Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the term associated with a fear of Friday the 13th. There are many theories of it’s origin, but I think it’s just the superstition of the number thirteen itself. How can the last work day of the week be a bad thing? Right? Then there are a number of horror movies and entertainment media surrounding, and exploiting this particular superstition. The franchise “Friday the 13th” alone has twelve film installments. Having only twelve definitely leaves room for the ultimate thirteenth and FINAL installment for the near future.
Superstitions are everywhere. Either taken seriously or not so seriously, the inclination toward this phenomenon is all around us. Have you ever seriously been involved in the sport of baseball? Superstitions abound! Each little ritual a player goes through prior to batting, pitching, game prep, or even what they wear and how it’s worn plays into some form of superstition.
As Christians, how are we to deal with superstition, or engage our neighbors who might have this phobia? I looked up and researched scripture about superstitions and being superstitious, and I encountered a very encouraging verse from the book of Colossians.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:8-10 ESV
Superstition is a man-invented fear of something in control outside of himself. It is not of God at all. It is an ignorant faith in an object or even a day that might or might not have magical powers. Another word for superstition is idolatry, which is putting faith in something other than God.
I ain’t superstitious, but surprisingly, the phenomenon is well saturated in our western culture. Do you avoid stepping on sidewalk seams? Do you walk the other way when you encounter the path of a black cat? Have you ever owned a rabbit’s foot? We need to remember that the God of this whole universe is alive and in charge. He watches over us and nothing happens outside of his sovereign hand.
Soli Deo Gloria!
PS – Check out a highlight from one of my favorite “Supernatural” TV episodes, “Bad Day at Black Rock”. The premise of the following compilation of clips is that the subject, the rabbit’s foot, is supernaturally charged with good luck for the possessor of said foot. But if the possessor loses it, the luck turns bad. It’s hilarious!