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Superstition

SUPERSTITION. Superstition may be defined as belief in the supernatural which is motivated by fear, proceeding from ignorance, and reflecting an irrational view of reality. It may denote also the practices consequent upon such belief. Black magic, witchcraft, spirit-rapping, and the like, may be regarded as manifestations of a superstitious frame of mind. In the OT, the prohibition against divination by consulting a necromancer (one who has a “familiar spirit,” Lev 19:31; Deut 18:11) and the record of the practice of soothsaying, augury, and the like (2 Kings 21:6), show that the Israelites were often infected with the superstitious practices of those around them. In NT times the Gr. word δεισιδαιμονία, G1272, and the Latin superstitio are used in an imprecise way that makes the exact meaning in a given instance sometimes difficult to determine. For example, Festus told Agrippa that Paul had been involved in disputes with the Jews “about their own superstition” (Acts 25:19).