Showing posts with label witch hunts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label witch hunts. Show all posts

"They Burn Witches Here" A True Story by Kent Russell

Here is a story fit for Halloween about supposed modern witches. The full title of this powerful and bizarre story is, "They Burn Witches Here: And then they upload the photos to social media. A journey to an island caught between the ancient world and 2015."

Having studied the phenomena of witch hunts myself for a chapter I wrote in Christianity Is Not Great, I was very interested in reading this first-hand story of witch hunts in "modern" Papua New Guinea.The descriptions could well have been about the witch hunts in Europe from about 1450-1750 though. It opens with the brutal murder of a girl accused of witchcraft named Kepari Leniata:

Children Are Targets Of Nigerian Witch Hunt


Where's the Holy Spirit when you need it?
Link to the news story
This is what happens when you base your beliefs on weak evidence and appeal to tradition and appeal to authority. This is what happens when you don't have firm criteria for good evidence. This is what happens when you don't think for yourself and weigh the evidence. This is what happens when you put your faith in the supernatural. This is the nature of The Beast.

Evangelical pastors are helping to create a terrible new campaign of violence against young Nigerians. Children and babies branded as evil are being abused, abandoned and even murdered while the preachers make money out of the fear of their parents and their communities.......

The rainy season is over and the Niger Delta is lush and humid. This southern edge of West Africa, where Nigeria's wealth pumps out of oil and gas fields to bypass millions of its poorest people, is a restless place. In the small delta state of Akwa Ibom, the tension and the poverty has delivered an opportunity for a new and terrible phenomenon that is leading to the abuse and the murder of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children. And it is being done in the name of Christianity.

Almost everyone goes to church here. Driving through the town of Esit Eket, the rust-streaked signs, tarpaulins hung between trees and posters on boulders, advertise a church for every third or fourth house along the road. Such names as New Testament Assembly, Church of God Mission, Mount Zion Gospel, Glory of God, Brotherhood of the Cross, Redeemed, Apostalistic. Behind the smartly painted doors pastors make a living by 'deliverances' - exorcisms - for people beset by witchcraft, something seen to cause anything from divorce, disease, accidents or job losses. With so many churches it's a competitive market, but by local standards a lucrative one.

But an exploitative situation has now grown into something much more sinister as preachers are turning their attentions to children - naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.

Click here to read the rest of the story

The Terrible Christian Legacy of the Witch Hunts.

I've already spoken about the Christian legacy regarding slavery and the Inquisition. Now I turn to the witch hunts. The Biblical basis for them can be found here: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." (Exodus 22:18) And, "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones." (Leviticus 20:27).

A very interesting and well written account of the stages of a witch trial can be found here.

I've repeatedly asked that if such barbaric acts like the witch hunts are something God is not to be partially blamed for, then why didn't he condemn them by saying, "Thou shalt not torture, imprison, banish or kill suspected witches or wizards," and say it as often as he needed to so that later professing Christians would not cause so much needless pain and misery? Why didn't God do this if he knew professing Christians would be so evil as to do these great harms unless he condemned them? Why did he not forbid such a practice knowing full well that I would malign him in this Blog entry for not doing what any decent divine person should've done if he wanted his name to be honored among men, instead of reviled? He was supposedly clear about not murdering or raping innocent people. Why not do the same for accused witches and heretics of the Inquisition, as well as slaves in the American South?

I can see no possible justification for God's utter failure to effectively communicate what should be obvious to democratically minded civilized people, that this is barbaric behavior. None. None at all. Nor can I see any justification for it in the same era in which he supposedly commanded it. People have sincere differences of opinion on so many issues, from the important to the unimportant, that it utterly amazes me God should ever command killing witches in the first place. Nor do I see why it's important that God wants us to acknowledge him if he exists, especially when he gives us so many reasons to disbelieve in the Bible and his goodness. A God like that has a lot to answer for. He's a demon in disguise...or he just doesn't exist.