I'm apologizing in advance, as this is more of a rant than anything else...
Today, I was in the bookstore, over in the "Self Transformation" section. You probably know it as the "New Age" section, but apparently "Self Transformation" is less scary to the sky followers.
Sitting on the shelves, and sticking out of the books, were little business cards. Naturally, my curious self picked one up to see what it was. I instantly regretted my decision, because a fire started to burn in the pit of my stomach, my jaw clenched, my eyes narrowed, and I let out a frustrated sigh.
Two bible quotes were on the front:
- God is not a man, so he does not lie (Numbers 23:19 in the NLT version)
- Everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved (Romans 10:13 of the NLT version)
And in big, bright white script was the word "faith." On the back was a web address: https://goddoesnotlie.wordpress.com (the actual link was to a specific post on that page, but you get the point).
I quickly gathered up all the cards I could find. I searched every shelf to make sure there weren't any hiding somewhere, and all I could think was how disrespectful!
Seriously, no other religious group does this! I don't see any business cards in the cookbooks saying if I eat pork I'm going to be damned; or in the fashion books saying if I show my hair I'm going to burn in hell. I don't see little cards with Buddha on them telling me that if I don't meditate daily, I'm going to be miserable in my next life. Like who does this?!
I recognize there are good Christians out there who are accepting and loving, and don't try to cram their views and beliefs down someone's throat, but as a general whole, Christians upset me the most.
Shoving your beliefs in someone's face, unwarranted, is entirely disrespectful. There is no other way to put it. It's just down right rude. Your beliefs are YOUR beliefs. Period. The end. There are people who belief in the same or similar concepts, that's great. But it ends there.
You can tell me you'll pray for me. You can tell me I'll burn in hell, and that I'm evil. But those are YOUR beliefs. YOUR concepts and ideas.
When discussing this matter with a Wiccan friend, we both agreed that we see these people as children. Why? Because they act like children. When they don't get their way, they throw a fit. The need attention or they'll keep repeating "mommy, mommy, mommy," until you finally acknowledge them. They don't understand boundaries, and they don't like to share.
They don't get that when they show blatant disrespect for other beliefs, they're going to be met with hostility, backlash, and they're going to be mocked. Go preach to those who want to hear what you spew. Go preach to your own sheep. If someone is interest in "the word of God," they'll let you know.
That's part of what draws me to Paganism. Paganism really depends on a person taking responsibility of their own spirituality. It relies on a person choosing a pagan path; on searching for what is best for them. It isn't, in most cases, something that is forcefully thrust upon a person. You really have to want a pagan path in order to be a part of it.
These people who unwarrantably thrust their beliefs on you, have filters over their eyes. They've filtered the world through their own colored glass until the are blind to the concept that there are other systems of beliefs out there, and that those beliefs are ok.
I'm not a lost child that you can steer the right way. I'm not a broken toy that you can mend with repeated bible verses. I'm not a disease that you can cure with prayer. I'm a Pagan. I have a system of beliefs that you believe are different than yours. Here's the catch, they're not that different.
- I believe in a higher power; a source for all
- I believe in spreading love, peace, balance, and harmony
- I believe in good vs evil
- I believe in apologies and forgiveness
- I believe in prayer and wishes
- I believe all things were created good
- I believe in faith and hope
- I believe in beauty, individuality, and uniqueness
- I believe in morals, and that wrongful actions have consequences
- I believe in repentance
- I believe in acceptance
Is that really all that evil? Is that really something you think I deserve to burn for?
Organized religions, when broken down, are all the same. Each has a doctrine, a hierarchy, rules/regulations for how to live, a system of beliefs that are adopted by followers, prophets, an ending goal and layout for how to achieve this goal.
My Wiccan friend said it best. He explained that religion is like language. For example, in each language, there is a word for "book." In English we call it "book." In Spanish, "libro." In German, "buch." French, "livre." In Swahili, "kitabu."
But it all means the same thing. It all refers to printed and bound sheets of paper, meant for us to buy, read, and (hopefully) enjoy.
"Religion is like language for the soul," says my fellow Wiccan friend. It is the language our soul speaks, and although it may differ from that of another soul, it still means the same thing.
There's a funny quote, that I believe applies here:
"Religion is like a penis.
It's ok to have one. It's ok to be proud of it.
But it's not ok to whip it out in public and swing it around.
And please, don't shove it down my child(re)'s throat."
Yes, I just compared your system of beliefs to the flaccid, sweaty, meat sack that hangs between a guy's legs.