In the last few days I’ve seen a lot people in several forums say things like “you can’t call yourself a Christian and practice witchcraft” or “you can’t call yourself a Christian and practice traditions from other religion’s holidays.” The typical reason given is that it’s somehow evil if you do. I’ve heard similar things from the pagan end of the spectrum as well, although usually it’s more of a “consorting with the enemy” type of approach. There have been well known pagans who went back to Christianity and were called opportunists because they didn’t stay in a path that wasn’t speaking to them anymore. The typical reason from this end is that “Christians do bad things.” I can confirm from my own experiences with an abusive leader that pagans do bad things as well. Believe me, Christianity doesn’t corner the market on church burn.
If religions have both good and bad people in them that also do good and bad things, then what reasons are we left with? The main one that I see is fear: fear of the unknown, the other, of things we don’t understand. Fear that maybe we might be wrong about our faith. That if someone doesn’t practice their tradition like you do and are content in it, then there must be something wrong with them. Or, maybe they’re delusional? Maybe they’re in denial of the Truth and just need someone to tell them that Truth so that they can believe the Right Way. Maybe it’s that they learned from the wrong teacher, or all they did was read a book and self-initiated themselves, so they’re not a proper witch? Isn’t it too confusing? These sentiments are so common when multi-faith practice comes up, I need to remind progressive communities that there are people who have multi-faith practices in their own community.
My questions for those who want to condemn multi-faith practice, or even just practices that are different from their own, are these:
- Is your faith in your own religion, your own tradition, and your connection with Spirit so fragile that you can’t handle someone doing something different from you and having just as strong of a faith and belief?
- Do you feel that your faith necessitates you be right, even if it means bullying someone else?
- Are people who are different from you such a threat to your own sense of self you feel the need to act violently in words and actions towards others?
- Are you so afraid of looking outside your comfortable bubble that you can’t accept that other people do things differently than you?
- Are you so sure about your own practice that you can claim that it is the One True Practice?
I am Wiccan and Christian. Both sets of rituals and deities feed my spirit and give me joy, comfort, and, because of my calling, purpose. I am a priest of both traditions because I have been called by my Wiccan deities and Jesus to do the work of a priest. I work to build bridges between the pagan and Christian communities and facilitate healing. I don’t always get it right, but I try my best. This is my path and I walk it with agreement between me and the Deities I serve.
Let me explain it another way. Let’s look at when Jesus came before Pilate:
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
When Pilate asks Jesus if he is King of the Jews, Jesus asks him if he came up with that idea, or was it something he learned from others. Jesus never claimed anything other than someone to speaking His truth. He was charged, by God and Spirit, to bring a certain truth to this world. In most of the Gospels he never fully admits to being a Messiah, either. He is a man and he had a mission. He cared for the sick, fed the poor, and did the work that God had set for him to do.
He didn’t ask for the label of “King” nor did He ever force anyone to follow Him, or call them traitor for not believing like He did. He preached, people listened, then made up their own minds to follow Him. Jesus never asked anyone to give up their sense of selves in order to follow Him. In short: He never claimed to be other than He was. He was a Jew. He also practiced this new Way of Love, which frightened the establishment. He never claimed to be anything He wasn’t.
Just like those of us who have multi-faith practices.
I am a witch and I am Christian. That is who I am. If it bothers you, is that your own idea, or did others tell you what to think of me? I was born to be who I am and this is my truth.
9 thoughts on “I’m Wiccan and Christian. Does that bother you?”
Amen Gina, amen!! <3
Ok, in practice you know I agree with you – there is plenty of precedent throughout history of keeping our folk traditions and faith elements while incorporating Christian elements. If your practice works, it’s a working practice.
Jesus spent a lot of time avoiding being identified, yes, but he also said things like “I am the way and the truth and the light, no one comes to the Father except through me” and told people to abandon their families in order to devote themselves to his cause. So I can understand where folks are coming from when they assert that Christianity is an exclusive tradition. Between a handful of direct Jesus quotes, plenty of indirect quotes and assertions from people like Paul, and hundreds of years of church politics doing their best to eradicate competition, it’s hard to come away with anything *other* than an understanding that Christianity expects exclusivity.
Now, there is also plenty of history built up in rebellion or casual disregard of that, and there’s plenty of deliberate church history of re-interpreting folk traditions to allow people to keep them. Either side of this argument is going to have to do some cherry picking, but the exclusivity side has a lot more cherries to choose from.
What I *don’t* understand is where the idea that Wicca or most other Pagan traditions have that attitude. If there’s anywhere in Wicca that says you can’t be multi-trad, it must be oathbound material, ’cause I’ve never seen it. Most historical polytheist traditions were fine with adding more gods, as long as you maintained your social ties appropriately.
As far as I’m concerned, what you’re doing is great stuff. But the reaction from the Christian side of the fence is, alas, well supported.
I think in regards to the Wiccan attitude, it might be a holdover? crossover? projection? of that kind of exclusivity thing from Christianity. I think you’re right that it happens more with oathbound stuff, and I’ve found it more with the mores strict Brit Trads (and mainly on the east coast, definitely not as much here).
Granted that any oaths of exclusivity a trad might include, I wouldn’t be privy to them, and I HAVE known, say, Heathen Kindreds to have that kind of thing, although it’s not built into the tradition, and most Heathens I hang out with rather balk at it. -E-
I had to give a think re: the Jesus bits…I think more of what I was trying to get at is that while, you’re right about what he said, there was no forcing of people to go with him, nor, if I’m remembering the gospels correctly, did he actually require anyone give up being a Jew.
And yeah, then there’s the problems of world’s worst game of telephone evar with added bonus politics….*sigh*
Oh no, historically speaking it seems clear he believed what he was doing was reforming Judaism. It wasn’t until after he died that there was much about making the movement accessible to gentiles, and from there, whether they had to convert to Judaism to be Christian, etc.
The early politics between Rome and mainstream Judaism didn’t help, of course.
All that said, while he said nothing about forcing people to go along, he was pretty darned clear in the bits that probably *are* him that he believed he had THE right way of reaching the only real G-d.
Of course, the Way in question involved being more compassionate and less greedy, and prioritizing the spirit of love, generosity, and hospitality over reputation and rules.
What He became *after* the resurrection is a whole other question entirely of course. I’m just talking about what Jesus-the-human was after during his mortal lifetime.
I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a difference between saying “Other people are allowed to be wrong if they want to” and “Other ways aren’t wrong”, and it seems clear that Jesus was, during his mortal lifetime, more about the former.
But that’s not remotely the most valuable thing we can take away from His teachings, nor, I assume, the focus of your own faith.