Slain in the Spirit: Pentecostal-evangelical Christianity and the rise of witchcraft and sorcery-related violence in Melanesia
Hapi, A. (2020). Slain in the Spirit: Pentecostal-evangelical Christianity and the rise of witchcraft and sorcery-related violence in Melanesia (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13812
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13812
Within Melanesia, there has been a startling rise in new forms of brutal, dehumanizing, public violence directed towards accused witches and sorcerers in recent decades. This new suite of horrific practices departs radically from traditional practices and is much more widespread geographically. In this thesis, I argue that the rapid growth of Pentecostal, charismatic and evangelical forms of Christianity are a crucial factor in the emergence and diffusion of this new violence. Building upon existing studies, I show how the deepening influence of these Christian modalities in Melanesia has intensified the ontological reality of witchcraft and sorcery, powerfully associated witchcraft and sorcery with Satan and sin, thereby constructing these realms as the epitome of evil, and portrayed witchcraft and sorcery, and the individuals accused of practicing them, as entities that must be continuously and viciously defended against and destroyed through spiritual warfare. I argue that all of these attributes provide a powerfully enabling religious framework for the real life violence that is enacted upon accused witches and sorcerers. To make this point even stronger, I also show in the thesis how, in extreme cases, these Christians have sometimes condoned, facilitated and personally committed brutalized violence on suspected witches and sorcerers.
The University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses