From Christianity to the next three largest religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam… from the classical worlds of ancient Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome to the Celtic, Teutonic and Scandinavian lands… from Oriental Semites to the ancient American culture of the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas… from Australia to Zimbabwe… thousands of deities, transcendental tenets and ecstatic practices – including the ten Labours of Heracles, the ten Avatars of Hinduism, the four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the ten Gurus of the Sikhs, the five Classics of Confucianism, the five Pillars of Islam, the nine Enneads of Egypt, the eighteen blessings of Judaism, the myths of Marduk and Gilgamesh, the Bark Paintings of Australasia, and the ancestral Stools of Africa – have developed to shingle the metaphysical roofs of the human species. In the light of this knowledge, it should be abundantly clear to any thinking person that the true ruler of the human cosmos is the 2.
The denigrative description “witch doctor” was coined by Europeans to be applied to the priests of primitive African congregations. The purpose: to demonstrate that, in principle, the tribal priest differs significantly from the “theologically sound” Christian priest, even though both the Christian and the African function as a similar bridge – agent or mouthpiece – between man and God.
The many witch doctors who rule tribalistic Africa are divided into two categories: the fetishman, and the true Priest. The fetishman deals with all gods and all spirits of every degree. The true priest devotes himself to one particular god, maintaining certain forms and ceremonies of worship. Clearly, the true priest is a fetishman, but the fetishman is not a true priest.
Essentially, the use of the term witch doctor to describe primitive religious practitioners enabled the Europeans to create the impression that tribal priests practiced a kind of witchcraft in which they were “in league with the Devil.” Not necessarily so, of course. Not all fetishmen and true priests, by any means, can be said to work with their version of the Evil One – even though they may profess to hold communion with evil spirits, and to be able to frustrate their negative designs on human beings.
Few of today’s Christ-folk are aware of the fact that, from the beginning, the paranoid Christian world was obsessed with demons. The imps from hell were believed to be everywhere – hiding under rocks, sitting on thrones, causing all diseases known to mankind, and concentrating their heaviest artillery on fresh-baptized Christians and newborn infants. Everywhere, the poor sinner’s soul was, as Anatole France describes the phenomenon, “at the mercy of a lugubrious phantasmagoria of devils!” By the time of the Middle Ages – also known as the “Age of Singular Sweetness” – devotees of Christian righteousness had estimated that there were just 7,405,926 devils divided into companies, each under a captain. As that singularly sweet interlude unfolded, the Christian Establishment evolved into a vast cult of relics and holy places, martyrs and sacred symbols. It was an age in which monasteries bought milk purporting to come from the breasts of the Blessed Virgin. There were twelve prepuces of Jesus in European churches, with the one in the Abby Church of Coulombs believed to possess the miraculous power of rendering all sterile women fruitful. It was a time when every discovery of science, every invention of material benefit to man, was believed to have been secured with the Devil’s help.
In our pseudo-sophisticated modern world, some Christians are more cautious about Satanic powers than others. Certain Evangelists and Charismatics, for instance, freely admit that they do not want to venture “too far out on that limb” because of the fear of ridicule from the outside and by more moderate church-goers. In particular, Catholics in the Western world take a very laid-back approach to demonic possession and crusades against Satanism. Listen to any televangelist, on the other hand, and you will learn in no uncertain terms that the Prince of Darkness will eat you for breakfast if you have not been purified by the magical prayers and ceremonies available only with the help of your local Christian practitioner of the mystical arts. Indeed, the fundamentalist priest often appears to be so well versed in evil presences and demonic hiding places that he might be presumed to have a tap on the Devil’s phone.
In general, the modus operandi of tribal witch doctors involves the dispensing of charms and medicines, exorcising evil spirits and troublesome ghosts, treating the sick, making rain, and using music – usually drumming – to communicate with the spirit world. Frequently, they sacrifice animals (not unlike the sacrifices of the Old Testament); they communicate with the god, or gods, as the case may be; they sell charms and amulets that will prevent misfortune; and they roll cowrie shells to divine the future. With magical words, chants, signs, dances, ceremonies, and tricks, in other words, they mesmerize and control their congregations.
It is interesting to note that one tribal faith has developed over the centuries into a worldwide religion that now has an estimated 75 to 100 million followers. Santeria, meaning “worship of saints,” was first developed among the West Africa Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. Carried by slaves to the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries, Santeria survived hundreds of years of isolation from Africa by harmonizing to a degree with Roman Catholicism. The practice known as syncretism enabled the Africans to secretly identify their orishes, or deities, with Catholic saints who represented similar virtues. Thus, they were able to preserve their religion while appearing to Spanish Catholic priests as converts. (If you can’t lick them, pretend to join them.) A pretense of this curious nature could scarcely have been successful, however, without the witch doctors of both faiths being more or less synchronized in principle.
