thought maybe there were "guidelines." I reckon not. : )

But this is a very interesting conversation.
#9 - May 17, 2007, 11:38 AM

AooH

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Here's another Christian fantasy writer who loves Buffy, Angel, and Supernatural...

If there are concerns about what people are going to think of magic in your books, Kay, always remember you can't please all of the people all of the time. (Heck, sometimes you can't please any of the people any of the time.)  There are so many different beliefs, from denomination to denomination, and often times within a single church.  If you have convictions against magic, live by them, but if you don't, then don't worry about it.  It is easier to not talk about these things with certain people, though.  (which is why I use a pen-name...)

I use magic in my books- two kinds. One is an inborn ability- basically it's like supernatural appendages.  The other tends to be God or demon derived.
I tend to focus more on the first type of magic, and when I use the second type it usually augments the first- the person has an ability, and then is worked through by the Deity or demon to further a greater purpose.  I almost never use incantational magic- it just never made sense to me that saying words in a certain way or in a certain language can make anything happen. (Sorry Sam and Dean...  the Latin- meh.)
Either way, though, it's fantasy. It isn't real.
I do have relatives in the other camp though.  They are honestly afraid that magic in books can somehow teach kids to use magic.  They don't understand the difference between the pretend magic in most fantasy novels and the real magic the Bible condemns, which is rooted in rebellion.
I don't care how many times my kids say the magic words in the Harry Potter books, they aren't going to be able to fly a broom, make light come out of the end of a stick, or cause something pain by saying Crucio, because it isn't really magic.  And the kids know it isn't real, too.
#10 - May 17, 2007, 12:11 PM

Exactly, AooH.  You are spot-on with what I was saying.  :)  I totally agree.

Alas, if only fantasy worlds could be real....then there would be a -real- Spike *swoon*.....but I digress.......:D
#11 - May 17, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Wow, this is not something I've ever thought of... coming from a Jewish background.  I can't think of anything more full of magic than the Judeo-Christian tradition. Dybbuks and Angels and Heaven and Hell and Purgatory.  Golems and Kabbalah. Words that shift around magically to reveal powers and so much superstition.  Icons and Virgin Birth and reincarnation and posession and... and... and...

I guess I don't understand the problem.  But I'm glad you posted this here. I want to think about it.
#12 - May 17, 2007, 01:07 PM

RJ_Anderson

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This seems to be my day for linking to old essays... I wrote a two-part series about why I as a Christian have no problem with the HP books on my blog, here and here.

I feel uncomfortable with magic or extraordinary powers which are presented as something anyone can learn, which call on gods, demons or spirits, or depend on sacrifices and rituals; I don't feel uncomfortable with magic which comes from within the user, like a super-ability that you're either born with or you aren't and which can be called on at a moment's notice. The former seems to me much too similar to the kind of magic condemned in the Bible; whereas the latter is pure fantasy.
#13 - May 17, 2007, 01:17 PM

Alison

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My guess is that this board is probably not going to give you the cross-section of responses you'd need for this question, because it's a board mainly populated by writers who, Christian or not, tend to be very thoughtful, open to imagination, and passionate about fiction, and generally don't have as many issues with those things!

I also think there is no one-size-fits-all answer. I don't even know what people in my own church would think, even my friends. One woman in my church (also a children's writer & SCBWI member) just told me recently, "Oh, I was just thinking of your son the other day because we are reading Harry Potter and he looks so much like Harry!" But when I once told a different friend at church (a community theater actress and occasional writer herself) that people always said my son looked like Harry Potter, she got a look of horror on her face and said, "Oh no!" Most people I know seem okay with Narnia, but for some people I think it's just because C.S. Lewis was grandfathered in... If it came out now they probably wouldn't all like it.

I think there are Christians at all points of the spectrum, but for those who really have trouble with the concepts of magic and fantasy, then they won't accept it however mildly you present it. For some, the amount of acceptable magic will always be none, but those people probably aren't reading a lot of fiction books anyway, or if they are they are mainly reading classics or books that come from Christian presses. For instance, I know a lot of people who homeschool to ensure that their kids will get a good education, but I also know some people (the minority) who homeschool seemingly because they are terrified of their children having any influence from the outside world. But those people probably wouldn't even buy your yak book without checking it out first!

I will admit that I was leery myself when HP first came out & I heard all the buzz about a book concerning a school of witchcraft. I had no plans to read it & wasn't thrilled with that subject. Then one Christmas, we were at my SIL's house and her then-teenagers enthusiastically suggested I read it. We were there a few days without much else to do, so I agreed to try the first book, and ended up liking it so much I read books 1 & 2 while we were there, then rushed out to buy book 3 (the newest at that time) as soon as I got home! Most positive Christian commentary I've read about HP focuses on the fact that the magic in it (other than the Divination class) is largely practical, almost like a mathematical formula, rather than dealing with summoning spirits or demons or anything like that.

