Neil: Paganism to Christ

Neil Asked for Sasquatch!

I grew up in England, a very Catholic-like (Church of England/Anglican) country, and even though my parents were agnostic, certain customs seep into regular life, like “you shouldn’t test God” or “eat fish on Friday.”

I had a rough childhood; I had an unstable relationship with my Dad. I used to get into a lot of fights at school—practically every day. Bullying was a huge problem and every time I would fight back, I would be the one punished for it. This led to a lot of anger and resentment against individual people and against authority, all of whom were supposedly to have your best interests at heart. I had this same anger and resentment toward father figures, too. I think this made seeing God as a trustworthy father figure all the more difficult for me to accept.

When I was 16, I went on a date. We each had agreed to bring a friend so we could all hang out together. After a couple of hours, my date’s friend pulled me aside and asked if my friend would dump her because she’s a witch. I laughed it off and said “No,” all the while thinking she’s a little unhinged. I was intrigued, though, so I asked her a few questions and she told me about Wicca, which I thought was just people playing make-believe.

I couldn’t get the thought of Wicca out of my head though, so as we just started getting internet in my area, I jumped on Lycos (global search engine in the 90s before Google) and researched this “Wicca” thing she had told me about.

I found that Wicca was an actual thing; people really believed in this stuff. I still thought it was nonsense but some of it started to make sense to me. Instead of this mystical unseen man in the sky, you could see what the Wiccans worshipped: nature and the seasons.

I’ve always been an animal lover and loved being out in nature, so Wicca was easier for me to connect with. Over the next few weeks, I did more research and understood more of what they were doing. I decided to test it out and see if it was for real or just a game—and it worked. I don’t remember what spell or ritual I did, but I remember it working and that was all I needed.

Now I had power and control over my life. Because we graduated at 16 back then, bullying was less of a problem, but now I had power to change my life in any way I wanted.

There were a few downsides to Wicca though. They have a “threefold law” which is basically karma. Whatever you send out you get back three times, so you shouldn’t use your power for “dark magic” (not even to defend yourself).

The other thing I couldn’t accept was the feminist/woman power aspect of it. They would talk about the balance of the god (seasons) and the goddess (nature), but they would be heavily focused on the goddess side all the time. Because of this, it was a big draw for gay people as they would all be accepted. Because Wiccans are “anti-culture” and so were gays at the time, they found acceptance with their own type of people. Because of the focus on the goddess, they’re all more of a feminine mind set so the gay guys get to be feminine and get away with it.  Nowadays, they’re celebrated and can be themselves pretty much anywhere so they don’t need to congregate together like they used to. 

After around six weeks, I found that Wicca was invented in the 1960s as part of the feminist movement to fight against the male-lead religions. I had no problem with this idea as I think the original feminists had very good points and things needed to change, however, I don’t agree with modern feminists and what they have turned the movement into, which is what Wicca is nowadays.

Brief History of Wicca vs Paganism & Witchcraft by Neil

Wicca was started in the early 1960s by a man named Gerald Gardner. He basically wanted to have orgies, have nudists around, and have an excuse for this. He latched on to paganism and made up his own version, claimed it was “ancient,” and convinced women it was a good idea. Wiccans will argue this and say his coven was the original, but it wasn’t. Paganism/witchcraft is ancient as are the Druids. Stonehenge is Druidic, not Wiccan. Pagan is an umbrella term like they use the term Christian these days to include Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.

Because of this I started digging deeper, asking questions like, “If they invented it in the 1960s, what came before?” I’d remembered something about the Salem Witch Trials, so I looked into them and found two things: 1) Paganism was the real root of the Wiccan’s power, and 2) “Christians” were responsible for a ton of murders. I dropped Wicca and started learning about traditional witchcraft (grassroots, historical paganism), which sat with me much better.

Over the years my hatred for Christians grew as I learned more about the witch trials, both in Europe and the United States, and the Crusades, all of which were a huge hypocrisy (as the Bible says, “Thou shall not kill,” or at least that’s what I’d been brought up to think). [NOTE: The Bible says “not to murder,” not “not to kill” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). The Hebrew word for “murder” includes causing death by negligence or carelessness, as well as premeditated murder.]

I spent around ten years or so as a traditional pagan (“trad pagan” in pagan circles) and I would go out of my way to find Christians around me or online and convert them. I had a burning hatred for anything “Christian” because of what they did to people in the name of God.

I later met some guys and we started a heavy metal band. I didn’t ever mention my religion, but they would mention Viking gods ever so often. I knew mythology so I found it funny and a bit of a joke. It did get me thinking about Viking era religion though and what the Vikings believed. That’s when I found my fit in Asatru.

Asatru is the belief in Viking gods and goddesses and is heavily a warrior religion which I connected with instantly. As I learned more about old religions, I dabbled with Egyptian gods, Greek gods, and voodoo, but none of it really felt right. None of them were from my ancestry so I felt like an imposter trying to use someone else’s religion for my own. Having Viking ancestry, I connected with Asatru.

I slowly changed my altar setup from traditional pagan over to Asatru and found that everything felt more right than it ever had. I spent the next 10+ years in Asatru, attacking and converting “Christians” at every opportunity for the things they did and stood for.

