New Statistics Show Witches and Pagans Outnumber Liberal Presbyterians in The U.S.
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
You might think it’s just of “hocus pocus,” but to some, these belief systems are as genuine as day and night. With Halloween just mere weeks away, it’s an appropriate time to draw attention to the real-life growing number of people claiming to be witches and things of the like. New statistics show that people self-identifying as witches, Wiccans and Pagans are drastically climbing.
Before we delve into the growing numbers, let’s unpack each system of belief.
Witchcraft: Communication with the devil or the use of sorcery or magic
*Galatians warns the witchcraft is “an act of the flesh” Isaiah notes that there’s an emptiness in witchcraft practices stating, “they have no light of dawn.” – Isaiah 8:20
Wicca: According to the site wicca.com, Wicca a belief system informed by “pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales,” that promotes “free thought and will of the individual, and encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature.”
*Some witches reject Wicca practices because they consider them “a new age less-than-perfect reinvention of witchcraft.”
Paganism: Eclectic, “anything goes” worship of whatever gods or non-traditional belief system anyone so desires to worship, usually without Christian or biblical values.
Occultism: is “the belief in occult powers and bringing them under human control, usual through occult means (e.g., occult rituals or witchcraft)
*Some Wiccan pagans are New Age AND adopt some form of occultism
These new numbers give insight into the American belief landscape. According to Quartz, “ 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.”
“Although Trinity College hasn’t run a survey since 2008, the Pew Research Center picked up the baton in 2014. It found that 0.4% of Americans, or around 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan—which suggests continued robust growth for the communities.” On Tuesday, Twitter to revealed, “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.”
As Quartz points out, big name brands are looking to capitalize their profits with the growing population. “Companies like cosmetics giant Sephora have attempted to capitalize on it, marketing a “Starter Witch Kit” to consumers interested in dabbling in witchcraft.” Yet, Sephora’s efforts enraged people claiming to be witches as a jab of insensitivity, so the cosmetic corporation pulled the product.
Things like this point to occultism.
Yet, these ideas aren’t new but have existed dating back to Old Testament times with resurgences throughout history. Numerous movies like THE CRAFT, HOCUS POCUS, PRACTICAL MAGIC, and, of course, HARRY POTTER movies play off the ideas of witchcraft and paganism that have run rampant in history. Now in 2018, many witches have cult followings on their social media accounts.
When it comes to the media, Movieguide® pays close attention Occultism and anti-Christian worldviews like witchcraft in our reviews. In the content section of each review, for both TV or movie, you can see a detailed take on what the movie is promoting whether it’s outright or under the table.
Instead, it’s vital to heed the words of the Bible as it stresses the importance of staying away from pagan practices. In Leviticus, God reminds the Israelites, “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritisms, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God (19:31 NIV).’”
For more insight into the subject from a movie standpoint, we encourage you to read Frodo and Harry by Movieguide® Founder Dr. Ted Baehr and Dr. Tom Synder, Movieguide’s Editor.