Witchcraft Becomes Popular—Is It Dangerous?
IN RECENT times the practice of witchcraft has reared its head in sophisticated society. Witchcraft or sorcery, of course, is nothing new.
The Bible mentions sorcerers as well as magic-practicing priests in Egypt back in the sixteenth century B.C.E. (Ex. 7:11) During the Middle Ages in Europe, those suspected of witchcraft were put to death. However, for centuries witchcraft and voodoo have been more or less freely practiced in Africa, Asia, South America and islands of the sea as major religions.
But what is the reason for its prominence and increasing acceptance in Western countries, such as the United States, where, according to one report, there are “tens of thousands . . . dabbling in Satanism, witchcraft, voodoo and other forms of black or white magic”?
Mysticism, witchcraft and the occult have presented a strong appeal to youth. They are quite common on the college campus today. One investigator claims that there is “at least one witch and sometimes a coven, or organized assembly of witches,” on each campus. While only a minority of the students actually engage in witchcraft rites, many view it with favor. They say they are searching for something to hold onto, that they need to be recognized, wanted and loved. They feel, as they say, the need to ‘return to the sacred.’
CHURCHES, SCIENCE FAIL TO SUPPLY NEED
Why, then, have these youths not gone back to the organized religions of Christendom? As reported by Dr. Andrew M. Greeley, a Roman Catholic priest who is in the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago, one student voiced the reason when he said:
“Who in the world would expect to find anything sacred in the churches?”
But have not science and the rationalistic, materialistic approach given the answers? No. In fact, their failure is cited as one of the strongest reasons for the ‘return to the sacred.’ As another student expressed himself:
“Let’s face it, science is dead. While the newspapers and magazines were giving all the attention to the death of God, science was really the one that was dying.”
“Science hasn’t ended war, it hasn’t ended injustices, and it doesn’t respond to most of man’s needs.”
We cannot deny the fact that man’s needs and problems cannot be met by materialistic philosophy. By no means all the things man needs are suppliable by modern-day computerized science. Man has a spiritual side to his life, an awareness that there are powers superior to himself. He must have a reason for living, and a hope. He must also have love, which finds no place in materialistic philosophy. And since Christendom’s religions have become an integral part of this materialistic world, they too have failed to bring any real answers. They have not come to grips with reality. Said a student:
“What we’re really concerned about is whether anything is real, I mean, whether it is really real. Is there something that is so powerful that it can even make us real?”
In this search, have those turning to witchcraft or the occult found the answer? Or is there a real danger in getting involved in these things, even to experiment with them? A warning to all who dabble in witchcraft is contained in the words of Dr. Greeley, who says: “Satanism can be dangerous, as the Manson case and other ritual murders should make clear.”
Some of those professing witchcraft claim they practice “white magic,” but avoid “black magic.” (Black magic includes casting harmful spells, conducting rituals or making potions to harm others.) Nevertheless, there is a great deal of similarity between much of their ritual and that of the ‘black magicians,’ many of whom are “Satanists.” Witchcraft’s degrading peril was pointed out by one of the “black magic” witches himself, who admitted that witchcraft “can be extremely dangerous even if you don’t believe in it. . . . It can freak you out simply because it renounces God and brotherhood and every good concept that is natural in a person.”
There is danger from many directions for those engaging in any form of witchcraft. Often their leaders merely want to exploit them. The witch is not really concerned with those on whom he practices his art. One expressed the true nature of the practice when he said: “I’ve found I have more power over people from it. You can con them and play games with them. It’s an excellent ego trip.”
More than this, there is strong probability that those dabbling in witchcraft will be drawn into the use of drugs and into degraded, immoral and disgusting sex practices. Above all, they are in the greatest peril of coming completely under the control of the demons, where they may commit almost any crime, including suicide or murder, or may go insane.
Are these “demons” actual persons, real personalities? Or are they mere forces of evil in man, as some say? Let no one be deceived into thinking they are not actual persons. The Bible corroborates what has been said about the dangers involved in witchcraft and gives us definite identification of the demons. It shows that the demons are spirit persons, chief of whom is Satan the Devil. Some may deny his existence, which makes them more vulnerable to his deceptions. Belief in God’s Word is a safeguard, “that we may not be overreached by Satan, for we [who believe what that Word says] are not ignorant of his designs.”—2 Cor. 2:11.
ORIGIN OF THE DEMONS
The Bible makes clear that Satan is the archenemy of God and man. God’s Son, who had been alongside his Father in heaven before coming to earth, had seen and encountered the Devil personally. He called Satan “the father of the lie.” (John 8:44; 17:5; Job 1:6; Jude 9) This one rebelled against God, challenging God’s sovereignty and inducing the original human pair to sin. (Gen. 3:1-5) In the days of Noah, before the global flood, an unstated number of other angels also pursued a rebellious course, leaving their position in God’s service and their proper place in the invisible spirit realm. They took on human bodies in order to indulge a perverted passion, marrying humans though they themselves were from the spirit realm. (Gen. 6:4, 5) This explains why the rituals of witchcraft are so often accompanied by nudity, fertility symbols and dances, even sex orgies.
