Wicca is a modern revival of ancient nature paganism. Richard
Dawkins' longed-for religion of the 'pale blue dot' would fall into this
category. The pagan peoples of antiquity revered the forces of nature,
marvelling at them and even falling down to worship, the sun, the moon,
planets, fire, storm, the earth, etc. It has been modernized and updated
a bit in recent years. These people gather every year at Stonehenge, an
ancient observatory, to celebrate. . .whatever it is they celebrate: gravity, astronomy, whatever.
Wiccans lay claim to a long history of persecution at the hands
of Christians. From Roman pagan times, the idea that a
practitioner of the dark arts could harm others through occult means has been embedded in
the civil law, and Israel's ancient theocracy allowed no practice of pagan
religions: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." (Exodus
22:18). While there is a long and tragic history of witchcraft
prosecutions in nominally Christian countries, it is not clear how
to classify the victims, because one of the most striking things
about these cases is that almost all persons executed as witches, at
Salem and elsewhere, appear to have been genuinely innocent. The
lasting lesson from these prosecutions is to take care what kind of
evidence to admit into court: admitting hallucinatory evidence, or
evidence obtained under torture, opens the door to horrifying
miscarriages of justice. Wiccans, however, believe that all or most of the
persons executed as witches were, in fact, practitioners of the old
nature paganism, not persons falsely accused, and are thus fallen
martyrs to their faith. Taking the power to direct the people's religious
observance out of the worldly and inept hands of government, as is done by the
First Amendment, leaves Wiccans free to do their thing.
A few years back there was a flap about self-professed Wiccans
serving in the U.S. armed forces. Some people actually wondered if
pagans could possibly make good soldiers, as if the men who marched
with Alexander the Great were sissies! Pagans in the U.S. military is no new
thing. Still-pagan troops have served, with great distinction, attached to the U.S. military in the
past; Kit Carson's men were sleep-deprived because their Indian
scouts insisted on performing the war dance, a pagan ceremonial,
prior to engaging the enemy:
"Finally, he [Kit Carson] recruited seventy-two Indians
to scout and screen his movements. A few were Jicarilla Apache, but
most were Uties. . .Both tribes were eager to strike at their
hereditary enemies, the Kiowa and Comanche. . .As the troops tried
to sleep, the Utes and Apaches made the night hideous with
interminable dancing and singing in preparation, as the soldiers
thought, for war. Lieutenant Pettis wrote afterward that the war
dance '. . .became almost intolerable, it being kept up on each
night until nearly daybreak, and until we became accustomed to their
groans and howlings incident to the dance, it was impossible to
sleep.'" (To the Last Cartridge, Robert Barr Smith, pp. 162-163).
Whether today's pagans live up to the standards of their great-grandfathers is,
of course, open to question, but pagan soldiers of the past, whether
commanded by Atilla the Hun, Agamemnon, Genghis Khan, or Julius Caesar,
whether inspired by Mars or by the Ghost Dance, have performed well in battle. . .some of them.
Is there any merit in the idea of worshipping the forces of nature? Why,
when nature itself worships: "Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created."
(Psalm 148:2-5). Instead of worshipping nature, the creature, we
should follow the example of nature, and worship the Creator, who
made the whole spectacular apparatus:
"He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knows its going down.
You make darkness, and it is night, in which all the beasts of the forest creep about.
The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God.
When the sun rises, they gather together and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work
and to his labor until the evening. O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great."
You would not stand there marvelling before a wonderful piece of artwork, while the artist
himself is standing right there at the opening reception; you
would go over and congratulate the artist.
Adolf Hitler has been reimagined by the New Atheists as a devout Catholic, however the
reality is somewhat different. The real Hitler was a
vegetarian, sipping herbal tea. The Nazi idealogues revived
ancient nature paganism, updated by way of modern science:
the religion of the pale blue dot. Nature is conceptualized
by the Nazis in a very martial way; it is all struggle,
battle, survival of the fittest. They found these themes in
Darwin, where they also found their terrifying racism: