First, I address this as a Human. A Sentient Being. Not as a Pagan, and not as a Woman.

Religion, and to be sure I consider paganism to be a ‘Faith’ not a Religion as there’s a need for such a distinction as you’ll see to keep the points straight and avoid confusion.

When I say ‘Religion’ I refer to the Abrahamic Religions; Christianity, islam, and Judaism. I will work Alphabetically and NO I do not capitalize ‘islam’. That is intention, I have NO respect for islam, and do not consider it a Legitimate Religion but as the world does, I must include it here.

Religion… They all claim the same thing;

‘Ours is the one true religion’. ‘Ours is a religion of peace and love’. ‘Ours is the only Religion’. ‘Ours is a Religion of tolerance and acceptance’.

Really? Any and all ideologies can ONLY be assessed in Objective view by how the followers of such behave in regards to their ideology, promoting it, and how they treat those outside their ideology. Worldwide we’re seeing islam revealed as the monstrosity it is, and the evidence of such is written in Human blood, usually from innocent and unarmed people as islamists prefer to target the weak and those unable to defend themselves. The taliban, when they shot 14 Year old Malala on the schoolbus a few weeks back–three armed men vs. one unarmed schoolgirl. That alone condemns islam as an excremental ideology and that the islamic community worldwide has offered very little by way of criticism and condemnation of the act is VERY telling of the truth in the core of islam and muslims.

Christians…this gets interesting as Christian history is soaked in blood and atrocity also. However, Christians grew up and realized that they couldn’t keep doing what they were doing. Today, despite the Purges, Pogroms and active persecutions of Pagans, there is a Peace these days between Christianity and many if not all other ideologies. Yes, Christianity has it’s hard-liners, every ideology does, and that is a Human quality for the MOST part. As a Pagan, I’ve met two distinct types of Christians;

Tolerant;  Tolerant Christians have asked me, politely, questions about my faith, and I’m fine with that. Curiosity is to be encouraged. However, I do make every effort not to say anything that might unduly sway them from their ideology out of respect for them and their choice. I have Christians friends, they know I’m Pagan, accept it and we’ve enjoyed many convos about the commonalities and differences and such between Christianity & Paganism. bridges are made, but no one’s attacked or denigrated, understanding and insight is gained.

Intolerant;  Intolerant Christians are a best a nuisance and at worst can be deadly enemies, every bit as bad as islamic extremists. Just as hard-core and Absolutist, and upon learning that one is of another ideology, they try to sway you from your ideology, and when that doesn’t work–they get nasty. People in this category give Christians a bad name, and Religion in general also.

How do you tell one from another? How do you tell rational Human from slavish sycophant? Easy. Ask questions. Such as the one they’re so fond of challenging me with; ‘How do you know your faith is the right one?’ The average rational Human will honestly admit that they do have their doubts–to doubt is to be Human. The Intolerant ones will immediately go on the war-path, so be prepared to disengage and walk away. Trying to have an argument with an Intolerant is a total waste of time you can find MUCH better uses for.

I’m Pagan, and I readily admit my doubts, because that’s Honest. I have never seen a God nor Goddess, and therefore, I do have my times of doubt. I roll with it, ride it out and then come back around to feeling ‘comfortable’ with my faith, secure in the knowledge that the Gods and Goddesses understand us better than we do ourselves, including our doubts and such, and hold it not against us.

The reason I will never wander from my faith is because for me it is like a comfortable, cozy livingroom with a fire in the hearth. Safe, cozy, and warm. I do not fear my Gods & Goddesses, I see them as parents. If you have reason to feat your parents, then something is wrong. If your parents refuse to love and accept you despite your mistakes, then again, something is wrong. Intolerant Christians love to trot Jesus out and announce, proclaim and bellow about how if you don’t accept him (become Christian) you’ll burn in Hell.
Well, that’s not what the Bible says at all, as he died for all of Humanity, and all sins. This isn’t a license to engage in atrocities, it simply means that you’ll be forgiven your mistakes. I suspect those above would still have a serious issue with the people who dedicatedly follow what we call evil and then try for a deathbed repentance.

Anyways…

I fear no Hell, for the Gods & Goddesses I honor and respect will always see what’s in my heart, and assess me by that and my actions in life, my intent behind them also. I try to be a decent person, harming none unless they provoke me to defending myself. I extend Compassion to others easily–not because I wish to ingratiate myself to those above, but because it’s easy to see yourself in a bad position, and like most folks I have been–and some compassion goes a long way. I do it because it’s Right, it’s Human, it’s Who I Am. Not because of sycophantic slave-mindedness and lickspittle behaviour to impress some deity. If you extend compassion to someone, and respect, then there’s a chance they’ll do so to others, and it’ll spread…and maybe make the world a slightly better place for us all.

People can question my faith all they want, insult it, etc.. Paganism is ancient enough that it’s unassailable. But, I will not tolerate being denigrated, belittled, or attacked for my faith. People engaging in that (and you know who you are) earn themselves my contempt and enmity. Christians forgive and turn the other cheek. Pagans–we Finish the battle. I don’t care about religion and such, I look to see the People, their Spirit. It’s just a shame that some folks get so mired in religiosity that they end up with a heavily-programmed behaviour pattern more in keeping with machinery than anything Human. Those people are pitied by Pagans, for having allowed that which allows us to feel, enjoy and revel in Life to be taken from them and replaced with nothing but words on paper.

Religion is Control, Obedience.

Paganism is Life, Spirituality, Freedom.

Faith (irrespective of religion) is Spirituality.

That’s the difference, and why I am well-pleased to have been Born Pagan to a very long Lineage of Pagans, and will die Pagan.

To those who would ‘save’ me…you cannot save a person from the safety and comfort of their own home, so save your breath. I invite discussion and questions, but leave the ‘salvation’ and ‘conversionary’ efforts outside. Yes, you think I’m ‘deluded’ because your religion tells you that yours is ‘the only way’…well, that is bald-facedly incorrect. Accept me, accept my faith. I do NOT expect you to follow my faith, but I expect the same tolerance, respect and acceptance in return that I freely give to you and your faith. 2 Way street, that’s life.

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