The apostle Peter wrote: “God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tartarus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment.” Peter goes on to speak of God’s destruction of that demon-corrupted pre-Flood world. (2 Pet. 2:4, 5) Jesus’ half brother Jude also spoke of the judgment passed on these angels, saying: “The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place [God] has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6) They have not been allowed by God to have any further divine enlightenment and service assignment, and are restricted. There is evidence that, since the Flood, they have not been able to materialize, but, in order to indulge their perverted desire for fleshly connections, they have possessed or inhabited and controlled humans. When God’s Son Jesus Christ was on earth, he encountered such possessed persons in pitiful condition and healed them, expelling the demons.—Matt. 12:22; Mark 5:1-6.
The resurgence of witchcraft, voodooism and other forms of demonism in these times is truly a fulfillment of the Scriptural description of the “last days” of this system of things. The demons know they are soon to be destroyed, and so whip up violence and corruption in the earth in order to carry everyone to destruction with them, if possible.—2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rev. 12:9, 12; Matt. 8:29-32; Mark 1:23, 24.
GOD PROTECTS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN
Should the true Christian living in a community where witchcraft or voodoo is practiced fear the god or demon worshiped, or the witch? No, for “the name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” (Prov. 18:10) Jehovah the Almighty God is the One who has sentenced the demons to destruction. The true Christian, therefore, by prayer to Jehovah in Christ’s name can rely on that power to protect him from any demon or any spell cast by a witch. God’s Word the Bible comfortingly tells us: “The angel of Jehovah is camping all around those fearing him, and he rescues them.”—Ps. 34:7.
Accordingly, one putting trust in God will take the course that Jehovah’s witnesses take in all parts of the earth. They do not cringe in fear or follow the customs of the fearful ones around them. They follow the Bible command: “This is what Jehovah has said: ‘Do not learn the way of the nations at all, and do not be struck with terror . . . For the customs of the peoples are just an exhalation.”’—Jer. 10:2, 3.
For instance, in Africa the children of Jehovah’s witnesses are not seen with black and white threads on their necks or wrists to protect them from the god “Sambio.” They do not join the villagers in breaking off branches of trees, throwing stones or cursing, to prevent certain night birds called “witch birds” from resting in the trees, in order to keep death from striking the village. Christians know that these birds are God’s creations, coming forth in the nighttime to search for insects or rodents. Neither do they refrain from catching so-called “sacred” fish to eat. They have ignored the local custom and have recognized the local gods as really no gods at all, and such worship as worship of demons. (Gal. 4:8; 1 Cor. 10:20; Jer. 16:20; Ps. 96:5) The village people have waited expectantly for the Witnesses to die. But when they did not die, many of the people began to listen to Bible truth from the Witnesses and have broken free from their superstitious bondage.
An example of the freedom with which the truth has set thousands of persons free from witchcraft and superstition is a man named Fallah John, formerly a fetish priest who headed a secret African bush society. He relates:
“I exercised tremendous influence among my elders and among people in many villages over a wide area in our chiefdom. I had uncanny power and strength to fight up to twenty-five persons at one time. My ‘medicine’ was partly made with a portion of a cremated human body. Because of this special power given me by the demons I was especially fond of fighting and was esteemed, yet dreaded, by my fellow tribesmen. When Jehovah’s witnesses came with the Bible message and explained who Jehovah is and what his purpose is, I accepted their invitation to have a Bible study in my home. I came to know that Jehovah’s power is far superior to that of Satan and his demons. It was not long before I made up my mind that instead of being a devil’s priest, I wanted to serve Jehovah and draw on his strength.”
Fallah John is now serving as a full-time pioneer minister of Jehovah’s witnesses. He is now a peacemaker.
Today many persons see the failure of this world’s religions and philosophies. They are hunting for something that gives them a firm hope. Jehovah’s witnesses have made such a search, and they have found something real to believe in. They enjoy associations in which they are wanted and loved. Outsiders, observing their local and international assemblies, have remarked on the peace, unity and brotherhood of the Witnesses as, from all races and backgrounds, they gather and work together. One who visited an assembly in North Carolina, viewing “the higher ratio of ethnic mixture than most other religious groups,” wrote: “The business of ‘brother and sister’ is not pretended.” “They witness to a happy deity,” commented a staff writer for the Shreveport, Louisiana, Journal. And the news director of an Atlanta, Georgia, radio station concluded: “Your young folks not only have answers about the Bible, but they also have answers concerning the drug problem.”
Jehovah’s witnesses have found that which thousands of disillusioned young people are actually seeking. Why not visit the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in your community, to see for yourself? You will be warmly welcomed, and will be under no obligation but to listen to the educational, upbuilding discussion of the things that lead to life and peace.