Witchcraft & Christianity

Written by Kathryn A. Graham

Continued from page 1

In terms of our current century, Hollywood hasn't helped us much, either. Sick, twisted individuals who worship evil have always existed, and sadly, I'm afraid they will for a very long time to come. They pervertrepparttar Christian cross by inverting it, and sometimes, they invert our sacred symbol,repparttar 127013 pentagram, as well. Hollywood directors just can't seem to get it right, though. They consistently show evil ceremonies prominently displayingrepparttar 127014 pentagram right side up.

Whenrepparttar 127015 pentagram is displayed properly,repparttar 127016 symbolism is that of a man standing upright within a circle, meaning uprightness and spirit over flesh. In other traditions,repparttar 127017 five points representrepparttar 127018 four elements (fire, air, earth, water) surmounted by aether – or spirit. In any case, spirit is on top. Needless to say,repparttar 127019 symbolism of an inverted pentagram is obscene to us, just asrepparttar 127020 symbolism of an inverted cross is obscene to you if you are a Christian. Because most Christians have seen movies in which evil ceremonies were presided over by an upright pentagram, they are upset and frightened when they meet a Wiccan wearing one. That's understandable enough, but it should be corrected by education.

Other reasons for fear again date back to medieval times. The reasons have mostly been forgotten, butrepparttar 127021 fear remains. During medieval times, life was unpleasant. In fact, it was downright horrible forrepparttar 127022 peasants. Christianity taughtrepparttar 127023 peasants that it didn't matter, thatrepparttar 127024 material world was to be shunned in favor of a reward inrepparttar 127025 Christian Heaven. Wiccans did not, and do not, agree. I can still remember my first teacher telling me that it would be difficult to cultivate my spiritual nature until at least my basic physical needs - as in food, shelter, warmth - were met. We are taught that achieving success at another's expense is wrong (remember we are permitted to harm none!), but success in itself is actually a virtue. In medieval times, daring to hope and work for success was dangerous thinking. It might even have led to a collapse of feudalism. Sorepparttar 127026 Christian hatred of that tenet of Wicca was one part envy, one part fear.

Another envy/fear combination had to do withrepparttar 127027 fact that Wicca is fun. The Old Religion is filled with laughter and playfulness. Our ceremonies are wonderful parties, full of happy tipsiness and flirtation. By comparison, medieval Christian practices were rather grim. Somehow,repparttar 127028 Christians who were trying to convert us had to convince us that slipping off intorepparttar 127029 woods for a bonfire and a roaring good time wasn't such a good idea. Do what they would, though, they couldn't get us to give up our fun. Quite logically underrepparttar 127030 circumstances, they "borrowed" from us. The use of song and chants in ritual (although whyrepparttar 127031 church couldn’t manage happy song, I can’t say), incense (borrowed from Mithraic ritual)– even some actual elements of ritual itself. You can hear echoes of our cakes and ale ceremony in Christian Communion. Oh, I don't doubt that Jesus of Nazareth had bread and wine during his Last Supper! That's as may be, but I don't thinkrepparttar 127032 contents of his last meal became a central part of Christian ceremonies until Christianity clashed withrepparttar 127033 Old Religion in Europe.

Where did Jesus getrepparttar 127034 idea inrepparttar 127035 first place? Mithras, who died following a ritual meal of bread and wine? Orrepparttar 127036 cakes and ale ofrepparttar 127037 Old Religion? Scary question, isn't it? Forrepparttar 127038 record, I believe it was Mithras, as he wasrepparttar 127039 secret god of many ofrepparttar 127040 Roman troops occupying Palestine atrepparttar 127041 time of Jesus of Nazareth. Nevertheless, enough Roman troops were European “barbarians” that it is just possible that some elements of our faith were known to Jesus himself.

20th Century Christian practices never struck me as being a barrel of laughs, either. Wiccans are still having fun. So there is bound to be some ongoing envy, if not outright fear.

Please do not misunderstand. I am not bashing Christians! Those who practice their faith honestly have no part in this hatred and fanaticism. Most are decent men and women, and I am proud to call many of them my friends. Whenrepparttar 127042 Rev. Jack Harvey called for a Christian boycott ofrepparttar 127043 Armed Forces over this pagan worship controversy, Rev. Pat Robertson hadrepparttar 127044 courage to publicly withdraw fromrepparttar 127045 boycott and state it was wrong. I refer only torepparttar 127046 dignified lack of humor inrepparttar 127047 Christian faith as it has been practiced down throughrepparttar 127048 centuries. It does not speak to my heart at all.

