What’s wrong with witchcraft?
1. The White Witch
Last night Naomi and I went and saw The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at the movies.
I’m not so much into fantasy myself, although Naomi is in a big way - she devours fantasy novels! So the movie didn’t grab me as much as it did her.
In the movie, Tilda Swinton (see below) plays the character of the White Witch. Even though I wasn’t so grabbed by the movie, I thought she delivered a great performance – regal, cold, powerful – and evil. And her clothing!
We’re used to seeing witches on TV and the big screen – whether it’s Prue, Piper and Phoebe in Charmed, Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Willow Rosenberg and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Samantha from Bewitched, or Harry Potter from the movie series.
However did you notice that this is the first time for a very long while that a witch has been portrayed negatively? All the other witches listed above are portrayed positively. But then again, C.S Lewis’ book was written way, way back in 1950, before witchcraft became popular in books, movies and magazines.
2. The popularity of Wiccan / Witchcraft
Witchcraft has been given a facelift by the popular media. Witches aren’t just witches any more: they are white witches. Witchcraft is now being portrayed as being:
• in tune with nature
• caring• an adventure
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
And witchcraft is growing tremendously in popularity on the wave of all this publicity. In the 1996 ABS census, 1849 Australians identified their religion as ‘Witchcraft’. And five years later in the 2001 ABS census, a whopping 8755 identified themselves as ‘Wiccan / Witchcraft’, and a further 10632 identified their religion as ‘Pagan’.
That’s a growth of over 1000%! No wonder the Sydney Morning Herald declares witchcraft to be Australia’s fastest growing religion. Witchcraft is particularly growing amongst high school girls and young women, taking the place that horoscopes once had.
I even saw a children’s witchcraft kit in the toy section of a store!
3. Witchcraft in the Bible
Witchcraft is about controlling and manipulating the world around you, and in a manner outside of God’s order. Here in Deuteronomy, witchcraft is specifically ruled it out as being thoroughly inappropirate for God’s people:
9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.Deuteronomy 18:9-13 (NIV)
Here again from Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV)
Your television shows are powerful and seductive. Your friends can exert a strong influence on you. And we think: "what’s wrong with witchcraft? Why can’t I cast a harmless little spell?" But as God’s people, won by him and washed clean, we take our direction from God’s word.
C.S Lewis is right – stay away from the witch. Even if she is a white witch.
[ PS: what have you noticed about witchcraft? ]
Categories: Culture watch