Resolving problems associated with the
Ten Commandments and Jesus' teachings
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:
"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
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.
Orthodox churches use icons to help believers visualize God, Mary, Jesus and the
Some Wiccans use candles, feathers,
etc. to represent the god and goddess symbolically; the latter should present no difficulty.
Concerning taking the Lord's name in vain: This should not present a
problem. Wiccans revere and respect their deities as Christians respect their
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.
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
with the ancient Hebrew religious calendar. But then, neither do the
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
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
Concerning murder: The prohibition matches the Wiccan Rede because it does
the ultimate harm to another person.
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.
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.
Concerning perjury: Again, this matches the Wiccan Rede. Lying in court
would thwart justice and harm other people and society in general.
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.
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.