Can the miracles of Jesus be explained as magic? Since magic is forbidden in the Bible, can a Christian be a magician? What are some principles we can learn from the practice of magic to help be more discerning in our age of fake news? These are just a few of the questions we explore with our guest, Joshua Ng, a practicing magician, member of the academy of magical arts, and student in the MA Apologetics program at Talbot School of Theology.

Episode Transcript

Sean: Can the miracles of Jesus be explained as magic? Since magic is forbidden in the Bible, can a Christian be a magician? And are there any principles from the practice of magic that might help us discern truth today in our age of fake news? These are just a few of the questions we are going to explore today with our guest, Joshua Ng, a practicing magician, member of the Academy of Magical Arts, and a student in the Apologetics program at Talbot School of Theology where I teach. I've had you twice, Josh. It's a thrill to have you on. Can't wait to dive in. I'm your host, Sean McDowell. I'm your co-host, Scott Rae. And this is Think Biblically. Josh, thanks for coming on.

Joshua: Thank you both. Thank you for having me. It's an honor.

Sean: Yeah, I've totally been looking forward to this. Before we get into some of these questions, I'd love to hear, why did you first become a magician? What was that story like?

Joshua: Yeah. So, um, before I became a magician, I actually have a background in music. Um, my background in classical and rock music actually helped me to build up a showman and a virtuoso mindset to practice really well. And then it's in high school when Justin showed me this piece that got me into magic. So Scott would you help me out here?

Scott: Sure.

Sean: Oh here we go. You're gonna narrate those for those who are listening.

Joshua: Yeah, take one card from me Scott.

Sean: Okay.

Joshua: Take one card and look at the card. You can show it to Sean and you can show it to the camera, just for now. And in a second, the audio listeners, they will know what's going on. Stick it back in somewhere in the middle. And confirm that's your selection.

Scott: Yep, that's right.

Joshua: Just gonna give the camera selection.


Joshua: So, okay, so Justin took the cards back and he starts to cut and shuffle the deck of cards. Cut and shuffle. Now I was saying, so Justin, he did this piece on me, and I thought that was pretty interesting. He just simply asked me to think of my card in my mind. So in your mind, Scott, why don't you think of your card for me?

Scott: I'm thinking of it as hard as I can.

Joshua: That's awesome. Keep on thinking. The king of clubs, the king of clubs, the king of clubs, correct?

Scott: Correct.

Joshua: So that's how Justin did the piece.

Scott: Jeez. He's reading my mind.

Joshua: Yes.

Scott: He did that right in front of us.

Joshua: That's right. goodness.

Sean: Okay, so he does this piece. Obviously, this had an effect on you.

Joshua: Correct.

Sean: That drove you to want to be a magician. So what happened? Take us through that story.

Joshua: It's more so after it showed me he explained how it's done. He was very generous. He he's not supposed to do that, actually. But I found the method of doing that piece a lot more interesting than just the piece itself, actually. And that embarked my journey onto discovering more the practice, the mechanics behind doing great magic. So tell us a little bit about how you came to faith. Yeah, totally. I was raised in a Christian home, but in a Presbyterian Church, actually, and also I went to an Anglican primary school. But in high school I had a little faith crisis, because I went through the International Baccalaureate program, and they have the Theory of Knowledge class, and in that class I was pretty convinced of relativism.

Sean: Wow.

Joshua: Yeah, I was pretty convinced of it. Even though I would say that I'm a Christian, it's more of a nominal label for myself because of my cultural upbringing or my values. But when I got to college, it's because of my crave for community in college, I sought Christian friends. And then in a meeting of the Christian friends, while we're studying the Bible, I was brought to faith. I was convinced of Jesus being my Lord and savior. And then that's how I embarked my journey of becoming a Christian.

Sean: Okay, now where did you grow up, by the way? This is a piece of the story.

Joshua: Yes, I grew up in Hong Kong.

