WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS
WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT
It is important to realize that:
The term "witchcraft" in the Hebrew
Scriptures (Old Testament) refers
to (mostly) women who used spoken curses to injure other people or destroy their
The term, "witchcraft" in the Christian
Scriptures (New Testament) refers to murderers who use poisons to kill
In North America, "Witch" and "Witchcraft" most often
to Wiccans and Wicca.
modern-day Neopagans. They follow Wicca, a new religion that has been created, in part, from ancient
Celtic beliefs, practices, Gods, Goddesses, holy days and symbols. They follow the
a rule of behavior which prohibits Wiccans from performing any activity
that dominates, manipulates, controls, or injures others.
Thus, in terms of behavior, Wicca is a benign and healing
religion; the "witchcrafts"
mentioned in the Bible are evil and destructive. The two are exact
That said, it is important to remember that:
The Bible contains many passages exhibiting
intolerance towards other religions, and almost no passages which
actively promote inter-religious tolerance. Wicca
is certainly a religion that is very different from Judaism
and Christianity. Wicca, as well as Buddhism,
Hinduism, Islam, Native
Spirituality, Taoism, and hundreds of other
religions are thus equally condemned by many verses in the Bible.
Many Wiccans engage in specific practices to foretell the
future. These include scrying, tarot cards, I Ching, runes, etc. Although
these practices are not mentioned in the Bible, they are similar to other
divination techniques which are condemned in various biblical passages. However, not all
Wiccans engage in divination. And the vast majority of persons who use
divination are not Wiccans.
Who exactly is a Witch?
In this section, we are considering whether the Bible
specifically condemns Wicca.
We have not been able to find any translation of either the Hebrew or Christian
Scriptures which contains
the words Wicca or Wiccan. However, many translations of the Bible, such as
the King James Version and the New International Version, condemn what
they call "Witches" and "Witchcraft". This causes serious
The religion of Wicca is one of at least 18 different
practices associated with the term "witchcraft." Most of
are unrelated to each other. Of these 18 practices,
six main forms of
"witchcraft" exist today.
The most popular usages of "Witch" refer to:
- A woman of such incredible beauty that she bewitches men.
- An old woman, often portrayed with an evil appearance; sometimes called a
- A follower of Religious Satanism who either
worships Satan or recognizes Satan as a
virile pre-Christian, pagan concept. They may perform evil sorcery, but only
against their enemies.
- A person devoted to performing evil sorcery: using rituals, spoken curses, etc to
injure or kill others.
- A Wiccan; a follower of a modern religion that was reconstructed partly
from an ancient religion of the Celts. Wiccans are
prohibited from harming others.
- In Africa, a native healer who practices alternative, holistic medicine
and may engage in evil sorcery.
- In TV programs like Bewitched, a person, usually a woman, who was
born with supernatural abilities and is capable of performing miracles by
waving a wand, wiggling a nose, etc.
- In children's books like the Harry Potter™
series, where people live in an alternative universe with unicorns,
invisibility cloaks, dragons, talking animals, magical quills, flying
broomsticks, magic wands, etc.
There are many additional meanings not cited above. Most are variations on the above
General religious intolerance in the Bible:
Passages in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are quite intolerant
of other religions:
The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) condemn, in particular,
non-monotheistic religions. One example is The Book of Joshua, where
God authorizes the genocide of Canaanites because they were
Pagans. Since many Wiccans believe in the
existence of a dual divinity (a Goddess and a God), Wicca would fall under this general
condemnation of non-monotheistic religions, as would Hindus,
followers of Native American spirituality,
and hundreds of other religions.
The Christian Scriptures (New Testament) attack Jews as being children
of the Devil. They contain many passages which condemned Gnostic Christianity
-- a part of the early Christian movement which believed in the
existence of two deities. The Scriptures also state that non-Christians worship
either Satan or a demon. This latter condemnation would include
followers of Wicca and hundreds of other religions. Together,
they constitute about 67% of the human race.
Various passages from the Hebrew Scriptures condemn methods of foretelling the
future. Although these practices are
sometime used by some Wiccans, they do not form an integral part of their
religion. Many Wiccans follow their religion without using divination.
These are general condemnations. They criticize
a wide variety of non-Judeo-Christian religions, not Wicca specifically.
On the other hand, many English translations of the Bible
refer to Witches and Witchcraft by name. A careful analysis of the original
passages in the original Greek and Hebrew, shows that they condemn individuals who:
Use spoken curses to harm or murder others.
Use poison to harm or murder others.
Wiccans are prohibited from
engaging in either of these activities. Wiccans are prohibited by the
Wiccan Rede from
dominating, manipulating, controlling, or doing harm to others. The use of the terms "Witch" or
"Witchcraft" in English translations of the Bible is either a poor
translation or a mistranslation. The Bible appears contain no direct
references to Wicca and Wiccans.
Ambiguity in Bible translations:
By translating the original Hebrew and Greek text as "Witch" and
"Witchcraft", translators have selected one of the most confusing words
in the English language. In the case of
the King James Version, this seems to have been done deliberately. King James had a
deathly fear of "Witches" (in the 4th meaning above). The justification for choosing such a misleading word
in a some recent
translations, is less clear. The
translators must be aware of the exact meaning of the original Hebrew word; yet they
selected an English word which was clearly ambiguous. Further, it makes
large numbers of
people vulnerable to religious hatred.
The only large religious group in North America who describe themselves as
"Witches" are Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans.
That minority of Wiccans who are open about their faith suffer
extreme persecution from very well meaning, very devout but very misinformed Christians
who honestly believe that they are following the guidance of various Biblical passages. In
recent years in the U.S., this discrimination has occasionally taken the form of lynching, attempted
mass murder by stoning, shooting, and other forms of assault. Fortunately, most modern
translations have been using the slightly less ambiguous term "sorcery" in place
of "Witchcraft". We expect that this change, plus accurate portrayal of Wiccans
in the media, will gradually lessen the discrimination that they experience. More
information about Witches.
Copyright © 1997 to 2001 incl. and 2003 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2003-JUN-2
Author: B.A. Robinson