Major Religions And Magic: Christianity
Christianity evolved out of Judaism and, as such, believes in many of the same basic tenets. In Judaism, the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings are divided into 24 Books in the Hebrew Bible. The basis of Christianity is, therefore, the same as the basis of Judaism and their early texts are markedly similar, as are many of their basic beliefs. Christianity continued in the vein of Judaism in that it was a monotheistic religion. Christians, instead of using the term Yahweh, preferred the term God and that is what Christians call their deity today.
The New Testament of the Christian Bible is where Judaism and Christianity diverge from the same path into two separate ones. The Messiah is where the two religions cannot agree. Both agree that a Messiah will or does exist, that this figure will be a redeemer of mankind, a leader in moral and religious matters as well as political and military matters. The disagreement comes into play as to whether or not the Messiah has come. Jewish followers believe that the Messiah has yet to appear on Earth while Christians believe that the Messiah is Jesus Christ, later Crucified and believe that Jesus died for the sins of mankind, thus fulfilling the redemption role.
Though there are many witches and wizards who are Christian, the Muggle vein of Christianity heavily rejects magic. Some sects are very strict in believing it is evil or Satanic, condemning all witches and wizards (see Witch Burnings) while other Muggles have dismissed the idea of magic as mere superstition to not be taken seriously at all. Wizards have amended Christianity slightly so that, while they still celebrate the major Christian events (Christmas, Easter), magic is not condemned. Nonmagic peoples have a long history of condemning that which they do not understand or that which they fear and wizard Christians widely believe that it was Muggle churches that condemned magic and not the religion itself. In this way, witches and wizards continue to be able to hold their beliefs without feeling like they must suppress their true selves to appease a higher power.
While most Muggle Christianity denounces magic as evil, the Catholic Church recognises Healings and Visions (Divination) as possible and has recognised specific people as having such Gifts. Some of these Saints were witches or wizards in their own right, documented by magical historians as individuals trying to bridge the gap between Muggles and magical communities, but many of theses Saints were either Muggle-born witches and wizards who refused to acknowledge their abilities or else Squibs who had perhaps a few isolated incidences of magic in their lifetimes. While such Healings and Visions are recognised officially by the Catholic Church, many Muggle Christians, still reject magic on the whole, condemning it as evil and dangerous. Wizard Christians have found it easiest to practise their beliefs outside of Muggle churches to avoid the condemnation and ostracism that they would be prone to experience in Muggle circles.
One interesting sect of Christianity is known as Esoteric Christianity. This branch of Christianity does not reject all magic, and is made up of a mix of open-minded Muggles and practising witches and wizards. They use the Bible in their teachings, though focus primarily on the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and select readings from the remainder of the Bible, primarily from the New Testament. They believe Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah as the rest of Christianity does, but they set themselves apart in that they believe themselves an enlightened few. This branch has ancient roots, tracing back to the fourth century C.E. as the disciplina arcani, a secret oral tradition of Hellenistic and Palestinian Judaism. The sect adopted views of Christianity over time and became Esoteric Christianity.
An important achievement of Esoteric Christianity that witches and wizards involved in the sect brought about was the introduction of the art of Alchemy. Famed alchemist Nicolas Flamel (1327-1992) himself was an Esoteric Christian and he remains the only known maker of the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary substance that can turn any base metal into pure gold and produces the Elixir of Life, which makes the drinker immortal. The advent of Alchemy in this select group of Christians has been used by future generations of Magical peoples for Muggle-Magic relations as evidence that Muggles and Magical peoples can live fully integrated, but a counterargument of the Witch Burnings of the same time period as well as many wizards being unwilling for such cohesion has stopped true integration from reoccurring.
Esoteric Christianity shows that some Muggles are open-minded enough to accept witches and wizards into their lives, though the Ministry of Magic disapproves of this lifestyle and sees the Esoteric Christians who are witches and wizards as rebels and, as per the Statute of Secrecy of 1692, will arrest them if they are caught. For this reason, Esoteric Christians of both Muggle and Magical roots keep their religion a closely guarded secret to this day. Religion has greatly impacted the Magical world, and it remains one of the key elements that lead to the later separation of the magical societies from the nonmagical world.