A hybrid no one could have expected is growing. This is the attempt to merge Christianity and Wicca. There are social media groups for Christian Wiccans, there is a growing amount of literature out there targeted towards those who would call themselves Christian Wiccans. But is this possible? Can you merge these two religions? Can you merge any two religions and call it an authentic expression of both religions at the same time?
Why am I choosing to write about this? Because it hits at one of the biggest misconceptions about Wicca: that it’s a big free-for-all and you can believe whatever you want and call yourself Wiccan. In the sense that Wicca has no formal definition of heresy, this is true. And there are some beliefs that are more central to Wicca then others, and as shown in the article on Wiccan views of divinity, there is quite a lot of unity in diversity. That is because Wicca is a religion of orthopraxy- the focus is less on the details of theology and more in how that plays out in day to day life. It matters more, in Wicca, that person A and B honor the Goddess and the God then if Person A is a duotheist and Person B is a hard polytheist. There is a lot of room for diversity in Wicca. But if the word Wicca is going to mean anything at all, if we are going to call Wicca a religion and ask for it to be accorded the respect and protections that other religions are accorded, saying anything in the world we want can mean Wicca isn’t appropriate.
Conversely, it shows respect to other religions to accept what they define as their doctrine. To tell them that they don’t really believe it, or that something else is really true, is not appropriate. Wiccans don’t like it when we’re told we worship Satan because we don’t worship the God of the Bible, so why should we be telling Christians that Mary is actually a Goddess, or that the Gnostic gospels are actually Sacred Scripture so that our view of things can be accepted?
I’m not talking in this article about people who learn about Wicca, stay Christian but decide to adopt some its philosophies, like a reverence for nature, or an openness to the possibility of female divine energy. I’m talking about those who consider themselves fully Christian and fully Wiccan. It’d be like the difference between someone who is Hindu but uses Buddhist meditation techniques, and someone who considers themselves a Hindu Buddhist.
This article is also not going to speak to those who would consider themselves Christian witches. Christianity is a religion, Witchcraft is a path, a craft. It is accessible to people of any and no religion. While I would argue it does not mesh at all with Christianity, all that really means is that I shouldn’t be a Christian witch! But Christian Wicca is different.
To cover this is going to, by necessity, mean speaking about Christian doctrine. I am going to try to make it as bare-boned of an article as possible. I really have no desire to speak negatively about Christianity, and where I do, I am speaking only speaking about very specific forms of Christianity.
The definition of Wicca and of Christianity:
Let’s lay out the definition of the two religions side by side here.
Wicca: a religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (such as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles (Merriam-Webster dictionary, emphasis mine)
Christianity: Religion stemming from the teachings of Jesus in the 1st century AD. Its sacred scripture is the Bible, particularly the New Testament. Its principal tenets are that Jesus is the Son of God (the second person of the Holy Trinity), that God’s love for the world is the essential component of his being, and that Jesus died to redeem humankind. (Brittanica.com summary on Christianity, emphasis mine)
So right here we see a conflict. We have a religion that believes in male and female deities, and a religion that believes in the Holy Trinity. We have a religion stemming from the teachings of Jesus and a religion influenced by beliefs and practices that pre-date those teachings. Because of the Bible’s status within Christianity, the Scriptures on the worship of other deities and the practice of witchcraft are very important.
Views of Divinity:
This is very, very basic. Christianity believes in strict monotheism. “You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3- all Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted).” “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth (Deuteronomy 6:14-15). In the New Testament, idolatry (which is what the Bible calls the worship of any other god but the God of the Bible) is still condemned in the strongest terms. “ Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Interestingly enough, as a side note, Goddess worship is particularly condemned in the Bible, with Jeremiah 7 and Jeremiah 44 condemning those who had gone back to the worship of Ishtar/Inanna (I love how they tell the prophet that she listened to them more so they were going to worship her anyways!) Christians believe that God is one God made up of three divine persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For those who are not familiar with Trinitarian thought, here is a diagram that might illustrate it a little:
Wicca, however, is at the very least duotheistic. It believes in the worship of a Goddess and a God. Wiccans might believe that this God and Goddess come from a Great Spirit, or from an All-That-Is, or some monotheistic view of ultimate deity, but it is not at all like the Christian Trinity. Whatever view of divinity you take in Wicca, there is no view of divinity in Wicca that is at all consistent with the Christian view of divinity. Wicca also believes that the Divine is present in nature, something that is considered a heresy in Christianity. Christianity teaches that man has dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). The two beliefs are incompatible. And, as a Christian, not only do the two views contradict each other, but you are actively going against the teaching of the Christian religion if you mix in Wiccan worship with Christian worship.
