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Religion is Magic

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Giving little to no cares about the laws of science since 1997.

"He doesn't necessarily hit you with his sword arm. He hits you with his faith."
Dungeons & Dragons designer Andy Collins, on 4th Edition Paladins

Faith and power have always gone hand in hand, and not just power in the spiritual and social senses — religion and magic were the same thing for most of the world's history. Every religion's most devoted practitioners are associated with supernatural powers — often by people within the religion itself, and almost universally by those outside it. Going the other direction, having magical powers has, historically, meant that person was associated with some sort of supernatural entity, whether calling upon the gods or consorting with evil entities. (One possible exception is Greek mythology, where magic was the "art of controlling the secret forces of the cosmos", but even their priests still begged their gods and other higher powers for favor.)

This is also true of Eastern religions such as Buddhism, but treated somewhat differently; many Asian traditions ascribe mystical powers to those who have, through meditation and spiritual growth, become more closely attuned to the truth of the universe. They are not seen as contacting a specific supernatural entity; rather, through religious experience, they attain a mental state of connection with the living universe that grants them abilities beyond normal humans. Going further, some esoteric or shamanistic schools of Japanese Buddhism feature an inversion of this contact with entities, as converting and controlling spirits and Oni is part of their folklore.

Even the word "magic" comes from religion; it is derived from "magi", the Persian astrologer-priests. (The word is translated as "wise men" in some versions of The Bible.)

The Bible began to split the two concepts apart — it mentions followers of "false gods" being able to perform magic, usually in contrast to much more impressive miracles (though this can be said to be a type of magic) performed by God (and explicitly not performed by the prophet himself), but generally explains this as power granted by the Devil. And if it is granted by the Devil, it must be evil.

The modern idea of a 'wizard' — somebody who can just do magic entirely on their own, whether born with the gift or trained in mystic arts — originated in ancient Greece, where it eventually died out, only to later redevelop in the 20th century, and was not solidified until Dungeons & Dragons made a strong distinction between Priests and Wizards ("divine" and "arcane" magic, respectively). The increasing importance of science and technology in our world has trained people to think of even amazing and wonderful events as being under human control and within human understanding, and our concept of magic has similarly changed into something closer to "science we don't understand", with comprehensible, repeatable rules, rather than begging for favors from entities greater than us (though that may still be an option in some fiction).

This change in understanding has affected our view of some historical forms of magic. Hermetic Magic and Alchemy tend to be presented today as "science-like", though their practice involved a great deal of calling out to spirits, angels, and other such entities.

Common magical religion powers include Turn Undead, exorcism of demons or other spirits, and other variations on Holy Burns Evil. A Church Militant may also get the Holy Hand Grenade.

Subtropes of Religion Is Magic include Fantastic Catholicism, Magical Native American, Hollywood Voodoo, Hollywood Dreamtime, Asian Rune Chant, and Sentient Cosmic Force. Compare Alchemy Is Magic.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Kougonshuu in Corpse Princess is a fictional Buddhist sect that trains their priests and monks in a variety of magical skills, most notably the creation of undead-slaying Shikabane Hime.
  • Rozen Maiden as manga only Kirakishu's artificial spirit is Sufi!
  • The Kabbalistic Tree of Life is a major part of SEELE's master plan in Neon Genesis Evangelion, and can be seen in the opening credits as well as on the ceiling of Gendo's office.
    • And in End of Evangelion.
    • It also makes an appearance in Genesis of Aquarion, which drew inspiration from Evangelion (among other mecha anime series), though it's given much less attention in this series than in Evangelion.
    • It, or something very like it, also appears in Fullmetal Alchemist, on the Doors of Truth.
  • Sakura from Blue Seed was a Miko, using her powers as a weapon against the Aragamis. Momiji, while not a miko herself, was a bit more spiritual than usual for Japan.
  • Sailor Mars, from Sailor Moon, was a miko with certain abilities to sense evil and expel minor demons among other things, to the point some people thought she was a witch. Interestingly these are completely unrelated to her superhero powers later. Some adaptations sometimes combine them, possibly to avoid actually mentioning spiritual powers.
    • Subverted with Sailor Venus, who is not a miko but is once shown using Sailor Mars' own exorcism spell.
  • Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase is also chock-full of Shinto magic.
  • Hellsing has a few mild examples. By smelting silver crosses into weapons and by dipping weapons into holy water, they are thereby enabled to kill vampires. Also, Alexander Andersen can use copious amounts of Bible pages to teleport somehow. He also stabs himself with a Helena's Nail, one of the nails that was nailed into the hands of Jesus Christ himself during the crucifixion. The result is him turning into a mass of magic thorn vines that can set vampires and ghouls on fire.
  • Inuyasha is crawling with Shinto Miko and Buddhist priests, but their abilities seem to be more inborn than related to their spirituality, particularly in the case of main character Kagome (nominally identified as a miko, who inherited her powers from an actual miko that she's the Reincarnation of).
  • Rental Magica:
    • Mikan is a miko whose magic is based on actual Shinto chants and rites.
    • Honami, as well. Some of her chants used to do her magic call upon Celtic deities or other holy symbols.
  • Our Home's Fox Deity is practically dripping with Shinto magic; most of the main and supporting characters can use it in one form or another. The title references the god Inari and the god Ebisu is a supporting character, both figures from Shinto religion.
  • Black Cat features loads of villains who are Taoist adepts, them psychic powers like materializing attack insects. And super healing. And so on. Also they like fighting.
  • The Angels in Steel Angel Kurumi apparently run on a combination of advanced technology and Taoist magic, to the point where the title character's creator had to travel back in time to find a Taoist priest powerful enough to activate her and her combined Angelic/Demonic heart. Then again, it seems a lot of it is based on personal spiritual power; it's implied that the reason Nakahito can't mess with the elements like his brother is that powering Kurumi takes too much already.
  • In Outlaw Star there are a few characters who use "Tao Magic".
  • Ghost Hunt features Taoism, Shintoism, Catholicism, and modern metaphysics all used to exorcise spirits. Each is useful in different circumstances.
  • A major element of A Certain Magical Index, where each religion appears to have its own brand of magic since mages identify themselves by which church they belong to. Kaori being a part of a combination Christian/Shinto church effectively allows for her to combine magic styles. In contrast, the series' users of Psychic Powers are influenced by science. Any and all religious objects (crosses, Aztec sacrificial knives, clerical vestments, etc) are enchanted with powerful magic.
    • As the series goes on, it seems it may be more correct to say that magic is based on systems of belief rather than religion specifically. One magician introduced in the New Testament series has powers based on the story of Cinderella, for example, and others have powers based on folklore. It just so happens that major religions are among the largest systems of belief, therefore they are what most magic is based on.
  • Time Stop Hero: Worshiping a deity grants a branch of magic. For example, worshiping the earth goddess Entoura grants Dishing Out Dirt powers, worshiping the goddess of the netherworld Lavas grants necromancy powers, and worshiping the goddess of life and light Isawera grants holy powers.
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey's End does this with the church of the Goddess. As it turns out, the scriptures that form their holy book are heavily encrypted messages that unlock incredibly rare and powerful magic spells, but it takes decades to decipher even one section. Priests worshipping her are not only able to heal, but make use of the spells already uncovered.

