Similarly, to finish off an en­emy, a wax or wooden image of him may be made and pierced with a needle or chisel, (ii) Magic by Contagion is based on the belief that whatever would come into contact with the supernatural power, will be swayed by it. However, if the farmer carried out all of the required tasks to the best of his ability and usually succeeded by doing so but the crops failed to grow, then this could be attributed to witchcraft or God as it would be considered an otherwise unexplainable event. Tylor found religion ‘to generally resemble magic’ (REF22) which is echoed by William James’ view of religion ‘as the belief in an unseen order’, (REF23) something which can easily be said of magic. Essay on Relationship Between Religion and Magic – The phenomenon of magic is closely associated with religion. In spite of these analogies, magic is in many ways the opposite of science. 1. Study for free with our range of university lectures! E.B. In addition, as witchcraft would not act as a legitimate excuse for committing such sins as adultery or murder, it maintains that such acts are wrong and are a matter of personal choice and therefore the individual is held personally accountable. Content Guidelines 2. As briefly mentioned earlier, witchcraft and religion both possess a similar level of emphasis on maintaining a high moral standard within society, at least in some cases. Depending on the society in question, religion is often also excluded and not taken as acceptable reasoning for breaches or law or morals such as in the case of sacrifices or honour killings (REF10). World’s Largest Collection of Essays! Science has made it almost impossible for a belief in magic to survive in modern cultures, specifically those in Western Europe, as it provides definitive explanations for the acts of nature and as a result, negates the claims made by magic. We may expect magic under two conditions; that is, (i) when there is emotional involvement in the outcome of action, and (ii) when there is no adequate rational control over the outcome. Belief in witchcraft, such as that displayed by the Azande, in no way contradicts empirical knowledge of cause and effect; the Azande were still scientific in their understanding of the way nature operated and used witchcraft to explain that which could not otherwise be explained, a role often fulfilled by religion in modern society. Through magic they try to express their strong wishes symbolically and renew their confi­dence. Evans-Pritchard found that for the Azande, witchcraft provides a social structure similar to that of the Church, with oracles and witchdoctors possessing different qualities and powers which denote their different ranks within the community. Sigmund Freud saw the emotional aspect of religion as highly important when attempting to explain why people choose to follow a religion and stated that ‘Religious ideas […] are charged with an extremely suggestive, emotional power.’ (REF15) This works in the same way as the Azande’s belief of witchcraft as a second spear, in both cultures a close friend or family member having a disease would be explained in scientific terms; they are elderly and so more susceptible to disease or they have caught the disease by engaging in a particular activity for example, as the first spear. (REF19) In addition to this, in some societies, it was thought that witches inherited their ‘power for evil or [was] given the power by God’. By offering rewards to those who achieve forgiveness, in the form of the cease of witchcraft, and punishment to those who commit moral wrongdoings, in the form of exile or death, witchcraft helps to provide the community with a strong set of social regulations and therefore maintain social control. *You can also browse our support articles here >. It only requires that the ritual is cor­rectly performed and that the victim or his protector does not use counter magic of greater power. Ex: Trobriand Islanders consider magic as inevitable for deep sea fishing which involves risk. ([163]367), In his extended work “The Golden Bough”, Frazer also develops the idea of a fixed boundary existing between religion and magic and suggests that at some point in time there must have existed a period of transition from one to the other which is now developing into the scientific way of life we see today. This website includes study notes, research papers, essays, articles and other allied information submitted by visitors like YOU. (REF2) The Church’s involvement in the prosecution of those believed to possess magic has changed over time due to public pressure and demand to take action. Helping to uncover or predict the unknown is just one of the many examples of how magic and religion perform the same occupations for believers and contributes to forming a broader definition of the two as similar systems. Therefore, when viewed as a provider of emotional comfort, both religion and magic fulfil the same function and so dismiss the idea of a fixed boundary existing between them. VAT Registration No: 842417633. According to some writers magic is also a kind of reli­gion, while some others never consider it so. Magic and religion are closely linked. These formulas are, in a sense, magic. Of the two, religion is more widespread whereas magic is very much limited. Black magic consists of sorcery and witchcraft. Magic was a means for achieving ends that its practitioners felt could not be reached with certainty through ordinary prayers and rituals, but like traditional cults it too relied on achieving a close working relationship with supernatural powers. Thus it cannot be transmitted, except possibly by heredity. It may be employed to achieve vengeance, to acquire property illegally, to steal another man’s wife, to commit murder, etc. This may provide comfort to the family of the deceased that everyone involved had done everything they could to help the individual recover but it was the work of a force outside of human control that was responsible for the outcome, not human error or neglect. The attitude is more a matter of fact. As H.M. Johnson has pointed out “when the goal of action is empirical and the means are supernatural, we call the action magic.”, 2. Looking for a flexible role?

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