One day I ran into a woman named Jenna on an internet video game. We got talking and she said she was a Christian, which I thought was great because I could convert another one. We got into a few debates about the Bible, and I told her, “You can’t say ‘God moves in mysterious ways’ as that is a copout.” She agreed and she answered my questions. All the time, I’m looking for a way to make her question what she believes and point out why it’s stupid. Eventually we got on the topic of Jesus and I said, “You can’t prove the Bible with the Bible because I don’t believe in it. It’s just a chain letter that was written a million years ago,” so she started pulling up history and archaeology.

I’ve always been logical and followed scientific principles (if you can get the same result three times, it’s then a fact, not theory), even when I was pagan. Because of that, I couldn’t argue with historical and archaeological facts when the same thing is coming from multiple, unconnected sources. A Muslim wrote about seeing Jesus come back from the dead, a Roman wrote about it, and so did a Greek philosopher. They found the ark on top of a mountain, the wood samples were tested by multiple labs, and each found that the wood is a species that we haven’t had on earth for over a thousand years. Things like this started proving some of the Bible.

Around six weeks or so after we met, I injured my leg pretty badly while helping my Dad move some furniture. I kept refusing to go to a doctor or the hospital. After three days, it formed a blood clot which eventually fragmented, and the smaller clots traveled through my body, stopped my heart, and eventually settled in my lung. My heart stopped three times in the space of 15 minutes. My mom called an ambulance, and I ended up in ICU. They gave me less than 50% chance of making it, and even less than that for making it through the night.

After nine days, I was reluctantly released (I pushed for it) but the side effects from the medication were bad. I was suicidal, hallucinating, very aggressive, had no short-term memory, and was nauseous every day, getting worse for a few hours each time I took the meds. Nothing I took would take these side effects away and I was too messed up to do any pagan rituals to help myself.

During all this time, I would still argue theology with Jenna, losing my temper quite often when she made good points. At one point I told her, “I will convert you before you convert me,” and she laughed and said, “Uh huh, we’ll see.”

During our debates, she also showed me that my hated Christian enemies were not the ones that actually did the things I was accusing them of. It was the Roman Catholic Church and the popes of the time that were the cause of the Inquisition, witch trials, Crusades, etc. It took some doing but, again, historical facts won me over.

After eight months or so of this going on and getting no help with medication to ease the side effects, we got into a heated debate about God existing or not. I already knew Jesus was a real person, but God was different. She said, “have you ever asked God to prove that He exists?” So I said, “No, your Bible says that you shouldn’t test him.” It turned out that I’d picked that up from those “traditions” I’d grown up around.

That night was particularly bad for nausea and side effects, so I went to take a shower. I told her I would ask him for proof and if I didn’t get any, I’d win. When I was in the bathroom, I said “Okay, ‘Christian God,’ if you even exist, prove it to me,” and within 30 seconds, I had no side effects. All the nausea went away and I was back to feeling like my old self. I put it down to coincidence and took a shower. After a couple of hours, the side effects came back and continued as always.

The next night was the same: bad side effects and feeling nauseous. I took a shower, said the same thing, and the same result happened. At this point I’m starting to wonder but still saw it as coincidence. I mentioned to Jenna that I was feeling better, but it was a fluke; I left out what I said to God at this point.

The third night, exactly the same, and this time I deliberately didn’t take anything to help with the side effects, just in case that was the cause of feeling better. I said exactly the same thing again, and when I was saying it each time, I was aggressive and mocking. I said it and once again, all the side effects stopped. I want to point out that after an hour or so, they would come back. It wasn’t a permanent fix.

After a shower, I went back to the computer and told Jenna what had happened. She agreed that I’d been given proof. I then had a problem … Christian God had proven Himself, but so had the pagan gods. My first thought was, “Well, I guess you all exist,” but I remember Jenna saying something about having “no other gods before Me.”

… So, this started a new debate. After having more questions answered, the conclusion I came to was that Christian God is the only God. He proved Himself so that proved the Bible as accurate (because of John 1:1-5), and the Bible says “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3-5).

So, I now have a God who has proven Himself, the Bible is accurate because it comes from God, and the Bible says there are no other gods. The only logical choice is that Christian God is the only way forward. That night, I chose God and Jenna gave me the sinners’ prayer to recite and I converted. There were no trumpets, choirs singing, twinkly lights, I just made a logical decision based on the evidence.

Nothing but logic and facts could convince me and that was exactly what I got, so converting and believing what I was reciting wasn’t a huge ordeal.

The hardest thing was giving up that power and my altar. Giving up that way of life that I’d known for well over 20 years was a struggle, but eventually it was done.

There is nothing I could do to make up for the attacks I made against God and the Christians I’d met. There are no “works” or “good deeds” or “penance” that could make up for the absolute hatred I showed for Him and His people. The gift that Jesus offers is the only thing that will get you into heaven, not works and not being a member of a select group, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s offered to everyone. Paul is a great example of this. He is the person in the Bible I connect with the most because of how similar our path to salvation was. If he can be forgiven for all he’d done, anyone can be forgiven if they just accept Jesus’ offer of the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:20-23).

Oh, this patient, persistent woman Jenna who led me to the truth and to Jesus Christ? She is now my wife. She has been my guide and filter through my early days of Christianity. Without her, I would have been listening to apostates. Thank you, Jenna, for your patience and godly faithfulness.

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