#2 Religion Reflection Assignment on a reading by Scarboro and Luck called The Goddess and Power (Reading material is uploaded)

The Goddess and Power: Witchcraft and Religion in America A Reading Reflection In The Goddess and Power: Witchcraft and Religion in America Scarboro and Luck posit that while the religious diversity in today’s America is growing quite rapidly, religions like Wicca have ameliorated into a strong social and religious force. The appeal of Wicca religion lies in many of its unique characteristics including its this-worldly approach, its feministic worshipping practices, and its opportunities for participative immersion. Wicca beliefs seem unique because it emphasises only upon the mundane world instead of warning its practitioners about the threats posed by the world hereafter.
The researcher has written this reflection keeping in mind two major questions. The discussion therefore focuses on exploration of the answers for the following two questions:
1. What can be the implications or alternative responses to the situation or topic addressed?
2. What other issues (besides what is explicit in the reading) does this reading bring to mind?
While thinking about the first question the researcher discovered that the exposition of the paper makes a reader indulge into reflective mode since the reader is compelled to question what the real objective of the authors could be in writing this paper. It appears as if the author would discuss the emergence of religious diversity in order to show the accommodative, liberal and diverse nature of the American religious arena. However, the terms “religious plethora” “pagan ceremonies” and “radical” (Scarboro and Luck, 69) used in the second paragraph bear negative connotation for beliefs like Wicca and Witchcraft and seem to belittle the value of these beliefs in the very onset. This implies that the authors consider all such religious practices somewhat alien to the mainstream America belief systems. The research questions brought forward by the authors – “What is the appeal of witchcraft to contemporary Americans?” and “What does Wicca offer to the wider American religious tradition?” (69) – also implicate alienation, separation and distancing of these religious beliefs form the authors’ own beliefs. The wording and terminology used here could look more convincing if the authors had used more neutral language.
The discussion also implies that the attributes of Wicca religion and the Witches’ attack on Christian beliefs make the readers assume that Wicca Witches are insolently bold and believe in personal and communal freedom. The words like “distant, stern, judging, vengeful [….] standing over against the human” (71) used by the Witches for the Christian God implicate that the Witches believe in a belief system which does not have any threat of judgement or punishment. Likewise, the gender inclusive nature of divinity in Wicca culture also sounds striking and imply that the practitioners of this religion believe in human rights and, more specifically speaking, women rights. The male dominance in the Christian concept of divinity seems liable to criticism by human rights activists since the concept puts women in a subaltern position and does not allow them to become priests. The gender equality and inclusiveness is also evident from the enactment of “a symbol marriage—a hierogamos—between the goddess and the god, between the priestess and the priest, between each witch and her or his peers” (p. 72). These gender inclusive, equality prone values of the religion definitely provide great comfort and satisfaction to its female followers and make Wicca appear as a modernist religion.
Another important implication of the paper is that the Wicca religious beliefs and practices seem to attract the Americans because these beliefs and practices are not based upon the “ethics of sin and guilt” or “a law of ‘thou shalts’ and ‘thou shalt nots’” (73) and conform to the materialistic, liberal, this-worldly and non-religious attitude of the common Americans who are Christians in theory but practically speaking seem to live their lives based on materialistic values and this-worldliness.
The reading also brings to mind certain other issues. The most important among them is the concept of religious tolerance and harmony. The variety and diversity of religions in America requires greater religious and cultural tolerance. Religious beliefs play important role in human life and religious harmony cannot be created without tolerance for religious beliefs which do not conform with Christian beliefs. Likewise, cultural diversity in American society also demands understanding and acceptance of diverse cultural values. The paper also brings into mind the ancient Greek and Roman mythological gods and goddesses. The religious rituals of Wicca seem similar to the rituals of ancient Greeks and Romans. The multiplicity of gods, concept of male and female deities, divine marriages, and other mysterious rituals of Wicca have striking similarities with the ancient Greek and Roman belief systems.
The research carried out by Scarboro and Luck provides a detailed insight into Wicca and provides though provoking information about the customs of its participants. The writing also brings to mind ideas about cultural &amp. religious tolerance and Greek &amp. Roman mythologies.
Works Cited
Scarboro, A., &amp. Philop A. L. “The Goddes and Power: Witchcraft and Religion in America.”
Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 12 No. 1, 1997: 69-79.

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