The Christians are Burning Witches (Again)

by Jason Stotts

It sometimes seems like we are doomed to repeat history. Everything from the complete failure of socialism in Russia, to the hyperinflation of Germany in the 1920’s, and now the Salem Witch Trials.

The Associated Press is reporting in the LA Times that Christians are again burning witches, although this time it’s not in Salem; it’s in Africa.

The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice [The United Nations Children’s Fund] say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.

In Nigeria alone, over 1,000 innocent children have been accused of witchcraft and killed for their crimes. How do I know they were innocent? Because there are no more witches in the world than blue unicorns, angels, or gods: they are all imaginary. Christians, however, cannot abide by any other competing forms of mysticism and so must obliterate the old African mythologies.

But killing witches does more than merely destroy some old African customs; it allows the christians to pass the blame for evil. Theodicy is a major problem for christians (and all others who believe in a benevolent god): if their god is all-powerful and all good, how can he allow evil? Well, this wonderful deity takes a hands-off approach to his most special creations and also gave them free will. Thus, it is not their god’s fault that bad things happen, but the fault of those who choose to do evil. Further, this omnibenevolent god has also, for some reason, given special magic powers to certain creatures, primarily evil ones apparently, to use as they wish. Thus, if the christians are to help out their god, who is all powerful and perfect, they must smite the evil witches (to whom their god gave magic powers).

The whole thing is so convoluted and silly, you would think that no one could be fooled into believing it. But, unfortunately, they do. It gets better still…

Denouncing witches is now big business in Nigeria and more and more witches are being denounced.

“Even churches who didn’t use to ‘find’ child witches are being forced into it by the competition,” said Itauma. “They are seen as spiritually powerful because they can detect witchcraft and the parents may even pay them money for an exorcism.”

That’s right, some pastors are able to use a special power (not magic) to detect witchcraft (which does not make them witches too) and they are willing to help by praying for you ($), performing an exorcism ($$), or leading a mob of angry villagers to kill the child ($$$).

One child, named Jerry, was “beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor’s wife cheered it on.” Praise the good god that he survived! The very worst part for me is that this irrationality is so deep-seated that even the children denounced as witches can’t reject it. “‘Please stop the pastors who hurt us,’ said Jerry quietly, touching the scars on his face. ‘I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.’”

This is why ideas matter! Ideas can kill children. Ideas can turn good people into monsters. Ideas determine the course of ourselves, our cultures, and our nations.

If YOU, reading this, are a christian, then your ideas are killing right now. There can be no such thing as peaceful irrationality. People can only be dealt with by reason or force, and you walked away from reason a long time ago. Give up your illusions and embrace a reasonable life. It may not feel as comfortable as your illusions and lies, but rest assured that it is the real world and through reason you can regain your humanity.

1 Response to “The Christians are Burning Witches (Again)”

  1. Erosophia

    […] This reminds me of the witch killings in 2009 all across Africa (see “The Christians Are Burning Witches (Again).” […]