Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wicca: from my Christian perspective: a series 3

This is the third and last of three postings on "Wicca: from my Christian perspective: a series.

This version of a creation-centered morality [Morality based on a creation that is sacred or divine] bleeds into the Wiccan view of death and the afterlife. If the Goddess is seen as creation, then death must have an inherent and eternal usefulness which can be perceived as good.

In contrast to the biblical view of death as that which carries the deadly sting, the Wiccan adherent sees death as necessary for life on earth to continue. In The Pagan Book of Living And Dying some statements about the need for death are: "The existence of death allows for infinitely more variety and diversity among living things" and "Because we die, leaving room for new beings to be born, species can adapt to new conditions. . . . Death preserves life."15

The Wiccan view of existence after death is a rather pallid view in contrast to the eternal longings of humanity. As one Wiccan writer puts it, "death is not an extinction, a final end. It is transformation, dissolution of one form so that new forms can be created." It is, however, according to the writer, "The loss of that consciousness which makes us who we are."16

One view is that humanity's soul is made up of three parts and only that part called "deep-Self" exists after death. In a very eastern way of understanding this "Deep-Self" is seen as "the personal God or Goddess" or as a "Guardian Angel."17 Many Wiccans connect these concepts and believe in reincarnation. They embrace the wheel of life, and unlike the East, envision no going beyond the eternal cycles of life after death since they see the wheel as "the living being of the Goddess."18

All of the important facets of faith: meaning, redemption, adoration and morality, fail when connected to creation. Creation offers no mercy and no restraint against evil. No redemption is possible.

One may not complain of the loss of personal identity in death. Goddess worship rends asunder the Wiccan desire for community, nurture, celebration and even affirmation of the individual. If Wiccans worship gods and goddesses as real deities they sink to the level of worshiping demons ( 1 Cor. 10:20 ). (Although they don't believe there are such things.) If they view their deities as symbols of the "one" reality, they continue walking in a lonely, closed world. They are broken people accepting evil and death as good.

Human need, failure and death demand a solution. We have a right to grieve about, fight against, and hope for an end to evil and death ( Rom. 8:18-25 ). We rightly long for true community, for love and mercy. We long for God. Jesus Christ is the God-man who appeared in history ( Jn.1:1, 14 ). Only His death preserves life. His bodily resurrection gives real meaning and hope to humanity. The person redeemed by Christ experiences true joy and celebrates because their faith is grounded in historical events brought about by a loving God who, although separate from creation, is deeply concerned with creation (Heb. 12:22-24; 13:15-16 ).

The love of an infinite, Holy God who loves and redeems finite and sinful humanity gives the individual great value. Those who belong to Christ are not "invisible" but known intimately by the very personal creator of the universe ( Jn. 14:23 ).

15. Starhawk, The Pagan Book Of Living And Dying, 68, 71.

16.Ibid., 72.


18. Ibid., 73.


Elliott Scott said...

That's the inherent problem of pantheism.

If everything is a part of god (or goddess, I suppose) then that holds true of death, disease, crime, pollution, disaster, and all other forms of human and natural evil.

There can be no concept of salvation from evil. There's no one to do the saving. One has to look for the bright side of even the most awful things.

Pantheism looks really optimistic at first glance, but it leads to a kind of fatalism in the end. There's no hope of anything ever getting much better than it is right now.

Viola Larson said...

I agree Elliot,
And panentheism isn't far behind in its inclusion of misery.