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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: 19,143,122  

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Question of the Week: 38 - 4/23/2001

What Are The Greatest Challenges That Pagans Face Today?

We've come a long way, babies, but we still have far to go. What do you see as the greatest EXTERNAL challenges that Pagans face today? Intolerance? Lack of exposure? (No skyclad jokes, please!) Lack of a public Voice in politics or society? That said, what do you think are the biggest INTERNAL challenges to Paganism? The search for identity? Lack of leadership or training? Interpath squabbles? Questionable or tenuous religious history? Is there a serious lack of consensus as to the definition of Pagan/Wiccan/Witch/Heathen throughout the Pagan communities which has us mired down in semantics--or is there simply a lack of tolerance amongst ourselves for the differences that we do have? Have we "met the enemy and he/she is us"?

 Reponses:   There are 35 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Going On The Theory That The Greatest External Challenge Is Widespread Acceptance... Apr 27th. at 10:32:39 pm EDT

Eldritch (Saint Paris, Ohio US) Age: 17

Going on the theory that the greatest external challenge is widespread acceptance, I made a rather interesting observation. All other religions have holy places, and CHURCHES. Perhaps having an edifice socially influences the stability of a religion. Of course, it could be diffucult to get a church for us, with such varying beleifs. It's not really a suggestion anyway, just an observation.

Our Greatest External Problem Is, Of Course, Ignorance. There Are Those Who... Apr 28th. at 2:42:50 pm EDT

Filomena Sophia (Duluth, Minnesota US) Age: 30

our greatest external problem is, of course, ignorance. there are those who cease to even acknowledge our existance. i find this *much* more infuriating than those who would even say to me "i hate witches." recently, i had a conversation at work (with fundamentalist christians) about the movie "ruby bridges." one co-worker stated how "they still treat them (black) people down there (in the south) horribly." i said, "yes, but at least in the south you know who hates you and who doesn't. up here, people are much more subtle with their bigotry." well, this of course, was met with silent shock. but, alas, it's true. as far as they are concerned, witches only exist in fairy tales as evil old hags. i'd rather have them look upon me with scorn than to pretend i don't even far as i am concerned, tho, i really don't care what they want to think about me as long as they leave me and mine alone.
out greatest internal problem, IMHO, is the constant squabbling. those who claim to know for someone else who is a witch/wiccan/pagan and who is not. i don't need another witch to tell me that i am a witch. i have always been a witch, even when i didn't have language for what i was doing. granted, it would have been *a lot* easier for me growing up if i had had a teacher back then to give me language for things. but, ce sera sera. the fact that i came to this as a grown blows me out of the water that so many egos are involved in what should be open-minded and accepting religions. of course, i understand it takes a certain amount of ego to practice magick, divination and the like, but COME ON, PEOPLE! we are *not* gods, after all...and yes, i understand that a lot of this stems from having so many younger people come into paganism. but, in the 60s, i believe the majority of people to come into it *were* young people seeking alternatives from the mainstream revealed religions. as far as "fluffy bunnies" go, there is joy in finding this path, and often many start out that's kind of like falling in love. you're all drunk at first and then eventually you come down off the high and become more realistic. at least most do. those who don't tend to be "fluffy bunny" people in general. i am not, and so i've never *been* a "fluffy bunny" witch. granted, i was a little fluffier at the beginning, but that was good for me as that was a side of myself that i needed to get in touch with after years of knowing the "darker, more bitchy" side. i understand the need to guard secrets, but i think we should welcome newbies with open arms if they are really serious.
anyway, off my high-horse as they say
blessings of light,

I Think The Biggest External Challenge Pagans Face Today Is That People... Apr 29th. at 1:28:34 am EDT

Lonely Cat (Somewherein, Texas US) Age: 20 - Email

I think the biggest external challenge pagans face today is that people don't really know what pagans are like. There's too much stuff about how it's not a real religion, or that it's some kind of cult, or it's a bunch of melodramatic loonies who want an excuse to run around naked, or the worst thing of all, that it's somehow dangerous. Ignorance is really a big problem, and it's up to the pagans themselves to educate people and show them that most of us really aren't that bad after all, and paganism can be just as spiritual as any other religion.

The biggest internal problem pagans have is definately that whole "I'm a real pagan and you're not" thing. That really irritates me. I have person experience of that stuff with my boyfriend, who got me interested in the whole Wiccan thing to begin with. He's not TOO bad about it, but he's still got an attitude because his dad was a Wiccan, and he was in a coven and trained and initiated by other Wiccans and has been a Wiccan all his life. Then here I am getting all my information from books from Barnes and Noble and off the internet. I ask him about stuff but he just goes on about all these mystic secrets that he's sworn to keep, that aren't found in any books, and besides all those books are wrong and don't know what they're talking about.

Anyway, it's very discouraging sometimes, and doesn't make me feel that welcome into the Wiccan community. I'm sure there are dozens of other people like me that have felt the same way when talking to an experienced Wiccan. I think that if Pagans want non-Pagans to accept us, we have to accept other pagans first. If we don't, we're being just as bad as them.

Well, Every Issue You've Offered As A Suggestion In Your Question Is... Apr 29th. at 6:51:21 pm EDT

Corvus Magus (somewhere, Washington US) Age: 35 - Email

Well, every issue you've offered as a suggestion in your question is truly valid. However, as a teacher and counselor in the Pagan world, I'm always amazed at the intolerance, offensiveness, combativeness, lack of knowledge, and superiority complexes within our own community. I often find intelligent debate with Christians to be far more educational and stimulating that discussing a certain ritual with a group of varied-path Pagans. How then, can we ever hope to be a voice of power for rights, if among ourselves we can not agree to disagree and yet stand together for what we believe in common? Until Pagans realize that we are all of the same spirit, if not the same mind, then yes indeed "we have met the enemy and he/she is us". Nuff said.

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