Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Christianity vs. Wicca

Christianity, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and other religions have been battling for ages. For those strong in faith, they’ll fight till the very end. Some would kill for their Gods. Some, would actually die for their Gods. The ironic part about all of these religions is that it’s supposed to be all about love. I don’t see it.

The other night, while Amy and I had a few women at the house for a barbeque, we lit up the tikis and citronella candles all over the entire patio. We were outside having a great time socializing. Amy said, “You know, years ago, we would have been hung for doing this, because they used to believe that only witches gather together near fire to socialize.” I was baffled, “You mean, just for socializing around candles and tikis?” Nowadays, it’s normal for women to get together like this. In the past, they would have considered this a ‘coven’. (A gathering of witches.)

I have a few questions for a few reasons. First, I’m wiped out. I’m tired of defending myself against other Christians who are supposed to edify their own. Instead, they discourage people from drawing near to God. It leaves me with questions in my mind.

1.) Why are Christians so ireful towards one another?

*Why are there different beliefs within the religion itself? Why isn’t it a constant belief system, such as Wicca? The very religion that Christianity is against is a very peaceful, harmonious and balanced way of thinking, which promotes oneness with the divine and all which exists.

*Why are Christians ready to murder for their Gods (kill those who sin, such as adulterers, murderers, homosexuals) if the religion is supposed to promote forgiveness and love?

*Some say if a person commits suicide, it’s a straight ticket to hell. But, nowhere in the bible does it say that suicide is a sin. What about Jesus? He died for us. (Technically he was killed by the Jews in Christian beliefs), however, He knew He was dying that day and didn’t resist His murderers. Was Jesus Himself committing a sin?

2.) By faith alone, we’re supposed to focus on the “Kingdom of God”, however, we see, touch and hear the things of the earth, yet we’re not supposed to focus on the earth. It’s considered “idolization”, to those of the Christian faith. What if we’re wrong? What if we stop appreciating the things of the world to only find out that Jesus was a mere prophet, and nothing else?

*Wicca teaches us in this site, that it’s a deep appreciation and awe in watching the sunrise or sunset, the forest in the light of a glowing moon, a meadow enchanted by the first light of day. It is the morning dew on the petals of a beautiful flower, the gentle caress of a warm summer breeze upon your skin, or the warmth of the summer sun on your face. Wicca is the fall of colorful autumn leaves, and the softness of winter snow. It is light, and shadow and all that lies in between. It is the song of the birds and other creatures of the wild. It is being in the presence of Mother Earths nature and being humbled in reverence. When we are in the temple of the Lord and Lady, we are not prone to the arrogance of human technology as they touch our souls. To be a Witch is to be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector of all things. If this path is yours, may you walk it with honor, light and integrity. Christianity promises us a better “earth” to come, without glorifying the one we have, giving us followers that are wrathful and ill-tempered towards one another. Which religion seems more fitting for someone who seeks peace, calmness, tranquility, love and honor for all things appreciated here on earth?

*If it’s our faith that will get us into our “Christian heaven”, then our sins will doom us forever- for everyone’s a sinner. Who will even get a chance to step into the Kingdom of God with their filthiness? Not one of us is without sin.

*If “God” is the same then, as He is now, as He will be in the future, then why has the Pope decided that there is no more Purgatory? (I know this is better fitted for Catholics, however they still focus upon the trinity.) How can someone just change this belief? Or is it through spiritual experiences that leave the Pope to decide such a crucial change in the Catholic belief system?

I’ve helped many people, including heterosexuals, gays, lesbians and transgender folks draw near to God through my book. It has taught them that they’re loved by God, regardless of their lifestyle. It has taught them that God knows we’re all inadequate, which is why we need Him so desperately.

But, in a religion (Christianity) that’s so full of hate---more so than love, I’m willing to pull down my book and renounce my religion. Jesus welcomed those who were suffering to come to Him. He never judged them and showed them love and mercy. Christians of this world, seem to belittle, judge, ridicule and tear each other apart. I was once told to stop practicing Christianity. I was told to turn away from God, by another Christian, due to my lifestyle. God says, that if you turn someone away from God, it’s the biggest sin you can commit.

I feel as though my toes are curled around the edge of a diving board, ready to plunge into another world…without having to deal with Christianity and its followers. The water looks so inviting, but is it really a pit of fire instead?

43 comments:

TrappedInColorado said...

~Deb. Wow! What a post. This, after reading your blog and your attention to your faith for the last year or so, simply blows me away.

I can only say, as someone who left the mainstream religion hypocrisy years ago and found a great deal of peace and awakening in simple spirituality, I say... jump! You will not re renouncing your base love of Christ and God but shedding yourself of the restraints that kep t you from knowing God. You were taught to FEAR God! I mean, come on! That fear can keep you from taking that dive and that is what that fear was intended.

"A Course in Miracles", "The Power of Intention", and many many other books will help you. Believe me, it is like coming out of a cave into bright sunshine.

Whatever you decide, you have come upon one of life's crossroads. Whichever way to turn, have no regrets. My thoughts are with you.

Peace

Enemy of the Republic said...

Oh, boy! I've been reading a book, actually one of three on Wicca. It is cool, and much of it does ally with that spirit of goodness and love that you long to see in Christianity. I will comment more: oh, I'm excited that you are thinking about this! Our minds are becoming one! I like that because I love you, but I guess Dani and co. will be burning an effigy of the Cruel Virgin. Hah!

jkcookie said...

Im not very educated as far as Wicca goes but here's my very simple take on it:

To me, Wicca seems more about loving Mother Earth. Appreciating all that's around you now and finding balance and love.

Christianity, not that Im against it, has so many denominations, old testament, new testament, king james, yadda yadda no one can agree what is right and they all seem to be striving or waiting for something better rather than appreciating what the here and now.

Good read!

Dan said...

The water looks so inviting, but is it really a pit of fire instead?

You'll never know until you jump! Don't worry ... I can help with First Aid if there's a problem! :)

You write so well Deb, and you're such a deep thinker. The deepest thinking I usually do is to decide whether I'm making Mexican or Italian for dinner.