A further similarity is worth noting. When the Santeros sacrifice live animals, there is a transfer of body and blood which is offered up to the Father-God and then consumed by the worshipers. The same principle applies with the emphasis on the ultimate sacrifice of the Christ on the cross to the Father-God during the Catholic mass, which is followed by the symbolic ingestion of the body and blood of the Christ by the brethren.
Question: Exactly what, or where, are the differences in principle between the theological exercises of the tribal priest and those of the Christian who preaches that Satan is a real, active being in the world… who conducts “deliverance ministries” to exorcise personal demons… who claims that speaking in tongues, healing and other supernatural gifts were delivered to him personally by the Holy Spirit… and who, with magical scriptures, signs, and ritual formulas, removes the evil stain of original sin from the very soul of the believer, transforms mere bread and wine into “the body of Christ” and “the blood of Christ,” and changes plain water into holy water?
One more question needs to be addressed: How does the witch doctor gain and maintain his awesome power?
The first step in the establishment of a religious cult is to attract the attention of the people – as many of them as possible. The engineers of Catholic Christianity achieved that all-important end by developing and introducing the concept of a NEW salvation-deity called the Christ, and they supported the divinity of their man-god with miraculous events (the virgin birth, the resurrection, the Ascension) and prophetic declarations (ancient writings purportedly predicting the future appearance of the Christ). Their uniquely Jewish “anointed one,” supposedly a Savior – a divine Being who had descended from a higher world to rescue souls from their fallen condition – was born of a great miracle. After being murdered and entombed, he overcame sickness, sin and death by returning to life. Ergo – he could only be the representation of God Almighty on earth, the Son of God, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, cosubstantial with the Father.
The next step is to establish a place for the witch doctor in the theological scheme of things. Remember what happened when the Jesus (Savior) triumphantly ascended from the grave? Did he announce and prove to the whole world that he was truly God? No. According to the biblical scenario, he huddled with his buddies, Peter and the twelve disciples, and instructed THEM to carry the message to the multitudes that, through his Son, Jesus the Christ, God had given the human species eternal life. (After the basic text of the New Testament had been forged, a passage specifying that Jesus had appeared to “more than five hundred” other persons following the resurrection was added to counter the objection that a mere handful of people were not enough to adequately spread the message.) Significantly, the distinction purportedly bestowed upon the disciples by the very Son of God secured a place for the witch doctor in the new religion and paved the way for the development of the incredibly bloated hierarchies – Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian, etc. – that were to follow.
The next step in this developmental journey is to establish an inexorable hold over the minds and souls of the people. This is invariably done by denigrating the flock, the “simple faithful” – relegating them in effect to worthlessness. They are poor, sinful wretches who cannot be saved or even begin to live reasonably decent lives from the cradle to the grave without the indispensable ministrations of the witch doctor.
The concept of original sin, the abstract contamination of the entire human species because of the mythical “fall of man” in the Garden of Eden (“In Adam, all die!”), has been the most effective weapon in the Christian arsenal. The power given to the Church by this one monstrous doctrine cannot be overestimated. ALL human beings who have ever been born, and who will ever be born, come into the world with a “disease inherited from their parents.” The individual’s greatest crime, therefore, is being born. He has not yet sinned on his own, but the seed of sin is within him because he has been conceived in sin. He brings his own damnation from the womb. Can the soul ever be liberated? Indeed, yes; but only through the sacrament of baptism, which can only be administered by the witch doctor.
What of the truly holy person, born from Above, full of grace? Can he or she conceive a child free of the disease of sin? No. In the entire history of the world, the Christian Establishment tells us, there has only been one Immaculately Conceived human being – Mary, the mother of Jesus the Christ. One can only speculate about when the subject of that conception first came up; but I suspect that, one day, during the early centuries of the Catholic experiment, one of the brighter members of the hierarchy suddenly stopped in his tracks, slapped his forehead, and muttered, “Holy Moses! The Virgin Mother wasn’t baptized!” “Holy Moses!” echoed his startled colleagues. The reason for the consternation? Baptism wasn’t a Christian sacrament when Mary was born. Ergo, she would have been branded with the stain of original sin when she gave birth to Jesus – a horrifying dilemma that simply could not be tolerated. So the “Mystical Body of Christ” (the Church) put their collective heads together and, in due time, solved the problem with the canonical declaration that the Virgin Mary had been born through the grace of God without the blemish of original sin on her soul. (This is a prime example of Christian voodoo at work.)
