Article: Christianity And The Witch Hunt Era (2/12)April 14, 2007
The Myth Of The Enlightenment
Another theory commonly proposed regarding the witch hunt era is that it emerged in the darkest and most superstitious times of the church’s history, and was finally ended by the secular skepticism which was a product of the 18th century rationalist ‘Enlightenment’.
This theory is false on two counts. Firstly, the witch hunt era did not commence in the so called ‘Dark Ages’, but in the 14th century, long after the medieval era had ended, and the intellectual and scientific advances of the Middle Ages were well underway. Secondly, the witch hunts were not ended by the diligence of secular skeptics or non-religious rationalists as a result of the Enlightenment of the 18th century. On the contrary, both the witch hunts and the beliefs on which they were founded were consistently denounced and disproved by intelligent Christians long before the Enlightenment.
These Christians were devoutly faithful to the Bible as God’s inspired Word, and held a firm conviction in the supernatural, but believed that the Bible was being misinterpreted and that the witch hunts, trials and punishments were in direct contradiction to the Christian faith. They did not object on the grounds of skepticism or anti-religious rationalism, but on the grounds of reason and Biblical teaching. Such objections were not new to Christian history. Evidence will be provided for a lengthy Christian tradition of objections to beliefs in witches (as well as to the death penalty for those accused of witchcraft), which preceded the witch hunt era by centuries.