    Comic Books 
  • The 99, a group of superheroes granted mystic powers based on the 99 names of God in Islam.
  • Ragman, from DC Comics, gains his powers from a Judaic artifact created as a replacement for the Golem of Prague.
  • In comics, there's Brother Voodoo for Marvel and Empress for DC. Then again, at least both characters go to the effort to name-check the Loa they're invoking. The Houngan, on the other hand, an old DC character, used techno-voodoo. How a syncretic religion like voudon got boiled down to zapping little Robo Sapien dolls with a soldering iron is a little mind-straining.
    • In his initial appearance, Houngan seems to be using sophisticated technology and some not-well-researched vaguely voodoo-ish trappings. Or to put it more simply, he's a nutcase with really neat toys.
  • Doctor Strange uses magic by invoking various occult (and fictional) deities, particularly a triad known as the Vishanti. He has also been shown using ascetic practices like retreating from society and fasting.
  • In the Vertigo comic Fables, strong belief in anything can create magical power.
  • The comic Greenberg the Vampire is about a Jewish vampire plagued by Lilith, mother of all succubi. Both his mother and a rabbi use Kabbalic magic to combat her although only to limited effect. In the end it is The Power of Love that defeats her. He also mentions that Jewish symbols would burn him but Christian ones wouldn't.
  • In Marvel's short-lived New Universe line back in the mid-'80s, which was supposed to be more like the real world than the normal Marvel Universe, voodoo magic still "worked". The "magic" was all retconned as Paranormals who were unaware of their powers.
  • In perhaps the biggest subversion of this trope, the sorceress Zora in Brian Michael Bendis's Powers claims to have gained her powers by rejecting all things spiritual and accepting that she was her own God.
  • Alan Moore's trippy-ass Comic Book Promethea treats the Western Magical Tradition (though not precisely a religion) as essentially real. Although so (to over-simplify tremendously for your benefit) Alan Moore himself believes this. A bit of religion comes into as far as the Comic Book (and the Western Magical Tradition itself) incorporating a westernized version of the Cabalistic Tree of Life from Judaism into a major storyline in which two incarnations of Promethea traverse it. Incidentally, Jewish tradition states that only married men over 40 may study Cabala. We regret to say that all incarnations of Promethea fail on this count. Although this falls excellently under Rule of Funny, the Western magical tradition's version of Qabbalah is notably altered from its Jewish origins. Also, the age restrictions seem to be relaxed in the current day—Hasidic yeshivot regularly teach some aspects to their (college-age) students. For example, noted author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel studied the Qabbalah as a boy.
  • Sleepless: Downplayed — the kingdoms of Harbeny and Mribesh both practice forms of magic related to the chief deity of their Fantasy Pantheon, but it isn't made clear if one's faith grants magical powers or if naturally-empowered individuals are placed in high-ranking positions because of their abilities:
    • Harbeny worships the concept of "Time," and various political and civil ceremonies (i.e. a coronation, a wedding, an induction into a knightly order...) are presided over by women in nun-like garb who invoke the power of "Time" to affect the participants (to guide the new king's rule or bind an oath between parties). Women in similar garb also appear to be the "Healers of Aeon," whose magic can draw energy from the end of a patient's lifespan to heal them in the present.
    • Mribeshi citizens venerate "Stars," and some Mribeshi "Star Seers" are blessed with the power to read the future by looking up at the night sky. The two Star Seers introduced in the series, Amena and Nnende, don't appear to be installed in a religious office, but they do hold some position of civic importance (as evidenced by Amena's close ties with the Queen of Mribesh). The Star Reader's position in Harbeny's court functions more like a diplomat than a religious advisor, but that hasn't quelled rumors that Mribesh is trying to gain influence in Harbeny by converting the royal family to Star worship.
  • Spider-Man: Kraven the Hunter's former lover, the now-deceased Calypso, was a rather memorable villain herself and a practitioner of voodoo, who clearly could use black magic, apparently having sacrificed her younger sister to gain unholy powers. Mostly she was able to charm and enchant victims (including the Lizard, who she used as an Unwitting Pawn, and made his regeneration powers far more potent in the process) and after her first apparent death, she possessed Gloria Grant, using her to perform some unholy ritual to restore her own body to life. (Hasn't been able to do the same thing twice, apparently, as she was murdered by Kraven's son Alyosha.)
  • In the Italian comic Suore Ninja, various Saints and religious figures have magical abilities. In particular, the Big Bad's plan included assembling an all-powerful creature from the relics of various saints, and the dogma of Papal Infallibility means that, as long as it regards the Catholic religion, The Pope is a Reality Warper the aforementioned creature being dealt with by the Pope simply declaring it to be a Flamenco teacher Ascended in Heaven, instantly turning it into a dancer and then sending it to Heaven.
  • In Tex Willer almost all magic comes from religion, be it Voodoo (mostly the followers of the baron La Fayette, who believes himself the earthly incarnation of Baron Samedi, but there's a few others), Santeria (a sister religion to Voodoo practiced in Cuba, one of their priests had gone mad and believed himself a god, and had the power to back it up), Indian shamanism (most Indian shamans have actual powers. Some, however, are charlatans), Buddhism (Tibetan former monk Darma, who is actually shown consulting and taking orders from what he calls the Voice of His Land), even a form of Satanism (Mefisto and his son Yama), among others. El Morisco is the only notable exception, as he treats it as a science and learns everything he can while also trying (and sometimes succeeding) to deduce how it works-and is all the more powerful for it.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • As with The Dresden Files, faith has a power all of its own, under certain specialised circumstances. How it relates to the power of the gods themselves is a bit vague, but the general implication is that the more a god is known of on the mortal plane, the more power they can exercise there (which is used by Word of God to explain the jump in Thor and Loki's powers from the films' levels to something closer to the comics).
    • Invoking gods and goddesses (and other beings) is also a way to get power/power spells, though as the Darkhold (powered by Chthon) shows, this can be a risky business - especially when, as with Chthon, the deity has its own agenda.
    • As with Merlin (2008), the Old Religion was a pagan faith that was mostly tied to the old gods of Britain, the Avalonian Pantheon, and dominated by the High Priestesses - though it's also noted that the High Priestesses have a certain connection to Gaia and Hecate (who, as with the Dresden Files, is implied to have some relationship to the Queens of Faerie) too. The Old Religion was a dying faith even when Merlin was young, however, thanks to Uther's Purge, the fact that with one thing and another, Merlin ended up killing the last three High Priestesses, and the simple fact that after the Asgard-Avalon Wars, the Avalonians had largely retreated to their home plane to lick their wounds and sulk. Consequently, a very rare form of magic, with only a few living still knowing much about it, and only three living practitioners, all of whom grew up when it was common - Merlin, Doctor Strange a.k.a. Taliesin, and Nimue.
  • In the Night at the Museum prequel fanfiction, Child of Moonlight, anything that is considered magic, from protective amulets to the tablet, involves invoking one of the gods or goddesses.
  • In Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, Dumbledore frequently uses prayer to do miracles, including preparing elaborate meals for Harry and his friends.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "My Unsmurfy Valentine", Tapper the resident Smurf Christian is able to survive one of Eros' lust arrows intact because of a spiritual force field that's projected around him. Later on in the story, Tapper is able to extend this protection to his friends through prayer.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Princess and the Frog the "shadow man" proclaims his skills with voodoo, hoodoo, and things he ain't even tried. He appears to be a basic fortuneteller and minor peddler of spells until his plans get underway.
  • Subverted in The Prince of Egypt, where the priests' "powers" are nothing more than showmanship and sleight-of-hand tricks (well, mostly; a few of them are either real magic or benefits of being in a musical number). Played straight with Moses's miracles.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost had a field day with this one. (Or possibly several field days.) First, it treats Wicca as an inherited trait with one character claiming she's one-sixteenth Wiccan. Second, it automatically treats Wiccans as good while witches (and warlocks) are automatically evil. Third, it implies there were Wiccans around in the 1600s (and probably living in a Puritan village, no less!).

    These could be intended as a Take That! at "fluffy bunnies" or "McWiccans." Many of these "wanna-blessed-be's" think that Wicca actually is an inherited trait and that the Salem witch trials as part of the "Burning Times" in which innocent women were burned at the stake for practicing the "old religion". In reality, both innocent men and women were accused of devil worship and not pagan religious practices. The confusion comes in because at many times in history they were treated as synonymous. In Salem, the execution method of choice was hanging, not burning — although Giles Corey was pressed to death in an effort to extract a confession.
  • In Turning Red, the magical ability to turn into giant red pandas is an ability bestowed by "the gods" and Sun Yee, whom the Lee family revere like a saint, can provide the means to remove that ability as her spirit still dwells in the astral realm.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The first three Indiana Jones movies featured magic artifacts and powers from Judaism, a corrupted version of Hinduism, and Christianity. The fourth was more psychic powers/sci-fi, but as the film itself says "it depends who your god is".
  • All of Me, starring Steve Martin. It is entertaining but the bits about the "Hindu" character and his "powers" were insulting and had absolutely no connection whatsoever to Hinduism or any existing religion (not even Scientology).
  • The kooky holy man from The Jewel of the Nile may or may not have walked through fire without harm; certainly it looks like he does, and the locals who witness this feat believe it's a miracle, but it could just be the camera angle. The Jewel (it's his title) is, notably a Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane sort of fellow, but is also an Imam who it's believed can perform miracles to the point the villain (based on Saddam Hussein) wants to be able to fake them with special effects.
  • The dybbuk is a possessing spirit of a dead person from Jewish folklore. Somewhat like the protagonists of The Crow, it has unfinished business in the living world and will leave its host once its work is complete.
    • The old Yiddish film The Dybbuk naturally features a dybbuk who possesses the body of his lover.
    • The horror movie The Unborn uses the dybbuk as a completely malevolent spirit. A rabbi uses Jewish rituals to help banish it.
  • Jewish mysticism is somewhat subverted in π, where a Kabbalistic sect knows about the hero's magic number, but cannot discover it for themselves. Ultimately they are shown to be no closer to decoding the universe than a stockbroking firm.
  • Baron Samedi (named after the Loa of the same name) from the Bond flick Live and Let Die. He's called "the man who cannot die", and apparently, he doesn't.
  • Child's Play has Chucky bound up in a doll's body by means of a voodoo ritual. Bonus points for using a voodoo doll to interrogate his mentor.
  • The basic plot of The Serpent and the Rainbow is portraying voodoo as black sorcery; using potions to raise the dead, summoning dark spirits, and Demonic Possession are all present.
  • The Craft has four girls using pagan-derived magic to take over their school and inevitably go all Carrie.
  • Big Trouble in Little China has magic practically everywhere, at one point described as 'Taoist alchemy and sorcery.' Elsewhere it's just called 'Chinese black magic.'
    • Actually, they are all treated as slightly different things, or different kinds of magic; for instance, at the start Egg Shen is asked if he believes in magic- he says he believes in Chinese black magic. Shortly after he says he also believes in monsters, ghosts, and sorcery.
  • By Word of God, the Force in Star Wars is supposed to represent spirituality or religions in general or something (Mark Hamill described it as "Religion's greatest hits."). That makes sense when you think about how the Jedi regard it, but when you look at what they can do with it, it makes it seem like an overdose of this trope. It even gets called an outdated religion by an Empire guy who gets the iconic Force-choke, and Vader is disturbed by his "lack of faith." Knight Templar Vader! The Jedi Path, an in-universe textbook, has a number of endnotes. In one of them, the writer noted that the Jedi tend to be smug and inflexible, but they have a reason. The Force is essentially God, even if no one in-universe calls it that. When two Jedi discuss the Force, they're discussing God - and they can call on it to perform miracles.
  • The Beastmaster: Maax, the main magic user in the film, is the high priest of Aruk too.
  • Attachment: Chana and Lev, along with Lev's male friends, practice magic explicitly rooted in Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah. For instance, they chant in Hebrew to cast spells, with the names of God being particularly powerful, says Lev.