Sean: OK, fascinating. So it really was convinced by relativism, but just engaging the scriptures, asking if it's true, that drew you to faith. Now, obviously, if you're engaged in the scriptures and really take this seriously, and you have this draw towards magic, surely you've asked yourself the question, “since magic is forbidden in the Bible, how can a Christian practice as a magician?” How do you reconcile those two?

Joshua: Yeah, not just myself asking that question. Actually, a lot of people ask me that question from both non-Christians and Christians. I want to actually note first that this question is not coming from a hostile or from a critical mindset. A lot of people ask that because of curiosity, and I appreciate that.

Sean: Now, are you qualifying that? Tell me why you qualify that.

Joshua: Yeah, because I think there is a sense of people, of Christians especially, having this tradition of not wanting to be associated with practices of "the world." I'll explain in some of the passages that it might link magic to the world, but not with what I'm doing. Okay, fair enough. Yes. So, there are some Bible passages that has explicit mention of magic and why you should not do it. For example, in Exodus 22, it says, "You shall not permit a sorceress to live." And then you have Deuteronomy 18, it says, "There shall not be found among you a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a necromancer who inquires the dead." And then in 1 Chronicles, the author of the Chronicles explained why Saul died, because he consulted a medium to and have Samuel come up and condemned him. And then finally in the New Testament, just one passage in Galatians, Paul listed witchcraft being part of the things of the world, the flesh.

Sean: Yeah, that sounds pretty bad. It sounds really bad. Testament and the Old. I think if we take a hyper-literalistic approach to these passages, meaning that we avoid the context, we avoid what's going on in the, what God is trying to address in those passages, and took a proof-texting approach, then yes, all kinds of magic is forbidden in the Bible. But I think this practice might be spiritually problematic. Take not those verses, but take some other verses out of context, for example, say money is the root of all evil. Now just by that in itself, we can justify that having money in an economy is bad, therefore we should not use money whatsoever. And I think that that would have some detrimental consequences.

Sean: Of course it says the love of money, not money.

Joshua: Yeah, the love of money. Yeah, exactly. And then in my study of apologetics, I found out that a lot of sectarian and cult groups started because they have this isolating mindset or isolating fixation on certain verses to justify their practices. So with what I do, what I do is entertainment. I have a much more modest mindset, is to entertain my spectators, my audience, with the appreciation of the blind spots of our finite human perception. Not trying to promote that I am a necromancer, I am in the position...nothing like that, in position, nothing like that.

Sean: Okay, so the big difference is magic, sorcerers, witchcraft, supernatural powers, you're not doing anything supernatural, it's entertainment. That's really the big difference between the two.

Joshua: That's correct.

Sean: Okay, fair enough.

Scott: Is this one of the reasons why some people who practice magic would prefer the term an illusionist to get away from that connotation?

Joshua: I think so. There are certainly some entertainers who are– who prefer that term for disassociating from the supernatural-ness of our craft.

Scott: Okay, so what are some of the, I guess maybe the guiding principles, the, you know, sort of the foundations that sort of govern your practice of magic, you know, illusion, however you want to refer to it.

Joshua: Yeah, totally. So I was alluding earlier, some of the basic principles is that the human perception is finite. And we have a lot of blind spots from what we see, what we hear, all the senses. We have blind spots in them. So we start that out as a foundation. But really, I think, in my observation of magic throughout the years, good magic is composed because of the human connection that it makes with one another. In fact, there's actually a whole domain of study in magic. We call that magic theory. There are books written about that. Some great authors such as Juan Tamalese.

Scott: Had no idea that was a thing.

Sean: Yeah, I didn't either. Oh, I guess we like to hide it away from the public.

Sean: Of course.

Joshua: But it's actually we're trying to achieve some sort of emotional connection with one another. So, for example, with the piece that I just did with you, Scott, how Justin did that piece to emotionally connect with me, and now in turn I can do that to the both of you. And magic that has spectators involvement always has greater reaction. Always has-

Sean: Yeah, that makes sense.

