Warning: Gentle Reader, you are entering Rant Territory. Please understand that the majority of what I have penned below was written to prove a point, not because it’s something I do (or do not) believe. There be dragons ahead. You have been warned..  


Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones
But Intolerance Always Irks Me

     You know your religion is truly on its way to becoming mainstream when people start attacking it while protecting themselves with mantle of pseudo-academia. In the good old days, people (usually Christians) who took offense toward the existence of “unorthodox” Paths like Neo-Paganism or Wicca used scare tactics to turn public sentiment against those paths. “They worship Satan!” “They sacrifice babies!” “They’re trying to steal the souls of America’s helpless, innocent children in the name of the Devil!” and other such idiotic statements were the bread and butter of their battle cries. Nowadays, when sources as disparate as a CNN Halloween broadcast on the Craft and the most poorly-put-together Llewellyn fare assure people that Pagans aren’t out after their immortal souls, Pagan bashers have stumbled upon far more insidious and underhanded way to attack the Craft - the hallowed halls of comparative religion.  


     For instance, a Catholic author in the January 2001 issue of the Atlantic Monthly wrote,

“Practicing Wicca is a way to have Christianity without, well, the burdens of Christianity.” Quoting a Professor Allan Stairs, she continues, “’Wicca allows one to wear one's beliefs lightly but also to have a rich and imaginative religious life.’"

     Perhaps I’m simply feeling confrontational today, but that author has my permission to shove it.  


     Now, to be perfectly honest, I’m pretty damn pissed off over the article in general, and this statement in particular, but I will try to be as logical and levelheaded in my rebuttal as possible. My first point of complaint - the author assumes that Christianity is the ground zero of religious faith. Wicca is a way to have Christianity without, well, the burdens of Christianity. In thirteen short words, the author assumes that a) Christianity is the only valid religious path, b) one can only reach religious fulfillment by following a Christian path, c) all other religions in general, and Wicca in particular, are generic knock-offs of the “true” religion (Christianity), and that d) those who aren’t “mature” enough, spiritually, imaginatively, or with regards to responsibility, follow a pseudo-Christian religion, i.e. Wicca. This is a load of BS.  


     In fact, it’s possible to malign the Christian faith using the same tactics that the author above deployed against Wicca.

     In order to do this, one could state that Christianity is a complete fabrication because:

  • There is no real impartial historical record that Jesus ever lived,
  • Christianity is renowned for ripping off other religions,
  • the Bible is nothing more than a record of Hebraic tribal laws.

     Furthermore, it could be mentioned that most of those laws are outmoded and obsolete and that nowhere in the Bible is intelligence or the ability to think for oneself listed as a virtue. However, most non-Christians do not, and would never, walk around insisting that people turn to Christianity because they’re incapable of dealing with the modern world, and/or because they are too scared, or not intelligent enough, to think for themselves.  


     In the same way that it can be argued that Wicca is a religion for people who aren’t mature enough for a “real” faith, it can be argued that Christianity is a religion for people who are so focused on fear, sin, guilt, and death, that they can’t enjoy the wonders life has to offer.  


     One could also argue that Wicca, with its emphasis on the individual practitioner’s right and duty to create her own relationship with the Divine, is much nobler than Christianity, in which dogma and tradition are valued, and that tChristians go through robotic, pre-prescribed motions, never learning how to experience Deity firsthand.  


     One could state that since no independent historical evidence for the existence of Jesus has been found outside of the Christian texts, he most likely never existed. Obviously, Christianity is an invented religion with a phony past, and no one should take it seriously. Contrast that to the countless Venus figurines and female cave sculptures of Old Europe, the Goddess worshipping cultures of Crete and Malta, and the preponderance of female Divinities found in every religion outside of the Ethical Monotheisms.  


     So, with a few simple arguments, Christianity has been reduced from a valid religious path to an invented (read: worthless) religion which is a crutch for the masses who are aren’t intelligent enough to know better. See how easy it is?  


     It is easy, but no matter who’s doing it, it doesn’t make it right.  


     I have little patience with people who assume that I (or anyone else, for that matter) turned to the Way because I’m not mature enough to handle another (usually their) religion. Everyone in this world is entitled to follow a path to Divinity that makes her happy, but one’s rights stop there. To assume that if a Neo-Pagan was only a little more rational, a little more intelligent, a little more adult, or not quite so irresponsible, she would turn to a different, “better” religion is obnoxious! Neo-Pagans chose to follow the Path because it best expresses their conception of the cosmos and their personal relationship with the Divine, not because they are not ready for a “tougher, but more mature” faith. (Furthermore, what with the discrimination and misconceptions Wiccans face every day, one has to have a lot more conviction to stay on the Path than does an adherent of the country’s majority religion.)  


     Most people who are Christians became Christians because that’s what both their family and society told them they were, not because after much searching, they discovered that the Christian path was the best way for them. People born into a religion are usually followers because that's what other people told them to be, in contrast to those (such as most Pagans) who have chosen their own spiritual path after becoming mature enough to make their own decisions on the matter. And ninety percent of the time, there’s nothing wrong with following the faith you were born into. But it seems to me that those who have the strength and courage to seek a new path because the earlier options didn’t seem to make sense shouldn’t be trivialized for their decisions. Free will is what makes us human; those that exercise it should be respected. I’m perfectly willing to debate the relative merits of Christianity, Neo-Paganism, or any other religion, but I will not tolerate anyone who assumes Wicca is merely a playground for the spiritually retrograde. I do my best to respect followers of other religious faiths. Please offer me the same respect in turn.

Let me know what you think! Email me!