Protecting Your Teen from Today's Wicca
- Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Goth made the news again. The wife of high profile lawyer Daniel Horowitz was found murdered last month at their beautiful estate. The suspect? A 16-year old boy known for wearing dark clothing and who reportedly read the book of Satan. Although this is an extreme case – and the truth has yet to be fully sorted out – parents across America have found themselves once again concerned about the occult and its influence on our kids.
And rightly so. Teen expert Steve Russo has had the privilege of working with tens of thousands of today’s teens through his career as a writer, speaker, musician, and radio show host. In the past few years, Russo has noticed a disturbing upswing in teens’ fascination with Wicca and the occult -- even among Christian youth. In response, Russo has written an in-depth guide for parents titled, Protecting Your Teen from Today’s Witchcraft (Bethany House). Join us as Steve sheds some light on the truth about Wicca and advises parents on how to deal with this growing form of spirituality.
Crosswalk: First, can you explain some of the key differences between Wicca and Christianity? Why is this form of spirituality so dangerous for believers?
Russo: If you start closely examining the beliefs you will see that their essential concepts – God, truth, reality, the basic problem of humanity and the solution - are very different. By looking at the following brief comparison, you will see why this type of spirituality is so dangerous to believers. That’s why God warns us in His Word to stay away from Wicca and witchcraft.
• Most Wiccans believe in some form of reincarnation. For witches, reincarnation is different from what a Buddhist or Hindu believes. Instead of an endless ‘karma’ witches view reincarnation as something positive that takes the soul upward in its advancement towards godhood. The Bible is very clear when it says we die only once and then we are judged (Hebrews 9:26-28; 2 Peter 2:9).
• The Wiccan view of salvation can be summed up with this statement: "We can open new eyes and see that there is nothing to be saved from; no struggle of life against the universe, no God outside the world to be feared and obeyed." Christians believe that we are all born with a spiritual terminal disease called sin that causes us to disobey God and go our own willful way. The remedy was Christ’s death on the cross (Romans 3:23, 6:23; Isaiah 59:2; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 3:18).
• Wiccans believe that experience is a more important revelation than any code of belief. Christians believe that the most important revelation of truth is the Bible (Psalm 119:47, 72, 97; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12).
• Wiccans worship the Earth and creation. Christians believe in worshipping the Creator, not the creation (Deuteronomy 4:39; Romans 1:25; Jude 25).
• Wiccans do not believe that Jesus was God in the flesh or creator of the universe. They view Jesus as "a great white witch who knew the Coven of Thirteen." The key principle that sets Christianity apart from any other religion is the belief that Jesus is God. (Matthew 1:21-23; John 1:1, 14, 18, 8:24; Philippians 2:5,6).
Crosswalk: In the introduction to your book you say that Wicca is "the fastest growing religion today among high school and college students." In what ways have you seen Wicca and occult influences on the rise in our culture? Why do you think it appeals to today’s teens?
Russo: Wicca is huge! It’s everywhere – thanks to an extreme makeover that’s happened in the media with witchcraft. Images of witches with pointy noses and flying on broomsticks are gone. Instead we’ve got Sabrina, Buffy and the Halliwell sisters. Witches have been interviewed on the Oprah Winfrey Show, cable news shows on Fox, CNN and MSNBC. There’s a whole new respect for witches today.
Wicca’s also making a fashion trend statement. You can now buy "Goddess style" clothes. Or maybe you’d be interested in the "Earth Goddess" collection of cosmetics. There are even "potions" fragrances showing up in some of the hipper stores. It’s just one more message that endorses Wicca.
There’s over a million web listings for Wicca on Google. Internet resources on witchcraft are growing daily by the thousands. You can even take classes about Wicca online. The Internet may be the source that has introduced more teens to Wicca than anything else.
Why does it appeal to teens? Four key words – freedom, control, power and experience. It’s the "whatever" religion that works perfectly in our relative truth culture. Teens like the freedom that Wicca offers to worship whom ever they choose. They also like the idea of being able to control everything about their life – including their destiny. Then comes the issue of power – a lot of teens are looking for it. They want power to help them feel special, power over their circumstances and sometimes power to get vengeance over those who’ve hurt them. Wicca is also a very experiential religion.