Zoe said...

Oh, Deb. To stand on the threshold of losing your religion is a very scary place. I, my mother, my husband... we've all gone through this. When you begin to doubt something so integral to who you believe yourself to be, you begin to doubt other things that seem a solid part of who you are. It is truly the hero's journey. It sounds like the abyss awaits.
I, though heterosexual, got into a discussion on day with a man about Ronald Reagan and his tenure in the Presidency. My views on Reagan led this man to scream at me something along the lines of that christianity wasn't meant for 'people like me'. I retorted that I agreed, and that's why I had left it behind.
In my experience, if we are going to define being chist-like as the ideal, there are alot more folks who fit that bill among the Wiccan and Pagan community than there are in the churches.
I wish you clarity as you do your searches and research. I urge you to find a local group of some sort, and meet some people who can really answer your questions. I reccommend a book titled The Sabbats by Edain McCoy.
Mostly, I send thoughts of peace as you contemplate a huge philosophical upheaval.

Peace to you.
Blessings,
Zoe

Natalia said...

My take is that all religion is tainted. If we were just spiritual people and sought the best not just for us but for humankind without having to believe in an invisible father figure and go by a man-written book, we'd all be happier and healthier.

-N

genexs said...

Well put!

I think what you've hit upon are the terrible self torturing dichotomies one faces when immersed in an authoritarian, patriarchal, faith-based religion. Here's one you forgot: what kind of God would condemn most of humankind to damnation because they don't believe in *him* the right way? You ask about a religion that would demand destruction in God's name. I guess if you have *faith*, God will forgive you for atrocities. In Wicca, we are suppose to seek forgiveness from the people have hurt. All I can say is that someone as open and intelligent as you would be welcome with open arms into Wicca.

blessed be,
Gene

Sandalina said...

Hmmm....

I think you're in a discouraged funk. Wicca is not the answer. You have claimed Christ, so don't turn away Deb...this is what happens when we take our eyes off God and put them on other people.

Look at Peter. Walking out on the water to meet Jesus, but one look at the waves and he began to sink. You know the story...in Matthew 14:

Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"


The word in bold is my favorite...immediately. I was studying this verse quite a few years ago now and that was the one word that stood out to me: "immediately". I saw that passage in a whole new light.

Jesus didn't have to walk over to Peter, or run to save him, Jesus was RIGHT there, just reached out his hand and picked him up--immediately. Peter had walked ALL that way by faith and right when he was within arm's reach, he gave up.

Don't give up, Deb! :)

Love ya.

Jessie said...

Deb, you are a very bright woman, and I hate to see you down like this, but at the same time, you are realizing a few things.

Religion, including Christianity, was created by man, not god, and therefore it isnt perfect. Youre right that Father God loves us all the same, gay or black or whatever, because he doesnt know what "hate" is. All he is is just a big ball of love and peace and boy are we screwing up the interpretation.

I stopped being a Christian when I was little, because I was told that fear and love go together. I didnt get it, and I still dont. I dont fear god, there isnt anything to be afraid of. There is no hell, or if there is we are in it, because when we die, we all go to the same place.

Thats my take, and if you denounced the religion, it would probably be one of the best decisions youll ever make. You can still love god and not have to have a label. Remember that.

CP said...

No.

No no no.

No.

Do not turn your back on your faith and your religion. In every religion, there are those who are the epitome and those who interpret in order to suit their own needs. I am a Jew with extremely Christian values. I love everyone. I don't perpetuate hate. I help my fellow man whenever possible. I don't judge others. I love my God, a forgiving and joyful God because He enables me to walk in any direction I choose, guiding me all the while. On the other hand, I can still appreciate the wonders of a beautiful day, created by God. All the palattes of color and design. The breeze upon my face and the rain on my skin. I find myself in awe and enamoured by all of it, Deb. I don't have to put a label on myself for religion sake. I don't have to be a Christian to have those values. I don't have to be Wiccan to be able to embrace Mother Earth and her offerings. I don't have to be a Jew to covet the long and intricate history of my people. All I have to do is love God, appreciate God and feel God within me every single day.

In actuality, God probably doesn't care what you embrace, as long as you embrace yourself...surround yourself with what makes you happy, what makes you feel good and whatever you can do to make Him smile down upon you.

Don't resort to finding other religions because a few bad apples have been taunting you for over a year. You stay true to yourself. Even if you are the only Christian left standing who knows what those values and beliefs are, you are in good company.

So did Christ...and he died for them.

CP.

Miranda said...

Great post, these are such good questions. I think for me, Im Agnostic....I know there is a God out there, and the one I believe that is out there is a Spirit of love. He would never want such hatred in His world. He would want people to just get along. Religion seems to be the route of most wars....ughs its a topic that can go on forever. But Im with you....I can see how Christianity is pushing people away.

Gary Baker said...

Hi Deb,

I'm guessing that you figured that I would show up in the discussion sooner or later. Sounds like you have a lot on your mind. I certainly don't want to add to your problems, but I feel compelled to speak out a bit. Hopefully, you'll find something useful. A few things to consider:

C.S. Lewis once said (approximate, not exact quote): "If the news of Jesus Christ and the Gospel is true, it is of paramount importance. If it is false, it is of no importance."

That's a pretty powerful assertion. If the Gospel is true, then there is only one way to God. All the good intentions in the world don't cut it. All the ways that seem wise to men don't cut it. I don't know if you are overly down in the dumps or having a real faith crisis, but the statement is worth considering before you make any final decision. It's not like you can rationalize to yourself that you are simply approaching God from another angle. (Well, maybe you can rationalize to yourself, but...)

I followed the link over to the Wicca site to read up some. I'm not claiming devils or demons or evil incarnate or anything of the like. I did observe that it is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity. The ideas of communal deity, multiple deity, etc. I also noted that there were some similarities to the types of worship mentioned (fertility goddess) on the website and types practiced in ancient Israel. I am not implying a direct link, merely noting similarities. Judgment was severe.

