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nana098's avatar

How do I deal with the fact my friend does voodoo?

Asked by nana098 (46points) November 2nd, 2010

I have just found out my best friend does voodoo, and I’m a very religious girl. I feel kind of weirded out about it. Should I trust her to be safe and respect my religion? Or should I drop our friendship?

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28 Answers

SkulpTor's avatar

I think you should talk to her about it especially since it seems you want her to respect your religion, you should make a similar effort to respect hers. Vodoo is not all bones in the nose black magic.

john65pennington's avatar

Drop your friendship. i say this, based on a police call, i answered.

meiosis's avatar

You show amazing gall in asking that she respects your religion while not respecting hers. She should drop you.

iamthemob's avatar

As @SkulpTor stated, voodoo is a religion. Before you are weirded out, maybe you should learn what it is she’s practicing or how she’s practicing. Consider the below:

Voodoo’s relationship to Christianity.

The Catholic experience.

Under the French slaves were forbidden from practicing Voodoo. Nonetheless Voodoo survived. The colonists did allow occasional dances on the weekends. These dances were actually Voodoo services!
After the liberation of 1804 all white people were kicked out of Haiti and many were killed. This included Roman Catholic priests. Thus in 1804 the Vatican broke with Haiti and did not establish relations with her again until 1860.
During this 56 year period houngans and mambos built up the public religion of Haiti, Voodoo, in a weird amalgamation of African spirit religion and Catholicism. Virtually all lwa became associated with Catholic saints (Dumballah the snake lwa is St. Patrick; Erzulie, the earth mother is the Virgin Mary). The most important consequence of this is that Haitians see nothing odd at all with practicing Voodoo and Catholicism side by side and are often very devout about each of them.
From time to time from 1860 until the late 1940s the Catholic Church waged campaigns against Voodoo. They never came to anything.
In 1941–42 some elements of the Catholic Church waged an all out physical, holy war against Voodoo. They burned peristyle, Voodoo shrines, beat (some say even killed) houngans and mambo, demanded their ostracism from society and shot things up. But, they lost. Voodoo went under-ground to some extent, but it grew in popularity, in large measure because of the oppression.
By the early 1950s the Catholic hierarchy halted this war, got rid of these priest warriors and made their peace with Voodoo. Voodoo drums and melodies were incorporated into Catholic church services. The Catholics took the position, if you can’t defeat them, co-opt them. Relative peace has held between the Catholics and serviteurs ever since.

The Protestants.

Until the 1970s Haiti was nearly 100% Catholic.
In the 1970s evangelical Protestantism came to Haiti. After Reagan came to power evangelization mushroomed.
Evangelical Protestants are bitter enemies of Voodoo and denounce it all the time as devil worship. Many of these people claim that Haiti’s misery is because she is being punished by God for the sins of her Voodoo serviteurs.
Protestantism has come to Haiti as a serious business. Evangelical Protestants groups own 7 of Haiti’s 11 radio stations and have made significant gains in conversions.
Today most observers believe that at least 15% of the Christians in Haiti are Protestant evangelicals.

Blackberry's avatar

Like the other answer said, make an effort to learn about what it really is instead of being ‘weirded out’. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the magical stuff you see on TV isn’t real, either.

theichibun's avatar

There’s a pretty good chance your friend doesn’t practice voodoo. What exactly are they doing to practice it? Most people (95%+) that I’ve known who “practice voodoo” just made the dolls and attempted to control people.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Do you think your friend ask her self the same question when she found out you were Christian? I doubt it. So because she has a different belief than you, you are thinking of ending the friendship. Doesn’t sound like you re much of a friend anyway if her “religion” is the issue.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet – fair assumption considering that she’s from Florida, and there’s a majority Christian population in the U.S. – but @nana098 never stated her religious affiliation.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@iamthemob Insert appropriate religion then. I prefer educated guess to fair assumption. :)

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet – you say potato. ;-)

poisonedantidote's avatar

Voodoo is a religion, and just like all other religions, their magic does not work. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. She can stick pins in a doll all she likes, and you can just pray to yahweh to stop her magic from working.

skfinkel's avatar

Make sure you stay on her good side.

nana098's avatar

I didnt mean to sound rude about it and thank you for making me relize friendships have
differences and thats what keeps them close together :)

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Learn more about what she believes. If you guys are friends than 10 to 1 she isn’t going to hurt you.