Crosswalk: It’s tempting to assume the attraction to Wicca is exclusive to kids raised in non-Christian homes. Is there really a genuine concern for Christian parents here?
Russo: I’m convinced that Wicca is the sleeping giant in the church today. Christian parents have good reason to be cautiously concerned about the spiritual well-being of their teens.
I spend a number of weeks each year speaking on public school campuses. My assembly program focuses on "Choices" – both ones that teens are making today and how to make ‘better ones.’ After almost every assembly I end up talking with students about Wicca. At one particular school, I had two girls and a guy come up to me to talk. "Russo, we want you to know that we used to be Christians, but now we’re Wiccans." I asked them ‘why.’ "We went to church and couldn’t find anyone who could tell us what they believed, why they believed it and they were all living powerless lives. So we became Wiccans."
Unfortunately, when you look at a lot of churches today, I don’t think these teens are that far off. Teens want spiritual answers, but they’re not finding them in many of our churches. We need to help them connect their needs and the answers that can only be found in a relationship with Christ.
Crosswalk: Do you think cultural and entertainment influences – like Harry Potter or Sabrina the Teenage Witch – have any lasting negative effects on kids?
Russo: Absolutely. Am I trying to say that if a teen reads a Harry Potter book or watches Sabrina the Teenage Witch, they will get involved in witchcraft or the occult? No. But I am saying that it just could be a doorway into Wicca. A book, TV show or a game by itself can't make you kill someone or commit a violent act, but it can influence your thinking and desensitize you to certain things. Teens must constantly be on their guard.
Crosswalk: What are some preventative measures parents can take to protect their kids from getting involved with Wicca or the occult?
Russo: 1. Show your Teen the way to Jesus. The first and the most important step in protecting your teen from the influence of witchcraft and the occult to help them establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. Cultivate a Spiritually Healthy Family. Our teens need to understand that Jesus is always with us (individually and as a family) and wants to be intimately involved in our day-to-day life. A spiritually healthy family is one where Jesus is at the center – at the very core. Just as the planets revolve around the Sun, so should our family around Jesus.
This begins by making sure that this is in fact happening in your personal life as a parent first. Remember, more is "caught that taught."
3. Help Your Teen Develop a Biblical Worldview. With relative truth and values clarification permeating our culture, it’s important for you and your teen to have a Biblical worldview. You could say it is a kind of filter through which you see and live your life.
An easy place to start, when discussing a situation or life issue, is to ask them – "What would Jesus want us to do?" If they’re not sure, encourage them to explore God’s Word for answers. The best thing for you to do is to do this with them. As they search the Bible for direction, they are forming a solid Biblical basis for their thoughts, words and actions.
4. Celebrate Your Teen’s Uniqueness. Our culture is into competition and comparisons in a huge way. There’s tremendous emphasis placed on appearance and performance. Our teens live in a world where there are no absolutes. It’s a world that rewards the prettiest, the strongest, the smartest, and the wealthiest. As your teen competes with a host of others for recognition, Satan loves to take advantage of their sense of inadequacy, disappointment and failure by tempting them to find acceptance and fulfillment in the wrong place. A spiritually healthy home is one where individual differences in appearance, ability and performance are celebrated rather than being a source for divisiveness.
5. Maintain an Environment of Love and Forgiveness. Everyone needs to know that they are loved and accepted – especially a teen. The love you convey to your child must be unconditional. Forgiveness is a significant element of unconditional love. You may discipline your teen for something they’ve done, but in the process they need to know that you forgive them for their misbehavior or irresponsibility. (Colossians 3:13 NLT). Unforgiveness is one of Satan’s most effective weapons in our lives.
6. Make Prayer a Priority. It’s been said that Satan believes in prayer, not because he practices it, but because he suffers from it. We need to help our teens recognize the incredible resource for resisting that is available to them in prayer.
Steve Russo is the author of ten books and numerous magazine articles. He is also the featured speaker on the music video TV show "24/SEVEN," host of the daily radio feature "Real Answers," and cohost of Focus on the Family's weekly teen talk radio show "Life on the Edge Live!" Steve makes his home in Southern California. For more information on Protecting Your Teen from Today's Witchcraft: A Parent's Guide to Confronting Wicca and the Occult click here.
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