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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 28,343,676  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 28

Lurker/Post Ratio: 1170 to 1

Question of the Week: 72 - 12/24/2001

Is 'Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men' Possible?

Is a workable 'peace on earth' just wishful or spiritual thinking or is it really possible? What would it take to achieve such a goal? Is it even a 'good' thing to attempt to bring about? How are your personal levels of tolerance tested in this world and how well do you think that you respond when someone demonstrates an attitude of intolerance towards you? Where do you draw the line and finally say, "No more!" What do you think about the current and future state of the laws that define 'legal' tolerance? Will they hold up over the years? Do you think that we are making progress as Pagans and as human towards a universal set of human rights guidelines? Should we even go there at all? What role does religion or spirituality- for better or for worse- play in the arena of religious and civil rights and/or the quest for peace?

 Reponses:   There are 28 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Maybe The Real Question Should Be " Will We Ever Be Developed Enough... Dec 17th. at 8:35:55 am UTC

Jools (Rhyl, England UK) Age: 35 - Email

Maybe the real question should be " will we ever be developed enough, socially, culturally and spiritually, to make it possible?". The level of intolerance currently prevalent in global society doesn't lend much hope to us being able to achieve peace, let alone maintain it. We've all got a lot more growing to do before we can even hope to come close, I think. Perhaps "start small" is the way to go - first develop our personal levels of tolerance, then work on societal/cultural/spiritual tolerance. To all of those who make resolutions for the new calendar year, that might be a good suggestion for the list! In all societies and religions, there are those with tolerance for other views, and there are those without - and that goes for we Children of the Goddess, too. We have all experienced some degree of intolerance, whether it be regarding our spiritual standpoint, or on more mundane levels ( anyone else got a teenage son?!), and how we deal with that is indicative of our growth as human beings. Yes, at some point a line must be drawn, beyond which we will not tolerate what's being done to us or others - that's why we have laws against crime - but with regard to spiritual matters, the parameters within which some folk are working seem to be as restrictive as swaddling cloth! That, I think, is what we need to work on before "peace on earth and good will to all" will be remotely achievable for us all - in our own individual ways, we need to loosen up! The main problem is that humans are such volatile creatures - yes, we're tribal in some ways, but within that tribe are individuals, all of whom think they have a valid viewpoint, all of whom, deep down, have the primal urge to wallop anyone who disagrees. THAT's what we need to address, on an individual basis, then on a societal one - there IS no one way, and more than one way can be the right way. Then, maybe, we can look forward to a time when the adage becomes reality for us all

Never... Dec 17th. at 9:02:52 am UTC

Journeywalker (Covnigton, Kentucky US) Age: 17


ItÕs Very Interesting To Me That You Asked This Question Directly After... Dec 17th. at 10:38:35 am UTC

Amaranth (Cape Canaveral, Florida US) Age: 34 - Email

ItÕs very interesting to me that you asked this question directly after the topic about balancing the light and the dark. Being pretty much a Òfluffy bunnyÓ type at heart, IÕm going to have to say. . .

. . .that it really doesnÕt matter. About ÒPeace on Earth and Good Will Toward MenÓ being possible, I mean. Some days, I just donÕt think it is, but that doesnÕt make it any the less worthwhile to strive for it on a personal level. Others, as when Vladimir Putin phone George W. to inform him that the Russian jets automatically scrambled every time our fighters fly had been recalled in light of the circumstances, I see a faint glimmer of hope for world peace. Had my father, who grew up during the Depression and fought in WWII, seen that news, I cannot imagine what his reaction would have been.

What does matter is our willingness to try. IÕm tested daily, just like we all are. For me the tests concern occasional Christian bigotry and professional snobbery (the assumption that those who work in jobs which donÕt require a degree arenÕt intelligent enough to get one), and even occasional gender discrimination. As for how well I respond, well, I still have friends, so either IÕm getting better, or the rest of the world is getting more tolerant of my emotional reactions. J

As for when to say Òno more, Ó I donÕt know. Certainly when harm is being done. Certainly when inaction could bring more harm. I am very concerned about the state of ÒlegalÓ tolerance. President Bush has displayed an inner strength which I admire in the aftermath of the WTC attacks. However, his faith-based initiatives scare me. While I do agree that our world has reached a dreadful state, and that religion is one of the paths by which we can better ourselves, I have to agree with the American founding fathers that we canÕt make the choice of religion for anyone else and that government and religion need to be two separate institutions. When I bring up to fundamentalist Christians in my area that one of the foundations of our nation is the freedom of religion, they have replied to me that it was freedom of religion within Christianity. ThatÕs not what they wrote! Just because the religious factions arguing were both Christian doesnÕt mean that the question of religious freedom today has any different an answer! Tolerance and freedom of choice are the appropriate response whether the parties involved are all Christian of different denominations, or Christians, Pagans, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hinduists, Secular Humanists. . .I feel that we in America have forgotten that, lost it in a spate of higher math and science learning while the history and art texts collected dust on the shelf. The only way our ÒlegalÓ rights to religious freedom will be upheld is if we all reach out and uphold them. Otherwise, the burden will be too heavy for the few with upheld arms to bear.

