Talk:Witchcraft

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Inquisition?

This article looks like it has been copied from a 15th century inquisition guidebook.

Can someone who's knowledgeable on this subject insert something on which burnings, and witchcraft in other cultures/religion, besides Medieval Christian Europe? MiddleMan


Middleman, I have attempted to make factual changes, however I have been accused by another contributor as adding personal bias. If you have any ideas, i'm happy to listen to them! --Mistress 21:44, 22 May 2007 (EDT)

Witchcraft and the truth

I have been watching this discussion for some time now. And I must say I am really amazed at what I have seen going on. I have watched as others repeatedly tried to explain that a witch is not evil and seen them be blocked from posting again. I have also read where this site is supposed to be based on the truth. Well if that is so why are the posts from ones that are telling the truth being banned? What do you not want the truth told? A witch is NOT evil. A witch does not worship the devil. Satanists worship the devil. A witch does not even believe in the devil. A witch might believe in Baal, an underworld god or a witch might believe in Gaia, the earth or a witch might believe in Hecate. the goddes of childbirth, but you will never hear a witch say she believes in the devil. I am also amazed at the christian undertones that are raging through this discussion. Is this a decision on what witchcraft truly is? Or is it a discussion based on Christian belief? I remember reading in the bible in Matthew 7:1 Judge not lest ye be judged. It would seem to me a lot of judging and casting of the first stone is being done in this discussion. I am also sure my ip address will be blocked by the time this posts. That is a shame because this could have been a good discussion with a chance at real knowledge being shared. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ladyinred58 (talk)

You claim that witches are not evil, and you claim that to be the truth, but all we appear to have is your word for that. On the other hand, we also have claims (in the Bible) that witchcraft is "evil" (i.e. wrong). So why should we believe you over the Bible? You are taking Matthew 7:1 out of context, by the way, as bibliosceptics typically do. Philip J. Rayment 10:46, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
Actually I am far from a sceptic on the bible. As for taking Matt 7:1 out of context, I truly believe that in this context it is correct. How can any of us judge a witch to be evil unless we are truly free of evil ourselves. Doesn't Matt 7:2-5 say "2.For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. 3.And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4.Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye? 5.Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." Doesn't this mean that we should free ourselves from evilness before we state another is evil?" ladyinred58 11:26, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
First, my apologies for putting my message in a way that could be misunderstood. I normally avoid saying that a person is evil, as distinct from their actions. Not that I said that witches were evil, but that could be inferred from my comments.
Having said that, though, I didn't actually say that we should judge a witch to be evil. I said that the Bible says that witchcraft is evil. If we can't "judge" something to be evil on the basis of what the Bible declares to be evil, then as long as we are still sinners (which we are until we die), we can't "judge" anything at all, yet as the following verses that you quoted indicate, we can judge, as long as we don't do so hypocritically. We would be hypocritical to judge witchcraft as evil if we were practising witchcraft, but not if we are "merely" sinners/evil in a different way.
Philip J. Rayment 22:38, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

You say that "You claim that witches are not evil, and you claim that to be the truth, but all we appear to have is your word for that" - if you or anyone else wants proof, talk to a few witches. Find out what they're all about and what witchcraft actually is, or even look it up on the internet - better yet, visit | Witchvox's FAQ pageand read up on what you're discussing here. You seem like a reasonable guy, and I think you might learn a few new things if you open your mind and ask some questions. --LunarStorm 06:13, 24 May 2007 (EDT) (I'm sorry about my awful linking)

Sorry if this seems harsh, but how do we know that we can trust the witches to tell the truth? The point is, I come from a perspective that God has told us that witchcraft is wrong, so if it's a case of choosing between what God has said and what witches say, then I'll choose the omniscient, infallible God any day.
Of course that view is based on the view that God really is omniscient and infallible, but given that presumption, then I hope that you can see that the rest naturally follows.
Philip J. Rayment 07:53, 24 May 2007 (EDT)
Perfectly understandable viewpoint Phillip. The article still reads like a weird rant with no references to scripture and no history or anything though. Fingermouse 07:58, 24 May 2007 (EDT)
I'm not for one moment suggesting that the current article is satisfactory or that it couldn't do with improvement. Philip J. Rayment 08:41, 24 May 2007 (EDT)
Doesn't the wicca article look much better or shouldn't this article simply redirect to the wicca article. I am definitely no expert on this. Maybe, someone more knowledgable should sort out the differences --schifra 13:25, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

