When one of my older brothers graduated from high school, apparently my dad shook his hand and said “Welcome to the real world. You have no idea what’s waiting for you.” Now, there are a lot of things about Covenant that I love, and one of the main ones is the immersion in Christian living and the application of Christ to every aspect of life. Some call that sheltered, and in a way, maybe it is. I choose to call it blessed. None the less, not many who graduate from Covenant have at the time much firsthand experience with people of other religions, ethnicities, cultures, etc. We learn about them, no doubt, but it is different firsthand. Believe me.
I have to say dad was right. I had no idea what was out there either, but it only took me a few months to find out. After I graduated in 2012, I had already been accepted to Michigan State and had enrolled in my classes. The only thing I was waiting on was to hear my dorm room assignment and find out who my roommate was. I was going in blind, meaning my roommate was pretty much drawn out of a hat. Providence, more accurately, placed me in the room I lived in during the academic year of 2012-13. I have had a lot of people ask me about this story, so I’m going to spend a couple of articles telling a few stories about the experiences I had with my freshman year college roommate.
I found out sometime in July or August, I think. I got an email with my roommate’s name and email address. I emailed her and we quickly added each other on Facebook (because Facebook stalking is the best way to learn about someone…). So I went to her timeline and perused through her pictures, posts and shares. Then, to the real stuff: her “about” section. I called my mom in a panic when under “political views” I read the phrase “die-hard liberal” and her religion was stated as “Wicca.”
I googled, I researched, I read up on this stuff. I knew the word, but not much about Wicca. But again, book learning didn’t really teach me anything compared to living with her firsthand. The first night we spent on campus together, we were up until 2 am hashing things out, civilly of course. I found out a lot about this religion, so I’ll spend some time talking about what Wicca is, as I learned it from my roommate. It might differ from what others know about Wicca, but as I understand it, that’s normal for the religion.
In Wicca, in my roommates own words: “you kind of make it up as you go.” Each Wiccan, while identifying one’s self with the religion, is free to choose their own pantheon. That is, each and every Wiccan has their own group of deities that they worship. My roommate, for example chose to follow the Greek gods (Apollo, Zeus, Athena). The uniting factor is that above and beyond their pantheon, they have a very nature based religion. They truly believe in the Mother Earth and the spiritual alive-ness of the earth itself, including trees, the sun, moon and stars, and their worship and practices revolve around this. There is, of course, more to the religion, but there’s a reason this will take several articles.
So let’s just deal with the deities today. The thing that struck me from day one is that, if each Wiccan chooses for herself (or himself) a set of deities to follow, how is this one religion? Some are monotheistic, some are polytheistic, but all are pantheistic. You have those who worship only the earth, those who worship the classic Wiccan gods (a “horned god” from what I’ve read), Greek gods, Roman gods, Buddha, or any combination of the above. This idea that you can choose your own gods, and make it up as you go along gives no stability to the religion of Wicca.
As Christians, we have a very different hope. We know that our God doesn’t change, no matter who you talk to. The God of Moses’ burning bush is also my God. The same Deity I worship is the God that the apostle Paul worshipped on the road to Damascus. The same God that I pray to, Adam walked with in the Garden of Eden. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” That is not a confession Wicca can claim. Their gods are all different, and they change from Wiccan to Wiccan. Not our God. Our God unifies us, we are one. Ephesians 4:4-6 describes it well: “4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
This unity is so incredible, and I took it for granted, up until I realized that not all religions have that. I think this is a powerful indicator of the purity and truth of our religion. We know that we follow the one true God because there is no changing, no guesswork, no making it up as we go. We have a vivid description of Him that we know is true because it is He Himself who reveals it to us by His Word. Wicca simply could not be the true religion because how can there be truth where there is disagreement on which the real deity is?
I think one of the most beautiful things in the world is that there are many Christians that I know, and I can walk up to them and have a unified conversation about who we believe God to be. It’s not a debate, or a competition, just a discussion. I know that my fellow Christians agree with me on who God is, they know Him to have the same traits that I know Him to have, they have a personal relationship with Him, just as I do, and we will both know Him intimately and deeply. We both know that He is one God, three persons, loving, holy, just, pure and intolerant of sin. We both know that we are loved, not just by some being, somewhere, but loved by the same God, the only God. Reader, if you are a child of God, think of the unity this brings to the church. The same God that sent His Son for you sent His Son for me. We may have never met before, you might not know me from Adam, but we are loved by the same God. This unifies us in a way that no other false religion can ever experience. Blest be the tie that binds!