You are talking about a really major shift here. Some people commenting don't seem to be taking that in. For example, the comment:

"In my experience, if we are going to define being chist-like as the ideal, there are alot more folks who fit that bill among the Wiccan and Pagan community than there are in the churches."

There's a big problem with that statement: It's completely off base. Yes, Christ healed and helped and fed and comforted, but none of that was his primary mission. Christ's primary mission was to turn people back to God.

I respect your knowledge of the scriptures and your faith. I really do. But I also believe that along the way you have swallowed some crap about God and taken it as Gospel. I think it's possible that God might be dealing with you right now and calling you to grow, not turn away.

In your post, you wrote: "The ironic part about all of these religions is that it’s supposed to be all about love. I don’t see it."

That may be because you are focusing on the wrong end. It's all about God's love. Christianity is about what God has done for us, to bring us back to him. He wants us to put him first in our lives, and that will give us the power to love others. Do we fail? Every day. Usually because we rely on our own strength instead of God's. If you've never read the book "The Purpose Driven Life," the answer is on page one. The book starts out by saying "It's not about you..."

There are so many good things in what you write, but there are some things in the scriptures that you either ignore or disbelieve. You wrote: "Jesus welcomed those who were suffering to come to Him. He never judged them and showed them love and mercy." Jesus welcomed the weak, the humble, and the repentant. All who sought mercy, received mercy. That's the free gift of God. But there were others that came to him that were not so fortunate. There was a rich young ruler that went away saddened. There were the Pharisees that were condemned because they claimed to be good enough already. There were whole cities that were promised judgment greater than Sodom and Gomorrah because they saw his miracles and did not repent.

All Christians claim Christ as their savior. They forget that while he is glad to welcome you to salvation, he wants more. He wants everything. He wants to be your Lord. He wants you to look to him for guidance. He doesn't want you to "do things for him." He wants you to obey his commands. And he wants you to trust in him when things get so bad that everything inside feels like broken glass.

He wants you to go out and tell others about him. From the website, I gather that's something that Wicca don't do. He wants you to disciple others. He wants to turn you upside down and inside out. He wants you to let go of everything you have and give it all over to him. Nothing held back, no sin unconfessed.

It's a rough program. And what do you get for all of it? The world will hate you. Friends may denounce you. Family may disown you. Persecutions will come. Temptations will rain down on you. And just when you think it can't get any worse, you will have

A peace that passes all understanding.

Abundant life.

Family, friends, homes and farms, many times what was given over, and

Eternal life.

"If the news of Jesus Christ and the Gospel is true, it is of paramount importance. If it is false, it is of no importance."

nosthegametoo said...

Howdy Deb.

As always, it's nice to read your insightful thoughts and take on reconciling the theory of religion and its spiritual practice in everyday life.

Peace and Love

grace said...

Deb,
I echo (loudly) what Gary just said. I've wondered several times why you choose to engage those we will not name in the first place. Just blow them off. Shake the dust of their hatefulness off your feet and center yourself back on your journey toward Christ. He is WORTH it.

I've watched a bit of the back and forth of it, but not too too much because honestly, it's just a waste of time. However, in my estimation, the HUGE difference between folks like those we will not name and authentic Christ-seeking Christians is this; if one is really Christ seeking, they tend to come up with WAY more questions than answers. Those folks you squabble with from time to time have all the answers. They're done. They've got it all figured out. Ok. Fine. Whatever.

The situations that cause me to grow the most in my Christ journey are those that cause me to engage the questions, to engage in relationship to others who are seeking. Those who have hearts that are pliable and forming more and more into the likeness of Christ.

Those we will not name have their tenants of faith stacked up like a brick wall. If they were to let a chip come out of even ONE place in the wall, the whole thing tumbles down. That's why they spend so much time and energy keeping the wall fortified, so much so that they are never mushed and squished by the Spirit into the very image of Christ.

I could go on...but...this is long.

Keep the faith.

love and grace,
pam

Jo said...

I was given your link by Cruel Virgin and I'm glad she sent me over here.

I practice Wicca. I grew up Southern Baptist and will not go into details, but will add that my father is a Southern Baptist Minister.

I know that many of the people that I am involved with, including the Coven that I will probably join, do not deny that there is a God or a Jesus. They may call God by another name, but it is each individuals personal view and personal relationship with their "God" that is respected and encouraged. That's the great thing about Wicca, you can have beliefs, study and follow whatever your heart and mind tell you to follow. Nothing is shoved down your throat. You are not condemned by people who think that they have a direct line to God and that his or her way is the holy way and all others are wrong. In other words, in my six years of practicing Wicca, I have felt more love and truth from people that I worship with then I did in the thirty two years of being in a Southern Baptist doctrine. I feel closer to God, yes I still call him God, and I have more of a personal relationship with Him then I ever had in my life. I talk to Him as if he were a friend that I was sharing my innermost thoughts with. He is with me always. I have a greater respect for all of His creations, from the single blade of grass that He brings to my attention to the warm sun that He created to warm me on a summer day. Learning to respect these things has brought to my attention how precious His other creations are, I have more love and compassion for my fellow human beings then I ever had growing up in the Christian doctrine. I feel more love and respect from my fellow Coven members then I ever did from any Christian.

This is why I do not feel as if I am turning my back on God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I believe that all three of them exist. I have seen the healing power of Christ with my own eyes and I know that there is a God or as some say a source out there that created this world that we live in. I firmly believe that King Solomon was of Wicca faith. In the Testament of Solomon it is reported that he harnessed demons with a magical ring that built the temple. Now, I guess that would be hard for a person to believe ...but why not. God did promise us gifts and power beyond our imaginations and that our cups would run over. There are several chapters and books that were left out of the bible throughout the ages by men who went against Gods word. God never meant for Priests to act like Kings, nor did he intend for Kings to act like Priests. This happened way too much, King David for example, he acted like a Priest instead of a King and God punished him and his family. The consequences for the Kings acting like Priests and Priest who acted like Kings were much more harsh then for other "sins" committed by Kings and Priests. When this started happening, I believe that the "Christians" wanted more power (Politics) over the people so many scrolls were left out of public and biblical teaching, lost to us forever. I can give other examples but I am sure you already know them.

