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Nigerian Christians join in witchhunts

18 December 2007

Witch hunting is a very ancient practice in Africa, but in the past it has not generally been something that Christians have engaged in.Western-initiated churches, which have been influenced by modernity, have tended to regard beliefs about witchcraft as superstition, and encouraged people to discard such views.

African-initiated churches have taken witchcraft beliefs seriously, but have generally urged witches to repent, and teried to rehabilitate them (whereas in pagan African society witches were often thought to be incorrigible and deserving only death).

But now new denominations, which appear to be mainly neopentecostal, seem to be persecuting suspected witches in a manner reminiscent of the Great European Witchhunt of early modern times.

clipped from
Evangelical pastors are helping to create a terrible new campaign of violence against young Nigerians. Children and babies branded as evil are being abused, abandoned and even murdered while the preachers make money out of the fear of their parents and their communities
Although old tribal beliefs in witch doctors are not so deeply buried in people’s memories, and although there had been indigenous Christians in Nigeria since the 19th century, it is American and Scottish Pentecostal and evangelical missionaries of the past 50 years who have shaped these fanatical beliefs. Evil spirits, satanic possessions and miracles can be found aplenty in the Bible, references to killing witches turn up in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Galatians, and literal interpretation of scriptures is a popular crowd-pleaser.

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Hat-tip to Monastic Mumblings.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kelli permalink
    29 February 2008 5:15 pm

    There is a way you can help the children if you
    would like. I have been researching this for a
    while and have created a blog with information
    and three petitions that can be signed protesting
    against the treatment of the children and the so
    called pastors that are extorting the parents of the
    children. Please consider signing them for the

    Children of Nigeria

    Thank you for posting this, the more the word
    about this gets out the better.

    Thank you,


  1. African witchhunts « Diane Vera

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