When I first became a Christian I was walking away from a life of what I called paganism. To me, I identified as a pagan, because I worshiped the earth, was at one with the universe and practiced ‘magik’. I was also completely against organized religion, so I did not align myself to any one pagan religion, such as Wicca. So I was just a pagan, or a witch. I associated paganism with witchcraft, because to me it was one and the same. What I didn’t understand was that paganism and witchcraft were not the same thing. This is simply how I chose to identify myself so as not to be indoctrinated into a religion. The truth is not all pagans do witchcraft.
It is a common misconception that paganism is inherently evil. It actually is not. Let’s look at the definition of the word pagan, according to dictionary.com:
Pagan: 1) one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks. 2) a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; neopagans. 3) a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim; a heathen.
So as you can see a pagan is not someone who practices witchcraft, but someone who subscribes to a religion that is polytheistic or don’t believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, who died to save the world from sin. Now let’s look at the definition of paganism:
Paganism: 1) pagan spirit or attitude in religious or moral questions. 2) the beliefs or practices of pagans.
Paganism is not related to witchcraft. I have researched what the Bible says about pagans or paganism, and these words are not found. The words commonly used are idolaters and unbelievers or gentiles. Let’s look at the definition of these words as well:
Idolaters: 1) a worshiper of idols: 2) a person that admires intensely and often blindly one that is not usually a subject of worship.
Unbeliever: a person who does not believe something; especially : a person who does not believe in a particular religious faith
Gentile: 1) a person of a non-Jewish nation or of non-Jewish faith; especially : a Christian as distinguished from a Jew. 2) heathen, pagan
So a pagan is basically the same as someone who is not Christian, and who has other religious beliefs that include worship to gods other than the One True Living God. This does not mean that a pagan is practicing witchcraft. So this bears the question, why is paganism so wrong and bad in the eyes of so many Christians? The argument is that paganism is a problem because it leads us away from the One True Living God. The problem with this argument is that our entire culture in America is pagan, even our Christianity. Christianity is rooted in Judaism, but then took on many pagan practices over time. Our society is filled with paganism, and incorporated into most everything there is. Let’s take a look at some of the examples of paganism in our society today:
The Church Building – There is nothing in scripture that tells us to create buildings for the purpose of meeting together and talking about God. The first Christians met together in homes. Churches began to be built during the reign of Constantine, and they were not called church, but temples. Temples were in all the big cities in that time, but they were dedicated to various gods and goddesses. People would go to meet and worship their gods and goddesses in their temples daily. The very idea of a church is pagan in origin.
Weddings – Almost every wedding practice we have today is based in pagan roots. There is no place weddings are commanded in scripture, nor the use of wedding rings. The bridal veil, flower bouquet, wedding cake, and much more are all practices from the Romans and Greeks and symbolic of their polytheistic beliefs and superstitions. None of these things is Biblical.
Makeup – Ancient Egyptians used makeup because they believed the powders contained magic powers and believed green paint around the eyes protected them from evil spirits. They also used the dark eyeliner to make the almond shape around their eye, because it represented the Eye of Horus. Horus was their patron god and his eye was a symbol of restoration and sacrifice.
Calendars – The Gregorian calendar that we typically use is completely pagan. It is based on the sun, not on the moon as the calendar of God and the Jews. The sun-god was one of the most important gods in Roman and Greek society, so their based their calendar on this, so it would revolve around their holy days. The names of the days of the week and the months are all based on gods and goddesses.
Thanksgiving – Celebration of the harvest has been around since ancient times, and is not something new created by Americans. While the first Thanksgiving was reportedly done by Puritans, it was a custom taken from pagan practices. Other religions commonly offer their first crops to their gods and goddesses in thanks, so as to assure continued prosperity. Thanksgiving is not in the Bible as a mandated festival, and neither are any holidays we celebrate for that matter.
Birthday Celebrations – There is no mention of celebrating your day of birth in the Bible. It is said that the first birthdays were celebrated by ancient kings, who executed people as part of the festivities, as well as drunken orgies and the like. Did you know that the most important Satanic holy day is one’s own birthday?
This is just a short list of the many practices that are pagan in origin that we do or use on a regular basis. The bottom line is we live in a broken world full of sin, in which the devil has his playground. There has never been a time when paganism wasn’t predominant. If we try to escape paganism, we become legalistic, using the idea that paganism is evil to fight against people we see in the midst of practicing paganism. It become a vicious cycle, in which we lash out with hate and pride, instead of loving people into the arms of Jesus. Am I condoning paganism? No. What I am saying is, paganism is not the real problem or the enemy we should focus our fight against.
When I first began my research two years ago into Christmas and whether or not it was right to celebrate, I came to realize that not only is Christmas full of pagan roots and origins, but so are most things we incorporate into our daily existence. I became despondent, as all I wanted was to remove myself from paganism after coming out of it, and yet here I was still in the midst of it. It is true that other religious beliefs, practices and customs can lead us away from God, but more importantly it is witchcraft that leads us away from God, and into danger. Paganism in itself is not evil, and I propose to you that the real problem is witchcraft. What exactly is witchcraft?
Let’s look at what the Merriam-Webster has to say about witchcraft:
Witchcraft: 1) the use of sorcery or magic 2) communication with the devil or with a familiar (spirit)
Witchcraft by definition in the Bible: worshiping idols (demons), necromancy (contacting dead ancestors), mediums (contacting the dead, seances), divination or fortune-tellers or omen interpreters (predicting the future), human sacrifice, animal sacrifice to idols (demons) sorcerers, wise men, enchanters, magicians, astrologers, drinking blood, cutting your body for the dead or marking your body i.e. tattoos (blood rituals), curses, spells, magic charms (cursed items), soul selling.
