Article Info

published: 4/16/05
updated: 2/11/14

Comparison Chart of Wicca and Christianity

Glastonbury Tor
St. Michael's Tower is part of a church that once stood on Glastonbury Tor, a sacred site revered by Neopagans. Photo: Sacred Destinations.

Wicca and Christianity

Below is a chart comparing the history, stats, beliefs, practices and ethics of Wicca and Christianity. As with all charts of this type, information is oversimplified for the sake of brevity and should not be used as the sole source of information on either Wicca or Christianity.




Terminology & Stats

Wicca

Christianity

Name of religion Wicca or Neopaganism Christianity
Meaning of name Either "wise ones" or "to bend or shape." "Followers of Christ."
Main symbol Pentagram Cross
Name of adherents Wiccans, witches, pagans Christians
Number of adherents worldwide Estimate of 1-3 million 2 billion
Areas w/ highest concentrations UK, Canada, United States North and South America, Europe




History & Texts

Founder Gerald Gardner (1884–1964), a retired English civil servant Jesus of Nazareth (c. 4 BC-30 AD), a Palestinian Jew
When and where founded 1950s England 1st century Israel/Palestine
Ancient roots/influences Celtic and Norse pagan religion Hebrew monotheistic religion; Greco-Roman philosophy and religion
Foundational text(s) Gerald Gardner, The Witch Cult in Western Europe and The God of the Witches Bible (esp. New Testament)
Major creeds Charge of the Goddess, Wiccan Rede Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed

Beliefs & Doctrine

View of time Cyclical Linear
Afterlife Reincarnation until reach the Summerland Resurrection, judgment, eternal heaven or hell
Type of theism Polytheism (many gods) or pantheism (god/gods are part of nature) Monotheism (one god, who is separate from nature)
Ultimate reality "The All" or "The One," an unknowable Supreme Being One God
Deities The Goddess and her consort, the horned god; various other pagan deities like Diana, Thor, Zeus, etc. One God, who is a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Venerated male figures The God; Adonis, Apollo, Dionysus, Odin, Osiris, Pan, Thor, Zeus, etc. Jesus Christ; saints like Francis, Anthony, etc.
Venerated female figures The Goddess; Athena, Brigit, Ceridwen, Diana, Hecate, Ishtar, Isis, Venus, etc. The Blessed Virgin Mary; saints like Mary Magdalene, Teresa, Bridget, etc.

Rituals & Practices

Assembled worshippers called Coven Church; congregation
Place of worship Outdoors Church; chapel; meeting hall; sometimes outdoors
Regular rituals Prayer, casting a circle, Drawing Down the Moon, reciting spells, dancing, singing, sharing cakes and wine or beer Prayer, singing, reciting Scripture, Eucharist (bread and wine)
Special rituals Initation, handfasting (marriage) Baptism, confirmation, marriage
Regular worship days 13 Esbats (full moons) each year Sundays
Major holidays Samhain, Beltane, equinoxes, solstices Lent; Easter; Advent; Christmas; various feasts

Ethical and Social Views

Basic moral code Wiccan Rede: If it harms none, do what you will. Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Status of women Equal in value to men Equal in value to men
Women in religious leadership Accepted in all traditions Accepted in some denominations
Women in secular leadership Accepted in all traditions Accepted in all denominations
Homosexuality Accepted and celebrated in nearly all traditions Rejected in most denominations
Concern for environment Emphasized in all traditions Increasingly emphasized in many denominations, but overall less so than Wicca