Monday, September 27, 2010

Rite of Passage

Blessings, Darlings!

Is there some reason why dissing Christianity HAS to be a rite of passage for neopagans?  I'm getting REALLY REALLY tired of it.  Especially since it's usually combined with the "Oh, we Pagans are tolerant and accepting and never proselytize, even to you awful Christians and your awful religion, that you really should leave and I'm going to do everything I can to tear down your religion so you'll leave it" intolerant unaccepting proselytizing.

I'm tired of the birthers - you know, the "My Goddess Gave Birth To Your God (and BTW, your God is part of MY "The God", so if I choose I'll add him to my rituals anyway)" stuff. I dislike the assumption in this that Paganism is somehow different and didn't plagiarize from everything that came before.  Heka in Egypt became Hekate in Rome, and become the Hecate versions we see worshipped today in so many different ways.  Oh, everyone gives lip service to Paganism as having 'evolved over time', but apparently when Christianity does that it's different and sinister.  Hell, pagans still take from other religions and cultures today.  We have a huge problem with cultural appropriation.  We should address that - oh, or how about saying that Christians learned THAT from Pagans, too?

Actually, this one includes a dose of antisemitism, in my never humble view, since it ignores the Jewish roots of Christianity.  You know, the Torah, the "Old Testament law" part that is still part of the underpinnings of Christian Theology. 

I'm tired of the "Christianity (alone) has a history of genocide".  They do ... but how about saying that they learned that, too, from Pagans?  Pagan Rome tried to commit genocide against Christianity, remember? And did it because Christians wouldn't worship the Roman Gods.  Heck what happened to the Picts, the descendants of the proto-Beaker people who started Stonehenge? Stonehenge was 'stolen' after they did the astrological work and first round of building.  They 'disappeared', they were obliterated as a people thru' genocide and appropriation by the Celts.  Have a peek at the "Book of Invasions" to see the history of genocide in Irish Celtic Pagan history.  The Tuatha were but the latest invading God-folk, killing all the previous God-folk.

I'm especially tired of the "Everything in Christianity was stolen from Pagans (except Satan and Hell, since I don't like those things)" version, too.  How had Set evolved in Egypt by the time Christianity started evolving?  Hmmmm?  Most moderns see Pan as the party animal lusty lover, but back in the day there were REASONS He caused panic.  When you do a ritual to meet the Crone, do you expect Betty White?  What if Baba Yaga shows up and expects you to get into her mortar and pestle? I'm not talking 'trickersters' here.  And, yes, many Pagan cultures had at least some small afterlife area where a particular nasty person could be tortured for ever.  Sisyphus, anyone?

It's all getting old.  How about encouraging Christians to live and grow in their religion, 'be the change you want to see', all that stuff?  

It may not make you happier, but it would make ME happier.

Frondly, Fern


  1. Here! Here! I'm so over the Pagan community in general. Three years of being a coordinator of Pagan Pride Day has really done me in.

    My favorites are the ones who get all up in arms when someone says, "God Bless You". Can't people just take it as the act of goodwill it was intended to be?

    I have a friend who constantly belittles Neo-Pagans as whiny losers with a victim complex. I used to vehemently not so much.

  2. I have to agree with Lilith above, re: "Neo-Pagans as whiny losers with a victim complex." I stopped socializing with other Pagans (aside from 2 close friends & my husband) about a decade ago, because I just got sick of their bad-mouthing Christians (and anyone else who doesn't toe the party line).

    One fun thing to say to whiners when they get on a roll is: "And what are you going to do about it?" Almost any answer they give can be replied to with a cynical smile and a solemn, "I see."

  3. I love this post. I stopped socializing with pagan people after being an active part of the community for years- organizing ppd and many meetups, potlucks, and gatherings. I had to give it up- the people were so awful- ungrateful, constantly critical of the efforts of the few people willing to pitch in, constantly whining, constantly picking apart the way different people practiced their own versions of faith. I couldn't take it anymore.

  4. I love that you posted this.
    I disagree however about the Romans trying to comit genocide (should rather be ethnocide) on Christians for not being part of the "cultus Deorum Romana". Rome had several small cults outside the mainstream (Mithras, Isis and Osiris and so on) and as a general rule Romans where tolerant toward religions in occupied countries too. Exeptions where when the cult furthered rebellion to the empire (Judaism, Christianity and Celtic Druids for example).

    I still rip on Christians even if i basically agree exactly with what you said. But that is mainly because they still have certain tendencies and that is also getting old.

    My indiginous religion and Christianity lived side by side for hundreds of years in Sweden with no attestations of any real skirmishes.

