For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12
Wicca was a new word to me, and it might be to you as well. But you need to learn about this religion of “benevolent” witchcraft that now claims more members than Presbyterians in the United States. It is recognized as a religion on many college campuses, including a Catholic University.
A Pew Research study in 2014 said that 0.4% of the American population (or about !.5 million people) identify as Wicca or Pagan. The main Presbyterian church (PCUSA) has only 1.4 million members.
The Atlantic, a secular journal concluded that “not a single element of the Wiccan story is true” and that it actually got started in 1954 instead 35,000 years as claimed. Somehow, that hasn’t mattered to the movement.
My interaction with witchcraft is limited. I have been in Sub-Saharan Africa where it is prevalent. A sobering introduction came last year at a conference in Togo with Christian leaders and pastors from a dozen West African Countries.
At the end of each day’s sessions, the leaders met to plan for the next day. For some reason, the topic turned to witchcraft. The three African leaders all shared personal stories of their experience with witchcraft. They were truly scary.
These were not second-hand stories. They actually happened to them. Stacy Rinehart and I walked away with the same reaction. Witchcraft and the occult are very real.
So, why the rise of movements like Wicca? Well, “Wicca has repackaged witchcraft for millennial consumption.” Wicca doesn’t emphasize the demonic or satanic. Instead, in packages itself as a “pre-Christian tradition that promotes ‘free thought’ and ‘understanding earth and nature’.”
In some ways, the repackaging has a crossover to Christianity in that the goal of Wicca is to make people better, thereby enabling them to “deal with past difficulties……and to rise into spiritual people who gently persevere.”
The good news for us is that millennials are often more spiritually seeking than most Christians. The sad thing is that they are exploring the dark side of the supernatural. Their lack of biblical understanding makes them an easy target for something that sounds good.
More than half of young adults think that astrology is science. The number of people aged between 18 and 29 who believe in the existence of God dropped from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012 according to Pew Research. Not a good trend line.
Wicca is polytheistic, like the New Age movement. They believe in many gods and many goddesses. All things in nature have a spirit including plants, rocks, birds, etc. There is no such thing as sin, only the need to elevate the self (or the “god within”).
This is quite distressing and dangerous. There is no “power” out there. The bible is quite clear on its warning of witchcraft in every form, even Wicca. There is a God and there is Satan; there is good and evil, and a heaven and hell. Something packaged as being innocent or benevolent is false.
Recently, The Satanic Temple sued Warner Brothers and Netflix for trademark and copyright infringement due to the use of a statute of a satanic god in a movie. The suit says that The Satanic Temple does not promote evil. Instead, it tries to reduce suffering and views Satan as a “rebel against God’s authority.” Nuff said.
The challenge here is that millennials are easy targets for movements like Wicca. It’s easy to stray from a biblical worldview in a post-Christian era. While your mentee may not be attracted to Wicca or astrology, it is part of his peer universe. He or she needs someone to come alongside and tell the truth.
MENTOR TAKEAWAY: It’s a brave new world for the millennial in a post-modern and post-Christian era. It takes the steady hand of a mentor to guide a mentee through things like Wicca that might appear to be innocuous.
Wicca Goes to College– The rise of Wicca chapters, even on Catholic campuses.
James Emery White:More Witches than Presbyterians (2018)
The Christian Poston the Astronomical Growth of Paganism.(2018).
The Atlantic Journal: The Scholars and the Goddess which debunks Wiccan history.
Comparison of Wicca to Popular Christianity by David Hayword, a pastor.
Netflix and Warner Brothers sued for $150 million by The Satanic Temple.
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