It’s always funny to see Christians talk about persecution especially when they were last persecuted around 300 CE. Afterwards, they were the ones rampaging and persecuting against pagans for centuries. Now, they’re pulling the victim card while stating that “we need to get back to our Christian roots with Christian public school education.” Sorry to say, but theocracies don’t work out as they plan. Instead of providing Heaven on Earth, it becomes Hell on Earth when people believe they are doing “Gods” work. YOu can’t state you are for liberty and freedom while calling for the 10 Commandments to be the rule of the land. Commandment #1 especially puts a halt on that whole idea of freedom and liberty. If people aren’t given the right to believe in one God, many Gods or no Gods, then you don’t have freedom, you have tyranny.
Wild Bill for America is the prime example of one of those supposedly freedom loving Americans who deep down want a theocracy even though he denies such. When you vociferously call for Christian “education” in public schools and want the 10 Commandments to be the law of the land, I believe that’s proof enough of wanting a Christian theocracy in charge of our country.
With the ascendancy of the Trump Presidency, we ought to be vigilant about what takes place in the United States. How far will Trump pander to the evangelicals who helped him into power? If he wants to retain his position in American politics, it’s not inconceivable that Trump will do what it takes to keep his power. So, it’s up to us Americans to make sure that the swing to extremism doesn’t occur.
One of my favorite Asatru groups, The Asatru Community posted an article written by the supposedly progressive website Think Progress titled The Religion of Choice for White Supremacists. It illustrates the same stereotypical nonsense that Christians today use to demonize our Heathen faith, that it’s filled with primarily hateful minions of neo-Nazis and other white supremacy groups. As someone who s half Hispanic, I have to say I take offense to the misrepresentation of our Heathen faith. First off, ThinkProgress is supposed to be a progressive site which means progressing past creating hateful stereotypes and mocking minority religious faiths. For example lets look at this line:
“It’s a comic book religion in a lot of ways,”
Really? That’s the same nonsense that conservative Christians have said to me many times. Taking up this mantle of trying to discredit a valid faith is a low blow and only shows the similarities that ignorance of certain instills. It’s much like how Donald Trump has tried to discredit the Islamic faith. So, in order to further demonize a faith that some on the Left feel is catering to white supremacy they need to stoop into the cesspool that is Donald Trump?
I understand bringing awareness to the bastardization of Asatru by filthy racists, but the article smacks of painting a picture of a faith with a really broad brush. Not all Asatruar are racists and not all Asatruar are white. Perhaps an interview with non-racist Asatruar might have helped expand the minds of the authors of this hideous, hateful article. Instead, they only cite white supremacists, which are only a minority in our Heathen faith. If you replaced Islamacists with white supremacists and replace the cited material with quotes from jihadists ThinkProgress would be all over the article saying it was Islamophobic and offensive. In this case, I think it’s proper to state that perhaps ThinkProgress has a tendency towards Asatruophobia. How else do you explain such a ridiculous article that is offensive in its own right? How do you explain the one sidedness and ignorance that is displayed? Asatruophobia. The same phobia that monotheists tend to be infected with.
I am a half Hispanic Asatruar and I am proud of my religion and thankful for the Gods calling upon me. This is something that, unless experienced, many won’t ever know nor feel. I don’t feel that I’m special because I felt the Gods calling me, it’s just an exhilerating feeling to feel the Gods walking nearby in the wooded groves or feeling the thunder rumbled the ground and believing that it’s Thor striking the anvil with mjolnir. Call me silly or insane, so be it. I’m not trying to convert to my belief system. This is how my soul feels. It’s simply a connection with the Divine, which is something anyone can feel deep in their soul.
I feel this is something that needs to be watched closely. One of the fears that I have with Trump, despite him being a flagrant fake, has the ability to do like what Hitler did and use the Christian religion as a means for fanning the flames of hatred across the country which means probable attacks against non-monotheistic religions. You won’t see this breach of liberty reported on the news or in the religious freedom community, populated by Christians who feel persecuted.
When people say things, it tends to need a mirror held up to it and taken apart. Perhaps this is the scientist in me to inspect the various parts of an idea or article. Recently, this blike named Rhyd Wildermuth painted polytheists in a broad brush stroke and for good reason it sparked the ire of many polytheists. I tackle this is my previous post, which includes a link to the article in question. Rhyd Wildermuth has posted another article titled The Uncomfortable Mirror which I will inspect and take apart.