Joshua: Spawns greater wonder. And I think that has a lot of parallel to Christian faith, when you think about that. For example, in our faith, we believe that we're made to be in relationship with God. And we have this desire for this relationship, because He made us this way. That we have to have covenant relationship with Him. But because of our sin, we don't do that, and we have relationship with the world and the things in it. And not just that, for us Christians to think about the relationship with our brothers and sisters. Now, the scriptures are very clear. It says that we shall bear one another's burdens. We shall endure one another's sufferings, but also share the joys and happiness that we have for one another.

Sean: Okay, so I got a press, and maybe this is where I'm pushing too far, and you're like, "Sorry, can't let you in the club." But when you said there's certain blind spots that we have, 'cause I watch, I'm thinking, "I know I have a blind spot there, drawing my attention here, but doing something over there." Like, that's one example. What are some of the blind spots that we have that enables magic to work?

Joshua: Attention. Attention is a big part. Some of the most basic fundamental showpieces that a magician can do relies on misdirection, that they've put their focus and their gaze on an object while they're doing something else. And that's a fundamental thing. And then with the piece that I did to Scott earlier, it doesn't really use that, but it uses an element of surprise, really, 'cause the expectation is that I'm gonna find your card in some way, but instead I just named it.

Scott: So let me push back a little bit too.

Sean: Okay, do it.

Scott: On some of this. 'Cause it sounds like basically what you're doing is you're entertaining people by constantly fooling them. Or you are entertaining by way of deception. You know, the Bible has lots to say about deception. Although I don't think it really addresses deception in the form of entertainment. That doesn't, I don't see that. But you know, the Bible has a lot to say about, you know, us being truth tellers. and not making our living fooling people, and not engaging in deception. So how, I guess, how do you defend your profession against the charge that you're just out there fooling people?

Joshua: Yeah, I think that's a great question, and thank you for asking that, Scott. I think by framing my profession as like fooling there there could be some some um loadedness to the language which I don't mind that, I would try to–

Scott: Oh, I'll own that it's loaded.

Sean: It is.

Joshua: It is loaded, yeah. I try to reframe it in a different way by saying that “hey um the fooling it happens because we have this natural blind spot that we can't overcome. It's just how it is for us, for our perception, but could we try to appreciate it? Could we try to have fun while our perception is still limited?” I think that's a much better way to think about this.

Sean: I would say, look, there's a lot of professions we have deception in. I mean sports. If you're gonna play a sport, you got to fool somebody that you're going left, and you go right. Got to fool somebody that you're shooting, and you're not. Deception is embedded within sports. But I think in sports and in magic, we understand this is a part of what we're doing. We all agree to do, so whereas if you're deceiving somebody in business, you assume they're telling you the truth. Now I got one more question for you. But you buy that distinction? You're the ethicist here.

Scott: Well, yeah, I think there's, you know, you look at intelligence gathering, that requires deception as a matter of course. So I think it's not that, I think, deception when somebody's expecting the truth is one thing. But I think this is, I think it's sort of analogous to what happens around a poker table.

Sean: Okay, okay, yeah, that's fair.

Scott: If I bluff you successfully, you can't say, well, you lied to me. I say, no, you just didn't know that that's part of the rules. And I think that's part of the rules of the game.

Joshua: Yes.

Scott: And I think we understand it that way, in a way that's not true of business, which is true in sports, that's just part of the game. I mean, if you get faked out, that's on you.

Sean: Problem is, I think poker's immoral. Just kidding, I don’t.


Sean: I've got another question for you. I wanna come back to that's always gotten me. Much of practices of psychics include mind reading, not genuine powers.

Scott: He was, especially 'cause he read my mind.

Sean: I know, yeah, in one sense. But of course we know that was obviously a setup, but psychics come in as if they're really reading your mind, not supernatural powers. But I think in some examples of psychics, and I've interviewed many ex-psychics, and they've told me very clearly that there was information coming into their mind with specificity they could not have known otherwise, and was arguably demonic. Are there any practices in the wider magic industry that you think are supernatural that give you concern like this? Or do you think it's really all just trickery?

