Apologetics Index

Tag: Neo-Paganism

The Contemporary Relevance of ‘Witchcraft Goes Mainstream’

Neo-paganism is a complex phenomenon — counterculture, movement, religion and lifestyle are all aspects of what Neo-paganism represents to its adherants. It is also a dynamic phenomenon — Gerald Gardner’s “wicca” began to change and evolve, almost as soon as the concept entered his mind; it continued to do so throughout his career, and Neo-paganism as a whole maintains that pattern of mutating growth today.Read more

Chapter 7: From Witchcraft to Wicca: 1700 — 2000

The purpose of interfaith work from the Witches' point of view was to establish Witchcraft as a religion among religions, thus increasing the acceptance and acceptability of Witchcraft in society, and thereby serving the ultimate purpose of increasing the physical safety and enlarging the social comfort-zone of Witches in general.

Judged by those standards, the Witches' "interfaith interface" has been remarkably successful. Today the Witchcraft movement has already achieved legal status as one religion among many, and is on the verge of achieving it socially -- which is exactly what the interfaith approach was designed to accomplish.

This is Chapter 7 or Witchcraft Goes Mainstream, by Brooks Alexander

Chapter 6: Witchcraft for Real — Was There or Wasn’t There?

The history of European witchcraft can also be seen in terms of the coming together and breaking up of its individual components. Prior to the middle ages, witchcraft did not exist as such, because it was still in pieces. Its components had not yet abandoned their separate histories and been fully joined.

After the Renaissance, the process reversed itself , and witchcraft ceased to exist as such because it went to pieces. This is chapter 6 of Witchcraft Goes Mainstream by Brooks Alexander.

Chapter 4: Witchcraft in Popular Entertainment: The Craft, Buffy and Beyond

The Craft revolutionized the media's approach to teenagers, reshaped the media's imagery of good and evil, and redefined the public's idea of modern Witchcraft. The movie firmly established modern Witchcraft's new image in the public mind: dangerous, but exciting -- and above all, real.

Buffy is second only to The Craft as a milestone in the ongoing spiritual devolution of American culture.

This is Chapter 4 of Witchcraft Goes Mainstream, by Brooks Alexander.

Chapter 3: Teens and the Media: Witchcraft in Popular Entertainment

Teen-oriented media is a kind of youth-culture echo-chamber -- an ideal environment for commercial manipulation. Without any standards other than profits and ratings, the media is "both responding to interest in Witchcraft and creating it, in a rapid feedback loop."

The mid-1990s explosion of Witchcraft in the media can be seen as part of that process, and as a sign of the new (teen) center of gravity in media marketing and entertainment.

This is Chapter 3 of Witchcraft Goes Mainstream, by Brooks Alexander

Chapter 2: The Halloween Witch is Dead: The Changing Face of Modern Witchcraft

The Halloween witch is dead. The old crone on a broomstick with a black cat, a peaked hat and a wart on her nose is history. She has been replaced by a young, beautiful, sexually magnetic maiden who reveres nature, honors a goddess, practices magic and wields mysterious psychic powers. Such indeed is the image of the modern, Neopagan Witch today.

This is Chapter 2 of Witchcraft Goes Mainstream, by Brooks Alexander

Appendix B: A Brief Annotated Bibliography for Further Reading

The cultural shift that we are undergoing (aka the culture "war") means that Christians will be called upon to explain and exemplify the gospel in new situations, to a new kind of audience, using new communication tools and skills. It also means that an active new "mission field" is not only here among us, it will shortly come looking for you. The day is coming, and probably sooner than you think, when you or someone you know will meet a Witch or some other variety of Neopagan in a social or professional situation.

When that day comes, you will want to be prepared ahead of time with enough information to respond knowledgably and to navigate the encounter with confidence and skill.

Appendix A: Witchcraft in the Military

For Christians and other cultural conservatives, the Fort Hood Witchcraft flap was a public relations debacle. The anti-Witch crusaders entered the fray with great fanfare and left it looking foolish. Indeed, their campaign failed so completely that every item on their agenda was rejected. Worst of all, the crusaders themselves were widely perceived to be intemperate and uninformed.

It was also a public relations triumph for modern Witchcraft. In effect, the episode put an exclamation point on a decade filled with changes in the way that Witchcraft is seen and understood. It both symbolized and speeded up the process of transformation that was already taking place.

A Final Word From the Author: What Now?

It is impossible to know at this juncture whether our culture can be brought back from the brink of (self) destruction or not. But we don't need that knowledge in order to prepare for the next stage of our spiritual warfare.

Whether the culture collapses completely or struggles back to its feet, Christians will be called upon to represent the Gospel in relation to resurgent paganism of all kinds. Therefore we should expect to be in contact with Neopagans and expect to have opportunities for apologetic and evangelistic interaction and we should prepare ourselves accordingly.

About the Author, Brooks Alexander

Brooks Alexander is the founder of The Spiritual Couterfeits Project (SCP), an evangelical ministry and think-tank in Berkeley, California that studies new religions and spiritual movements.

An experienced journalist who is educated in law, his personal experience in the occult and his subsequent conversion to Christ give him a unique perspective on current spiritual trends.