Should witchcraft be an accepted part of society?

You may find some of the scenes in this video disturbing.
This video is all over the Indian media. Five women were paraded naked, beaten and forced to eat human excrement by villagers who accused them of being witches.
In Nigeria, hundreds of children have been killed after being branded witches. Village tradition? Poverty? Or should we just accept that in some communities, believing in witches is just the norm?

24 Responses to “Should witchcraft be an accepted part of society?”

  1. 1 VictorK
    October 21, 2009 at 15:43

    Who is this question addressed to? It certainly wouldn’t be asked of any Western society, since the answer would be, ‘Of course not!’, most likely followed by, ‘Are you mad?’.

    I don’t see how believers in multiculturalism (the majority on this forum, I should guess) can say anything but, ‘Yes.’ If all cultures are equal and no one superior to another, then multiculturalists should celebrate the rich diversity that brings us the belief in witchcraft and the sadistic treatment of witches.

    (So, should multiculturalism be an accepted part of society?)

  2. 3 steve
    October 21, 2009 at 15:45

    I thought we got over this in the 17th century.. I suppose we should airdrop copies of the Crucible to these villages.

  3. October 21, 2009 at 16:06

    all the scenes were disturbing. I thought that that only happened in remote parts of Africa,shame on Indian government. Poverty,certainly not,one can be poverty striken and still have a moral/human sense.

    Europe believed in witchcraft for donkeys years and their punishments were a lot more sever,a lot more. Once again we are back to education and enlightenment. But it should never be accepted as normal anywhere on this globe. I weep for the witches.

  4. 5 patti in cape coral
    October 21, 2009 at 16:28

    I believe in the US Wiccan is accepted as a religion, not sure tho. Sometimes I wonder if people like to believe things about people so it gives them an excuse to behave brutally. I’m totally disgusted.

    • 6 Tom K in Mpls
      October 21, 2009 at 18:06

      patti, the Wiccans are as organized, formal and legally established as any other religion. Like the others they also own at least one publishing company to print texts and other things they need.

  5. 7 Chintan in Houston
    October 21, 2009 at 16:52

    I am always amazed when i still see such things that are happening in countries. You always read about stupid things that people do in every part of the world ie developing or developed.
    I call this ‘mob mentality’ where even though most people agree this is the worng thing they tend to buy into the popular belief.
    This is why we need the news so bad so that such news are brought to people’s attention, showing how horrible these things are and the people who perpetuate this hatred be prosecuted.

    I love the NEWS!! This is real reporting and not the child that flew off in a helium balloon which was news when it came out and then it became a media harrasement.

  6. 8 Kate M.
    October 21, 2009 at 16:56

    Why on earth not? All other major religions and beliefs are accepted.

  7. 9 VictorK
    October 21, 2009 at 17:08

    @Patti: in other words there are witches. Accusations of witchcraft aren’t always baseless. It’s sharing their delusion and taking witches seriously that causes problems. Satanists (who can be found a-plenty in Western societies) are similarly deluded, but it would be advisable to keep an eye on them in certain situations. After all, they gladly admit to worshipping the Prince of Evil. You don’t have to believe in their black theology to understand their potential danger.

    • 10 patti in cape coral
      October 21, 2009 at 17:54

      Agreed Victor, there are witches. Considering the harm most, if not all religions have inflicted on the world, I think we need to take all of them seriously, including wiccan, satanism, christianity, judaism, islam, etc.

  8. 11 Tom K in Mpls
    October 21, 2009 at 17:34

    Witches, or Wiccans are a respected and established religion in the US, and I believe in most of the industrialized nations. This is simply a case of persecution. As in most cases of persecution, it is based in the fear found in ignorance. It is also usually very convenient for someone.

    Also, if someone can prove that their religion is the right one, please let me know.

  9. 12 Ibrahim in UK
    October 21, 2009 at 17:34

    First there is the assumption that witchcraft is not already being practiced in society. Wicca is already a religion and it’s not against the law to practice it.
    The real question is should we allow street mobs to be judge jury and executioner and deal out punishment, even if witchcraft or whatever they’re objecting to on the day, is actually illegal.

  10. 13 nora
    October 21, 2009 at 17:39

    The problem is the mob, not the witch.

  11. 14 Josiah Soap
    October 21, 2009 at 18:03

    Witch craft and witches have been around in different cultures for time and memorial. Often people are just scapegoats, something for the mob to take its fury out on. In other cases the witch hunts have been used to get rid of people who don’t tow the line or conform to that particular societal norm. We may feel disdain or despise these examples shown here on WHYS. But there are modern witch hunts going onto today in our society. Sure we do not burn people alive, but we publicly ridicule them, fine them or end their careers. These “witches” are those who have their own opinion and dare to speak out against the rule of political correctness – you know the ones we call bigots, racists, nazi’s and homophobes. This is our modern-day witch hunt.

