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Monday, August 3, 2009

Blind Faith

Blind faith is scary, for any religion. Religion is a powerful tool; as Marx said, it is the opium of the people.
I own a book by D.J. Conway, who in the pagan community is one step above "complete lunatic". The book, entitled, "Wicca, the Complete Craft", isn't the most well-written book, but it has some nice lists, so I do reference it for when I choose candle colours, or wish to use a set of runes in candles or on paper.
The book begins with some good concepts. "Keep religion at home because most regions still have anti-witch laws", "Wicca isn't about rebelling against your parents", and the like. These are good tips for anyone interested in Wicca or paganism. If you're just looking for a way to rebel against your traditional upbringing, you'll be sorely disappointed. Likewise, if you are truly passionate about it, you may want to share everything you know from the top of the highest building you can find, but people still have common misconceptions about paganism and Wicca, like it's devil worship.
Conway then goes on to say that Christianity and other "orthodox" religions are too opposed to being open minded. While I agree that in the past and the fundamentalists of today were very opposed to being open minded and were very male-dominated, you can't point the finger at "orthodox" religion in general. Pagans were not the peace-loving people they are today...we had our share of violence in the past. Romans murdered Jews for being Jews; Egyptian's conquered most of northern Africa. We all have violence deep rooted in our systems, and human beings are capable of unbelievable things. We are a psychotic animal.
Conway also cautions about being a teenage Wiccan, stating that once something goes wrong, young people will form negative views of Wicca. Though I can understand that some teenagers may only use Wicca to piss off their parents, if someone is really devoted to it, being a teenager or not, if something goes wrong they are not going to blame the whole religion. I was eight when I began to convert, albeit slowly. Even when I was still attending church, the image of the traditional Christian god just never appealed to me. I couldn't change it, even when things went badly. I had a demon make its home in a little corner of my room, but I was not about to blame the religion. There are forces in this world that cannot be explained, and though some people may believe this was a figment of my mind, I know what I saw and felt. It was not the fault of the religion. That argument doesn't even make sense.
Conway also speaks out against fence-sitters. Though I am no doubt devoted in my faith, I will admit I am not a fundamentalist, and I do have a very logical side. This logical side may be one of the reasons I am so drawn to the Egyptian pantheon, their deities are concerned with larger concepts like justice, wisdom, cosmic order, instead of a Greek or Roman god of Thunder which is an explainable weather phenomenon, unlike cosmic order which-though there are theories on how the universe is held together-it is still largely unknown. With this in mind, yes, I can be called a fence sitter. Do the Egyptian gods exist? I don't know. I can only speak from my own experience. Does it really matter if they are physical beings if they give me comfort, bravery, and support? Isn't that the point of religion in the first place? Being a fundamentalist Pagan is just as bad as being a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim.
Conway them talks about Goddess worship. While most pagans recognize a central goddess figure, they realize that her male counterpart is just as important as she is. The world cannot function with a single power in control. So, what does this mean in terms of religion?
I fell out of the male-god oriented religions because there was too much emphasis on the male. Men have a role in creation, of course, but men cannot create without the female. When there are Wiccans that put the Goddess above the God, these people are no better than the male-dominated religions, just with a woman in power instead of a man. There is no "higher" deity between the God and the Goddess, because both require the other.

I guess what I'm saying is that no one, no matter their religion or belief system or thought pattern should just accept things blindly. Do your own research. After the sermon on Sunday, read the bible verses for yourself and get your own interpretation; just because the priest or minister has a position of power, his or her interpretation may be different that yours, and how can you understand your spirituality if you can't read the passages yourself and understand them on a more personal level?

2 comments:

Magaly Guerrero said...

Blind faith is a definite NO-NO. Beliefs should be backed up by some research, and experience like you've suggested. That is my issue when it comes to children who are initiated in a particular religion. The kids don't know what "we" are doing for them. At the same time there are young adults, even children who mature fairly fast, so they can make their own choice.

In short, I agree with you. Faith is good and valid at any age, as long as the faithful understands the content of their beliefs.

---Lea Elisabeth said...

I'm glad to see so many people who agree with me on this issue. When I originally wrote it, I expected a flame-war or a storm, but everone is really receptive to it.
Thank you so much!

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