I’m Wiccan, I’m Told I’m Going to Hell, and I’m Okay with That
Wicca and Hell
I’m going to Hell. At least, that’s what some Christians say to me. They tell me in online forums, in E-mails, and once in a while, to my face. Occasionally, it’s a statement aimed at Wiccans in general, or about Wicca. But they mean me.
I realize not all Christians feel this way; Christian beliefs and interpretations vary. But there is a good portion of Christians who feel that Wicca is basically the direct road to Hell. Some even seem happy about it—with sadistic glee, they look forward to relishing my fate; they’ll be vindicated when I realize it.
Most Christians are not happy about it at all. They want to help me. They would love to see me and other Wiccans come around, find Jesus and end up in Heaven. They’re not trying to threaten me, or put me down; they want to warn me that I might not see it, but I’m on a truly dangerous path with a catastrophic destination.
They think I don’t understand—but I do. It’s they who don’t understand. I’ll try to explain so at least those of you who are concerned about me (or perhaps about someone else you know and love) why someone might be okay with that.
And for those non-Christians who wrestle with those fears of Hell, perhaps this can help you as well.
To foster better understanding, also read: Wiccan Myth Busting: 5 Most Common Misconceptions Christians Have about Wicca
"Hello, Wiccan-- Welcome to Hell"
Challenging Mainstream Beliefs About Hell
If you want an intelligent discussion about why some Christians, Jews, and most of the rest of the world doesn't believe in the fire-and-brimstone type Hell, here it is. An interesting read.
First and Foremost, I Don’t Believe in Hell
I know it’s in the Bible. I know the verses, and the ways it’s interpreted. I understand that Christians believe Jesus came to Earth to sacrifice himself for our sins, and that accepting Christ as your savior is necessary to get to Heaven.
Comprehension isn’t a problem—agreement is. I don’t believe it. I don’t believe the Bible, or any of its doctrines like Hell, came from any God. I don’t believe such things are true.
I don’t believe YHWH is the creator of all. I don’t believe he is the ultimate authority or the only God. I don’t believe he has control over everything and everyone. I don’t believe that people need to worship him. I don’t believe Jesus was God, the son of God or any kind of savior. I don’t believe the Bible writings about him are factual.
I don’t believe in the concept of a good vs. evil battle going on in the universe. I don’t believe in any devil or Satan figure. I don’t believe we have to choose sides.
I simply don’t believe Heaven or Hell exist, period, other than mythologically. This is not to offend you; but to help you understand why warnings of Hell are ineffective, even if it is in the Bible, and even if you believe that was Jesus’ raison d'être (if he actually existed at all, that is).
This is not a whim, either. It has nothing to do with what I ‘wish’ to be true, because the only thing I ever wished for was to actually do what is right. I have really, seriously and sincerely looked into these things. I have studied scripture (both in a Pentecostal Bible study group, as well as in college as literature and in comparative religion courses). I have had countless discussions with Christians. I’ve read books by Christian apologists, I watch their shows, interviews, listened to audio recordings. I have given it more than a fair chance, and am even open to being proven wrong.
My conclusion is, I just don’t believe. Not only do I not believe it, but if you took every religion that ever existed and asked me to put all the different beliefs in order of believability, going from most to least, the Hell/salvation thing would be close to, if not at, the bottom of the list. Perhaps the only thing saving it from coming dead last would be the Xenu story found in Scientology.
You follow your beliefs because you honestly and sincerely think they are true, right? Guess what? Me too… I have examined things pertaining to religion from all angles, and I am being true to what I believe is right. I can’t abandon that for something I think is wrong.
Christians, riddle me this: would you give up Christianity, and all you believe, because someone of another religion tells you something bad is going to happen and their God will be angry at you if you don’t convert to theirs? I’m guessing ‘no’. Now you know how I feel.
I can’t live my life based on what people of some other religion think will happen to me, especially when I truly think and feel that religion is dead wrong about it.
