Tuesday, May 06, 2003
It's quite amusing - now that I have announced on my website that I am proud to be neo-pagan, hard-core Christians have started signing my guestbook to try to convert / save me. It's quite funny really. I guess they didn't read the part where I mentioned that my ethics are largely Christian, just not as dogmatic!!
I normally avoid talking religion, as my beliefs aren't "mainstream", and I used to be very concerned about what other people thought of me, and I did not want to be labelled as unconventional. Now I figure, what the hell? I am who I am. If people don't like that, that's their problem, not mine! So I have started being more open about my beliefs, and it has started opening up a whole new world!
Week before last I was invited to join "Mystickal Realms", and through there I have started making some other neo-pagan acquaintances. I must say, in general, neo-pagans are a lot more friendly, open, and warm than your average person. By default, the neo-pagan beliefs are geared towards embracing differences. In ancient times, our ancestors did not try to convert each other to their religions; instead they sought to find what beliefs they had in common. It is a pity that does not seem to be the case anymore.
In a nutshell, my beliefs (based on the Neo-Pagan information available via the link above) are:
* I find no incongruence practicing Neo-Paganism along with Christianity. The basic message is the same. How it has been interpreted is different.
* Belief in Deity: I believe in a Supreme Being. You can call it God if you like. However, I do not believe God is some kind of man-being that sits on a throne in heaven passing judgement. Instead, I see "God" as the life energy that is in everything.
* Incarnations: No human incarnations are worshipped in particular, as all of nature and the universe are considered embodiments of God, worthy of respect, reverence or worship.
*Origin of universe/life: Generally there is no conflict between observations revealed through science and Neo-Pagan beliefs on origins of the physical universe and of man. Heck, I have two University degrees in science!
*After death: I believe in reincarnation.” I do not believe in the concept of hell as a place of punishment, but I do believe wrongdoing can trap the soul in state of suffering after death. In between incarnations, I believe the soul joins other deceased relatives to watch over and protect their family, after some rest and recovery in the “Otherworld.
* Why evil? “Evil” is imbalance. Wrongdoing results when we forget we are one with the universal spirit.
* Salvation: To me, the concept of “salvation” is essentially irrelevant; rather I have the belief that people can attain spiritual balance and harmony with each other and Nature. Ethical choices are influenced by belief in rebirth and karma, not by a belief that Jesus or God has absolved me of all my "sins". I believe that one is rewarded or punished within this or after this lifetime for one’s choices, and I observe an ethical code to do no harm.
* Undeserved suffering: I do not believe in Satan or any spirit Being as the cause of suffering. I believe in karma, that choosing to live a life of wrongdoing and pain will naturally result in suffering in this or later lifetimes. Suffering is a result of spiritual imbalance in one’s life or on the planet or in the universe.
It is very distressing to think that this sort of moral code used to get people burnt alive... Thank goodness we are "civilised" now - we can sit in the comfort of our own homes and drop bombs on other people instead... *sigh* When will we ever learn?