Joshua: Yeah, so thank you for asking that question, and I've watched those interviews, they're amazing. Got so much insight from it. From what I know, from what I know in my industry, Most commercial products that we have on the market or most commercial effects that magicians do on stage or they sell, there are usually secular explanations. In fact, probably most likely there is a secular explanation to what we do. Meaning that it could be explained with a sleight of hand or some human tendencies that the performer is capitalizing on. But I want to actually take that question in a different turn and to comment that there are some magic products that I'm aware of that uses elements of divination, elements of the occult, to pique people's interest. So for example, I know that there are some showpieces that magicians use. They use tarot cards. Or some magicians, they would dress up as, say, a medium from the Middle East, from the ancient world or something like that. Now, a lot of people think that there's nothing going on there, but what I think as a Christian is that there is an unintentional invitation to people to engage in a spiritual activity, basically. So here, 2 Timothy 4, the Apostle says this, "For there is a time that's coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.” And naturally, I see people when they see a deck of tarot cards, or when they see a skull on a table, they think that some supernatural stuff is going on, and they pique their interest to listen to the performer. It might be innocent, but I think there is some - it's inviting people to engage in this spiritual activity that is not pleasing to God. And I don't think that's good.

Sean: So there is some discernment you have to use, especially in this industry, looking at some practices and there's times where it might seep in. So I imagine that would add certain pressure at times for somebody in the entertainment industry. Now, we'll come back to that. I've got, I jumped ahead and asked another question, but I really want to frame this one for you. We have a mutual friend who's a magician. I don't think he'd mind if we shared his name 'cause he's an amazing magician, Danny Ray. In fact, when he went to the Magic Castle, invited me to come, got to see him perform, and you've even told me he's done some tricks. You're like, "I'm not quite sure how he does that." A number of years ago, Danny's been a friend for a while, we met, and he was kinda asking me some apologetic questions. Like, what do I think are good apologetic arguments? And my response was, "You shouldn't be asking me. I look at this through a certain lens. I want to know through the lens and training of a magician, what arguments or pieces of evidence do you find most compelling?” So if he's going to work that into his presentation, that's going to be more meaningful than some apologetic professor told him this was a good argument. So that's my question for you. Through the lens of the blind spots, you said your study of magic, are there any pieces of evidence for the Christian faith that uniquely resonate with you and or you think other magicians?

Joshua: Yeah, I don't think actually, so not specifically an argument, but it's actually a reflection, like I was saying earlier, a reflection of the human perspective and a need for revelation from God. So as I was saying earlier, the foundation of magic is because we have these blind spots. We capitalize on them and to make wonders happen. But there's a beauty to not know how magic works as well. It also relies on you not knowing how it works. In The Problem of Evil, say in Christian Apologics, critics demand answers to why God allows evil or just theodicy in general. I was reflecting on the Book of Job, and in the Book of Job there are some accounts that describe the interaction between God and the Satan, how God allows the Satan to tempt Job, to take away his properties. And then in the end, God still doesn't really give an explanation of exactly why he did it, but he gets God. Job gets God, and that's the blessing that he gets in the end. It's the same way, I think, like magic, there's certain wonder. There's certain good that comes out of not knowing and to just remaining in suspense, in that temporary ignorance that we have. Because our perception is finite, and in our finite perception, we need God to condescend Himself from the heavens, from His infiniteness, down to us, to reveal Himself to us. In fact, He did it in the greatest way possible. Reveal Himself in the person of Jesus, to speak His word to us through Him, and of course, to die for our sins, and to make us reconcile to Him.

Sean: I love it, that's great.

