Veiled Issues – Atheism, the Real Enemy
For decades witches and other modern pagans have been in a war of words, which sometimes escalates to a war of fists, with the Christian churches. Christians are berated in the most uncivil language on New Age Web sites and in Wicca zines for being malicious fools incapable of thinking for themselves, who allow their pastors, priests, and other Christian spokespersons to tell them what to think about the practice of magic and the worship of pagan gods.
The most withering contempt is always saved for the Fundamentalists, who are taught by their charismatic preachers that all forms of magic, and all worship other than their own beliefs, will result in damnation. Pagans regard Fundies, as they are derisively called, with loathing and view them as their greatest enemies. But is this really so?
There is another enemy, common to both Christians and pagans, that has been quietly gathering strength over the past few years. Its presence on the Internet has expanded exponentially, so that whereas not long ago it was almost impossible to locate, today it is equally impossible to avoid. It is a militant movement with its own dogma and it will tolerate no discussion or debate, except under its own terms – and those terms make true debate impossible.
The new enemy is atheism. It is the belief – the unfaith – that there are no gods, no spirits, no angels or devils, no paranormal abilities, and no magic of any kind.
There is nothing particularly wrong with individuals holding such a view. Everyone should be free to believe what they wish. It becomes a problem for Christians and pagans alike when atheists begin to promote their agenda as a movement with militant insistence, and with intolerance toward other beliefs. They are not content to allow others to believe what they wish, but must seek to convert them.
Atheists don’t regard their opinions as beliefs, of course, but rather look upon them as reality. That this same opinion has been maintained by every fanatical and exclusionary religious cult that has ever existed down through the centuries seems to escape them. All fanatical movements proclaim themselves possessors of the only truth, and are aggressively intolerant toward other beliefs – so it is with atheism, which is really a kind of fanatical cult of science that worships godlessness.
For a couple of decades, atheism has attacked the New Age movement under a different guise, that of scientific skepticism. The Committee that was started by prominent skeptics such as the Amazing Randi has systematically assaulted those who practice magic, or who believe in psychic abilities, and has called its campaign of harassment and intolerance “debunking.” Its more famous members have generally avoiding attacks on mainstream religion, although they target charismatic Fundamentalist preachers who employ magic (under another name, that of miracles) for healing purposes. Nor have all of them overtly proclaimed themselves to be atheists, but the writing is on the wall.
Their creed is unbelief, or rather a fanatical belief in the unreality of all spiritual things. They maintain that there is no magic in the world, of any kind – no spirits, no angels, no miracles. The universe they believe in with such fanatical and absolute certainty has no room for the occult or the paranormal.
The debunkers are only the leading edge of the growing atheist movement. The ultimate goal of atheism is to destroy all forms of religion, and this includes both Christianity in its many varieties, and all types of New Age beliefs that worship pagan gods or use magic, such as modern Wicca and Druidism, and even occult movements that arise from traditional Christianity, such as Spiritualism.
This essay is a plea for tolerance and unity. Pagans should reflect that in spite of their long history of conflict with Christianity, it is still a supernatural belief system that acknowledges magic, even though it refuses to call it by its true name. Christian miracles are a form of magic. The healing done by Jesus was done with magic. The exorcism rite still used by Catholic priests to drive out demons is a form of magic rite. Pagans know this even if Christians do not.
The differences between pagans and Christians are not really so deep as they appear. Both believe in higher supernatural beings. Both groups believe that such beings have servants or messengers who mediate between these beings and humanity. Both recognize that such beings can initiate or enable acts that seem to transcend the normal laws of nature. Both are focused upon spiritual discovery, spiritual evolution, and spiritual perfection as the highest goals in life.
It is unfortunate that Christians have been taught for so many centuries to hate and despise pagans, because at root, both movements are engaged in the same kinds of activities, and hold similar views concerning the survival of consciousness after death, the importance of intangibles such as the soul and non-physical realms of experience, and the possibility of intervention by benevolent higher powers in our lives, who act to guide and protect us.
By contrast, atheists reject God and the gods alike. They reject angels, the existence of the soul, life after death, supernatural intervention, ghosts, poltergeists, channeling, possession, divination, miracles, the paranormal, nature spirits, and any higher morality or code of conduct that is communicated to mankind by wise teachers not of the flesh.
What the atheist faithful worship – and make no mistake about it, worship is the only word for their fanatical and intolerant devotion – is the Void. It must be capitalized because the Void is their anti-god. They worship a lifeless mechanism, a cosmic clockwork with no Maker, a world devoid of hope or inspiration, a world purged of all traces of magic both Christian and pagan.
With every day that passes there seems to be more evidence that atheism is a growing movement. You probably remember the campaign of bus signs proclaiming that God does not exist. Such campaigns cost money. Somebody organizes them, and somebody funds them. Make no mistake, atheism is more than simply a collection of skeptical individuals – it is a cohesive unfaith that has as its ultimate purpose, not only the eradication of all religious beliefs and practices, but the destruction of all forms of magic and the supernatural.
Atheism has the potential to become a much greater threat to witchcraft, paganism, and New Age practices than Christianity ever was, even in its darkest and most intolerant days, because even then, when witches were being burned at the stake throughout most of Europe, both pagans and Christians shared a belief in higher spiritual powers and in supernatural agencies.
Atheism is a kind of many-tentacled monster of the Void that will eventually devour all forms of faith other than its own merciless, unforgiving worship of what is dead and empty. If allowed to grow unchecked, it will do immense harm to the human race, by cutting off avenues of communication between human beings and spiritual beings. As we all know, belief creates reality in the astral realms, and the fanatical belief of atheism is in sterility and non-existence.
Not all Christians are Fundies. Many are open to belief in various forms of magic. It is time to stop indiscriminately attacking Christians, and to attempt to find a common ground with them against the growing threat of the atheist movement. It is no longer a case of which god we worship, yours or mine, but whether we are allowed to worship the gods at all, or are forced to abandon them through a misguided ignorance that masquerades under the guise of scientific rationalism.
Science was never designed to deal with spiritual issues, and it is no more capable of commenting on things of the spirit today than it was five centuries ago. Yet atheists have seized on the jargon of science to promote their fanatical unfaith in the Void, and their increasingly militant movement of anti-spirit.
Once atheism is recognized as a threat to spiritual belief as a whole, a threat to all faiths and creeds and practices both Christian and pagan, it can be effectively countered, because at root atheism has nothing to offer – nothing but nothingness, not hope but hopelessness, and as we have all come to understand in our lives, there is more to the universe than the empty worship of the Void, the anti-god of the atheists.
Veiled Issues is a semi-regular column featuring opinion and debate topics. If you’d like to write a rebuttal for this article, send your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org and if accepted, we’ll feature your opposing article in the next issue of Rending the Veil.
Donald Tyson is the author of Sexual Alchemy: Magical Intercourse with Spirits, Familiar Spirits, and Soul Flight: Astral Projection and the Magical Universe, among other works. You can visit his website here.
©2009 Donald Tyson
Edited by Sheta Kaey