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Fortune tellers - harmless nonsense?


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#1 John King

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 02:06 PM

Has any one, especially in the UK, noticed a huge increase in the number of ads in magazines and newspapers placed by so-called 'fortune tellers' ? Not really surprising in post-Christian Britain you might think, and most intelligent people would dismiss this sort of thing as harmeless nonsense.

But I read somewhere recently that some of them can be 'uncannily accurate', and that rings alarm bells with me.

The girl who told fortunes in Acts 16:16-19 was possessed by a demon, and when St Paul cast it out she lost her ability to see into the future. So, are these 'tarot readers', 'clairvoyants' and 'mystics' all simply quacks, or do some of them pose a serious risk to the sad, the lonely and the vulnerable that they may be putting their immortal souls in the way of danger ?

Perhaps the devil is getting a bit more subtle, now that those dreadful (and dangerous) ouija boards no longer seem to be popular ?

#2 John Charmley

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 02:47 PM

Dear Mr. King,

Yes, I had noticed the increase in these things - nonsense, certainly - harmless, I suspect not. We know what happened to King Saul with the witch of Endor.

My own Coptic Church takes a very firm line in advising its members to keep away from such unChristian activities, and I feel sure it is the same with the the majority tradition here.

In Christ,

John

#3 Michael Stickles

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 03:01 PM

From my personal experiences, I would not think of any of it as harmless nonsense, even when dealing with quacks or the self-deluded (i.e., those who think they can tell the future, but are about as accurate -- and detailed -- as the old "Magic 8-Ball").

The problem I see (and have seen) is that even if someone goes to a "quack" fortune teller, and with a mindset to be entertained (not expecting true guidance), they are still reinforcing the idea within themselves that this sort of thing is acceptable. If they then run across someone who can tell accurate fortunes, they are less likely to think skeptically about it, and may end up swallowing demonic advice hook, line, and sinker.

In Christ,
Mike

#4 Kusanagi

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 03:37 PM

Has any one, especially in the UK, noticed a huge increase in the number of ads in magazines and newspapers placed by so-called 'fortune tellers' ? Not really surprising in post-Christian Britain you might think, and most intelligent people would dismiss this sort of thing as harmeless nonsense.

But I read somewhere recently that some of them can be 'uncannily accurate', and that rings alarm bells with me.

The girl who told fortunes in Acts 16:16-19 was possessed by a demon, and when St Paul cast it out she lost her ability to see into the future. So, are these 'tarot readers', 'clairvoyants' and 'mystics' all simply quacks, or do some of them pose a serious risk to the sad, the lonely and the vulnerable that they may be putting their immortal souls in the way of danger ?

Perhaps the devil is getting a bit more subtle, now that those dreadful (and dangerous) ouija boards no longer seem to be popular ?


To think its harmless is already towards being deceived because of the lax attitude.

i think they do possess a risk to vulnerable people as the purpose of the devil is to lead man away from God and thats by any means possible as long as it distracts you and holds your attention away from Him then he is succeeding.

#5 Nina

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 04:26 PM

I agree with you. Fortune tellers, sorcery and such are tricking many people and especially when presented inside "a sweet cake".

We always ought to keep in mind the teachings of the Old Testament and New Testament about it. It is not a light matter. I love to read the life of Saint Cyprian and Justina; also the miracle of Saint Basil about the man who resorted to a sorcerer to marry the woman he wanted; and of course another frightful example (of what sorcery is capable of, although often introduced as innocent fun) is that of the apostate Julian.

The life of Schemanun Macaria from Russia, describes many things about the subject and shows how the sorceress living near by her house would interfere with her prayers because of the impurity they would create in the surroundings. There were also many visits from Heavenly Dwellers to Schemanun Macaria, especially from the Theotokos, who would even visit weekly, however because of the impurity created by fortune-tellers and sorcery sometime the Heavenly Visitors would not be able to come and that grieved the Schemanun Macaria, who received a tremendous strength from those visits (she could not walk since a toddler, and suffered a lot and was verbally abused and even beaten sometime, left in the frozen winter, left hungry so she would die by most of the people around her, even from her own biological family).