The information page, called Confronting The New Right, was crafted by me in order to provide more information about the New Right to readers who were unfamiliar with that ideology. I consulted with several others regarding the information therein, who helped refine the language and provided additional resources; however, I claim full responsibility for its contents.
Now, I can respect someone who ends on the note that they take responsibility for their words. I must ask, though, about those others he consulted with. Did they not see the pompous rhetoric that was flowing? I would say perhaps they ignored it because they agreed with it which doesn’t ever help in creating constructive dialog. In order to do so you need to step down from the holier than thou nonsense and come at it with a full spectrum of ideas to posit to the masses. People don’t like being talked down to nor having sweeping generalizations being made. If I were Rhyd, I would have consulted both those who are on the Left and Right that way I establish a better understanding from differing perspectives instead of only gaining insight from one perspective.
While the vitriol and falsehoods contained in some of the critiques make it a little difficult to dissect their arguments, I believe they fall into three categories:
• Guilt by Association: the analysis I provided directly equates Pagan and Polytheist beliefs with the New Right
• Leftist Infiltration: that I am part of a leftist infiltration of Polytheist belief, and not a Polytheist myself.
• “Red Scare” or “Witch Hunt”: by discussing intersections between New Right ideology and some Pagan beliefs, I am attempting to demand ideological or political purity.
I’ve read the article over and over again and it does equate Pagan and Polytheistic beliefs with the New Right. Also, there’s the idea that being apolitical is fascistic in itself, which is nonsense. As a practice, I keep my religion out of my politics just like I keep my religion out of science. I think others would benefit from such an idea, but that’s me. As a former Leftist infiltrating certain groups was always discussed and if applicable encouraged, but such an idea isn’t confined to Leftism, but also Right Wing as well. You can’t blame people who might assume that you’re trying to dismantle Paganism by positing the idea for all of the world to see that basically all Pagan traditions are inherently fascist. It’s bad enough that we get bad press when the media gets the chance and also the long period of climbing our way up from the abyss of history. We have enough struggles as is and to have this hung around necks now is not fair to those of us who don’t perch our personal politics next to the statues of our Gods. If you wish to place your politics next to the Gods, be my guest, but don’t admonish people for not doing the same by calling them closet fascists.
I am also not accusing all polytheists (or anyone else) of being Fascist. If I were, then I would also be a Fascist. The piece I wrote draws no equivalency between specific Pagan-aligned traditions and the New Right. Rather, I draw attention to places where New Right ideology intersects, could influence or currently influences Paganism, including the traditions I am a part of.
Language means a lot and if used properly or improperly can mean different things despite it having the same meaning to it. I can say that I wish to kill myself, but it can differ in context. Maybe I made an error on a test I figuratively want to kill myself and not literal. So with that in mind, the way you utilize language needs to be observed and that’s why consulting with others outside of your boxed in world helps a great deal because then this whole mess could have been avoided. Language, people, language!
Do I put my politics first? I don’t actually know what that means. Do I favor political ideology over what the gods say to me? Do I favor political action over spiritual activities? This is not a question I can answer, because in my world, they inform each other and are inextricably linked. My gods help me understand my relations to politics, and my politics helps me understand my relationship with my gods. There is no wall between them for me.
So in Rhyds world politics and religion goes hand in hand, which sounds much like the problem over in the MidEast with radicals combining religion and politics into the age old concept of theocracy. We Pagans know what happens when theocracies occur, other beliefs seen as heresies are attacked and burned at the stake. However, today the stake is on the internet and public/cyber shaming spectacles are becoming the new normal. I mean if that’s how you conduct your life, so be it, but don’t shame those who are apolitical and have their religion separate from their politics. Some of us prefer walls between our religion and politics.
Or did I, by gathering information about the New Right hold an uncomfortable mirror up to a tradition I am a part of? Have I violated sacred traditions, or merely revealed their political aspects?
No and no, to answer both questions. The mirror isn’t uncomfortable because being a part of quite a few Heathen groups ( one which has been founded by a Jewish convert to our religion) and following many Heathen and Pagan blogs I have seen the arduous task of keeping the fascist element out of our beliefs. We are being scrutinized by various groups such as Leftist ran organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center to Right wing organizations who want to prove that their Christian religion is far more moral than ours. So, we have to, by our own means, fight against the fascist elements attempting to usurp our religion for their political advancement (sound familiar?). While I believe vigilance is important, and that is the ultimate takeaway with Rhyds article, we certainly don’t need to be chided by those who feel like they have to be the impromptu “nannies”.
