According to a large study, a billion people believe in witchcraft! – Science and Life

Do you believe in witchcraft? According to a recent publication in Plos One, these beliefs concern many more people around the world than one might think. To draw these conclusions, researchers at the American University of Washington compiled data from 140,000 people from 95 countries around the world.

Witchcraft, a belief that varies according to the regions of the world

It is quite difficult to give an exact definition of witchcraft. To put it simply, it seems quite correct to define it as a more or less complex form of magic. It is used for the purpose of harming an individual or a group of people. Conversely, it can also help and do good around you. The person who practices witchcraft is a witch or wizard. She then exercises her “art” by using supernatural forces, good or bad, evil entities or beneficial entities. At Middle Ages, witchcraft was considered a crime. Today, Islam and Judaism still consider it a grave sin.

Even today, the term witchcraft refers to ideas that can be completely opposed to each other. It depends on the traditions, beliefs, religions and even the cultural environment in which it is used. But one thing is certain. Witchcraft continues to be widespread throughout the world.

A new study from the University of Washington in the United States has just provided evidence that an incredibly large number of people around the world believe in witchcraft.

So far, several previous researches have investigated people’s beliefs in witchcraft in different parts of the world. However, none has been able to do so at the global level due to a sufficient lack of data on the subject. This is done with this large-scale global study.

Read also: Witches exist and in the 21st century their persecution is still a sad reality

Lots of data collected over nine years

Many people think that others can cast curses
Credits: Pixabay.

The data comes from surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center. It is a research center in the United States. It delivers statistics in the form of opinion polls, but also by other professional survey organizations. Investigators interviewed in person, but mostly by telephone, about 140,000 people. These came from 95 countries and territories between 2008 and 2017.

People were asked about their religious beliefs and their beliefs in witchcraft and magic. Pollsters asked respondents if they believed in the ” evil eye “. They also asked them if they thought that some people were able to cast curses and hexes on other people to cause them harm.

Researchers at the University of Washington recovered all this data collected over 9 years. They then compiled them for this study. They found that, on average, nearly 40% of respondents said they believed in some version of witchcraft. However, this figure should be qualified since in reality this belief varies considerably from one region of the world to another. In Sweden, for example, only 9% of participants said they believed in witchcraft. On the other hand, in Tunisia this percentage rose to 90%.

Nevertheless, this figure of 40% reduced to the total population of the countries and regions of the world included in this survey still represents around 1 billion people.

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More educated people believe less in witchcraft

Thanks to all the data collected, the researchers were able to examine the links between belief in witchcraft and certain individual factors such as education for example. They found that people with a certain level of education and financial security are less likely to believe in witchcraft. Quite often, people with a certain religiosity are more likely to believe in it as well. However, there are no differences with respect to the type of religion. For example, researchers have not noticed a difference between Christianity and Islam regarding this belief in witchcraft.

The researchers also found that at the country level, people in poor countries and countries with weak institutions believe in witchcraft. Moreover, the prevalence of these beliefs is linked to cultural, institutional, psychological and socio-economic factors.

Unfortunately, the two most populous countries on the planet, i.e. India and China, were not included in this study. All the same, these countries alone represent more than a third of the population of the planet. It’s a safe bet that if they had been included in the study, the number of people in the world believing in witchcraft would have been higher.

In some parts of the world, these beliefs are still the source of conflict. This is especially true with women. They are accused far too often of witchcraft, even today. It seems essential to understand these beliefs. Indeed, this will help the governments of the countries concerned to put in place the right policies and appropriate social initiatives.

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According to a large study, a billion people believe in witchcraft! – Science and Life

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