Are We Responsible?
Article ID: 9720
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,254
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Author: Raven Leatherleaf
Posted: May 22nd. 2005
Times Viewed: 3,288
Many times I have thought about this question. It haunts me, in fact, because of my reasons for becoming a Witch. My own experience of life started out in the Christian world. That world, where what I heard and saw were two different things, said that Satan made us sin and God allowed it. I was confused by this theory, especially since it was my father preaching it.
As a teenager, I didnít understand how Satan could make you do anything. After all, I didnít even know this Satan. How could someone I didnít know make me do something I didnít necessarily want to do? Yet, that is what was preached by my father ever Sunday and Wednesday of the week. Then the next step was to confess this sin to God so He could forgive me. Jesus died for all our sins, past, present and future, so he knew we were going to commit these sins. He knew Satan would make us do them because we are frail and canít help it or ourselves. I took it that it was okay to do bad things because I am not responsible for them anyway.
Then I hit college and all that life had to offer. What a wake up call! I did everything: ruined my credit with a credit card, drank myself unconscious, slept around, and tried smoking (asthma prevented that from becoming a habit). After all, none of it was my fault and God would forgive me, right?
Yet, as I left the dorm rooms and headed into life, I realized something. Everything I did might be forgiven by God, but now I had to deal with the consequences. Nobody had ever mentioned those. It was taught that once God forgave you, it all went away, washed by the blood, etc. Yet I couldnít get a loan for a car, my once sharp memory faded, and my health was no longer so good. So what went wrong? The answer is I did.
I began to realize that I did everything and I was indeed responsible for it as it not only affected me, but people around me. Not to mention that it doesnít go away. (Creditors didnít buy the whole forgive and forget theory - I canít imagine why not.) I decided that the Christian talk wasnít doing me any good so I began to search. I asked around quietly, looking for what might be more truth then what I had grown up with. My aunt heard of my search and began to teach me about the Craft.
At last - a faith, a belief, which holds me responsible for my own actions. Not just all the stuff I do, but everything I donít do as well. So now the question: Are we responsible as Pagans? How do we know we are doing it right?
My answer? I know because I now think before I act. I ask myself a few questions before I choose to act or not act.
The first question forces me to look around myself and see who or what I will be hurting. Even breathing harms the spores in the air, yet I donít want to give up breathing. Instead, I look around me and open my eyes to what the Lord and Lady would have me see. For example: I know the path to my car. On the way to my car, am I going to step on an ant? Is this taking the Rede too far? I have started reading a book called Wicca 333 by Kaatryn MacMorgan and she addresses this very well. I looked at my questions after her first chapter and I had to agree with her. At the same time, I still think my questions help me. So yes - I might step on an ant.
- Who will this harm?
- Who will it harm if I donít do this?
- What are the consequences that I can see?
- What could be consequences that I canít see?
- Am I willing to accept those consequences for either taking the action or not taking it?
That leads me to the second question. If I donít go to my car, I will miss work. That harms me, my husband, my wife, and our child. It also harms my boss and our customers. HmmmÖwho am I more willing to harm?
That in itself leads to the consequences. If I do, the ant will die. If I donít, Iíll lose my job and then the horrible credit collections people will start calling all the time again. At the same time, the consequences I canít see might be that the ant was carrying food for her colony so some other ants might die of hunger. On the other hand, I might even lose my new house or my husband and wife could leave me for being a deadbeat.
Which set of consequences am I willing to accept? Well, I still have my job. I might feel sorry for the poor crushed ant, but I place more value on my family.
In the end, we are responsible as long as we think things through. Not every Christian church is like my fatherís. Some really do hold to their word and walk their talk. I pray to the Goddess every day that I might stay true to my beliefs and that I am an example in my life. As Pagans, we are not perfect, but we admit our imperfections and learn from them. We donít hide them in a closet or say that Satan made us do things. We donít make excuses for what we do. If we make a mistake and we know about it, we strive to make it right and admit it for what it is.
Though I ask these questions, I donít always think everything through. Sometimes there are things I never even thought of. Even with these questions, I still jump into things without thinking, yet I know now that I am responsible for what I do. Nobody made me do it or not do it. Especially not Satan.
Wicca 333 by Kaatryn MacMorgan copyright 2003
Location: Otis, Oregon
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