For some time now, I’ve been noticing a growing number of people calling themselves Christo-Pagans, Christian Witches and the like, combining these religions in some way. Judeo-Pagans and Jewitches have also been popping up. While many Western Pagans draw inspiration from Buddhism and Hinduism, Eastern religions give themselves a lot more easily to syncretism than do the more exclusivist Abrahamic faiths. And yet, some people still feel called to reconcile what seems to many as contradictory belief systems. Some would say all this is really fluffy eclecticism run amok, and in some cases, perhaps it is. Up til now, I haven’t really taken a stance for or against this trend.
As time has gone on I’ve realized that some of my own values owe more to Christianity & Judaism than they do to Paganism. There are some values in common, like hospitality, piety and honoring the family. But others like “turning the other cheek” and some aspects of social justice are lacking in traditional polytheistic religions. At one point I even saw a Heathen fellow denouncing the value of forgiveness in his blog. I’m sorry, but without forgiveness, there would be no friendship, no marriages, no families. No society. Maybe there is a certain point where we as individuals or as a society can’t forgive an action. Where we draw that line is up for debate.
Embracing these ethics does not mean becoming part of the religion that originated them necessarily. It means admitting that polytheistic religions don’t have all the answers, though at the same time, neither do the monotheistic ones. Really, all faiths are human creations and thus, subject to human flaws. While they may be inspired by the Divine in all its forms, it is all filtered through the lenses of our culture and time. I guess all this is a large part of why I became a Unitarian Universalist, was to affirm these values. That and I felt I was not getting enough moral guidance from other Pagans, in fact all too often I encountered people that made poor role models- both regular community members and clergy/leaders. I saw people making bad choices repeatedly and not learning from them.
This is just the beginning of a new leg of my journey, and I’m not sure where it will lead. I’ve been reading “ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path” by Joyce & River Higginbotham, review will be forthcoming.
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