Scott: So let me go back to the gospel accounts, and our reading of some of the miracles of Jesus. Are there any of those that– I've never heard explanations for some of the miracles, maybe Jesus' interaction with casting out demons or things like that as magic. Some of the apostles got accused of practicing magic during their evangelistic campaigns. But do you think, are there any of the miracles of Jesus that you think could be plausibly explained as magic? I was thinking about that really hard and see if I can find any angles to poke holes into as a magician with my knowledge in the industry. And actually I got asked that question not just from Christians but also from spectators I performed with and they would ask me, "Why are you religious when what you do as a magician can easily undermine most claims of religions?" And the question comes from a very innocent place. There is a seemingly parallel, seemingly parallels between what I do and what miracles claim to have. For example, prophecies versus a prediction piece that I do. Or say, the most famous example, Jesus turning water into wine versus I do a color changing piece with my deck of cards.

Sean: Oh, interesting. Okay. Okay.

Joshua: Okay. So I think, I think this is that that's, That's a good starting point, but critics sometimes miss some of the nuances and conditions despite of these apparent parallels. So, for example, prophecies. The prophecies made in the Old Testament, and also sometimes in the New Testament, they're made prior to the events happened - well, that's why it's a prophecy - but a lot more prior than how a prediction showpiece would look like. The prophecies for Jesus is like 400 years before, or even more than before he was born. Whereas for a prediction showpiece, I immediately, usually just immediately write it in the show, put it away, put it aside, not touching it, come back to it later, and then review that I made the right prediction or something like that. The conditions are drastically different, so not a one-to-one comparison. And then for water turning into wine, I was thinking that maybe with a certain apparatus in a stage show, that's possible. But Jesus's condition and his situation at the wedding of Cana was very impromptu. He just showed a wedding, but the wedding was sort of miscalculated so that the wine ran out, and he was asked to fix the problem. It's not his home, it's not his stage, there was nothing. Although, we believe as Christians, he's God, so that is actually his stage, so he can do it whatever he wants with it.

Sean: That's really interesting. Tell me if I'm just butchering this, but it seems to me, you kind of hit at it, that to do certain magic tricks, you've got to have a certain stage, certain setup, control the environment around you. Jesus does miracles indoor, he does miracles outdoor. He does it with individuals. He does it with groups. He does it in boats, in different weather conditions. I mean, there's just such a range of the miracles that at best, maybe one or two, but the whole of miracles we have, saying Jesus was a magician just doesn't line up with what magicians actually do.

Joshua: Correct.

Sean: Is that a fair summary?

Joshua: Yeah. In fact, I'll add one more to that. Miracles are varied in so many different ways. Most magicians are specialized in one or two things. For example, me, I'm specialized in card handling. Some magicians are specialized in coins, and that's all we do, but he does a lot of different things.

Sean: Wow. That's such a good point, that's interesting. We need an apologetics book that flushes these issues out. I've told some of my magician friends for a long time, 'cause you gotta have somebody who's interested in apologetics, you are. Somebody who understands magic, you are. So I hope you write it. With that said, the first time you and I met, we were, it was before class, and we were in, not the Eagle's Nest, but the cafe here at Biola. I asked you this question. I said, there must be a certain kind of power that comes with being a magician. I mean, the fact that I'm on stage at times, and I'm a kind of performer as a speaker, there's a power that can so easily be abused. People, the moment they meet you, must be fascinated that you tell them about your profession, wanting to perform a trick right away. Given that power and the power of the stage, how do you balance that with the Christian call to humility? And thank you for that question. It's a very important question. Because I don't think this question only applies to a Christian magician, but also to all public figures who are Christians. That includes the both of you, actually. It includes all Christian ministers. And we all have to think about that. And it's true, when given a stage, given a platform to speak, or a pulpit to speak, people are naturally curious about what you have to say or what you have to do. So you have to pay extra attention to what you say that reflects the gospel, but also reflects your humility, because you're now a new creation in Christ. I had a spectator asked me before, or he said it in a more jokingly fashion, but he said, “whatever cult you're starting I'm joining it.” At that point I realized how much power I am wielding by doing this. Okay, so now the Bible has explicit commands and qualification for ministers, and they're very explicit, and I am not pursuing an MDiv degree here at Biola, and I'm not qualified to be ordained in my denomination. But I think there is a lot of wisdom still to be learned just from the general command for Christians to be humble, to be meek, but also to learn a little bit from the passages that talks about the qualifications of being an elder or being a minister of the gospel. Remember the example that I said earlier, he said, "whatever cult you're starting, I'm going to join.” I jokingly actually said to the guy, I said, "Here's my command for you then. Follow Jesus."

