Firstly, this further reinforces my idea that it would be better for Pagans to see ourselves as a sub-culture rather than a religious grouping. Because we AREN'T a religious grouping, as this debate is so evidently showing, we are a coalition of RELIGIONS not PATHS my friends, calling it a path really minimizes the importance and differences of each faith which creates a false sense of homogeneity . That is where we are getting hung-up. We are discussing things that can only be reasonably and intelligently discussed among co-religionists and not between religions. Hell, even religions have splits because of relatively minor disagreements (Lutherian Christianity for example). I honestly think that I, myself, am not in a proper situation to DEBATE opinions with other Pagans because we aren't in the same religious boat(and nor are they in a proper situation to debate with me). It goes the way of a Catholic debating with a Sunni, everyone adamantly holds their ground, no one goes anywhere, and it all winds up being circle-jerking with everyone being disgusted by all the Catholic and Sunni jizz everywhere. I see it as pointless, utterly and completely pointless to engage in debate, discussion, yes, debate? HA! NO. If I'm going to debate it will be live, it will be public, and it will be with intent, going keyboard warrior on the internet is just seeming dumber and dumber to me these days, because I simply don't care about it enough to waste two hours hammering out responses to someone. I know where I stand, and I know my foot being in the Pagan Community is somewhat tenuous at best, but I'm going to do what I do. When I host celebrations, I invite whoever I please, regardless of their deity stance, however I will not promote archetypalism, I will not promote monism, and I will not promote Atheistic and Humanistic Paganism. Why? Because, to me, promoting those things is basically the same as promoting Catholicism or Pentecostal Christianity. Those things are opposed to my morals to some degree or the other so I cannot in good faith promote them.
At the end of the day though, it doesn't matter whether I'm calling myself Pagan or Polytheist or Amish or Unitarian Univesalist or whatever, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm going to continue holding my rituals and rites, I'm going to continue studying and synthesizing and making the information make sense, I'm going to continue working towards my dream of one day founding a real temenos, I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing, which is attempting to build a REAL LIFE community (not an internet one) for my co-religionists and myself. It isn't always easy, but I'm trying, and I strongly encourage Reconstructionists of all faiths to do the same.
I won't be going silent for July. It isn't in me to do so. I've never thought silence is a good way of handling things when the silence isn't depriving you of anything physical.
I believe the Gods are real.
I believe some Gods appear in multiple cultures, yet I think each should be treated as individual
I believe they actively affect our lives
I believe tulpas and egregores can and do exist, but I do not think that the vast majority of Gods are derived from either source.
I believe that I can invite Humanists and Archetypalists to my rites and festivals and have them celebrate and behave themselves (as in, not be offensive or disparage belief in the Gods)
I believe all these things fully and totally with every bit of conviction I have.
However, there is a couple of things I know.
1) I know that we need to see ourselves as separate and disconnected faiths as much as Catholics see Sunnis as separate and disconnected from themselves and start seeing ourselves as a coalition of religious minorities.
2) The Pagan Community is not mature enough or developed enough to have interfaith dialogue. I'm disgusted by 'my' side and I'm disgusted by the other side too.
|A picture from the Beltane rite in which I played Cú Chulainn. Were Morrighan or Dagda Gods I worshiped? Nope, but I delighted in giving them honor. Photo by Cathy Beckett|
|My roommate who is Agnostic-Atheist pouring a libation to Hephaestus.|
I don't care in a lot of ways, but I also do care. I don't want the community (the faiths will survive methinks) to be obliterated because folks can't wrap their heads around the fact that we are consisting of faiths as separate as Mormonism and Buddhism. Let's get our act together guys.