I was spiritually deceived by witchcraft
This belief in possession by evil spirits has been promulgated in Africa by western missionaries of fundamentalist, particularly Pentecostal, Christian beliefs. It has enabled Africans to retain a modified version of their former beliefs in witchcraft, obtaining the approval and support of Satan-hunting Christians whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of evil. New churches, started by Africans with a self-proclaimed "divine mission", have sprung up everywhere. These churches do not "control" witchcraft beliefs, although they encourage and profit from them.
- Humanism and Secularization: From Petrarch to Valla (Duke Monographs in Medieval and Renaissance Studies).
- Breaking the Power of Witchcraft.
- Don Quixote in 30 Minutes or Less?
Nor is it true to say that it is only as witchcraft escapes from the control of the church that it becomes evil; witchcraft is evil from the beginning. Some people may feel protective of Christianity, but Christianity is at fault here.
The pastors of independent African churches may identify children as witches for a fee and are prepared to "cure" them for a further fee by exorcising the evil spirits. Such exorcisms are often violent; beating and the use of cold water to cleanse and purify the possessed being is common in many Congolese churches and elsewhere in Africa, too. A recent change is the accusation of children, who may be singled out by parents or other caretaking adults for a variety of reasons that distinguish them from among others in the household: bad dreams, bed-wetting, children who are cleverer or stupider, who have different likes and dislikes — almost anything can be the symptom of a possessing evil spirit.
Often, the accused are outsiders — either stepchildren or refugees in the chaotic postwar Congolese state; trafficked children or child soldiers. Once suspected, the "witch" must usually be made to "confess". Denial of accusations is not acceptable, but ensures further efforts are made. Much of the violence of exorcisms in the African-led churches may be the result of attempts to force "confessions" from suspects. Many children are easy to persuade.
During the panic about Satanic abuse , it became obvious that children's answers to questions under pressure were unreliable evidence: children may agree that they are witches to end their ordeals. Violence may also be used to induce the evil spirit to leave the body of the possessed.
It must be understood that to believers, even the body of a small child that has been identified as a witch is no longer a human being, but a shell within which a frightening demon or other spirit is lurking. If this dwelling is made sufficiently uncomfortable then the spirit will leave. Fasting, abstention from all liquid, lack of sleep are all ordeals designed to facilitate confession and force the evil spirit out of a purified body.
Hidden Agenda: Breaking Christian Witchcraft
It is the spirit that is being attacked, not the person. Most African politicians do not see the issue of child witches as of primary importance, although the state governor of Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria has passed a law making it illegal to accuse a child of witchcraft unfortunately with very little effect. Some politicians believe they are suffering a scourge of witchcraft, and understand the problem quite differently. Pick Me Up.
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Witchcraft belief is a curse on Africa
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