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← My People! My People!! This Witch Hunting Must Stop

My People! My People!! This Witch Hunting Must Stop - Comments

Sliver69's Avatar Comment 1 by Sliver69

Before going on a witch hunt, wouldn't it be prudent to look for any evidence they exist ? Religion comes up trumps again in the set brain to off mode category.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 19:52:11 UTC | #935535

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 2 by strangebrew

This is present day religion...not so much spiritual more entertainment for brain dead superstitious cretins! Fucking soap opera with real blood and screaming women. Legalized snuff performance! Mind you they are all... at heart... one of the same!

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:08:51 UTC | #935538

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 3 by Zeuglodon

I can come from one article telling me religions in several countries are in decline, and then find another article about superstitious paranoia in a struggling country elsewhere not long afterwards. It's astonishing. I don't usually go in for emotive speech, but right now I don't know whether to laugh at the unbelievably Monty-Pythonesque absurdity of this nonsense, or weep at both the sheer tragic waste of intellect and the loss of life that it'll lead to.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:39:08 UTC | #935550

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

Another example of religion piling up the bodies of the innocent. Since the beginning of delusion this has been going on and no one knows the body count, but I never fail to point out this ceaseless slaughter to the Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao accusers of atheism when they trot out that old and oft refuted chestnut, " atheism killed more people in the 20th century than religion ever has. " Or some other version of that BS.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 20:49:52 UTC | #935558

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 5 by Border Collie

"Freedom of religion is a human right and should be promoted, protected, defended and guaranteed. But inciting abuses or inflicting harm on people in the name of religion is a crime, and perpetrators should be punished."

I wish HItchens was still with us to respond to this. I simply can't come up with anything. I read it and my mind shorted out.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 21:27:14 UTC | #935564

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 6 by Rawhard Dickins

"Kill" appears in the KJ bible 208 times according to the biblegateway.com

Small wonder that this young and no doubt indoctrinated pastor takes such a stance.

The sooner this appalling and largely irrelevant book is put in its correct historic perspective, the better.

For those who haven't read the bible recently, here is a short precis:

Kill almost anybody, make lots of animal sacrifices, take a few slaves and if you chose to rape's someone, that's OK too!

.. and we base our society around this?

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 21:55:53 UTC | #935568

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 7 by hemidemisemigod

Ah yes! Prophet Val Aloysius. Where have we seen his presentation style before?

Le' me hear you say mass hysteria! Le' me hear you say Jim Bakker! Le' me hear you say Jerry Falwell! Le' me hear you say Oral Roberts! Le' me hear you say etc. etc etc.!

Le' me hear you say Christ Almighty there's a lot of it about!

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 22:36:44 UTC | #935575

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 8 by Cartomancer

Historical precedent would suggest that a strong stand by the political authorities, backed up by the judiciary, police and even the military, is absolutely vital in halting such a witch-craze phenomenon.

Anthropologists have suggested that witch-crazes are a sporadic and recurring human universal, triggered in times of crisis, upheaval and social anxiety. Which may well have some basis in the truths of human group psychology. But it seems plain that the witch craze can be stifled and curtailed by authorities (both popular and political) hostile to it or the flames fanned by authorities promoting it.

What is not widely known is that christian societies in the past have not been universally caught up with the idea of witchcraft, and the big hunts, pogroms and persecutions have emerged only in certain periods, such as the late 14th to late 17th centuries. In Charlemagne's Frankish empire of the late eighth and early ninth century it was actually a criminal offense to believe that witches existed and to persecute people by calling them such. This was the medieval church's official line, decided at the Council of Paderborn in 785. That it was felt necessary to make such laws in the High Middle Ages suggests that witch-fever was beginning to build. But if the following centuries are anything to go by, the measures taken to head off the popular belief in witchcraft seem to have worked. Throughout the Central Middle Ages, to the end of the fourteenth century, the idea of witches was considered laughable in learned society. The witch on a broomstick was a figure of fun, absorbed into popular festivities and merriment. Few civil or canon laws were passed against either witchcraft or witch-hunting, because it simply wasn't a big problem.

