Q. What is the difference between Christianity and Supersition? I know people who carry a charm to bring them good luck, or wear a medal to protect them, what’s the difference between these things and the way some people pray for God’s protection and favors?
SOME THINGS IN LIFE WE CANNOT CONTROL, but We want to control them. THIS IS WHAT SUPERSTITION IS ALL ABOUT. We carry around a rabbit’s foot or hang a horseshoe or consult a horoscope in order to control our fate. In order to control that small area of life that is unknowable and uncontrolable. Maybe something good will happen to us. At least, maybe the bad will somehow be warded off.
There is that old story about the man who was nearly panicstricken on his first flight. The pilot came back personally to calm him down. “Are you a religious man?” the pilot asked. “Yes,” the man replied. “Don’t you believe that when your time is up, you’ll go and not until then?” the pilot asked. “Yes,” the man replied. “Then what are you nervous about?” the pilot asked. The man said grimly, “I’m afraid your time will come before mine.”
Such reasoning gets very complicated sometimes. When we attempt to control our fate by the use of a charm or a ritual or trust in fate or the stars or whatever, this is superstition. Most superstitions are harmless. Sometimes, if they give us confidence, they can even be helpful. If we use them as a substitute for helping ourselves or trusting God, however, they can be destructive. Nevertheless, we need to understand the difference between superstition and authentic Christian faith.
SUPERSTITION IS AN ATTEMPT TO MANIPULATE THAT PART OF OUR LIVES THAT IS BEYOND OUR PERSONAL CONTROL. If I carry a rabbit’s foot with me, I am trying to control my luck. I may do this as a substitute for hard work. What poorly prepared student has not hoped for a multiple choice test? At least I might get lucky, we think to ourselves. That is superstition trying to control the uncontrollable. AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN FAITH IS SOMETHING ELSE. CHRISTIAN FAITH AT ITS BEST IS NOT AN ATTEMPT TO USE GOD, BUT A WILLINGNESS TO SURRENDER CONTROL OF OUR LIVES TO GOD.
One way for a Christian to understand the difference is to Analyze your prayers sometime. Many of us use our prayers to manipulate God. We want Him to adjust the weather to our liking. Or to change our boss’ attitude or to help us win the lottery. We seek to advise God as to what we think is best for us. Rather than trusting that He in His omnipotence and omniscience knows best, we seek to guide Him, to control Him, to use Him.
If you believe that God knows what’s best for your life, and if you believe that God’s will is for your best good, then you will not secretly try to manipulate God to work things out the way you see best.
13 And again, “I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.” And again, “BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.”
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
1 Cor 2:5
so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
2 Cor 5:7
for we walk by faith, not by sight–
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.
A genuine Christian must work toward the spiritual maturity to truly pray, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
That ought to be our approach to prayer. Rather than praying for peace in the world, we need to pray that God would make us peacemakers. Rather than asking God for special favors, we need to pray that He show us someone less fortunate than ourselves who needs our assistance. Is your faith mere superstition or is it authentic Christian faith? Do you attempt to use God or are you willing to be used of Him?
Some of us are out searching for fourleaf covers rather than taking up a cross and following him.