The comments on the previous post about child witches brought up how the situation relies on certain biblical text. While I agree with this observation I would like to look deeper into it. I believe that, in this situation, the bible is not the source of the atrocities, but just a tool used by missionaries. That it is more an accelerant tossed on an already burning fire and the people who are throwing around this incendiary are doing so for their own gain and know full well what they are doing and why.
While I certainly agree that the bible has had quite a large influence on the most recent trend of child witch accusations we are seeing and is being used as a prime tool by these con artists to gain money in any way they can. I think that this issue goes much deeper then just the bible. The concept of child witches and other superstitions is nothing new to most African cultures. There has been evidence of this fear in most regions in even the oldest legends and tribal stories.
Had such African tribal lore not contained such a plethora of stories of witchcraft and, more specifically, the power of child witches, then the missionaries would have simply latched on to another fear inducing myth that just happened to bear a slight resemblance to some Christian belief or story.
But African myth does hold numerous stories and beliefs of child witchcraft. The common theme amongst these various legends and myths is that a child has quite a lot of power as their mind is new, open and free to be used. Used by, in many myths, any god or demon or spirit that wishes to attach itself to such a mind. Such legends include the belief that twins have immense power and if they remain together they can do much good, or great evil. That the relatively common birth abnormality of syndactyly, or webbed toes, is interpreted as the child having killed its twin in the womb and stole its power. Another persistent myth is that child witches can be 'penis snatchers', that is, they are said to shrink or steal the penis from a man in the night to gain its power, as, in many cultures, the phallus is seen as a thing of power. In fact, it has not been uncommon for a man, if he finds himself unable to 'perform' sexually for whatever reason, to blame it on a penis snatcher. When this accusation is made, it is not uncommon for there to be a literal witch hunt to find a child to be used as a scapegoat for the man's incontinence.
What we are seeing now is just Christian missionaries seeing a local legend and claiming that it also falls under the doctrine of their religion. This way, the regions inhabitants will easily buy into what the missionaries are selling, as they are already familiar with it and have grown up believing it. The people who espouse this disgusting concept are doing so only to profit for themselves. The more flagrant the stories and sermons, the more people will listen and the more money they will bring. There are so many different missionaries that it has become competitive to see who can get the largest congregation. And they've found the best way is by stirring up the most hatred and fear. It is just another example of Christians using any means possible to win over 'souls' and gain money and glory for their deity. Of the ends justifying the means.
This recent influx of missionaries into Africa and the using of old myths has just been a potential launching ground to spread their tendrils of hatred and greed into fresh minds and is in not a new tactic in the least. It is no different then how Christianity adopted whatever the local culture had to offer in any other situation that it wanted to spread into, such as its take over of the 'pagan' festivals of Easter and what would be come known as Christmas and symbols like the Celtic Cross. Fear is quite the motivating factor to get people to your side, especially if it is an old fear that everyone in a society already has known about in one fashion or another.
That these people who claim to represent a just and loving god are actively seeking to use fear, hatred, blood, and tears for their own personal gain and satisfaction is one of the more disdainful and reprehensible parts of the whole situation.