Are Superstitions Useful


: 'abdu'l-baha In London

A lady enquired whether some superstitions might not be good for ignorant

people, who, if they were without them might perhaps be without beliefs of

any kind?



'Abdu'l-Baha replied that superstitions were of two kinds; those that were

harmful and dangerous, and those that were harmless and produced certain

good effects.



For example, there were some poor people who believed that misfortunes and

punishments were caused by a Great Angel with a sword in his hand, who

struck down those who stole, and committed murder and crimes.



They thought the flashes of lightning were the weapons of this angel, and

that if they did wrong they would be struck by lightning. This belief

caused them to refrain from evil actions.



The Chinese held a superstition that if they burn certain pieces of paper

this will drive the devils away; they sometimes burnt these pieces of

paper on board ships when they were travelling in order to drive away

devils, and by so doing they set fire to the ships and destroyed many

lives. This was a type of dangerous and harmful superstition.





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