At least in the Wicca faith, everyone practices love and genuine forgiveness. We respect not only human life, but all life on the planet. People fear us and see us as Satanic (which they have nothing to do with) because of our rituals, but in reality church's practice rituals just as much, they just aren't as detailed as ours are.

I don't feel like looking toward any other faith is turning your back on your God. God is in you and God is wherever you are. God is everywhere.

Gary Baker said...

Jo,

"I don't feel like looking toward any other faith is turning your back on your God. "

The problem with the statement is that it is "you" centered. In the Old Testament, only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and only once a year. And when they sent him in, he had a rope tied around his waist. The reason was that if he made a mistake in the ritual, God would strike him dead. When Saul burned incense, the task assigned to Samuel, he lost his dynasty. When Uzzah laid hands on the Ark of the Covenant, just to steady it, God killed him.

The point is that God sent repeated messages to his people that he will be approached on his terms. He sent his Son to say that he was the only way. I find it very difficult to believe that he is pleased by people insisting on doing it their own way when he gave such a great sacrifice and sending his Spirit. The later writings also talk about belief. They declare it worthless. Demons believe, and tremble. It is very possible that Solomon summoned demons. It was mentioned in the scriptures that his many wives turned him away from God, especially in his old age. The scriptures also declare that all forms of communication with the dead and witchcraft are contrary to his will.

I'm somewhat skeptical of the claim from any religion or group that "everyone practices love and genuine forgiveness." I'm not saying they are worse than anyone else, but you yourself said they were not perfect.

"you can have beliefs, study and follow whatever your heart and mind tell you to follow"

This statement sounds a lot like the verse at the end of Judges, where each person in Israel did as they thought was best. There was never a time during that period where the people consistently pleased God. He frequently used other nations to punish them. Later, in Kings, he talked about the "High Places," where the people worshipped gods and goddesses, the sun, moon, and stars. Again, no joy.

I'll agree that God is everywhere, and in everything. But I also believe he is powerful enough to preserve his word, no matter how strong an enemy tries to destroy it. And I believe that he says what he means.

The proposition before Deb is the same one that Elijah put before the king and queen long ago. "If the Lord is God, then worship him. If Baal is God, then worship him." I don't believe it suddenly became multiple choice.

The question for you to decide, Deb, still hasn't changed: Do you have faith in Christ? I'm not talking about belief. Belief is easy. Faith is harder. Faith means you are going to stand up for it. You are going to do it God's way, when others say it could be done a whole lot easier. It's a question each of us has to answer. I will keep you in my prayers.

To the others on the line who have commented about the hypocrites in churches: I can't deny that I've run into my share, and perhaps been among their ranks more than once. But I can't think of a better place for them to be. Personally, I have never seen anything on the outside that will be of more help to them than to be immersed in the word of God and the fellowship of believers. And those that manage to hang in there, to put up with it, grow in patience and love. Consider it.

~Deb said...

I have faith in Christ, but lost my spirit.

Do I have faith in Christ if I have lost my spirit?

The real question is, if there are so many people so quick to judge and ridicule, should I have faith at all? If Christ lives "within them", why should I be for them? It seems so worthless...so meaningless.

I'm seeking other alternatives. I've been cornered.

Gary Baker said...

"The real question is, if there are so many people so quick to judge and ridicule, should I have faith at all?"

You're still looking in the wrong place. Did you proclaim your faith in Christ, or in his followers? Do you believe more in what they can do to you, or what he can do for you? He's already done a lot, and he wants to do more.

If it sounds like I am judging you, I am not. If anything, I understand very much what you feel, though from a different perspective. You often find yourself under attack often from conservative Christians because of your orientation. From their perspective, you are "the abomination." In the same way, I am often labeled by liberal Christians as hateful, hypocritical, etc. If my hope and peace was dependent on the good will of believers, I would be lost. Sometimes, I feel that I am. But then, God offers up a good dose of perspective. I don't know what you are feeling now, but my heart aches for you.

I can see how Wiccan might seem appealing. It sounds like there is love, acceptance, fellowship. All of the things that we have been taught are good. All you have to do is claim that Christ is a lie. That's really what they are saying, you see. Because if there are several gods and goddesses, then Christ lied when he said the Lord is one, you shall have no gods before him. If you can worship through nature, then the command to not worship images of anything in heaven and earth seems rather silly, doesn't it? And if you can find your way to God through just about any spiritual avenue, then that makes the whole concept of Christ as a blood sacrifice, required for the sins of the world, a lie. Doesn't it?

Paul got sent out to preach to people, and along the way he stoned, shipwrecked, beaten, snake-bit, and eventually executed. Christ promised his followers in fact that the world would hate them. It's a fight that any Christian worth his or her salt has to go through. Worst of all, it's a fight that we can't win. It sounds like you have reached the point where you are ready to surrender. The question still remaining: Will you surrender to the world, or to God?

Enemy of the Republic said...

Deb,

I remain Christian, despite the nutjobs. Yet I read other faiths and enjoy spending time with those of other belief systems. Why? Precisely for what Jo says:I don't feel like looking toward any other faith is turning your back on your God. God is in you and God is wherever you are. God is everywhere. I agree with her and she is my good friend. Even if I disagreed, it wouldn't matter. One day all will be revealed.Consider yourself on a path. Jesus needed time to be alone to heal from his time in the crowds. Maybe this is what you need as well. And you know plenty about Catholicism, the faith I once practiced. So many of their practices came from pre-Christian rituals--some that we call Wicca now. Wicca gets a bad rap. Like Pilate said: What is truth? Why didn't Jesus answer? Maybe it was because he did claim to be the truth, but we really can't speak with authority as to who Christ is, just as we are limited in understanding the mysteries of the father--the disciples were dunderheads that always needed a helping hand. We aren't any different. We work with faith, and things happen that build our faith. I love you, friend and only hope that you heal and feel stronger. You are one of the finest Christians I know.

