Occult martial art among Indonesia’s Banten Muslim Peoples
Have you ever seen people walking on coals or striking themselves with knives or sharp nails, yet without hurting themselves? This is what “debus” is all about. It is an art, but also a martial art, a demonstration of power. “Debus” rites are sometimes performed at weddings or other celebrations. It is believed that God will only grant such powers to those who are pure. It is also the most characteristic feature of the people of Banten in Indonesia. Almost everyone among the Banten has had some experience of this art.
What’s in a name?
“Banten” has several meanings. It is the name of one of the youngest provinces of Indonesia, at the western end of Java Island and established in just 2000. Around nine million people live there. Banten is also the name of the Sultanate established in 1526 by Muslim invaders from the famous Javanese Sultanate of Demak using magic power. The term Banten also denotes one of the oldest harbours in Indonesia, once known for its spice trade, long before Jakarta rose to fame. In Old Banten, one can still visit the ruins of the harbour, palace and the lighthouse-like minaret of Old Banten Mosque. Banten is also a people group within Banten province, and they are basically unreached!
Apart from the occult practices mentioned above, Banten is also a hotbed of Islamic fanaticism. Many key players in fanatical groups come from Banten religious schools. Very few believers live in the remote areas of Banten. Still in Banten province, but within the greater area of Jakarta, there are actually many Christians. Few believers and churches, however, have been actively trying to reach the Banten, though there has been some increase recently. There are potentially many open doors through educational and development programs.
* Pray for the Banten to be freed from occult and religious bondage and to be open to the gospel. (John 8:32 — “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”)
* Pray for Indonesian believers to turn in loving attention to the Banten, serving them holistically.
* Pray for new workers called specifically to live, serve and witness among the Banten. (Luke 10:2 — “The harvest is plentiful, but workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”)
Posted on Fri, August 2, 2013
by Donna Shiflett