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Featured Why would Christians believe in witches?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Stevicus, May 28, 2022.

  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I've thought of this topic in the past, although was reminded of it when coming across this story in the news:
    329 years later, last Salem 'witch' who wasn't is pardoned | AP News

    One of the stranger, more inexplicable atrocities in our history. I never could understand why Christians would have even believed in the existence of witches. If they believe in Christianity, wouldn't that mean that they would see other religions - including the power of witchcraft and magic - as false?

    Wouldn't their fear of witches (or anything they see as the "occult") indicate that they believe in that kind of power? If so, then is that an acknowledgement that the God they believe in is powerless to protect them from such a power, thus necessitating them taking action on their own?
     
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  2. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    The art 2117 of catechism of the RCC is very clear about this.
    And I recall my catechist telling us such things do not exist.
     
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  3. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I looked it up: Catechism - 2117 (catholiccrossreference.online)



    All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others — even if this were for the sake of restoring their health — are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.


    It appears to just warn people against using it, but this passage doesn't explicitly deny the existence of occult powers.
     
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  4. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    The bible tells them witches exist and that they should be killed.

    Me personal take on this is because Christianity itself is heavily involved in witchcraft, prayers (spells) to invoke whatever. And they don't want the competition
     
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  5. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    It could be that, although it seems in Salem, it was more just a case of mass insanity with a lynch mob mentality. I'm not sure if they actually believed that any of these women were witches, or if they just decided that they didn't like somebody and decided they had to be killed.
     
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  6. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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  7. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    That is right.
    But so many Christians, me included do deny the existence.
     
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  8. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I think you are correct, i have not really looked at Salem other than ergot could have been involved.

    As a child i lived not far from Pendle hill, synonymous with the Pendle witches, it was always a topic of fascination.

    Pendle witches - Wikipedia

    I found out later that Anne Whittle (hung for witchcraft was an ancestor on my mom's side.
     
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  9. The Hammer

    The Hammer Lord of Animals
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    But I use it fairly often. So it's got to exist to some extent, no?

    Otherwise what am I doing?
     
  10. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Well, chances are they actually believed it. It fits the Thomas Theorem: "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”.
     
  11. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Early Christians presumably believed in it because pre-Christians believed in it.

    In the Middle Ages, the church position was that witchcraft didn't exist and that it was heretical to believe in witches.

    Presumably, common folk still maintained their superstitions though, and the church position changed post-reformation (perhaps due to religious 'competition' and ).

    Belief in, and fear of, witchcraft/black magic is pretty ubiquitous across human societies though, so it would be more surprising if Christians had not believed in it.
     
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  12. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Well, from my high-school history witches got "power" from the Devil and he is real to some Christians.
     
  13. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    It's apparent to me that Christianity over the millennia has used villains and enemies as a means to coerce and threaten believers. Look at the threats of going to hell as a coercive act. This religion has done very well vilifying outsiders and making the believer feel safe in the tribe. If you are a witch you can be tortured and executed. Accepting Jesus is a way to avoid this fate. Would Jesus approve of torturing people for witchcraft, and killing them? Of course not. But Christianity is seldom about following Jesus, it's about control and power.
     
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  14. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    The answer to me is weak faith + superstition. If someone wholeheartedly believes in an omnipotent God, then they would not fear but instead pity those who were going to hell.

    Add to that the belief in various occult powers and you have the ingredients for the persecution and murder of those who they feared.
     
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  15. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    And.....

    Baited breath.
     
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  16. Viker

    Viker Spirit in Black

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    Witches don't exist.

    1_ZY1FQb4s7-QjMXLW7CjtEQ.jpeg

    ;):D
     
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  17. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    A witch stole my words... Burn her... :fire:
     
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  18. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Student People Stabber

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    Yup. Which makes the real question how did this position change with those in power saying it doesn't exist.
     
  19. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Student People Stabber

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    I'll use my larger scales!
     
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  20. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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