  • A particularly holy rabbi can fashion a golem from a material of choice, much like Adam was shaped from clay, and give it life using Hebrew words of power, much like the word of God created the universe.
  • This was (sort of) the origin of Merlin's powers in Arthurian mythology. His mother had been raped by Satan to produce The Antichrist, but she had baby Merlin baptized at birth, so Merlin kept the powers of his demonic ancestry but used them in service of good, effectively becoming the Anti Anti Christ.

  • The abilities granted to clerics and the consecrated in "Anthologies of Ullord" includes divine magic that is related to the god the mortal worships (or has been granted the favor in the case of the consecrated). The powers can be anything from prophetic dreams, healing magic, and invisibility to destructive elemental blasts.
  • Whilst not exactly magic, the extremely powerful AIs in William Gibsons's Neuromancer sequels took the identities of Loa when interacting with humans, acting in the same way as their Voudoun counterparts and giving all sorts of gifts to those who dealt with them, if not exactly worshiped them.
  • Voodoo plays a central role in Robert E. Howard's stories "Pigeons from Hell" and "Black Canaan".
  • In a particularly old example, most of the magic in Romance of the Three Kingdoms is pulled off by Taoists. Good luck figuring out where "Taoist hermit" ends and "practitioner of folk magic" begins, though, even in the real world.
  • In The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump, magical effects can be achieved via any religious belief system, and have been in spades. This results in things like "crosswalks" that are still called that, even though multiculturalism has led to anti-collision wards for non-Christians being incorporated into them as well.
  • In the world of the Deryni, the origin of Deryni power is unclear. However, it's very clear that religious Deryni find that their powers intensify their observances of their religion beyond what ordinary humans can attain. The Deryni also customarily use religious imagery in ritual spellcasting, including summoning the four Archangels to protect them from danger.
  • The basis of John Ringo's Special Circumstances whose heroine is a Protestant, but which also features or at least mentions practitioners of many other faiths as well.
  • In Manda Scott's Boudicca series, about the Celtic warrior woman both Druids (who are never called druids but "dreamers" instead) and Mithraism are shown to have power and it's hinted that the Celtic gods and Mithra have more respect for each other than their followers do. The Roman gods are implied to have lost their power because their worship has descended into empty ritual that no one really believes in.
  • In S. M. Stirling's Emberverse series this mostly takes the form of visions and exorcism. Members of Asatru, the Catholic Church, Buddhism, Wicca, and First Nations religion all receive the first, the latter are performed by Juniper, a Wiccan high priestess, and Father Ignatius, a Catholic paladin as well as Rudi who is basically King Arthur reborn as a Wiccan.
  • The Breaking the Wall trilogy features this, with many indigenous magical sects of different cultures and/or religions being present. Much like Ghost Hunt above, one character, Tracy Frye, calls herself a Generalist and obtains knowledge of as many of these cultures as she can. Unlike Ghost Hunt, she's repeatedly said to collect them just to have them.
  • In Monster Hunter International all teams have at least one person of devout faith for dealing with those monsters, such as vampires, affected by faith. It doesn't seem to matter what religion they follow as long as it's on the side of Good; examples include a Mormon, a Baptist, and an orc shamaness who is also a powerful healer.
  • Discworld:
    • Discworld priests do not gain any magical abilities from serving the gods (who are real and can and do interfere in human affairs), except for a measure of protection against spontaneous lightning bolts. This is probably because the gods of the Disc just don't care: they are portrayed as the equivalent of absentee landlords - Om lost almost all his believers and power without realizing it because he never paid any attention to the religion that worshiped him.
    • While priests don't receive magical powers from their gods directly, faith itself has been known to invest supernatural powers in sacred objects. Dios's staff in Pyramids became imbued with tremendous magic due to thousands of years of accumulated belief in its absolute authority. Mightily-Blessed-Are-They-That-Exalteth-Om Oats does a wonderful job with his vampire-beheading axe.
      Count de Magpyr: Don't you learn anything, you stupid man? Little stupid man who has a little stupid faith in a little stupid god?...An axe isn't even a holy symbol!
      Mightily Oats: (crestfallen) Oh. (Smiles brightly.) Let's make it so. (Slice.)
    • Pratchett's witches are entirely non-spiritual humanists with little interest in the gods. Because they demonstrably exist in the Discworld, so there's as much need to believe in their existence as there is for horses or elephants. The witches (or at least Granny Weatherwax) explicitly think that believing in the gods just encourages them. It's explicitly stated that wizards' attitudes toward the gods are of this variety: that they think the gods are real, but so are tables. Both have their function in the scheme of things but there's no reason to go around worshiping either.
    • In Reaper Man, we see the collected priests and wizards square off; while their leaders (the Brothers Ridcully) manage to call them off, it's heavily implied this is considered an even fight.
  • In the Elenium 'verse of David Eddings, Magic Is Religion; all magical powers come, one way or another, from gods or even more powerful supernatural beings. The Knight Orders have to call on the Styric gods for spells because their own god thinks giving divine power to mere mortals is undignified.
    • At least that's what his followers have assumed. It's mentioned at one point that no one has ever bothered to ask him about it. It's left unclear at the end of the series if anyone got around to checking this out. And why should they, when the Styric gods and goddesses they use to power their spells are more than happy to help out? And for almost all of the orders of the Church Knights, their chosen patron (or matron) god/goddess even matches their stereotypical temperaments. The Cyrinics, who are Knight Templars, have a god who's also a Knight Templar, for instance.
    • Unless you are one of the gods, in which case you suddenly suffer from a case of Gods Need Prayer Badly. The sole exception to this rule is Sparhawk, whose role as Anakha puts him sideways to the rest of the world. He does ask Bhelliom to depower him, which Bhelliom says it did, and Aphrael implies it did, but well, who knows?
    • The Knight Orders got a special divine deal that involved not being converted to their patron gods. Going by another incident, otherwise using the magic of a god would give that god a claim on your soul. According to what the characters say, Stragen inadvertently swears himself to Aphrael by combining being really observant around Pandion Knights with knowing Styric to cast a spell to contact Aphrael. As he says, there are worse gods that could have happened with.
    • There is a special exception in Zalasta, a wizard of such skill and practice that he can perform magic of incredible power and finesse without serving any god at all.
  • The Belgariad, also by Eddings, is a curious case. There are several forms of magic - sorcery, wizardry (demon-summoning), witchcraft (summoning other kinds of spirits), and foreseeing. In some cases these appear spontaneously, as with Vordai the witch and Senji the alchemist. However, most magic-users (of all types) seem to acquire their power by association with either a god or one of the Prophecies. Most of Torak's Grolims are sorcerers with varying degree of skill, and their power only exists in lands where Torak has worshipers. However, disciples of a God, such as Belgarath and his brothers, take their power with them anywhere. Also, it seems that magic power once granted cannot be taken away; Torak's Grolims keep their sorcerous powers even after Torak himself is dead.
  • Human magic in Birthright (2017) is explicitly performed through prayer to their goddess, albeit in a special language of hand gestures and poses. Although whether or not faith is necessary is dubious, as Sabrina suggests the practitioner of another religion could learn it.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Religious faith in itself has a certain amount of magical power, which is for example the source of crosses repelling vampires - it's not actually the crosses themselves, but the fact that they symbolize the user's faith, and the main character achieves the same thing using a pentacle amulet (that being a symbol of magic, which he has more faith in than any conventional religion). Further, as faith in what one is doing is an absolute must for human practitioners, some can even use any religion as part of their magic.
    • The books also make MacGuffins out of a few religious artifacts. The three Knights of the Cross carry swords and in each sword, one of the nails that pierced Christ is in the hilt. The Shroud of Turin is the plot of a whole book. In Skin Game, set ten years after the Shroud of Turin escapade, the other items from the crucifixion and resurrection, an “ancient wooden placard”, a “circlet woven from thorny branches”, a “clay cup”, a “folded cloth” (the real Shroud), and a “knife with a wooden handle and a leaf-shaped blade”, are found and described as weapons. Thirty Pieces of Silver is the basis for a whole arc. Also, the Knights of the Cross can wield faith-magic that Harry can't touch, despite one of them continuously stating that he is agnostic.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories, priests certainly have some magic powers. This is distinct from the Evil Sorcerers, often Necromancers, who traffic with Eldritch Abominations.
    • In "The Tower of the Elephant", thieves avoid the temples, because strange dooms fall on those who violate them.
    • In The Hour of the Dragon, the priests of Asura can see through illusions. One of them can also wield the Artifact of Doom, blurring the lines a little. Both the Asuran and Mithran priests are mentioned as having magic, just not nearly as powerful as Xaltotun's.