Also, if I am to be completely honest, I must admit that pagans aren’t completely innocent inrepparttar 127049 dirty tricks department. The so-called Cult of Mary, which existed within Roman Catholicism for so many centuries, was actually a secret form of “safe” Goddess worship.

I wonder how many Christians know how many of their holidays were originally ours?

Samhain, our New Year celebration, whenrepparttar 127050 walls betweenrepparttar 127051 worlds are at their thinnest and our beloved dead walk and feast among us, became Christian All Hallows or Halloween. One ceremony used by pagans to encourage a rich crop (although not at Samhain, which is afterrepparttar 127052 harvest) wasrepparttar 127053 sweeping of brooms overrepparttar 127054 planted fields. To early Christians watching from a distance, it must have looked likerepparttar 127055 witches were riding onrepparttar 127056 brooms or trying to do so. Since Samhain was known to berepparttar 127057 witches’ most important holiday, witches riding on broomsticks becamerepparttar 127058 symbol of Halloween. Not so surprising at all.

Yule, orrepparttar 127059 winter solstice, when we celebraterepparttar 127060 birth ofrepparttar 127061 Sun God to Mother Earth and Father Time, was borrowed forrepparttar 127062 birthday ofrepparttar 127063 Christian Jesus. Most Christian scholars agree that Jesus was actually born inrepparttar 127064 spring. The Yule log,repparttar 127065 tree, and evenrepparttar 127066 Nativity Crèche were originally pagan customs. If you have Wiccan friends, and you thought they were only protecting themselves by displaying a Nativity Crèche at Christmas, you were wrong. We had Nativity Crèches long before you came along to convert us!

Imbolc, our festival of light, when we celebraterepparttar 127067 start ofrepparttar 127068 Mother's return to us, along withrepparttar 127069 birth of new lambs and flowers awakening underrepparttar 127070 snow, became Christian Candlemas.

Beltane, our famous (and infamous) fertility celebration when we leaprepparttar 127071 bonfires in joy atrepparttar 127072 arrival of summer, became May Day, famous for playful fertility celebrations throughoutrepparttar 127073 Christian world.

Lammas, or August 1st, when we celebraterepparttar 127074 fruitfulness ofrepparttar 127075 land - well, how many Christians have celebratedrepparttar 127076 rich harvest to come down throughrepparttar 127077 centuries?

There are many, many more examples of "borrowing."

And therein liesrepparttar 127078 real root ofrepparttar 127079 problem.

The thing a few fanatical Christians fear most of all is being forced to admit our kinship, because after nearly 2,000 years of borrowing, we aren’t so very different anymore.

At a tiny 5'1", Kathryn A. Graham is a licensed private investigator, pilot, aircraft mechanic and handgun instructor in Texas. Also a prolific author, she has written numerous articles, short stories and a science fiction novel. http://www.kathrynagraham.com/

Who Is Jesus? -- Why Was Jesus Born?

Written by Stanley T. Crawford

Continued from page 1

Jesus is God with us, or God made man (Matthew 1:23). As a man, God through Jesus Christ was able to truly experiencerepparttar emotions and feeling that men and women feel. In addition, Jesus overcamerepparttar 127012 temptation of this world because of his link/relationship with God. As a result, all men and woman who accept Christ become sons of God and gainrepparttar 127013 abilities throughrepparttar 127014 shed blood of Jesus to make it throughrepparttar 127015 temptations that they will face.

In conclusion, we can answerrepparttar 127016 question, “Why was Jesus Christ born?” Christ was born in order to save men and women from their sins (I John 3:5, Hebrews 2:16 & 17). He has accomplished this throughrepparttar 127017 sacrifice of his life for our sins. Any man or woman has merely to step out on faith and receive God through Jesus Christ.

Copyright 2003, Stanley T. Crawford. All Rights Reserved. mailto:scrawford@whatismyname.com Site is located at, http://www.whatismyname.com

Stanley is the webmaster for "What Is My Name? -- People of the Bible" He is the publisher of "People of the Bible" newsletter.

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