As I sit here with my headphones on, listening to the jaw-dropping sounds of the late-Gary Moore, my mind wanders back to a few days ago on Facebook. I made a statement about Christianity, and watched the comments roll in – mostly about how the basic concepts of Christianity cannot be removed from the adherents that misinterpret or misuse/abuse those same concepts. So, I thought it might be a good topic to explore from my end.
First, its probably best to put the statement into play….
Its not the tenets of Christianity that is the problem, folks. I’ve never had a problem with Christianity. Its the inappropriate application and misinterpretation of those tenets by the adherents of the Christian faith that is the problem.
Now for a little background on the “why” of the statement. After all I don’t normally make statements like this whatsoever – much less out of the blue, which it seemed to be for some folks. I have Christian friends, just as most Pagans tend to. I hear from Christian friends from time to time about religious issues, and every once in a while we have a good conversation on the topic. We have known one another far too long to go the “conversion” route in a conversation. Its more like a friendlier “Green and Grey” for those familiar with the song by Damh the Bard. Anyways, [R] made the statement that I disliked Christians simply because I was a Pagan. I retorted with the statement that I liked him just fine. His reply was that I disliked the Christian beliefs because of what those beliefs stated.
This brought on a discussion that continued into the basic tenets of Christianity. When we were done discussing the basic aspects, [R] began to see my point. Its not the basic concepts of those teachings I have a problem. Loving and respecting your fellow man is something I would love to see happen more often throughout the world. Caring and helping those less fortunate than yourself (regardless of the reasons that bring them to that point) is another measure that I would love to see happen more often around the world. Being a good steward of the Earth is something that we as Pagans are constantly trying to do. Now, don’t try to get me to quote Bible verses on this stuff – I don’t know the Bible inside out, and don’t really care to. And don’t quote Bible verses at me either. That’s the fastest way to get me to ignore you in a conversation. I’m not interested at all in what the Bible says. I’m far more interested in hearing what you – the individual – has to say. And if you can’t be original without leaning on the Bible, then you – in my opinion – are missing the point of what Free Will allows you to be. And that grows into another area of discussion (look a tangent in Tommy’s writing! How rare! [/sarcasm]) that leads me away from my point. Maybe another time for this one. Maybe. Back to the point though….
Its not the basic aspects of Christianity that bother me. Not even the one about proselytizing. That’s not even annoying, until the proselytizer starts to get pushier than a used car salesman trying to meet some end of the month quota. And that’s where I begin to have the problems with Christianity. Not with the tenets, not with the basic concepts – its with the people who follow it and take it a step (or a few miles) beyond where it is. Discussing your faith with others is one measure of “spreading the Word” — when you slip into Joey O’Brien mode (Robin Williams’ character in Cadillac Man) trying to schmooze the deal…you’ve essentially twisted what the tenets are into something beyond. When you take scriptures such as “though shalt not suffer a witch to live” and not investigate its original meaning (KJV is not an original writing of the Bible – and if you read enough history, you will find it was rewritten for political purposes, not divine measures). Its the twisting of a spiritual path for political reasoning and power that I have an issue with.
Granted, not everyone is going to find someone like [R] who is willing to discuss matter such as this in a logical or meaningful manner. People like that – even within the Pagan paths – are very hard to find. But when you find people like that – people you make a connection with, hang on tight. Those people are what make a good conversation worth the time.
Do I agree with the tenets of Christianity? Some of them, yes. I find measures of truth in most Paths I have studied. My path is that of Druidry – with some mixture of Zen, and Native American added to it. But those footsteps are mine, and mine alone. Sometimes, other people walk beside me on that path, sometimes directly behind me, sometimes directly in front of me – but only my footfall can occupy the spaces I am in at any given time. Sometimes, the footsteps near me are those of the Gods, but they tread light enough that I usually don’t know they are there until moments ago. Regardless of who is there – who is near, its inevitable that we will eventually strike up a conversation. I’d honestly rather have a conversation, than a full-fledged debate, or even an argument. Just my preference…hopefully, you weren’t looking for a debate on Christianity, and are delighted to find the traces of a conversation…