I'm sure many people I know wouldn't watch Buffy, but two people I know who love Buffy are my ex-boyfriend, who is a Lutheran pastor, and my brother, who was once the president of Baptist Student Ministries at Baylor! (But he also likes South Park, so I don't suspect he's representative...)

For myself, I'm more open in my reading choices, but I wouldn't personally write about vampires or demons or especially things like summoning the spirit world (especially having had some bad experiences in those areas in my pre-Christian days!), but I've got some silly magic in things I've written--like a girl getting a magical wishing object and suddenly being transported somewhere else. I know some Christians would even be uncomfortable with that, though, and I am sure I couldn't get it published in a Christian magazine. I think most mainstream Christian publications and publishers stick to the conservative side to avoid offending anyone, though they are certainly not all equally conservative. You just can't please everyone, though.

We recently saw Meet the Robinsons, a G-rated movie with no bad words in it, and afterwards I was reading reviews on some Christian sites. Most were positive, but then a few parents commented on the sites that they were horrified the site had recommended a movie where kids displayed bad attitudes, or said "Stupid" or fought with each other, and one family had actually walked out in disgust! I can only assume that family doesn't watch a lot of movies or read a lot of books!

I also think a lot of people are inconsistent in these areas. They may reject HP for being about witchcraft, but not think twice about magical elements in a favorite kids' movie or TV show. So I don't know of any "rules," but you might see if you can find a Christian publisher's writer's guidelines about magical elements, if any publisher has such guidelines, because I'm sure they'd give you an idea what is commonly expected or acceptable.

#14 - May 17, 2007, 01:33 PM
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 01:50 PM by Alison »

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I've having issues with this topic too.  I'm writing a PB that has a couple of witches in it.  I had someone critique it for me and she thinks that some terms I use in the MS: coven, sabbath, demons, and the other word for 'the underworld' (as in the place, not the expletive) are potentially offensive or inappropriate.  I've written out everything but coven.  A group of witches is a coven, it just is.  Having one witch ask another if she can join her 'witch club' just sounds lame.  Being an atheist myself, I have a hard time telling what people will be upset by, because nothing really bothers me.  I'm also a natural antagonist, so censoring myself is an exercise in frustration.

#15 - May 17, 2007, 01:52 PM

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I had a parent object to THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE because of the witch in the title.  She'd never read it and had no idea that C.S. Lewis was a Christian

I have a niece and nephew at a very conservative Christian school. In my experience with that, and any other "objections" I have EVER heard on religious grounds, the objector has never once actually read the book. They're going on often-faulty, knee-jerk assumptions.

You know what happens when you assume. The Christian objection to a very obviously Christian analogy is a perfect example. I'd feel a lot better about this kind of "parental concern" if those I knew who have showed it actually bothered to read, or even flip through, the books.

I would not give this issue time of mind. It's not just that the answer literally varies from person to person, as the responses here illustrate. Unlike an objection to violence, sexuality, drug glorification, etc., you can't anticipate or write for or revise for irrationality. And I'm with ohmylorelei -- anyone who has actually read the Bible (or Torah) and other documents of the J/C tradition knows that the tradition itself is full of supernatural elements FAR beyond "God is in charge of good miracles and magic is demonic and never the twain shall intermingle or be wielded by humans."
#16 - May 17, 2007, 01:56 PM
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 01:59 PM by Joni »
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Alison--that was a great answer.  And I had to reply to you because your sig has my favorite quote!  :)

I would definitely draw the line at any real conjuring or demons or possession.  That kind of stuff gives me the willies!  But having said that, I did watch Constantine (okay, part of it I only listened to and stared at the floor :) ) and I have been watching the Dresden files....but those aren't things I'd let children watch.

I think part of the issue here may not be that the adult Christians are so paranoid, at least in some cases.  They might be willing to read/watch some things that they consider taboo for their kids.  There is something to be said for sheltering kids at first as you try to give them a sense of what is morally right, and give them a context for all of this fantasy stuff so that they understand what it is and what it's not when they start watching or reading it themselves.  So some of it may just be concern about exposing kids to stuff they may not yet be prepared to place in the proper perspective.

But some of those people -are- just plain overreacting.....:)

And yes, people should do themselves a favor as parents and actually -read- or -watch- the stuff they are concerned about and then evaluate it instead of arbitrarily telling their kid it's bad!
#17 - May 17, 2007, 02:01 PM
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Pickles

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Thanks guys. This is a good conversation. I'd try to make myself more clear, but I can't really, without going into things that I'd rather not share in a public forum. As a children's book writer who visits area schools, I'm trying really hard not to "step" in something.

