From “The Charlatan: The Skeptical, Mysterious, Supernatural True Story of a Christian Magician” by Jim Munroe

“The details are never the same, but there’s a common theme: God’s more interested in crafting a great story than preventing us from experiencing pain.”

“Charlatans don’t have to try to be skeptics. It’s part of the gig. We’re trained to spot the misdirection, the sleight of hand, and all the other subtle clues that create wonder in the eye of the uninformed. It’s our craft -and  ironically, as we get more proficient, the more difficult it becomes for us to ever again experience wonder. Nearly all the great magicians have lived this way. Houdini’s skills were so developed and his showmanship was so compelling, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t convince one of his friends he had no supernatural powers. This wasn’t just any friend – it was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the creator of the world’s greatest detective, the archetype for every sleuth and mystery solver: Sherlock Holmes. In our culture, the average person picks option one. It’s easier. Skepticism has become our default setting. The cynic automatically takes the intellectual high ground. We don’t leave room for the unknown. We’re not comfortable with unsolved mysteries. But skepticism comes with a price. A world without wonder might make sense to our minds, but it leaves us cold and alone. The skeptic trusts only what can be proven scientifically, which sounds great in theory but is miserable in practice. When was the last time you proved how much you loved someone with empirical data? Option two comes with risks, too. It means we’re not in control. No amount of money, power or influence can protect us from risk.”

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