SpongyBones said...

Interesting post. I’m not a Christian, nor do I practice Wicca or any other form of organized religion. I do have some knowledge of both . I know people who practice both.

I think that people who practice Wicca have been more persecuted, throughout history, many times by those that call themselves Christians. Weren’t they hanged and stoned themselves. I know many Wicca people that do not worship a God or Goddess, but a single God. I guess if that isn’t the same way that Christians worship, that they are viewed as sinning against God.

I have yet to meet anyone that practices Wicca to try to “win me” for their God or Goddess. The ones that I have met practice the up most humanity to fellow human beings. I honestly, can’t say that about many Christians I have met.

I hear often that Wicca is the devils work. Which part of their practices may very well be. But I know that there have been some people throughout history in other religions that used their understanding of it to cause harm and to perform works against God.

I believe each persons relationship with God is personal. I don’t think God really cares about labels and how you choose to worship Him. I know that He would let me know if I wasn’t making the right choices in life.

I do know this per MY grasp of scriptural texts (in both English AND Greek) that people whom are, gluttonous, money grubbing, poor people hating, racist, chauvinistic, selfish, homophobes are not ones that God would want to hang out with.

I haven’t met any Wicca people that practice these rituals. I have met several Christians who do practice them.

Catch said...

good post Deb! I dont believe suicide is a straight ticket to hell. When most people commit suicide they are very troubled....not thinking clearly....overwhelmed. I think God knows this...

Amy said...

You want to denounce Christ?

CP says it best.
"No.

No no no.

No."

Gary said it well also: "Did you proclaim your faith in Christ, or in his followers? "

You've got some bad apples visiting and commenting on your website. They are harassing you and they are making you feel bad about your faith.

When bad apples fall from the tree and knock us on our heads, we don't have reason to believe that ALL apples will act the same or that the whole tree is wrong to even exist! Nothing is that black and white!

I am a person who is very interested in all things great and small, and how they work (I try to see the good side of everything ‘cause I want St. Peter to let me through The Pearly Gates). Critical inquiries into our world and its diverse environments, culture, and religions can only make you a more well rounded person.

HOWEVER, keep in mind that converting to a new religion is converting to a new identity.

Any religion can offer peace, calmness, serenity, love, etc.

Any religion can offer war, massacre, hate, and turmoil.

There will always be issues, wherever you go.

In perusing the Wicca site (a nice website, thanks for linking to it), this stood out for me:

"Witchcraft is a spiritual system that fosters the free thought and will of the individual, encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature thereby affirming the divinity in all living things. Most importantly however, it teaches responsibility. We accept responsibility for our actions and deeds as clearly a result of the choices we make. We do not blame an exterior entity or being for our shortcomings, weaknesses or mistakes. If we mess up or do something that brings harm to another, we have no one but ourselves to blame and we must face the consequences resulting from those actions. No ifs, ands or buts and no whining..."

No religion has a copyright on that mode of thinking. Any reasonable person contains within his or herself, a level of personal accountability. A person cannot truthfully claim that they don't EVER whine and carry on to whichever deity they worship because whining and carrying on is part of the nature of humans!

Ok, so they acknowledge the cycles of nature and see the divine nature in all living things...so do a lot of people who practice a variety of religions!

In my knowledge God is the greatest architect! Of course the earth has divine attributes. He made it!

Anyone who is anyone in The Bible and otherwise has journeyed into the mountains or the desert to seek healing and enlightenment, then they returned and shared the knowledge they were given. You do the same thing every day when you meditate with God. When you feed the birds He gives to you, when you are in awe of the beauty surrounding you.

God has given you these gifts.

Queenie said...

Enjoyed your post Deb, and once again the cogs in my head go around. Pity we can't just dip our toes in the water to see how it feels.

Gary Baker said...

"What is truth? Why didn't Jesus answer? Maybe it was because he did claim to be the truth, but we really can't speak with authority as to who Christ is, just as we are limited in understanding the mysteries of the father--the disciples were dunderheads that always needed a helping hand."

Christ did answer that question, though not to Pilate. He said that he was the way, the truth, and the light. He also said that no one gets to the Father except through him. Now, take the reference that you made to the disciples: When did they get in trouble? When they doubted what Christ said. When Peter doubted, he sank. Later Christ told the disciples that he must die, and Peter rebuked him. Their troubles were not the results of too little questioning, but too little faith in what they knew.

"I don’t think God really cares about labels and how you choose to worship Him."

Like Tip O'Neil once said: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. The scriptures are pretty clear that God does care about how you worship him. Based on your assessment, anything would go. If you wanted to commit child sacrifice and call it an act of worship, that would be fine. No, I really think it does make a difference.

"I do know this per MY grasp of scriptural texts (in both English AND Greek) that people whom are, gluttonous, money grubbing, poor people hating, racist, chauvinistic, selfish, homophobes are not ones that God would want to hang out with."

That's very interesting, considering that when Christ came to Earth those were precisely the type of people that he hung out with. The thing that they had in common was that they knew they needed help to get better.

Now I can honestly say that I have never met a person that claimed to practice Wicca, so I can't speak from experience on how they stack up from a human perspective. I would imagine they are about the same as the rest of us. I don't know what to compare joining a coven to. I know that the imagery for becoming a Christian is adoption. When a child above a certain age is adopted, they have a say in the matter. They get to chose if they want to be adopted by the parents. But it's a package deal. They don't get to say "Okay, you can be my father, but I don't want her as my sister," or "I don't want him as my brother," or "Don't you dare adopt anyone else."

