The Torah forbids us from believing in superstitions with the words “Lo toneinu.” Perhaps, this is because it can easily mislead one to believe in Avoda Zarah. After all, the priests of avoda zarawould always try to convince the people of the great powers of their gods made of gold or silver or other objects. When a person prayed to them and was helped, he foolishly believed that the object he served actually had godly powers.
Even in today’s modern times, people continue to believe in the nonsensical. Alternate medicine such as Reiki based on Avodah Zarah has many millions of adherents as do homeopathy and other highly questionable treatments. When a person is desperate and doctors tell him there is no hope, he will grab hold of any straw within reach despite its worthlessness. When a person trips and hurts himself every time he sees a black cat pass him, he irrationally makes a connection between the black cat and his falling. When a person gets stuck in the elevator on the thirteenth floor, then he believes that the number 13 brings bad luck.
Uncritical thinking is quite common even in today’s scientific times and people are easily conned into foolish business, or medical decisions, based on the irrational. Mezuzah readers, and kabalistic healers, selling their magical concoctions of H2O, do a flourishing business, attracting people like moths to a bright light and like flies to a spider web.
In ancient times, before the discovery of antibiotics and modern medicine, people were easily attracted to the nonsensical service of idols. That’s because when people are desperate to find a cure and they had no other alternative, they’ll grab onto any straw. Claims that some were helped by these gods only gave them more credence. Few realized that the body often was able to cure itself, and their prayers to these gods who couldn’t see or hear were just coincidental.
One would have thought that today people would be smarter and no longer fall for these charlatans and scams. However, judging by the long lines of people who seek their advice and fill their offices, it seems that we’re still living in the dark ages, and superstitious beliefs are still part of everyday life.