But toward the end of the fourteenth century there started to emerge charismatic radical hate clerics like Bernard of Siena, who attracted popular followings with their anti-witch rhetoric and even began to gain the ears of kings and popes. Innocent VIII eventually made witch-finding official papal policy in the 1480s, for which he commissioned witch-hunting manuals and put aside money to fund the effort. Secular rulers too, such as Christian IV of Denmark, James VI of Scotland and most Holy Roman Emperors, Counts and electors of the southern states got behind the effort. There were always people in Europe, such as Erasmus, Praetorius and Bekker, who wrote and spoke against the witch craze, who extolled common sense and compassion. But it was in the hands of popes, kings and princes to heed their words and take the action that needed taking. The intensity, duration and death toll of the witch craze in different areas and at different times seems to have been strongly affected by the attitudes of the authorities. It was much worse in England upon the succession of the Stuart kings, much worse in France in the 15th century, and much worse in Germany in the 16th-17th centuries. In pre-federal America it hit relatively independent New England worst, but avoided the strongly administered southern colonies where French and Spanish governance still held.

And now Nigeria stands on the precipiece, presented with a new Bernard of Siena on the one hand and a new Balthasar Bekker on the other. Let us hope and petition as strongly as we can that they do not prove themselves to be the Wisest Fools in Christendom.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 22:36:59 UTC | #935576

bewlay_brother's Avatar Comment 9 by bewlay_brother

@Comment 8, Cartomancer.

Thank you Cartomancer that was both interesting and illuminating.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 22:44:32 UTC | #935579

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 10 by rod-the-farmer

He always is...

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 22:50:44 UTC | #935580

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 11 by Zeuglodon

Comment 5 by Border Collie

"Freedom of religion is a human right and should be promoted, protected, defended and guaranteed. But inciting abuses or inflicting harm on people in the name of religion is a crime, and perpetrators should be punished."

I wish HItchens was still with us to respond to this. I simply can't come up with anything. I read it and my mind shorted out.

I'll have a stab: "What this ignominious sentence states is that it is perfectly acceptable for you to waste your intellectual faculties, so long as, in the process, you do not also waste a criminal court's valuable time."

Comment 8 by Cartomancer

Normally I avoid long posts, but in your case I gladly make exceptions. I wasn't aware of the fact that the early and mid Medieval period were times when witches weren't taken seriously. Did the witch-hunts emerge during times of economic shake-up, (say, during the Black Death), as it sounds rather similar to the ethnic minority scapegoating phenomenon of psychology, which documented such persecuting behaviour among racists in America during the Depression.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 23:05:57 UTC | #935582

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 12 by QuestioningKat

This is what happens when you mix Christianity with traditional African religions. We've seen similar effects with Catholicism mixed with African/voodoo. Religions mixed with certain cultures create bizarre beliefs and practices. Most people will retain many beliefs and practices though they embrace a new "religion."

Frequently, I find that I am able to tell the former religion of many atheists. :( People in general are not very good at change.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 23:13:23 UTC | #935584

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 13 by susanlatimer

Comment 8 by Cartomancer

Fascinating and pertinent. Thank you Cartomancer. Your posts are one of my favourite things about this site.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 23:50:42 UTC | #935594

squeegee's Avatar Comment 14 by squeegee

I literally feel ill reading articles like this and knowing that innocent people are going to be harmed or even killed because of the mindless, irresponsible dribble that these money hungry criminals spew out to the gullible.

Surely it's the responsibility of the Nigerian government to protect all of it's people from lunatics like this.?

Unless of course the government is largely made up of these cretins.

Either way I wish western democracies would put real pressure on these arseholes, or Western churches.....surely they have a real responsibility?

I know I know...I'm being naive.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 00:54:30 UTC | #935604

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 15 by Cartomancer

Did the witch-hunts emerge during times of economic shake-up, (say, during the Black Death), as it sounds rather similar to the ethnic minority scapegoating phenomenon of psychology, which documented such persecuting behaviour among racists in America during the Depression.