YARNLADY's avatar

@john65pennington What? Based on one example? what if you had been called to a Christian exorcism gone bad? Would you advise we remove all Christians from our list?

FutureMemory's avatar

Clearly the solution is for both of you to stop being religious.

Problem solved.

Akua's avatar

My family is from Haiti. Vodoun is a real religion and yes the magik IS real. I will say no more.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s very typical for someone to make a bold claim like magic being real, and then not want to speak about it…...

Akua's avatar

And it’s very typical for someone who doesn’t believe to claim it’s not real.

Joybird's avatar

I’ve had a broad exposure to many religions including Voodoo and those who call it Santeria. They are both extremely similar in origin and practice. Before anyone pejoratizes the spiritual beliefs and rituals of another they really should educate themselves fully on not just the others beliefs but their own as well. For example I have heard many Christians become horrified at the idea of blood sacrifice. Obviously none of these people have read the old testament nor recall that animal sacrifice was made during passover. Animal sacrifice and blood rituals are as old as mankind….so is altered states of consciousness whether we are talking about people dancing within a voodoo trance, Whirling dervishes or Evangelicals rolling out in the aisles and speaking in tongues. There are psychological studies done on these kinds of phenomenon and some explanations given for each of the different kinds of phenomenons common to various religions. Another example would be a discussion of the conversion experience. Christians often think that they are the only ones who experience a “born again” or conversion experience….yet there are dozens of religions and spiritual events and rituals that can induce a conversion experience which can be defined as an experience that brings on a total dissolution of ego so that a persons feels one with all that is and a higher power. It brings with it a feeling that an old way of being can be left behind and people engage in a transmutation in how they view their phenomenological map and a reintegration of that.
In my personal experience to make a statement that “magic” isn’t real is foolhardy. Suggestion is pretty strong magic and so are people skilled at being change agents. Magic can be a matter of laying out cards, or bones and then giving someone strenght based ideas of optimal life skills in a hope that they will take on these ideas and weave them into their lives. They believe it is magic. That there is sound psychological basis for this and that in psychological and therapeutic circles it is referred to as “The miracle question” should give everyone here pause.
All spiritual avenues have valuable skills and some very harmful practices. It takes some study, exposure and immersion to understand which may be which.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Akua Our lack of belief is because it’s not real.

mattbrowne's avatar

As far as I know, Voodoo like Wicca is a religion which does not show any signs of dangerous cults and deserves our respect, even if we disagree with some of their views. According to Michael Shermer, who is a historian of science and author, a (dangerous) cult is characterized by

1) Veneration, glorification and inerrancy of the former or current leader to the point of virtual sainthood or divinity
2) Acceptance of beliefs and pronouncements on all subjects without applying critical thinking
3) Persuasive techniques from benign to coercive are used to recruit new followers and reinforce current beliefs
4) Hidden agendas exist and the true nature of the group’s beliefs and plans is obscured from or not fully disclosed to potential recruits and the general public
5) There is deceit, therefore recruits and followers are not told everything they should know about the group’s inner circle, and particularly disconcerting flaws or potentially embarrassing events or circumstances are covered up
6) Sometimes there is financial exploitation and recruits and followers are persuaded to invest money and other assets (in very rare cases there’s also sexual exploitation)
7) There is absolute truth which also means that the group has discovered final knowledge on any relevant number of subjects
8) Absolute morality is also being claimed, which means the group’s system of right and wrong thoughts and actions are are applicable to members and non-members alike. Those who strictly follow the moral code become and remain members and those who do not are dismissed or punished

daytonamisticrip's avatar

@FutureMemory EASY! Just because you don’t believe it doesn’t mean you have to be so disrespectful of Akua’s religion.

Blackberry's avatar

@daytonamisticrip You’re using caps lock to tell someone to be easy lol…....

daytonamisticrip's avatar

It gets their attention better than okay just calm down we can talk this out nicely boys and girls.

Blackberry's avatar

@daytonamisticrip The size of the letters does not matter, we are all capable of reading.

Akua's avatar

@daytonamisticrip @mattbrowne @Joybird Thank you. My family and I are not new at having to defend our beliefs to ignorant people. Since they don’t murder practitioners anymore… I don’t have to.

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