The Paradox of Acceptance
Article ID: 14194
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,223
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Author: Michael Wolfheart
Posted: December 19th. 2010
Times Viewed: 2,458
It seems to me that we just can't stop arguing. I'm not talking about the Pagan community specifically, but humanity as a whole. Whether it is about religion, habits, or upbringing we just can't keep our opinions to ourselves, we have to try to force them upon others too.
Sadly enough, it is almost more noticeable within the Pagan community. For a community that promotes open-mindedness, sharing, and tolerance, we argue amongst ourselves about the details like no other. Does the “Threefold Law” apply to all or just Wiccans? Is it all right to assume that when one mentions “witches” that they are talking about Wiccans? Can Satanists be called Witches? Are we all a bunch of kooks who can't stop our bellyaching? Are the fundies trying to start another crusade? Are the Christians as a whole out to get everyone?
Think of how this must look to an outsider. It's pure chaos. It looks like we, as a community can't get our act together enough to be seen as a valid. It looks as if we are the largest hypocrites of the century, preaching open-mindedness and acceptance while engaging in witch-fights behind closed doors. It's ridiculous.
To be fair, however, all of the other religious communities have had a couple hundred years to sort out their little detail fights. We, on the other hand are relatively new. Of course, I'm referring to the community, not the religions, but that is not an excuse. There really are no excuses.
I've been Pagan for nearly a decade now. I'll admit, when I first started I was one argumentative (expletive deleted by author) . I believed that everything I read from certain books was the absolute truth. I fought tooth and nail against anyone who tried to challenge that, but I was a freshly converted Christian. It was how I had been trained. However, as I've grown I've researched and watched and slowly realized “Gods...I was an idiot back then.” And now I thank the gods for every time I don't fly off the handle when someone has a differing religious opinion from mine. The way I figure it, my opinions are my own and their opinions are their own. If they disagree let them disagree, it's their right.
Everyone will believe something slightly differently than everyone else. That is a social norm. When it comes to religion, people tend to get a little heated. Why? Because religious beliefs are much closer to the heart and soul than other beliefs. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but when you're talking about a site devoted to religious discussion and debate, things end badly quite often.
They don't need to, however. In fact they should start and end as an exchange of ideas, not as the sort of “I'm right and you're stupid” that they are now. When you see someone saying something about paganism that you don't agree with your answer shouldn't be “That's wrong! My way is the only one that's right!” It should be, “Interesting, I'd like to discuss that idea with you sometime.”
Do you honestly think that our ancestors who, might I remind you all, practiced these religions in the first place bickered constantly as we do? I'd like to think not. I'd like to think that they shared ideas as farmers share farming techniques today. Perhaps for the same purpose. “What? You're having issues with your crops? Well you should try this ritual to *insert god/dess of agriculture here*. I was having the same problem last year and this year my crops are yielding better than ever.” “Oh yeah I tried that last time, it didn't work...though I never thought to use *insert ritual component here* as an offering. Maybe I'll try again then.”
Of course our problem is slightly different from theirs. Where as within their communities they practiced the same religion, today our community is a melting pot of all religions. We're expecting our peers within the community to believe our religion and not theirs and...well...that flies about as well as a pig with rubber wings glued to it's back. That is to say, not at all. We need to give that pig a glider named open-mindedness and a propeller named acceptance before launching him off the cliff face and wishing him the best.
My suggestion is this, why don't we try practicing what we preach? It will solve several of our little internal conflicts. Think about it. “
Does the Threefold Law apply to all?” No, only those who believe in it.
“Can Satanists be called Witches?” If their religious beliefs say that their title is “Witch” then their title is “Witch.”
“Are the fundies trying to start another crusade?” Maybe, but we have to trust the sane among the Christians to hold them in check.
“Are the Christians as a whole out to get everyone?” Nope, most of them just want to worship their God in peace.
“Are we all a bunch of kooks who can't stop our bellyaching?” Well I should hope not. Everyone is a little kooky in his or her own way but the bellyaching, well I imagine we should stop sometime soon.
Please my friends, my brothers and sisters, think before you speak. Paganism is an umbrella term, not a specific religion. Stop arguing about what it is and isn't. Stop arguing about what you can and can't do as a Pagan. Use all of that energy that you spend arguing with others for something more useful. Charge your items, do a few more rituals, commune with your deities of choice, do SOMETHING other than throw opinions at each other disguised as facts. Everyone will be happier and we will be able to achieve the great feat we dream of: Acceptance.
Location: Chadron, Nebraska
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