Friday, January 26, 2007

Witches in Ditches: Superstition continuing even with Christian influence

In Papua New Guinea fear concerning wtichcraft has been around for centuries. People have lost their lives for being involved with Witchcraft and/or allegedly cursing people. Curses from Witches are blamed for the occurence of HIV, and other diseases.

4 women were found in a ditch, and had been there for awhile. Their death was attributed to murder for the crime of being Witches. Supposedly they were blamed for a vehicle running off the road. Why have the old and powerless been the individuals persecuted for crimes such as this? Is the fact that they behave a little differently, and do things which may not make sense to others. Is it because they have more time on their hands, and appear to be gathering in their familiar little cliques, or is it that our superstitions simply find the easiest to blame?

I am not sure we are significantly different in America today. I think that perhaps we simply have laws which keep us from killing people we are afraid of.

I still wonder why we pick upon the poor, the old, the physically and mentally disabled, and the socially inept to direct our fear towards. This seems to be the opposite of Kingdom living, and loving.

Related News Story


SDC's_Angel said...

Why we react so harshly to those we view as being dramatically different from us is the human need to feel superior, to ignore the areas we are lacking in our own lives. And this goes back to the Pharisee discussion.

Good evening, Pastor. Seth was at the digital imaging place next to the church today and checked to see if you were there to say "hi". Sadly, I was not with him on his road trip today.

Hope you're having a peachy day! I'm stuck working at the bank until 7. BLAH!

Anonymous said...

I followed the link you provided. I agree with your last statement-why do we attack those who are least likely to fight back?

You are right-it is not loving as Christ loved!

Agent B said...

Good preaching.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Karen Angel,

A need to feel superior is one the sickest human responses I can think of. I certainly have seen it work in human hearts, but I find it as detestable as any characteristic imagineable.

I was in and out all day. I must have barely missed Seth.

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Christy,

I find it even stranger that we so fear those who are least likely to attack back, and make them the stories of our superstitions.

Pastor Phil said...

Agent B,

Thanks - grace atcha Tex bro.

Steve Hayes said...

It's something of a paradox. There is a sense in which witchcraft is a weapon of the poor and dispossessed. It's cheaper to hire a witch to deal with your enemies (and even more so to practise DIY witchcraft) than it is to hire the Mob. So on that level, the weak and powerless are more likely to practise witchcraft (and be suspected of practising it) than others.

On the other hand, it is very often the weak and powerless who believe that the rich and powerful got that way because they practised witchcraft. In our city the police have been investigating the disappearance of a four-year-old child about a year ago. A few weeks back the newspapers repored that the police believed that they had found her remains -- built into the walls of a hairdressing saloon. The owner appeared to believe that this would ensure the prosperity of the business.

Pastor Phil said...


Your observations are absolutely correct, and yet I can not help but wonder what similar things are done by the rich and powerful.

Kings and Presidents pursue astrology as a means of determining the future, and have turned to the occult in order to attempt manipulation of their people and their enemies.

I can not help but wonder also how certain use of money, and power amounts to a magical use of elements to get what one wants. The rich have this use of power, whereas the poor do not.

Steve Hayes said...


If you are interested in pursuing the subject, a good book to read is Modernity and its malcontents: ritual and power in post-colonial Africa by John and Jean Comaroff (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1993).

Pastor Phil said...


Thanks for the book suggestion!

beepbeepitsme said...

Superstitions can have a powerful influence on our cultures. One of the ones that has always interested me is the idea that the "left" is sinister and that the right is good.

The Right Hand Of God

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Beep-Beep,

Thanks for popping in. Yeah righty-tighty, lefty-loosey is a typical appproach to politics, theology, and many other disciplines.

Yet, I suppose both sides find ways to demonize one another.

You've got an extremely attractive, and provocative website!