rebelling against low expectations

Navigating the Influence of TV: The Dilemma of Magic and Witchcraft


When my siblings and I were little, we gave little thought regarding what we watched on TV. Our lives were entertained by Thomas the Train, Bob the Builder, and of course, Veggie Tales.

As we grew older, we moved on from our childhood movie favorites, and discovered other shows that engaged us. I quickly noticed that some of the content on the shows we watched wasn’t very Christ-like.

Can you relate to this?

One of the topics that started to concern me was magic and witchcraft. Between Harry Potter, The Narnia Movies, or even the magical flying powers of Peter Pan, magic fills our movies and TV shows more than we realize. As Christians, should we be engaged in these films, or should we take them off our “to watch” list?

How can we practice Biblical discernment when it comes to television and movies?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to have a solid understanding of how the Bible defines magic.

Defining Magic

The magicians described in the Bible are not the same kind of magicians we see at birthday parties performing tricks for little kids today. The magicians in the Bible gained their power from demonic forces.

A person who practices this kind of demonic magic is someone who has formed a pact with the devil and/or evil spirits.

The Bible teaches that this kind of magic, which is witchcraft, involves communications with evil spirits and is strictly forbidden by God (Lev. 19:31, Deut. 18:10-12, Gal.5:19-21).

It can even lead to demonic possession (1 Samuel 28:7-25, Acts 16:16-18).

There are multiple stories in Scripture of God’s people going to witches for advice and help, and none of those stories end well (1 Samuel 28:7-25).

Run To Jesus, Not Magic

As Christians, we are to run to Jesus for help, not witches.

Zechariah 10:1-2 says, “Ask rain from the LORD in the season of the spring rain, from the LORD who makes the storm clouds, and He will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field. For the household gods utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; they tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd,” (emphasis mine).

In culture today, along with magic and witchcraft, we also see the devil and demonic influences plague the big screen. But this is by no means a new thing. The devil has been portrayed in entertainment for a long time. It’s crucial we understand the history behind this.

The Devil and Entertainment

In the early church times, people understood that the devil was a threat. They understood that even as Christians we should remember that the devil is crafty and keep our distance from him. He is the father of lies (John 8:44). The devil acts as the accuser and the tempter.

During Medieval times, people decided to make a character out of Satan. Their goal was to make him seem foolish and comical. In doing this they thought they would shame the devil and keep him away. But we now know that what they really did was give him a foothold in entertainment as we know it.

In the mid-19th century, a play called “Faust,” was written and performed. This show portrayed the devil as a character in, (yes, you guessed it) red tights. They gave him a pitchfork and a goatee, and bam, the comical devil (which we are still well acquainted with today) had been created.

The Devil Portrayed Wrongly

Our modern culture has taken things a step further, not only painting the devil as comical, but heroic.

In numerous TV shows and movies, the devil is portrayed as the good guy, the hero (for example, Netflix’s Lucifer). He is relatable to people because he is portrayed as rebellious, yet harmless. He lives an individualistic lifestyle, which is especially appealing to Americans.

The evil in this is so evident. The Bible could not more clearly show that the devil is evil, and we are to stay far away from him, witches, and magic.

God’s People Being Entertained by Magic

Acts 8:9-25 tells the story of a man named Simon who was practicing magic in Samaria. People were being entertained by this magic.

The Bible shows us here that it is wrong to be entertained by magic because after Simon and the people who had previously been entertained by this were regenerated by the Holy Spirit, they were no longer in awe of magic.

They were in awe of God.

The same is true for us today. We are not to be entertained by the evils of magic.

So, should we avoid all magic on TV?

Now that we have a Biblical understanding of magic, we can begin to process that question.

The Bible itself states that believers will have different convictions and beliefs regarding different topics (Romans 14). I cannot give anyone a perfect answer to this question. It would be wrong and sinful to place my convictions on someone else’s shoulders. That is why each of us must practice discernment.

What Is Discernment, And How Do We Practice It?

Tim Challies gives a practical definition of discernment in his book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. He writes, “Discernment is the skill of understanding and applying God’s word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong.”

When it comes to magical content in TV or movies, we can practice discernment by asking ourselves the question, “Does the content in this show bring glory to God and align with the teachings of His Word?”

We don’t have any right to hold a movie to our standards, but we have every right to hold it to God’s standards.

It’s important to remember that discernment is a spiritual muscle, it must be exercised for it to grow.

Practicing discernment is very similar to learning to play a sport. When we first begin to practice it, we won’t be super great at it. But the more time we spend exercising this skill, the better we’ll become.

Lastly, we should be aware that practicing Biblical discernment happens when we’re being led by the Holy Spirit. He is the One who gives us convictions (John 16:13). Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you regarding your entertainment choices and decide ahead of time that you will obey His promptings.

When we’re unsure if we should watch a certain movie or TV show, we need to lay that burden down at the foot of the cross, trusting and asking God if we should be entertained by this film.

I urge you to pray for yourself as Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17:17-19, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

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About the author

Lila Pool

is a fifteen year old 10th grade student from South Georgia. She is passionate about using the gifts God has given her to bring glory to Him. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, acting, gardening, and of course, writing. You can check out her blog at


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  • At least C. S. Lewis (creator of the Narnia series) was a Christian and tries to portray the Gospel in the way he can.

  • This was really helpful. It made me think about what kind of entertainment I want to bring into the world.

  • Thank you for this article, Lila!! This is such an incredibly important topic that needs to be addressed in our generation! You broke this challenging topic down very well and made it easy to understand. Thank you for speaking out about this!

  • Me and my family had believed that entertainment with witchcraft was not usually good but no one else that I knew believed it. So it is good to know that I am not alone in this!

  • This is an awesome word inspired by the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for your life and that you are allowing God to use you for His glory. Be encourage, Lila. I am praying for you always and may God be with you as you continue to be a vessel used to build up His Kingdom. May the peace of God follow you all the days of your life.

  • Wow, I really loved how you dealt with this topic, Lila! I love how you didn’t focus on the “don’ts,” but encouraged us to seek the answer to why we are watching this, and to pray for discernment.

    Another thing to think about is asking where does the magic in this movie come from? Does it come from God? Imagination? Demonic or dark forces? And how does the story portray that? Is evil truly defeated or shown as bad? Or does it glorify sin? I like to ask questions similar to that when thinking about any entertainment. 🙂

By Lila Pool
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →