Thursday, August 15, 2013

Index Card Questions No. 2: Conversing with a Family Wiccan

Q: I have a foster daughter, whom has “left” her faith. She now claims to be Wiccan/Pagan. She is very hostile and any tiny mention of faith provokes wrath.

Up until now I’ve been trying to let the consistency of our faith, the solid love we show her and patience reflect our faith. But my heart grieves for her. Any specific ideas for [her]?

A: Thank you for your question. First, keep in mind that a person who has straight up intellectual objections has no need of hostility. The intellectual objector is one who has a truth claim question; they should not exhibit an adverse emotional reaction to the issue at hand. A strong hostility towards belief in God would greatly hinder a person from having an open mind that is willing to consider the possibility of God’s existence.

However, in my experience, it is difficult to find anyone who is a straight up intellectual objector to the existence of God. You may find instead that she has a strong emotional commitment to her beliefs. If so, it may be much harder for her to investigate what she believes.

My suggestion would be to ask her about her newfound beliefs as a Wiccan.
- Find out what it is that she believes.
- Ask her why she thinks her beliefs are true.
This is going to be a bit trickier than it sounds. She may question your motives for asking. If that is the case, first, make sure your motives are as good as you can get them. By this I mean that you are not out to embarrass her or show her up. You must have a genuine interest in understanding her point of view in order to effectively engage her in this conversation. If your motives are not good, then neither will your conversation be good.

Ask her to name the source of her beliefs so you can read up on her beliefs, this is specifically for the purpose of aiding the avoidance of strawman building. Tell her that you wish to read the source for yourself so you can learn about the belief and not misrepresent her view. Form some questions based on this reading.

Ask her to support any statements you find in the belief system that are self-refuting or inconsistent with the world we know.  I would ask this like Greg Koukl in his book Tactics, “Can you help me with something….?” or “I’m not sure I understand this…..”

Basically, make the conversation about her views rather than about yours. She may turn the conversation around to your views. If so, you should provide some answers, but she must also provide answers. She is holding to a view that also needs to be evidenced and reasoned.

I hope this helps you get started! I pray that your conversations will be fruitful instead of hostile.

Thanks,
MJ

- Here's an article on Wicca to get you started on understanding Wiccan beliefs, but don't suppose this is necessarily what your foster daughter believes.