I was accidentally watching the 700 club yesterday, and they ran a story about a former Wiccan who had turned back to Christianity:
I never watch the 700 club on purpose, I had just finished watching the previous show and hadn't changed the channel yet. They aired a teaser about a Wiccan who had become Christian, so I stayed to hear her story, curious to see how they would portray "all Witches". This lady had a series of hardships in her life, along with bouts of depression and drug and alcohol abuse, and finally decided to "get right with God" after becoming involved with a man that would only stay if she converted to Christianity. So, she of course, was telling her conversion story to a bunch of Christians.
While I was watching this episode, I wondered how it was that I have practiced Wicca for 5 years, and I have NEVER smoked marijuana or tried cocaine, or have even made friends of those who do these things. I think the last time I had an alcoholic beverage was over New Year's Eve, and I'll probably throw back 2-3 Smirnoff's during the entire Fourth of July weekend coming up. I have teen children, and they trust me to set the moral example for them. I practice magic using candles, incense and chants. I also allow each of my children to attend the Christian church of their choice, or none at all. They attend Vacation Bible School with several different friends and come back with several interpretations of Christianity. They ask me questions about the life of Jesus, and why this group believes in the Trinity, and this other one does not. Only two of my children have ever expressed any interest in my practice, and I have only answered their questions, being careful not to press my personal views.
I would be satisfied if my children could find happiness in a Christian setting. I don't have a problem with that. But I do have a problem with any suggestion that true Christians have less strife, less anxiety and depression, and less likelihood of drug or alcohol abuse. I am dismayed that a Christian program portrays all Wiccans as drug abusers, alcoholics, or becoming involved with demonic entities and "selling their souls". It's a fear tactic. It's baseless. I have no interest at all in drugs or dangerous practices like participation in orgies or harming animals during a ritual. These things are just not widely accepted or practiced in the Wiccan communities. Those people that do these things are covering up depression, running from stress or abusive relationships, or are interested in controlling and manipulating others. That's not everyone in Wicca. That's just a small slice, just like there are similar people of Christian faith who also do these things to escape or control others.
I don't even really believe Sheila (or Shalom, as she is called now) really ever was Wiccan. The life she described isn't remotely what Wicca is about, and if she really was a Witch, she wouldn't have given up her self-direction and sovereignty to keep a man. In my point of view, she gave up her true identity to conform to the will of this man's family, and to gain acceptance within the family structure. She sold out, to become the subservient wife in the Christian model.
I was raised Mormon, so I don't have much of a traditional background of Christianity to work from. But I've read books on Gnosticism, studied many theories related to Mary Magdalene as a priestess and a Goddess woman, and even came to understand how the Bible became to be the so-called "word of God". I know that it is an evolved work, changed and rearranged over the centuries, and that it is presented in a way that makes it appear complete. From the very first two chapters of Genesis, I can exclude myself from the binding laws of the Hebrew God, and it is exemplified in an essay written by Oberon Zell, titled "We are the Other People".
I have little faith that every Christian has taken the time to study opposing views and come to the rational decision to chose Christianity. An easy comparison between Jesus, Mithras, and Osiris can be found here. And just the simple fact that there are thousands of denominations of Christianity that actually compete with each other for the number of souls and the amount of offerings generated each year should be enough to at least consider the ol' "what's in it for them" question. I live in a small town of less than 5,000 people, yet sitting here at my desk I can think of at least 15 active "Christian" churches. If everyone went to church, that's about 333 people per church. If everyone gave a dollar each Sunday, then the pastor is making $8.32 an hour for a 40 hour week. That's if ALL 5000 people in this town picked a church and if EVERY man woman and child paid a dollar to do it. So the competition is stiff, to say the least. And the Christians are the biggest fear monger religion (save the radical Muslims) in the world today.
Nothing I have ever experienced with Wicca would even come close to the sense of fear and dread and anxiety that I experienced while I was a Mormon, and even when I was a Baptist child until I was 13. Every sermon, every lesson, every Sunday School Coloring Book was about the fear of Hell, the description of the Devil, the traps that have been set to lure you away from God, the constant review and expungence of sin, and the stress of worrying whether I was good enough, doing enough, contributing enough, striving enough, and practicing enough for God to eventually accept me into his "Heaven". Of course, growing up Mormon had it's own problems, and I was additionally burdened with being "temple worthy" and participating in rituals of the temple in order to demonstrate my obedience to God. So I probably can't contemplate the simplicity of just accepting "Jesus" as my savior, when Osiris and Mithras existed before him.
I still think that this entity "Satan", of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim world, has no power or strength against the Other People. There is no need to be fearful of an entity who has no meaning outside of that pantheon. It's been liberating to me to know that this entity that so many people are afraid of and have lived and died defending against has no place in my consciousness and no power over my soul. No wars were ever fought in the name of Wicca.
I don't mind that people who used to practice Witchcraft or Wicca decide to leave and become Christian. We aren't going door to door announcing our religion and inviting others to join. Most people find it on their own, try it on for size, and if it doesn't suit them, they put it back on the rack. (Or burn it to make sure others don't get in touch with it). I just don't agree with the broad stroke of paint that makes all Wiccans and Witches dark and evil filled, possessed by Satan or trapped in "sin". It's their Hell. Let them spend their lives avoiding it. I have better things to do.