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?   

 

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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. 

The closest thing I know to a wiccan is one of my friends who burns incense and thinks that crystals have special powers. But maybe its better that way since the New Agers tend to irritate me even more than the mormons. And those mormons can be really freaking annoying at times.
Well, the thing about any religious person, is you know its been programmed into them when they were young.  These people, the vast majority of them, picked it up as an adult.   Amazing.   Then again, there are dimwits that think they are vampires, too.

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.

 

Ugh. The Auras. I almost forgot about those. My friends won't shut up about the auras, it's so freaking annoying.
For the magic to work you have to believe in it.
Isn't that "magik"?
Any thing that only works if you believe in it probably doesn't have any real physical effect to begin with.

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.

I kinda explored Wicca when I was in my early 20's. I was done with Christianity, but not quite done with believing, so I was searching. As someone of Gaelic/Celtic descent it made sense to me to explore the religion of "my people" before they were slaughtered and/or forcefully converted by Roman Christians. It didn't take long for me to figure out it was nuttery though. Still, I did have some very good conversations with a Wiccan coven leader who explained to me that for him and many Wiccans the gods are only symbolic of nature and magic only works because of people's expectations. If someone is sick, for example, and they believe that magic can cure them then those positive thoughts will actually help heal them. I think there is some validity to that, but obviously it isn't magic and people shouldn't rely on positive thinking over medical science. But still, they aren't all as crazy as they may seem.
I think I can actually say something about this. I was a Wiccan before I became an athiest and it really quiet easy to switch from one belief system to another.  There was things I didn't like about Christianity but I didn't want to give up on an afterlife and god.  I was in a coven and everything, so I wasn't just dabbling in it.  The thing about is was I wanted there to be a god.  It was more important to me than the truth.  Wicca offers that in a very easy to personalize package.  The thing that broke me out of it was the conflicts between groups.  It was a very weird feeling when someone who didn't believe in astra projection got on to someone for not believing in tarot cards. I think it just as easy to believe in new age and Wicca stuff as it is in Christianity. Both work within system that asks you to suspend you disbelief.  Instead of "you have to have faith" I was telling myself "I have to believe or it won't work."  It was easy to dismiss failures as I did something wrong or something wasn't right or even the universe didn't want that to happen.  The one big thing about Wicca that gave it cred to me at the time was the 'history.' I was told it was an old and ancient religion and as such had to be more true.   But any research into the history will find that is not the case.   

Critical thinking is not required to lose a religion.  There are many other reasons why you might choose to leave a religion.  And if those reason had nothing to do with the supernatural part of the religion, you can easily find yourself in another religion with even more BS.  And as for the question do they think it real, it the same as any religion, there are those that believe it hook, line and sinker, those that believe but think it some kind of nature force and not magic, and those who are just going through the motions because they think it some how helps and they aren't sure how.  

Sorry for the long post. Just thought I'd put my two cents in.

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