That's a real catch-22 - witches are not liars because they're witches, but you won't believe that because a witch tells you. It amazes me you believe something like that, and I really hope you learn better one day. Finally, the Bible is a book written by men - as in it wasn't faxed down as it is today from Heaven by God himself (I say 'faxed' for lack of a better word). I really don't want to discuss the can of worms that opens because I'm not here trying to discredit your whole religion, just to try and bring some fact to this 'article' everyone's locked out of. --LunarStorm 08:23, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

The point that I was trying to make is that what one believes about this issue (as with many issues) depends on other beliefs, such as those that comprise one's worldview. My comments above, as Fingermouse apparently understands, is entirely consistent with my worldview, but inconsistent with your worldview. The solution is to find some common ground and build on that. But your view that the Bible is a book written by men (as though that's all it is, and it is therefore fallible), is not that common ground, because that is part of your worldview and not part of mine.
I can understand that you don't want to open that "can of worms", but unless you do, we will remain with different views of witchcraft, because each of our views are inexorably based on our respective worldviews. If you want to discuss the validity of witchcraft, then you must start from the point of divergence, which is different worldviews. Anything else is futile. Of course, it is your decision whether or not you choose to discuss it at all.
Philip J. Rayment 08:41, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

"Witchcraft" article content

The content of this article is a disgrace to this "encyclopedia" - there is no truth to be found about witchcraft in this piece of writing, save that the word 'witchcraft' is spelled correctly. In undoing the alleged "biased vandalism", you have erased actual correct information. Perhaps one day you'll find out the truth - I hope it's sooner rather than later, so you can stop misinforming the world. Open your mind and consider the possibility you may be wrong. --LunarStorm 22:52, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

I suggest dividing it up: a section for info about christian views of witchcraft, and after that, a more encycloepdic entry about the history of witchcraft, including the inquisition, the burnings, the Salem stuff etc. FreakyM 07:06, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

Excellent idea - everyone that visits can then differentiate between subjective, religion-influenced views and fact. Very good thought. --LunarStorm 07:13, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

A properly structured article would be infinitely preferable to the current weird rant. Where is the history? What does the Bible actually say? Where are the references to scripture? How has witchcraft been viewed through the ages? Properly researched and written, this has the potential to be a great historical article. Fingermouse 07:41, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

Yes, just be sure to put the Bible-oriented point of view in *first*- considering this IS Conservapedia after all- but both part´s lenght should be about the same, as to not discriminate between either point of view. A subtle (or not-so subtle) conservative bias is OK, as long as there IS another point of view present, too. Thus, the reader is given several points of view, and they can thus construct their own. FreakyM 07:48, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

LunarStorm, what makes you think that the "religion-influenced view" is subjective? Surely if the omniscient God has told us that something is the case, you can't get much more objective than that? Philip J. Rayment 07:56, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

Religion is something believed by someone - a personal opinion on the universe, you could say. Because of this, written pieces like this 'article', that are influenced by religion, are subjective. --LunarStorm 08:27, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

As I've just posted above, if you want to debate something like this, you need to start from common ground and build from there. That Christianity (which is the "religion" in question here) is merely a personal opinion is not that common ground, because you and I both have different views on that. For me, Christianity is simply acknowledgement that God is real and as described in the Bible. That is, we are not talking about subjective beliefs, but about truth-claims. Is God real or not? Did He actually declare witchcraft to be wrong, or not? If the answers to those questions are Yes He is and Yes He did, then it naturally follows that witchcraft is wrong. But so many bibliosceptics fail to address those questions, instead avoiding those questions by claiming, as though it is accepted or self-evident (neither of which is the case), that Christianity is merely a subjective belief. Philip J. Rayment 08:47, 24 May 2007 (EDT)
Evidently I can't change your mind - maybe someday you'll accept witchcraft isn't evil, and I hope you do. I won't be wasting my time on Conservapedia anymore, but I hope you'll discover something that opens your mind and makes you ask questions. --LunarStorm 00:58, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
And maybe someday you'll accept Jesus as your personal saviour, and I hope you do. Philip J. Rayment 02:58, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