Tell Us About You
What do you believe about Hell?
I Can’t Believe a God Would Send People to Hell
I guess you could argue Hell makes sense if you’re talking about the worst of the worst— people like Osama Bin Laden or Jeff Dahmer. I still wouldn’t agree it makes sense, but you might be able to make a plausible case for it if you argue it's punishment for the truly depraved people who cause immeasurable pain. Beyond that, I can’t believe a God who is loving and compassionate could send people to a place like Hell. i just can't reconcile the two.
I’m not perfect of course, but I try to do what’s right. I try to live a responsible life, without hurting others, without breaking laws or cheating on taxes. I try to be kind and helpful to others, and make my contributions to my community and world at large. I can’t see anything about my life, or most non-Christians like me, that is Hell-worthy.
“Ah, but you’re Wiccan…” you might say. “You might mean well, but you practice things God forbids: idolatry;”-- (at least, your Bible would call it idolatry; I’d call it worshipping the actual true Gods I believe in) – “witchcraft; you don’t repent for your sins, or accept Jesus as your savior. So going to Hell is your choice, not God’s fault.”
But also in Christian beliefs, God made all—he made both Heaven and Hell, the humans on Earth, the tree of knowledge with forbidden fruit, which he put in the garden where he knew ahead of time that the humans would eat it, he made the devil who he knew would deceive the humans, he knows what people will think, believe and do before he even creates them, and he is the final judge on where we go. He’s got a hand in every single aspect of it, and unlimited power to change it.
It doesn’t work both ways. Either God is loving, good and wants to keep us from hell—in which he’d do everything and anything possible to get through to us (and he has all the knowledge and power to get through to us) to help us be good. Or, God allows people who he knows won’t understand or follow his message to come into the world, refuses to correct them when they’re mistaken about him because he wants them to come to the realization on their own, and then allows them to move on to eternal torture (a system he himself set up) after death. The latter could not be a good God, so it can’t be both ways simultaneously.
I try to relate to this by thinking about when I have been in charge of children—since God is seen as a loving parent figure, to me is the best comparison. I have worked with children, as well as raised my own. You can lay down the rules, but kids don’t always follow the rules. Or understand the rules. They can forget rules, disregard rules, defy rules, or misinterpret what rules mean.
As the responsible adult, the kids are ultimately my responsibility. If I tell a child “Don’t go in the street, or you’ll get hit by a bus,” and the child doesn’t understand me or chooses to defy me, I still must do all in my power to help that child understand why he should not go in the street. If he does go in the street, I’m not going to let him get hit—I’m going to rescue him. Give him as many chances as he needs. And if he gets hit by the bus, it’s my fault—he was in my care.
This is true if I’m just a human watching kids. It’s ESPECIALLY my fault if I am a deity, who built the road, and put the kids near the road, and knew what the kids were thinking, and I knew others were egging him on telling him it was okay, and watched the kids walking out in the streets without changing my approach (if obviously warnings were not working), and if I did not forcibly grab the kid and pull them from the street from the path of the oncoming traffic.
That’s the problem with claiming Hell is an eternal fiery burning pit of torture God created as a punishment—it is an unjust punishment for about 99% of crimes. It is not a constructive punishment because it doesn’t teach to help improve behavior; since it comes after your life, the deed is done.
Can you imagine waiting until your child is 18 to punish him for everything that he’s ever done wrong? The lessons would be completely lost and meaningless. An all-knowing, all-powerful God would be aware of this simply psychology fact about human nature. So it comes down to:
- If God can’t stop us from going to Hell, then he’s not all-powerful.
- If God can stop us from going to Hell, but doesn’t, then he’s not good.
There simply is no way in my understanding to reconcile these two positions.
I Feel Bad for Snakes
“Free Will” is Not a Relevant Argument
“Free will…” you might say; “God doesn’t interfere with your free will.”
