©2012 Holly Golightly
Hi Good Witch and Bad Witch!
Before I give you my question, I just want to say that I am indeed a Christian. I believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible, but I honestly don’t believe that paganism is something to fear. If anything, it’s something to honor and respect. Christianity and many of the major religions today are descended from the principles of Paganism.
Do you believe I can be a Christian and a Pagan? I read about them online, but I want to know what you think. Can I have my heart set with Jesus, yet worship the earth mother?
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
The real question isn’t whether you can be a Christian and a Pagan, but whether you have the chutpah to come out of the double broom closet and be honest with the Christians and Pagans in your life about your choice.
In your heart of hearts, of course you can worship whichever set of deities takes your fancy; heck you could put up a dual altar to Loki and Baldur (I wouldn’t recommend it) or to Oya and Oshun (probably an even worse idea) and only the deities involved need to know what you’re up to.
But when you start using socially-descriptive names like “Pagan” and “Christian,” that puts you into potential conflict with people who believe that they mean something specific. If you don’t fit within their description, they will resent you for appropriating a name that they have claimed. In short, they will respond by labeling you and that label isn’t a pretty one: “heretic.”
In GW’s opinion, calling yourself a “Christian-Pagan” is a brave stance and worthy of respect, but don’t expect to get any props from the haters and bigots that unfortunately infest both communities. You might find yourself more comfortable with milder language, like “Jesus-friendly” or “Goddess-loving” to describe your spiritual path.
BW suggests you begin by pursuing a personal relationship with Jesus. Instead of relying on what his followers have to say, why not go directly to the source? Ask him how he feels about paganism and the earth mother. Presumably he will let you know if he has any objection to you studying both paths. Since many today (and in the past) identify as Witches/Pagans and as Christians, BW suspects that Jesus is just all right with the Goddess — and vice versa.
Unfortunately both JC and Gaia attract a certain number of boneheads. You may meet Christians who tell you that Paganism is all devil worship and sorcery. You will almost certainly run into Pagans who will argue that all Christians are evil fundamentalists who club seals, blow up abortion clinics, and vote Republican. Don’t let yourself be discouraged by self-proclaimed authorities of any religious stripe. Stupidity does not discriminate on the basis of creed: it claims devotees from every tradition.
And while we’re on the subject; why are you entrusting your spiritual life to magazine columnists? You know more about your personal relationship with the Divine than we do. If nature and the Goddess are important to you, then you’re a Pagan. If Jesus and his message are important to you, then you’re a Christian. And if both are true, then presto! you’re a Christian Pagan. Why ask us (or anyone else) for permission to follow your heart? You don’t become a real Pagan (or a real Christian) because someone slaps a label on you, but rather by living the beliefs and putting in the work.
» Originally appeared in Witches&Pagans #19
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