Thursday, December 1, 2011

Divination in Korea

Catholicism has always seen divination, better known as fortune telling, as something that should not be done. Why is that? asks a columnist in the Catholic Times, and he proceeds to answer, giving three reasons for avoiding fortune tellers.
The first reason: When we indulge in divination, we are denying our free will. When we believe what the fortune teller is saying, putting ourselves in a position to be controlled by the fortune teller, our free will is taken away. 

The columnist tells us about a high school teacher who, whenever he considered moving, would visit a fortune teller. If told to go West he went West; if told to go East he went East. He was generally pleased with the results. His life was controlled by the very skillful fortune teller.

The second reason he gives is that a skillful fortune teller who seems able to predict the future may be working with the help of the devil. Which means that nothing good will come from the results.

The third reason is to prevent the possibility of addiction to divination. The columnist then tells us of his own difficulty with the addiction. Every year at the beginning of the year he would consult Tojeongbigyeol (The Secrets of Tojeong). As a young man he would at times want to know the future for a number of years. Ambition, he thinks, was the motivating force. What was not a laughing matter was a daily need to look at what the stars had to say about his day. It made for the day's joy or gloom. At the age of 40, he stopped and has not returned to the habit.
The columnist concludes his article by saying that though he did give up going to fortune tellers, from that time on something else took its place. Koreans are born, he feels, with a desire to know the future and to prepare for it. After he gave up turning to the astrology page of the paper, whenever he found himself out walking and came across a small pebble in the way, he would give it a kick. If it hit the telegraph pole he would have a good day. This action and similar habitual actions, he believes, are natural to those who have a strong sense of responsibility and a natural curiosity.

Koreans have a beautiful saying: "Do all as if it depends on you and leave the rest up to heaven." And whatever the results, with St. Paul, be thankful.                                      


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