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Stop saying that African Spiritual Traditions are dangerous

Hundreds gather in Haiti for Vodou ceremony, photo by Ramon Espinosa

A statement you'll often hear people make is that African spiritual traditions are dangerous because people use the knowledge within these traditions to harm people. You'll hear people share anecdotal evidence of family members or friends that have been harmed by the priests and priestesses of African Spiritual traditions.

These same people are willing to overlook centuries of harmful actions committed by the devotees of other major world religions.

We will get into that later.

To debunk these statements let's take a step back and look at an analogy:

If you give a carpenter a hammer, he or she will build and repair things that help improve people's lives.

If you give that same hammer to a violent person, he or she will use it to harm or kill people.

The tools, knowledge and power that comes with African spiritual tradition are no different.

Someone with bad character will use these tools to harm, manipulate and abuse people.

Someone with good character and intention on the other hand will use these tools to heal people and improve their lives for the better.

While I've known devotees of African spiritual traditions on both sides, I firmly believe that the majority of us fall into the latter.

To drive this point home let's take a look at some examples of the numerous groups and historical figures who have used Christianity as a tool to HARM people:


(1) King James VI and I of England and Scotland, known for commissioning an English "translation" of the Bible (The King James Bible), was a misogynist and notorious witch hunter who was responsible for the murder and torture of thousands of women accused of witchcraft.

A depiction of King James ordering the torture of a group of women

(2) The Spanish Inquisition was a 350+ year legal system (one of many inquisitions) established by Catholic monarchs who sought to get rid of any non Catholic conforming religious people in Spain and Spanish colonies. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of people suspected of heresy were tutored and or brutally murdered under the Spanish Inquisition.

A depiction of one of the torture methods used during the Spanish Inquisition

(3) Christopher Columbus who was directly responsible for the murder, rape, torture and enslavement of thousands of Indigenous people, considered himself to be a devout Christian. Christopher Columbus, like many European colonizers who spread throughout the Americas, Africa, and Australia, justified his actions by saying that he was spreading the doctrine of Christianity and saving the souls of "savages".

A depiction of Christopher Columbus arriving in the "New World"

(4) The Klu Klux Klan is a domestic terrorist organization founded in Tennessee in 1865 responsible for the murder and torture of hundreds if not thousands of African Americans. The Klu Klux Klan considered itself to be upholding Christian ideals and often used Christian iconography in its attire, propaganda and terror tactics.

Actual footage of the Klu Klux Klan

(5) In the United States alone, there have been more than 16,000 allegations of molestation against the Catholic Church since 1950. Since 2004 there have been over 3,000 molestation cases in the Vatican and more than 800 priests have been demoted for the rape or molestation of children.


If you're willing to overlook these examples and so many more, stop fixing your mouth to say that the reason you don't practice African spiritual traditions is because people use them for harm.

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Jun 26, 2021


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