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Why Christians Should Be Friends with People of Other Religions | A Christian Witch's Perspective

Nothing sucks more than an echo chamber.

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, Corinthians, Paul

Why should Christians be friends with people of other religions?


So they can help people see the folly of their ways and turn to Christ, of course! Trust me: the non-believers will really appreciate those humble, holy heroes in their life, who do the hard work of making odd faces whenever they see a cultural religious artifact they're not familiar with, or leave little pamphlets about Jesus behind "on accident" after stopping by for coffee, or tirelessly insisting that their faithless friends spend "just a half an hour a week" getting to know the Lord at their local church. I mean, really—it's just a half an hour!


Just kidding. Can you imagine? Well, actually, I'm sure many of you can, especially for my ex-Christian or never-were-Christian readers. I don't doubt there are more than a few people out there who have had a friend either convert to Christianity and get awfully uppity about it, or who have left the church and noticed the perplexed looks they get every time their old church friends see a bit of religious iconography that goes against what they're taught to accept. Maybe you've had experiences exactly like this nausea-inducing paragraph above, where these friends would do any number of cartoonish things to try and shame, lure, or snatch you back for Christ.


But let me not be too uncharitable. After all, maybe a few Christian people looked at this title and thought to themselves that they want to make the effort to reach across the aisle—that they want to expand their horizons and not miss out on potentially fruitful and harmonious friendships just because their religious beliefs don't perfectly line up. After all, religion is a pretty personal thing, and even if the churches teach salvation is only through belief* in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, well—you can lead a horse to water, right? And so, maybe it's actually a good thing to be friends with other people—to not judge and to live by that Golden Rule in full.


I think, if you're a Christian approaching it from that point of view, you'll have a better time than if you approached it from the angle of trying to befriend people to (not so) sneakily try and get them to convert. Here's a tip for you, my Christian friends: you are not being sneaky; you are making people uncomfortable. Don't enter friendships for the sake of trying to get people to believe what you believe. That sucks.


In fact, any religion proselytizing, or trying to get people to leave their current faith for another, is something that most people frown on, no matter what that religion is. If people don't ask you about your beliefs, don't go out of your way to bring them up or suggest them. That's just being polite. But now, here's why you really want to expand your friend circle outside your church (or, honestly, for non-Christians, why you should be friends with people of any other faith than your own). Buckle up.


*That's a Protestant standpoint that not every Christian agrees on, actually. Because religion is weird and messy, including Christianity. But America is so overall culturally Protestant that we might forget the fact that this religion has been a mess since its Founder died and rose again.


Making Friends with Non-Christians to Be More Confident in Your Own Faith

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, Corinthians, Paul

I know: this sounds pretty selfish. But hear me out, will you?


To be completely up front, I'm a Christian Witch. Right off the bat, my approach to religion is, understandably, unorthodox—and yet I'd like to think my approach to religion is also a well rounded one, a solid and confident one that can synthesize and hold room for many different ideas while staying in my own lane of beliefs and values. And you know, from this appreciation for other beliefs, and friendships with people who hold them, I've come to recognize the urge to proselytize for what it is: a deep insecurity in the validity of one's own beliefs.


I'll tell you right now: I don't feel the need to proselytize. Or convince people of what I believe who don't want to hear it. Why? Because I'm perfectly comfortably with what I believe and the basis I have for believing them (whether from Biblical sources, scholarly ones, or personal gnosis). The only time I go out of m way to argue with people about my beliefs is when people actively come into my spaces and start spreading ideas I can verifiably demonstrate are incorrect (after all, you wouldn't let someone go around saying that the earth is flat, and you wouldn't let them go around half-assedly quoting a piece of Matthew 6:24 out of context, either).


But there's a really important skill you learn when you become friends who think differently than you, in pretty much any area of life: they see the world differently than you do, and that's okay. Barring "disagreements" about fundamental things (like... you know... basic human rights and entry level understandings of ethics), if someone thinks sports are the best thing ever when you're more a film and media person, or if someone believes their soul will achieve peace in Amida Buddha's Pure Land instead of wherever you believe good people go after dying, honestly? That's their party, man. Let them have their party. Don't crash it.


