Thursday, January 06, 2011

We Study You So That We Can Control You

Here's an interesting article about a book that discusses why people leave xianity and how xians can lure them back to xianity. The use of the now-almost-completely-discredited-term "Neo-Pagan" is a clue to how "hip" the book really is. Honestly, the relationship of my practice to ancient Paganism is at least as direct as is the relationship of most modern xian practices to those of the 1st Century xians. If I'm a "neo-Pagan," then they're "neo-xians."

Also, look, I'm going to break this to you as gently as possible, but I don't give a flying frap how much you try to "show familiarity with [my] basic beliefs by asking [me] what attracted [me] to Wicca and what problems [I] have with xianity." (How those questions show any familiarity with my "basic beliefs" is beyond me.) I don't care whether you "show[] an appreciation for nature and a desire to protect it," and I really don't want you to think that you can "direct" me anywhere, much less to the god that YOU IMAGINE Nature reflects. Nor will it do any good for you to "not be shy about talking about your own spiritual experiences." I've been deep inside your religion/had your spiritual experiences (hint: I was raised in it and by "raised in it," I mean: Catholic school, daily rosaries and Mass, children's choir, taught CCD for years to first Communicants, did Catholic pentecostalism, was v. seriously recruited for the convent, tried Protestantism as a serious adult) and deep inside mine and I'M NOT COMING BACK. I'm an intelligent, well-educated (to which a lot of you xians object), adult female (and you might want to work on how you treat this half of humanity if you REALLY want to address my concerns) human being, who understands what you have to offer and what Paganism has to offer and who has found Paganism to be a better path for me. I'm (unlike you) happy if others find different paths for themselves, including your religion, but, after 54 years on Earth and several decades as a Pagan, a few bad Marketing 101 tricks aren't going to change my entire life, but, you know, thanks for the insult to my intelligence, integrity, and ideals.

Also, since I say this every time, if you're going to capitalize "Christian," you can capitalize even "Neo-Pagan." If you have to use "Neo" at all.

Can you imagine how insulted xians would be if, for example, Moslems wrote a similar book about how to lure xians into Islam?

Picture found here.


Aquila ka Hecate said...

Goos point about Neo Paganism.
I'll try to remember not to use it. :)

Terri in Joburg

Diandra said...

Well, if they feel this is necessary for their soul's health... ^^

Makarios said...

People like the author of that book make things difficult for Christians who are interested in genuine interfaith dialogue and relations. In a proper dialogue, the purpose of both parties is to learn, to change, and to grow; and to reflect this growth in one's actions. As Prof. Leonand Swidler says, "Such an attitude automatically includes the assumption that at any point we might find the partner's position so persuasive that, if we would act with integ­rity, we would have to change, and change can be disturbing."

Christians who enter into discussion with the notion that their religion, and theirs alone, expresses the absolute, the only, truth, cannot learn, change, or grow; and what they attempt to share will neither benefit nor edify anyone else.

One of the reasons that Pagans ("neo" or otherwise--I believe that the late and sorely missed Isaac Bonewits used the term) drive Christians crazy is that many of them are themselves former Christians who, like you, have sampled the product and found that they didn't like the flavour. The True Believers find this incomprehensible and/or perverse, and they tie themselves into knots trying to figure out what caused the "defection" and how to reverse it. The approaches that they use to attempt to convert Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and so on, won't work (for obvious reasons), and so they have recourse to the sort of tactics that you have (rightly in my view) characterized as an " insult to my intelligence, integrity, and ideals."

Forgive me, but I'm somehow reminded of a bit of dialogue from the South Park episode entitled "Starvin' Marvin in Space":

Missionary: But you will all burn forever in eternal hellfire!

Marklar: Yes, that's nice, thank you for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making perfectly clear what I try to say, but what devolves, for me, into hissy sounding Bill the Cat noises!~

The Wizardess said...

Amen. Heh.

left rev. said...

Your posts about your practice and your beliefs are some of the best reading I do on the internet. Thank you for your generous spirit in sharing so much of yourself.