Part of the Christian walk is not just learning to love God but learning to love your adopted siblings as well. I'm not going to defend anything unloving or unkind by a church or any group of Christians. Just remember, when you walk away with comments like "Nutjob," it's not just the other guy that is failing to love. Again, if you are looking to people, you will be disappointed. Look to Christ.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Gary--sorry, I can't restrain myself. There are nutjobs in every faith. Do I speak in love? No. I don't like them and never will. Does that mean I don't look to Christ? I look to Christ every day of my life. I ask him to make me a vessel. Sometimes he has a hard time with the clay. I will say it plainly: many of my kind horrify me. Looking to Christ is my only comfort. As for your truth comment, I will leave that alone because we will not agree and there are discussions that are fruitless. I find it hard to love Christians who are convinced they know all the answers, who show no compassion to those who doubt and struggle, who picket hate signs and deem themselves superior as they choose a different path. Scripture, or any holy writ, be it the Koran, the Gita, the Hebrew Bible which is different from the Christian OT (and Spongy reads Greek, I read Hebrew) all make various claims to truth, but I study language; it is my job and I know the limitations of conveying "truth" via the written word. This is why I bow my head and ask for revelation as words are guides but not the end. Even Paul said we only see in part. I can accept mystery.

Lisa said...

Hi Deb,

This is a great post. Like someone said earlier, it's so heartening to see someone questioning and wrestling with their faith; it's evidence of God working in you, even if it feels sacreligious to do it. How can something truly be ours if we simply accept it without questioning it?

I've wrestled with the same questions - not relating to Wicca, but relating to Christianity. "Why do I even want to bother with this? People can be so hateful. Christians can be so quick to attack others and each other. Where is Christ in all of this? Why bother with it?"

For what it's worth, I think Gary has some excellent things to say about this. It's true that Christianity often gets a really bad rap because of its followers; however, Christianity is unequivocally not about Christians. Christianity is about keeping your eyes focused on Christ, His death and resurrection, His provision of grace for us all.

I cannot stress that enough, especially since I've just come through a similar struggle myself.

One thing that I have to keep in mind which may or may not help you - I've found that in keeping my blogs, I often find myself with an altered perspective which isn't always accurate. An example - for a long time, most of my readers/commenters were either staunch athiest friends of mine who would attack everything I said about God, or mega-fundie Christians with whom I didn't see eye to eye. I really internalized that and started thinking, "Oh my gosh.. Christians really ARE crackpots! And the athiests are making more sense than they are! It's really true, what they're saying about Christians. It must be true because they're ALL saying it!!" The reality was, though, that my perspective became skewed because that was 90% of the tone of my blog. I'm not suggesting you change the tone of yours at all; I'm just suggesting that perhaps some of the commenters on your blog are altering your perspective more than they deserve to.

Cling to the ways in which you've experienced God in your life. For awhile, those experiences were all I had to keep me going. Don't take your focus off of God because of the actions of His followers, as misguided as we can often be sometimes. God loves you, Deb, and He's working in you.

Okay, this is really long and I certainly don't mean to preach at you.. you're in my prayers, Deb!

Gary Baker said...

Susan,

I have no problem accepting mystery, but there is a great difference between accepting mystery and rejecting truth. I'm thrilled that you pray for guidance, as I do. But if you really want God's truth, why go to sources that God proclaims are evil? And equally important is the basis for what you reject. Spongy says he reads Greek. Great, but he still put forth an interpretation directly at odds with any reasonable interpretation of Christ's ministry. What can I conclude? If you go looking for answers to Christianity from sources that are either opposed to Christianity or deny its essentials, what are you really looking for?

Consider the definition of holiness. It is used to define moral or righteous behavior, but you must know that isn't strictly what it means. It refers to separateness. God wants us to be set apart for him, to not mix our relationship with him with the things of the world or other religions. So again, what are you looking for and who are you trying to please?

Enemy of the Republic said...

Gary, I will only say this: My search is my business and I live to please no one but the truth, which I only know in part. This will sound rude: I don't intend it harshly, but I certainly don't live to please other Christians; many see me as heretical because I seek out a variety of sources for enlightenment. Part of it is the nature of my work. If my relationship to Christ fails to meet your standards, then perhaps you should either pray for me or give me up as lost. We are all known by our fruits. I have never commented on how I view your ideas of Christianity; I don't understand why you deem it necessary to pass judgment on mine. It's between me and God, not me, God and Gary.

Gary Baker said...

Susan,

"I have never commented on how I view your ideas of Christianity; I don't understand why you deem it necessary to pass judgment on mine. It's between me and God, not me, God and Gary."

First off, let's be honest: You have commented on my ideas.

Second, I passed no judgment. I asked the question. If you don't like what you find, that's up to you.

Third, if you don't want to invite comment, it's very easy. Keep your opinions to yourself. No one comments on silence. But if you want to express yourself, then expect others to do the same.

And for the record, I do pray for you a lot. A pray that you will find the peace that you seek. I pray because on your website, you sound like you are in such turmoil. I have my opinions as to why, but you have already made it clear that you don't want my evaluations. That is why I pose questions.

And that end question I asked had nothing to do with other questions. I was asking are you trying most to please God, or to please yourself?

Enemy of the Republic said...

Gary,

One: Now when have I said I fear inviting comment? I don't fear it at all. I was writing comments to Deb, not you, when you chose to discuss what I said. So I replied. Gary, you don't know me nor my motives for my behavior.

Two: I have always tried to treat you with respect. By all means, share examples of my commentary on your relationship to God, for I recall none.

Three: Thank you for your prayers. That is kind. But I would feel much better if you found something else to do with your time.

Four: I maintain my answer above--I try to please the truth, which I see as God or the manifestation of the Divine. I also accept difference in people.

Five: If I were trying to please myself alone, I would be leading a much different life, and I would be speaking to you in a much different manner. So let me repeat myself: my relationship to God is my concern, not yours. I haven't concerned myself once with your relationship with God. It is not my business. I need to worry about my own flaws before I think about those that exist in others. You may not agree or care for what you see in me, but I assure you, it is honest.

Ricardo said...

Deb, Wiccia is a very interesting faith that I ve read about in passing but am no expert on. I wish you the best in your search and hope you find what you are looking for. There are many wonderful and rewarding paths for all of us out there. There is one out there for you, I'm sure of it.

enemy, you.....you are a delight, really. And I love your candor on this topic. You needn't ever justify who you are trying to please to anyone but you. Some just like to go on and on about nothing. Therefore, treat it as nothing.

Bless you. And belss you too Deb.

