Thursday, February 12, 2009

Religious ignorance and intolerance

Moments ago I was on a facebook Pagan group, looking around at the posts. Well, I came across a post written by a teenage girl, whose story is a little too common for my liking.

The girl comes from a Christian family, but now has Pagan beliefs. Her family had apparently been ok with it, then one day she comes home from school to find her room "cleansed," with all her Pagan books and stuff taken out of it, and a cross on her wall.

The problem is religious ignorance. No, us Pagans do NOT worship the devil! And really, the way to "save our souls" is NOT by forcing Christianity down our throats! And anyways, while taking away a Pagan's material stuff may make them furious with you and make it difficult to perform rituals, it's not going to change their belief. It'll just make them practice their beliefs in secret. Now, do you prefer that, or would you like to know what's going on with them?


Now, please realize - I'm not trying to jump up and down and say "Oh us poor Pagans, we're so misunderstood!" I guess I'm really just railing against religious intolerance in general, and since I'm a Pagan who was browsing Pagan forums, the case I'm presenting here just happens to be one in which a Pagan is the victim. 

In fact, I know it can also go the other way too - there are some Pagans out there who unfortunately think that every Christian would love to burn them at the cross, and so hate and distrust any Christian them meet. Pagan parents like that would likely be just as furious as the afore mentioned Pagan teenager's mom was to find any child of theirs converted to Christianity, or even showing interest in it.

It seems to me that the root of intolerance is ignorance. Please, if a loved one suddenly starts professing a new religion or spirituality, don't suddenly start trying to save their soul or whatever! Learn. They will respect you much more for trying to understand their beliefs than if you just say they are wrong. And, by the way, if they respect you, then they are more likely to listen to you and what you think.

And as I said before: taking away someone's material stuff will tick them off and make trouble for them, but it won't change their beliefs. It'll just turn them against you.

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