Just noticed, it´s kind of useless to plan adding in a history section or similar, when the article has been protected. A great discussion indeed, when only one side of the discussion actually has the right to edit the article. Thus, You Win, I Lose, and will now keep my mouth shut for the time being. Useless arguing hurts my head, I rather contribute something. -> FreakyM 08:57, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

A healthy debate may well lead to a good, encyclopedic article, it's what the Talk pages are here for. It may well take longer but will prevent edit conflicts and will give everyone a chance to have their say. Fingermouse 09:30, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

I at the very least request from PJ Rayment that he add in a section mentioning the witch-burnings that took place during the medieval period, a link to the Salem Witch Hunt article, which I believe to be a suitable warning of what can happen when matters get out of hand- if you notice, they actually went and executed a girl of the age of 4 years. FreakyM 00:42, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

When I suggested that you make requests here for sysops to add content to the article, I was meaning supplying the specific text. I will add the link, but not the rest until I have some specific text that I can copy in (although I'm not promising to automatically put whatever you write, of course). Philip J. Rayment 02:58, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

I'm Wiccan and I practice witcraft. I don't really consider myself to be evil. My reasoning behind joining and editing sites on conservapedia is that I'm also a geek and I like helping people out on the net (the site looked like it needed help with some computer related things...). Anyway... I don't beleive in your god at all although I do go to a Catholic high school and have may Christian friends. I find your religion interesting and, although I don't like the church, I don't mind any of you.--Dramian1337 00:19, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

Something I Noticed

"You can and are encouraged to make this article better by contributing. Please add factual and verifiable content, edit phrases to make them non problematic, or make this article more grammatically correct. Please remember to abide by The Conservapedia Commandments in your actions, though."

It's impossible to add factual and verifiable content, edit phrases to make them non-problematic or correct grammar when the article is protected.NSmyth 02:32, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

You have two options: Ask the locking sysop to unlock the article, or propose changes on this page so that a sysop can add the changes for you. Philip J. Rayment 08:49, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

Thankyou Phillip for giving some guidelines to use as response.

I m unsure how to make my response non problematic as the topic deals with something most often related to personal perception, making an alternative view problematic in that it may be misconstrued as argumentative.

To this end I am including a few quotes from sources I consider both informed and respected rather than simply voicing my opinion.

Witchcraft the exercise or invocation of alleged supernatural powers to control people or events, practices typically involving sorcery or magic. Although defined differently in disparate historical and cultural contexts, witchcraft has often been seen, especially in the West, as the work of crones who meet secretly at night, indulge in cannibalism and orgiastic rites with the Devil, and perform black magic. Witchcraft thus defined exists more in the imagination of contemporaries than in any objective reality. Yet this stereotype has a long history and has constituted for many cultures a viable explanation of evil in the world. The intensity of these beliefs is best represented by the European witch-hunts of the 14th to 18th century, but witchcraft and its associated ideas are never far from the surface of popular consciousness and—sustained by folk tales—find explicit focus from time to time in popular television and films and in fiction. (Source - Encyclopedia Britanica Online)


While this is not perhaps a definitive explanation of Witchcraft I think it makes some interesting points and raises some issues in relation to the conservapedia article (http://www.conservapedia.com/Witchcraft)

The main issue being a non factual statement in the first sentence of said article.

While Witchcraft may indeed include the use of "black Magic" it is not the same thing, nor is it necessary to practice "Black Magic" in order to practice Witchcraft.

In order to be a more factual and acturate article, may I suggest it be worded more factually thus: "Witchcraft is the practice of magic, including Black Magic...." Magic being defined as: A concept used to describe a mode of rationality or way of thinking that looks to invisible forces to influence events, effect change in material conditions, or present the illusion of change. (Source - Encyclopedia Britanica Online)

The second issue I would raise is the use of the word Evil in the conservapedia article. To define any religious practice thusly is to make a judgement of the intention of the practitioner. Quite ok when one is sharing one's religious views, but perhaps not quite balanced when one is presuming to make a stated fact for encyclopedic use. Personally I don't believe all modern witches have malicious or evil intent when practicing magic (based on the conservapedia definition of evil: "Evil is defined as taking advantage of another person for one's own benefit." http://www.conservapedia.com/Evil)

While this may indeed be one use for magic, it is not customarily used by modern witches solely for this purpose. The Wiccan creed states: "Do as Ye Will and Harm Ye None" signifying an intention to not harm or cause harm to another person.

