Wow. Check this out from the Huntsville Times, via Witchvox. That's Huntsville, Alabama, BTW
The woman who called me was concerned that I had given mention to a group who lets a group of Wiccans sometimes use their facility.
"Do you know they are witches?" the lady asked me.
"Yes," I said. "And Wiccans are hard to find because they're scared of the Christians."
The woman was silent for a long minute.
"And you're the Faith & Values editor?" she asked, sounding like she hoped I wasn't.
Yes, Ma'am," I told her, "but I don't write just about Christian values."
She was silent a long time more. I tried to think of something to make her feel better.
"They're good witches," I said.
The caller hung up.
The article, which I'm prejudiced enough to be surprised to see in an Alabama paper, goes on to note: In "The Cost of Certainty: How Religious Conviction Betrays the Human Psyche," Jeremy Young, a former priest who is now a family therapist, traces the worst sins of the faithful to their beliefs. Whether the Crusades for us Christians or the bombing of civilians by Muslims, the impulse to destroy or to limit others based on their beliefs seems to spring from obeisance to an inflexible, judgmental God, and from the believer's personal desire to know this God beyond any doubt.
Knowing God beyond any doubt, Young points out, puts the believer outside the bounds of faith.
Sam Harris, an atheist, wrote "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason," an exploration of how religious certainty leads to attacks on humans. His latest, "Letter to a Christian Nation," responds to the hundreds of letters he received after his first book, letters he found to be "murderously intolerant of criticism." He has written his letter-book to answer the worst of those missives. He diagrams how every religion, including Christianity, holds in it the seeds of intolerance and argues for a culture based on provable facts, not religious myth.
These books and the concerned caller brought to my mind the wisdom of Islam: "O people!" God says in the Quran, 49:13. "We made you into nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another and not to despise one another."
I suppose the lack of certainty, with some unfortunate exceptions coughwitchwarscough, is one of the things that I love about Wicca. So often, when some either/or question comes up, my answer is, "Yes." Is divinity immanent or not? Yes. Are the gods and goddesses real or are they representations of divinity in a form we can comprehend? Yes. Is everything relative or are there moral absolutes? Yes. My prayer every morning says "It's all real. It's all metaphor. There's always more. I'm off to add both of these books to my wish list.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."