It seems that in today’s society, new religions and practices are popping up all over the place. One of the oldest, yet fastest growing faiths today is witchcraft. This earth-based, nature oriented belief has been established since the thirteenth century, but it is not until recently that it has began to spread across the world. Everywhere we look we see something associated with the practice of wicca. The new movie release, Blair Witch Project, for instance, is a good example of the growing belief in spells, charms, and covens. However, there are many people who disapprove of this practice and are labeling it as a ‘false religion.’ ; Christians, for example, greatly disagree with the belief of witchcraft and find it in association with the devil.
Today, there is considerable debate as to whether witchcraft in today’s society is simply a harmless religion, or if it is an evil practice in league with Satan. Before anyone can speak their opinion on the practice of witchcraft, one must know a little bit about the religion itself. There are many different definitions of witchcraft. In Webster’s Dictionary, it defines witchcraft as. The Christian definition of witchcraft is simply ‘devil-worship’; or just plain sin. However, the secular definition is somewhere along the lines of ‘cool,’ ; ‘trendy,’ ; and ‘new.’ ; Although these are the main meanings of the term ‘witch craft,’ ; there are also some other definitions within different cultures, such as Indian medicine men, also known as witch doctors, who are believed to have magical powers that can heal the sick.
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Different time periods and religions also alter the meaning of witch or witchcraft. The history of witchcraft dates back all the way to the thirteenth century. During the 13 th and 14 th centuries, witchcraft was considered to only be harmless magic. However, in the 16 th century, witches were condemned and tortured. Later, during the 17 th century, witch hunts and trials died off, along with the ‘witch craze.’ ; Witchcraft was practiced in many different regions around the world. Most experts believe it’s origination was somewhere in India or Africa, where magic was used as medicine.
Later, the practice was brought over to New England with the pilgrims where it slowly began to grow within the puritan communities. There was a diverse group of people who practiced witchcraft. Most of them were widows or women who gathered in secret covens where it was believed they worshipped Satan and sometimes sold their souls to the devil. Basically, it was people who were lonely or were considered to be outcasts. There were also Indian slaves and anti-Christians who were accused of witch craft because of their different point of views.
However, sometimes, everyday people were accused because of their superstitions like ‘knocking on wood.’ ; The church saw them as those who didn’t put their complete faith in God, and so therefore, were considered to be witches. There are many different types of witchcraft, or wicca. Sometimes, it is simply just charms and spells that people chant. These spells can be considered either good or bad, depending on the purpose of the hex.
The magic used in witchcraft can also vary. It basically comes down to either black magic, which is meant to do harm, or white magic, which is only meant to heal and help. In the Bible it is clearly stated that witchcraft is wrong. There are many different chapters and verses in the Bible that reveal this. Obviously, God does not want his people to be hand in hand with sin, but the question still remains: Is witch craft tied to Satanism and evil? Many say yes, but many say no as well. By viewing the facts about witchcraft, one can decide for themselves.
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The exact time when witchcraft originated is unknown, but experts say it all began to become noticed as an evil practice around the 13 th century. During this time, the church slightly tolerated the practice of magic, but as the 14 th century moved in the opposition of witchcraft grew and hatred toward witches increased. Time passed and finally in the 16 th century, hostility had reached it’s highest level, and witches were sought out and tortured. Near the end of the 17 th century after the last few witch trials, witch craft ‘died out.’ ; The hatred and prosecution of witches was banished by the age of Enlightenment because it rejected beliefs such as a skeptical eye. After witch hysteria had run its course on society there was a deep division in the church because of the difference of opinions among the clergy. There was never a specific group of people who practiced witchcraft, although most of them were women.
These women were usually either old or widowed. Either way, they were lonely people in search of a way to be happy. They met in covens frequently where they would perform rituals and the occasional sacrifice. There were also Indian slaves brought to the colonies who introduced the use of magic and voodoo dolls to the people. Probably the most memorable events of 16 th and 17 th century witchcraft craze were the famous witch hunts that took place in New England. Here, the witches were sought out and captured, where they were then put on trial and persecuted for their actions.
During these trials they identified and tested the suspects, carefully questioning them. After each trial, the witch hunters were paid a fee for each conviction. One of the most common tests used on the witches was called ‘pricking.’ ; This was where the women were searched for a mark on their bodies that were supposedly put there by the devil. If this spot was found, they were accused of being a witch.
Other proofs were additional breasts, inability to weep, and failure of the water test, where the women were thrown into the water. If she floated, she was a witch, but if she drowned, she was innocent. Those who were convicted of witchcraft were then faced with a long string of tortures. There were many different types of tortures during the 17 th century, and many of these were used on the guilty witches.
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The, for example, crushed the tips of fingers and toes in a vice. The ec helle, a rack that violently stretched the body, was also used. There was also the, which squeezed the tender parts of the body, and the, which jerked the body violently in mid-air. The most effective torture was torment um insomnia. This was the torture of artificial sleeplessness. It literally forced the witches, guilty or not, into confessing.