Because by learning to be comfortable with the fact that people make different choices than you do, you also learn how to listen and genuinely engage with new topics, to give them the same credence and respect you'd hope people would show yours. It doesn't mean you have to agree with them. But it will also make you think a bit (that is, if you're, you know, actually being a respectful friend and not just thinking what a poor sap the other person is for not believing the same way you do. Because that makes you a bad friend; I'll say that clearly right now). If someone tells me they're going to the Pure Land, I have no reason not to believe them, because guess what?


Their faith is just as provable as my faith. I have a cool holy text or tradition that says XYZ will happen by this specific God? Cool! So do they. So does any faith. It's almost like that's what religion is just on principle. And you learn that when you talk to people of other religions and actually take them seriously the way you hope they'll take you seriously. I know you want to think you're right because your holy book tells you that you are, but... if everyone has their own holy book or text telling them that they're right, then something's up. And honestly, how arrogant would it be to assert our book is any more right than any others when they have the same "proof" we do: stories written down and passed along generation to generation?


(I mean, you realize how God turning a lady into a pillar of salt or forcing a big fish to spit out one of his prophets that was just chilling in it for three days sounds impossible, right? No more possible than, say, Loki turning into a female horse and having a horse-child? So if other religions are going to humor you, shouldn't you have... the same courtesy? And the same lucidity and confidence to admit that, realistically, a lot of the many miraculous and fantastical things that happen in the Bible don't really have any more concrete archaeological evidence than anyone else's beliefs?)


But here's the thing: that's okay for it to sound implausible. It's religion. It's ancient religion. It's going to sound funky to the modern ear, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can realize that this goes for all religion, and that you aren't any less faithful for acknowledging it. It also makes it so much easier to hold your beliefs even in the face of conflicting ones: because you know that all people have their own stories, and that then you can base your faith off of what you were always supposed to: an actual relationship with God today rather than blind, unquestioning belief and adherence to stories recorded thousands of years ago. You can start seeing these stories as insight into the character of God and don't need to care if they're "provable" or "true" or not—and by extension, you don't need to care if anyone else's are, either. Someone feels spiritually fulfilled and whole following Bastet or Apollo? Cool! I feel more fulfilled and whole following God. No big deal.


This is the first reason I have listed for why you should be friends with people of other religions, but also potentially the scariest for you because of what it means: holding space for the possibility that maybe the things we're told aren't bulletproof. So many Christians ask atheists or people of other faiths, "But what if you die and find out you were wrong?" But how many Christians ask themselves that? Hundreds of religions in this world, and yet we're putting all our eggs in one basket in the exact same way that atheists or Hellenic polytheists or Pure Land Buddhists are. What if we're right? What if they're right? What if none of us are right?


What if all of us are right?


When you make friends with people of other religions and start asking these questions, you can start rooting your faith not in "provability" or "evidence" (of which religion will just, by definition, never really have any, because as you might guess, it's also called mythology for a reason), but on trust. That's what faith actually is, after all: trust. Trust and love for God. And I mean, think about it: if you know beyond shadow of a doubt, with evidence and proof, that something is true, then it's not really faith, is it?


This one is the scariest for you, I'm sure, but listen: it's also the scariest for religious leaders (especially religious leaders of high control cults) because if you take the time to hear out other points of view, and think these thoughts, and evolve your faith with roots in a direct relationship with God instead of talking points we've all taken for granted at some point, then you may just find your understanding of the world... evolving. And when that happens, those religious leaders can't force you to rely on them and only them for your spiritual knowledge, because you'll have the capacity to find out more for yourself—and find out that those leaders don't have all the answers they claim to have. And that's the second reason to be friends with other people of other religions.


Making Friends with Non-Christians to Expand Your Understanding of Religion

To continue some ideas brought up in the last section, please tell me this: why does it make sense that one invisible God in the sky would exist, but none others do? Why is it so "logical" and "rational" that this God would even tell us not to have other gods, if they didn't exist for us to have in the first place?


