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Can You Be Christian and Believe Other Gods Exist? | Theology & Practice with a Christian Witch

It makes sense if you think about it, honestly.

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry, Discernment, Church, Solomonic Magic, Occult, Left Hand Path, Demonolatry, Demonology

"How are you Christian if you believe other gods exist? Aren't you only supposed to believe in the One? It says so in the Bible."


Does it, though? Does it say I can't actually believe that any other gods exist at all? Or does it just tell a specific group of people (the Israelites, and by lineage Jewish people, which I am not and have never been a part of) that they can't worship any other gods besides God? This might not seem like a big distinction to people, and honestly, that's because they don't really even understand what worship is or how religion operates.


However, if people aren't asking me whether or not I can still be a Christian if I don't deny other gods exist, they're asking me why I believe in them at all, because as we all (apparently) know, God is extremely legit and obviously real, but all these other gods that people organized their societies around for literal millennia are just plain old made up campfire stories. You know: mythology! It's in the name: it's myth!


Right?


Here's the thing: most Christians take for granted how implausible their religion is. Because it's so heavily ingrained into our society and culture, many people just grow up Christian and never stop to think about how crazy their religion—or any religion—really sounds. Christians, and especially their religious leaders who profit off of them and orchestrate them like cattle into molding the exact social, cultural, and political landscape that benefits them most, don't want to accept that to be religious is to be a touch on the unhinged side. No, they want desperately to push the idea that their specific understanding of divinity "just makes sense" when we could've just as easily said that about any other religion that had a concept of one hgih invisible God (which... was quite a few).


But none of that holds up if you know anything at all about religion as a broad topic, never mind if you know anything about the Bible, so let's get into this.


The Bible and Other Gods: From Monolatry to Monotheism


The main thing we need to understand about religion is that there are many different forms of looking at the world. Some people believe that every religion has some truth to it (omnism) and others believe that every god exists and is worthy of worship, but only one God is the invisible high God that created everything (henotheism). Then there are the ones who believe only one God exists at all (monotheists), and this is the camp that most people would pin onto the Abrahamic religions.


Certainly the people within these religions can be monotheists. You can see this by how many downright refuse to acknowledge the existence of other gods ("there's only one God"). However, this stance isn't required to participate in these religions—and if it were, it would negate the very Bible from being any usable text to operate off.


Why?


Because the Bible acknowledges that other gods exist (and no, not just in the form of fallen angels and whatever other nonsense people flub about with to try and justify their purely illogical and unbiblical position).


Let's take a look at a few key passages, starting with the actual piece of the Decalogue (or Ten Commandments) that most people misuse in Exodus 20:3:


You shall have no other gods before me.


For that to be said at all means there's something else available to worship. Otherwise God wouldn't have bothered to say it. You don't need to tell people not to worship Ba'al Hadad or Asherah or El or Mot or Anat if they don't actually exist and do something concrete for the people, as they had done for all time.


Contrary to popular belief, Judaism is a pretty young religion compared to the others in its originating area. From the Zoroastrians to the Yezidis to the ancient religions of the Babylonians, Sumerians, and Akkadians, to the very Canaanite gods that would become such a point of derision and censure throughout the story of the Bible, there were religions that existed far before Abraham ever conceptualized of the idea of God as we know Him (who, in the analysis of Dr. Justin Sledge, may have actually been a fusion of two previously Canaanite gods, El the Creator and Yahweh the War/Storm god, and the story of the golden calf in Exodus potentially a way to poke at people who still used El's northern bull associations vs. the southern people's different iconography for God).


Another issue comes earlier in Exodus 12:12, where God makes it pretty clear that:


“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD."


Gods. According to the story of Exodus, the Israelites spent several centuries in Egypt, first as refugees from the grain crisis Joseph helped avert and later as slaves as their numbers kept increasing and the later Pharaohs got nervous about it. No doubt these pre-covenant Israelites found themselves face to face with the worship of the Egyptian gods all the time and understood them to be as real as their own God. Here, however, we see that God has the power to give them a good beat down (those old warrior tendencies, after all), but that doesn't mean that these gods aren't gods, and that people didn't worship them actively.


Another very exciting part of Exodus has Jethro, priest of Midian, father of Tzipporah and therefore father-in-law of Moses, come into the fold. Midianites were a separate people from the Israelites, and they had their own gods. As such, Jethro worshipped other deities—and Moses himself still has a pretty interesting idea of God when he says:


"My father's God was my helper; He saved me from the sword of Pharaoh."