The most painful was the device called the spanish boot which was used to squeeze the calf while breaking the shin bone into pieces. There was also a bed of nails designed specifically for witches. All of these tortures left the convicted with no choice but to confess. After witchcraft disappeared from society for a while, it reappeared during the second half of the 20 th century. There was a revival of pre-paganism which occurred in the United States and Europe, and foundation of this revival was witch craft. The new covens of modern witches sprang up in the 1960’s.
Unlike 16 th century wicca, this was a new form of witch craft based on four main principles. A feeling for nature, colorful rituals, love of fantasy, and challenge of conventional religion and society are what modern witch craft was all about. This harmonized well with the 1960’s and began to grow rapidly. There are many beliefs involved in witchcraft. The main belief is that wicca is a religion, no matter what others say. Within this organized religion, which is recognized and protected by the United States, they do not worship Satan, contrary to popular belief.
Most people believe it is a cult, but it is anything but. Witches also believe in God, although their understanding of Him is different from others opinions. They see him as both masculine and feminine. For example, He is either ‘Lord and Lady’; or ‘God and Goddess.’ ; Another belief is in the interconnection of all life. They are basically very ‘in touch’; with nature, and believe earth is the eternal resting-place. Within the Wiccan religion there are many different practices and rituals, such as spells which can either harm or help a person.
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A spell is considered any action or gesture assumed to have magical powers; however, not all witches use spells. Witches also use charms. An amulet, for example, is an object believed to have magical powers that will ward off evil influences, or bring good luck. Some different symbols that represent witchcraft are Pentagrams and pentacles. ‘Penta’; means 5 in Greek and ‘gamma’; means letter.
Any figure of five lines is considered to be a witches symbol. One of the most commonly used symbols is the upright pentacle, which is the shape of a star within a circle. Rituals are also a basic component of witchcraft practices. In these rituals, sacrifices are made and they meet in covens to discuss new spells and such.
However, these rituals are not meetings with the devil. The growth of modern witchcraft in evident everywhere we turn. Major evidence is seen in the churches. Recently, two Wiccans were just accepted into the Hillsborough County Clergy Association. Although there was some dispute about their acceptance, they were eventually admitted as members. There has also been a major increase in Wiccan book sales over the past years.
It seems witchcraft has become one of the fastest growing spiritual practices in the United States. So how many are there? It’s hard for many to agree on the exact number because so many people secretly practice witch craft. Most witches say there are about 3-5 million followers. However, experts say the number is closer to about 400, 000.
Although about 40% of these members are men, the main focus is on women with teenage girls leading the way. Amazingly, the number of believers is said to almost double in size every 18 months. Another main element about modern witch craft is teenage involvement. There is an estimated 25, 00-40, 000 Wiccan youth in today’s society.
This number seems to be increasing rapidly each day. Ever since the 1997 release of the movie The Craft, a tale of four teen witches who use their spells to get what they want, the number of wiccan youth has risen. Why? There are many reasons. First of all, role models play a big part in Wiccan influence. Stars such as Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock, stars of Practical Magic, Alyssa Milano, Charmed celebrity, or Melissa Joan Hart, other wise know as Sabrina, all influence young teens because of the glamorous lifestyles they portray on TV or the big screen. Other reasons are social involvement, attention, rebellion, concern for environment, morality, flexibility, or even a quest for power.
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Many parents don’t know what to do for their children. Experts say to be flexible and listen to what your child is saying. They should avoid ‘driving them underground.’ ; Being sensitive to Wicca is something very important because of the ‘power’; it holds. However, parents should be cautious about what their child is do, or dealing with. Sometimes, witchcraft can lead to other things such as cults.
Most importantly, parents should ask questions. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to a teen experimenting with something as risky as witch craft. There are multiple examples of teens who have become involved in witch craft and the experiences they have had to deal with. Melissa Reedy, for example, is a bright, 16 year old student. However, because she experiments with witch craft, she is looked down upon by many people in her school including teachers. Recently, in her art class she attempted to make a ceramic Centigram for her pottery project.
However, her teacher denied her the right to create the Wiccan symbol. Later, the symbol was recognized as a religious emblem in all schools. Cassia Bernoulli, a 17 year old student, was killed at the Littleton, Colorado shooting. However, most do not know that she used to be a witch before her conversion to Christianity.
Many believe that her death may have been because she turned away from the craft. These teens are just two examples of the many hardships teen witches go through today. Probably the largest group of people who greatly disapprove of witch craft are Christians, God’s chosen people. They use the Bible as evidence as to why witch craft is a sin. In the Old Testament, God has provided multiple verses showing the evil of witch craft. In Exodus 22: 18, God simply says, ‘Do not allow a witch to live.’ ; Later, in Deuteronomy 18: 10, the Bible says no one should be a witch for it is seen as evil in God’s eyes.
