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[1]

A curse is the opposite of a blessing: whereas a blessing is a pronouncement of good fortune because one is initiated into God’s plans, a curse is a pronouncement of ill fortune because one opposes God’s plans. God may curse a person or a whole nation because of their opposition to God’s will. A priest may curse someone for violating God’s laws. In general, the same people with the authority to bless also have the authority to curse.

Curses frighten people by making people believe they will come to harm. In extreme cases curses can destroy people's confidence that they can survive so people die. [2] In traditional societies and among more credulous people in modern societies a wide range of health problems, relationship problems or general bad luck can be put down to curses.

Religion and superstition

Curses play a part in most Religions, archaeologists have found evidence of ancient curses written on tablets especially involving Gods and goddesses of the Greco Roman religion. [3] Cursing plays a part in Christian Fundamentalism though Liberal Christians are extremely unlikely to curse. Curses are often used against people who have broken one or more cultural rules and curses or the threat of curses enforce conformity. Cursing is sometimes a sign of weakness because the person cursing has to rely on supposed Supernatural or Magical ways of harming the other and lacks natural means of doing harm.[1] A range of omens can persuade people that they have been cursed. Some superstitions teach that evil people can lay curses unjustly, others believe that a curse must be deserved for it to work. [4] There is a common belief that curses can reverberate back to harm the person who creates them, this is perhaps developed from the concept of Karma. Ideas about curses that believers disagree with tend to get labelled Superstition.

Traditional Christianity including the Roman Catholic Church and modern Protestant fundamentalism is based on the idea that Humanity is cursed because Adam and Eve committed Original sin. [1]

Fraud

Fraudulent witches, Clairvoyants and the like have been known to cheat their victims out of large sums of money pretending to lift non-existent curses. Conjuring tricks may be used to give the impression of some supernatural event that convinces victims the curse is real, [5] fraudulent psychics have other ways of making victims think they have powers. [6] In several large US cities for example superstitious elderly Chinese immigrants are frightened with threats of curses and sometimes pressured to hand over their life savings. [7] There are also people offering to curse ones enemies, at a price of course.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Curses & Cursing: What is a Curse? Why are People Cursed? How does the Bible from Atheism.About.com
  2. Bone pointing
  3. 1,700-year-old curse discovered in Roman villa in JerusalemSpell Tablets
  4. Anthropology and Ethics: The Quest for Moral Understanding
  5. The Gypsies’ ‘Great Trick’
  6. Cold reading
  7. Con Artists Tormenting Chinese Immigrants In Brooklyn With Cash-Or-Curse Scam

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