Back in the 80s there was a hysteria about Satanic cults, witches, and black arts that invaded the newpapers and was the source of many a sermon. Animals were found in fields with their throats slashed and despicable things done to the corpses and of course, attributed to all witches and Satan-worshipers. It was also a source many evangelists used to "bring people to Christ." Problem was, these things weren't true.
Mike Warnke was one such evangelist. I had all his tapes and listened to him with awe. He interjected a lot of humor into his "testimonies" and was very charismatic. In fact, he billed himself as a "Christian comedian."
I was listening to his tape one night when I was in the Navy, stationed at Rantoul AFB while attending a school for non-destructive inspection techs. My roommate at the time was an atheist with a bit of a chip on her shoulder about Christians. Or so I thought. She made a remark that has stuck with me ever since: "Why is it all these so-called celebrities in Christianity have such an extravagant story to tell?" I have to say that I wanted to dismiss her right away for being NOT CHRISTIAN but it nagged at me.
I didn't stop believing in Mike Warnke's story of having been a Satanic high priest although I do admit I had some reservations about some of his experiences, which I tried to suppress (another one of those things my mind was trying to tell me but I wouldn't listen) so it was years later before I found out that it was all bogus.
But if you notice, whenever someone is "saved" out of Wicca, the Wicca they were involved in doesn't resemble the Wicca that is actually practiced. It's somehow this dark, menacing occultic thing that invokes the DEVIL, and is blatantly anti-Christian. Just today I read this gem. This from the people who brought you the Satanic craze from the 80s.
I was on an email loop called Sisters in Christ in the early 90s and one of our members was an ex-Wiccan high priestess (again...they're all high priests or priestesses...never just a Wiccan or a member of a coven.) She maintained that there were secret Satanic practices that existed at the upper levels and that the lower level people didn't realize that the Horned God was really Satan and was worshiped as such in those secret high priest/ess meetings.
Of course, at the time, we devoured her stories and praised God that she had been delivered from Satan. We also had an ex-porn star on that email loop as well, one who claimed to be a "famous porn star" but would never tell us her stage name.
It wasn't very much different in church. The youth pastors who had the biggest following were the ones who had the shady pasts, who had been "delivered" from the rawest elements and were the biggest "sinners." Missionaries who came visiting (and shilling for funds) always had huge "testimonies" that were the reason they decided to give their lives to Jesus and then would go to rescue the poor people from all these third world countries. The last missionary I remember was supposedly raised as a white supremecist. He was charismatic, funny and got a plateful of cash when it was time to collect the offering.
Conversely, how many times do you hear of a Christian leaving Christianity and having a huge "testimony" about that? Most of us were just Christians...plain vanilla Christians. We weren't senior pastors or priests. We weren't heads of state organizations or VIPs in our denominations. Maybe it's the whole proselytizing thing. We don't do it so we don't need to embellish our stories.
Also, why is there the need to darken our beliefs and practices in order to make those stories more exciting? Because what we do is so ordinary. Sure, the rituals and practices aren't like theirs, but they're not any more exotic than a Eucharist or a Pentecostal tongue-speaking, writhing on the floor prayer meeting. In fact, they are very much less exotic than a Pentecostal tongue-speaking, writhing on the floor prayer meeting. No one wants to hear of someone being saved from revering Nature or using herbs and candles for spells. They want to hear of someone being rescued from demons and evil elements. They want to hear of the sex orgies where Satan is invoked and the virgin is sacrificed.
It's like the difference between being rescued from a horrific car accident and being rescued from a flat tire. Which story will convey the need for a "Savior" more?
And of course, I was sucked into all of that. I believed all the stories without question because you're supposed to be able to trust Christians. At least that's what you're trained to believe. Which, of course, sets you up for fleecing, as is evidenced by all the scams that go on in the name of Jesus. It's so bizarre to see all this from the outside because on the inside it's completely different.
It's time to stop hanging out on the boards that are supposed to be for all religions but are in reality a forum for the Christians to proclaim their superiority over the rest of us. Sadly, I used to be one of those who did all that. It will be a while before I can get past the shame of that.