And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.
2 Kings 17:17
As you can see, this is quite a comprehensive list I have found, through researching scripture. The reason God hates witchcraft, is because it is the practice of using the power of demons to either harm others for self gain, or to seek to find power, blessing or fortune from demons by worshiping them and giving them rights into our bodies, souls and minds through blood covenants, etc. Opening yourself up to witchcraft can kill your spirit, destroy your relationship with God, and you can potentially give yourself to Satan for life. God does not want to see His children falling prey to the evil devices of the devil. The devil lures many, many people in with promises of fame, fortune, power and more, as they give over their lives, or even the lives of those they love in order to gain these things. In exchange for these things they give the devil the control of their free will and the keys to generations to come.
Magic or witchcraft is extremely dangerous, yet it is also very seductive and deceptive. It comes wrapped up in a pretty package as everything you ever wanted, and more. It comes in the form of music, tv shows, movies, religion, and charms (crystals and other new age trinkets). It draws you in pretending to know your future or give you insight into life or a higher spiritual awakening. It disguises itself as fun and games, and it is the most deadly weapon the enemy has in his hands right now. Witchcraft is everywhere in our society, and just about everyone I know enjoys it in one form or another. Yet they do not label it as witchcraft, but rather their favorite book or movie they love (are obsessed with). I have experienced the danger of witchcraft first hand, and I know how deadly it truly is.
God’s warnings to us in the Bible are not to stay away from paganism, but rather to stay away from magic in all of its forms. In ancient times it was quite common to sacrifice your child to your “god” which was really a demon. It was also quite common to perform sexual rituals or blood rituals to make a sacrifice to your “god”. It was also believed to be necessary in order to appease to gods and receive whatever gain you are hoping to achieve. These gods often were represented by idols or statues which made people feel that their gods were more tangible and real, while the One True Living God was inaccessible. These sacrifices and rituals are witchcraft. Practicing witchcraft is akin to selling your soul to the devil.
No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.
1 Corinthians 10:20
The devil is very busy distracting many Christians with the bait of paganism. He tells us how evil paganism is, how much God hates it, and how we need to fight against it with all of our might. Meanwhile we are being completely blinded to the depth and level that witchcraft has pervaded the entire world. Take Christmas for example. There is a group of Christians who believe that God hates Christmas, the Christmas tree, and thinks the whole thing is evil and pagan. Yet the rest of the world is using this as a time of peace, joy, giving, and sharing Jesus Christ. These Christians are actually at war with other Christians yet they believe in their hearts they are being righteous. Pitting yourself against other Christians never brings righteousness. Human anger does not bring on righteousness. We are called to love one another and lift them up to the One who has the power to transform lives. Not condemn them for what we believe is wrong. The devil has a heyday watching Christians fight among each other, whether it be over Christmas, the rapture or whether or not you can lose your salvation.
That is why I say paganism is not the real enemy. We need to stop focusing on paganism because it is only causing us to judge and condemn others, spreading hate and self-righteousness. It is causing us to turn away from God, and make ourselves our own Gods. Paganism is a part of this world, and as long as Satan has free rein here, paganism will prevail. You cannot stop it, but you can love others right where they are, even in the midst of paganism. You can accept them for who they are and love them with the love of Christ. Only Christ can bring these people where He wants Him to be. We have no say in where people need to be with their walk with Christ and we cannot try to control them through our own beliefs. Focus yourself on Jesus Christ, and through Him alone great things will happen.
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
I can say all this because I have spent the last two years judging everyone around me for their involvement in paganism. Everywhere I looked Christians were getting drunk, dressing provocatively, watching television shows about sex and drugs, watching movies about death and destruction, etc., etc. I was painfully aware of every single person being involved in things ungodly and unrighteous, meanwhile unknowingly lifting myself up onto a pedestal above them all. If God convicted me not to do any of those things, if He showed me the Truth of the wrong in those things, then they must be lying to themselves. I was on my way to becoming holy in my own mind, but in reality I was only becoming holier than thou. It was never my intention, nor my heart, but it was only a symptom of something greater.
What I failed to recognize is that people who are involved in paganism are doing so out of pain. Paganism at the core is all about pleasure and self fulfillment. It seems to be an instant remedy to pain, misguided as it may be. And while many people cannot even recognize nor admit their own pain, many are still operating out of it nonetheless. The devil has done a great work in this world to cause us more pain than we can even bear, and then try to numb ourselves to it as we bury it as deep as we can. Paganism is just another symptom of a broken world run by the devil. Witchcraft is the real enemy. Witchcraft will destroy your very soul. Witchcraft can take you straight to hell and you won’t even realize it until it’s far too late
God does not hate anyone who has been involved in paganism or witchcraft. He loves every single person that has ever been, or will ever be. He loves them no matter what – whether they are trying to find righteousness based on the law, or turning completely against Him. God’s love knows no bounds, no constraints, no matter what you have done. Even if you have knowingly chosen to practice witchcraft God does not hate you. He loves you more than you can ever know and wants to save you and bring you home with Him forever. We need to cast of our own constraints of religious thinking and find the truth in God’s own heart. His heart is for all of His people – to save them and bring them restoration. Come to Him now, and see what miracles He has waiting in His storehouse for you!
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.