I realize I can't please everyone, but I was just wondering if there was some consensus, some line...so my stories would be accessible to children whose parents might object to a lot of young fantasy currently out there.

Based on the responses here and on personal experience, I guess there is no "one" answer. But several of you have pointed out areas I wouldn't have thought of. And most importantly you have shown me the reasoning behind why you feel the way you do.

I'm really not trying to pick on anyone or single anyone out, so if anyone does have strong feelings about magic in stories..I'd love to hear from you. I'm not judgemental, just curious, and trying to understand the viewpoints of others.


There is obviously a strong Christian influence in my sons' school.  One son came home with a mother's day  project covered in stickers --- crosses, fish, and other Christian symbols. Christian books are read and Christian music played in the classroom. Teachers share Christian testimony. This is a public school, although, I've heard other schools in the district aren't this way. But then it's very common for me to walk into a retail store and hear Christian music playing in the background. Our city newspaper includes a daily prayer on the front page.

I'm writing all this very tenatively in fear of being misunderstood. And no, I'm not complaining about the school, they treat my children well, but it's been an adjustment.

I'm not writing for the Christian market, I'm writing for the mainstream market, but I'd like to write secular fantasy that is acceptable to the more conservative Christian. I do not want to alienate that part of the population...so I was wondering if there were any rules.

But looks like there ain't no rules. :)

And I probably made NO sense. :)

Allison, great suggestions about checking the guidelines.
#18 - May 17, 2007, 02:36 PM

Pickles

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Again, I didn't open this topic so people could say that people who object to magic are wrong or irrational or whatever...I'm trying to understand who objects to what and why...and would really love to hear from people who do have concerns about magic in books.

Some of you might think I should just ask the people here. Hey, I come from the rival football team state....that makes me suspect enough...I can't go around asking questions too. :)

I thank all of you who have stayed on topic and told me that you are Christian and what elements of fantasy you do and do not have a problem with.
#19 - May 17, 2007, 02:46 PM

Pickles

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Ohmy, I agree that the Judeo-Christian tradition is full of magic, which is one reason I don't understand some objections either, but I'm trying to.

For the record, I am a Christian, but from a denomination which is not well known in my current neck of the woods. When people ask me what church I go to and I tell them, the usual response is "What's that?" or "Never heard of it." I'm nothing radical. Just a Lutheran. :)

And ohhhhhhhhh, I hope I'm not going to regret starting this thread. :)
#20 - May 17, 2007, 03:11 PM

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Pickles, I think this thread is fine.  In fact, I find it interesting to read it and see the kinds of responses you're getting.

Another observation I wanted to make is that there's a big difference between what I'll read and what I'll write.  I'll read anything, but there are certain things I won't write about.  Sometimes, for me, it's just a matter of terminology.  I wouldn't feel comfortable using the word "demon" in something- though I might make up a species of evil supernatural creature and just call it something else.  Likewise, although I enjoy adult books like "An Angel for Emily," I've tried and decided I didn't feel comfortable with trying to write about fictional angels- though I have no corresponding problems with, for instance, cupids or the Grim Reaper. 

Anyway, I'm really glad you started this topic.  It's a good thing to discuss, and I think it's interesting, no matter what perspective you're coming from.  I also think that this board is such a respectful place, that even though people might bristle at anything that's even in the ballpark of censorship, we can still talk about things like this in a very respectful way. 
#21 - May 17, 2007, 03:22 PM

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Pickles,

I PM'd you.   :yup

Joy,
Donna
#22 - May 17, 2007, 03:29 PM

luckydog

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Hi Kay,

Have to weigh in here - as a librarian and believer. People challenge books in our library for all sorts of reasons - some I consider valid, others I don't. Each time I have to recognize that the other person does feel there is validity to their challenge. If I feel they are misinformed, I try to inform them. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. We have actually taken books off the shelves when we felt the complaint was valid. BTW, we never had a "valid" complaint on a book concerning magic, only on ones with sex. (Our school is Catholic, PK-8th).

I think what you're going to have to decide is whether you are comfortable with what you are writing. Do you glorify elements in your books that would encourage children to pursue unhealthy/dangerous habits? If you can answer questions like that to your own satisfaction, then you can't be too concerned about the local climate. There will always be someone, somewhere who might find an objection to your writing.

There may also be a time when you lose a customer/school visit because of something you write, but everyone who puts a story down on paper (magical elements or not) runs that risk. Objections are highly personal. Let me give you one example.