I do certainly think we should try to reach a set of human rights guidelines, for the same reason that we should go for the Òpeace-on-earthÓ thing: because itÕs the journey, rather than the actual destination, that matters. WhatÕs funny is that we have taken the elements which bind us together, our spiritual and religious beliefs (because when you come right down to it, we all want pretty much the same thing Ð wisdom is wisdom, no matter what god/goddessesÕ mouth we pluck it from), and used them to separate ourselves rather than unite. Just like us to wield our swords against each other instead of beating them into plowshares or cutting cake, or even watching each othersÕ backs.

So, maybe according to prophecy, it canÕt happen. Maybe according to mob psychology, it wonÕt happen. IÕll still do my best, and encourage my friends to do the same. So Peace on Earth to you, my friends, goodwill toward us all. Happy Solstice, and BB!

Good Will And Tolerance Comes With Maturity And Wisdom. Sadly, We Lack... Dec 17th. at 11:52:45 am UTC

Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) Age: 41 - Email

Good will and tolerance comes with maturity and wisdom. Sadly, we lack both nowdays. Youth is more revered than age, and when the social order is reversed as it currently is, we have nothing but trouble and strife.

When I am confronted with an attitude of intolerance, I can see the fear at the root of it. Much intolerance and agression towards 'different' people and faiths is based in fear and ignorance. Education is the best cure for that.

Many fear multiculturalism because they are afraid that their own culture will be lost in the mix. If they simply let go of their fears and continued their traditions without it, they would find that our great salad bowl of traditions and cultures will do just fine.

We are a long way from any sort of universal set of human rights guidelines, because of the immaturity of the various factions. Until and unless they let go of their 'one true, right and only way' meme, we'll never have it.

Life is an ever changing tapestry of events. The ideal of peace as a constant is just that: an ideal. Peace and conflict will always be a part of our world, and we must learn to savor the peaceful parts of our lives, and shorten the conflicts as best we can. If we can do that, our Earth Walk will be that much more pleasant.

Peace to all and Blessings Be


Interesting Question To Pose As The World Is At War. Makes You... Dec 17th. at 12:10:06 pm UTC

ƒowyn (Western, Massachusetts US) Age: 29 - Email

Interesting question to pose as the world is at war. Makes you stop and think.
There is a woman in my office who calls me a pessimist because I do not always see the brightest side of things. What she does not know is that despite of my concerns, I am a very hopeful person. I hope for good things. I hope for peace. I hope for tolerence ...
But I am also a student of humanity and though I may hope, I know that there are some things that can not or will not change. Man has always fought, whether it be for territory, food or intangible ideologies. It is always a fight for survival though. The survival of family, clan, a way of life. These things will not change. As long as man continues to strive for survival, there will be no peace. Tolerence maybe, but never peace.
Just as a side note, and I was thinking about this very thing this morning, did you realize that we have seen a war in each decade since the 1940s? WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, now the War or Terrorism. This doesn't even touch the terrorist acts that have occurred around the world that we never notice ... or have just stopped seeing.
And that is very sad. It is a hope that one day a generation will have something to look forward to other than more hatred. I remember being a kid and being so passionate about trying to end the cold war. Now I see JourneyWalker at 17 with no hope.
Have we nothing to leave our children with anymore, not even optimism for the future??
That is why I like Yule most of all. For me, it renews that sense of possibility. It's the darkest days being behind us and the burgeoning spark bringing warmth and vision. The light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
May we all see the light .... someday
Auntie ƒ

Good Vs. Evil Is A Common Thread In Comic Books And Fairy... Dec 17th. at 12:42:54 pm UTC