Sean: Wow, good response.

Joshua: He and his friends laughed, but I was serious. Like, follow His example. He's the perfect example, and follow Him. Now, if you want to follow me, don't follow me. Follow Jesus, because I'm a sinner. And what are some practical steps that I take as a public figure, as a magician, to do this? Well, I want to be as authentic as I possibly can and be relatable. I want to show you my origin story, such as the piece I just showed you earlier, and be a more of a person, more relatable, more relational with my spectator instead of just me being a mere performer.

Sean: Sure.

Scott: So, Josh, I'm really curious about what this industry is like. And, you know, because I've got kids that are all in various performing or artistic professions. I've got one kid who's an actor. It's not quite the same. But all those industries have particular challenges for people who want to be faithful to Jesus. What are the challenges that you face in this particular industry that tests you about being faithful to Jesus?

Joshua: Yeah. So I want to first make a qualifier that being in the entertainment industry, there are still a lot of common challenges that people face, even with like, say, nine to five jobs that are not highly demanding your energy in coordinating with like...

Scott: They're not performance types of things.

Joshua: They’re not performers, exactly, yeah. So, same thing, I have to consider what I say. I have to consider what I do so that I don't get canceled. (laughing) In the same way that a person in the office would consider what they say or what they do, their conduct in the office so that they don't get sent to the HR office or something like that.

Sean: Or get fired.

Joshua: Yeah, exactly. But in the entertainment industry, especially here in the United States, I think the stakes are a lot higher. because public entertainment figures are being looked up in more recent times, more so than authorities or even like authors from the past. The things we said, like I was demonstrating earlier, I did a trick and the guy says, "Whatever quote you're starting, I'm joining." I have a lot more impact than just, than some of the professors who are writing some of our books, but because of that immediate impact that I can have–

Sean: That's both of us, just so you know for the record. But keep going.

Scott: I got that too.

Joshua: I appreciate your guys' work by the way. It's amazing. So because of that, entertainers, as entertainers who have more immediate relational impacts with my spectators, I have to be a lot more careful with what I say and what I do, of course, to portray Jesus's ministry here on earth. The Holy Spirit's work with the world right now, but also with our witness as Christians to those who do not believe.

Sean: Good stuff. So in some ways you might have answered this, but the unique challenges of being a Christian in the--oh, not just in the entertainment industry, the unique challenges within the church? Like, does the church support what you do? Do you get a lot of criticism? So we've talked about kind of outside the entertainment industry. What about within the church? Is there curiosity, apathy, misunderstanding? What are those kind of challenges like?

Joshua: Yeah, I appreciate that question. So, from my experience, a lot of Christians are actually very curious of what I do. And they're generally very supportive of me.

Sean: That's great.

Joshua: I have heard, however, some magicians, when they did a gig at a church function, and a group of people would go to the corner and pray for the magician.

Sean: Got it.

Joshua: And I find that very hilarious reaction. I think all magicians, all Christian magicians, find that hilarious. And then he eventually goes up to speak to them and says, "It's okay, guys. Sleight of hand. Nothing supernatural is going on here." I think those days of people doing that and have more of a critical lens of what we do are coming to an end. And two hypotheses for that. The first one, not as hopeful. It's because perhaps people don't care about what the Bible says. And then they say themselves as Christians, like we talked about in a few months ago on your podcast, The State of Theology Survey, that people perhaps they're just ignorant about what the Bible says and then they don't care, so that they're okay with it. But on the flip side, the second hypothesis, which is actually very hopeful, is that there are more Christians are getting more serious about what the Bible says, and in fact they go past their traditions and go past the sayings, have proper biblical hermeneutic and proper biblical exegesis, and know that magic, as in what I do in the entertainment industry, is actually not forbidden in the Bible and there's no need to be so critical of that.