  5. Actually, I left out at least one more thing.

    Lots of folks look forward to the Age of Aquarius as it was sung about in "Hair", you know -

    "When the moon is in the Seventh House
    And Jupiter aligns with Mars
    Then peace will guide the planets
    And love will steer the stars
    Harmony and understanding
    Sympathy and trust abounding
    No more falsehoods or derisions
    Golden living dreams of visions
    Mystic crystal revelation
    And the mind's true liberation"

    Well.... I'll let others ex plain the real ins and outs of the Age of Aquarius, but if you ARE grokking the changing of the astral age ... it seems to ME that there is a LOT of evidence that Christianity was the right and proper 'overreligion' for the Age of Pisces, and that it was right and proper for paleopagan religions to have been toes up during the Piscean age.

    Spiritual progression (not evolution), just like astral progression.

    Frondly, Fern

  6. Beautifully said. There is much to be said about having our faith traditions bring out the deeper connection, the deeper love and the heart felt healing that comes from the inner connection to Source (or the Gods). So much of Paganism right now is seriously lacking in any sort of depth and is instead about what it "isn't" instead of what it is. I'd like to see a more mature paganism come alive!

  7. Actually, this idea with Christianity as "over religion" during the age of Pisces is something a Thelemite would agree to.

    In Thelema the ages are divided into "The Aeon of Isis" (Centered around a mother Goddess /earth), "The Aeon of Osiris" (a sky God, death and resurection, Solar) and now, "The Aeon of Horus" (Individuality, birth, growth, with a nigh Martial fervor.

    So a Thelemite would agree, the age of Pisces belonged to Jesus (ICHTYS = Fish).

    Belonging to an orthoprax religion i would say it would be far easier to live side by side with other religions (as far as religion goes, there´s still much to fight about left). There simply is no faith to force upon anyone (in the canonical sense).

    I think it´s fair to critisize Christians, as long as the critisism is fair.
    I also think it´s fair to be critisized BY Christians under the same premisses.

  8. ok yes so we have those pagans who go around claiming that they are so much better than christinas and eveyr other religiou sgroup. But for every pagan that does this, there are those who don't was well. Those are the people you don't get the chance to meet that often. WHile pagans claim that they are better and that they are the originals and all of this other stuff, there are christians, jews, islamics and other riligious groups that do as well. The word pagan used to be referred to as any other religion that wasn't christian judism or islamic or any other religion believing in "God". Yes I'm a wiccan and I'm one of those if I know it I'll tell it to others this isn't me going on and on about paganism and how wonderful it is. truth is just like any other religions, there are some asses out there talking about how much better it is to be pagan. I agree with that, but on the other hand there are those who aren't like that. the now a days paganism teaches that we should be tolorent of tohers and their beliefs, and we should all people should but that's just not how it works.

  9. There's Pagan with a chip on their shoulder and Pagan without. I find the main difference is whether or not they were raised Christian. Pagan who were raised Pagan or non-Christian usually do not have this attitude. And most of those who do have that attitude eventually out grow it as well.

  10. I think there are a couple (and likely more) of factors involved in this tendency. I think part of it has to do with the fact that there's a part of human nature that thinks the way to establish one's self-worth is to establish one's superiority, and therefore another's inferiority.

    I also think it has to do with the fact that a lot of us have been hurt by some Christians and our Christian upbringing, and there's a natural human tendency to lash out against that. It's not really healthy and the healing process usually requires one to eventually learn better ways of dealing and releasing that hurt.

    In many ways, this second point reminds me of the story of two Buddhist monks who were walking along. When they came to a river they needed to cross, they found an elderly woman who also needed to cross it. The older monk picked the woman up and carried her as he waded through the strong currents, and set her down on the other side. The younger monk was shocked by this, as they were forbidden from touching a woman. He stewed over this for an hour as they continued walking before he finally confronted his companion. The older monk simply smiled and said, "My young friend, I carried the woman for a few moments and left her as soon as we were across the waters. You have carried her in your thoughts ever since."

    What bothers me about this tendency among some Pagans (and I used to be like this myself) is that it's so easy to be anti-Christian to the point where one never gets around to actually being Pagan. Whenever I spend time with another Pagan who seems to complain about Christianity a lot, I like to say something like, "That's nice. But tell me, what does it mean to you to follow the Goddess? What is it like to honor Her?"

    Sadly, I find their answer leads back into Christian-bashing far too often, which I think is unfortunate.

  11. I think, unfortunately, that a lot of people come to Paganism out of a rebellious place - against their parents, patriarchy, clothes wearing, what have you. And that generates a lot of negativity that their paganism becomes born from. Unfortunately, some people never move past that.

    Someday, we'll all be able to respect each other's views and religions and even discuss them civilly. At least that's what I'm choosing to believe.

  12. As someone working hard to promote alternative interfaith community, this is near and dear to me.
    Thanks for a great read,
    Leila Raven