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Resolving religious conflicts within a family

The basic cause: How one views
other faith groups and religions

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The basic cause of the conflict:

This essay discusses a Christian-Wiccan conflict in a family, but also applies to conflicts between two religions or between two denominations within the same religion.

According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 1

Christians generally take one of four positions towards the thousands of other religions:

bulletExtreme particularism: They view their own religion as possessing the full truth; other religions are seen as profoundly evil and led by malevolent forces; their followers will likely spend eternity in Hell. This position is commonly found among some Christian fundamentalists. One indication of this is that the anti-Wiccan hate web sites that were common on the Internet during the 1980s and early 1990s were almost exclusively sponsored or written by Christian fundamentalists.
bulletExclusivism: They believe that their own faith group possesses the full truth; other religious groups are in serious error and place their members' salvation in grave peril. This position is found frequently in evangelical denominations.
bulletInclusivism: Their own faith groups possesses the full truth; other religions contain parts of the truth. This belief is found in the Roman Catholic Church, and among many mainline and liberal Christians.
bulletPluralism: All groups' beliefs and practices are equally valid when interpreted within their own culture. This belief is found among many progressive Christians and members of many smaller religions, including Wicca and most other Neopagan traditions.

In this section, we will assume that the parent is a fundamentalist or other evangelical Christian, taking the extreme particuarlist view towards their son or daughter who is involved with Wicca or is in  a relationship with a Wiccan. Other essays in this section discuss some of the specific impediments that may generate conflict. Hopefully, they can be overcome one at a time through dialogue, reason and negotiation. Unfortunately, many of these impediments form integral and foundational parts of the parent's religion. Changing them can be a formidable task.

Failure to resolve these impediments rationally often leads to many negative outcomes:
bulletA rupture in relationship(s); this is a common result of a mixing of religious diversity, intolerance, and fear within a family, or

bulletThe Wiccan being forced to abandon any open signs of their religious beliefs and practices, at least until some time in the future when they are living independently, or

bulletConcealing an outside relationship from the rest of the family.

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Reference used:

  1. David B. Barrett, et al., "World Christian Encyclopedia : A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World," Oxford University Press, (2001). Read reviews or order this book

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See also Impediment 1: Excerpts from Paul's epistles

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Site navigation:

Home > World religions > Wicca > Christian conflict > Families > here

Home > Christianity > Comparison to other faiths > Christian conflict > Families > here

Home > Religious conflict > Specific conflicts > Christian conflict > Families > here

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-NOV-17
Latest update and review: 2008-NOV-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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