Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Do Curses Exist?

  Tim       Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Definition of Curses

Traditionally, humans have undying fascination with curses and all things unseen and historically transmitted from culture to culture over centuries. Curses, by definition, are bad intentions aimed at creating misfortune or tragedy on people, object or places that are supposedly blessed. Curses are evil in nature while blessings are good. Curses and blessings have been used interchangeably in personal, cultural, social events and incidents.

Curse is a pronouncement of harm or evil and in many cultures spiritual gods and entities bring about the intended outcome. Curse is a broader term while jinx and hexes also convey the similar meaning. Curse is often accompanied by a ritual and in some instances it works without a formal ritual such as in cases of evil eye. Words have power of their own and it is a commonly held belief a spoken word may bring about the intended outcome.  But, the question remains: do curses really exist or they are mere figments of human imagination as a whole passed on from generation to generation and culture to culture?



 

Curses in Bible: 
Curses in Bible are described as Satan's operations. We find that: "The tongue can bring death or life....” or in James “And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” Curse is an act of Satan and it cannot prevail against believers as mentioned in Bible. 
The believers are also assured of God's mercy and protection as mentioned in 
“You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near. If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat” (Isaiah 54:14-15).
The Satan may gather, plot and work against the believers and curses, hexes is its weapon to lead people astray away from God's mercy and blessings. Curses and witchcraft are works of Satan, according to Bible but they fail in their mission against believers and those who utter God's word: "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord...this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me...says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).

Curses in Quran: 

In Quran, Satan is the accursed and upon whom Allah(God), His prophets, and angels curse. Curse in Quran has been defined as something evil, unwanted and devastating but it makes distinction between two types of curses: Allah's curse on disbelievers and those who reject faith and those who engage in sorcery to cause harm to people, places or societies. Quran states that Allah (God) created the evil and harm and the purpose is to test people whether or not they stay on the right path or deviate and fall into disbelief. Curse(witchcraft, spells, hexes) are evidenced in Quran by the following verses: 
"They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaiman (Solomon).Sulaiman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us)."And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's Leave.And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their ownselves, if they but knew.(Surah Baqarah (the cow) verse #102

It can be said that both religious scriptures: Quran and Bible do recognize the existence of curses in the sense that there is both evil and good and there is constant battle between them. 





Rational Explanation of Curses: 
Curses, as popular and fascinating subject for human beings, have found research and some explanation in scientific explanation as well. The psychological pattern of ascribing some negative events to curses can be rationalized by studying the thinking styles of individuals and societies as a whole. 
A renowned psychologist Daniel Kahneman states that there are two modes of distinct thinking styles and patterns that dictate decision making process. He categorized them into two systems. System 1 is automatic and purely unconscious requiring no logical or rational discourse while System 2 is controlled, well-deliberated, and effortful requiring rational thought process. 
Curses find validation among people because System 1 type of thinking predominates the System 2 especially when something happens that people find difficult to rationalize.  

Curses in Popular Culture 
Curses have found much reception and interest in popular culture and sports as well. For example, there is a popular Tour De France Curse with French cyclists failing to win the race. The famous rap artist Drake was associated with curse known as Drake Curse. He was associated with sporting failure of teams and athletes from American football, NBA to Boxing. His curse was broken when his team Raptors won the NBA championship. However, it is notable how popular media and influential people obsessed and fascinated themselves with the idea of curse. 

Neymar's Sister Birthday Curse
Neymar da Silva Santos, a Brazillain footballer who plays for French club giant PSG, has been linked to his sister's birthday curse. He gets injured some days or a month before his sister's birthday which is on  and it has been the case for last 6 years. At the time of updating this article (12th February, 2021), Neymar has injured himself yet again. 

For first two years in 2015 and 2016, he was suspended and could not play important matches for his previous team Barcelona and the same thing has stayed with his current team. There is pattern associated with his injuries as they usually occur and his sisters curse has struck him again

The injury/suspension for Neymar each year before the month of March has been so intriguing that fans believe it is his sister's curse and there is only supernatural forces to blame. 

Social Connotations 
Societies in general have been receptive to the idea of curses and it has perpetuated over centuries. The idea that curses exist has been reinforced by education and social narratives. As a result, curses become socially and culturally acceptable. It is not only limited to religious people who give credence to the existence of curses but thanks to this social programming, non-religious people also subscribe to the idea. The whole idea lies in the narrative that people who achieve great success become subject to envy and jealousy and hence curses come into play. 
Types of Curses
There are some popular types of curses and have found validation across cultures. Firstly, humans and people have the power to influence other people's lives due to raging hate or jealousy. This type of curse does not involve any ritual or ceremony. 
Secondly, there are curses placed on people and places accompanied by rituals and ceremonies. The idea that human mind has the power and ability to influence external events dictates these two types of curses. 
Not all bad events or misfortune are due to the curses or hexes. There is no reason to be overly superstitious since we all have a bad patches in life when things are not going our way. 
Curses Do Exist 
There is some credence to the curse being an aspect of human life otherwise it would not have continued for centuries and still been relevant in high-tech and fast modern world. Curses accompanied by evil eye and witchcraft,  or sorcery are more powerful and can be experienced and felt by individuals. While there can be no solid scientific explanation as to how and why curses happen.  However, it does not prove anything. Those who do not believe there is God are often the people that say curses do not exist but can they scientifically prove that God or curses do not exist? Not really. 

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