Paganism and Christianity

To me, the whole idea of "conversion" is sort of strange. When I found out about paganism, I was surprised and delighted to find out that there was a name and a form for something I had been doing all my life in a secretive or disguised way. I didn't suddenly "find the Goddess"! I was raised Episcopalian, and at the point in my life where I considered myself to be Christian, I didn't see nature-worship as something separate. When I did rituals to the moon, I considered that to be part of the same loving divine force that I believed in when I was in church. (Which it was, in some sense.)

I no longer think of myself as Christian, but I don't see anything wrong with going to church every so often, since I go with a genuine respect for the religion. I used to be involved in the pagan group at my school, and often when we would invite people to our rituals, they'd say that they were curious and would like to come, but they didn't feel like they ought to since they weren't really pagan. Sometimes it's hard for people to understand that as long as they come to us with an openness of spirit, a respect and appreciation for what we're doing, and hopefully a willingness to see the divine in our actions, we're delighted to have their company. It's fine if they also notice things they don't like, or things that make them feel it's not the right religion for them - that's what happens to me when I go into churches.

When Christianity was new, its followers prided themselves on being part of a religion which was appealing to the intellect. Eventually, paganism came to be considered irrational, whereas Christianity was a religion for "thinking" people. (For evidence refuting this theory, see this explanation of Christianity for Dummies) But today Christianity has become the status quo. My friend Heather pointed me to this quote from a book by Mercedes Lackey (when the sidekick asks the pagan heroine why all the good guys seem to be pagans) which seems to me to contain some wisdom on the subject:

"In 30 A.D., who were heroes, the martyrs, the saints? And *what* was the major religion in the civilized world? The positions are just reversed, and for the same rasons. Established religion gets stodgy, mired in laws and bureaucracy, and repressive. The "new" religion attracts the free thinkers, the ones who aren't afraid to ask questions and challenge the so-called holy writ. And those tend to be the humanists too. . . . Established religion is like established anything else. It's easy." (from Burning Water, p. 182)
Which brings up some interesting questions about what would happen if paganism went "mainstream"...


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