Wicca respects all religions, knowing that they are all, at best, only a
glimpse of the Truth, and as such equally correct and incorrect.
If this were not so, there would only be one religion, it's Truth
would shine so bright as to overshadow all else and draw all people
to its light in total agreement.
Christianity does not generally agree. They firmly believe, as do so many religions, that they have the one truth and everyone who does not accept that is going to burn in eternal damnation. One need only do a search on Harry Potter to see that Christians are condemning this fictional character to hell for practicing witchcraft. Give me a break. (also see Jesus as a Pagan Deity)
I would be funny if not for the Churches' long and bloody history of heinous crimes against humanity. Of course, other religions have their shortcomings too (as does Wicca) but this is about Christianity.
Let's see how Christianity became so uppity and righteous that the murder and torture of innocent women and men became as normal as the Sunday church picnic.
To understand what went so terribly wrong it’s necessary to go back to the time of Jesus the Christ in the holy city of Jerusalem circa 30 A.D. Of course nobody knew it was 30 A.D. at the time since A.D. stands for Ano Domine, “After Christ”. I mention this just to demonstrate how much influence Christianity has had and is continuing to have on the world. But I digress, back to the dawn of the Christian Age. Back when the Romans ruled Judea and the temple bureaucracy ruled everyone else.
The temple was the center of the Jewish world. And no one was permitted in the temple if they were sick or otherwise unclean--especially if you were an unclean (had your period) woman or a man who touched you. The high priests, meanwhile, had an elevated walkway built from their palatial homes to the temple so they wouldn’t have to soil the bottoms of their sandals on the same dirt as everyone else. It was a typical case of absolute power corrupting absolutely.
That was the Jerusalem when Jesus arrived. The sick and unclean flocked to him. Jesus healed them. Women flocked to him because he upheld their humanity. He was a holy man of the people--a pop celebrity of the day. For Jesus was not the only one on the scene performing miracles. It was the Age of Miracle. One notable magus, Apollonius of Tyre, simply disappeared when he was accused of sorcery.
And of course Jesus too was accused. Not by the Romans but by the Elite of his own people, the Scribes and the Pharisees of the temple. Thou shalt not threaten the status quo. The priests knew only too well where that path leads because the Jews too started out challenging the status quo. Abraham left Sumer to found Judaism because the city had grown corrupt. Moses led his people out of Egypt because Pharaoh treated the Israelites cruelly. He too used magyc. His staff could tap water from a stone and turn into a big snake.
The Egyptians once had powerful magyc themselves but came off a shabby second to Moses and his brother Aaron (though the Egyptian magicians were able to match Aaron spell for spell up to the frogs which they could imitate but not check). The Egyptians had grown corrupt.
Then Aaron brought death on the first born of the Egyptians. That had to cost him.
An essential tenant of magyc is that corruption severely limits ones ability to invoke the Powers.
Truth be told, witches have occasionally brought down harm on others. Both the Spanish Armada and the Luftwaffe were hexed by British covens to protect their homeland from invasion. In both cases, the home team, against all odds, devastated an overwhelmingly superior force. I think the hexing was sanctioned because the overall effect was a victory for good over evil: justice.
So, back to Jesus. Did he actually perform those miracles? Morton Smith in his amazing book, “Jesus the Magician” makes a strong case that the spells Christ worked were standard issue for the day, even pointing out which ones he used in the Greek Magical Papyri. It’s a fascinating and informative read and one that changed my mind from considering Jesus either a fraud or the head of a dangerous religion to a fellow practitioner of Magyc--and one of the best. Now I'm a big fan. Not of what's become of his church but of the man.
However, Didymos Judas Thomas (possibly the brother of Jesus) hardly mentions the miracles of Jesus in his gospel, as if healing and prophesy were taken for granted. Thomas records Jesus' words of love and compassion and the miracles of this world--all in keeping with our Pagan/Wiccan way of life.
After Christ’s death, the Apostles too seemed to have learned a thing or two about magyc, as they invoked the Powers on Pentecost and later had many cures to each of their credit. Even today people all over the world are performing miraculous cures. Faith healers, they’re called, and the formal Church has little to do with them. However, you don’t see many priests performing miracles. Anyway . . .
After his death Jesus' followers grew in numbers despite all attempts by the government of Judea and Rome to squelch them. By squelch, I mean fed them to the loins for entertainment or nail them to posts. But there was no denying that the early Christians both men and women had the Power.
