Pagans Witches & Bad Reputations

Pagans and witches are frequently labeled “devil worshipers” despite the fact that Satan or the Devil is a Judeo-Christian-Muslim concept.

How did this mislabeling happen ?

The story begins with the early Hebrews. As with alot of people the Hebrews struggled to create and maintain their social and religious identity  in a harsh  environment during a period when they were embroiled in repeated Wars. The Hebrews believe they were the people chosen by their diety called Yehweh. As we can see in Genesis 12.3 Before Moses lead the Israelite’s out of Egypt ,he tells the Pharaoh that the plagues are coming “so you may know that the lord makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel . From Moses perspective Israel is favored Yahweh, and those outside Israel (The Egyptians) are not.  We can characterize this as and “Insiders and Outsiders” or and “Us and Them” worldview.

The worldwide view develops as a prominent these throughout the collection of Hebrews writings we know as the old testament

The sixth and seventh century BCE prophets carry the theme even further. These prophets suddenly substitute descriptions of Israel enemies with with enemies of deities, specifically their monsters and demons. That is instead of referring to their enemy’s as this or that tribe or city ,they refer to their enemy’s as monsters. Their enemies  are no longer people, but demons who must be crushed. This process is called demonetization.

 

In the same period the Jews characterize the religious belief and observance of their non Jewish neighbors as “abominations”

They describe them as fortune telling, soothsaying,charms, diving casting of spells, oracles,and consulting with the ghosts and spirits of the dead. However the Jewish over look the fact that their own religious practices involve prophesying by oracles  who frequently consult the dead leaders and prophets and who do indeed tell the fortunes and futures of others.

What  would be labelled as the casting of spells such as sending a plague of locusts when done by an outsider, is considered a miracle from God when accomplished by an insider. A problem with the them and us view is that it frequently condemns the behavior of outsiders and glorifies that of insiders even when their behavior is exactly the same

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medieval Witchcraft

In some cases, the priests were genuinely concerned about the souls of the ‘witches’ and burnt them alive for their salvation. The case of Joan of Arc, who was later canonized as Saint Joan is one of the most glittering examples of such acts of papal fanaticism. She was branded as a heretic or a witch and burnt alive on stake.