Alright, it’s time to get back to roots. I haven’t done a Rant in a long, long time. Welcome to the Real “SoapBoxRants”.
As I have said before, I am a Pagan. Before we go any further, go look up the definition. It means I am not Christian. It does not mean I worship Satan or sacrifice virgins. As a matter of fact, go over my previous religious rants to understand how many different ways my religion is like your religion. Now…moving on to tonight’s topic.
Why do people have a predisposition to be told what to think? What is it about the Human Race that leads the majority to follow the most charismatic person almost without question? Have we evolved so little over the millennia that we have not yet shed the shackles of our primitive tribal origins? Are we so insecure about our own existence that we need to be told by someone else that it is okay for us to be? It would seem that is the case. Much like my often mentioned Mother Culture, the Human Race almost inevitably turns to charismatic spiritual leaders and immediately takes things too far.
Take for example an email I received the other day from a devoutly Christian friend of mine. It talked about how we of the United States should boycott the new one dollar coins because of the exclusion of the phrase “In God We Trust”. I find it curious that such a movement in a country that touts its tolerance and acceptance of freedom of religion would gain ground. It almost reeks of cult brainwashing and that thought disturbs me greatly. All I have ever hoped for is to find that there are other free thinkers out there and yet at every turn I am confronted with more bigotry and prejudice. To make matters worse, these actions are justified by these people as being righteous indignation at the affront to their spiritual beliefs. It is as if they do not understand the true concept of religious freedom.
In this world, there are a myriad of religions. I would hazard that each and every one of them claims to have an exclusive insight into the understanding of whichever divine being brought forth this world and our Race. I do not claim to have such intimate divine knowledge personally so I cannot say which, if any, are correct in this claim. I do, however, take issue with any religion or practitioner of a religion that refuses basic respect and courtesy to any that have a differing belief. Just because it is different does not mean it is wrong or evil. It just means that it is not exactly like yours. There is knowledge to be gained through diversity.
And what exactly do I think about other religions? That is a wonderful question. If you were to, for argument’s sake, witness an automobile accident along with about twenty other people and all of you were interviewed by the officers that responded…you would probably get twenty-one different descriptions of what happened. In general they would touch the same high points but the details themselves would vary from one person to the next. I think the religions of the world are the same way. In general, they are all alike. They touch the same high points (like love and forgiveness) but differ in the details (like eating pork or resting on Sunday). We are all looking at the same Divine, just from a different angle than the person next to us.
And that goes for fellow practitioners of the same faith. Just because you share a religious label with someone does not mean you will have the exact same views on the Divine. I have always said that true faith and one’s relationship with the Divine is a very personal journey. Nobody will ever experience my religious path other than me. Some may share certain feelings or moments, but none will duplicate what I have inside. Remember that the next time you feel like pushing your views onto someone else. It will not matter what you try, we will never have that exact same moment that you remember with such fondness. Feel free to share your view, just do not attempt to make it my view. I will do the same.
This is one of the reasons I have such a fondness for Paganism. Wiccans and other Pagans are far more passive in the spreading of their religion. Our view is that those who are interested will seek us out and inquire. Our job is to answer the questions put forth to us. We will not attempt to convince you this is the correct path. We will simply share our knowledge and let you decide what is right for you and we will encourage you regardless of your decision. This is because we, for the most part, understand how personal this journey should be.
This is not to say that Paganism is a better path than a Buddhist or Judeo-Christian path. It is merely different. And I have to admit that there are some Pagans that will be pushy about converting just as there are Christians who are passive. There are no absolutes where Religion is concerned because Faith is kept by Humanity and Humanity varies greatly. All Religions run the gamut of tolerance and openness. But from my experience, Pagans tend more toward passiveness. I think all Religions would do well to re-examine their doctrines and true purpose and get back to the core of their teachings.
Religion is a good idea run amok. Mother Culture has twisted it into a series of extremes that galvanize the world into opposing factions causing chaos and disorder and war and pain. We speak of tolerance while we treat others with intolerance. We preach of love while we practice hate and war. We speak of forgiveness while harboring grudges against those that have wronged us. This is not what any of us were taught by our Religious texts. We have gone astray. We have taken Mother Culture’s path of self destruction. Before it is too late, we need to stop and return to the path we delude ourselves into thinking we are on.