Paganism is on the rise in Canada .  If you dabble in astrology, read your daily horoscope, accept ‘white’ witchcraft, and really get into the spirit of Halloween then you’re part of the growing trend.  Even If you do attend church for your weekly ‘feel good’ dose of God – one of the many gods you may worship – you have already given yourself over to paganism.

Our countryside and cities are not necessarily Christian anymore.  To think so is to hide from reality and maybe even who you really are.  John H. Redekop Ph.D. points out:

Some observers see the Christian church in Canada disappearing rapidly and Canadian society now morphing into a post-Christian society. Some observers point to the Anglican Church of Canada as an example. Between 1961 and 2001, the Anglican Church lost 53% of its membership, declining from 1.36 million to 642,000. Writer Michael Valpy has humorously conjectured that if the Anglican Church continues to lose 13,000 members each year, then by 2061, there will be 1 Anglican left in Canada. The decline is greatest in British Columbia, especially on Vancouver Island. In 1955 about 40% of the Island population was Anglican. Today 1.2% is Anglican.

(John H. Redekop Ph.D., Trinity Western University, Is Canada Becoming a Post-Christian Country? 11/20/2013

Here in Ontario, not far from the little rural church where I worship God,  is a pagan druid fellowship that openly invites people to come and worship their gods in nature.  It is called Thornhaven Grove.  What is their purpose?

Our intent is two-fold:

a) To provide a haven for pagan folk: This is space for pagans to worship their Gods in nature, on land that is consecrated for this sacred purpose, without the fear, worry or interruption that can accompany outdoor ritual/retreats in public spaces such as parks.

b) To build sacred space: Sacred space is built not just with land, stone or trees, but with the spiritual investment of people. We have been using the land for the last few years for private rituals and retreats, and have begun creating specific shrines and circles. However, we believe that the more people use our land for their own worship, and the more people develop a relationship with the spirits of the land, the more powerful and sacred the land becomes.

(http://www.thornhavenadf.com/aboutthornhaven.htm)

Thornhaven even has a Facebook page!  Anyone who would claim that Canada is still a Christian nation has their head rooted as deeply in the sand as the proverbial ostrich.

How does this happen?  Debra MacLeod’s article, Why Modern Paganism is Good for Today’s Families offers the following explanation;

There are many people like me. People who love ritual and long for spiritual expression, but who can’t get on board with Abrahamic religious dogma or scripture. There are many people like my husband, too. People who were indoctrinated into religious belief as a child, but who have rejected that belief as an adult. And these are the folks who are increasingly turning to modern paganism.

(Debra Macleod, Couples Mediator & Relationship Author-Expert, Why Modern Paganism is Good For Today’s Families. Posted: 12/12/2014, Huffington Post, Canada)

 Yes, we in the church can take a share in the blame because of our self-righteous, judgmental and complacent ways.  The Bible tells us that this kind of fake religion is completely offensive to Jesus; “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked . . . ” (Revelation 3:15-17)

Compromising churches emptied of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ provide lots of recruits for paganism as one ex-wiccan explains;

How I got involved in paganism is all too common, I’m afraid.

I was raised in a churched home. By that, I mean that we went to church but didn’t live any differently than my friends who did not go to church.  I was very active in the church growing up and as a teen. We attended the First Christian Church (independant), and I was active in youth group, Sunday School, choir. I was there everytime the doors were open. But I didn’t have any strong background at home.

I had always been fascinated by magic. I started off innocently enough reading my horoscope (my mom did this, and didn’t see anything wrong with it).  My favorite movies and TV shows as a kid were all about witches and magic, now I was living out my fantasy. Just like millions of people can drink a beer and never get addicted to alcohol, millions of people can watch a show like Bewitched and never think anything of it, but some people have a weakness in this area that leaves them vulnerable. I was one of those people. I had many experiences as a child that I know opened that door for me, and made me vulnerable. The pagans I met said I had a gift of the sight that ran in my family. I know now that Satan used my gifts that God had given me. All of the little openings into the occult in my childhood (the movies, TV shows, games I played, etc) opened a door, that Satan used to get me to serve him rather than God. One movie that really stuck out in my mind as starting the whole mess was a movie I watched that starred Melissa Sue Anderson as a bad witch, and another child actress as a good witch. I didn’t know it at the time but it was all about Wicca, and that movie affected me greatly, and I believed opened the door to my fascination with witchcraft.

When I went off to college, I got interested in birth charts, and learned how to do astrological charts for others. I also got really messed up on drugs while in college, and got more and more interested in Eastern mysticism.

In And Out Of Wicca – A  Former Wiccan SpeaksBy A Former Wiccan

Who will rescue the many lost souls caught up in empty paganism?  Is the lukewarm church capable of such a rescue mission?  What was the former wiccan’s experience:

When God spoke to me that day in my car in August 1997, it was the first time in my life I ever heard Him speak to me. It was the first time I really KNEW that Christianity is NOTHING without a personal relationship with God. At that moment I began to seek Him rather than seeking traditions, doctrines, etc. I just sought HIM, and He revealed Himself to me in a way that I just KNEW I was His, purchased for a price. . . .  When I returned to Christ, I vowed that I would not return to the dead religion of my youth. I wanted more. I wanted more than ritual and tradition. More than a weekly pep talk at the church. I had a Jesus-sized hole in my heart that needed to be filled 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

It saddens me to think about all the people I knew in the pagan community  who like me were raised in the church, but left seeking more–seeking a deity they could have a relationship with. The church has failed miserably. We have become Pharisees raising traditions of men to the level of revelation of God. We have put God in a box, and through this so many people who are deeply seeking a relationship with God are lost, because they think it is something that cannot be obtained, but that a relationship with false goddesses are possible. Satan uses the church’s failings to his benefit. Paganism offers gods and goddesses that live within you and communicate directly with you (or so the lie goes).

As disciples of Jesus how should we respond to the paganism around us and within our fellowships.  Hold to the faith and share the Gospel! The Apostle Paul tells us: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.’” (Romans 1:16,17)  That’s our job, our mission – don’t judge, condemn or revile – stick with God’s Word – speak it, live it and love it daily!  The Holy Spirit will do the rest.

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit’s work in the world is to bring true spiritual reality to mankind; “He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me;  of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;  of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:8-11)

Advertisements