    • In "The Phoenix on the Sword", Conan's sword is given the power to kill an Eldritch Abomination; it is the high priest of Mitra who identifies it. This is the only piece of unequivocal White Magic in all of Howard's stories.
  • In Codex Alera, the Canim ritualists are both priests and sorcerers for their people, though what exactly their religion entails apart from an emphasis on The Power of Blood and belief in an afterlife isn't elaborated on.
  • Keith Hartman's Drew Parke books feature both a Cherokee shaman and a Wiccan circle.
  • In L. A. Banks' Neteru series, prayer, blessed earth and water, and holy items are all used to combat the forces of Hell. This includes not only Christianity but a number of other religions as well.
  • Some powers are granted through the religions of Captive of the Orcs. But whether these are living gods or an offshoot of more mundane magic is a question never answered.
  • In Daniel Gonzalez's Lágrimas de guerrera the old woman Hagan is both priestess and witch.
  • In the Bernard Cornwell series The Saxon Stories, the Vikings have this attitude, frequently assuming Christianity is simply an opposing form of magic to that of the Norse Gods. Cornwell, with his usual anti-religious asperity, highlights this when Ivarr the Boneless demands, after being told of the power of St. Sebastian (shot full of arrows then healed) by King (later St.) Edmund, a demonstration with Edmund as the test subject. It ends as you might expect.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, it's Aslan, the closest thing Narnia has to a deity, who creates the world. Among the ordinary animals, he creates animals that can talk and think like humans and magical river and forest spirits. Throughout the series, faith in Aslan tends to lead to beneficial magical things happening (which makes sense, since Aslan can only help people who show faith in him).
  • Subverted in Everworld; when Senna was a child her mom went through a Wiccan phase. While both mother and daughter are legitimately witches, Senna could always tell that this was her mother trying to find a connection between their powers and spirituality where it didn't actually exist.
  • In the Iron Druid Chronicles there is the title character. There is also a coven of Slavic witches and kabbalistic magic.
  • Both of the spellcasters in Spirit Hunters are priestesses. Kitsune Sura is a Taoist exorcist while Nezumi Chiri is a shugenja.
  • Monks and Priests in The Will Be Done use Will to do magic; as well as a few others...
  • Priests in Pharaoh do a lot of magic-looking things. This might all be deception.
  • Journey to Chaos: The magic used by priests is different from the magic used by laymen in that the priest uses "faith" in place of "will power" in the Three Laws of Magic system. A sufficiently devout priest can even ignore a lack of mana under the right circumstances. Lady Sias Daichi, for instance, can cast high-level earth and gravity magic in Ceiha (a land without mana) because she lives like a cloistered nun on Mount Daichi.
  • Possibly so in A Song of Ice and Fire for at least the followers of R'hllor. The existence of R'hllor and his opposing deity haven't actually been confirmed and some of what his priests call his power could just be the magic that's used elsewhere, but the priest Thoros is somehow able to bring Beric back from the dead several times, apparently without the cost of blood or life commonly seen by other characters. Unless his haggard appearance has something to do with it...
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, priests of Hananja can use norcomancy, the magic Hanaja has bestowed upon her city to be used to maintain peace and prosperity among its population.
  • This is a central theme in the Devil Trilogy. Priests and monks serving the gods in this series can use their gods' energy, a process referred to as "channeling".
  • The Crimson Shadow: The good wizards considered themselves priests, Brind Amour relates, with the power they have also ultimately coming from God. In fact, it was they who built the great cathedrals which exist in Avon and Eriador.
  • Very much so in Chance And Choices Adventures. Praying to God can summon crows to drive away your enemies, or conjure invisible warriors to stave off would-be ambushers. Native American mysticism is also real but apparently is also a manifestation of the Christian God's power.
  • In Rama II, Nicole's belief in the Senoufo religion is borne out when a prophecy she received when she was a child comes to pass when she is given the manna melon and eats it while trapped in a pit on board the spaceship. She also uses a vague power like flight to escape being trapped in New York. In the finale, it is revealed that the Senoufo beliefs are inspired by direct contact with aliens, and thus accurately foretell that Nicole will visit the stars and spread the Senoufo lineage there. As belief though is not normally allowed the power to create physical effects as happens once in this book, something like magic is involved and not just prescience.
  • Guardians of the Flame: In keeping with Dungeons & Dragons tropes, clerics can pray to their gods for spells. However, this poses a problem for Doria initially, because she no longer believes any benevolent god exists (such as the one whom the character she's become is cleric of).
  • The Reluctant King: Karadur is a priest along with being a wizard. He says his spells are strengthened through spiritual purity, and thus abstains from alcohol or sex. There is also overlap between prayers and spells, with people getting magic in return for favors given to gods too. What might be called miracles which the gods work could just as easily be called spells of a different kind or greater power.
  • The Arts of Dark and Light: Played with. In fact, the Amorran religion is anti-magic: God grants its priests the power to detect and suppress magic to protect the faithful. But since this still implies very obvious supernatural abilities (and powerful ones, in a fairly magic-heavy universe), it effectively amounts to about the same thing.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: When the story starts showing people casting more elaborate magic spells, many of those spells turn out to require calling upon the setting's gods.
  • In A Practical Guide to Evil the priests of the House of Light can perform miracles if their faith is strong enough: they can cure wounds and diseases, erect barriers, (and also can use "Light" offensively, though most have sworn oaths against it). Named priests take it to another level, with them being able to resurrect the dead, heal all not-instantly-lethal wounds on people around them or kill dozens of mages at once through these miracles. On the side of evil, the drow use "Night" to empower themselves in various ways in service of their twin goddesses, the Sve-Noc.
  • By the Waters of Babylon: John was taught by his father, their tribe's priest, to do magic. He says it's something that a priest has to know, and his father uses divination by throwing sticks before John leaves for a long journey. It's left unclear whether this works, but John does later have a genuine vision of the past.
  • Bazil Broketail: Witches are also worshipers of the Great Mother, and they are a branch of clergy themselves with those like Lessis having high ranks in the Temple while called "Sisters" like nuns (although they aren't sworn to remain celibate), serving in the goddess's cause against evil.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Six Gods are worshiped, with six Affinities for magic which are linked to each one as Elemental Powers. Dennaleia also finds that her magic is stronger when she's using it in their Sanctuaries (i.e. temples). Later it turns out that magic is usually explicitly a result of someone having a bond with a god (mostly one, though in rare cases multiple ones).
  • The Hands of the Emperor: While magic is not shown to be divine in nature, the magical and the religious hierarchy in the remnants of the empire of Astandalas are deeply intertwined – the emperor (a powerful mage with divine ancestry) is worshiped as a god and all the imperial mages are priest-wizards.
  • The Spirit Ring: Magic and religion are deeply intertwined in Lois McMaster Bujold's novel (set in a Historical Fantasy version of Renaissance Italy). Magicians are licensed and regulated by the Catholic Church. The local bishop is not only in charge of this supervision of the local mages, but it's presented as perfectly natural for him (as a high-ranking Christian clergyman) to have both a strong interest in the theory of sorcery, and to himself be a mage of considerable abilities. Discussions of such concepts as the "spirit rings" of the book's title are done in explicitly theological terms.
  • The Burning Kingdoms: All of the magic users are clergy or initiates into religious orders, whose magic is explictly connected to their gods and considered a gift from them.
  • Dragonvarld: The Sisters of the Eye are nun-like magic users who all live in a monastery together under their High Priestess and Mistress of Dragons, whom they worship as a goddess.
  • Tales of Inthya: Magic is considered a gift from the Goddess of Magic, Talcia. Its lack in Ieflaria is a result of Ieflarians worshiping Talcia less, since she grants it through kissing people personally (usually as babies, but sometimes adults too). Some more specific magical gifts though are from Inthi (fire or metal work) and Adranus (healing) however. Paladins from the Order of the Sun also work magic by praying to Iolar, the god which they serve.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: The Guardians worship Dar, the goddess of Sileria who's connected with fire and lava. Guardians get fire magic as a result of their service to her it seems.
  • The Jeremiah School: The child prophets called Jeremiahs that God had been raising up in the story are given supernatural abilities, such as Peter Stone's Elemental Powers, Wesley Ronell's Words Can Break My Bones power, and Ginger Harmony's ability to summon various animals to her command.
  • Inkmistress: Asra has multiple magical abilities as a result of being a demigod. She also invoked different gods to cast spells. Invoking a person's manifest also usually is done by calling on the gods.