That seems to be one factor, yes. Though it would be more accurate to say that it was influenced by the economic and social aftermath of the Black Death, given that the event itself was so universal and cataclysmic as to be almost impossible to pin on convenient local scapegoats, and pretty much over by 1360. There was a lot more anti-semitic violence in Europe immediately after the plague, and Flagellantism became commonplace, leading to a greater openness to crazy hate preachers which wasn't there in the confident years of the Central Middle Ages. There were sporadic outbreaks of plague across Europe for the next 300 years of course, which didn't help.

Other contributory factors would include the dynastic instability of the Thirty Years War during the height of the German witch craze, the political repercussions of the fall of the Byzantine empire, the reformation and counter-reformation in general and, on an outside chance, perhaps climatic uncertainties during the "Little Ice Age" after 1350. The earlier, largely averted, Charlemagne-era uncertainty was probably in part a result of slavic migrations, viking activity and the islamic conquests in southern Europe..

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 01:10:25 UTC | #935607

Eyerish's Avatar Comment 16 by Eyerish

Evil, evil, evil. This pastor (and others) and his beliefs are truely vile. Apart from killing innocent children this nasy piece of wasted space is actively encouraging otherwise good people to do similar horrific things in the name of their religion.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 07:26:27 UTC | #935645

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 17 by Vorlund

Comment 15 by Cartomancer :

Did the witch-hunts emerge during times of economic shake-up, (say, during the Black Death), as it sounds rather similar to the ethnic minority scapegoating phenomenon of psychology, which documented such persecuting behaviour among racists in America during the Depression.

Other contributory factors would include the dynastic instability of the Thirty Years War during the height of the German witch craze, the political repercussions of the fall of the Byzantine empire, the reformation and counter-reformation in general and, on an outside chance, perhaps climatic uncertainties during the "Little Ice Age" after 1350. The earlier, largely averted, Charlemagne-era uncertainty was probably in part a result of slavic migrations, viking activity and the islamic conquests in southern Europe..

In England the notorious witch hunters Matthew Hopkin (a puritan) and his assistant John Stearne appeared during the political and religious chaos of the English Civil Wars. Hopkin was besides being a religious extremist an impoverished lawyer who also saw the benefit in charging for his services. He toured the country relying on the fact that there were enough supersititious and malicious people all too willing to denounce neighbours even over petty disputes.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 07:30:31 UTC | #935646

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 18 by justinesaracen

@ Cartomancer, Very interesting account of Europe's history with witches. May I excerpt from your essay in my Facebook discussions with friends?

Thanks for the info, in any case,

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 07:35:52 UTC | #935647

Metamag's Avatar Comment 19 by Metamag

Comment 5 by Border Collie :

"Freedom of religion is a human right and should be promoted, protected, defended and guaranteed. But inciting abuses or inflicting harm on people in the name of religion is a crime, and perpetrators should be punished."

Freedom of being scientifically illiterate and ignorant is a human right and should be promoted, protected, defended and guaranteed.

Hm, it doesn't make any sense when you stop PC-bullshitting yourself.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 07:44:07 UTC | #935648

mr_DNA's Avatar Comment 20 by mr_DNA

This has been going on for decades in Nigeria. However, the catalyst to the extreme violence against children of the last two decades can be traced back to the influence of American Pentecostal missionaries who have been distributing videos and leaflets encouraging the locals in this activity.

My personal belief is that those who can be proved to have done so should be brought before an international court and tried for crimes against humanity. Even the most conservative of estimates suggest that 400 children a year in Nigeria lose their lives after being accused of being a witch.

Theres an interesting link here on the Randi site about pentecostal influence in Nigeria

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1592-evangelical-churches-and-the-epidemic-of-witchcraft-accusations-part-2.html

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 08:24:16 UTC | #935655

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 21 by Alan4discussion

While god-beliefs are declining in the educated countries, they are expanding in fundamentalist forms in the backwaters of ignorance.