The next issue I would raise would be the sentence: "especially with malevolent intent"

Based on the above statement of intent from the wiccan creed, I would dare argue that this is not actually correct. Perhaps a more factual statement would be: "Witchcraft can be used with malevolent intent". Malevolent being defined as 1.having or exibiting ill will;wishing harm to others; malicious. 2.having an evil or harmful influence (source http://www.thefreedictionary.com/malevolent)

Thankyou for taking the time to share your views and to place this article, and to allow input and changes as necessary. I would like to suggest to the sysop that perhaps the article could begin with "Witchcraft as defined from a Christian (Or Judeo Christian) perspective is... then the article need not be changed as it would be factual and correct.

With Love and Pure intent, Melodie

Melodie, this looks quite good. I can only think that the article was locked because somebody had their own preconceived ideas about what a witch is and refused to listen to new editors. Anyway that is none of my concern. I don't know how qualified you are to comment but some of the dogmatic thought about witches might stem, from the KJV quotes in the article. The KJV version was written when there was a lot of hysteria about witches anyway so the translation may just reflect the prejudices of the time, and if not, it may certainly be couched in the language of the period. I would be interested in knowing the original Biblical passages with explanations of the translation from a scholar in Aramaic/Hebrew or what ever language this was first written in, as the term witch might have a different meaning from the current Halloween stereotype. InGodWeTrust 00:02, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
Well said, Melodie. Hopefully, if and when the article is unlocked, those changes will be made and allowed to remain. --LunarStorm 00:55, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
As I just said above, I'll be looking for specific text to put in, not just suggestions that would require me to research and write it. I'm out of time at the moment, but I'll try and remember to have another read of this in a few hours and see what might be usable from it. I'm not a fan of the AV (KJV) anyway (mainly because of its out-of-date language), so I might well replace the verses with ones from modern translations, at least. Philip J. Rayment 03:01, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

Suggestion

Why not simply add a short one or two sentence note that some neopagan groups call themselves witches as well and that this use seems to be distinct from the Biblical use? JoshuaZ 11:22, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

First, we'd have to be sure that this is distinct. What if it's the same? --Ed Poor 11:23, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
Well as I understand it, the major scholarly work on the topic is Heselton's Wiccan Roots. Heselton and all other major scholars agree that the neo-pagans constructed their ideas largely out of whole cloth and are not the witches referred to in the Bible or other early sources. JoshuaZ 16:39, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

I've no real involvement in this article but the first 4 sentences still read like a weird rant. True or not, depending on your religious views (and mine don't condone witchcraft), these are still written in a style unbecoming of an encyclopedia (one written by adults anyway). Please can someone rewrite them with the proper links to the Bible and less of the ranting. Fingermouse 20:11, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

Are we saying then that there are two entirely different types of people called witches? That's like having two entirely different theories of evolution. It's no help using one word for two different concepts - especially when the concepts appear similar. --Ed Poor 20:18, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
Yes, there are two different types. Essentially the early neo-pagans claimed (and some more recent neo-pagans still claim) to be the same type as described in the Bible but the consensus among historians is that there is at best a very minimal and tenuous connection. JoshuaZ 22:39, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
Huh? Did you just say that there are two different types, but that one type claims to be the same as the other? If so, do we treat them as the same? Or do we treat them as different and them call them liars for making a false claim of similarity? --Ed Poor 09:05, 27 May 2007 (EDT)


I just dislike the opening paragraph as reading rather badly (in terms of language, not intent).

How about: "Witchcraft, often referred to as "magic" or "black magic", is the use of supernatural powers as prohibited in the Bible. Witchcraft includes any act or instance of employing sorcery regardless of intent. Witchcraft calls upon powers other than those of God, the opposite of Christian prayer. Christians who believe in Biblical truth consider witchcraft to be against the teachings of God and hence evil."

Not Shakespeare by any account but succinct and less ranty than the original without diluting the message. Fingermouse 20:24, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

Love your work fingermouse :) My only suggestion would be to add a single word....

For example:"Witchcraft, often referred to as "magic" or "black magic", is the use of supernatural powers as prohibited in the Bible. Witchcraft includes any act or instance of employing sorcery regardless of intent. Witchcraft calls upon powers other than those of God, the opposite of Christian prayer. Christians who believe in Biblical truth consider witchcraft to be against the teachings of God and hence considered evil."

