Archive for Christianity

Why is this Relevant?

Posted in Heathenism, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 16, 2009 by Harmony041297

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Many within the Pagan community at large continually wrestle with a deep philosophical and spiritual question. This question wears on their minds and the conundrum is further exacerbated by the greater society of America and it’s obvious bias. The question is simply this: What is the relevance of Christianity and it’s teachings for a Pagan?

This can be very confusing for many of us who are desperately seeking to return to the Old Ways. While our society becomes more and more secular on the surface, a powerful and outspoken group of fundamentalists bully America with revisionist history and social momentum and ennui. Many who have been raised in America are oblivious to the fact of Christian chauvinism because in many ways it is subtle in it’s manifestation. This illiberality is an outdated part of the old guard in America which is, thankfully, becoming more pluralistic every day. However where we may say Happy Holidays in honor of the diverse nature of celebrants in December there are still much residue from the cultural tyranny of Christianity.

As an example, I was watching a History Channel special of “History’s Mysteries” on Witches. The program was horrifyingly biased towards the Christian world-view, as the narrator constantly referred to the old, religious method of chronology (B.C. and A.D.). The narrator did not refer to this understanding of time with the standard initials, but went as far as to say literally “Before the Birth of Christ” and “After the Death of Christ”. Another irking element of this program was that the amount of time devoted to pre-Christian, Pagan religious practices was extremely punctuated. Ten minutes approximately was devoted to these thousands of years of Pagan thought and practice, while the rest of the one hour episode was devoted to the Church and it’s attempts to destroy Pagan belief.

    Now this would have been marginally more acceptable had they devoted the end of the program to interviews with modern Neopagans and Witches. However this was not the case, while they mentioned them in passing, the program was mostly about how the Church saved people from superstition and heathenism (in not as many words).

 

Tell me, how can a program that proclaims itself to be devoted to History be so biased? Because we in the West and especially in America are still culturally bigotted against anything “other”. The writers of History determine the heroes and the villains. There is no reason that outside of a Christian dissertation on historical events that we should ever read the annotation: B.C. or A.D. which refer to “before the birth of Christ” and “Anno Domini – The Year of the Lord”. We have a perfectly acceptable secular chronology and is becoming widespread in the collegiate and academic circles: C.E. and B.C.E (Common Era and Before Common Era).

 

This admittedly long-winded example was presented as only one representation of the widespread manifestations of Christian predilliction and bias. Everything up until now has been examined through a Christian filter, according to Christian morals and ideaologies. Many in America, whether they attend Church or not are culturally Christian in their understanding of the world. Lacksidasically perhaps, but these cultural Christians-by-association still hold Paganism in distrust and superstition, they still believe however loosely in the Judeo-Christian concept of God. Many in the New Age and Pagan community still believe in and seek out Angels, which are Abrahamic constructs.

 

Another example is a letter to the Independant (a local newspaper in Colorado Springs), in which the author is responding to the HBO special on Ted Haggard and a subsequent article written by the Editor of the Independant. In this letter she proclaims herself to be a Pagan and admits to being hurt by New Life’s congregation. She then justifies Christianity by saying that she believes that she walks a Path similar to Christ, and that New Life has fallen away from the true path.

 

This seperation of the mythological figure of Christ from the practices of his devotees is silly at best. A God is defined by the actions of His or Her followers. According to Druid thought, “The Gods made us, and they need us to survive.” It is through their temples that the Gods find life and sustenance, for without these believers the God would either cease to exist or lose it’s relevance, which is essentially the same thing. Therefore, the Church is the physical manifestation of Christ in this world. If you wish to assess what this God has evolved into, simply examine the practices of the many sects of Christianity. You will undoubtedly find a schizophrenic amalgam of differing opinions and warring theologians all agreeing on their mutual disdain for those who have rejected Christian thought.

 

We as Pagans must cease to validate a theology that preaches spiritual and moral superiority at best –  and outright violence and hatred at worse – towards our most ancient beliefs and practices. We do not owe Christianity any respect as Pagans, for it was this belief-system which systematically destroyed and stamped out our ancestors’ beliefs and honored traditions.

 

If you seek justification from the text of the Bible as to why Christianity should have no relevance outside of it’s culture of origin, Judaism, then simply look to the book of Matthew 15:24 – 26

“He answered: ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman (a Canaanite) knelt before him. ‘Lord help me!’ she said. He answered, ‘It is not right to take the Children’s bread and toss it to the Dogs.’.”

 

This clearly shows, among other such verses in subsequent books about the life of Jesus that he was focused on giving Judaism a new way to look at the Torah. He was a Jewish Rabbi who was teaching Jews how to be better Jews and have a greater relationship with their tribal God. He did not come to save all of humanity from some supposed original sin. He did not intend for his teachings to become a world-wide religion. This was all done after his alleged death, “revealed” through visions to fanatical disciples who desired a way to conquer their Roman oppressors. What better way than through spiritual power? Which we know, thanks to Constantine and Justinian eventually did happen when Christianity was given favor as a preferred religion in Rome.

 

To wrap up a broad and complicated topic that will surely need far more dialogue amongst the Pagan community, I will say one more thing in closing.

The Christian tradition has been one of bloodshed and imperialism. Utilizing terrorist tactics in it’s domination of Pagan and Heathen peoples. It has been the impetus for enslaving peoples all over the world, stealing natural resources, and destroying traditional ancestral cultures globally. No amount of historical revision or Pagan “turning the other cheek” will change this bloody and disturbing fact. We, as followers of the Old Gods, must cease to validate or in any way respect this tradition.

 

Frith,

Bjorn Odinsson Thompson

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