Warriors started joining up because they thought it would bring them victory in battle and over death. Then one dark day in 330 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine (who demanded to be called Master and God) decided that not only would he convert to Christianity but that everyone in the Roman Empire would also. At first the Christians tolerated the Goddess and Horned God worshipers that had come before them in the name of Christ’s love. Then, when Christianity grew to power they became abusive.
In fact, the word Pagan or Heathen means something like hillbilly or redneck, one that lived up in the hills and hadn’t gotten the word on the latest in religions: Christianity. Then they started defaming our Gods, first the Goddess who was simply forbidden because the church suddenly had no use for women in general. If you haven’t already, read “The DaVinci Code” by Dan Brown. It’s fiction, based largely on the Gnostic Gospels, specifically the part where it says “Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ favorite and he often kissed her on the ________. The piece of the document is missing and could have been anywhere from her forehead to her . . . . Just the same, however you take it, the Church disempowered women completely from this point on. The only women that were permitted to show their faces were professed virgins, nuns, and the mother of Christ who suddenly became a virgin both before and after giving birth. James, Jesus’ older brother, got swept under the rug and Mary Magdalene was vilified as a whore. Read: Women in Ancient Christianity by Karen L. King professor of New Testament Studies at Harvard University
Meanwhile, artists were commissioned to decorate the walls and ceiling of Constantine’s new basilica in Constantinople, formerly Byzantium, now Istanbul, with pictures of beautiful young boys with wings: angels. An interesting side note on angels is that when Pope Alexander was presented with two young boys from the Angle people of what was to become England (they gave it the name) he exclaimed in delight, that “These are not Angles but angels!”
Meanwhile everyone who didn’t tow the Christian line was being disempowered-- disemboweled as often as not. Constantine had his own wife boiled in oil. Christians call him Constantine the Great.
The faith that Jesus Christ founded on love and compassion for all people suddenly bore no resemblance whatsoever to his teachings. Not only where Pagans put to death for their beliefs, they were condemned to hell in the deal.
The Horned God of the Hunt, even though he was male, was soon
vilified as the Devil himself and was cast into the fires of hell.
And that, my pretties, is why the devil has horns.
Now, nowhere in Judaism do we have a devil. The word in Hebrew means “deal breaker” (the same as the Olde English word "warlock") and nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus say that his father is going to take it out on us after we die. The closest thing we have is Matthew’s favorite phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” attributed to Jesus discourse on The Mount of Olives where he foretells the end of the world and the destruction of the wicked, those who are left behind. He also warns “and many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many”.
And there’s also the fig tree that Jesus cursed for not bearing fruit that shall be cast into the fire. But the concept of ‘do what we say or thou shalt burn in hell’ was a much later embellishment.
Basically, what Christ taught was to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” And the Old Testament commands us to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The greatest con in all of history is the turning of Jesus’ message of love into an excuse for a centuries of mass murder and genocide that firmly reinstated the law of the jungle, survival of the barbaric, the antithesis of humanity and justice--but now with a clever new twist, "We aren't slaughtering you because you have something we want but because Christ told us to do it. Sorry. It's in the bible . . . uh, where ? . . . somewhere in the back."
The rest is history. The Romans, with the new and expedient Christianity on their side, conquered the civilized world raping and pillaging Pagans village by village in the name of god until we Pagan were pushed to the top of the world where there was nothing left that the Romans wanted. Everything else was the Holy Roman Empire which as Western Civilization would come to one day to vanquish the peoples of the earth. A great take on all of this is Jared Diamond’s wonderful book, “Guns, Germs and Steel.” where he puts to rest the idea that Europeans somehow deserve dominance because of inherent racial superiority. No, it wasn’t because god was on the side of western civilization that we prosper but geography.
Today, the vast majority of Christians in the United States believe that the bible teaches, “God helps those who help themselves”. Last time I checked, Benjamin Franklin, who actually said that, was not listed as an Evangelist. This is the doctrine of My Me Mine that ranks us second to last in Christian charity (last place goes to our old friends the Romans).
Christians have made golden calves of themselves in an age when Christ’s poor starve daily by the thousands as they grow ever fatter.
Long have they been corrupt.
We as Wiccans believe in the Unity and Sanctity of all life, not just our own. There will always be those who seek to dominate others by force and call it the will of god. In the end they must fail, as they have always done, when they turn their back on humanity. It is they who will be cast into the fires of their own greed.
The Power is ours now.
so may it be