And I've heard Christians say a lot of different things about these other gods. Things like:

  1. They're actually fallen angels or demons.

  2. They were never real and people were just worshipping carvings

  3. They're all masks of God and people don't realize it

The last one is actually, ironically, a style of belief seen in a lot of Vedic religions (like Hinduism). The other two, however, are so unbelievably rude (and not even Biblical, as I discuss a bit here). But for some reason, parroting the "have no other gods before Me" commandment and acting like the existence of multiple gods is any less plausible than the existence of one God is what we normally get when we discuss this concept. I want to put forward this idea to you:


To atheists, we all look stupid arguing about whose invisible patrons are more real than other people's invisible patrons.


And when you listen to other people and how their religions work, you learn about different ways of conceptualizing and understanding Divinity. Say you're a Christian who takes that third route more, for instance. If you really think all pagan deities are just God wearing different masks, then you might learn a little something about how those "masks" help, direct, and guide people in a way that, for whatever reason, the idea of God as He is doesn't. What about Loki resonates with someone more than God? What about the principles of Buddhism make someone feel more balanced and centered to follow than the Ten Commandments, or the principles of Ma'at? And if you want to go the extra mile, then by reading scholarship about your religion and other religions, you may also find out some other interesting thigs about the way people organize and understand religion.


For instance: Robert Louis Wilken's book, Christians as the Romans Saw Them, puts forward a concept the Greeks and Romans of antiquity had to coalesce the many different beliefs of the Roman empire into a sensible system. For them, there were the gods you typically think of when you think of Roman gods—Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Bacchus, and all that—as well as smaller deities, which, in Greek, were known as daimones. These were usually smaller gods or personifications of things like sleep (Hypnos) or death (Thanatos). Then there were celestial gods, like the stars and such, and then heroes, and then there were regular people. But above all of those gods, even the Olympic/state gods, was the one high invisible God. The God from which all creation, even these other gods, came from.


I don't know about you, but to me, that looks like a handy dandy framework to synthesize the idea of multiple gods and one God into one belief without compromising your religious stance. God is the one high invisible God. He made all the other gods. Ta-da! The end. Just as easy as synthesizing evolution into the Bible by saying "God did it and it's just a more convoluted, scientific explanation of the Adam and Eve story." See how easy that is? So easy.


But even if you don't bother with a more henotheist view, like the one I described, or a monolatrist view (in which all gods exist but only one is worth worshipping, as the Bible originally posited), then you can at least do this: you can understand that it's not really your job to worry about what happens to other people in the afterlife, anyway. Besides, in the end, by being willing to learn about other people's beliefs, and take them seriously the way they take yours seriously, you'll find that

  1. You probably had way more in common with these people than you realized

  2. The values Christianity holds (love thy neighbor, charity, justice) are found in all kinds of faiths, upheld by all kinds of gods

  3. Maybe these gods everyone said weren't good or weren't even real... could be good. And could have something to them.

It'll challenge what you thought you knew, and that's a good thing. When you can hold ideas in tension within yourself and find connections between them, as well as draw boundaries around what you're willing to accept and what you can confidently say doesn't align with you, you can become more concrete in your own beliefs while also making space for the many others that exist. You may even find things that make more sense than a purist view of modern Christianity did, and they may be ideas that actually further solidify your own faith again, on top of how they'd already been solidified from our first section's points.


For example: so many people, Christian and non-Christian, are disturbed by the idea of an apparently all loving God that can condemn people to hell just for not believing in Him. They can also be afraid of demons or evil spirits that may be lurking in wait to trip them up and ruin their lives. But what if you take the time to reach out and understand these folks who worship demons (or demonolaters, as they're called)? What if you hear them out, and listen to how they describe these spirits? What if you do more research on hell itself, and its origins in Christian and Jewish religion, and find out that actually, the concept of hell is a bit... overblown and distorted to begin with?


What if the idea of constant fear of punishment is not the only way to approach even the Christian religion, never mind all religion? What if there are different interpretations and understandings of the purpose of demons in the world, and the very nature of the Lake of Fire (which, according to scriptures like the Book of Enoch... is actually in heaven)?


