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So I’m just posting this because I feel like writing about something random. I have been a fan of occult, demonology, “magic”, and witchcraft for a long time but don’t get to talk about it often. I’ve considered making somewhat random posts related to the subject every so often. So if you like it make sure you click the little button and if it gets a good reaction I’ll post up more in the future.
Who was Simon Magus?
When it comes to a magician with a real bag of tricks they don’t come much better than Simon Magus. In the first century CE Simon gained such a following from his native Samaria all the way to Rome that he gave Christianity a run for it’s money. Eventually the people known as Simonians more or less completely disappeared by the 4th century. Imagine though if Simon had won the race, what kind of a guy is Simon?
Simon is sometimes credited with founding Gnosticism but was just one of the many early advocated of Gnostic sects and principles, a terrible heresy in the eyes of early Christians. Simon also claimed at various times and places to be the Son of God, the Redeemer, and the transcendent God of the Gnostic universe. He was said to have been born from a virgin. He supposedly raised the dead, healed the sick, and even magically created a boy out of thin air. He was able to fly, to walk through walls of fire undamaged, bore his way through mountains, and animate statues so that they laughed and danced, and many more amazing feats.
Wherever Simon went he would perform feats and gained followers all along the way. The only thing that seemed to stand in the way of Simon was the popularity of the Christian evangelists who were also traveling the region performing miracles. Simon was quite impressed with the ease and speed they were able to perform their feats and admitted that his own took much preparation. Simon became envious and hoped to learn their secrets.
This is where Simon makes an appearance in the bible. According to the story Simon was so won over by the powers of the apostles that he was baptized by Philip and continued to follow along with him and observe his teachings. At this point seeing an opportunity to convert people in Samaria the apostles Peter and John come along and make an appearance with Simon in Acts 8:9-24. The most important piece of it being where Simon offers money to Peter if he will teach him how to “lay hands” like he does. Peter isn’t very happy about it and basically tells Simon he can go die with his silver because the gift isn’t for sale. (It’s where the word “simony” originates.) With that a magical rivalry of bad ass proportions is born.
Simon was in a bad mood and worried about Peter accusing him of sorcery. He took all of his books of magic and threw them into the sea before he set off for Rome. He figured he’d still have some supporters with the emperor Nero running things and he was right. He won over even more supporters by faking his own resurrection. Somehow he was able to have a ram take on his appearance, get it’s head chopped off, and Simon simply showed up three days later head intact. Obviously that impressed some people.
Things didn’t keep going Simon’s way though because like a bad rash guess who showed up? Of course, Peter, and this time he brought Paul with him. Nero was excited by it though, how many opportunities do you get to have a bad ass magician show down for everyone to see?
Peter agrees to it and suggests that he will whisper something into Nero’s ear and that Simon should read their minds to find out what is being said. Simon didn’t feel like playing telepathic telephone though and decided instead to summon up a pack of savage dogs to attack Peter. The dogs appear and start charging at Peter who stretches out his hands in prayer. In his hands he has a loaf of bread that he blessed and at the sight of it the dogs simply disappear.
Simon is pretty pissed at Peter and asks Nero to give him one day to prepare. Simon decided to pull out the big guns and tells Nero he is going to fly off toward heaven. Nero has his servants build a large tower in the Campus Martius so that everyone will be able to see it. The next day Simon shows up and climbs to the peak. He steps off and sails unharmed through the air.
Nero asks Peter what he thinks and Peter starts praying. He prays to Jesus and his “true God” that the demons holding Simon up would drop him. It apparently worked and Simon suddenly fell out of the sky landing in the Via Sacra (Holy Way) so hard he was shattered into four pieces. Another version states his leg was simply broken in three places and that he died a short time later, either way it seemed to be the end of the rivalry.
Chances are that the Simonian sect would of never lasted, most Gnostic sects encouraged people not to have children, they only added to the slaves in the archons’ battalions. Just imagine though if Peter hadn’t had a loaf of bread. Maybe we’d be living in a country full of Simonians?
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CereHELL is where you get to meet all the dead and damned cereal mascots. Like Dig’em Frog after he went through Smacks withdrawal and Sonny the Cuckoo Bird after he finally lost it over cocoa puffs.
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So decided I’d go on a bit of a random tangent, I had a conversation with someone the other day, and part of it is still bugging me, so mainly just me venting I guess.
The man, was an extremely devout Christian, but thankfully open minded enough to have discussions with me about it. His reasoning for being a Christian was mainly out of personal experience, which of course is often the hardest to try and contradict or work against, because he feels he knows for sure because of his experience. The man stated that he believed having faith in God helped with great healing powers, stating that he had seen people in fevers and fits healed by the power of prayer. His wildest claim was state that his own grandmother who previously had a broken spine, was able to be healed after being prayed over by a priest. He also stated his grandmother’s healing was confirmed by x-rays from her doctor.
I listened as he recounted the story, the emotion in his voice obvious, and he felt it to be a genuine miracle. My response though of course, was a bit different, more of a, so what? If this was to happen (which I have no proof of, but will accept to be for the sake of argument and discussion) why does it have to be a miracle from God? I personally despise the use of the word “miracle” it’s basically saying wow something great happened, but we don’t know how, lets not try and figure it out though, because it seems much too complicated. There must be a simpler and logical explanation that does work with in the realms of science. There’s no reason to automatically jump to the conclusion that it was the hand of God that healed the poor woman.
My counter part attempted to rebuttal with the fact that, it was the prayers that healed her. That he saw it, that nothing else was able to heal her, but the power of his Lord did.
Let’s take a look at this for a moment. If we were to say, okay, fine, God did it, he fixed her spine. If that was the case, why would her of spine ever been broken in the first place? Had God made a mistake and decided that it was time to take it back? If God was handing out new spines that day, why would he give it to an elderly woman, obviously advanced in age, and probably very few years of real life left to enjoy such a “glorious” gift. Why not give it to a child, struggling, or even a young adult struck by a drunk driver, someone who would be able to perhaps turn around their entire life with such an opportunity. What would make this old woman so special that she deserves divine intervention? Now that is real ego.
Of course the man who I was speaking with, took it as me trying to discount and discredit this miracle that I should obviously just accept at face value without question. He sees it as a gift from God, for him and his family’s dedication and devotion. I really think if God was omnipotent, he wouldn’t pick favorites in this way, but obviously a lot of Christian doctrine is based on it, be nice to God and he’ll reward you. Always has to have a reward system, otherwise why do it.
Overall we ended the conversation with me telling him that I am happy for him that his grandmother was able to make an unexpected and amazing recovery, but just because we weren’t able to explain why it happened, doesn’t mean we need to jump to the conclusion that God did it. Of course he remained as steadfast as ever in his devotion, feeling as if he came out of the battle with his Atheist antagonist slightly ahead. Basically the equivalent of closing his eyes and stomping his feet declaring “I know it was God, I know it was, I know it was.” I felt I gained a small look into his delusions, and the ways he has been brainwashed, both before and after his experience. It’s hard to make a dent in years of work with just a few minutes of conversation.