    Live Action TV 
  • Willow on Buffy claimed to be a Wiccan, but it was a catch-all for "witch". In the episode "Hush", she's actually disappointed that a student Wiccan group is focused more on their faith, or rather the seemings thereof, rather than raw magical power, and in a combined Lampshade Hanging and Take That!, calls them "a bunch of wanna-blessed-be's."
  • Charmed (1998) gets bonus points for adopting the barest elements of Wicca and throwing out everything else about the cosmology, choosing instead to reach into the mythological grab bag.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Followers of the Lord of Light can live many times longer than a normal person, cloak themselves in a Glamour to maintain beauty, cast curses, birth living shadows, change the weather, and resurrect the dead. Some of the more impressive ones require blood sacrifices, but they're nevertheless quite real.
    • The weirwoods of the old gods are tied to warging and prophecy.
  • Merlin has the Old Religion, which appears to be a form of paganism, but not specifically Wicca. There's a lot of magic involved, and usually a female high priestess (first Nimueh, then Morgause, now Morgana). There are plenty of Druids too.
  • Forever Knight had a form of Native American belief in one season 3 episode, involving a medicine woman who drew the evil out of Nick, then overloaded when she didn't know to channel it into something else.
  • Highlander: The Series had a similar thing, referred to as a hayoka. The immortal hayoka Koltec overloaded and sparked a Dark Quickening that Duncan absorbed when taking his head to stop him.
    • The rule about not fighting on sacred ground was assumed to be a social convention until one episode when it was mentioned that the last time an immortal was killed on sacred ground was at a Roman Pompeii...just before Vesuvius erupted.
  • Used a lot in Farscape; almost every single priest encountered had some kind of supernatural powers.
  • On True Blood, Maryanne the Maenad was a literally ancient devotee of Dionysus who wielded incredible powers by way of Theurgy and Blood Magic practiced in the name of her god. However, the deity himself remained unresponsive, to her dismay, leaving the implication that her own belief fueled her magic as much as any higher power.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Subverted by the Goa'uld, who pose as gods but simply use advanced technology to appear supernatural to their subjects.
    • Played straight by the Ori, who gift their priests (Priors) with an array of superpowers such as levitation, telekinesis, healing powers, and a Staff of Authority that can shoot energy.
  • Little House on the Prairie: Very much inverted and opposed in the Season 6 episode "The Faith Healer." In this episode that was an allusion to the rise of televangelism, this episode focused on a young preacher who claimed he was a faith healer and just by his touch he could heal the sick, make the blind see, help the lame to walk ... so much to the point that a farmer entrusts him to cure his son's abdominal cramps (whereas Doc Baker insisted the boy needed immediate surgery). The boy's appendix bursts and dies as a result, but it isn't until later that Charles Ingalls is able to expose the faith healer's scam for what it was, and that religion is not magic.
  • Charmed (2018): An ancient artifact stored on a saint's corpse was made by an archangel and can drain witches' power. It is guarded by an Orthodox priest who's able to send people into Hell (well, Tartarus) with a chant.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: To heal, Raelle uses a quote from the Gospel of Matthew as a chant, which her patient repeats with her.
  • Lovecraft Country: The Language of Adam is used for magic spells, and Leti cites the fact that she had been resurrected by magic as the reason she's become religious.
  • Vikings: Ingrid casts spells by invoking the Norse gods along with mixing plants and other things.
  • Dead of Summer: Blair performs a spirit summoning ritual from Santeria that he was taught by his grandma which along with using a Ouija Board involves him praying to the Virgin Mary in Spanish.

  • World of Warcraft largely plays this straight (like most fantasy MMORPG settings), but subtly subverts it too; there are resistance stats for all schools of magic, but no way of resisting 'Holy' damage. While it actually does have a resistance stat, and there are many Status Effects that would affect it the same as any other magic types, there are scant few methods and equipment to specifically resist holy magic.
    • Not all the religious magic is holy anyway. Shaman and Druids are clearly religious (although they worship different gods) and do nature, fire, and arcane damage. Even Priests can also use shadow damage (which is just the yin to holy damage's yang).
      • Druids and Shamans don't draw their power from a divine source as Paladins and Priests do, more from nature/the elemental planes respectively; even though they do recognize the existence of a god or several, their religions don't worship or draw their abilities from those deities directly.
      • Life is the disease. I am the cure.
      • The World of Warcraft tabletop RPG deals with it this way: priests, shamans, druids, and witch doctors (the RPG treats them as a separate class from shamans) all get their power not from gods, or even necessarily from faith, but from generally having a spiritual connection with the forces connected to their powers.
  • In Guild Wars, many of the magical powers of different characters are thought to come from gods, and blessings from shrines to these gods can enhance magical abilities.
  • Runescape offers "prayers" for a variety of effects, such as increased regeneration, boosted stats, and protection from various forms of attack. However, its Magic skill also allows the player to "Summon the Wrath of [Insert Deity Here]" through spells like Saradomin Strike, Flames of Zamorak and Claws of Guthix.
  • Praying to the Good Elder Powers in Nexus Clash grants predictable, albeit random, benefits. There's even a skill tree that makes prayer quicker, easier, and more rewarding.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWF wrestler Papa Shango was a wrestling voodoo priest who used magic to set his opponents' boots on fire, make them throw up, and make black goo ooze from their hairline.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The RPG Mythic Russia allows Russian characters to wield power via their Orthodox Christian faith, as well as native Russian paganism. Characters from other countries can use Catholicism and various varieties of paganism to the same effect.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the cleric class gains the ability to cast spells (usually healing) through the service of his/her deity. This has made it usual for RPGs to have a magic-using character class with religious overtones which can heal and bless (or curse) their allies. D&D's ones up until fourth edition even abided by the rules of Vancian Magic, although in third they did have the ability to cast one class of spell (usually either cure or inflict wounds) spontaneously by expending prepared slots. The most powerful (non-Epic) cleric spell (Miracle) also involves the cleric praying to his god and asking for a miracle to happen.
    • This gets especially confusing in the Dragonlance setting, where not only are there gods who grant their followers power, there are three specific gods of magic. The only difference seems to be that they do not require worship, and their magic has more of a scientific feel.
    • In 4th Edition, they've separated things more fully; Clerics and Paladins have the "divine" power source and use (cast?) prayers, while Wizards and others still cast spells and have the "arcane" power source.
      • Now there are two other classes with Divine power source. Avengers are like Divine assassins with power to turn invisible, phase through walls, and teleport. Invokers are kind of like Divine Wizards who shoot searing light and summon angels.
      • The line will still be blurred if you worship Corellon, though.
    • 4th Edition also introduces the "primal" power source (created to thematically distinguish the Druid from the Cleric; in previous editions, both were considered "divine"), which is kind of this trope applied to spiritualistic religions and crossed with Gaia's Vengeance. Primal characters pay respect to spirits born of and reflecting aspects of the world, from famous ancestors to the seasons to the World Tree, and their powers have a very "nature" feel to them. A Warden might call upon the spirit of the mountains to turn themselves into living stone, for example.
    • Depending on the edition and campaign setting, it's sometimes faith that powers clerical magic rather than a god doing anything—not only is the existence of gods unconfirmed in Eberron, but two of the more-or-less major religions don't even have powerful spiritual beings that could in theory provide the magic.
