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Can a person be both a Christian and a Wiccan?

Resolving problems associated with the
Ten Commandments and Jesus' teachings

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Resolving the 10 commandments problem:

Some of the 10 commandments do present a problem to individuals who wish to view themselves as both Christians and Wiccans:

  1. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Interestingly enough, this passage seems to indicate that the author of the 10 commandments acknowledges the existence of other gods beside Jehovah. However, the commandment does seem to prohibit worshiping the Wiccan god and goddess, whose personalities are very different from Jehovah's.

  2. Concerning graven images: Many Wiccans do use statues on their altars; these would violate the commandment. However, Roman Catholics have been able to harmonize this commandment with the use of statues in their cathedrals. Meanwhile, Eastern Orthodox churches use icons to help believers visualize God, Mary, Jesus and the saints.

    Some Wiccans use candles, feathers, etc. to represent the god and goddess symbolically; the latter should present no difficulty. 

  3. Concerning taking the Lord's name in vain: This should not present a problem. Wiccans revere and respect their deities as Christians respect their Trinity.

  4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. The ancient Hebrews were called by God to observe a special day of rest -- the Weekly Sabbath -- from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. They were also required to observe additional Sabbaths during the year, including Passover, observances associated with phases of the moon, etc. These generally fell on other days.

    Wiccans generally have a similar schedule of observances. Many cast a circle and perform rituals once a week. Many also observe four minor Sabbats at the equinoxes and solstices, as well as four major Sabbats that occur roughly halfway between an equinox and solstice. Some observe the approximately 13 full moons and/or the 13 new moons each year. The Wiccan timetable does not synchronize perfectly with the ancient Hebrew religious calendar. But then, neither do the Christian schedules.

    Most Christians have abandoned this commandment by observing Sunday as the weekly Sabbath. Most Christians no longer observe the other Sabbaths; they have substituted their own holy days: Christmas, Easter, and days linked to Christmas and Easter. So, Wiccans are at least as closely in conformance with the Hebrew schedule as are most Christians.

  5. Concerning the honoring of parents: This normally presents no problem. However, many Wiccans would have difficulty expecting children to honor very abusive parents; so would many Christians.

  6. Concerning murder: The prohibition matches the Wiccan Rede because it does the ultimate harm to another person.

  7. Concerning adultery: This also matches the Wiccan Rede because it harms a marital relationship. Actually, the Wiccan Rede is more demanding because it forbids all instances of adultery. The Seventh Commandment in ancient times allowed a married man to engage in sexual activity with a woman other than his wife, as long as the woman was neither married nor engaged.

  8. Concerning stealing: Most Wiccans probably believe that stealing is acceptable in certain unusual circumstances - in life-threatening circumstances, for example. But then, msny Christians would as well.

  9. Concerning perjury: Again, this matches the Wiccan Rede. Lying in court would thwart justice and harm other people and society in general.

  10. Coveting the neighbor's possessions: In the original Hebrew, the word that is translated as "covet" contains the meaning of desiring inordinately -- a real craving. Many Wiccans would probably agree that obsessing over a neighbor's possessions is undesirable.

    However, Wiccans in general would reject the concept that a male neighbor's possessions include his ownership of his wife/wives and slaves. Most loving, committed opposite-sex Wiccan couples reject male superiority or religiously required sexually-defined roles in their relationship. And of course, Wiccans reject the concept of human slavery.

Wiccans would certainly have difficulty following all 10 commandments and harmonizing them with their own theological and moral beliefs. However,  Christians have similar problems: most don't worship on Saturday; many have statues of the Virgin Mary, crucifixes and/or icons. Yet they still consider themselves to be Christian. 

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Handling important teachings of Jesus:

Hell: Jesus is described as believing in a Hell where evil people will be tortured with fire, heat, and worms for all eternity. They will live in "darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:30). The adjacent passage (Matthew 25:31-46) describes how those destined for heaven will be separated from those who will be sent to Hell on the basis of their good works while on earth -- specifically their kindness to the poverty stricken, orphaned, widowed, sick, disabled, imprisoned, and hurting.

Essentially all Wiccans would assert that the existence of Hell is incompatible with their concept of a loving and forgiving Goddess and God. Liberal Christians generally regard the material about Hell in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) to be symbolic in nature. The passages are seen to reflect the growing theology of the early Christian movement and may not represent the original teachings of Jesus. Other Christian denominations teach different views. A Wiccan can thus reject the Bible's concept of  Hell and still agree with the beliefs of at least some Christian faith groups.

Role of women: Generally speaking, the Hebrew Scriptures severely restricted the status and roles of women. Jesus preached a revolutionary message about gender equality. St. Paul continued these teachings, and put them into practice with the selection of many female co-workers. Subsequent authors/forgers, writing in the name of Paul, gradually reverted to teaching a subservient role for women.

Many of the more liberal Christian denominations reject the Hebrew Scriptures' view of the status of women, and ignore the later Epistles in the Christian Scriptures. These are seen primarily as expressions of Jewish and Pagan culture from biblical times. Liberals give much greater weight to the teachings of Jesus. Most Wiccans hold very strong beliefs in gender equality. They would feel comfortable with the interpretations of liberal Christian faith groups.

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Copyright © 1999 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2008-NOV-12
Author: B.A. Robinson
Links updated: 2008-JAN-09

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