For most of us, witches and warlocks are the stuff of fantasy novels and movies. But studies show modern practitioners of witchcraft, or "Wicca," are on the rise in America -- especially among women and youth.

How can Christian parents and churches effectively address this growing fascination with a decidedly unbiblical belief system? Cultural experts Dillon Burroughs and Marla Alupoaicei, co-authors of the newly released book Generation Hex (Harvest House), believe we need to throw away simplistic stereotypes and become educated on the true nature of Wicca and New Age beliefs. In writing Generation Hex, Dillon and Marla set out to do just that -- interviewing real-life Wiccans, researching the historical and current practices of Wiccan organizations, and examining the modern cultural influences that increase Wicca's appeal to seeking souls.

In a recent Crosswalk interview, Dillon and Marla discussed some surprising facts about Wicca and gave tips to parents and pastors on becoming effective witnesses for Christ:

CrosswalkI found Generation Hex fascinating. You two have done a lot of research. You point out that while Wicca is fast growing in popularity and membership among Americans, most Americans know very little about it. Could you define Wicca, and explain how it differs from Christianity?   

Dillon Burroughs:  The way I explain it is that Wicca is the most popular form of American witchcraft. It started in Britain primarily in the 1960s, even though they will tap into history that is much earlier than that. In the past generation, it has grown exponentially. It is to the point that it could be the third largest religion in America by 2012.

What amazes me is that I could speak to youth groups or college groups and say, "How many of you know someone involved in Wicca or witchcraft or have participated yourself at some point, perhaps? Raise your hand." Most of the people do. If I go to a church, and I ask the people in the church or pastors or church staff how many of them know someone involved in Wicca or witchcraft, very few even know what it is. So, there is this huge awareness issue. 

Marla Alupoaicei:  [Wicca] is an earth-based religion, and it's polytheistic, which means they worship a variety of gods and goddesses. The primary god has a cohort, who would be the goddess. So, [Wiccans] really look at beauty as being two parts of a whole, the god and goddess, which is why it appeals to women so much. They want to be elevated to the place of being a goddess.   

CW:  I visited some of the websites you guys cite in the book. I noticed on the website for the Church and School of Wicca they say that they are not connected with Satanism. Would you two agree with that?   

DB:  That is what you will hear consistently from people involved in Wicca. I thought going [into this project] that it was very connected with Satanism and satanic rituals. That is very much not the case with mainstream Wicca. They do not even believe in Satan, so they certainly do not worship him or do sacrifices to him in any way, shape, or form. They see Satan as a Christian concept, and the ideas of personal sin, hell and judgment are all outside of what Wiccans traditionally believe. Of course, there are exceptions, but what you see today in the media is often a stereotype.