Letter C - Paganism
Date Last Modified: 02/11/05
Search and you shall find Me.
- a Psalmist of God
Lately, I have learned much I feel regarding the confusion of people in sight of the Truth. In opening dialogue with pagans I found that they often shunned Christianity out of a grudge for those that had tried to raise them in the Church. Talking to an atheist, I found similar ill will toward the Church, based on the same root cause; That other humans had attempted to evangelise them by way of either i) forcing them to give worship (e.g. parental directives) or ii) installing fear in them (e.g. of eternal damnation).
In considering these feelings of theirs, it occurred to me that, in regard to these points God does not desire anyone to be forced into giving worship (whether that force be fear of God, of Hell, or of other humans). God gave His creations free will. He desires them to choose to give worship freely. A heart that gives worship, prays to God night and day, even performs miracles in His name, and does works of charity. However if these actions are performed out of fear then they are performed mostly in vain. A work of charity done without love can not be thought to be likely rewarded. An evil person who does God's will purely out of fear, and does not experience the joy of doing good for others nor of loving God, does not please God.
So if the Church were founded on fear, it would not be a Church at all. I did not become a Christian out of fear of Hell. If serving the forces of good meant going to Hell due to some great cosmic cock up, I would still rush to God's banner. The Dictates of my Conscience do not allow me to choose any other side.
In the battle between good and evil, even were God on the loosing side (an impossibility, but IF) and was about to get kicked out of Heaven (impossible as Heaven is being with God, but IF) I would fight alongside the Heavenly Host against the Enemy.
Another Christian I just spoke to admits to often feeling unsure if Heaven per se exists (a place of no pain and psychological injuries seems hard for her to conceive). Yet she chooses Christianity because her heart compels her to do so. No one forced either of us. We just accepted the Lord God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ, as one accepts the loving and caring Father and Teacher. Fear never came into the equation in choosing God. The Christian Martyrs died out of loyalty to their Holy Father, and that others would recognise their Christian witness, not Fear.
I myself have experienced paganism, where it concerns ancestor spirits and gods/godesses since birth.
Here, below, are links to articles written by very well meaning former pagans, though I should note that I take no responsibility to any error regarding interpretation of Holy Scripture on any linked web pages. Of my own experience concerning paganism, and indeed also wicca, I have always found that the spiritual forces upon which they draw their strength are always opposed to God- and that when faced with the Word "Jesus Christ" even the "God and Goddess" (atleast such beings as I encountered) have been revealed in ther true form- evil fallen angel- and desimated.
Important note: only those brave enough to seek truth need read on:
An ex pagan tells her story
Possibly this one may be of interest: ExWitch. Despite the title, its not really just ex witch, so much as ex non- God worship.
I give up already. There are LOTS of caring persons wanting to share their personal revelations. Just use Google "Ex pagan". You'll find lots of anti-Christian talk out there, none of which will be fair or self-consistant if you are truely truthful with your research, but ask yourself this: If you were to judge a thing by its fruites (its actions), what would you find?
One of my own experiences, involving a pagan "goddess" I rebuked in the name of Jesus, can be read here.
Go to a mainstream Christian URL, certainly a Catholic one: e.g. the work of CAFOD, CARITAS and facts such as Catholics being 0.8 % of Ethiopia's populaton in Emdeber yet said to be contributing out of charity 90% of social work in that area. You will find Catholics (and other Christians) freely doing acts of mercy and charity wherever they go in the world. Sure, they may have the occassional rotten egg, or twisted sect that is no more Christian than Hitler was a pacifist but seriously, who doesn't? Look into any other "faith", wether it be atheism (yes, atheism requires belief without wholesale "scientific" proof), wicca or whatever, and see if they are willing to do anything more than just at most "look after their own". Most will be well intentioned. Some contain bright reflections of truth (for example they may try to use their faith to do good).
However, deep down, which of these faiths leaves you with a truely good feeling, long-term. Which in the long term feels right? Which gives true peace, true shalom? If feeling right does not involve a faith based on hope, charity and love, then something is wrong.
Remember "seek and you shall find".
Not one prayer for Divine Truth, from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, has gone unanswered to me. Pray, ask- whatever question you ask, most definitively in the name of Jesus Christ, will reach you if you are open to God: be it by Scripture, words of a Christian, or even vision or Inspiration. Such gifts, must, however, be studied in the light of Discernment.
Okay, what do you mean by Pagan anyway?
