‘Playing at cards is, after all, close to playing with fate’



From New Humanist:

The Church has always been wary, regarding cards not merely as the route to gambling, but also as “the Devil’s picture-book” because of their association with dark practices like fortune-telling. Tarot cards, in particular, were disdained for their mystical associations, even though their occult functions were developed only in the 18th century, while in many countries they have been used for over 500 years for playing a popular game.

But there’s a deeper rationale for this religious recoiling: playing at cards is, after all, close to playing with fate. Religion would like us to accept the hand we’re dealt. Card games imitate the ways we work to challenge our fate. And the varieties of card games test and display so many different ways in which we attempt to influence our imperfect universe: they involve either gathering or discarding, dissembling, influencing, guessing, chancing, grouping, making order out of chaos and, more than all of these, outwitting someone else.

“What’s the Big Deal?”, Sally Feldman, New Humanist