A lady wrote a book that put Jesus and Santa Claus as contemporaries, children who grew up together. She explained Christmas, and the associated Christmas traditions, as a result of Santa Claus deciding to give Jesus a birthday party. She contacted me and wanted to make a presentation in our library. She couldn't understand my objection to the mixing of what our school's professed faith holds as fact with the myth that is Santa Claus (albeit a myth based in fact). We had to agree to disagree. She lost a market in this case, but she believes in her book and continues to find other outlets to market it.

Sorry for the long ramble. In the end, be true to your writing :)

Donna
#23 - May 17, 2007, 03:34 PM

AooH

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I think a big distinction between magic and miracle is that magic is man-initiated, whereas miracles are God-initiated.  God has to first give man the power to do these things, or do them Himself (The works of Jesus and the apostles- miracles performed by God and man) to be considered a miracle and not magic. 
Magic as we think of it today, however, often brings with it a sense of illusion, which Christians feel is deceit, and since deceit does not come from God, in whom there is not untruth, it cannot be good. There are also counterfeit miracles, such as Pharaoh's priests used when facing Moses- God's power was shown to be higher than theirs. (And we see counterfeit miracles on TV everyday, sigh.)   Other magic tries to delve into secrets God has not granted man to know- summoning spirits of the dead, and trying to read the future without being given a true vision or prophecy from God Himself.  These are absolutely considered sin, and are spoken against in the Law and in the New Testament.
Most of the magic I see in kids' fantasy novels is none of these above, however there are still, and always will be, objections.  A lot of people are very, very practical minded, and the distinctions I've mentioned above don't occur to them- magic is simply magic.
#24 - May 17, 2007, 04:20 PM

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... A lot of people are very, very practical minded, and the distinctions I've mentioned above don't occur to them- magic is simply magic.

 

That's  me!   :D

#25 - May 17, 2007, 04:48 PM

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Another interesting distinction is the line between the supernatural and magic.  There are plenty of things that are supernatural, but aren't really magical.  Most people don't consider, for instance, unicorns to be evil, even though they're considered fantastical.  I also think that if you try to give something a science fictiony spin at all, people are less likely to have a problem with the supernatural.  For example, while some people might balk at someone who has supernatural powers that imply a mystical root, they might be less likely to object to someone who has super powers in the comic book sense of the word.  So something like HEROES, where the characters have tons of powers that also appear in tons of other fantasy works, might not be objectionable even to people who are against all "magic," because it's got an X-men thing going on- the powers are the direct result of genetic mutations.  So even though people are doing things that seem very magical, there's no magic in the show.  Same goes for super heroes like spider man, who get their powers as the result of exposure to radiation or something like that.  You can do almost anything, but if it doesn't actually have a mystical basis (no matter how "magical" aspects might seem), then you might not run into as many naysayers.
#26 - May 17, 2007, 05:08 PM

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Here's another twist.  A number of years ago, there was a very controversial situation in a nearby school district when a first grade teacher drew the ire of parents for her decision to use the book Witches by Roal Dahl fora read aloud.  Many of the same arguments were raised at the time, about witchcraft and magic.  There is, however, yet another element to that story which also drew criticism.  The little boy in the story is transformed into a mouse at then end, and a mouse he remains.  (True, in the movie he was changed back into a boy, but not in the book.)  There were some complaints that this magical species demotion of a human character was an offensive twist.

This was an instance where I thought the complaints were correct, but for the wrong reasons.  I'm not a big fan of Roald Dahl to begin with, and I felt that Witches started out a delightful story but that went flat very quickly.  (Which is what I think of most of Dahl's books.)  It seemed to me that the teacher's claims that her students enjoyed and understood the story was a difficult sell.  I just don't feel this book was appropriate for first graders.  Unfortunately, the age appropriateness of the material got lost in the censorship issue.
#27 - May 17, 2007, 06:11 PM
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 06:12 PM by 1846 »

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Are witches always connected with satanism?  I've read about wiccans, who I understood to be people who thought they were witches (or wannabes anyway), and there was no mention of satanism.

I remember reading about fairies and magic etc. as a kid and certainly understanding that it was all "just pretend."
#28 - May 17, 2007, 07:54 PM

Pickles

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No, I don't think witches are connected with Satanism. Although, there are those who will say anything that is NOT Christian, IS Satanic. As I understand Wicca is a pagan, Earth religion that does not recongize the Christian concept of Satan.

I'm sure somebody around here knows more about it.
#29 - May 17, 2007, 08:07 PM

Pickles

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It gets sticky. All depends on your definition of Satanism. So some people would say "yes," and some would say "no."

#30 - May 17, 2007, 08:34 PM

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