But even if you never approach demons or their worshippers, just looking at the many different theories, traditions, and schools of thought within Christianity alone will blow your mind, trust me. Realizing there are more ways to understand God and Jesus and the crucifixion and the whole thing by the works of other Christians through the ages is some of the wildest stuff.


Those differences in your own faith's believers will make you learn to appreciate different point of views as much as differences in other religions entirely. Even among modern believers, if you're a Baptist? Go make friends with a Catholic and let yourself be dazzled by how differently people can approach the same God you love. And you know what? That's another great reason to be friends with people of different beliefs: appreciating differences (and not letting yourself lose out on fantastic people in your life for something so personal to begin with).


Making Friends with Non-Christians to Learn How to Appreciate Different People

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, Corinthians, Paul

Again—I'm a Christian Witch. That's a very specific set of beliefs that not everybody shares, and that's okay. I'm friends with all kinds of people, whether traditional Christians (or vanilla Christians, as I call them), demonolaters, pagans, atheists, Buddhists, and so much more. The cool thing about all these different people and their different beliefs, is that those beliefs provide them with a different perspective, too, and the approach they have to problems, opportunities, situations, or everyday conversation topics is going to be different than mine.


That's a good thing!


I've mentioned this a bit already, but when we surround ourselves with people who only think the way we do, we can develop some serious blind spots in our lives. We may have a problem that we don't know how to fix, and that everyone's advice is not helping us deal with because we all have the same thought: I can't speak up about my problems! That would only cause problems for others!


But someone with a different belief system that you're friends with might point out that it's not fair for you to deal with problems for the sake of not bothering others—that you're worth the time and attention to get your issue resolved just as much as anyone else is. It's something so simple, but sometimes we can get stuck in behavior patterns that are not only not good for us, but may be actively encouraged by the people around us because it's how things "have always been done." For someone outside that system, they'll be able to look at the problem a whole different way and give you an option you may have never considered.


Being surrounded only by people who believe, live, and act the exact same way you do makes life bland, colorless, and difficult to navigate, in my experience. It means you lose out on the chance to learn how to think more creatively, or how to see the beauty in things you wouldn't normally try to appreciate. It closes you off to people that, actually, are really nice, sweet, and funny, and who may like the same bands, shows, hobbies, or other things you do—all because they follow a different faith than you. At the end of the day, faith is a personal thing, and it's perfectly okay to be friends with people who don't share the same religious beliefs you do, because that's something we are all figuring out for ourselves.


And when it's complicated enough to figure out just for ourselves, why make it worse by worrying about figuring it out for others, too? Why not just leave them to work through their beliefs as we do ours, and in the meantime, love them for the person that they are? Because I'll tell you right now: I love my friends. All of them. Of all religions. They've added so much to my life in terms of perspective, helped me break out of some bad habits, helped be break down and reassemble my understanding of God a million and two times, and have shown me another layer of the beauty of faith in the way they love their gods and guide, as well as another layer of peace and acceptance in even the lack of belief in anything more. All of it has such value.


Now, you may read all this and be a bit worried, naturally—worried by all the people who tell you that you'll be "led astray" or that your faith will be "shaken." That's understandable. But if you're only able to cling to faith by refusing to confront any other possibilities or ideas or discoveries, is it really faith? And is it really worth clinging to?


What I can tell you as someone who has been through all of these things—learning and accepting all of the actual facts we have about religion, learning to hear other people's ideas and accept the subjectivity of Religious Truth while maintaining my love for God—it's that truly you will only ever gain from broadening your horizons.

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

Ah, editing. I hate editing.


But the good news is that I've read through the book, marked it all up, and now just have to make those fixes and add pictures before September 1st. If I was able to pull off getting a print proof out the first time, after considerably more work, then fixing the odd typo or wonky sentence and adding some pictures really won't be that big a deal. I mean, the hardest work has been done, after all.


Still, that's it. Once that's done, it's buying print copies, making sure the e-book looks good, and getting everything packed up.


Did you know? When you get a copy through my site, either e-book or print, you also get:

  • Dice divination for which of the 50 interviews you should read first

  • A 1 card tarot pull

  • A signed copy (paperback only)

Check it out!


 

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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