Witchcraft and sorcery

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Witchcraft in the Christian tradition is what women do when they use magic; such women are called witches. Male counterparts have been called wizards, sorcerers, warlocks (although this term is fraught with controversy), or simply witches.

Witches, it was and is imagined, are of two or three types.

  • White Witches used magic in good ways like healing sick people and were not necessarily bad.
  • Black Witches were women who had sold their souls to the devil. Unless they repented they would burn in Hell forever. While on Earth, black witches were more powerful than white witches.
  • Grey Witches were neither good nor bad. It is not clear how this fits in with the theology above.

Skeptics consider paranormal magic to be non-existent. If witches perform magic, then witches do not exist.

Contents

Mythology

It was believed that men could perform magic as well. In past centuries when very many people believed all this it was assumed that men were stronger than women. Therefore most wizards or sorcerers were more powerful than witches. Women were also considered more liable to temptation than men because Eve committed original sin before Adam. Therefore it was believed that witches were more common than wizards.

Witches in the Bible

The Bible commands the death of witches. Leviticus 20:27 Bible-icon.png

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

Exodus 22:18 Bible-icon.png

Commanding the death of something that does not exist is superfluous and an error in the Bible. There are also many prohibitions on the use of magic and divination, which also do not exist and are therefore redundant.

Witchcraft accusations and trials

Witch trials occurred between the 15th and 18th centuries in Europe and North America. It is estimated that between 40,000 to 100,000 people were executed for witchcraft. [1] This is an example of a religiously motivated atrocity.

Accusations of witchcraft continue to this day but are often politically motivated, as part of a grudge or to control women in society. In 2014, a UN official was detained in Libya because of the alleged use of black magic. [2] In India, a search of criminal records show that nearly 2100 people have been accused of witchcraft and killed between 2000 and 2012, however other estimates are higher. [3]

Modern New-agism

New-agism or Neo-Paganism has very many different interpretations. Feminism has influenced some sections of the New Age Movement. New Age “witches” may owe allegiance to some assumed pagan goddess or goddesses and do not see themselves as servants to the devil. For example there is a Celtic goddess with three aspects, the maid, the mother and the crone, [4] [5] this is about as rational or irrational as the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. Some sections of the New Age Movement believe that witches and wizards have different powers but neither is inferior to the other.

The right hand path and the left hand path

Today there is the concept of the left and right hand paths. There is significant disagreement as to their interpretation but broadly:

  • Those who try to use magic to do good are seen as following the “Right hand way.” The right hand way can also be seen as "Spiritual" rather than material.
  • Those who try to use magic to do harm are seen as following the “Left hand way.” [6] The left hand way can also be seen as "material". Not all occultists see the left hand way as evil magic but many do.

An alternative view is the Left Hand Path and Right Hand Path are distinct from good or bad magic.

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]

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