    • If you count a druid's reverence for nature as a religion, they also qualify - they are, after all, counted as divine casters in second and third edition, although with a slightly different and more nature-focused spell list.
    • Clerics in 5th Edition play around with this even more, due to their 3rd Level ability, Channel Divinity, which allows the cleric to perform a feat that is ostensibly powered by their deity directly and related to the Domain the cleric ascribes to. If the Channel Divinity is asking your god for help, then the spells they can cast are either a lesser form of that or are powered by one's faith rather than their god directly giving them power.
    • Paladins have always run the gamut of this because they are religiously themed but not necessarily bound by the strictures of a god. What gives a paladin their power is their Oath, a way to consolidate everything that the paladin in question believes in and wants to achieve with their power. As such, changing or breaking one's Oath is possible and only alters how one's powers manifest.
  • Mage: The Ascension has several religion-based mystical Traditions, including: the Zen mystic martial artists of the Akashic Brotherhood, the generally Abrahamic (with others thrown in for flavor) and oh-so-subtly named Celestial Chorus, the shamanic Dreamspeakers; and the Verbena, who practice "the Old Ways." There are also a number of religion-based Crafts, such as the Christian Templars, the voudonista Bata'a, and the primarily Islamic Ahl-i-Batin. Subverted in that the religion isn't actually the source of the magic, but rather a construct that allows them to shape their magic. As a mage gains more knowledge of their art, they begin to transcend their defining paradigm.
    • Hunter: The Vigil has a few examples of this as well. The Malleus Maleficarum, a Catholic monster hunting group, have the rites of Benediction, several of which take the names of saints and are vastly more powerful on their corresponding days.
    • Leviathan: The Tempest has Rituals, elaborate rites which focus on a Leviathan's divine nature to accomplish anything from making it rain to driving an entire town insane to snuffing out the sun.
  • Magic: The Gathering has the dark plane of Innistrad, where humanity uses faith-powered magic provided by Archangel Avacyn to fight against the world's monsters. Subverted somewhat in that Avacyn's powers are not the only form of magic on the plane. Various forms of regular sorcery, shamanism, and necromancy also exist.
    • In the Theros Block, enchantments are seen as gifts from the gods, and indeed there's a mechanic that expresses the religious nature of magic in the plane, Devotion.
  • The Fading Suns setting allows priests of the various Church sects to perform "theurgic rites".
  • Warhammer 40,000 is really big on this, both in background terms and in-game; the most notable example is the Sisters of Battle, whose faith can have all sorts of physical effects on a game. It is probably worth noting that while Faith can (and will) stop a daemon or psyker in its tracks, it won't stop that .45 round heading for your face... (unless you're a Sister, in which case there's a 1/6th chance that it will)
    • However, priests don't have any real mythical ability to affect the mundane. Instead they inspire soldiers to rush at the enemy and beat the crap out of them and carry huge chainsaw swords that can cut tanks in half.
      • In Dawn of War, attaching a priest to a squad gives the squad a permanent damage bonus, as long as the priest is with them. They also have an ability to whip the squad into a fanatical rage, making them immune to damage for a short while. "Rise up and strike them down!"
    • Chaos is the opposite, however, where sucking up to the gods is a sure recipe for getting new and cooler ways to horribly kill more people. Or they might turn you into a mindless Eldritch Abomination. It depends on whether they want a laugh, if they want something dead, or if they regard you as 'disposable' at the time.
  • Warhammer plays with this to different ends depending on the culture. Magic is everywhere waiting to be manipulated, and different civilizations have built up different rituals around how to do this — some of them directly conflate religion with magic, some don't. In general, all clergy can use magic to some degree or other, but The Empire, some of the Skaven, and the Vampire Counts can also field "secular" magic users.
  • TORG both avoids this trope and plays it straight. While sufficiently faithful people can work miracles, and magicians can cast spells, the two work in completely different ways, and may not even be possible at the same time. (For example, one of TORG's alternate universes has no magic whatsoever, but immense miracle-working power for the native religion.)
  • In the Sixth World of Shadowrun, it is implied that belief is more important than the actual religion. If you believe that Hermetic Magic is the way magic actually works, then that's how you get it to work; if you consider yourself to be working miracles in the name of one or more deities, then that's fine too and your spells will be equally effective (mechanically identical). Interestingly, this can cause problems if your way of thinking is more limited; Psions can't throw fireballs because it doesn't fit their Mind Over Matter model, but they can still set you on fire by accelerating your molecules.
  • All the religions above could work in Deadlands, provided the practitioners follow proper form and faith in execution of their chosen miracles. By the time Deadlands: Hell on Earth rolls around, you can just faith yourself up some mushroom clouds, provided you've touched The Glow (and it's touched you back). Having said all that, a Player Character is most likely to run across (or be) a miracle-working Protestant, since they're statistically the most common faithful in the timeline of the game, so your stock "Blessed" is all about healing the sick and whacking bad things with a hickory stick.
    • Specifically, the first of the games has at least four Arcane Backgrounds based on this; the Blessed practice general "cleric" type magic and are usually some sort of priest or nun (mostly Christians), the Shamans are Native American shamans who can contact the spirits due to their faith, Conjure Doctors are Vodoun priests who can really talk to the loa, and the Anahuac, who practice a syncretic mixture of traditional Aztec mythos and Catholicism that functions as more or less a shaman variant. Hell on Earth adds Toxic Shamanism (worship of spirits of pollution and radiation and the generally messed up life of a post-nuclear-apocalypse world), the Templars (a more militant descendent of the Blessed), and the Doomsayers (aforementioned radiation/mutation/evolution-worshippers).
    • The setting's Black Magic can also have the trappings of this, at least a Religion of Evil variant. Reverend Grimmes is a unique example, because he practices "holy miracles" that are actually religious Black Magic disguised as holy magic.
  • The Protectorate of Menoth from the Iron Kingdoms uses hymns to their patron deity to buff their units. Paladins are immune to anything short of magic attacks. The Hero Unit Severious can use More than Mind Control to convert enemy units into friendlies, and the High Reclaimer can use a divine form of necromancy to make dead Menites into living ones; and the grand Poobah herself the Harbinger literally flies because she's Too Holy To Walk. and their Character Warjack is actually a purpose-built body for Menoth's divine will.
  • In Ironclaw each major religion has its own system of magic, the Phelan have Druids, Lutarism has the Blessed (both of whom draw power from animistic spirits), and the Church of S'allumer has clerics who perform White Magic. Though in S'allumer's case there is some doubt that the spells actually come from the holy light and not the caster's own power like most non-religious magic, but a rare few priests can perform sacerdotal prayers that definitely are, and fewer manifest apparently miraculous "charisms". Zhonggese wizards on the other hand follow the more typically Eastern view that powers come from enlightenment, with Taoists explicitly as one of the more common varieties.
  • In GURPS, there is an advantage called Power Investiture that simulates this: An entity gives the character access to spells (it works similarly to Magery except that spells can be learned without prerequisites but are limited to what the entity will give and requires to take a vow or similar self-imposed mental disadvantage). If the term "entity" is vague, that is intentional: they could be gods, shrine spirits, shamanic totems, or whatever the GM allows in his campaign.
  • Every religion that exists in the world of Pendragon has (extremely rare) individuals who can work miracles in its name, and a knight or lady who adheres to the virtues of his or her own religion is blessed with certain mechanical bonuses as a sign of divine favour.