Ricardo said...

BTW Deb, if you still feel a pull toward Christianity, have you looked up the new church started up by Jim Baker's son? I think it's in NYC. I know it sounds crazy but he has a show on the Sundance channel called One Punk Under God that you may find interesting. Very open and liberal to all lifestyles.

Gary Baker said...

Susan,

"One: Now when have I said I fear inviting comment? I don't fear it at all. I was writing comments to Deb, not you, when you chose to discuss what I said. So I replied. Gary, you don't know me nor my motives for my behavior."

Refer back to your post "This is Not a Blog." Also think back to the events that precipitated it. A few comments that were starting to warm up. A few that got insulting and personal. Not mine, but no one could tell that. Mine stopped getting posted. It struck me as pretty ironic. You mentioned that the other blogger was a friend of his and that you did not condone his actions. Of course, that's exactly what you were doing while letting his posts stand. Which leads to:

"Two: I have always tried to treat you with respect."

You may have tried, but when it came to siding with your friends or principle, you decided to go the other way.

"Three: Thank you for your prayers. That is kind. But I would feel much better if you found something else to do with your time."

I'll give it some consideration. Believe it or not, I really would like for you to feel better. Your writing shows a lot of turmoil in your life.

"Four: I maintain my answer above--I try to please the truth, which I see as God or the manifestation of the Divine. I also accept difference in people."

This response is very difficult for me to understand. You say that you try to please the truth, and yet you seem to resist so intently any attempt to actually determine or apply it in a situation.

I, too, accept differences in people. I don't try to impose my will on anyone (outside of my children. The whole parenting thing...) but I'm also willing to say what I believe. And if I believe that someone is heading down a scriptural suicide run, I'm not afraid to bring that up. To me, that is an act of concern and care. They can, and will, do as they wish. I do get pretty indignant when people attribute ideas and attitudes to God that he has never made for himself. I think he deserves that much respect, at least.

Now, if you are trying to please God, then he will reward you. I have no doubt that you will be blessed. My questions can be relegated to the insignificant footnote status they deserve.

Five: I agree very much that your relationship with God is your concern. I ran into a problem, though. When Deb began talking about getting into Wicca, you seemed to be encouraging her in that direction. Considering the fundamental incompatibility between Christianity and Wicca that I've mentioned here, it seems to me that concern was legitimate. Believe it or not, I care about Deb as a sister in Christ, and I did not see your advice as being in her best spiritual interest. For that matter, I don't see it in your best spiritual interest. I can't do anything to stop it, nor would I if I could. But I feel compelled to mention it.

If you feel such things are not my business, then again, don't bring them up in a public forum. Call Deb on the phone. Email. Sit down and have tea. Meet at the Coven House. Whatever. Because if you do bring them up in a public forum, I will speak my mind. I won't be rude, profane, or threatening, but I will be clear to the best of my ability.

Irisi said...

Hey Deb,

You're in a rough spot! I don't blame you for questioning your faith, it is a very difficult place to be in, where you are. As a religious leader in my community, I have had many many people come to me expressing their confusion, and wanting to learn "how" to be pagan. I say pagan and not wiccan, because paganism is an umbrella term that covers all earth based faiths, while wicca is a more specific denomination.

Every time someone comes to me I say this: Go out, find that is sacred and holy to you, find your temple, where you feel at peace and happy, what you think happens after death, and then come back and we'll talk.

It can be so tempting to immediately jump out of one belief system and into another, but the fundamental problem with this is that when you are constantly living within somebody else's set of rules, it's hard to find yourself.

Wicca is the easiest branch of paganism to find out about because it's one of the most popular. I personally promote self discovery first. This is how I ended up in Reclaiming. Reclaiming is pretty wonderful because it does practice the earth based spirituality, and provides the *tools* for community ritual and personal growth with the community (it's very community oriented..), but you bring your own Gods, Goddesses, Divine Light, etc to the table. My group actually has two Christi-pagans, and two Jewwiccans :)

Christianity and paganism are not mutually exclusive. Jesus is a dying and rising God, and I view him as another face of the Sun God. Mary is a holy mother, and I consider her an aspect of the Earth Mother. In the past year, my challenge has been to reintigrate my Christian upbringing with my pagan faith, and much to the shock of my coven I've started quoting the bible in ritual. The two aren't exclusive. Paganism *is* polytheistic, but how exactly each pagan defines that differs wildly. My personal belief is that there is one holy something out there, and we identify "faces" of it by giving it names and identities, because it's too much for our mortal minds to comprehend the enormity of a single faced God.

There are a lot of weird zealots in- well- every faith. If you step into paganism, you're undoubtedly going to run into someone who thinks they were Cleopatra in a past life, or swears by the Grimore of Lady Sheba, or spews hatred for Christians (most common and most unfortunate). If you are seriously having crisis of faith issues, walk carefully where you will. I wouldn't come out and announce to your family "hey everyone, I'm wiccan!", or instantly try to seek out a coven. Spend time reading, meditating, walking, introspecting, and find what *YOU* believe before you start looking for a community that shares that belief.

So, last but not least, I am going to end this novel of a response with a book suggestion! I would like to reccomend you read something by Starhawk. She is levelheaded, practical, and her books are all very moving. I highly reccomend The Twelve Wild Swans, it's a very potent spiritual journey -- I just finished a class based on this book, and it was life changing. It holds your hands through the basics of creating sacred space and connecting with the earth, then flings you head first into painful introspective work, and walks you through self healing.

Let me also say that if you need to talk about anything, ever, I promise to you three things:
1. No judgement here
2. I hold your secrets in confidence
3. I'm not going to push you one way or the other, just talk and explore.

Okay, sorry for the rambling novel, but I hope it helps you!

Take care dear, brightest blessings,

~ C

Dani said...

Hi Deb - After reading this I thought about you a lot, then I came across an email today which made my heart go out to you even more, so I decided to post it on my blog for you to read. *Click HERE. No debates, no judgment, just a loving message of hope if you want to receive it.

├ůsa said...