Another Saint that speaks about the subject, is Saint Kosmas Aetolos, the memory of whom we celebrate in a couple of weeks. It is a very simple (he often talked to the poor for their salvation and is called the Apostle of the poor), but wise response to our urge to know the future:

"The Devil has produced many sons and daughters. Someone comes to you and says: "Give me a dollar or two and I will give you an herb which will give you a male child, and I will give you a talisman to predict the future, to bewitch you so you can see your future, your fate, your destiny, etc." Those things which the holy Fathers commanded and those of our Church are good and sacred, spiritual, and physical. All that takes place outside of the Church belongs to the devil. And often the devil performs illusionary miracles so that you are putting fire inside of you and are being burned spiritually and bodily. And if you want to see your future or your fate, get up at dawn and go to Church and look at the graves of the dead. Think and ask yourself, weren't they men too like me, and they died? I too am were destined to die tomorrow, and I shall not dare to. do these devilish things because I'm lost, and destroy myself. The law says that whoever does these things or urges others to do them shouldn't receive holy Communion for twenty years."

#6 Irwin Wagner

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 12:33 AM

Has any one, especially in the UK, noticed a huge increase in the number of ads in magazines and newspapers placed by so-called 'fortune tellers' ? Not really surprising in post-Christian Britain you might think, and most intelligent people would dismiss this sort of thing as harmeless nonsense.

But I read somewhere recently that some of them can be 'uncannily accurate', and that rings alarm bells with me.

The girl who told fortunes in Acts 16:16-19 was possessed by a demon, and when St Paul cast it out she lost her ability to see into the future. So, are these 'tarot readers', 'clairvoyants' and 'mystics' all simply quacks, or do some of them pose a serious risk to the sad, the lonely and the vulnerable that they may be putting their immortal souls in the way of danger ?

Perhaps the devil is getting a bit more subtle, now that those dreadful (and dangerous) ouija boards no longer seem to be popular ?

Yes, I don't think it's all harmless nonesense, and I have a question.

The girl in Acts 16 was demon possesed, but she affirmed Paul and company as "servants of the most High God, who announce to us the way of salvation."

A couple of decades latter, John said that "every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ come in the flesh is of God."

More recently, someone I know was speaking to Mormons, and had the strange experience of having a fortune teller tell her she should listen to "those young men who came to your door yesterday."

What does 1 John 4:2 mean?

Did something change between Paul's encounter with that demon possesed girl, the time of John's writting his epistle, and the time we live in today?

Did any of the Fathers of the Church comment on 1 John 4:2, or explain what it means?

Can anyone help me understand (or explain) it?

#7 John Konstantin

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 10:59 AM

Elder Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994) was asked:

Geronda, why is it that people often resort to deceivers to solve their problems?

Because the devil has worthless gifts to offer and people can acquire them cheaply. What is asked of them doesn't carry a cost, and they can remain comfortable in their passions. Instead of repenting for the sins they commit as human beings, and instead of going to a Spiritual Father to confess, they find some deceived individuals - that is, the devil himself - and ask him to solve their problems. But when they suffer even more, they can't understand that the devil has control over them.

Geronda, how do people come to believe the deceived?

People are confused. So many people claim to be leading the people on the right path, while in fact they are carrying a big bag on their shoulders with the devil hidden inside! But the benevolent God does not allow him to be entirely hidden. Once in a while the devil sticks out a horn or his tail, the people see it and shout in fear, "What is this? A horn? A tail?" But the deceivers answer, "No, of course not! What are you saying? It's an aubergine!" And they say such things to fool the people and to present diabolical things as good and beneficial.

Geronda, how can a person be protected from such deceivers?

This can be done by remaining within the fold of our Church. Of course, if someone should out of ignorance follow some deceiver, God will not abandon him. God will help him recognize his mistake and return to the truth.

#8 Irwin Wagner

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 01:10 PM

Thank you,

But what does 1 John 42 mean?

Why does it say "every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ come in the flesh is of God"?