They are also returning to the more civilised world from time to time:-

1 March 2012 - A couple have been found guilty of murdering a teenager they had accused of using witchcraft.

Eric Bikubi, 28, and Magalie Bamu, aged 29, from Newham, east London, had denied killing Bamu's 15-year-old brother Kristy.

Kristy drowned in a bath on Christmas Day in 2010, during torture to produce exorcism, an Old Bailey jury heard.

Bikubi had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but the prosecution rejected his plea.

The pair, who are both originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, were remanded in custody and are due to be sentenced on Monday. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17040111

..

Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2012 at 7:03 PM - http://richarddawkins.net/articles/644488-notorious-nigerian-witch-hunter-to-preach-in-the-us

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:15:00 UTC | #935669

thebaldgit's Avatar Comment 22 by thebaldgit

Sadly as has been posted hear already the witch-hunter feeds on the supersitious and the fear of evil and death as we are seeing in Africa and it is manifesting itself in the red-top tabloid scare stories here in Britain.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:35:03 UTC | #935674

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 23 by strangebrew

i do but wonder if these 'heroes' have ever consulted the Malleus Maleficarum?

Kramer and Sprenger would be so proud that their fucking asinine sadistic insanity is alive & well & blooming in the present day world

But methinks these present day stalwart heroes of 'fighting the good fight' are not really serious or brave enough to confront the 'real' witches and their power this charming little pamphlet of the middle ages claim...even though it is highly unlikely that said witches actually exist or have ever existed.

No they prefer the easy succulent meat and the far easier money!

Kiddies and ignorant hysteria...now that is a cocktail that is a license to print enough green and crinkly for all the flash cars, best hotels and foreign vacation time in Christendom...for quite a few years as it happens!

And the 'moderate' church stands by wringing clerical handy pandies and gives them the nod and the wink all the same, probably a little envious as it 'appens!

The obvious insanity must have been spotted in seminary, if they went, and if they did not they are not clergy and have no protection from prosecution.

Someone must have recognised or recognise that these bunnies are rabid and shysters, yet do nothing, one wonders if the odd surreptitious kick back, or shall we call that a consultation fee, could be all that is required?

.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:50:36 UTC | #935692

SoManyStars's Avatar Comment 24 by SoManyStars

Who was it who said "The age of prophets is over, the age of neurological diseases is upon us."? Can't seem to find it but it applies here.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:10:16 UTC | #935696

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 25 by Reckless Monkey

When speaking to people who are Christians or are confronted with criticism for being strident we should simply ask them if they believe in witches and watch the moderates squirm and the fundamentalists reveal themselves for what they are.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:24:48 UTC | #935700

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 26 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Comment 6 by Rawhard Dickins :

"Kill" appears in the KJ bible 208 times according to the biblegateway.com

Small wonder that this young and no doubt indoctrinated pastor takes such a stance.

Indoctrinated? My arse! Follow the money..

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:50:40 UTC | #935725

Metamag's Avatar Comment 27 by Metamag

Does anyone remember that article(I think it was on this site) in which a known atheist said that god is the only way to save Africa, or something like that, and many atheists agreed with him?

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:40:12 UTC | #935732

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 28 by xmaseveeve

Was it Matthew Parris? Let's not forget that freedom of religion (including atheism) is a human right, Metamag. I believe in it.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 02:32:41 UTC | #935917

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 29 by Bipedal Primate

Comment 5 by Border Collie :

"Freedom of religion is a human right and should be promoted, protected, defended and guaranteed. But inciting abuses or inflicting harm on people in the name of religion is a crime, and perpetrators should be punished."

I wish HItchens was still with us to respond to this. I simply can't come up with anything. I read it and my mind shorted out.

What dou you mean? Do you disagree? Apart from thinking that freedom of religion should include freedom from religion, I don't see anything wrong with the statement.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 21:00:11 UTC | #936113