Oh Deb! I enjoyed reading your post! As you know I’m more of a heathen even though I consider myself a spiritual person and as such I must ask you if you really have to turn your back to Christianity just because there are so many dimwits who say they belong to the same?! You read and study the bible and it has guided you and helped you guide others to a loving path. Just because many horrific deeds have been committed in the name of Christianity and just because there are folks who interpret (yes: it is interpretation since it’s just translated into English and written in a language where the same word can have many meanings) the text differently and condemn others, doesn’t mean you have to think they are right. I know you don’t, but – you know what I mean?

Sue said...

I have been out of the loop for a bit but wanted to comment on this subject. Your faith in your religion is what makes you-- you. The fact that you doubt it a little is not a bad thing -- I think it will bring you back stronger than ever. These kinds of posts are what keep me coming back Deb because you let other people's beliefs be theirs. You don't take it away from them. I love that. Just another aside....if Dani thinks that being a lesbian and a Christian is an oxymoron, what would she say about Christian Wiccans. I followed an AOL online community that called themselves that.....I wonder if she goes all ballistic on them for their blasphemy!!

Brandon said...

I just started into Wicca. I started about the same time I started my blog, http://www.fathinwhat.blogspot.com/. I have also written several things on my MySpace account http://www.myspace.com/sgcandtheforce and http://www.hoversppot.com/sgcandtheforce.

The reason for switching from Christianity to Wicca is all that you have said and more. What I have read so far about Wicca, it seems that Christians are suppose to go by what Wiccans are doing. Arrogance appears to be the master over reason when we entertain our egoistic attitudes.

For right now, I will be getting into solitary Wicca. First of all I am a free spirit and rather do things on my own. This does not mean I do not want to make Wiccan friends. Since faith is between me and a higher power, I think it should be a solitary system.

Since I have read that the USA government elected on April 25, 2007 as a bona fide religion, I am sure in time everyone will start to accept Wicca or tolerate it.

Good article and never give up being you spite what others may or may not agree with you. :D

Madeleine said...

Hi Deb =]

My name is Madeleine.

I love this post. Really I do. I found it from a google search on "switching from Christianity to Wicca" because I am currently in a similar situation. I was raised in a Christian home (though not severely pious or anything) and (for the same reasons you posted here) have felt the need to search for alternatives religions/spiritualities. Since I am on the same soul-searching journey, I cannot offer any substancial advice-- I only wish you peace, joy, and self-confidence as you either dive into the waters or turn around and walk away from the diving board. =]

I love you and love your posts-- and they have helped me in more ways than you can imagine. Thank you so much =]

I'll continue to check back in and post more comments. =] =]

Have a great week, and keep smiling =]

Love,
M.

Anonymous said...

Hello there. I accidentally came across your post while I was searching for something else. I see that this is almost an entire year old and I obviously would have no idea what you've been through since, but I just wanted to say this: I was raised in a "Christian" household where I would get thrown against the wall, then dragged to church on Sunday. When I was 12, I started having seizures. The doctors didn't know why, but guessed it was stress. The had no idea how my stress I was really going through! My sister stayed with me all night, even though my own mother had better things to do. The next day my mother decided to take everyone to the church to pray for me, but sister didn't want to go, because she was tired from being up all night: so she was dragged through the house and to the car by her hair! I've long since given up my mother's religion in search of my own. No Christian religion has satisfied me, because all of the cruelty and senseless violence "in the name of God" was driving me crazy. Now I am Wiccan and I'm very happy. The Wiccan reed states "An it harm none, do what you will." So, at the very core of the religion is their most important rule, the only rule shared by every branch of Wicca (Wicca has branches too). I believe that I am still serving the same higher power, but in another form. The Goddess is everything around us. She is always portrayed as loving, rather than the vengeful God of Christianity. You shall not fear her, for she loves all. Her only request is that you never hurt anyone or anything. It's one thing to live on the Earth, it's another thing entirely to live with It.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog through my search of the definition of 'wiccan' and how these followers might compare to Christianity. Having looked at the dates of most of the previous comments I am aware that this is quite an old discussion topic but I felt inclined to speak my views;

I would like to agree that Christianity has turned bitter and leaves bad tastes in many peoples mouths. Having said that, I, myself, am a Christian. I am a Christ follower. I am here to shoot down the concept of 'religion' and 'denomination'. Christianity is not my religion or my denomination. I do not hold any of the such. It is my faith; I am asked by God to follow him in faith and I do so. I agree that the most foul you might come across are those that are forcing their 'denomination' on you and are judging you and spitting at the other so called 'christians' that their practices clash with. This is the entire reason for a split world. Christians are the biggest in hypocracy... it states this even in the Bible. WE are the ones that turn others against Jesus and for that I apologize. I apologize for all those that have cast you down and made you feel unworhty.

It breaks my heart seeing many write of hate and arrogance in the Christian community, but you are all right. I do ask, however, that those that feel this look not to the people that are modeling these behaviors but to Christ himself. We are all sinners and 'all will fall short of the glory of God..'. How then can we be expected to model such behaviors when we are imperfect. We can't. We should be doing a better job of this. I simply ask that rather than looking to us for an idea of Christianity look to the Bible and read His words. Find yourself through Him rather than the actions of us sinners.

One comment made me uncomfortable. Something to the effect of 'what if you wake up and Jesus was simply a prophet...'
Let me turn this around on you;
What if YOU wake up and Jesus was NOT simply a prophet. What if all his teachings are true. Where will you be then? If I wake up and find that Jesus was simply a prophent then that would be that and I would know the truth. But when you find that that's not the case and you have already chosen, what then? For His teachings say 'I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes through the Father except through Me." (john 14:6)

The Lord is not vengeful. He is the most loving of all. God is Love and I feel that every day. I am not perfect and I sin every day. But because Jesus was sent to save me of those sins I am able to repent and ask forgiveness and be redeemed. I am most angry at the Baptist churches for teaching that God is full of wrath. God is soo powerful and although he has used that as punishment he is our father. That is what fathers/parents do. They teach, the punish, but they also love unconditionally.

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