Manda (Memphis, Tennessee US) Age: 21 - Email

Good vs. evil is a common thread in comic books and fairy tales, and for good reason. Art imitates life, and there have been struggles to uphold "good" through out history. Of course, that could bring about the philisopical question "what, exactly, is good and who decides it?" but that isn't really important in this context. The point is, there are always going to be spiritually and mentally unbalanced people who are willing to do drastic things (like fly planes into buildings and try to kill and entire race) to get their way. Hence, peace on earth isn't going to happen anytime soon.
Good will toward men, however, is something we can work with. Tolerance is something that I, personally, have been working on for years. I'm still trying to find my line in the sand, the one that I will not allow people to cross. I know that anything even indirectly involving my son is worth fighting for, and hence support the laws that define "legal tolerance." He deserves to live in the best world possible.
As for the world in general, well... we're getting better. It just takes time, guys. Rome wasn't built in a day and all that. One hundred years ago you would have been hard pressed to find someone who would willingly admit they were Pagan. Today we are a proud, strong, ever-growing community. Look at how far other groups suffering discrimination have come: women are quickly breaking through the glass ceilings in the world, minority races are holding some of the highest positions in government and the business world. We're changing the world, but it takes time and effort.
I have found that young people today are a lot more open-minded than their parents. Hope is all around... just look for it.
Never give up.

I Agree With Amaranth's Opinion. I Wish To Add That We Are... Dec 17th. at 1:47:18 pm UTC

Lynne-Renee (rural STL, Missouri US) Age: 30 - Email

I agree with Amaranth's opinion. I wish to add that we are all in a constant flux. Personally (even if we're "vegetables" if one looks at physics), as groups, nations, or Nature ("Life, the Universe and Everything)."

If one looks at Balance, when and if achieved, it just doesn't stay for long. Even the greatest tightropewalker would fall in a hurricane. Things happen. We must face challenges and sometimes defeat.

I've spent the last 15 years seeking Balance and I've come to the conclusion it's not a feasible goal for me. If I can recognize the Dark and its value then why not my own darkness? I've always been at home in the Dark but THOUGHT I should leave it behind. This didn't get me very far.

And so with myself as well as the world, microcosm to macrocosm, I figure there's always going to be some ill-doer. There's always the insane hurt so deep and no understanding that leads him/her to certain decisions which affect us all. So we must buck up and try even if there's always something waiting in the Dark.

I prefer "Hope to the Earth, and Good Will to All."

Perhaps "workable," But I Don't Think It Would Be "sincere." (although After... Dec 17th. at 4:22:09 pm UTC

Ciarrai (Somewhere In Middlesex County, New Jersey US) Age: 34 - Email

Perhaps "workable, " but I don't think it would be "sincere." (Although after a "holiday lunch" today w/ some of the girls at work, in our company newspaper, I noted a, now this is a direct quote under "things to do" -- WICCAN Winter Solitice Ritual, please RVSP to..." which just blew my mind out of the water... (I work for a Fortune 500 company...) I was like, WHOA, this is tres cool to see!

I've become very intolerant with my own immediate family that feels that they must constantly force their beliefs down my throat in spite of the fact that they think I'm still a full blown out Roman Catholic (their trad thinks that the Catholics are no more than candy coated Pagans goin' straight to hell).

I hope that my company newspaper is a sign that perhaps in my lifetime that we will life in a more "tolerant" environment. "Tolerant" is better than nothing.

As far as "acceptance" is concerned, I dunno....!!!

Peace & BB,

A.)" Is A Workable 'peace On Earth' Just Wishful Or Spiritual Thinking... Dec 17th. at 11:12:29 pm UTC

spiravdaeg (Bradenton, Florida US) Age: 47 - Email

a.)" Is a workable 'peace on earth' just wishful or spiritual thinking or is it really possible?"

It has never been possible insofar as history is concerned. That is the fact. Like it or not, for as long as our records show, there has been a cyclicar nature to mankind's warlike nature. We as a species are the most aggressive and deadly animals in the world. Argue all you wish and postulate as necessary. This is not something that can be debated. The cyles of war fall at apx. 142, 52, 22.2, and at 11.2 year intervals [Found- ation for the study of cycles., 1971]. To answer this first part of question #72 in light of only historical fact and with no other well-founded possibility, I would be forced to honestly answer, no.

It is though the nature of this question to ask whether we as that same portion of zoology can will change. And as we all feel that there is veracity to the concept of magic; furthermore and more importantly, also have responded in our minds and hearts as being certain that we ourselves can so enact events magical. That is, we can change. Anything. In view of this inner response, and if sincerely experienced and carried through to fruition, the action can occur. The answer to the question would be then, yes.

The question becomes: b.)"What would it take to achieve such a goal?"

