Why You Can't Worship Jesus Christ and Be Pagan
That some of the Christians you know are nice people says nothing about what Christianity and its God have in mind. This is a One True Way religion, not even slightly pluralistic. Perhaps you will raise the issue of interfaith work. Given Christian history, this behavior looks more like diplomacy defined as the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a big enough rock.
So, if you are Pagan, why would you worship Jesus Christ?
It is a good question: Why be Christian (i.e., worship Jesus Christ) at all? Besides its awful theology, to which we will return in a future post, worshiping YHWH or Son is a great way of having or retaining Christian privilege in our society. (See a great list of 40 Christian privileges from Schlosser, L. Z. (2003), "Christian privilege: Breaking a sacred taboo." Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 31 (1), 44-51; more discussion here. It doesn't include my favorite: having your career advancement stopped because you are not Christian.) This behavior is tempting, but totally without integrity. There is nothing honorable about including any of Those Three in your worship just to have the cover and privilege they provide in our society.
Those of us who are actually Pagan have reason to resent this behavior. If you don't live our life, if you are unwilling to face the consequences and bear the burdens of being Pagan, don't call yourself one. This is the Pagan equivalent to a Native American saying to a non-Native, "Come live on the Rez, or stay out of our stuff" (in character if not intensity). Or in another frame, if you don't have African blood, do you get to say you are black-ish?
Historically, Paganism arose during the Florentine Renaissance as a critique and, in many cases, a rejection of Christianity. This critique is central to the character of Paganism and a major part of its value to the world. We are a direct corrective to the horror of Christian history, theology, and morals, none of which is good. (In the future, I will continue in this vein discussing why Pagan theology is superior to Christian theology.)
Magically, one might say we were invoked into being by the harmful actions of Christianity and its God as Their Nemesis. We are deeply entwined with the development of science and our technological culture, that culture which finally permits us to feed, clothe, shelter, etc., everyone on the planet (should we choose to). We are deeply entwined with the cultural transformation called the European Enlightenment by which the values of equality and democracy were established as central to our civilization.
Some will ask, what's wrong with mixing a bit of Christ in our Paganism? The Gospel story is not one of love and peace, that's just the public relations. The history of Christianity shows the true character of Christianity and its Deity: the destruction of civilizations and cultures, and the slaughter of innumerable humans as savages, infidels, or simply heretics. Then there is the subtler problem of Missionary Paganism, destruction by infiltration and dilution. They come and preach the nice stuff, and so we include Christian worship with ours, but slowly they teach that the Old Ways should be abandoned for Christianity. Eventually, only the old people know the old ways, and when they die off only Christians are left: the old ways are destroyed. Just ask the Indians of the Americas, just ask the Hawaiians, just ask the Africans.
So, it is time to get serious.
Perhaps you are a Christian who has seen the enormous good that is in Paganism but missing from your religion, and you want some of that. Learn, then leave us and go reform your own religion; you may be its salvation.
Perhaps you are a Pagan who has not been able to overcome the conditioning that tells you the Christian god-complex is good. It is hard to do and takes years of retraining to break the spell; being continually told that unless you conform you will go to hell is very difficult to overcome. This God even says He loves you, much like in an abusive relationship. You must be mindful of history and how that 'love' actually plays out.
I suggest you invoke more: the Gods will save you from this delusion.
Therefore I can only conclude that those of you who are still including Christianity in any manner in your Paganism are either Christians coming to be fed what your own religion can't provide or infiltrators diluting and destroying our religion. Or, perhaps, you are a Pagan who has not yet committed yourself to your religion sufficiently to jettison the God who wishes to destroy it. Sadly, you don't even have to be conscious of this to be doing it.
I shall be blunt: you need to get conscious and make your choice. I have. I am Pagan.
Sam Webster is a Mage, Mason, Sorcerer, Seminarian, and Pagan Priest, restoring the way of the Gods.
Webster's column, "Pagan Restoration," is published the 3rd Wednesday every month on the Pagan Channel. It is now being offered in a new format! Don't forget to update your RSS links and e-mail subscriptions.