Once the brush of baptism has scrubbed the graffiti of the very first sin from our souls, are we then worthy of God’s love? “NO!” thunders the Christian. “Man is still SINFUL and SEPARATED from God, so we cannot know him personally or experience his love. Man needs the BIBLE to speak to this need.” And right there, with Bible in hand and the promise of God’s Word and Love, stands the witch doctor, ready to bridge the gulf between the sinner and the invisible trinity.
Needless to say, one of the most important and jealously guarded duties of the witch doctor encompasses the interpretation and teaching of sacred writings. It was not given to “puny mankind” to understand “the deeper rhythms of holy writ.” For this very reason, Pope Leo III once forbade laymen to read or even to touch the Christian Bible. Not that the Catholics were breaking new theological ground, as it were. They were merely walking in the moccasins of their ritual-intensive predecessors, the Jewish rabbis, who fervently held that “You should learn from teachers and not from books.”
The final step in the formation of an “organized” religion is to increase the power of the witch doctor by the invention of additional mysterious rites, ceremonies, and rigid controls to be used as restraints upon the masses – “seeing that every multitude is fickle and full of lawless desires, unreasoning anger and violent passion.”
Anybody who knows anything at all about Catholic Christianity is surely aware of the fact that the hierarchy of the Christ-cult spent hundreds of years developing a plethora of ceremonial laws that were then codified into canons of religious and ecclesiastical practices – baptism, the Eucharist, holy matrimony, communion feasts, fasts and Sunday laws, penance and unction, priesthood and confession, ecclesiastical regulations and privileges, tithes, pilgrimages and shrines, rituals, incense and vestments, and so on. They even prepared a series of “penitential books” for the purpose of exploring the subject of sex, enumerating the misdeeds, and prescribing penalties for sexual sins such as homosexuality, sexual intimacy with animals, and the greatest sin of all, masturbation. (So much for the attempt to build a Church on “pure faith.”)
Nothing galls the Christ-folk more in our modern age than the fact that ever-increasing numbers of us refuse to see ourselves as inevitable evil-doers, sinners filled with guilt and shame and in need if not of a redeemer, then at least of the consciousness that we require redemption.
We refuse to toss reason, logic and science to the winds and accept as fact the story of a God who plants Himself as His only Son in the womb of an earthly female, with His third self, the Ghost, supervising the celestial impregnation, so that He can become human, perform great miracles, attract the multitudes, be tortured and murdered, and then ascend from the grave of death just to prove to the human species that He loved them so dearly. He was willing to sacrifice Himself as His only Son for their salvation.
We refuse to believe that the laws of the universe are fickle – that they can be suspended, reversed, or turned upside down, to provide a natural world with supernatural events such as a virgin birth, walking on water, and bringing the truly dead back to life. We refuse to believe that a great and good Creator would deliberately manipulate His “immutable” laws just to impress weak and sinful creatures who inhabit the universe.
And we fervently refuse to accept the arrogant assumption that the Gospel (counterfeited) and the Christ (fabricated) can reveal “the true end of life and the true nature of reality.”
By rejecting the witch doctor’s claims, we have “turned to false idols such as the flag, the marketplace, the universe, the laboratory,” etc. thereby “creating our own transcendence and worshipping materialism.”
Christians like to believe that the entire history of the world ran its course for the sake of the new religion that began to take root in the Graeco-Roman world around eighteen centuries ago. They are wrong. Christianity was neither a natural development nor a miraculous revelation vouchsafed after a long delay to a world that had been allowed to grow to the point where it was ripe and ready for the creed. Nor was it the one healthy influence in a completely evil world.
Christianity succeeded, not because it represented a great moral revolution or because it was divinely subsidized, but because (1) its promises of salvation – not by “justice” or wise and good conduct, but by some act of sacrifice or purification, intensified by adoration – appealed to the uneducated masses, and (2) the main articles of the faith, already latent in the existing savior-religions of the time, were familiar to the Gentiles of Western Asia.
Today, the rationalist stands on the shoulders of all the great thinkers of the ancient world from Aristotle to Epicurus to Seneca to Zeno. The Christian, on the other hand, stands on the shoulders of the poorest, the most ignorant, the most primitive-minded, and the most demon-ridden human creatures of that day and time.
The saddest era in the history of the Western World occurred when our people gave up the achievements of thinkers and scientists, of artists, philosophers, poets and statesmen, for the revelations of fanatical and wild-eyed prophets and a gospel of worldly renunciation – when they sold their minds and their metaphysical natures to parasitic witch doctors who spend their lives believing the unbelievable and defining the undefinable.
SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, June 1991