Well, it seems obvious that as it would in any other task we should set before ourselves, the materials required to complete that task would need to be gathered. Against a force that has carried through time as long as we have recorded and documented, these materials and the tools required to work with those materials must needs be significant. I am unsure if not we have to develop these tools as what we now utilize has not yet proven sufficient to halt the awful flow of death, destruction and what I feel is the most terrible - the time that has been wasted, lives spent doing nothing constructive, the ability of each man, woman and child throughout history that never developed to its potential. That is the truest horror of loss in my estimation. Its sum effect is incalculable.

So the deepest investigation would need to made with but one criteria being examined for. That point of beginning would have to absolutely insist upon what works. Nothing else. The effort expended and level of expertise would have to be considerable. A failed attempt would only mean that the cycle(s) would continue. As those same rythums are so reliable, no argument is possible as to the effectiveness of any action to wrest control against the assault of the present. Actions will either work or not.

Now we have this: c.)"Is it even a 'good' thing to attempt to bring about?"

Interestingly enough, alongside our history has been the parallel development of a structure of behavior auxilary to our physical survival. This is a creation of thought we term variously as concepts of things we feel we know. To know. We say 'we know' in groups of thought such as theology, philosophy, cosmology, all physical sciences. All things that we once felt we either did not know or were incorrect as to our knowledge. It is by having erred. And in light of the question, one that we have never to date answered correctly. We have assigned ethics, morals, tests of all kinds, methodologies and inquiries into our attempt to live lives as we each feel is correct. Though we have survived to this point, as discussed the costs have been dear. So, quickly answered. Yes, if the direction and thus the costs of this try, the work needed to bring it about - to stop the recurrences; if those costs are not more dear than the repitition of the wheels of fate.

The easiest portion of the question: d.)"How are your personal levels of tolerance tested in this world and how well do you think that you respond when someone demonstrates an attitude of intolerance towards you?

And the easiest way to answer is to be painfully honest and unselfish.

Not to be flippant, but, my levels of tolerance are tested constantly, daily, and without cessation. As is any organism's. The mere occupying of space affords a certain expectation that change, thus influences, will intrude into my being. I must admit I do not readily tolerate much. Or enough. As I further must admit, that I but too often choose not to. As to how, is as to what I deem the situation to warrant.

And as to just how well. Not good enough. This most likely is a rough sketch of many others besides myself.

Leading to this: e.)"Where do you draw the line and finally say, "No more!"

Again, as many, to the extent of my power to make it the way I wish. To where or what my ability can achieve against the particular issue at hand. At what level of perceived infringement? Against my personal code, is the only true response I can give. I find that I live according to standards, measures that I have found to be acceptable to my environment and myself. Often a compromise between the two.

So the line is drawn, in my case, where it best fits - to the limits of my questionable talents brought to bear on the subject and that which I oppose.

The next portions of the question are actually the same as answered above:

f., g., h., i.)"What do you think about the current and future state of the laws that define 'legal' tolerance? Will they hold up over the years? Do you think that we are making progress as Pagans and as human towards a universal set of human rights guidelines? Should we even go there at all?"

'f. and g.' both are relevant to that of (part)'a.'s response. History and the set of governing structures that existed versus those of today are so congruent and alike as to be virtually indistinguishable. If no major upheaval of mental and emotional evolution does not take place, I can see no change taking place.

As 'i.' is the same question as 'c.' worded slightly different in my opinion, I see that the connection made by joining our belief in deity and our existence as thinking creatures; moreover, our status of deportment - that 'progress' - as conscious entities is in question 'h.'. Is this direction we drawn here, to this very question; this set of realizations and our actions, our spirits if you will, is taking us - is it a good one? Is any sort of 'right' to come about?

Time will tell. My only recourse, in my heart, is to try. To hope that betterment happens. But we must judge by the experience we create. That is the only true test. To never stop examining the facts and always be ready to admit mistake and correct for it.

And finally, the last section of the question: j.)"What role does religion or spirituality- for better or for worse- play in the arena of religious and civil rights and/or the quest for peace? "

It is so hard to conclude this final bit of the question #72. The problem being is first to define religion and/ or spirituality; let alone the assigned judgement of what is "better or worse" or what "civil rights" are. Peace is the only thing I could possibly take to be the heart of the question. What do these assignments of religion and spirituality do regarding peace? Again, I only must needs look to the past to see that they have been divisive and contra-productive in so many ways; perhaps - only perhaps (though we like to imagine, probably), have they aided our quest.

