There is a very good-hearted aunt, she is a Chinese and also a Christian, who is constantly persuading me to start following Feng-Shui (a Chinese system of geomancy). The time has come for my family to buy a new house - now she is trying to persuade me to follow this system of Feng-Shui even more in order to choose the most "fortunate" house. She even stared visiting some specialists of Feng-Shui (which to me are really not a far cry from fortune tellers) who consult her (of course not free of charge) on the matter as to where I should buy this new house.

The other day she really got me and I had a conflict with her. I told her, "Are you really a Christian? Don't you know that this is in fact a kind of abomination before the Lord?"

She confronted me with her kind of logical argument: "This system has already helped a lot of people. If it's good why should we not make use of something which is good? Don't you make use of visiting your dentist every half a year? Don't you make use of doing physical exercises every morning? So why not make use of something good here? And how can you be sure that this system is not from God either? How can you be sure that this system is not allowed by God to exist and help humans?"

Today she even came up with some examples from the New Testament. First she cited the fact that the Apostles in the book of Acts used a technique in choosing Matthias which is very similar to that used in Feng-Shui (in fact it's a kind of divining using some objects like coins, turtle shells, etc.) She also said that those magi that came to see baby Jesus were following the star, which is also very similar to Feng-Shui. She even said that since I exercise every morning, while Paul said that physical exercises is not so useful (1 Tim 1:8), which means that I am not really faithful toward the Bible in this regard, why not try something that proved to be good long before even the NT was written?

She kind of surprised me with these argument. I think some of those Feng-Shui experts gave her them, because I know that she hasn't yet completed reading the New Testament.

So, what places from the NT can I quote to her?

  • 3
    This is certainly not an answer, but I wanted to present the cores of two arguments against the specific "examples" of Feng-Shui that your grandmother gave. 1) Yes, the apostles chose Matthias by lots, but they never used chance again in all the book of Acts. They didn't need to; they had the Holy Spirit! 2) The Star of Bethlehem is actually a ridiculously awesome example of the Heavens proclaiming the glory of God. This video explains it FAR better than I could. Apr 21 '12 at 6:20
  • 4
    After additional thought, I want to also caution that it can be easy to cross another line: From seeking to help a loved one in their Christian faith, to trying to prove a point for the sake of being right. Our motives for seeking answers like these are at least as important, if not more important, than the attitude with which we seek the answers. I'm not saying your attitude is wrong in this case. I just want to point out that whatever answer(s) are provided, approaching the person in the wrong (in this case your aunt) with love is by far the most important thing.
    – Flimzy
    Apr 21 '12 at 19:34
  • If you get a chance, I would suggest rewording the question to be more objective and less situational. For instance, use sub-questions like "do Christians believe that casting lots is still applicable", "do Christians believe exercise is a sin?", "what NT passages apply to discerning false doctrine?", etc.
    – Jas 3.1
    Apr 22 '12 at 0:22

Hah! She sounds like a wily one. I'm no expert in Feng-Shui (or your Aunt), but here are some relevant Biblical principles:

  • Wisdom In Silence If a person is not truly interested in seeking/knowing the truth (e.g. a person who just wants to push their views on you), there is Biblical precedence for keeping silent. (Proverbs 23:9, Matthew 27:12-14)

"He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself." (Proverbs 9:7, NASB)

  • Test The Spirits God is the source of true knowledge. (Proverbs 2:6) There are many strange doctrines and spiritual "truths" out there, but we are instructed to test the spirits to see if they are from God. (1 Timothy 4:1, 1 John 4:1) If the founders of a particular doctrine are not men of God with good fruit in their lives, the doctrine becomes highly suspect. (Luke 6:43-45, Galatians 5:22-23)

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." (Luke 6:45, NASB)

  • Wisdom In Counsel Proverbs states that everyone thinks what they do is right, but that it is wise to seek counsel. (Proverbs 21:2, 12:15, 14:12, 11:14, also Matthew 18:16) Furthermore, God gave Pastors (a.k.a. Shepherds) to the church for a reason; a shepherd cares for and guides the sheep. (Ephesians 4:11, John 21:15-17) Based on these passages, it seems wise to consult a Pastor (and other trustworthy believers) when making difficult decisions.

  • "Very Similar" The argument "x is very similar to y, and x is good, so y is good" is very flawed, Biblically speaking. (Matthew 24:24)

"No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14, NASB)

  • The "Appearance Of Wisdom" There are doctrines bases on the "elementary principles of the world", which have "the appearance of wisdom", but are of no value. (Colossians 2:20-23, James 3:13-17)

"But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women." (from 1 Timothy 4:7, NASB)

  • Casting Lots Using Acts 1:26 as a precedence for casting lots is not a sound argument, and is certainly not a common interpretation. As El'endia mentioned above, this was prior to the Holy Spirit coming upon them, and many Old Testament practices were merely a shadow of what was to come. (Acts 2:1-4, Colossians 2:17)

  • "Exercise = Unfaithful" She is misquoting the passage. The passage (below) is teaching us that godliness is more profitable than bodily discipline. The focus is on priorities, not on exercise being sinful. (1 Corinthians 9:27)

"for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:8, NASB)

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