I think its worth being clear what we are talking about here, as there is a lot of variation between individual belief systems amongst pagans.
excerpt from Catholic Ansers URL:
For those who may not be aware, neo-paganism is a movement that has been around for a little more than a century, but it really got rolling in the U.S. only in the last 30 or so years. As the name suggests, a neo-pagan is a "new pagan." Hindus and Shintoists would be plain, old, regular pagans since they come from cultures (Indian and Japanese, respectively) that are historically polytheistic. Neo-pagans come from a historically monotheistic culture (Christian, Jewish, or Muslim) to embrace the worship of more than one god.
The most common forms of American neo-paganism include Wicca, Druidism, Asatru, and Goddess Worship.
Wicca is an alleged revival of a British nature religion involving witchcraft (wicca means magic), though it actually was invented less than a century ago and is not substantively based on any historic British paganism.
Druidism is an alleged revival of another (this time historically real) British paganism, though modern Druidism has very little in common with the historic form. For instance, modern Druids do not generally perform human sacrifice by burning people inside wicker structures or by ritually cutting victims’ throats and leaving their bodies in bogs.
Asatru (sometimes called Odinism, though really Odinism is a subset of Asatru) is an alleged revival of ancient Norse religion. Actually, it has more of a connection with historic Norse religion than the previous two neo-paganisms, because we know more about Norse religion. It didn’t die out until Christianity made literacy widespread in northern Europe.
Finally, Goddess Worship is an alleged revival of an ancient goddess-centered religion. It tends to be syncretistic, picking up bits pertaining to the worship of female deities from multiple ancient religions.
There are additional neo-pagan groups as well as many self-styled neo-pagans who don’t belong to any defined group. Though the actual number of neo-pagans is still quite small, they have achieved a disproportionate status. Wiccans have managed to get approval for Wiccan military chaplains. Even before 9/11, Asatruers got themselves on the FBI’s terrorism watch list because of the militancy of some Odinists. And all you have to do is stroll through the New Age section of any major bookstore to find all kinds of books devoted to Goddess Worship.
The Nature of the Gods
Many neo-pagans advance the claim that there should not be a single world religion with a single deity or set of deities to be worshiped by all mankind, but rather each group should worship the gods of their ancestors or of their preference.
This claim creates a problem for the neo-pagan understanding of the gods, and it is fair for the Catholic apologist to point it out. Consider the implications that arise, depending on how the gods were interpreted.
There would seem to be four basic ways of making sense of the claim that different people should worship different pagan pantheons: 1. The gods of different peoples really aren’t different but should be identified with each other (e.g., Zeus = Jupiter = Odin). 2. There are a great many individual gods governing different peoples. 3. The gods are projections created in some sense by the peoples that worship them. 4. The gods are merely symbols or aspects of something else.
1. If the gods of different religions are to be identified with each other, then it would not seem that there are meant to be different religions among peoples but only different rites used to worship the same set of gods.
This would be especially problematic for Asatruers, who often wish to view their gods as distinct from the gods of other people. A problem for all neo-pagans would be that it is highly implausible that the deities of many pantheons can be identified with each other.
For example, in Greek and Roman paganism, the kings of the gods (Zeus and Jupiter) are in control of thunder, but the thunder god in Germanic paganism is Thor, who is not the king of the gods (that would be Odin). Similarly, in Indo-European paganisms, the sky god tends to be masculine and the earth goddess feminine, but this is reversed in Egyptian mythology. It seems impossible to establish a universal paganism treating each individual pantheon as merely a different expression of the same set of independently real, non-symbolic beings.
2. If the gods of each paganism aren’t to be identified, then there would seem to be multiple deities for every aspect of nature. Each people will have its own thunder god, its own vegetation god, et cetera. This leads to an implausible situation in a many cases. If Thor controls the thunder in Scandinavia, why should neo-pagans of Norse descent in America pray to him? Why shouldn’t they pray to an American Indian thunder deity who controls the local thunder? Further, our solar system has only one sun. Just how many sun gods can there be?
3. A theory advanced by some is that the gods are in some sense projections of or creations of their worshipers. If the gods were projections, then today of all days the gods would seem to have only tiny power because of tiny number of their followers. It would be difficult to imagine such beings as worthy of worship.
It also should also be noted that no historic pagans seem to have held this view of their deities. It would seem to be a modern idea—some might even say an intellectually desperate, last-ditch idea—introduced to insulate polytheism from the intellectual problems that otherwise arise for it.
4. Finally, some suppose that the gods do not have independent, objective reality but are just symbols. The question is: symbols of what?
On the one hand, if they are symbols of nature and natural forces, then it is difficult to see why they should be worshiped. Electricity is part of nature, but if one does not worship it when it comes from a light socket, it is difficult to see why one should worship it when one imagines and names a symbolic thunder god to represent it.
