Remember kids: Being a fan of Harry Potter means you’re going to hell! … What’s that? It doesn’t? … Well, never mind!
As I’m sure you’re aware, Christianity and witchcraft have occasionally been at odds with each other. Both the Catholic Church and Protestant Puritans, showing the wide divergence between the two sects of the religion, both feared and attempted to purge “witches” from the world. There are many famous “Christian vs. Pagan” moments in history: The Salem Witch Trials, the pagan Vikings raiding monasteries, parents burning rock n’ roll CDs for hiding “Satanic” messages in them, the list goes on and on. Even today, there are some who warn of witchcraft being used to conduct spiritual warfare on America’s leaders.
As it turns out, some religious groups may need to amp up their concerns about devil-worshipers in their midst. According to some recent studies, the number of people identifying as witches now outnumber members of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
The Christian Post reports: “From 1990 to 2008, Trinity College in Connecticut ran three large, detailed religion surveys. Those have shown that Wicca grew tremendously over this period. From an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in 1990, they found there were about 340,000 practitioners in 2008. They also estimated there were around 340,000 Pagans in 2008.”
Pew Research Center studied the issue in 2014, discovering that 0.4 percent of Americans, approximately 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan, meaning their communities continue to experience significant growth.
Similarly, radio host and author Carmen LaBerge noted on Twitter that the figures are striking in that witches outnumber certain Christian denominations.
“As mainline Protestantism continues its devolution, the U.S. witch population is rising astronomically. There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil,” she said Tuesday.
The article goes on to suggest that this sudden takeover of people interested in witchcraft comes from several factors. There is the general decline of Christian predominance in the country, especially in older denominations like the Presbyterian Church. Wicca and other Pagan traditions have also made a bit of a comeback amongst people looking for alternative faiths, or having what they call a “morally neutral” view of witchcraft.
Religious views on this news aside, I have to admit this is a really interesting demographic shift to discover. I had no idea there were so many people in the U.S. that took pre-Christian beliefs (or Wicca, which was invented in the mid-90s) so seriously! One thing that I think this helps prove is that humans are naturally spiritual animals. We will always look for something to believe in, whether it’s Jesus, or Odin, or magic.
EDIT, 9:21 a.m. on Oct. 11 – An interesting thought I had just this morning: Before we go worrying about our country literally going to hell in a hand basket, maybe we should consider things from a slightly different angle. Instead of decrying the rise of witchcraft in the country, maybe as Christians we should ask ourselves what the church is doing wrong to drive so many people to seek alternative faiths? Our job as Christians is to show the love of Christ, and to draw others to him. It would appear that the message is being lost somewhere along the line. This isn’t just a Presbyterian problem, all denominations have issues with keeping membership up. As Christians, we should all ask ourselves what we can do to improve ourselves, our community, and our outreach to others in need.