    Video Games 
  • Almost all schools of magic in Elden Ring have relations to a divinity:
    • Erdtree Worship, Golden Order Fundamentalism and Primordial crucible Incantations are all types of magic that focus on the power granted by the Greater Will, though each embodies different aspects: Erdtree Worship focuses on the worship of the Erdtree as a divine being in and of itself, Golden Order Fundamentalism is more about the worship of Queen Marika the Eternal and the study of her Order (which is why it scales on both Faith and Intelligence) and Primordial Crucible is focused on channeling the life energy of the Primordial Crucible, the 'primordial form' of the Erdtree from which all life originates.
      • Two Finger Incantations differ from the above in that, while their power doesn't derive from the Greater Will, it does derive from their angel-envoys, the Two Fingers, who have their own sub-religion. Unlike the above, the incantations of the Two Fingers are Boring, but Practical and utilitarian in use, and seem to have been tailor-made to help the Tarnished.
      • An officially accepted sub-religion in all of this is the Dragon Cult, which worships the Ancient Dragons and channels their power over lightning through pure faith. Dragon Communion, however, is a different thing entirely in which devotees ritualistically devour the hearts of dragons to channel their strength directly and slowly turns you into a dragon yourself.
    • Almost all of the other faith-based Incantations are instead focused on Outer Gods: Fire Monk and Fire Giant Incantations are derived from the power of the One-Eyed God of the Giants, Frenzied Flame Incantations channels the maddening flames of a malevolent Outer God, the Servants of Rot incantations are used by centipede-people who worship the sentient, mystical plague that is the Scarlet Rot, Blood Incantations involves using the burning blood of the Formless Mother and splashing it onto your enemies and is used by a satanic cult of murderers, and so on.
    • Even the Intelligence-based Sorceries are not excluded from this: Glintstone Sorcery should at first glance be exempt from this, as it's a study-based school of magic reminiscent of classical Sorcery...except their source of power comes from the mystical Glintstone that comes from outer space, and outer space is where the Dark Moon, a divine entity associated broadly with sorceries, is located. Sorceress Sellen describes Glintstone as the 'amber of the cosmos' and that it houses the vitality of stars themselves, and makes a comparison with the sacred amber of the Erdtree to state the difference. Aware of it or not, Sorcerers are channeling the power of a divine being, though through study rather than faith.
    • Carian Sorcery is more directly linked to the cult of the Dark Moon, as they were used by the Carian Royal Family, worshippers of the Moon, and their knights. Carian sorcery generally takes the form of Magic Knight spells such as swords and blades, compared to the cosmic focused space-focused Glintstone sorceries. Full Moon sorceries, meanwhile, are powerful spells and the epitome of the connection with the Dark Moon, known only to the prominent leaders of the Carian Royal Family who have 'encountered' the Moon directly in some form.
    • Aberrant Sorceries are the most direct example of this, as they're the only sorceries to only require Faith instead of Intelligence, and takes the form of ritualistic self-flagellation to summon briars of bloody thorns around the caster. The users of these spells, generally exiled criminals, are said to have witnessed a being known only as the "blood star" who may be the source of this magic.
  • Touhou Project
    • Magical Buddhism is mentioned to exist (and Shou may actually use it), but the majority of the Buddhist characters use their natural power or other acquired abilities when they need to fight.
    • On the Shinto side, being a shrine maiden naturally equals having great power. The protagonist of the series, Hakurei Reimu, is considered a terrible shrine maiden of a run-down godless shrine but, even if it weren't for the mostly harmless conflict resolution system of Gensokyo at which she contractually excels, her powers would make losing impossible. Kochiya Sanae is a shrine maiden capable of performing miracles. This has less to do with her position as a shrine maiden and more to do with her having a god for an ancestor.
    • Touhou also treats Taoism as a magic system first and philosophy/religion second.
    • These all come to a head in Hopeless Masquerade, with each character's magic being tied to one of the three faiths (Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism), and a character fight differently based on what religion she's currently aligned to.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption features a Jewish Quarter level in which a (sabotaged) rabbi's golem has run amok.
  • Saints Row 2 mostly averts this with the Sons of Samedi, a gang of drug dealers who just happen to worship the loa. Then you get in a boss fight with Mister Sunshine, who, in a mostly mundane game, has a voodoo doll that can make you fall down.
  • Gabriel Knight The first game of the series, Sins of the Father, is set in New Orleans and deals with a voodoo cult.
    • The third in the series deals with vampires, who sprang forth from the blood of Christ, and features other immortals as well, tied into Christianity.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In most settings, light and healing magic are said to originate from clerics, bishops, and priests invoking the power of and worshipping the respective gods or holy beings of their setting.note  Elemental and dark magic ordinarily do not have this requirement.note 
    • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem , religion and magic are closely tied together and powerful magic users are all part of the bishop class. In-fact, All There in the Manual reveals that the magical tomes and staves used by mages all come from the sealed power of various deities in the Fantasy Pantheon of the setting. It is also revealed by Shouzou Kaga, the game's creator, that prayers to the deity whose power is being invoked, empowers the magical forces unleashed from the tome or staff.
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 dark magic is exclusively practiced by members of the Religion of Evil, the Loptyrian cult, who worship the malevolent dragon Loptous and concoct plots to Take Over the World and put themselves and their god in charge. They can magically poison people, life drain them, and conjure shadowy tendrils to attack them among other things.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Lucius is explicitly a priest of the Elimine Church. Kenneth, a heretical priest who explicitly denounced the gods and worships the main villain Nergal, is still able to use light magic, suggesting that the existence of faith matters more than its recipient, which also handily explains why the Black Fang is able to field generic monks.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Faith skill is an explicit measure of how ardent a believer a character is in the Church of Seiros, and leveling it teaches White Magic. More devout characters tend to be proficient in it, while those who hold the church in contempt conversely have it as a weakness.
  • TearRing Saga, a Spiritual Successor to Fire Emblem by Shouzou Kaga, magical items again make use of various minor gods and most religious leaders are also powerful spellcasters. For example, the religious temple of Mars is headed by Ezenbah, one of the most powerful magicians on the continent. His family and apprentices at the temple are powerful mages as well. Within the actual gameplay, whenever a unit launches a Critical Hit with a magical spell, they unleash a quick prayer to the god whose power they are unleashing.
  • In Lords of Magic, the world is divided into 8 "faiths" that worship the standard four elements, plus life, death, order, and chaos.
  • The Dragon Quest series is built around this trope. The priest class does all the healing. In Dragon Quest VIII, your main healer used to be a member of the clergy and has maintained his healing powers. In general, all saving is done via a church, where confessing to a priest allows "The Goddess" to grant you respite from your journey, allowing you to save and quit. The priests also offer a number of other services- namely; Divination (which tells you how much experience you need to level up), Purification (which removes curses), Benediction (which removes poison), and Resurrection, which does exactly what it says it does. Priests have the power to bring people back to life. Wowzers.
  • Most followers of Oshilasama in Solatorobo are able to cast spells using Nono, thanks to years of rigorous training that looks a bit like stereotypical Shaolin monk exercises (though some degree of natural talent is required for training to do anything, and usually only men are allowed to train, though women can be born with the talent). The name of the religion seems to denote they worship someone named Shila (with o and sama for politeness's sake), but precisely how that worship is carried out is never mentioned - maybe the god/goddess just likes to watch Cat Folk sweat?
  • Priests in Pillars of Eternity use the power of their faith as the source for their magic, which revolves mainly around buffs and debuffs based on the Eternity Wiki description. The influence of D&D clerics is quite clear.
  • Many Roguelike games (NetHack, ADOM, etc) let the players build up goodwill with a patron deity, allowing them to pray for useful effects when in distress. Some also have a "cleric/priest" spellcasting class independently of this, confusingly.
  • Transcendence lets you gain religious magic, despite being otherwise entirely science fiction.
  • Buffs in RuneScape come from prayers. One adds to their pantheon to get more and deepens their faith (i.e. grinding their Prayer stat) to make them better.
  • Dark Souls: "Miracles", along with Sorcery and Pyromancy, are one of the three types of magic. Miracles are obtained by looting corpses, receiving them directly from the gods themselves... or from certain NPCs who give or sell them. That's right. Not only does religion give you superpowers, it lets its practitioners give other people powers too. Although there is a good reason other people can teach miracles- each one is cast by memorising and invoking a tale of the gods; they're just teaching you the story or selling you a copy of it.
    • Additionally, the Tin Darkmoon Catalyst lets you power regular sorcery with faith instead of intelligence, while Velka's Talisman does the opposite for miracles. They don't alter spell requirements, though, so they're more suited to hybrid builds that favor one stat over the other.
    • In Demon's Souls, this trope is quite literal because both magic and miracles draw power from the same source, heavily implied to be the Old One.
  • There're no spellcasting priests in Darklands, but learning about different Saints and praying for miracles is an important part of gameplay. Each character has the Virtue stat which may be improved by performing good deeds (according to the teachings of the 15th century Catholic Church). High Virtue allows to call more powerful saints and influence the clergy.
  • In Dragon's Crown, priests regularly resurrect people from a pile of bones, praying at the Canaan Temple provides boons to adventurers, paladins could use Holy Symbols to bring down pillars of light on demons, and the In-Universe justification for the Continue mechanic of the game is your character giving a donation to the goddesses to bring them back to life.
  • In Gems of War, the priestesses of Whitehelm have healing and protective magic.
  • Magic in The Legend of Zelda is most commonly portrayed in this manner. The Triforce, the most powerful magic artifact in the mythos, came into being when the Golden Goddesses left for the heavens after creating Hyrule, and it operates on a set of rules that generally keep demons and other wicked individuals from claiming it for their own ends. Starting in Ocarina of Time, Link has also gotten various magical artifacts and powers bequeathed by the vaguely priest-like Sages. Zelda and the rest of the Royal Family of Hyrule also tend to have a Royalty Super Power of some sort, usually one that lets them seal away Ganon and other villains, that was originally passed down to them by the goddess Hylia; the religious nature of this is especially apparent in Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild, where Zelda must pray at holy springs to unlock said power. Breath of the Wild also portrays the Sheikah tribe as having various innate magical Ninja powers due to them being a Tribe of Priests.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has faith function as the game's magic. The more devout a person is to their god and/or religion, the higher their Faith stat is. A high Faith makes the party member stronger in magic and will also take just as much magical damage in turn. Likewise, low Faith makes the person weaker in casting magic, but magic attacks will barely affect them. If a person's Faith gets too high, they'll leave the party in pursuit of their religious beliefs.
  • Although in the modern day of New World Computing's Heroes of Might and Magic clerical magic appears to mean 'magic religious figures focus on' rather than magic from faith, a short story revealed that Antagarichan magic in general evolved from local religion — the faiths of the time (at least a millennium in the past) were orthopraxic in nature and focused on the right rites producing the right result. Many of those rites worked and resulted in spells... but since the focus already was on rites over the actual belief the jump to approaching the rites with a secular and experimental outlook was fairly short, leading to the rise of the first wizards.
  • Assassin's Creed Origins: The game uses a historically accurate version of Egyptian magic. Priests are in charge of all magical affairs, which include both begging the gods for favors and selling minor magical trinkets of protection such as ankh charms and mummified cats. Several side quests revolve around Bayek trying to find out why the magic isn't working or why a specific place seems cursed, which usually ends up being the result of some con artist committing blasphemy for the sake of a quick buck (such as a disease caused by mummies that are rotting due to cheap embalming materials). Whether the gods are real or not is left deliberately ambiguous, even when the Pieces of Eden come into play and start creating very real miracles.
  • Grim Dawn uses theurgistic Functional Magic for the most part. Demolitionists (a kind of grenadier class with shades of Pyromaniac) eventually get to pray for a blessing from the god of fire and lightning, Ulzuin, which gives them fire and lightning-based retaliation, Occultists are given spells from the Witch Gods, a trio of sorcerers who ascended into Eldritch Abominations. Shamans channel the power of nature spirits. Necromancers are given their powers by the Angel of Death. Oathkeepers are essentially paladins who get powers from different deities with different agendas depending on who they are devoted to. The two exceptions are Arcanists, who use Rule Magic, and Inquisitors who use Device Magic despite their religious overtones.
  • The Brotherhood from Fury Unleashed gives blessings in exchange for donations of golden ink. The bigger your offering, the better the blessing you are given.
  • Throughout The Elder Scrolls series, the religion of the Nine Divines is a Saintly Church whose priests are commonly associated with Restoration magic. For a fee, they also typically offer training and can teach you new spells in this regard. Ditto for the Tribunal Temple in Morrowind, which is a great source of spells, magical training, and spell-making.
  • In Dark Devotion, the player character can pray at statues and shrines to heal their wounds, cure themselves of diseases, open otherwise impassable doors and receive various blessings. They can also spend Faith to cast magic if they have a spellbook equipped.
  • In Perihelion, while not religious in nature, there are organized orders of people dedicated to each god in Perihelion's pantheon. Those who subscribe to these orders are able to utilize a small part of their chosen god's living energy as their own. Following a god also has the side-effect of modifying one's physical abilities, such as strength, dexterity, or speed.

