On this site, I often, along with readers, compare the relationship between the good and the bad done around the world by those in the Christian faith. The good is widely publicized. The famous bad things, wars and invasions, are mostly known. Not discussed as often has been the role of the faith in witchcraft.
I once visited a witchcraft museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Among those leading the accusations of witchcraft were Christian ministers.
I read an article today about the role of the Pentacostal branch of the faith in Africa and its considerable involvement in witchcraft. While mainline denominations have been working in Africa for a century, Pentacostalism fits the culture better than any other branch of the faith. It is galloping across the continent.
In both historic Salem and contemporary Africa, money is involved. In Salem, the victim’s assets were taken and sold. Accusers divided up the money. In Pentacostal churches of Africa, ministers charge families large sums for casting out demons that are the cause of witches.
Belief in witches must certainly be part of the cultural setting of where it appears. It existed in ancient Europe and crossed the Atlantic to Salem. Indigenous rural Africa retains ancient beliefs in spirits we cannot understand.
When Christianity shows up , a preoccupation with something called “the Devil” fits well into cultures prewired for witchcraft. It’s an easy transition from the literal “Devil” to being “possessed by demons”.
It becomes a religion of the broom and the cross.