Faith and Paganism
Article ID: 11335
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Spiravdaeg [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 14th. 2007
Times Viewed: 2,992
There has been a lot of controversy concerning the book "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown. It seems that the Christian reaction to this popular work of fiction in a large part stems from the usage of conflicting and possibly erroneously derived facts by the author. As I have watched the debate and done my own share of questioning as regards this issue and other issues so staunchly defended by organized religions, I have come to the realization that the heart of this problem or any similar problem rests upon the matter of faith.
Faith can be defined as belief based upon an individual's confidence or trust in a set of doctrines whether grounded in truth or facts; or not. This is the core of all disagreement between any two divergent viewpoints and especially, those contrary and antagonistic towards one another. What one has faith in, another does not.
'The DaVinci Code' debate is a perfect example of the roots of faith being shaken by a proposed fictional alternative concept. Like many books, it uses partial truths and historical information specifically selected to encourage the reader to accept a new premise long enough to continue reading and capture the imagination of the purchaser of the book. Whether truth as an absolute is followed completely in the backgrounding of the book is not an issue in this or any novel, which, by the definition of that word ‘novel’, implies a fictitious tale.
What is striking is the anger and the fear that has been caused by what is known and has not been billed as anything other than to be a work of fiction. Such reaction by the Christian community of scholars marks a current highpoint in that scholarly group's public defensiveness. And for what purpose, what impetus has led to that same reaction and retaliation against a mere work of one author's flight of fantasy?
The perceived attack upon the faith, the belief of a group or groups, that has long felt the need to impress their vision of a concept that may or may not have a basis in fact. The concept of god, God, Allah, the Supreme Being, the deity behind creation, Yahweh, that prime source for the reason for all of existence as we know it, as a species in life and beyond into death.
Faith, in other words.
Those of us who have placed our names, our Craft names, our sigils, and our representations of ourselves here upon this site all seek the same answers to questions that the traditional religions have ready solutions to. For the most part, we have rejected those same schemes of faith for ourselves. We again, as a majority here, seem to prefer to perform our own studies, searches and come to resolutions as regards the question of what we each as individuals have 'faith' in for ourselves. Call it an anarchy of souls.
To be pagan must therefore mean in some sense that that person who so seeks answers in this manner does not accept restriction upon any philosophy or methodology used to explore the possibilities. To do so would prohibit further proofs of truth that might prove complimentary to honesty and the liberty to have a faith that rested entirely upon fact, not questionable dogma.
Over the last 35 years of stumbling along in my own search for what I believe, I've seen many so-called pagan groups declare that their path is the "only correct way". That they exclude or deny the possibility of the power others may find in some completely different set of rules or methods.
By the above definition of what it is to be a pagan, they cease to be so thereby. They become yet another organized religion of sorts: prejudiced and self-assured with blindness to any newly found or revealed truth that may arise from a different source or experiment. They are no longer pagans.
What does it mean to follow a shamanistic, a pagan, or a witch's path?
I think that the answer is simple. Like any good cook knows, it’s what comes out of the oven and how it is digested that is the final proof. What works, what is a proven good for the person taking it all in, is the final arbiter of the truth in food, as it should be for the pagan finding a way to alter his or her life or the environment around him or her. What the pagan finds to work successfully and to achieve goals that he or she has set.
I see this world developing along lines it has followed in the past. A great rift forming between mere theories or human created concepts of what a/the God/dess is. The rift is rapidly becoming more and more exclusive and self-protective between all the traditional religions.
To the readers here, I caution all of us who think of ourselves as pagans to not fall into the same mental trap. We must retain our stance of acceptance that what works for another, while useless perhaps for ourselves as individuals, is no less a practical solution for the one who has found their spirit's solace in some other direction than our unique own.
Paganism does not have the need for a jihad, a crusade, or a door-to-door conversion program. By our trait of eclecticism as to what we see as the truth rather than solely faith-based acceptance we each can remain above the fray that is boiling up around us. To go further, it is a possibility that only pagans can ever see the fallacies and possible points to help defuse this war between the great faiths of the world.
By that singular ability to accept that there are small truths present in possibly all methods of belief, we as pagans can perhaps take action to alleviate this great ever-strengthening tension in the world.
But only if we remain true to truth and seek not to place borders around the existence of such a vast thing as that same truth that we begin accepting anything due to a misconceived faith.
In other words, no pagan should have faith in anything less than everything being possible. Ultimately it is only the actual action, the real physical events and changes that occur that count - Both in life and what is beyond.
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