    Web Comics 
  • In J E Dash's (who's Wiccan) The Challenges of Zona Tula gets her magical powers from the Earth and Moon goddesses while Gruach gets his from Shuach the Fire god.
  • In Homestuck, Vriska asks John who Jesus is, and he describes him as an "adult male bearded human who was magic!" Vriska finds that boring.
  • Marble Gate Dungeon: Protagonist Coleen is blessed with the ability to channel power from the Highfather. This blessing is rare but not unknown among the followers of the Highfather, it's unclear if members of other faiths ever exhibit similar abilities.
  • In The 'Verse of Random Encounter and New Game, magic is derived from gods. Trickster magic is grounds for stoning to death, apparently because all other gods hate the Trickster's guts.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Both Icelandic and Finnish traditions of magic involve prayer to the gods and the two Flat-Earth Atheist nations are completely devoid of native mages.
    • This apparently applies to Old World religion too, as the kind Pastor Anne was able to lead the souls of an Undead Abomination to the afterlife.

    Web Original 
  • Open Blue's Back Story features the Iormunean Imperium, which worshiped a giant snake goddess. A Virgin Sacrifice helped bolster the economy, while military matters called for the sacrifice of a great warrior. Its Praetorian Guard used weapons enhanced with elemental powers and are in the present time period artifacts of doom highly sought after by the dominant superpowers.
  • This is actually a minor plot point in Tales From My D&D Campaign. For millennia, the drow were ruled by a theocracy worshipping the goddess Lolth, until one day all Lolth-based divine magic stopped working. Though the drow didn't know this at the time, this was a consequence of Lolth being destroyed by The Death Equation.
  • In RWBY: Ozma and Salem's magic were "gifts from the gods". Or rather, they were born with magic because their countries worshiped the gods. When Salem started an uprising, the gods caused an apocalypse out of spite and left the planet. The new mortals note  were unable to worship actual gods, and developed soul-based over-shields and psychic powers - semblances - instead.

    Western Animation 
  • Hadji from Jonny Quest is a Hindu boy who uses the all-purpose incantation "Sim, Sim, Salabim" to perform a number of magical feats.
  • X-Men: Evolution Canon Foreigner Hungan is able to control Storm with his magic staff.
  • Parodied in the South Park episode "Super Best Friends" where the gods/figureheads of several major religions are shown to have Justice League-type superpowers.
  • In the Christmas Special Frosty's Winter Wonderland, Parson Brown explains to the kids that he can't marry Frosty and Crystal since they aren't humans, and suggests they build a snow-parson who can do the job. They do, and Parson Brown brings him to life by giving it a Bible ("A parson's not a parson without the Good Book in his hand!" says Brown.)

    Real Life 
  • University of Wisconsin - Green Bay professor, Steven Dutch, wrote the essay 21st Century Magic, outlining the differences between explicit magic, religious magic, and nominal religion (as opposed to serious religion). Part of his essay demonstrates how Judaism and Christianity "have fought a constant rear-guard action against creeping magic," as is visible in passages from The Bible. He also demonstrates that magic is not inexorably linked to religion by providing plenty of examples of "secular magic."
  • The Danes and Norsemen had this view towards Christian religion. Indeed, they were remarkably easy and remarkably difficult to convert at the same time; if they could be shown an actual miracle (whether faked or otherwise), they would often convert on the spot - especially as all it involved to them was, in essence, washing oneself in a river. However, their "conversion" generally involved simply incorporating Jehovah into their current pantheon of Odin, Thor, and all the others, which made it hard for the evangelizers to teach them that Jehovah was the only existent god.
  • As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the magi were originally the Zoroastrian priests of Persia. More accurately, it is a Greek word that refers not necessarily to the actual priests, but to the Greeks' perception of them.
  • Holy objects have been ascribed magical or miraculous powers by early Christians and the Catholic Church. Such objects include the Holy Grail, The Spear of Destiny, pieces of the True Cross, and body parts of saints. Indiana Jones goes after the Holy Grail—as well as the Ark of the Covenant, a mystical/sacred artifact in the Judaic tradition, and thus in the Christian tradition as well.
  • The whole point of Real Life syncretic practices like santeria and curanderismo, and some aspects of hoodoo and other kinds of folk magic. A lot more common than you'd think. A botánica is present in most cities with a sizable Latino population.
  • Several prominent Catholic clergymen had reputations as alchemists and/or magicians during the medieval period... including Robert Grosseteste (Bishop of Lincoln), Roger Bacon (a monk), and Pope Sylvester II. Although in Sylvester's case this may have been rumors and lies his enemies spread to discredit his affinity for Eastern—read Islamic—learning (he liked Arabic numerals over 200 years before they gained wide acceptance in Europe). Grosseteste and Bacon considered themselves scientists in an age when the line between "science" and "magic" was fuzzier than it is now — observing and experimenting with natural phenomena (as they did) was one thing; attempting to summon spirits was definitely on the wrong side of the line. Bacon's reputation for being a wizard came along a bit later (it was definitely established by the sixteenth century).
  • For an inversion, St. Augustine asserted that the Church could not follow the Biblical command of "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live", because magic and witches did not exist and most "magic", such as astrology, did not actually work, so at worst witches were con artists and at best simply dumb. A side effect of this is that, contrary to popular belief, the Catholic Church originally held belief in witchcraft simply was a superstition, and claiming that Satan could grant a person such powers was heresy. It was only in the wake of the Black Plague that sanctioned witch hunts began (early on not by the Church, but secular authorities) and belief became eventually acceptable (with the Malleus Maleficarum falsely claiming endorsement by the Pope, but it was actually condemned, though the Papal Bull it cited did recognize witches as real). However, even then witch trials were sporadic before the Reformation, with the Protestants holding witches must exist because the Bible references them. As a side effect of the religious wars, witch hunts then erupted in earnest from both the Catholic and Protestant sides. However, the Inquisition did not carry out most witch trials, aside from a few cases — the Inquisitions targeted heretics. They actually abandoned them much earlier than secular powers did, and became convinced that the prior position — witches didn't exist — had been correct. However, witchcraft sometimes overlapped with heresy, since witches were accused of Devil worship (such as performing orgies or murdering people as a sacrifice to Satan). In addition, "witchcraft" was vaguely defined and often covered crimes like poisoning. The word for it in Latin, "Maleficium", simply means "wrongdoing". Knowledge of poisons at the time was often considered a secret art akin to magic itself, hence the conflation.
  • The bread and butter of an Egyptian priest consisted of enchanting amulets for sale to customers. There was a certain tendency throughout much of Egyptian history to assume that even the gods could be coerced into obedience with the right ritual observances. "Thou shalt not take the Lord's Name in vain" was in fact a Commandment against attempting to coerce the Hebrew god that way, despite the common notion that it means you aren't supposed to say "Oh my God". That idea is made doubly ridiculous by the fact that "God" is not YHWH's name. The commandment probably also has something to do with not swearing false oaths by God, or using God as an excuse to do evil things, like start wars (at least, wars He didn't tell you to start, which He was pretty big on in the Old Testament).
  • Many Buddhist traditions include monks developing spiritual powers (flight, control of weather, etc) and gaining the ability to invoke and banish or bind spirits. As in the yogic traditions, these powers are seen as a potential distraction from achieving enlightenment and so are to be used sparingly. Additionally, relics of the Buddha and other enlightened individuals are supposed to have particular power, even today, such as healing. Many mantras also exist that are believed capable of miraculous effects when chanted long and piously enough.
    • The treatment of the supernatural can be very matter of fact in some Buddhist traditions. For example, in many Tibetan monasteries, part of the oath you take when you become a monk is that you are not a spirit disguised as a human being. Other monasteries are placed specifically to be bindings for demons, oracles and divination are fairly common practice for lamas, and there are many lamas who in their belief have repeatedly reincarnated and continued their teaching. Part of the reason China's destruction of monasteries and abuse of monks during the Cultural Revolution was so devastating was the loss of knowledge of the spiritual landscape and the whereabouts of reincarnated lamas.
  • There are multiple passages in the Tanakh (as well as the Old Testament for Christians) chastising believers for treating religion as magic. One of the more poignant passages is Isaiah 1:11
    "What need have I of all your sacrifices?" says the LORD. "I am sated with burnt offerings of rams, and suet of fatlings, and blood of bulls; and I have no delight in lambs and he-goats."
    • There's also 1 Samuel 15:22-23:
      Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices much as in obedience to the LORD's command? Surely, obedience is better than sacrifice, compliance than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, defiance, like the iniquity of teraphim.
  • During the early Middle Ages, Jewish magicians (Kabbalists) were often sought out for guidance as it was rumored Jewish magic was very powerful. The traditional five-fingered khamsa (hand) charm to ward against evil found its way into North Africa via migrant Jews, for instance.
    • Aleister Crowley would later go on to base his writings on magic around Kabbalah.
  • Wiccans, as well as other pagan and neo-pagan religions, do use ritual magic to varying degrees. The mistake Hollywood and literature generally makes is thinking that the magic is the point. Actually, the magic comes in more as a consequence of the worldview than anything else: the idea is that the world is a spiritual place, and the supernatural has an effect on the ordinary world. Since as a witch you are supposed to know something about the supernatural, you can use that knowledge to help yourself or others. However, the effects of ritual magic (sometimes spelled as magick to distinguish it from fantasy magic or sleight of hand) are somewhat limited to things that can disguise themselves as coincidences. A simple way to think of pagan ritual magic is as "giving the universe a nudge in the right direction".
  • The cessationist versus continuationist debate within Christianity comes down mainly to this trope. The cessationist argument is that God used to bestow spiritual gifts upon His followers, including speaking in tongues, prophecy, Healing Hands, and altered states of consciousness but stopped at the end of the Apostolic Age when the last of Jesus' apostles died, as humanity now had the path to salvation through Jesus and the miracles already performed had sufficiently proven the Christian doctrine. This is the position of the Calvinists and the various Protestant theological traditions descended from such. The continuationist position, meanwhile, is that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still bestowed to this day. While the Catholic Church and many non-Calvinist Protestant denominations have held to a "soft" continuationism claiming some miracles still occurred, the Pentecostals and the charismatics in the 20th century fully embraced it and took it much further, building large portions of their theology and worship around the belief in spiritual gifts.