In part 1 I discussed the Pagan’s place amongst the major religions of the world, particularly the Christian religion as it is the largest with the most members. In part 2 I am considering some issues, and advantages, we face in the present societal context.
First and foremost Pagan beliefs do not consider themselves to be the ‘one and only’ religious faith and all other faiths lead those who follow to wreck and ruin. In other words we keep an open mind. Along with this is the notion that Pagans do not openly proselytize, this has both good and bad aspects. Good as the Pagan followers are more committed than other religions; bad in that our numbers are arguably small and we lack a strong public voice.
Secondly, we do not have any codified belief text or purpose-built buildings with which to conduct ourselves. The bible (I am using this merely as an example please do not get me started on the merits of its validity) serves to solidify the various Christian sects, however this same text can be an issue.
Thirdly is the requirement amongst the Christian faiths to have trained heads, and in so doing the requirement for funds to the church. By reinforcing the need for believers to give money to the church, and governments to give tax breaks to them, a large amount of funds can be amassed by these organizations for publicity. Likewise the appointed leaders and hierarchy can concentrate on duties which serve to maximize the political and public standing of their church over other religions.
We can do things to further acceptance of the Pagan faiths amongst the various religions of the world. Although the bible solidifies the Christian faith, it also helps to make it obsolete. Pagan faiths, from my point of view, are more savvy in communication through the internet and social media than other faiths. Although we are very much solitary practitioners we are good at connecting at least in part.
While churches of major faiths can collect sums of money they also have vast amounts of infrastructure and assets which require maintenance. Again we are able to adapt to changing times. As our path is aligned with nature we understand intrinsically the idea of adaptation and survival.
Finally, our conviction to the Pagan way is our most important asset. We chose our Pagan ways- it did not recruit, badger, or goad us into joining. A founding principle of this path is for followers to become independent practitioners free from required ‘learned men’ who must be a conduit for our relationship with the higher power. That drive and devotion to our ways has overcome past attempts to silence and stamp out Pagan ways and failed. Let us make sure it does so in the future.
One of the most important (from my view) methods we can employ to spread our faith and increase acceptance is through sharing of knowledge. As much of the material on Pagans is found through the internet the knowledge of what websites exist are important. To that end I am posting two sites which I have found of value over the years, and invite others to share websites which would be of value to the wider community:
The Pagan Awareness Network is a Sydney-based site devoted in part to media awareness of the facts surrounding Pagan beliefs: http://www.paganawareness.net.au/PAN/
The Witches Voice is a site devoted to articles of a Pagan nature on various aspects of natural spirituality and is worth a look: http://www.witchvox.com/
Until next time,
- Pagan Values Event 2013 (5th Annual!) (paganvalues.wordpress.com)