His father's God? Not his? It seems Moses hadn't quite entered that pact yet (and one of the reasons you see God listed as "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob..." listed is to suggest the choice of entering a covenant with Him).


But I digress. Jethro notes (Ex 18:11): "Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” In my Bible, the Jewish Study Bible, it notes that Gentiles like Jethro, while they could and should recognize God's superiority, were not expected to give up on their old gods altogether, especially as we see in Deuteronomy 4:19 it's said:


And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to other people under heaven."


Back in the day, these heavenly bodies were thought to be gods. Ra isn't just god of the sun: he is the sun. Likewise, other gods of the moon and sun and stars existed, and these divine forces became personified gradually over time to help people in their relevant spheres of influence. All other nations had their own keepers. Do you understand what this means? It means other nations had their own gods. Slavic gods, Norse gods, Korean gods, they're all there. They're all working together.


There are a lot of other places we could look at, too, but the long and short of it is this: the Bible was actually not monotheist until much later. The Bible—and the people written about within—can more aptly be seen as adherents of monolatry instead: the idea that all gods exist, but only one is worthy of worship at all (in this case, God). Later on, of course, as people got increasingly more bold (read: arrogant), they would come to discredit other gods, drag their names through the mud, make them into demons (Ba'al Zebul, "Lord of the Lofty Abode," to Beelzebub, "Lord of the Flies"), or write them all off as myths and lesser divinities (like angels that were just out to trick mankind). But that wasn't always the view of ancient Israelites, or even the Bible itself. The reason we get these conflicting ideas is because the Bible is not univocal—meaning, more than one person contributed to it over the course of literally thousands of years.


I fall somewhere between a henotheist and a monolatrist. I think all gods exist and are divine in their own right, deserving respect for their stations, but only God is the one I worship. Very simple. However, given I'm also a Gentile and therefore not beholden whatsoever to the covenant of Israel, there is room for there to be other gods in my practice if God allowed it, as again—Gentiles were never expected to give up their gods, but to simply recognize God as supreme above all. That's not a hard thing to do, and it fits perfectly within these ten commandments, too: so long as I don't put these gods above God, all is well.


(And for anyone who wants to cry about the idea that Christians should be following the old law, including the Ten Commandments, I'll say this: unless you also don't eat shrimp or wear mixed fabric, or unless you want to conveniently ignore the entire point of Galatians, which Paul wrote to combat the people were insisting Gentiles also follow Jewish law and get circumcised, I'm going to need you to zip your lips.)


Again, as I said: Christians take for granted that their religion is the dominant one in our society. They take for granted that they believe in an invisible entity moving throughout the world and influencing events and people; they don't realize that to people who don't believe in anything, that they sound just as ridiculous as they think anyone worshipping Greek or Norse gods sounds. It's mind boggling, however, to hold this stance, because if one invisible entity can exist, why can't they all?


That was one of the key questions that snapped me out of mainstream Christian nonsense, honestly—and upon further study of the Bible and its contents, we see that this wasn't the original line of thought. There would be no gods to warn against worshipping if none others were thought to exist, and we see time and time again that the Israelites grapple with not only other tribes, but the tribes' gods, too. It's just a part of the world—a network of Divinity that can't be pinned down perfectly by any one religion.


Hopefully that settles this question once and for all.


 
Where the Gods Left Off, Pagan, Christian, Witchcraft, Spirituality, Religion, Medium, Psychic

I managed to get the tarot card meanings included for all the interviews, so now it's just time to clean them up. No other updates than that, so stay tuned as I get churning out the actual proof copy next!


Definitely check out my shop to grab a SIGNED COPY as soon as it releases. First books ship on September 20th—which is coming up pretty quickly! Once this is off my plate, of course, it's back to absolutely tunneling on Discovering Christian Witchcraft, and the resources I'm reading lately are going to make it even juicier for when I'm ready to get back at it.



 

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry

Sara Raztresen is a Slovene-American writer, screenwriter, and Christian witch. Her fantasy works draw heavily on the wisdom she gathers from her own personal and spiritual experience, and her s


piritual practice borrows much of the whimsy and wonder that modern society has relegated to fairy-and-folktale. Her goal is to help people regain their spiritual footing and discover


God through a new (yet old) lens of mysticism.



Follow Sara on Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and explore her fiction writing here.


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1 Comment


Chelsey Kenney
Chelsey Kenney
Jun 22, 2023

This was an excellent read and well thought out. I love Sara’s perspective on these things as it is always educated. She does her research!

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