Jan 8, 2010

which kind of witch and wherefore ought one to care?

Please note: I do not believe in old women flying on broomsticks or the like. I can’t be bothered writing a massive essay but a few short points might suffice to show I’m not obviously or laughably incorrect in the following matter. This is not a point of Christian doctrine, so don’t quote me as if it were somehow particularly important; it is just a concept that’s come up in the past and I briefly found more interesting than the book on political theory I’m attempting to get through.
A couple of years back I suggested that I believed in witches i.e. in their existence. This was not particularly well received. Apparently it’s ok, or not-too-bad to believe in God, Jesus and other putatively (according to various non-knowledgable* claimants) non-existent figures, but not witches. Yet, I still claim it is a relatively simple fact that people exist who are they themselves claim, witches. The various forms of Wicca and other neo-paganisms are obvious examples. If you wish you can suggest, laughing, that this means nothing; people can claim whatever they like (e.g. to be vampires) and it doesn’t mean that what they believe is real. Yet, every atheist of whom I am aware will accept that there are really “Christians” out there (myself being one), quite regardless of whether it is in fact correct that God exists, Jesus rose from the dead, etc. By a tiny bit of exploration and a simple analogy and, it would seem likely that there are also witches, druids, perhaps (though not so clearly) satanists and who knows what else. It seems that spiritual practices or labels like 'witch' or 'druid' are not about having special powers, rather about how people choose to act.
Is it, though, a fact that ‘witches’, whatever they are exist and practice something ‘mysterious’ or ‘spiritual’ beyond the occasional social outing and maybe a few tricks to impress initiates? I don’t know. In New Zealand it seems unlikely; but there is a whole lot of ‘unlikely’ spiritual stuff that I have good reason to believe has occurred. I suspect there is such a thing as a supernatural reality and that this isn’t restricted solely to God’s existence and direct action. How influential this may or may not be and whether any ‘action’ would be demonstrable as such or simply as charlatanism I am not aware, not having done any studies of it. Certainly there is anecdotal evidence from countries which aren’t thoroughly-secularised. If the atheistic materialism worldview is false, as the vast majority of earthlings believe, the claim loses some of its, for want of a better word, ‘disbelievability’. That's pretty much all I have to say on the topic.

It just struck me the obvious place to start should have been the "Wiktionary"

Incidentally, an article I skimmed on the subject from Wikipedia provided this pearl: “African Christians typically accept Christian dogma as do their counterparts in Latin America and Asia.” I would suppose that “Pakistani Muslims typically accept Muslim dogma”, “British atheists typically accept atheist dogma” and “Antarctic-ian Agnostics” would typically accept agnostic dogma as well. It's kind of a truism. Of course, I shouldn't expect greatness from a democratic encyclopaedia.

*I am assuming in the use of this term that 'knowledge' ought to be 'true' - and that (e.g.) Jesus does in fact exist. It follows that people who deny true statements as I claim that one to be are lacking in knowledge in the relevant field.

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