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2 Chronicles 33: 6 shows an example of a man who used witch craft and enchantments and did much evil in the sight of God, which provoked Him to anger. Jeremiah 27: 9 urges us never to listen to what a witch has to say, because they only preach false things against God. Daniel chapter 2 is a complete chapter about the harm and evil of witchcraft. The New Testament is full of chapters against the practice of magic or witchcraft. In Acts 1 there are many stories of people possessed with demons and evil spirits that caused havoc among the people. Many times either Jesus or one of His disciples ordered the evil spirit to leave the body it d welled in.
This shows that God will not put up with such sin and wrongdoing. Other chapters such as Acts 8, 13, and 19 are also about magic and sorcery, which God disapproves of. It is clear in the Bible that any practice of magic or witchcraft is strictly forbidden by God. This leads us to the big question: Can Christians be neutral? Many people have tried to justify this question by saying, yes, they can be. But in all actuality, the answer is clearly no. First of all, both religions have clashing beliefs.
For example, a Christian believes in the trinity, otherwise known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, a witch believes in the God and Goddess or Lord and Lady. Witches also take the role of women differently than Christians. While witches believe that women should dominate in the household and men and women should have equal authorities, Christians believe that the man should be the head of the household, and wives should submit to their husbands. Another reason why Christians cannot be neutral is because witchcraft is clearly destructive.
God says that is something is destructive we should not touch it or even associate with it. If something is sinful, then how can a Christian deliberately take part in it? It basically comes down between the choice of right and wrong or even Heaven and Hell. While something may seem completely harmless, a Christian would actually be worshipping something else besides the one, true God. A final reason why neutrality between Christianity and witchcraft is false, is the 10 commandments.
In God’s law he plainly says, ‘Thou shalt not serve any god before me.’ ; If someone practices witch craft how can they obey this law as well? Being neutral is not an option. Basically, all witch craft practices go against the Law. Therefore they are seen as sin, something unassociated with Christianity. It is spiritually impossible to serve God and witch craft at the same time. One must choose what they want instead of staying ‘neutral.’ ; One of the biggest disputes between Christians and witches is the hatred and misinformation against witches that Christians have been brought up to believe.
The hatred can be seen all over TV, movies, music, and the Internet. Sometimes what Christians hear is true, but often the information can be false and witches take the heat. One falsehood about witch craft is the statement ‘It is not a religion.’ ; In reality, it is. Although it may come across as fake and simply idol worship and chants, it is truly a religion. Witches have their own Book of Shadows and their own god and goddess. Witchcraft is also observed by the United States government as a real religion that is also practiced in the United States army.
So yes, it is a religion.’ Witch craft is a cult.’ ; No. Witch craft is not a cult. Cults are groups of people who hate other religious groups and try to terminate them. Witches do not hate any other religion even though they may view things differently. There is no hate or disgust against any other group of people. Sometimes witch may dislike the ways of another belief, but not to the point of distinction.
Witches also do not set out to recruit other witches to come into the craft. There is also no ‘initiation’; to become a witch, just as if you become Catholic. You simply decide to follow the way. Another inaccurate belief about witches is that they hate Christians and God. In fact, witches recognize that every religion is sacred and different from theirs. They respect each one because they know that some people put their whole lives into their belief.
They are very tole rent and accept ive of other faiths. Some witches may have contradictions with the church and other Christians, but it is only because of their hatred toward the Wiccan belief. Witches also believe in God and recognize Him as a wise being with great power; however, they view Him differently than Christians do. Nevertheless, this does not propose that they hate Christians or God.
Witches hate the Bible? This is what many Christians have been raised to believe. But they have been taught wrong. Witches agree with the Bible, for the most part. They view it as a book of wisdom. They understand it’s valuable teachings and see them as lessons that can be valued in any religion.
In fact, many witches read the Bible even though they don’t see it as ‘The Word of God.’ ; ‘Witch craft is satanic.’ ; This is what many, many people believe, but it is false in every way. It is a common misconception about witches that they deal with everyday. Sometimes, a few witches may practice satanic things alongside of their witchcraft, but that is by personal choice. Although many claim that witches are ‘dangerous’; and have ties with Satan, the two are unassociated with each other.
Proof of this fact: Witches don’t even believe in Satan. They see him as someone who Christians made up so they can blame their sin on another being. To them, he is simply a Christian concept and he doesn’t even exist. Some people believe that witches can’t even associate with Christians.
This is one of the hardest questions to answer. Some of them say yes and others say no. While most say no, all witches believe that if you are in a religion, you are in that ONE religion alone. Witches disagree with belonging to several faiths, but they never remove themselves completely from another faith. Many things witches do are associated with Christianity, such as, weddings, Christmas services, and even talking to Christian relatives. While they do keep their distance from other religions, witches never cut off all communication with Christians and other religions.
So is witch craft evil? Is it a false religion? There will never be a real answer to these questions. It seems that no one can agree on the same answer. Even the witches themselves have disputes within their own belief. Even though the Bible does give factual information as to what’s right and what’s wrong, it is up to each individual person to decide for themselves what they are going to believe in. So what is the real definition of witchcraft? Decide for yourself.