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Christianity vs. Paganism: Why?

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Christianity vs. Paganism: Why?

Author: bleeding ouroboros 
 


I love my dad. I love him dearly. The biggest problem we have? Religion. The one thing that has caused the most wars and holocausts throughout the world, also bleeds into day-to-day relationships. Especially ours. He happens to be a devout Christian of the Southern Baptist persuasion and I happen to be a Pagan of the Chaote persuasion. Both of us are quite set in our beliefs. Both of us will fill a battle ground with the corpses of soldiers of relative truths. But most importantly, we are both there for each other in times of need, to give each other wisdom and advice. We often differ on a lot, he a conservative Christian and I a neutral Pagan, on life and ways to go about things, but we respect each other's beliefs. Sadly, not a lot of people share this kind of relationship with anyone. Especially those who are close to us. More often than not it will end up with bad blood between tribes and even hatred.

So I ask myself why this is. Why all the fighting over something that should be settled and resolved inside each and every person? Why a constant struggle for "right" when no one is really wrong? Or are they? Why the attacking of each other's spiritual truths when it so obvious that everyone has different viewpoints on what truth exactly is? Even in Christianity, there is a lot in the Bible that is left open to personal translation of the "truths" it teaches. The same goes for Paganism to a certain extent. (I say this because there is little in the way of "holy books" inside Paganism.) Having asked myself these questions, I then go and look for answers.

First, the negative attitude of new Pagans who had bad experiences with Christianity. This I can see and see very well. Since I was raised in the church as a child, I know how Christians think as well as know what is taught. Many churches teach that the destruction of any belief that isn't their own is "God's Will." If you don't believe me, look into the undertones of the war in Iraq. It was the Crusades all over again. "Christian" country attacking and wiping out those who fought against them, those who happened to be devout Muslims. The more and more I think about life in the church, the more I remember exactly how they taught passive hatred for anyone who was not like them. This was one of main reasons I turned my back on the faith. I felt that a God who would allow his followers to distort the teachings in his "holy book" wasn't a God worth following. I coined the phrase "I would rather worship an IDOL God than an IDLE God, " because if that God is falling asleep at the wheel, it's time to find a different one.

Second, resentment from wrongs done to one another throughout history. Now this too I can see. When the Christians started spreading throughout the world and gaining power worldwide, they destroyed anything and anyone who opposed them. Considering that the majority of the world, primarily Europe at the time, was some form of Paganism, much of their ancient history and sacred works were piled up and burned in the name of "God." Christians soon found out that you may be able to take away what a Pagan may hold dear, but it is much harder for you to take away his Pagan-ist tendencies. So what did the church do? They turned Christianity into being more Pagan friendly.

For example:

Holidays: The two "high holy days" in Christianity are Christmas and Easter. Christmas happens to fall very close (usually just a day or two away) from the Winter Solstice. In Celtic terms, Yule. ("Yule tide carol..." Coincidence? I think not.) Easter falls in the same time as Ostara, which is the celebration of the Spring Equinox, which happens to be a celebration of rebirth. (Coincidence again? Nope.) As much as I have read the Bible I have yet to find anything involving bunnies or Christmas trees. Why? Because they are of Pagan nature.

Religious Services: Have you actually sat through a mass or worship service? If you get a chance, go sit in on a Catholic mass or a Protestant communion. Take a step back and look at what they do and how it's done. The Orthodox denominations also put on a good show as well. The use of incense and censers to purify the area was something that was taken directly from Pagan rituals. The use and set up of communion during a mass, the blessing of the goblet and the partaking of both wine (or grape juice) and some form of starch-based edible. You can see the same thing used in modern day circles and covens.

And so on...and so on...and so on....

Third, incompatible beliefs that make it impossible to coexist without conflict. Pagans come from an entirely different point of view than Christians. Most Pagans are not monotheists, but rather polytheists or suitheists (believing in self to attain deity status). This makes it quite hard for both sides to agree on anything, even to agree to disagree. Also, the morals and ethics of both sides can and often do contradict each other, making what little common ground they may share shaky at best.

Fourth, a mutual fear of one another born of ignorance of the other's beliefs. This happens to be a two-way street where it is the responsibility of both parties to learn and understand where the other is coming from. Christians as a whole are quite closed-minded, making any desire an open-minded Pagan may have become nothing more than a burnt-out session leading to more ignorance and apathy. Granted you cannot change the way the world looks at you, but you can change how you think. One can understand another's beliefs without having to believe them him- or herself. The choice is truly up to the individual on both sides of the spectrum.

Finally, the most likely reason why there is much conflict between Christians and Pagans is the negative attitude of Christian Fundamentalists toward other beliefs. This is so true on so many levels. The game of "I'm right...you are going to hell" is often played over and over again when anyone from another faith, be it Pagan or whatever, tries to explain him- or herself. This is just general ignorance that is nurtured in most churches nowadays. People who are born and raised in the church are taught to be ignorant and apathetic to anyone who doesn't agree with the teachings of that church. Most churches of the modern day are more interested in building the biggest and prettiest sanctuary and grounds, often spending upwards of $50 million dollars at a time, instead of taking that money and investing in knowledge of the world around them. This has been a practice the church has done for years and years, so understanding that the gross majority of born and raised Christians don't know any better will help you immensely in your day-to-day struggles. I'm not trying to excuse their actions, but only to show others the thought processes involved in the socio-religious side of their "logic."

How can we fix these problems? To truly fix a problem it will take more than one side to come together and bury the hatchet. It starts with one person at a time and over time allowing a compromise to form. An "agree to disagree" idea to form in the hearts and minds of both sides.

Alas, though, I am a realist. I know this will not happen anytime soon, if at all. Both sides are too hard-headed and stubborn to come together and put differences aside. Until that happens, the battlegrounds will forever be filled with the corpses of the soldiers of relative truth.