Saturday, October 29, 2011

An Explication of the Principles of Belief: Part 10

“Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be ‘the only way’ and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.”

This principle explains that the extent of animosity, dislike, ill will, enmity, or the adversarial nature toward Christianity or toward any other religion is the extent of hostility that is warranted in response some representatives of the latter faiths who have sought to limit or deny the rights of Wiccans to believe and worship how they choose to do so.  There is also a dislike for those who outright renounce our beliefs.  In other words, it is not part of Wicca to be “anti-” any other religion or philosophy and Wiccans do not convert or proselytize or solicit membership.  We reserve our teachings for those who openly seek them.  If tensions exist between Wiccan groups and those of other belief systems it is a direct result of hostility expressed in the form of harassment and discrimination against Wiccans for our own religious practices.

There is also no part of Wiccan doctrine or general belief that is mutually exclusive of other systems; Wiccans, as a whole, do not deny the right of others to practice their religions even though it may not coincide with our specific beliefs.  In Wiccan practice, we acknowledge that not everyone in the world may honor the Goddess Isis, for example, but we do not inherently conclude that those who do not worship Her are doomed to some ill fate.  We see it as our practice to honor Her and not to convince others of their dire need to do the same.

A part of this principle extends to Wiccans as a guide, and that is in the specification that this animosity is in correlation to confrontation by others and is not an open invitation to rant on others of different faiths or to become lost in a martyr role.  It is not appropriate to direct anger, unprovoked, at members of other faiths who are not responsible for the derogatory or discriminatory acts or speech of the larger institutions with which their religion is aligned.  We do not seek to discriminate or retaliate against individuals of other religions as a repercussion of their religious institution acting in a discriminatory manner toward those who practice our faith.  It is a statement of defending one’s religious rights when warranted and a reminder that harmony is the overall goal when possible.

Angela Kaufman is the coauthor of Wicca: What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions, along with Dayna Winters, and Patricia Gardner.  You can find out more about the book at:

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