Scott: So Josh, I'm really curious because I think, you know, Sean, you and I both know magicians who, you know, whose goal is evangelistic.

Sean: Yep.

Scott: And so I'm just getting– that would be the most overt weaving in of Christian faith into the magic performance that I'm aware of. But tell us a little bit about how, if at all, you weave your faith into your show and if so, what does that look like? And if not, I'd be curious as to why not.

Joshua: It depends on the situation, Scott. So, like I was saying earlier, if I have too much explicit mention of my faith, I would have some consequences in the shows that I do. Maybe people, I will probably lose clients.

Scott: Stop inviting you?

Joshua: Yes, don't invite me, lose clients, that kind of stuff. Jesus did say, like, count the cost to follow him, like, you will lose some of these. Depending on how much you're willing to sacrifice, depending on how much you want to also spread the gospel to that group of people. Say in Hollywood, for example, that is tremendously difficult, and I have to be a lot more subtle than, say, being overt and say a phrase that one of the Christian magician that I admire, he says, he said in his show, he says, “it's because of the power of God, the devil cannot snatch this person away. It's not because he hides behind an eight ball,” or something like that.

Sean: That's really interesting. So in some ways, it really depends on what the heart of your ministry is.

Joshua: Yeah.

Sean: Right? Are you an evangelistic ministry?

Joshua: Mm hmm.

Sean: Or am I playing the long game relationally and very strategically to have influence from within Hollywood? It's not better or worse. It's just different. We both believe there's something to be said for just being excellent at your craft and living out as a Christian. There's huge, huge value in that. It seems like there's some magicians who do both. Last question for you. This is one I've been wanting to ask you. You did that trick earlier and I was watching as close as I could. I'm like, anyways, totally fooled me. And he said we had blind spots. Of course I'm sitting there going, guy, what other blind spots do I have that I just am not even aware of? Especially when it comes to discerning truth today, as a parent, as a professor, as an apologist, in our age of fake news. Are there any things that you've learned in particular from magic and how many blind spots we have that could just help us better discern and have confidence in truth?

Joshua: I think, thank you for asking that question. That's an important question to be asked. Given with my knowledge of thinking about magic, my training in apologetics, my thoughts on theology, I think a simple question about what are my presuppositions, what are my traditions when I'm approaching these issues? These, whatever it could be, maybe the Bible, social justice, whatever it could be. What are my presuppositions and why do I have them? Are they grounded in good reason? Are they grounded in the Bible? If they're not, then why do I have them? Is it just because of an emotional appeal that I'm trying to make? If that's so, why don't I re-evaluate my position, and perhaps maybe I even have to surrender those thoughts in favor of something that's better, more reasonable, more grounded, so that I can present my case better.

Sean: That's helpful. Great stuff. Josh, I imagine some people watching or listening are thinking, you know what, this guy's pretty sharp. And that was a pretty awesome trick. Number one, I'd be interested in following him on social media, wherever you post stuff. And second, I might be interested in bringing him in to do a performance. How can people do one or both of those? - Yeah, so please follow me on social media on Instagram. My handle is JoshN_Magic.

Sean: And spell Josh, the letter N, not NG.

Joshua: Yeah, J-O-S-H-N_Magic.

Sean: Underscore Magic, that's the place to follow you.

Joshua: Correct, and you'll see my work there.

Joshua: Thanks for coming on. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I've enjoyed our conversations, thoroughly enjoyed having you in class, and just the questions you ask and unique perspective that you bring. I think God's got his hand on you and look forward to seeing what he does in and through you in the world of magic. So thanks for coming on.

Joshua: Yeah, thank you, Sean. Thank you, Scott.

Sean: Absolutely. The rest of you, this has been an episode of the podcast on audio and video of Think Biblically from Talbot School of Theology. Make sure you hit subscribe. We'll see you next time.