So last week I talked about a letter that I’d sent to Rebecca Greenwood, an Evangelical Christian and author of the book Let Our Children Go. (See my previous post for a condensed version of my letter to her.) To my delight, she replied to me within the same week, and was quite polite in her return letter…a pleasant surprise considering how Evangelicals
usually speak to me. Below is her full reply:
“Thank you for sending this email. And also taking the time write it. I am glad you read my new book and that you feel the freedom to share what you have with me.
I will not base my answers one by one to the bellow questions because I have done extensive research for my new book and also taken some of the material I presented directly from studying pagan religion websites and what they teach and also a library of books and materials I have read. So, I feel confident in all I have shared, as pagan writers and former pagans were the ones I learned these teachings from in order to include them in my book. But I am sure there are a wide variety of beliefs and also practices in paganism and Wicca just as there are in Christianity. And I do not believe that every pagan is a part of the emo/subculture. And I am sure that not every pagan has tattoos and piercings. I do not believe in my book that I said all pagans were in the emo subculture, nor that every pagan has a tattoo or piercing. But I do address that to some who do practice these things it is their form of religion or belief. To me these are all separate from Wicca.
And no it would not offend me to have someone say that there was a Christian yet again trying to push their beliefs on someone. While, I realize many Christians are forceful in their approach to sharing our faith with others, it would not offend me for this to be said in a pagan book. I realize that there are many Christians who do not share their faith and beliefs with the love of the Lord behind what they are saying. It would make me sad that yet another Christian in their immaturity would hurt someone who they are trying to reach. I am so sorry you have been hurt and wounded by the Christian community. This makes me so very sad to hear this. Please forgive us for all we have said and done to harm you and your family. Many Christians react out of fear and suspicion instead of love. This I am also so very well aware of and it is sad that this is the case.
And I appreciate all of your answers and explanations. I recognize how much your beliefs mean to you. As a Christian, I do not look to my beliefs as a religion. What I believe is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is not a religion or a practice or a ritual. While I realize there are different beliefs within Christianity like Catholicism who do practice pomp and ceremony and rituals, I myself do not worship Jesus this way nor have any desire to be involved in this type of worship experience. He is so much more than rituals, ceremonies and head knowledge. He is full of grace, mercy, love. My bible says that, “No man can come to the Father except by me.” Jesus also says, “He is the way the truth and the life.” And to me He has been exactly this. When I was bound in fear, depression, anger, bulimia, drugs, etc.. He so beautifully touched my life and forgave me. My life is filled and consumed with love for Jesus. So, I do not look at my beliefs just as a religious practice or some sort of head knowledge. It is a wonderful, life giving, loving relationship with the most awesome Savior and friend.
So, this is why I write about pagan beliefs. I have witnessed for so many years that many in paganism also try to take people away from this awesome relationship with Jesus into some sort of belief in beings who cannot offer or give what only Jesus can offer and give. And the sad part of this is, it is usually hurtful words or actions by the Christian community just as you have explained and also experienced that have driven people to look at other religions. I am not against you or those who believe and practice Wicca. I would not ever think that your feet would start burning while standing in the Christian section of a bookstore. These types of words are nonsense. I commend you for wanting to study other religions and for searching. While I was recently in Indonesia, I saw three beautiful young people who had been involved in witchcraft/pagan beliefs, who were casting spells and intentionally attempting to bring harm to people, touched by the love of the Lord and brought into this personal relationship with Jesus. Their lives have been so wonderfully impacted. I have personal relationships with those who have come out of shamanism and who are now walking with Jesus who can give detailed information of how they would intentionally curse and try to harm people. What I have written is not from hearsay, but from those who themselves have come out of pagan practices and into a personal relationship with Jesus. And I could share more and more stories like these.
I am sure that there are those who do practice paganism who do not what to invoke harm or evil toward others, just as yourself. But in what I believe, anytime something is done separate from Jesus and is done in our own strength, this is dead religion or a religion/belief that cannot bring the full expression of life and joy that Jesus can give. I do not want to offend you by this last statement, so let me explain further. There is no such thing as good paganism and bad paganism. Any form of paganism is a belief or practice that is separate from God, therefore it can bring no true peace. You absolutely do have the right to choose in whom and what you do believe. I do not judge you. And I am glad we are talking and dialoging. This is good! It is my prayer and hope that in whatever areas in your heart you are searching, that they will be touched and met by Jesus. You do not offend me in what you believe. I just do not agree with it. Religion to me is not about head knowledge of different beliefs, practices and rituals, it is all about relationship.
So, in closing this email. I apologize if what I wrote in my book offended you. But I do not apologize for sharing the truth of other beliefs that can bring young people into a religion that separates them from the love of Jesus.
Thank you for taking the time to reach out and talk!
In His Love,
As I said above, I was very pleased with this response, even though I don’t agree with some of what she said. Obviously I don’t believe my religion is a dead one, else I wouldn’t follow it. I’m glad that she has met people who no longer cause themselves or others harm, and if becoming Christian helped them to overcome their troubles then so be it. I’d have preferred that they had done so through non-religious means, but I understand how some of us truly seem to need structured religion to commit to bettering ourselves. If converting to Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, or any other belief system gives you “cause” to be nicer to others or helps you to kick bad habits…hey, go for it. Heck, if becoming an atheist makes you happier, that’s fine in my book as well. Just don’t get up on a high horse of “I’m now X amount better than you, heathen/idiot!” That kind of crap won’t fly with me.
One thing she said did strike me as very odd though, namely: “Any form of paganism is a belief or practice that is separate from God, therefore it can bring no true peace…Religion to me is not about head knowledge of different beliefs, practices and rituals, it is all about relationship.”
I could be wrong (atheists would probably say that I am), but I feel in my personal experience that I have a relationship with the Lady and Lord. When I pray or meditate I do feel a sense of peace and togetherness that has always been good. I don’t hear voices, experience hallucinations, see objects move, or have a sense of invulnerability or power. Just calm, inner tranquility, and a renewed lust for helping beings other than myself. To me, this is my relationship with the Gods…and I can’t help but feel that it is incredibly similar to what Christians describe in their relationship with Yahweh/Jehovah/Jesus/God. In other words, I experience the closest I’ve ever felt to “true peace”. I realize that not all Christians are like this, but I’ve met many, MANY more who claim that my inner peace is naught but Satan leading me astray…or that my prayers only serve to bolster the power of “demons”.
I guess my question is why most followers of the Abrahamic religions (Christians, Jews and Muslims) believe that unless you specifically mention THEIR god in your prayers, then you are doing it wrong?
What does my good deed of working at a soup kitchen not count towards me being a “good Wiccan”?
Why is it that I volunteer at the animal shelter “in spite of” my religion?
How does my helping a lost child prove “that I’m Christian in my heart”?
Why is it that my words of comfort to a customer are accepted and appreciated…until they find out I’m a “manipulative, hollow witch”?
Again, not all Christians are like this. I have some followers on this very blog who prove so, and I love that they are like that. Bless you, guys and gals! But I would really like it if I could just figure out why others can be so intolerant, when it’s obviously not a prerequisite for the religion. Has anyone else ever dealt with these issues, or tried to talk to Evangelicals of any type? Any further discussion on this topic is welcome as always.