How do I explain that to someone who's convinced they've heard from a spirit, and what they've heard goes against everything else we believe?

It seems to me that the Church Fathers must have had something to say about that, especially when Montanus came along with his "revelations.

From what I've read, neither he or his followers denied that Jesus came in the flesh.

Does anyone have access to "The Lives of The Saints," or "The Patristic Bible Commentary"?

Do they shed any light on the proper, orthodox interpretation of this verse?

#9 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:57 PM

I look at fortune tellers in light of 1 Corinthians 8:4-13.

For someone to whom fortune telling is all balderdash, there is no personal risk. However, there are many brethren who still breathe superstition, and to them fortune telling has power. Thus, even though fortune telling is nothing but a collection of wordplay and parlor tricks to me, with no prophetic power at all, my brethren might actually believe that it has power and thus be led into even worse things. Thus, I avoid fortune telling and fortune tellers.

#10 Paul Cowan

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:35 AM

I believe in all things visible and invisible


balderdash or not, there are still evil spirits at work here we should all avoid even if we think we can handle the parlor tricks

Paul

#11 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 02:24 PM

Thus, I avoid fortune telling and fortune tellers.


If it were only them ... they also come disguised as cute little ethnic Orthodox ladies who want to read your coffee cup or remove the evil eye from you (but first drop the oil into the water to check if it separates) ... stay away from them too. None of this practise is Orthodox and yet the purport to use Orthodox prayers and some are so bold as to have Orthodox icons in their rooms whilest doing the work of the devil.

Vasiliki the gal who has seen this ridiculous stuff with her own eyes in Greek homes.

#12 Christina M.

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 03:25 PM

If it were only them ... they also come disguised as cute little ethnic Orthodox ladies who want to read your coffee cup or remove the evil eye from you (but first drop the oil into the water to check if it separates) ... stay away from them too. None of this practise is Orthodox and yet the purport to use Orthodox prayers and some are so bold as to have Orthodox icons in their rooms whilest doing the work of the devil.

Vasiliki the gal who has seen this ridiculous stuff with her own eyes in Greek homes.


I've heard that this is very common in Greece, unfortunately. Sometimes they have "secret" prayers that they pray over sick people, and if you try to ask them which prayers they're saying, they respond: "I can't tell you, because if I tell you it won't work anymore."

Equally frightening, I think, are the well-known "mystic" sorcerers. It is scary how many people (even good Orthodox people!) put their faith in such "mystics".

Has anyone ever heard of a famous Greek sorcerer called "Barba Niko"? I read about him many years ago (and I've met some people who actually knew him), but now I can't find any information on him. I remember that his story was very interesting.

#13 Irwin Wagner

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:34 PM

balderdash or not, there are still evil spirits at work here we should all avoid even if we think we can handle the parlor tricks

Paul

But if you know it's not just a parlor trick, can you tell whether the spirit is from God by whether it confesses that Jesus came in the flesh?

Is that the meaning of 1 John 4:2, or does it mean something else.

I'd still like to know what the Patristic Bible Commentary has to say on this (if anyone has access to it)?

#14 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 05:05 PM

How do you KNOW it is nothing more than a parlor trick? If you get beyond that, then the Fathers have advised to demand that the spirit acknowledge Christ as LORD. If the "spirit" does so, then perhaps it is worth mentioning to one's spiritual father (or mother) for a second opinion.

The Apostle John is speaking in generalities, not abolutes. I believe the quote in question should be understood to read "IN GENERAL, any spirit... ", not "absolutely every spirit ...". There can be specific instances where this is not exactly the case without negating the statement completely except in a very literalist and overly pedantic sense.

Herman the pedantic Pooh

#15 Mark Harris

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:21 PM

Here is a solution - take the Romanian approach (where it is taken very seriously - as an issue that is) http://www.guardian....nment-clampdown

#16 Nina

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 01:07 AM

If it were only them ... they also come disguised as cute little ethnic Orthodox ladies who want to read your coffee cup or remove the evil eye from you (but first drop the oil into the water to check if it separates) ... stay away from them too. None of this practise is Orthodox and yet the purport to use Orthodox prayers and some are so bold as to have Orthodox icons in their rooms whilest doing the work of the devil.