Further, the empirical evidence seems to show that the universe itself does not have a mind or a personality. Only by looking beyond nature—to the God who designed nature—can one find transcendent value worthy of worship.
On the other hand, if the answer is given that the gods are symbols of a fundamental spiritual reality that transcends the physical world, then it would seem (since all independent status already has been denied to the gods by rejecting the three alternatives just considered) that one is left with a form of fundamental monotheism that is only cloaked with polytheistic symbols.
That being the case, why should one use the symbols? Why not worship the Creator directly and explore the question of whether he cares for and has spoken to man, as monotheism has historically claimed?
The Church is Victimiseing us Pagans!
The Wicca/ Pagans I have met claim the Church has victimised them, no doubt in reference to Inquisitions centuries ago. However, in reference to this, I would like to put forward three undeniable points:
Every Wicca url I have been to, bar one (which was some kinda Christian-Wicca hybrid group, which, sorry but if you pray to God for truth you will find this, had poor understanding of the Word of God) made heavy attacks all over it against the Church.
Whatever may or may not have happened centuries ago, such attacks of Wicca will not be found on Catholic URLs. We are vowed to God to speak only 100% truthely- only a lie of omission to protect people is at all allowable (as can be studieed here.
We may not deceive others, Christian or not.
Consider that when witches/Satanists were hunted down in earlier centuries, that the numbers of executions reported by secular and other anti-Catholic groups are off by a few hundred orders of magnitude- and 20% of those executed were men, not women. The executions were also overwhelmingly not at the hands of people in Catholic countries, or by Catholics at all.
Consider that, for example, In Spain, Italy and Portugal of the mid-16th century to the end of the 18th century, there were 12,000 prosecutions against alleged female and male witches; only 36 people in these thousands of trials, were subjected to capital punishment.
Stories of witch hunt are greatly exagerated.
What really matters however, is that atheists and witches and Satanists that attack the Catholic church in regard to supposed oppression of witches, do so un-fairly since they either (a) don't believe in the reality of sorcery or (b) think that witches and satanists are the good guys.
The situation today with satanists and witch-craft is, on the most part (though form my own experience not entirely), a league apart from that our ancestral kindred in Europe faced.
Lets imagine being in a medi-evil village. SOme people turn up possessed by demons, with twisted faces, superhuman strength, speaking in diabolical tongues, averting from sun-light and Holy objects and Holy words.
A local coven is identified, and the remains of a missing baby, its flesh eaten, is with them, plus another birhted and killed by one of the witches.
A summoning circle, with the blood of the possessed, is in their secret, woodland meeting place. How would you deal with your (shall we say for political correctness) dysfunctional neighbour, not haveing the knowledge to know that all you need is prayer to Jesus Christ, and perhaps being subject to Protestant Reformation teachings regarding the texts in Deuteronomy regarding Sorcery?
WOuld you not want to protect your kin, and yourself? Would you not be deadly fearful for the sakes of your family and your own?
In times of the past, witch craft and satanism and other known forms of paganism were far more sinister than the common neo-paganism of today (though, I say, such forms of sinister satansims and witchcraft, by my observance, do exist).
Study some non-wicca, non-secular, non-fundamentalist Christian literature, and see what you find.
Consider: That pagans, such as under the Roman Empire, slaughtered countless Christians for centuries. That in later centuries, after Christiannity had become more widespread (and not by force- which has always served to diminish Christiannity which is not about such force) witches and pagans really did put curses upon their neighbours, eat baby flesh, summon demons, kill for the promises of power that Satan gave them.
Consider that whe they were hunted down, that after trial, most were not executed. A few thousand over many centureis, in total, were executed- and some horrendous acts such as torture no doubt occured. However, such evils were carried out by secular courts, and if not, by secular indiviudals that posed as disciples of Christ (remember Christ's teaching "love your neigbour and love oyur enemey").
Witch hunts did victimise a religous minority, but people carried out those hunts out of a real concern for their communitie's well being. Such hunts would never be condoned today.
In the Catholic Church, atleast, it is dogmatically recognised that no good or perceived good may be justified by an evil course of action. Simply put, that no good can come of evil actions.
It would most certianly be seen as an evil action to execute a pagan/wicca, in current times.
Finally, I should point out that if you cast your eyes high and low and far, objectively, you will see Catholics being murdered all over the globe for their faith, but never the Catholic Church doing harm to others. The occassional rotten egg, sure- but evil would love to infiltrate and so perceive to itself to have damaged the Church, exactly because the Church as those persons that are sanctified by the SPirit of Christ in Christ is good!! For an example of what I refer to, read here.
May God bless the reader of this page. I truely hope that you find God, and Heaven.
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