Out of curiosity, I joined a Wiccan forum just so I could take a peek. Well, I knew they were a bit kooky, but you should read this stuff that they believe in. They seriously believe they can do magic, divination, and healing. I originally thought they were just nature lovers that liked to chant to the moon or something.
I want so bad to join up and tell them they are all out of their gourds, but I hate trolls so I'm not about to become one. Still, many of these people are ex-christians. I don't get how you can decide one god is the wrong one and then pick up a whole new belief system that involved a bunch new of deities and not question that. Some of them even admit they believe in elves and faeries.
What do you think makes a person believe for a minute that magic is real?
Critical thinking does not come naturally to people, not even educated ones (unless of course their education included critical thinking training). Even people who do science for a living don't necessarily have critical thinking skills unless they've taken some time to get some training. Our minds don't have any mechanism for highly effective evaluation of beliefs. Top that off with the fact that we have psychological tendencies to attribute agency to all sorts of things, and voila, gods exist.
I know, I've chatted with a few too. You're right, they actually really do believe they have the power to influence the world by casting spells. It's utter nuttery, and that's not negotiable.
One of my ex-wife's relatives was a star football quarterback in high school. He got his name and picture in the local newspaper. He got trophies and awards. People shook his had when he walked down the street. But when he went to college, he was just a little fish in a big pond. He floundered around (no pun intended) for about a year then he dropped out.
A few years later, he stayed at my house for a couple of days. While he was there, he wanted to "give me a reading". The reading consisted of him dangling a crystal over my head and then dangling the crystal of several bottles of "essence". The crystal told him which essence I needed.
The whole time that he was at my house all that he talked about was crystals, essences, readings, auras, and chakras. He took great pride in letting everyone know how knowledgeable he was in the "spiritual arts" and how fortunate everyone was that he had given them a reading. He needed to get his "fix" of praise and and admiration and that's how he got it.
Not true. In order to achieve a meditative state you need to believe it's possible - Or else your mind and body will resist the steps necessary to achieve it.
Mind over matter is a very real thing. People can do extraordinary things with their bodies if they believe in it. But it does not touch outside of their bodies. It doesn't have any effect on moving a rock or bending a spoon or guessing a card. It's all in the mind. That is as far as it goes.
"You HAVE to believe in something"
"You're just close minded"
How many times have we heard those lines? I went out with a girl for a while who had, let's say; some "new-age beliefs". She thought I was crazy for I not accepting something without the slightest evidence or logic to it. Yet she thought it was perfectly sane to practice some of these "rituals", I won't describe them, but watching a dog eat it's own vomit or feces seems a perfectly good idea to me in comparison.
So having these things phrases drilled into them, can only compell someone who might reject one belief to accept another, one which might be more comfortable to them. When scrutinising one belief they often tend to fail to scrutinise the new belief in the same manner. I've seen people raised as Christians convert to Judaism, then to Islam and onto all sorts of things.
Unless these beliefs have no impact on the happiness or freedoms of others, then I see no problem. But I do feel sorry for the dillusional and that these beliefs can impact on their own happiness and freedoms. I might half-heartedly try to snap them out of it, but like anyone else with belief in something, nothing I can say is likely to change their minds.