The ‘Red Scare’ was a time when artists, intellectuals, writers, actors, and many others were investigated by the House UnAmerican Activities Commission, led by Joseph McCarthy and influenced by J. Edgar Hoover and powerful business people. Radicals of all sorts—particularly civil rights activists—were investigated for potential associations with the Communist Party. People with suspected associations with Communist organisations or even sympathies (‘fellow travelers’) were blacklisted from trade unions, actors guilds, publishers, and many other artistic and professional organisations, effectively silencing radical voices for decades.
The Witch Trials have been variously described by many authors, but Feminist author Silvia Federici’s Caliban & The Witch perhaps best elucidates the historical and political processes which led to the arrests, trials, imprisonments, and burnings of heretics and witches.
In regards to the Red Scare and Witch Hunts, isn’t this what you have pretty done yourself with stating that anyone who is apolitical and in disagreement with your views as fascists and agents of the New Right? I believe so. Enough said.
Christians have this tendency to scathingly reduce paganism to a false religion that worships idols. First, paganism is an old religion that was around before monotheism became an idea. The monotheistic concept came from a cult that worshiped one God over the others and it then became popular and acceptable. How do we figure this? Well there are two examples from two pagan religions at the time that showed an attempt at solely worshiping one God over the others. With the Greeks, there was a small cult devoted to Zeus as being the only God and the others being archetypes and not true Gods. The Egyptian religion was almost extinguished by Akhenaten who tried to forced his monotheism on the Egyptian people. However, he failed and a lot of his imagery in hieroglyphs were vandalized because of his heresy. So if these two examples, that happened after the advent of monotheism, and the archaeological evidence piling up showing there was some type of polytheism where the monotheistic God Yahweh was a part of then it only shows that monotheism is nothing more than an offshoot of polytheism where one God was revered above all others.
Second, the idea of idols has an empty, hollow overtone to it and I’m sure it’s meant that way, but our pagan religions are filled with life and vibrancy. It’s far from being empty or hollow, it has content. We worship real, living Gods where the idols we worship are imbibed with their spiritual essence. In other words, it’s a way to invite the Gods into our homes and lives. They don’t simply step through the threshold like an intruder. We invite them. It’s not a hard concept to follow and stays in tune with the idea of free will given to us by the Gods.
In conclusion, the idea of idol worship being seen as empty is nonsense. There’s more to it than what monotheists believe. Our religion is as valid as theirs and that’s something they can not take away from us ever again unless we allow it. So, educate them on their ‘idol worship’ epithet they try to use against us. Tell them that it means more than what they believe.
Conservative – believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society : relating to or supporting political conservatism
Something I’ve been pondering for a long while especially when stumbling the internet a slew of blogs titled Conservative Pagans: Yes We Exist (which unfortunately no longer exists), that the modern stereotype by conservatives themselves is that pagans tend to be liberal. I believe that’s not an accurate assessment, I believe many pagans tend to be Libertarians or center due to our inherent knowledge of history and how the more oppressive a government becomes the more prone it is to force everyone to adhere to the regimes system of belief. However, I want to explore the idea that paganism is conservative in nature, not politically but traditionally.
What we pagans are trying to do is to revive the indigenous religions of Europe and all over the world. These were the original religions before monotheism ran amok converting those they feel were worshiping false Gods. In the attempt to revive we have brought back a majority of the practices of these old religions which is the definition of conservatism. Now we’ve pretty much done away with animal and human sacrifice due in part to Christianity and its influence, but that’s about it. We have been using texts that have survived the ages of destruction and burning as our guides into the insights of the old religions. Through this endeavor we have conserved the old religions in modern books and on the internet.
So, basically we pagans tend to be a bit conservative, but not entirely because in modern parlance conservatism is relegated to the Judeo-Christian Conservatism rather than in the sense I’m talking about. A great deal of us pagans believe in the scientific validity of evolution (which does go along with the idea that we are all birthed from the Earth like in many of our creation stories), some of us are pro-choice (or don’t care either way which I tend to swing, I don’t have uterus to make such a decision), and some of us believe in equality for all (I myself being pro-gay rights). So this swing us into a center/Libertarian grouping as opposed to full on conservatism.
