Is it unethical to pray for another person's conversion?
We Pagans hear this all the time -- Christians praying for our "salvation," praying that Jesus "free" us from the "Satanic trap" or "delusion" of our religion, that we may know the "Truth." But are such prayers truly good? Or are they manipulative? In Wicca, we ask permission before doing a spell, or even saying a prayer for someone, and we have strict rules against trying to manipulate another person's Will. So, by the Wiccan definition, a Christian praying for us to "find Jesus" is the equivalent of Black Magick. And if, by the Christian definition, God wants us to be Free, and Satan wants us to be a Slave, who's worshiping who here?
No, I do not worship the God of the Bible. I don't worship the Satan of Christianity either.
I don't really have anything against Christianity. I just think we should respect each other's right to believe what we have found to be true. Praying for someone else's conversion is manipulative, disrespectful, and rude, in my opinion.
- Gandalf ParkerLv 71 decade agoBest Answer
I come from a pagan viewpoint also.
I understand the irritation when someone prays for your salvation. They might understand if you compared it to their reaction if you said a harmless spell on them. They should understand that we consider words to have power.
Edit: Here is an interesting note :)
Dignitatis Humanæ is the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom. The full text in English is available from the Holy See's website  The passage of this measure by a vote of 2,308 to 70 by the assembled bishops of the Catholic Church is considered by many one of the most significant events of the Council. This declaration was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965.
The fundamental right to religious liberty
All persons have a right to religious liberty, a right with its foundation in the essential dignity of each human being. All persons must be free to seek the truth without coercion. The highest norm of human life is the divine law and truth, but it can only be sought after in the proper and free manner, with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue, and it must be adhered to by personal assent. This freedom from coercion in religious affairs must also be recognized as a right when persons act in community. As such a community, and in fact a society in its own original right, has the right to live its own domestic religious life in freedom, in particular the freedom to choose religious education.
- JewelLv 71 decade ago
Unethical, perhaps, and more importantly--it is pointless. Except perhaps for the youngest of us, who may have been fortunate enough to have a family on the same path, most of us found our way here the long way. We've already been "converted"--and not through the prayers of other witches, but from seeking and and answering our own questions.
I'm lucky enough to have a number of good Christian friends, and when I'm having trouble they often say, "I'll pray for you to get through this." Which I don't mind, because my Wiccan brothers and sisters say the same. A plea for assistance and offer of the same in no way violates either ethos.
But to hear someone say they're praying "for my soul?" My soul's in pretty good hands, I think. Oh, it has it's flaws, its dark and shadowed places, its weak points, and I'm constantly at work strengthening those weaknesses--but it's certainly not damned, nor do I think its in more need of assistance than the Goddess already provides.
To "see the light?" Honey, I already have. Many Christians I've talk to seem surprised that my first experience with the Goddess was as heady as any Christian conversion. I was brought literally to tears, and knocked to my knees--not in supplication, just because my little mortal shell was a teeny bit overwhelmed. As opposed to my Christian conversion many years before, where I felt ashamed and dirty, and my skin crawled for days.
To be "freed?" As a Wiccan, I have more responsibilities than ever. Or maybe it would be fairer to say, I recognize more responsibilities. We know we're gonna be around again, so we try to keep the world nice. We keep the positive energy flowing, feeding it back into the world, spinning negative into positive whenever we can, not only for our own benefit, but for others as well. But the rewards are commensurately greater as well. I'm not using this life as an "audition" for any sort of afterlife--I'm enjoying the heck out of this one. From the simple pleasures of the senses--good sex, dark chocolate, the brush of my daughter's cheek against mine--to the heady rush of a drum circle or the esoteric power of the voice of Demeter--the simple peace of a cup of hot tea in a clean kitchen on a winter's morning--these are all things I revel in. Any mistakes I make, I'll pay for on the way, as it were. In this life, not the next.
Sorry for the long rant--but you're right about such prayers for our salvation being rude and manipulative. I guess you struck a chord here this morning.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I agree that there needs to be more respect for people that don't agree with ones beliefs. However I don't agree with prayer to be manipulation or rude. A prayer is not magick it's more like a heartfelt request to help someone that the prayee feels can use some.
Hell if anyone wants to pray for me I say go for it. I can use all the help I can get.