I would also like to add to the debate re: what a witch is.. the only Witch described in the bible is the witch of Endor.. she used her supernatural powers to raise the spirit of Solomon to speak to samuel(from memory) this would suggest Witches as defined by the bible would actually be what is modernly referred to as either a Necromancer or Medium.

In Love and Humble intent

Melodie

I've put Fingermouse's version in, without alteration. I didn't feel that Melodie's additional word was warranted, as the sentence was already qualified by the word "consider"; it didn't need repeating.
Not that I think this introduction is perfect, but I agree that it is better than what it replaced. Hopefully others will make further suggestions regarding it.
Philip J. Rayment 02:57, 26 May 2007 (EDT)

Thank you Phillip. Agreed it's not perfect but it reads a little less like a rant. Hopefully others can suggest improvements. Fingermouse 10:40, 26 May 2007 (EDT)

Thankyou Phillip, I did not read the first "consider" and apologise for the repetition. Blissings Melodie

I hate to put forth an entirely negative note, but I'm going to anyway. This article has no substance and it presents no useful information about witchcraft. This page should be moved to debate and a search for witchcraft should link to the wicca page, which has a solid, if strongly liberal, basis for an informational page on witchcraft. With pages like this, I honestly don't understand how conservapedia expects to develop a respectable reputation. --Laches 19:19, 7 June 2007 (EDT)

I do not understand how people can just sit and say that their way is right and everyone else is wrong.Witches do not worship the devil in any way.I am a witch,and would know.Listen up:We have our own religion,and it doesn't involve the christian devil,or anyone else's for that matter.Why would we worship a devil or demon or whatnot?It's not positive.Anyone who worships the devil is a satanist,not a witch.If they call themselves a witch but they worship your devil,they are sorely mistaken.And by the way:your bible only included it's strong emphasis against witchcraft after some christians went to some part of europe to try to help spread their religion,but the people there wouldn't have it.So they started telling lies about OUR deity,saying it was actually their devil.Which by the way is a lie no matter how you look at it. Sorry to rant here,but...come on..How blind can some people get??--user:Hieisangel 11:03 25 July 2007(EDT)

  • Not blind enough to not know you were here before, with the same rant, lol. Bye bye. --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 00:30, 26 July 2007 (EDT)
Notice how he had a go at people for saying their way is right and everyone else is wrong, yet proceeded to tell us (a) things that we were apparently supposed to accept that he was right on, and (b) how Christians are wrong about Witchcraft? What was that about being blind? Philip J. Rayment 11:43, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

Edit

I would consider the following change:

"In some Western countries, the mere accusation of being a witch was enough to assure conviction and execution.[Citation Needed] This made it easy for an unpopular woman to be falsely accused.[Citation Needed]

Perhaps tens of thousands of women were murdered,[Citation Needed] merely because someone maliciously denounced them in this way.[Citation Needed]

Some people have concluded from this that we ought to put aside the entire idea of witchcraft being evil, so that it removes the grounds for false accusation.[Citation Needed] Others maintain that witchcraft is against God's law because it's real and is a real problem. Whether these two views contradict each other is a matter of controversy."

Suggested:

"In some Western countries during the later Middle Ages and into the Renaissance period, being accused of witchcraft could lead to conviction and execution. It was possible for those who did not practice witchcraft to be falsely accused.

Over a course of several hundred years, tens of thousdands of people were killed due to an accusation of witchcraft, about a quarter of which were men.

With a modern resurgence in varies forms of occult witchcraft practices, some have suggested the stigma of evil associated with witchcraft should be removed. Others maintain that witchcraft is against God's law and needs to continue to be spoken out against. At what point witchcraft moves from being harmless fun or a form of philosophy into the realm of becoming dangerous is a matter of controversy."

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Learn together (talk)

I don't see the suggested wording as being a whole lot better. Two points in particular:
  • "It was possible for those who did not practice witchcraft to be falsely accused". Wow! It's possible for anybody to be falsely accused of anything. That sentence doesn't really say much.
  • There is still no citation for the "tens of thousands".
Philip J. Rayment 01:18, 30 June 2007 (EDT)

Bold

Aww, I was so looking forward to bolding the first instance of the term. -^_^- Fuzzy 17:06, 23 February 2008 (EST)