Of course, this is all my own pondering and nothing more. I don’t speak for all of paganism nor wish to. I just like to throw ideas out there to other minds churning. Through civil discourse new ideas are born into the world, some good, some bad.
In this day and age of secularism and reason, a lot of us polytheists are stuck between a rock (monotheists) and a hard place (militant atheists). These two aspects of our society believe that our beliefs are silly and wrong, which is a statement of absolute truth according to their worldview. The problem with absolute truths is that they are always based on faith and not evidence. It’s faith to say that many Gods exist or only one God exists and it is also faith to state that no Gods exist because if the absence of evidence to prove either claim is considered faith then so should it be said of the atheist hypothesis of no Gods. Of course, atheists will argue that their hypothesis isn’t a hypothesis based on faith, but rather fact. In order to know the absolute truth of either God(s) existing or not would require a feat only a demigod is capable of: resurrection from death and thus far no one with these past few centuries can claim that mantle, so if no one among us, polytheists, monotheists and atheists, haven’t returned from the dead then none of us know the absolute truth of the existence or nature of the Gods and thus it’s based wholly on faith alone and nothing more. To say otherwise is intellectual dishonesty.
The militant atheists are no better than the militant monotheists who protest funerals of soldiers, who deny basic rights to the LGBT community and believe without any questioning that their beliefs are rooted in truth. When you put Richard Dawkins next to Pat Robertson, though their beliefs differ, their tactics do not differ in any way. They belittle the heretics and assume that the non-believers of their faith are nothing more than ignorant trolls that are better off hiding in caves. They question nothing of their own beliefs due to the fact that they believe they are right and rooted deeply into the truth of the matter.
I firmly question everything as someone that is a student in the sciences and sometimes I have my problems with my faith, but never can I become an atheist because nothing is certain. And never do I feel that because I’m a student of the sciences that means I should automatically become an atheist. That’s nothing more than a herd mentality that is also seen in many religious cults, believe this way and nothing else. I do, however, keep my religion separate from my scientific views. Since science can neither prove nor disprove the supernatural there’s no reason for my faith to be intertwined with my scientific views and vice versa. To anyone who would ever suggest that I should get out of the science field because of my faith I can only say, look inwards at the level ignorance you have shown and wonder, aloud, if maybe you need to step away from science and not tarnish it with your closed mind. Yes, no one should deny evolution, especially the teaching of, due to religious views, but one should not deny exploration of the world via science because someone believes differently than you. Isn’t this what Galileo and other early scientists faced when their facts conflicted with the monotheist world view? How dare you then do as the monotheists have done and become the ignorance you so rightly want to get rid of. Using ignorance to get rid of ignorance equates to nothing (1-1=0)
As a current student in the sciences and a polytheistic heathen, this issue strikes deep into my core. Personally, my ability to rationalize what science offers on the table and my religious beliefs are kept compartmentalized into their respective corners of psyche. Science, as we have been taught, explains how the natural world works. Since the Gods, spirits and anything otherworldly is beyond science, beyond the natural and hence supernatural, science can not and will never prove that the supernatural exists or not. No scientific instrument nor method of observation has been formulated specifically for the supernatural, so for a theist or an atheist say that via science the truth is absolutely known. The truth isn’t absolutely known and anyone who states such is basing it off of faith and not fact. Yes, that includes atheism because to state the unknowable as truth is faith in such a personally accepted truth.
People state that there is a war between science and religion and personally I think that’s absolute hokum drummed up by anti-science or anti-religious zealots out there who haven’t the capacity to have an open mind not a civil discussion on how science can thrive even though one is religious. It’s a false dichotomy to believe because is in the science field they must be an atheist or that if someone is religious that they can’t accept scientific facts. If these assertions were true we would’ve shunned Issac Newton and Francis Collins (former head of the Human Genome Project and current director of the National Health Institute), but fortunately we haven’t shunned these folks and our understanding of the natural world is furthered because of them. The only war is in the minds of vapid folks who can’t grasp that people can accept science and their religious beliefs without either side being compromised. So in essence, keep your beliefs, whether it’s theistic or atheistic, out of science. Period. No personal religious/non-religious beliefs need to be injected into science because science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of the supernatural.
Science doesn’t need to be at war with religion and vice versa. People like Richard Dawkins need to stop with their zealotry and step back and realize they are no better than the fundamentalists who want to throw science out the window because it doesn’t adhere to their Young Earth Creationism (Francis Collins doesn’t adhere to this nonsense, but still is a Christian…interesting).