Monday, October 10, 2011

Does fear equal faith???

In the last 20 months fourteen, Shamans have been murdered in Peru. An investigation has been launched, at the moment the alleged perpetrators ( at least, in one case) appears to be Alfredo and Augusto Torres. Alfredo is the Mayor of Balsapuerto, Peru and his brother, Augusto, seems to be widely known in the area as a witch killer. It is also rumored that the killings of these shamans were done at the behest of Alfredo who appears, in my opinion, to be using his religion, Evangelical Christian, as an excuse to murder.

Along with the sad loss of life these murders bring, there is a vast library of knowledge that has been erased from the world. These shamans were the holders of extensive understanding of jungle plant life and tribal spiritual mysteries. They were the healers and counselors of their tribes. It's like apart of the world has been silenced. I hope to the Gods that they had apprentices. At least then, some of the very valuable knowledge they held would remain.

The particular problem I am having is this: when any religion spouts brimstone and hellfire to strike fear into the hearts of its people over an evil so potent you will invariable get someone zealous or unstable enough to act upon that fear. I wonder, somewhere in my diabolical mind if that is what some of those people are hoping for. I know, most likely not, but I still wonder. Then again, the Vatican in days gone by  did launch the witch hunts that swept the world.

Not only do these religions spout hellfire and brimstone, they proclaim that there is only ONE correct path to salvation and, of course, it's theirs. No one else can lead the people to a live a good godly life and no one else can save their souls from the evil wiles of the devil. That seems a bit like ego and power grabbing to me. There are plenty of people who live outside of dogma who live good and wholesome lives without the guidance of a priest or pastor to drive the fear of evil into their hearts. They seem to understand things like theft, lying, and murder are bad.

It is fear and a fundamental lack of understanding that has spurred the murder of these shamans in Peru. Possibly even racism and intolerance splashed in the mix. It is also a possibility that these tribes are sitting on land that the government covets and can't get to because the indigenous peoples of Peru hold it. I can't think of a better way to break apart an indigenous populous than eliminating their spiritual leader and healer. For these tribes, the world has fallen apart and their connection to the otherworld and ancestors is now gone. 

There can be no true justice for what has been done to these people. The world is poorer for the absence of these shamans. I can only hope that there were apprentices to these shamans who can pick up the flame and continue the work of their elders. I think that the religious traditions that drive the spike of fear so deeply into people need to re evaluate their motives and methods: why do you need people to be so afraid to believe?


  1. This has actually stunned me. Like you, I hope there were apprentices, I hope these shamans are resting in peace despite the violence and hatred their lives were ended with, and I hope this garners attention. This violent, extremist thinking is becoming far too commonplace throughout the world. I do not want to be over dramatic, or sensationalistic, but are we heading towards history repeating itself? Or, are these incidences around the world isolated? Though we of the Pagan types are becoming more visible, I worry that this visibility may come with fear from our brothers and sisters in some of the other traditions and will spark fear-based reactions/actions.

    I think We, ALL of us Pagans/Neo-Pagans/Witches/However We Identify, need to do better at Interfaith work, and educating the public than we have in the past.

    Lance F.R.

  2. The thing is, if you preach that your God is vengeful and ferocious enough to condemn people to an eternity of burning, and it is your goal to become as close to that God-type as possible, then these sort of acts, as you say, are a natural outgrowth of that. It is all so very destructive, not only to others but also the soul of the practitioner.

  3. It is heart breaking that this happened. I too hope they had apprentices. I have often responded to inquiries about why I am not Christian with "I do not need to be afraid to do the right thing." It makes me wonder exactly how many religions out there use fear instead of love and a sense of responsibility to keep their followers in line?

  4. Plain and simple, it is man's inhumanity against man. There is no God, no faith, nor religious traditions. It is simply greed and power, neither of which is driven by the aforementioned.

    “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”


  5. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that "faith equals fear" in many instances. This is heart-wrenching.