Monday, May 2, 2011

coming out

Today is International Pagan Coming Out Day. Why have a coming out day? Well, I suppose there are different reasons for different people to "come out." A majority of people of the Pagan faith, have to hide their religious beliefs in fear of repercussions. You might wonder what kind of repercussions. So do I. But I know that there is a tremendous amount of prejudice placed upon Pagans. International Pagan Coming Out Day, is a day that there can be more awareness. To stop the prejudice, heighten awareness and to make known that your neighbor could be a Pagan! Paganism is a fast growing religion, some say the fastest growing religion in America, and is recognized by the United States of America's Military as such.

Let me explain what I believe a Pagan to be. First, I need to mention that the under the Christian faith umbrella, you will find Baptists, Catholics and Mormons. All diverse, all claiming to their own God, there own dogma and their own interpretation of the Bible. All, in my opinion are valid and kept sacred in their own belief systems. Looking then to what lies under the Pagan umbrella is many indigenous people's beliefs, Native American Shamanism, Taoism, Wiccans, (a European or Celtic based religion), Neopagans, Druidic religion (based on ancient Celtic people), the Asatru (the pre-Christian Norse religion), and the jury is still out whether the Hindu religion falls under the same. But as you can see, there is a prism of very different religions under the same general category.

Next, I will tell you what a Pagan is not. Pagans do not believe in the "devil" so, worshiping the devil is not something Pagans do. The whole concept of the devil is from other religions and belief systems. If you really want to believe that, I suggest taking a trip through history and noting who started demonizing and when it happened. If there is some sort of crazy bunch of folks out there who say they are worshiping the devil, well, they are no more Pagan then they are Christian. Pagans are not a pack of wild immoral people. In fact, Pagans hold themselves highly accountable for their own behavior, practices and worshiping. Most believe that what you put out into the world, will return, three fold. Another false perception is that Pagans don't believe in God. Which, for the overwhelming majority is simply not true. Pagans beliefs can be of a monotheism, polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism in nature. Although, I suppose there is room enough for atheism as well under the umbrella of paganism. Also, there are many any combination of paganism. Christo-pagans, Jew-itches. You name it! Pagans don't hold themselves more "right" when it come to how or who or if  to worship! Another misconception, is that Pagans are out trying to get recruits, mainly teenagers. I can say with all certainty that Pagans do not proselytize, nor do they believe that anybody under the age of 18 can truly have enough life experience to know who they are, never mind what religion (if any) they are. Most pagan parents expose their children to many paths, because it is of the Pagan belief that there are many paths to the Divine. Pagan parents instill a deep sense of compassion for all living things, for all people, animals and the earth as a whole. Pulp culture may have more to do with a teenager looking like a goth Harry Potter or Alice Cooper, than any trickery going on by peaceful earth-crunchy Pagans.

Now that you know what Pagans are not, this is what I believe Pagans are. The two most common themes in paganism is, one...  all are connected, and two... everything is blessed. Paganism is considered an earth based religion and takes it's cues form nature. Although, there is no specific Dogma that all Pagans follow, there are very important moral codes and philosophies that they abide by. Not because they are afraid of going to hell, but because it is the right thing to do.

Pagans worship in many places, from halls and churches, to homes and backyards, to deep in the forest or by the ocean. It reminds me of when we had a sunrise Easter service by the lake. I remember as a child liking the whole church outside deal.


Religious Tolerance is a great place to learn more about Paganism or any faith you might want to learn about. I will also be writing about more Religions, Faiths, and my own beliefs

So, come on out world! The weather is beautiful!

night night


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