View of Mankind:
Traditional Christianity believes that mankind is in need of a Savior, hence the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Although progressive Christianity often does not believe in original sin and has differing views on the existence, reason and need for the above events, the conservative Protestant and the official Catholic position- see this for some details on the Catholic teaching- is that mankind is sinful from the moment of conception- by the simple fact of existing- and cannot be saved from eternal conscious torment in hell without Jesus’ sacrifice being applied to them in some manner, whether that is through baptism or through “personal acceptance of Jesus as your Savior” or both. Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believe that baptism is the initiator of the salvation experience (which they believe is a lifelong process), while Protestants believe it is “praying to accept Jesus into your heart” but no traditional school of Christianity believes that you can be saved without the salvation of Jesus being applied to the individual(1).
Wicca believes this doctrine is almost blasphemy. How could it be otherwise in a religion that believes in the indwelling of Divinity in humankind? The idea that we need a Savior to keep us from an otherwise basically-automatic hell-bound path is anathema to the Wiccan view of immanent divinity and the dignity of humankind. People are not seen as created corrupted from the get-go.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)”
“The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. (Psalm 58:3)”
“The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:2-3)
“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. (Isaiah 64:6)”
The two views of the intrinsic nature of humanity directly contradict each other.
Divination and Witchcraft:
The Bible repeatedly condemns witchcraft and any form of divination as a grave sin, one that will cost you your salvation unless you repent. In Catholicism it is in their highest category of sin (mortal sin). The Bible says that anyone who practices divination or witchcraft is going to hell (Malachi 3:5, Revelation 21:8). In the book of Acts, renouncing witchcraft is shown as an essential part of becoming a Christian.
“And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. (Acts 19:17-20)”
There is quite simply no grounds in the Bible that suggest that Christianity allows for the practice of witchcraft. Nor is there any grounds in historical Christianity to show that any Scriptures were ever interpreted in a way that allowed for the practice of witchcraft. Christians were trying to convert pagans to Christianity. If they could have told the pagans that they would still be allowed to practice witchcraft as Christians, don’t you think they would have done it? It would have made getting converts much easier.
Part of the Wiccan religion is the practice of witchcraft. By condemning witchcraft, Christianity has condemned a major practice of the Wiccan religion. It has also condemned the very practice that these people are trying to merge with Christianity. Again, one has to wonder what respect this shows for Christianity. Christianity is a religion of orthodoxy- right belief. It does matter to Christians what one believes about who Jesus is and what he came to do. It does matter what the nature of divinity is- there isn’t room for several different beliefs. Throughout Christian history, differing views have been debated, defined, and narrowed down.
The aims of Christian Wicca:
There are, I think, a few reasons why one would want to be a Christian Wiccan:
- They are more familiar with the Christian theology and worldview and yet they want to practice witchcraft.
- They want to be Wiccan but are afraid they will go to hell if they leave Christianity completely behind.
- A lack of understanding that Wicca is a religion as well as a practice, and so feeling that they need to keep Christianity in their lives to keep the Divine in their lives.
- A desire to have the good parts of Wicca (respect for the environment, a sense of the Divine in creation, equality of men and women) and yet keep Christianity. In that case, progressive Christianity is a much better direction to go then trying to merge Christianity and Wicca.
Some would say there is nothing wrong with merging Christianity and Wicca. I would disagree. I believe it is disrespectful to both religions to try and force them together when they are so fundamentally different. But whether it’s fine or not, what is overwhelming clear is that whatever you get out of the mix is neither Christianity nor Wicca, but something completely different. If that is what you want, then acknowledge that and work within that.
- Going into Christian belief on the salvation of non-Christians, and the various ways non-Christians may be able to have a salvation experience, is beyond the scope of this article, and is drastically different depending on what school of Christianity you are looking at it from. Even within, say, Catholicism, traditional Catholics look at it differently then conservative Catholics or progressive Catholics.