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Cults and World Religions

Witchcraft



Wicca

 

We are not evil. We don’t harm or seduce people. We are not dangerous. We are ordinary people like you. We have families, jobs, hopes, and dreams. We are not a cult. This religion is not a joke. We are not what you think we are from looking at T.V. We are real. We laugh, we cry. We are serious. We have a sense of humor. You don’t have to be afraid of us. We don’t want to convert you. And please don’t try to convert us. Just give us the same right we give you – to live in peace. We are much more similar to you than you think.
Margot Adler 221

Even by the standards of those who practice witchcraft, this may be the world’s oldest religion. Most view witchcraft, especially its modern form of Wicca, as being based upon the old pagan practices of the Celtic society, mixed, perhaps, with the rituals of the Freemasons and the ceremonial magick of other Satanic groups. While all Wiccans consider themselves to be witches, it is to be noted that not all witches consider themselves to be Wiccan. We will focus primarily on Wiccans for they are the ones suing the military and prison systems demanding equal time, space and money to practice their religions. They have encountered much more success in this area than has the Church of Satan.

Satanism is a direct substitute of Satan for God. Witchcraft becomes more acceptable to the world because it is not a direct substitute. Witchcraft is less of a perversion and therefore appears to many to be less of a threat. Many are willing to try it or, at least, allow it a chance.

History

The world views paganism as the worship of nature. This worship involved multiple gods and rituals which often involved sacrifices, including humans. This was the religion of the Canaanite neighbors of the nation of Israel who were to be driven from the Promised Land. History shows that this type of worship was not, however, limited to the Canaanites. Modern history finds that these religions were almost completely wiped out in the past by Christians and Muslims. The new growth is called neopaganism or new paganism and is a religion built upon a reconstruction from ancient sources. In other words, it probably is not exactly the same as it use to be!

Neopaganism incorporates the worship of nature of paganism with twenty-first century knowledge. The system teaches that no one belief system is correct and an individual must have a freedom of choice for his beliefs. Paganism is usually non-centralized, without a hierarchy or a set of dogma. The Pagan Federation has issued the following set of principles for neopaganism:

The main branches of paganism are Shamanism, 222 Goddess Spirituality (“Mother Nature”), Sacred Ecology (“Save the Environment”), and various magical groups. The Druids are the most predominant and public group in England. Wicca is the largest in the United States (and probably the world).

Wicca as an identifiable religion is only about 50 years old. What the Christian needs to realize is that the practices of Wicca come from the Old Testament. Even the leaders of Wicca, such as Gerald Gardner, effectively agree. Gardner sees the roots of Wiccan rituals as being associated with fire, the hunt, animal fertility, plant propagation, tribal fertility, and the curing of disease in prehistoric man. These rituals developed into a religion which recognized a Supreme Deity, who was incapable of being understood. 223

It is interesting to note that ReligiousTolerance.org describes Wicca as the 8th largest religion in the world, behind Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Bahai. 224 The group can claim this position by lumping all of the cults Mormons, etc., into the religions they associate themselves with. In other words, aside from these eight, there are very few world religions. It is also a sign of the times that the neopagan groups have more page space on the ReligiousTolerance.org WEB site than many of the other world religions. This includes a set of pages on Christianity versus Wicca which contains the analysis of Bible versions in favor of Wicca to prove that Christianity has the wrong view of witches. Or, to be more precise, that Moses was not writing about witches and sorcerers when he wrote God’s command to remove all of this group from the land.

The pagan history is also characterized as being the source of many Christian holidays. This is certainly true in one sense as the Christian church attempted to rework and change the focus of days like Christmas and Halloween in an effort to make Christianity “user friendly” to new groups. But, we must keep in mind that in one sense, the entire world was pagan and the use of common terms, such as the names of the days of the week, or holidays, should not be unexpected. God did not direct the Jews to rename everything. And by the time of Christ, the focus was clearly on the preaching of the Good News of Salvation, not upon renaming everything to Christian terms.

Another example of how Satan operates in the world is an effort on the part of the Wiccans to take an event of history and cast much blame and guilt upon the Christian or Roman Catholic Church as the culprit. This is especially true of the “Burning Times.” The Wiccans present the position that history does not show much, if any, real connection between witches and those victims of the Burning Times. The victims are characterized as midwives, native healers, single women who lived alone, people against whom a neighbor had a grudge, people who confessed under torture, and those in the wrong place at the wrong time. While Roman Catholic Church sources indicate that some 3,000 witches were killed, the neopagan sources claim as many as 9,000,000 deaths! 225 The Burning Times refers, of course, to that extended period of history when the Christian Church was cleansing itself of witches and other obvious followers of Satan. The effort commences as early as 9th Century, but the Wiccans specially call the time period of 1550-1650 as the Burning Times.

While the Burning Times have ended, the modern Wiccan movement sees accusations of the ritual abuse of children and those who have been brain washed into “remembering” childhood molestation, as the modern day equivalent. 226

Beliefs

As stated above, the belief system of Wiccas and other neopagan groups may be summarized as follows:

What must jump out at one familiar with religions is that the presentations made by the Wiccas is a mix of Satanism and New Age. The Devil is hard at work attempting to package his practices in a form which will have some appeal to the general public. What can be more appealing to the modern public than a concern for nature and the environment?

Margot Adler estimates there are 50,000-to-100,000 identified Pagans in the U.S. 228

In Perspective

Wicca and witches are the tools of Satan. Scripture recognizes this point and the reader is referred to the chapter on the Occult to read God’s positions on these practioners. What the modern church must watch is the ever changing nature of definitions by various cult groups and philosophers. While we may call ourselves Christian, what we mean is that we believe in the essential doctrines of the church and the inerrancy of the Bible. On the other hand, many people, both inside and outside the Christian community now define a Christian as any person who holds Jesus in reverence, views him as the greatest of prophets, and tries to follow his teachings. While this definition will not allow a follower of Islam to be a Christian, many Wiccans, Unitarians, Spiritists, and other cult members, such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, meet this definition.

It all comes back to what you actually believe and how that belief is reflected in your daily life.

Footnotes:
221. http://www.religioustolerance.org/witchcra.htm. Adler is one of the leading proponents of Wicca.
222. For all practical purposes, this is the collective version of the religions of the Native Americans. Many of the practices of the Native Americans have effectively been incorporated into the tenets of New Age, such as the “spirit catcher” hanging from many rearview mirrors.
223. http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_hist.htm
224. Ibid.
225. http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_burn.htm
226. Inline with this rewriting of history and recharacterization of events, the Wiccans now claim that Satanic abuse rituals are a hoax created by the Christian church.
227. Josh McDowell & Don Stewart, Handbook of Today’s Religions, San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1983, 262, quoting Francesco-Mria Guazzo, Compendium Maleficarum, 1608, translated by Dr. R. H. Robbins.
228. http://www.religioustolerance.org/neo_paga.htm

 

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