Resolving religious conflicts within a family
The basic cause: How one views
other faith groups and religions
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
||Extreme 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.
||Exclusivism: 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.
||Inclusivism: 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
||Pluralism: 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
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
||A rupture in relationship(s); this is a common result of a mixing of religious
diversity, intolerance, and fear within a family, or
||The 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
||Concealing an outside relationship from the rest of the family.
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
Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-NOV-17
Latest update and review: 2008-NOV-20
Author: B.A. Robinson