Vasiliki the gal who has seen this ridiculous stuff with her own eyes in Greek homes.


I think it happens all over Balkans, Eastern Europe and Russia this is a big problem (a holy Mother from Russia got many problems from them)... Much of it came from the Ottoman occupation. Elder Cleopas of Romania I think explained how these women in Romania performed magic and kept the cross(!!!) in front of the person who went there for different reasons and these women would say a prayer of the Church and then stop and skip a verse and spit on the cross!!!!!!! It is so scary. Many people get fooled because of the icons and crosses these sorcerers keep to deceive many!

And we have the psychics here with very well advertised shops and I can not beleive my eyes when I see them.

#17 Andra K.

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 01:51 AM

I have always been deeply frightened of fortune tellers; I have seen houses labeled as fortune tellers and even stalls on the board walk at the beach labeled as such. No matter what the venue, they are always creepy, scary and remind me of haunted houses you see in scary movies LOL.

On a more serious note, I have seen some of our patients be horribly manipulated by these scam artists who call themselves psychics and the patients end up manipulated into sending money to undo some scary curse that is pending on them. Spiritual issues aside, many of these people are criminal grifters and are very dangerous. In one case we had to get Adult Protective Services involved as the patient in question really had capacity issues that impaired judgement and needed some outside protection via APS agency.

And yes, I am aware of the concepts of 'the evil eye' and some other kinds of folklore as my grandmother spoke of such things. She never did any of that with us, but my mom told me once that my grandmother blamed the evil eye on my mom getting sick after a party when my mom was young. My mom said it was because she ate too many sweets and cakes!

Andra

#18 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 09:48 AM

If it were only them ... they also come disguised as cute little ethnic Orthodox ladies who want to read your coffee cup or remove the evil eye from you (but first drop the oil into the water to check if it separates) ... stay away from them too. None of this practise is Orthodox and yet the purport to use Orthodox prayers and some are so bold as to have Orthodox icons in their rooms whilest doing the work of the devil.

Vasiliki the gal who has seen this ridiculous stuff with her own eyes in Greek homes.


Vasiliki I think reading coffee cups is just a bit of fun. Who in the world would believe that the coffee grounds in the bottom of your cup could predict the future. In the past when people worshipped the "mother" the intestines of a sheep or other animal that had just been killed were believed to predict the future. I believe that this was pretty common in rural England.

We can pray over another person and the prayer that is usually said is the Lord's Prayer. I don't think that there is anything wrong with this. I don't believe in the "evil eye" but if you ask your priest he will probably tell you that the Orthodox Church does believe in it. This sounded strange to me when I first heard it but it's true.

I am sure that Jesus told us to have nothing to do with fortune tellers but I can't remember exactly where in the New Testament it is written. I just searched for it but without success.

Remember Jesus told us that we were not to worry about the future but to have faith in God.

Live one day at a time.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I know of people who have spent a lot of money going to fortune tellers (usually muslims in north-east Greece, amims or whatever they are called). In my opinion it's all a load of rubbish.

Effie

#19 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 09:53 AM

And yes, I am aware of the concepts of 'the evil eye' and some other kinds of folklore as my grandmother spoke of such things. She never did any of that with us, but my mom told me once that my grandmother blamed the evil eye on my mom getting sick after a party when my mom was young.

My mom said it was because she ate too many sweets and cakes!
Andra


Now this I can believe............................

Thanks Andra.

Effie

#20 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 10:00 AM

Something else to laugh about:

When I was a couple of weeks or so pregnant with my son a couple of friends and I decided that we would brew some Greek coffee to find out if I was pregnant..........................................................

Believe it or not but there was definitely a clear picture of a little baby sitting down. The only thing we couldn't see was whether the baby was a little boy or a little girl. We were very young and very silly and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Who needs ultra-sounds when you have coffee cups!!!

Effie




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