There is a collectible card game (CCG) called Magic: The
Gathering, that in recent months has come under various attacks from religious
leaders and lay people. These attacks emanate from misinformation and legalism.
There is no substance to the claims that the game involves occultic dabbling
or new age philosophy.
The first thing to clarify is that Magic (MTG) is not
a role playing game. The play of the game does not involve any of the role
playing factors in games such as Dungeons and Dragons. There is nothing
in the game that encourages it and there is nothing in any promotional
or instructional information from the designers that even hints for role
playing to be incorporated as part of the game. In MTG, you simply have
two competitors attempting to "win the game" by using various
cards and strategies along with the "luck" of the draw, to outmaneuver
The premise of the game is a battle between two "sorcerers"
who throw "spells" at each other in an attempt to reduce their
respective 20 points of "life" to zero. However, this play of
the cards does not involve any actual casting of spells or any actual damage
done to another person. It is just the terminology used for the punch and
counter punch competition in this game of strategy. There is no role playing
and no "calling upon" special powers or abilities. Everything
involved with MTG is imaginary and ALL of it is represented by the text
on the various cards; just like so many other games where every move is
determined by what is written on cards. Far from lending any kind of support
to occultism or witchcraft, it so utilizes ALL the lore of historical fantasy
and superstition, that it actually exaggerates such activity, creatures
and philosophy to the point of absurdity.
The game simply takes everything from every walk of life,
both fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, and weaves it all together
into a battle field where two opposing players (designated as "wizards")
attempt to defeat each other. There is no good and evil per se. The game
is not a forum to promote any philosophy or ideology. The only purpose
for the game is the enjoyment that one finds with any strategic competitive
game or recreational pursuit.
The "wizard" theme is no different than what
is found in The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis or The Lord of the
Rings trilogy, by J. R. R. Tolkien. In MTG, the "wizard" theme
is only a device around which is built a battle structure that is unique
and challenging. Included in the play of the game is everything from angels
to demons; from monks to soldiers; from wise men to children; from elves
to goblins; from ants to dragons. A large variety of people, animals, birds,
insects, reptiles and fish of both fact and fantasy are all part of the
game, packaged in a very consistent structure of weaponry used for the
"punch and counter punch" attempt to win the game.
Yes, occultism and witchcraft are evil, and dabbling with
them is dangerous, but MTG does neither. And while neither advocating nor
repudiating any occult or witchcraft activity, it treats it all as a sphere
of fantasy which is used as part of the backdrop for a very simple and
harmless card game.
The second thing to clarify is that ANYTHING can be misused
and abused. But just because that happens, it does not mean that there
is anything inherently wrong with what is misused. A simple deck of 52
playing cards is the source of hundreds of different games, all the way
from the very technical game of Bridge, to the children's game of "Go
Fish." Yet the same deck of cards can be used to feed a gambling lust
or for fortune telling. However, with MTG, there is nothing about the game
that would lend itself to occultic abuse. That is, there is nothing about
it that can even remotely be redirected into any kind of occult activity.
If any such attempt is made, it is an endeavor so totally foreign to the
game that it can be compared to trying to use the game of Scrabble as a
ouija board. And in either case, neither scrabble nor MTG can be held accountable.
The attack on MTG is irresponsible "witch-hunting"
that has no substance except the age-old castigation through labeling,
that intimidates weak believers and pressures parents into adding just
one more item to that list of religious, legalistic rules.
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