Do We Need To Defend Our Faith?
Author: Disciple of Oghma
I have been reading a lot of articles lately discussing the Christian path and its concerns and relations with the Pagan paths. I agree with the heart and the courage I see exemplified in these people who are demanding that we should all “step out of our Broom Closet”. But I am inclined to disagree with those sentiments on a few points. People might get the impression that we are in denial of our faiths because we are not louder than the Christians. But most of us aren’t even in the Broom Closet. And isn’t being loud and arrogant about our faith too negative a face to put forward to the world at large?
I am Pagan and I am very open about it. People either accept me and move on or they fight with me. After three years my wife still refuses to accept I’m pagan and occasionally asks if I have ‘prayed about my decisions’. I wish it weren’t so but she’d rather believe I am directionless and apathetic than I am grounded, at peace, and happy without her god.
I don’t rub my pentagram in people’s faces but I don’t hide it either. As far as our relationship with Christianity…well, we are not a threat to them. The true single most potent threat to Christianity is apathy. If they intend to continue in their tradition they must stop resisting growth and ignoring the changing needs of their people.
Paganism and Christianity have coexisted for thousands of years. There were periods of time where Christianity considered us merely woodland weirdoes who were not of sound mind but mostly harmless. Yes, there were periods when they have gone to bloody war with us. But those times are over. So remember them if you will, but, I believe we have it in us to move on and stop belaboring it. (Honestly, were any of us here today living during the Burning Times? Okay, let’s move on please.)
Wicca is a modern attempt to resuscitate a bygone path of nature reverence and self-discovery. Christianity is a path of self-denial and conformity. The two are oxymoronic and unable to be meshed. The basis of the Wiccan faith is an adherence to the ‘rede’ (which is basically an admonishment to respect others and yourself) and likewise to an absolute freedom within which to figure out your impressions of the world and your place in it. Christianity, on the other hand, has a story with a beginning and an end and its followers are merely disciplining themselves to be worthy of the ‘right end’.
Questions like ” Where do people go when they die” and “What if you are wrong” do not really matter as challenges to the Pagan faiths. Everyone’s worldview is defined by his/her own perspective. My answers to those questions suit me fine but may not work for you… as will likely be the case in reverse.
I viewed my relationship with the aforementioned Jehovah and came to terms with it and left that path. What if I am wrong? I honestly don’t care. If I am wrong I would rather be in a hell separated from Jehovah than spend eternity sucking up to him while I disagree with him in my heart and feel like I am prostituting myself for his favor. That is my answer.
Where do people go when they die? Well since no one has done so and returned to tell me about the experience, I sit quietly, enjoy my life and await that great adventure. I am at peace with not knowing. Some of the greatest things in life are ‘unknown’ until they are revealed by time. As one of my favorite authors put it, ” What awaits me in death? I do not presume to know. I am curious yet I do not hasten toward it to know. I expect that Death, like the other stages of Life, will be on time; enriching; and full of both tears and joy.” (-jk Rowling) The important thing is not defining Absolute Truth as much as finding peace and contentment, living life in productivity, and interacting and experiencing the world while we are here.
Now as far as changing the Christian mindset, well… it’s not going to happen. They are people who are raised from birth in a belief they are trapped in a prison built by their own hand and god, the Infinitely Patient One, is just trying to save them from their nasty blind selves.
And as for finding ‘our voice’, we actually have. Never before in history has our beliefs so permeated media, books, and youth. We are peaceably gaining a foothold in the battle for the young minds. If indeed we all stood up in public and demanded we be counted, some would think the Beast had risen and — if a violent and charismatic enough leader rose up — you may have another Burning Times (Worst Case Scenario) .
Best Case Scenario? They would just lament over the rise of ‘demonic worship’ [Interesting side note: According to Zoroastrianism, a demon is ANY spirit whom has never inhabited a corporeal form. Under that system just about every religion would be worshipping ‘demons’.] and declare that these are indeed the ‘Last Days’.
I myself was swayed by a quiet intelligent young man whom turned out to be a Celtic pagan. Those were the traits that led me to review my own beliefs.
I believe that Christians will NEVER accept us. They are taught to fear and loathe us. Thus I do not believe that we should demand consideration from them. I think we should ignore their distain and live our lives and simply share with any interested ear our beliefs and our freedom, peace, and joy.
We are more prevalent today. Take heart! We ARE standing up and we ARE getting noticed. Don’t lose courage in the face of ignorance and propaganda. The youth of today pay attention and they aren’t stupid. They see the witch is just a normal person. They comprehend the difference between what they are told and what they see. And I believe that the religious hatred will die slowly the same way racism is dying.
I appreciate your vigor and courage. I am proud to stand with you. For I am a pagan! And I see no reason to apologize.