Do Christians believe in witchcraft and the occult?
The vast majority of Christians would admit that both witchcraft and the occult exist in our day. However, Christians believe that it is immoral to practice these forms of ”dark magic” if it can be phrased as such. If Christians in the past have been known to lapse and fall into the delusional practices of such things.
Christians dabbling in such things as ouija boards are generally not aware at what great peril such practices could subject their souls to.
Christianity in general condemns such practices, including the use of mediums, magicians, and others who practice occult arts, up to and including Satanism. Why give ear to the Father of Lies.
My answer to this question (How does Christianity view such persons who are Xianpo(s)?) bares this out!
There are many who dabble in the occult, not truly realizing how dangerous it actually is. Many exorcists have mentioned how innocent victims of individuals who have been cursed by someone practicing witchcraft or Santería.
Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha, Regla Lucumí*’ or Lucumí, is an African diasporic religion that developed in Cuba during the late 19th century. It arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional Yoruba religion of West Africa, the Roman Catholic form of Christianity, and Spiritism. Santería is an initiatory tradition whose adherents are known as creyentes ("believers"). There is no central authority in control of Santería, which is organised through autonomous groups.
Santería is polytheistic and revolves around deities called oricha. Deriving their names and attributes from traditional Yoruba divinities, they are equated with Roman Catholic saints. Each human is believed to have a personal link to a particular oricha who influences their personality. Various myths are told about these oricha, who are regarded as subservient to Olodumare, a transcendent creator deity. Olodumare is believed to be the ultimate source of aché, a supernatural force permeating the universe that can be manipulated through ritual actions. Practitioners venerate the oricha at altars, either in the home or in the casa (temple), which is run by a santero (priest) or santera (priestess). Membership of the casa requires initiation. Offerings to the oricha include fruit, liquor, flowers and sacrificed animals. A central ritual is the toque de santo, in which practitioners drum, sing, and dance to encourage an oricha to possess one of their members and thus communicate with them. Several forms of divination are used, including Ifá, to decipher messages from the oricha. Offerings are also given to the spirits of the dead, with some practitioners identifying as spirit mediums. Healing rituals and the preparation of herbal remedies and talismans also play a prominent role.
Santería developed among Afro-Cuban communities following the Atlantic slave trade of the 16th to 19th centuries. It formed through the blending of the traditional religions brought to Cuba by enslaved West Africans, the majority of them Yoruba, and Roman Catholicism, the only religion legally permitted on the island by the Spanish colonial government. In urban areas of West Cuba, these traditions merged with Spiritist ideas to form the earliest casas during the late 19th century. After the Cuban War of Independence resulted in an independent republic in 1898, its new constitution enshrined freedom of religion. Santería nevertheless remained marginalized by Cuba's Roman Catholic, Euro-Cuban establishment, which typically viewed it as
brujería (witchcraft). In the 1960s, growing emigration following the Cuban Revolution spread Santería abroad. The late 20th century saw growing links between Santería and related traditions in West Africa and the Americas, such as Haitian Vodou and Brazilian Candomblé. Since the late 20th century, some practitioners have emphasized a "Yorubization" process to remove Roman Catholic influences and create forms of Santería closer to traditional Yoruba religion.
Practitioners of Santería are primarily found in Cuba's La Habana and Matanzas provinces, although communities exist across the island and abroad, especially among the Cuban diasporas of Mexico and the United States. The religion remains most common among working-class Afro-Cuban communities although is also practiced by individuals of other class and ethnic backgrounds. The number of initiates is estimated to be in the high hundreds of thousands. These initiates serve as diviners and healers for a much larger range of clients, making the precise numbers of those involved in Santería difficult to determine. Many of those involved also identify as practitioners of another religion, typically Roman Catholicism.
In my more leisure moments, I enjoy watching forensic movies. One of note, would be of interest here. In season 2, episode 2 of The First 48 entitled "House of Santeria" is a true eye opener on this subject matter.
Sergeant Carlos De Los Santos and his team tackle the murder of a doctor found hogtied in his house and learn that the key to the case may lie with the voodoo-like Santeria shrines found at the crime scene.
Let us not forget that there are still many souls out there that practice Haitian Vodou in one form or another.
The famous exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth attributed the number of exorcisms performed to his opinion that "People have lost the Faith, and superstition, magic, Satanism, or ouija boards have taken its place, which then open all the doors to the presence of demons.” He also stated that the hardest exorcisms involves the liberation of Devils from those who have been cursed by individuals practicing these dark arts, especially from Brazil and Africa! His books, An Exorcist Tells His Story and An Exorcist: More Stories are an eye opener and not for the faint hearted.
So yes, Christians believe in witchcraft and the occult! But they are not things to be dabbled in. Those who play with fire, will eventually get burned, so keep away from them!