Spiritual war: In this country, Christians find themselves fighting Satan himself

A voodoo believer goes into a trance at a mass ritual during the Plain Du Nord festival in Haiti in this July 24, 2009 file photo. Thousands of believers in Haiti sacrifice animals and pray in mud pools during the festival to ask the voodoo spirits for help with money, the future and children.Reuters

The Holy Bible tells us of how Jesus Christ warded off evil spirits. In Mark 5:5-20, for instance, Jesus restored a devil-possessed man.

Mindful of this, Christians in Haiti are currently having a real-life battle against satanic worship. They are trying to change the deeply ingrained and widely accepted cultural practice of voodoo in the country.

These valiant Christians, however, are up for a difficult task. In Haiti, voodoo is regarded as an official religion, along with Roman Catholicism.

This form of satanic worship has been practised even during the time of Haiti's colonisation when the French demanded all African slaves to convert to Catholicism. However, the slaves did not fully convert, naming instead their idols after saints.

David Vanderpool, a missionary and doctor in Haiti, shared that the worship of the demons is being incorporated into the church.

"In churches, there's a lot of syncretism [or the combination of multiple religions]," said Vanderpool, the founder and chief executive officer of faith-based and humanitarian organisation LiveBeyond.

He said most Haitians find it acceptable to practise both voodoo and Christianity. In fact, many of Haiti's 10 million residents consider themselves followers of both voodoo and Catholicism.

"Voodoo is the culture, the way they think. They view the world through a lens of voodoo, and it colours what they do, what they see. They bring it unwittingly into the church, and see mainstream denominations as no different from voodoo," he said.

In churches in Haiti, for instance, it is quite difficult to distinguish Catholic saints from African demons.

As a result, Christians in Haiti are engaged in a daily and difficult spiritual battle against satanic worship.

Vanderpool said Haitians may already have been desensitised from evil because of various depictions of evil in Hollywood.

"Hollywood for many years [has been] trying to implement these kinds of evil practices on children. When [it's a] childhood game or movie, [we] see actual damage that's done. It's not just a little toy," he said.

Despite the trials, Vanderpool and the Christians in Haiti are pushing ahead with spiritual warfare.

"If God doesn't show up, people suffer," Vanderpool said.

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