Many people who advocate "Christian Wicca" like to say that those who say it does not work are prejudiced and intolerant...this upsets me for two reasons, one, because it represents a lack of understanding of the terms prejudice and intolerance, and two, because it's usually a highly intolerant and prejudiced view, often touted in an attempt to get people to shut up and go away.
So, I thought I'd talk about these two things, what they mean, and why the view that Christianity and Wicca cannot work as a unified religion without misrepresenting both is neither.
First, there is the idea of intolerance. Intolerance is not the same as disagreement. A person can think your religion is stupid and can say things about it that are disagreeable and nasty without being intolerant. Intolerance is when they try to stop you from practicing your religion, not by calling it names, but by passing laws, bullying, threatening. It is not intolerance to be told your views make no sense. It is intolerance to be told your views will not be tolerated on a message board or email list and that you need to shut up or leave. It's intolerant to be punished for saying things-even true things- in the hopes you'll stop saying them. It's not intolerance when someone says your beliefs make no sense, but it is intolerance when someone tries to bully you out of them. Remember, being told truths you don't like is NOT being bullied. Being threatened is being bullied. Being pressured is being bullied. Feeling pressured because people are saying true things that bother you is not being bullied. These things can feel a lot alike, but if you can step back and view them objectively you'll quickly see the difference- in one, it is a person or people who are pressuring you, in the other, it's reality that's pressuring you.
Then there is the idea of prejudice. Prejudice literally means judging something before you know anything about it. If someone can make a reasoned, coherent and valid argument about something, then by definition that argument is not from the point of view of PREJUDICE. For example, if someone is saying that a person is bad because of their skin color, they aren't making a reasoned, coherent or valid argument about that person, they are making a prejudiced one.
If, however, someone can enumerate a large number of reasons for their views, reasons that obviously require a study of the things they are discussing, they obviously aren't judging before they know anything about it.
It's very common, when people are discussing so-called Christian Wicca for those who disagree with the concept of a "Christo-Wicca" to be called intolerant and prejudiced, but it is very uncommon for those laying the accusations to demonstrate any manner in which those they are so-labeling FIT the labels. They are just saying "intolerant and prejudiced" in an attempt to make people shut up, basically trying to bully people into compliance with a view many of us have problems with. This refusal to hear the other guy's side, and to want the other guy to just shut up and go away, and actions towards that end, are, themselves, intolerant and prejudiced.
So what are the problems with Christian-Wicca?
I've enumerated a bunch of them here, but here are 10 major questions that anyone calling themselves Christian-Wiccan should be able to answer without difficulty, having already thought about them. In my experience, asking Christian-Wiccans these questions tends to result in getting a "whole lot of stupid" in reply, by which I mean getting ATTACKED instead of getting answered. Note that these are not even a fraction of the problems most of us have with Christo-Wiccans, but are a beginning of the problems most of us see. Since I'm writing them down for anyone to read, without me there to clarify, I've tried to make them very clear, so they are long. I've tried to summarize them in a few words in brackets at the start of each one.
#1. [Monotheism vs. Polytheism] Wicca is traditionally polytheistic. Even if you believe, as some Wiccans do, that all the gods and goddesses are one god and goddess, a core expression of Wicca is the interactions between at least one god and goddess, expressed in fertility rites. The interaction of male and female, even when just symbolic, permeates Wiccan ritual, and the Lord and Lady are seen, at the very least, as equals who are nonetheless different. How do you couple this with Christianity's monotheism, or, if you believe that Christianity is not monotheistic, how do you couple this with the God of Abraham's proclamation that he be the highest of highs, the god before all other gods. How can you have two gods that are seen as equals simultaneously with one god that is seen as the highest of high? Since our gods are said to procreate and interact, if there is only one god, how is this possible, and if there is not only one god in Christianity, why are Christians historically so hung up on monotheism?
#2. [Jesus' Death] Why, in your Christo-Wicca, did Jesus die, and what did his dying accomplish? Most Christians believe Jesus' death, or at the least his suffering, was something that benefited mankind, that Jesus died for mankind. One thing Wicca teaches is self-responsibility. How do you reconcile the beliefs that the only one responsible for your actions is YOU with the idea that another person being killed by still other people is possible payment for things you did?
#3.[What practices make it Christo-Wicca?] Christians have traditionally practiced magic, and have a long and storied tradition of magic, including the ideas of elementals and watchtowers, even casting protective circles, using pentagrams, pentacles, sacred swords and daggers, and worshiping on each of the calendar days generally associated with Wicca. It is possible, however, to be a Wiccan without any of these things. With the knowledge that none of the things above 'make a Wiccan,' what makes your practice of Christianity Wiccan?
#4. [How is your God our god?] From the earliest day of Wicca, including in writings by Gerald Gardner, the god of the Christians is described as a god of other people, not as the god of the Wiccans. In some of our oldest liturgy, and in some of the oldest books of shadows, we see pleas for protection from those who follow the god of the Christians, and we're warned against 'their' magistrates and authorities. Were those Wiccans wrong when they said that the Christian god was not our god?
#5. [Law of Return] In Wicca, we have a concept of Return, which some people understand as Karma, but which states that the things we do in this life have an effect upon this life. Most Wiccans do not believe that being good in this life is rewarded solely in the next, but Christianity teaches just that-that the reward for being good in this life is being rewarded after death, and that the reward for being bad in this life is bad things happening after death. How do you reconcile these two beliefs which, on the surface, seem pretty darn different.
#6. [Sex] Our beliefs as Wiccans say that those actions which do no harm are ours to do as we wish, as often as we wish, and most of us believe that all acts of love and pleasure are expressions of holiness. Christianity, on the other hand, has specific prohibitions against many types of harmless activities, such as intercourse between unmarried, committed partners, or non-procreative sex. How do you reconcile these apparently disparate beliefs?
#7. [Salvation] Wicca teaches that there is no need for salvation, yet Christianity teaches all need to be saved. Likewise, Christians are pressed to preach the word to all 'nations,' and Wiccans are taught to keep quiet about their beliefs unless asked, and even then to speak with caution, if at all. How do you pick which to believe- that salvation is needed or not needed, that we must proselytize or that we must not- or, if you believe none of them, how do you reconcile that?
#8. [Sinners]Wicca teaches that the gods can be directly interacted with, yet Christ said that no one got to his father but through him. Again, how do you reconcile these seemingly disparate beliefs without taking sides?
#9. In Wicca, when a child is born, it is a blank slate, but in Christianity a child is born with several punishments already upon him/her. For example, pain in childbirth and 'being a sinner,' are the results of being born human in Christianity, but not in Wicca. How do those work together?
#10. [Special Expertise.] Most Christians do not believe that their religion is compatible with Wicca. Even when those Christians have in-depth knowledge of Wicca, not the silly stuff that they are sometimes fed from anti-Wiccans, they still don't believe their religion is compatible with Wicca. Likewise, most Wiccans do not believe that their religion is compatible with Christianity. While being in the majority does not necessarily make a person right, why do you think they are all wrong? What special expertise do you have that they lack?
Bonus: Several ex-Christo-Wiccans have charged that 'Christo-Wicca' is just a transitional state for those afraid to commit to one or the other, to quiet them, could you name some experts on Christo-Wicca, people who've been practicing it for decades, and where they could be found?