What man has held to be holy and sacred has caused much death and loss to all branches of mankind. To this very date I here sit and write, religion and spirituality as part of man's nature has and is causing death and destruction. It too is in many places abetting survival and peace. A dichotomy. It seems that we deal with the one of the ultimates in double-edged tools. A tool that is at once a plowshare and a sword.

The future is something with no limit. Our participation in any part of it is the issue. This earth, this space, this creation has shrugged off many that could not cope, adapt - work change. That could not perform magic.


Reading Over The Other Responses Here, I Find Myself Terribly Disheartened By... Dec 18th. at 1:32:26 am UTC

Gwydion Canu Bleidd (Knoxville, Tennessee US) Age: 33 - Email

Reading over the other responses here, I find myself terribly disheartened by JourneyWalker's response--that single, final word. Never. That, from a Pagan, slightly more than half my age. How sad indeed that our youth should have such a lack of hope or optimism for all to finally come right with the world.

I admit, I don't think it will happen in my lifetime. Yet I watched how the world responded to the 9/11 attacks, the outpouring of support for America, and I begin to see how such a thing is *not* out of our reach.

I consider myself a cautious, realistic optimist, but for all the caution and realism with which I temper my world view, I *am* an optimist. If we just work for it, toward it, good will toward men and women is possible and achievable. But a little tolerance and charity go a long way, and no religion has a lock on either of these things, despite what some may believe.
All Muslims are not hate-driven fanatics who want to destroy the West, nor are all Christians obsessed fundamentalists who want to wipe us off the face of the Earth. By the same token (regrettably), not all who call themselves Pagans are respectful, tolerant folk who follow the Wiccan Rede. This, I would say, goes along with the balance of Light and Dark. Balance has got to exist in Nature for life to ebb and flow as it does.

As long as we have allies and friends and other tolerant types who don't root for our destruction, those who hate and fear and persecute shall never win. While TOTAL peace is not possible, perhaps understandings can be reached, to where the intolerant are rendered distant and unimportant.

This, at least, is my hope. So mote it be.

Gwydion And All Witchvox Readers Of The Pagan Perspectives. I Know You... Dec 18th. at 8:57:05 am UTC

JourneyWalker (Covington, Kentucky US) Age: 17

Gwydion and all Witchvox readers of the Pagan perspectives.

I know you are not really suppose to post anything here but opinions but I had to tell you, I am as negative as I get. I know there is never going to be peace on earth or anything
like that due to the fact, there is always going to be evil things such as hatred, bigotry, violence, war, and other of the like. I know that the world I bring my children into is not really a safe and beautiful place. I can not be optimistic because I am too much of a realist and we never see peace because, wo/man loves his/her wars and violence too much.

Then you have the ugly principles of prejudice: people hate anything that is truly different from the norm, this can be anything from color, creed, nationality, sexual preference, gender, age, etc. That comes from fear, fear dissolves into anger, anger into hatred, hatred into complete blackness. The human race will never get over this handicap.

I became very negative from reading a bit too much history and experience intolerance first hand all my life. My friend Ali, who is Muslim has been basically tortured for the last past three months from people who are ignorant.

Two days after the 11th event, He was assaulted in the halls of my school by five guys, then at a football game, they tore up his car. They scracthed the words "Go home Muslim" and "Bin Laden's Bitch." On the the hood of his car. They soaped up the car and smashed in the windows and
now it is barely able to drive.

It got so bad he left school and now goes to a different, now , his parents are pressing charges.

This is what I mean, the world will never change because the human race does not want to change.

Thank you for reading my rant!

Imagine There's No Heaven It's Easy If You Try No Hell Below... Dec 18th. at 9:10:09 am UTC

Dolphinsmile (Dallas, Texas US) Age: 20 - Email

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one"

When I first heard this song it really made me think, and I thought about almost the exact same questions that witchvox asks this week. Is it possible? I finally decided maybe, or maybe not, but that's not the important thing. The important thing is that we try.

There's always room for improvement. Think of the things that have happened when people really tried to imagine...really believed...that people could get along. Wonderful things, right? If we imagine we can, if we believe we can, then we can. Isn't that how magick works?

I know it's hard, and "world peace" will not happen any time soon, but it's the trying that counts. Maybe someday we will have no countries, no greed, no hunger, no religions (by that I mean religions as a dividing force as opposed to faith or spirituality, which I think are fine). Maybe someday it will be like that. I don't know.

But I think it's still worth it to at least imagine that it might be possible.

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