There were a variety of habits and beliefs of early Christian kingdoms that today we would recognize as superstition. For example, people believed that God was continuously intervening in the world, so in the case of a serious dispute they would let the two people fight to the death, believing that God would intervene on the side of the righteous and help them win. This belief was so complete that the guilty party would often confess their crimes to avoid the divinely guided fight.
It’s easy to recognize in hindsight that some early beliefs were erroneous and not guided by the teachings of God, but what about today’s beliefs?
I remember being somewhat of an adult and realizing one day, “Ghosts aren’t real!” I’ve found this subject surprisingly polarizing when I mention it to people. Some are convinced that spirits can still materially influence the world after death, and of course others deny the existence of any such spirit and view a belief in ghosts as a superstition of the ignorant. I’ve found the same split among Baháʼís who sometimes believe that supernatural phenomena go hand in hand with belief in God. For the record, ghosts aren’t real, but that’s for another blog.
I also remember realizing one day, “Prayers don’t heal people!” Sort of. At least not the way I previously thought. This is a little more complicated than the ghost story but it’s still true, and it gets to the very heart of what it means to pray.