That doesn't cut the muster either when it comes to non-Christians going to Hell. Sure, you have free will to jump into a pit of venomous snakes. I might not be able to stop you—but I am going to do everything I can, short of falling in with you, to stop you. Even if you want to jump in, I’m going to try to stop you, assuming you don’t really comprehend the fate at hand.
When you’re talking about God and non-believers in that God, the ‘free will’ is irrelevant. Non-believers (me, for instance) have searched high and low for the venomous snake pit and can’t see any evidence that it exists at all. It might be clear as day to the person who put the pit there and filled it with snakes—to me, it’s completely invisible, and highly unlikely to boot. You shout warnings, but I can't 'hear' you-- I don't know what you're saying; it makes no sense-- you're not speaking my language. The warning sounds like gibberish to me, and I'm really clueless in this scenario.
So if you were right, I am not exhibiting free will to jump into the snake pit, I’m completely deluded and wrong. The being who set the snake pit in my path knows this, can read my mind perfectly. He knows that the attempts he’s made to warn me have failed—not because I was defiant, but because I missed them entirely, they didn’t make sense to me. Yet he still lets me go on my path, saying it’s because I have ‘free will’?
Being terribly, horribly, fatally wrong is not free will; nothing good would let someone suffer the effects of such a dire mistake.
Are Christianity and Wicca Compatible Religions?
Some claim that you can be a Christian Wiccan, or a Wiccan Christian. I don't believe this, and here's why:
But What If I AM Wrong?
This is the final question it always seems to come down to: what if you are just plain wrong?
If that’s the case, and if that ends up being true, then I will willingly go to Hell.
Do I like the idea of being tortured eternally? No… but, I have to do in what might be my only life, what I believe is right and good. I know with all my heart that I have sincerely followed the path I thought was right, and that I did my best. I might be wrong about some things, or about anything, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying to do the right thing.
As a Christian, wouldn’t you be willing to face torture or certain death to stand up for your beliefs and principles? Why would you expect any less of me?
My Religion Teaches Me to Take a Stand
Finally, I Could Not Get Behind a God Who Allows a Hell
Okay, let’s recap: God creates Satan, creates hell, creates man (and flawed, to boot), creates things within man’s reach that will ultimately lead to him being deceived. God left us the tools to help ourselves – Jesus, the Bible – yet God knows before he even does these things that not everyone will understand. He knows people will still be mistaken, be raised in other religions or tricked by deceptive supernatural beings, he’ll watch it all happen, he knows that some of us will read the Bible and hear about Jesus and think it’s as much as a fairytale as Peter Pan. He’ll leave obscure, ambivalent evidence, but ultimately wants it to be our choice and for us to have ‘faith’ (which is believing something without evidence). And he knows all of this in advance, and has the power to change any part of it at any time. Still, he’ll just let it happen because he gave us the ‘freedom’ to screw up badly enough that it would, unbeknownst to many unsuspecting non-Christians who only meant well, result in very real torture for eternity.
This is exactly why in all sincerity I could never worship your God, Christians. This is why it baffles me beyond believe that you would worship him, and actually think he is good.
- If a God cares more about what you believed than the fact that you did your best in life according to your understanding and ability, then he’s not a God I can support.
- If he’s more concerned about your worship of him than of what you made of your life and how you treated others or contributed to the world, then he’s not a God I can respect.
- If he could create a fiery, burning pit of deadly, eternal torture, and allow anyone to go there by saying they’re free to do so (about a free as a blindfolded person who falls into a snake pit you’ve put in their path), then he’s not a God I could worship.
I could never stand by and abide by that kind of situation; I could not be party to it. So even if you could prove to me right now that your beliefs about God and Hell are indisputable facts, I’d still be going there, by my own free will.
But I have to go back to the fact that this is all hypothetical—because my first and foremost point makes the rest nothing but exercises in supposition: I really don’t believe in a Hell, or in a God that created one. So it’s not something that worries me.
© 2015 Mackenzie Sage Wright