  12. 15 David
    October 21, 2009 at 18:37

    wrong question: it’s not whether witchcraft should be accepted, but whether harassment, beating, torture, vigilante retribution should be accepted.

  13. 16 vijay pillai
    October 21, 2009 at 18:40

    Sorry that it was acceptable few centuries ago when the science has not advanced and people practiced voodoo medicine and manipulate undeducated villagers. If hindus practice similar ways like astrology which is also form of manipulation based on the day of birth and so on .There is no end to it. it is abing business but sacrificing human being specially chidren must be outlawed worldwide immediately and ghe perpertators brought to justice and rid the menace of whichcraft from the earth.

  14. October 21, 2009 at 20:15

    I don’t care if the belief in witchcraft is an essential part of the African world-view. Any belief that seeks to justify violence or abuse against alleged witches (whether real or imagined) must be challenged. One should not use culture or belief to justify violence and murder.

    Read: Witchcraft: superstition or religion?

    Advocate for an end to witch-hunts! Don’t pat the murderer on the back and say, “oh its ok because your religion / culture says you may attack, maim and murder just because you believe someone has bewitched you”.

    For centuries Witches have lived in the shadows of other people’s religion; between the lines of mythology, folklore and deliberately constructed propaganda. In the 21st century, Witches don’t exist because superstitious folk believe in our existence, and we won’t disappear if people decide we are merely figments of their imagination.

  15. 18 Sade
    October 21, 2009 at 21:29

    It is not the belief; it is the people practicing the belief that is the problem. So, in this case, the people in the religion that hated witches are the problem, not the witches.

  16. 19 Halima
    October 21, 2009 at 21:51

    I do not think it is a question of accepting or not accepting witches. I think there is a question of human rights. It is wrong to persecute people for their beliefs, however silly we might find them. On the other hand if someone’s beliefs require that they murder, or torture someone else out of fear, or a belief within their religion that such people should be tortured or harmed – they cross a line and that element of religion has to be banned.
    What was done to those women in India was wrong. Easy for me to say in my comfortable Western home, but I will still say it.

  17. 20 viola
    October 21, 2009 at 23:09

    Mistreating other human beings the way that woman was treated is despicable, plain and simple. As one of the other posters says, it was a mob that did it and I note that the mob appeared to be composed of ordinary human beings. That is the frightening thing. It is the reason I was as a child frightened of self-righteous individuals who feel they have a God-given right to judge everyone else, find them wanting, and administer punishment. Don’t kid yourselves that such a thing could never happen to you.

    The question WHYS asks implies our right to not accept the rights of others, who in this case happen to be described as witches. Yes, unequivocally, yes, so-called witches have a right to their own beliefs. They should be subject to the same laws as everyone else is, not to mob law. If the woman in the video did not break the law of the land, that mob surely did. Where are the brave people who are willing to stand up to such ignorant behavior? Where were the police? Was there an outcry against such barbarity?

  18. 21 Henry Nyakoojo, Kampala
    October 22, 2009 at 13:32

    Unfortunately there are people who are sold on this witchcraft thing, including I might add acquaintances of mine who are “well” educated and extremely religious. And I do not agree as some have suggested on this board that witchcraft is an African thing. Was there not a claim recently by a Spaniard that he or she was asked to cast a spell on footballer Ronaldo of Real Madrid? This happened in our “very enlightened” west and both all parties involved were presumably westerners and even possibly Christians.

    I am myself an African. I believe in neither the power of witchcraft nor that of an allmaighty deity. I am atheist and metaphysics of any kind is not for me. But just as I tolerate those who want to believe in what for me is a nonexistent God, I will let those who fool and delude themselves with witchcraft and wizardry. But neithe religious fanatics, nor practitioners of harmless witchcraft should be subjected to extrajuducial punishments.

  19. 22 Mamerito Uganda
    October 22, 2009 at 16:53

    In some societies which use witchcraft for good reasons, it should be accepted. Say the rain makers. However some people practice it excessively to the extent of killing fellow human being, animals and plants. Then such practitioners should be executed

  20. October 22, 2009 at 17:26

    Should Christians or Musilms who practice their religion excessively also be executed Mamerito?

    Your characterization of Witches as criminals and as harmful to the communities in which they live is based on nothing more than cultural urban legend and gossip.

  21. 24 Dennis Junior
    October 23, 2009 at 12:15

    Krupa Thakrar:

    Village tradition? (Maybe…I will give that much credit)

    Poverty? (Yes…Where is the colleration between poverty and witchcraft)

    Or should we just accept that in some communities, believing in witches is just the norm? (No)

    =Dennis Junior=

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