I am just opposed to those that feel a need to put others beliefs down or come knock on my door and try to convert me in person. If I want to convert to your religion I'll let you know.Source(s): Non-practicing Catholic that believes in God just doesn't feel a need for an organized religion
- 1 decade ago
It's a hard situation. I believe Christians do it because they feel they are doing the right thing. I do not believe that we can compare it to magic or spell work because they do not believe they are working magic. I am not in favor of labeling their prayer or anything else they do "magic" anymore than I am in favor of them labeling my gods "satan" or my practices "satanic".
I find it annoying that a Christian would pray for my (or anyone else's) salvation. I don't know that I consider it unethical. They have their set of ethics and I have mine. It would be unethical for me to ask my gods to convert someone. It would be unethical for me to perform magic for anyone without their permission. I think if they looked at "Do unto others..." they might see that the behavior is disrespectful. I suspect they might not see it that way. I would like to see them not do these things, but it doesn't have any real effect on me other than irritation so I file it under annoyance rather than serious ethical violation. It's when they take action to try and actually stop us from practicing our religion(s) - that's when it becomes a matter of ethics in my book. Of course, I hold myself to a higher standard(or different standard depending on perspective), but I accept that they deem praying for my salvation ok behavior.
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- 1 decade ago
Yes I believe it is very unethical and down right outrages.
It is black and bad.
We wouldn't do it to them, and they should never do it to or for us. This type of thing really gets my back up.
Especially the nasty Christian forums that protest Wicca/Paganism is Evil. It is disgusting.
I could go on about some sites that I have read recently but It really angers me.
"No Christians" Please stop praying for us it is not a good idea!
I do not believe in your God or your Satan leave us in peace.
We are peaceful beautiful people.
Worry about your own stuff and leave us out of your prayers.
- ?Lv 41 decade ago
i view any prayer as a release of spiritual energy. it's either constructive or destructive... i think the spiritual concept of christianity is interesting however the governmental body of it is corrupt.
i think your question as enlightening implications. good can be simply what a person likes and evil is just what a person dislikes. therefore, if a person is lopsided in his/ her thinking and views his/her way as the only right way his/ her will could enslave another. black magic or selfish energies directed at another... this can become a cult. it's perfectly evident that God is a entity of freewill. what we choose has everything to do with life... if the christian god is as good and dependable as the christian bible says then why does he need negative energy to help conversions? my conclusion, i'm not so sure christianity is a man made concept enforced by the will of man to alienate those how disagree or challenge that belief...
hell is a strong word...
do what thou wilt and harm ye none...
- NightwindLv 71 decade ago
Discussing ethics is always complicated. Discussing ethics in direct relation to religion gets even more complicated. It's unethical for me to work against the Will of another person. However, Christians aren't bound by the same set of rules as I am. Moreover, they don't view their prayers as a magical operation. They are expressing a desire to God, and any change would be the action of God, not them. So it's really unfair to apply my rules to their actions. (Just like the absurdity of Christians expecting me to believe in Christianity because the Christian holy book says I should.)
I would not judge their behavior as unethical, although I do find it rather obnoxious.
- 1 decade ago
Well said Frater. WE Pagans will pray that another will find peace, fulfillment, spirituality and meangingful dialog with Deity however we will never specify WHICH path they will follow to reach those goals. Each person must follow his or her own path, often that path will coincide with many others on a path but thenm, after a while, our path will divurge as our own feelings and beliefs adjust to new-found information. The paths may indeed coalesce again in the future and divurge again later on. Stil if you look at it, each was truly following their own path, meandering throughout the landscape of their lives. The only TRUE path is that of the individual, as Deity forms a unique relationship with each person according to his/her abilities and personality.
Raji the Green Witch
- Janet LLv 61 decade ago
I believe it is unethical. They are trying to force, by their prayers, people who have the free will not to believe as they do. They want to make the other person to believe in the person saying the prayer's way. It's just unethical. I'd never do that to anyone. I may send prayers for their health or for them to understand something but not without their permission.
- AntaresLv 61 decade ago
Fine lines I say.
If you pray for someone to 'change' then youre forcing it. There is also an inherent smartass behaviour in this one. You actually presume you know better than God, who can alter the persons personality but wont.
If you pray for someone to not make the mistake of falling into a trap for example, then youre not forcing it.
If you pray for someone to be better people (in a general sense) then youre not trying to change them into what YOU think is best. So its ok.