Ancestral Voices 2 (Book)
Witchcraft – A Profitable Excuse?
The Gospel according to ‘Witchcraft’ is what I call it; a phenomenon I see constantly played out across the Digital TV sphere on most Christian channels, particularly the Evangelical or Presbyterian outlets.
It’s easily noticeable to any observer too. A church service lasting about 2 hours dedicates over half the allocated time preaching against traditional spiritual practices or seemingly exorcising ‘demons’, ‘witches’ and all manner of cretins that are claimed to be plaguing the life of believers. The few remaining minutes are used in briefly covering a few biblical verses and the rest devoted to ensuring the congregation pays their dues aka tithes to keep business operations ticking over.
What I keep asking myself over and over again is; why is there not more time being dedicated to preaching about the values that Christians are meant to live by to give glory to their maker and ensure their salvation? That is virtually absent!
Instead there is this relentless focus on so-called ‘Witchcraft’, ‘Juju’, ‘Obeah’, whatever other name that can be conjured. Why?
Is Christianity meant to be about emulating the ‘perfect’ life that Christ is said to have lived or is it about witchcraft? It is the latter state of affairs being played out on TV that subsequently led to the coining of the term, ‘The Gospel according to Witchcraft”; because most of the services aired covers more about its ills than it does about Christian values.
What exactly does this state of affairs tell us then about sects of Christianity today and their followers? A few interesting things actually…
Firstly, that most pastors are now either ill-trained and know little of the gospel or values they are meant to be disseminating. They are devoid of any real skill of using the gospels to motivate and inspire their congregation. So to detract from their own failings they use these negative claims about so-called ‘witchcraft’ as a means to engage and hold their attention through scaremongering to ensure regular attendance.
With nothing substantial to offer of themselves, they have defaulted to one of the oldest tricks in the political handbook: scapegoating. This scapegoat is again African Spirituality, a system that has barely managed to shake off the shackles and stigmatisation of Colonialism and is now faced with a new wave of attacks, spearheaded by ‘Black’ people themselves. Very eager it would seem, to totally obliterate their ancestral heritage and distance themselves from it as far as possible, even though they know very little of what it actually involves.
Secondly, that this issue is largely being ignored even though it is fuelling grievous human rights abuses such as rape, child abuse, torture and even murder. Where is the international outcry? Why the silence even when credible investigations by a few organisations such as the United Nations and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have published findings showing these abuses are on a rise?
How are these murders of innocent women and children any less barbaric than the heinous atrocities we see executed by ISIS or other similar religious fanatics? Is there any difference?
In the case of these fundamentalist Christians it can be argued that its actually worse because the victims are predominantly women and children; the most vulnerable members of society who often have no recourse to protect themselves.
Both situations are underpinned by one simple idea…the victims are ‘different’ to them in that they do not share their same system of belief.
Thirdly and most disturbingly, is the use of fear to encourage group cohesion in common hatred of the ‘other’ whom must be converted at all cost, even by force if necessary.
Fear is perhaps the easiest of human emotions to manipulate, so encouraging the unfounded fear of this dark, mysterious ‘witchcraft’ all of a sudden provides a purpose towards which believers can dedicate themselves, however ill-informed their actions and beliefs are.
This so-called ‘witchcraft’ now gives them a reason to live, something worth fighting against when really what their focus should be on is living the life of a ‘righteous Christian’.
After all, is it fighting against ‘witchcraft’ that makes one a ‘good Christian’ or is it living according to the commandments of the Christian God?
As history reminds us, promotion of fear of the ‘other’ has been responsible for some of the worst atrocities in the written history of the world. From King James and his demonology doctrines, the Salem Witch hunts, the enslavement and genocide of African people and the holocaust of European Jews by Nazi ideology to name a few. All had as a common factor this simple but extraordinary emotion- fear of other.
Will we sit by and let another such happen, again in the name of religion? Are the injustices inflicted during the Christian crusades of recent memory not evidence enough for there to be an international outcry on this issue before it gets worse?
Finally, it seems to have also become a lucrative sideline for these Churches as well, opening up avenues to sell more ‘tools against the devil’; crucifixes, holy water(s), protection oils, bath powders and so on, an endless lists of artefacts.
A whole industry has sprung up around this topic, one that is also very lucrative from all accounts. It does make one wonder if indeed this rhetoric is about genuinely saving souls or is it more so about the business of scaring people and if the business element has long since outweighed any ethical and moral considerations.
Even sessions for ‘exorcisms’ and deliverance from these so-called evil spirits are held at different times to the normal church services and charged at an extra cost. It is bewildering to say the least, that a pastor would not be willing to save a member of their own congregation for free to prevent ‘contaminating’ others. No, as it seems all things connected to so-called witchcraft comes at a price. Fair to say then, that the wages of ‘witchcraft’ is not death, but more profit for the Church?