Thursday, August 22, 2013

The wrong kind of woo

Apparently the religious authorities in Saudi Arabia are stepping up their efforts to stamp down on the wrong kind of magic. The infamous Saudi "religious police" are expanding anti-witchcraft units around the country, units that convicted some 215 sorcerers in 2012, punishing them in a variety of ways for example fines, public flogging and in some extreme cases even beheading.

A belief in magic is of course widespread throughout the world; I would argue that to be a proper Christian, Hindu or Jew you must believe in the supernatural aka "magic", a suspension of the natural order and an interference in human affairs by invisible and purposeful forces. I'm often surprised how "western" Christians I know look down on primitive practices like this; from my point of view they don't look all that different to talking snakes and whispered prayers. In fact the only discernible difference I can see is that aggressive religions in places like Europe have been forced back into their respective boxes by 400 years of relentless secular and scientific progress and success which on the whole religions tended to impede.

There are of course other cultural factors at play here, the eternal fascination that superstitious authorities seem to have with sex; I've always wondered why forbidden religious practices almost always seem to centre around Women and invariably require practitioners to be naked? Then there is the delicious possibility of settling tribal scores using unfalsifiable bollocks, wouldn't we all love to dispose of an annoying neighbour or a nagging wife with a swift and effortless accusation of "magic", how convenient, how human.

No comments: