An Open Letter from a Pagan

posted in: From the Archives, Witchery | 3

I have many friends and family of varying religious backgrounds, beliefs, and ideals. I tend to get along with them pretty well, regardless of the difference in our beliefs. I’m happy to say that most of the people I associate with are intelligent, open-minded people.

A few are not.

Let me start by clearly saying that I have NO ISSUE with the path that you have chosen. I am extremely open and accepting of the fact that you believe the things you believe. That is one of the wonderful things about freedom of religion. You can believe however you want to believe, and I can do the same. We can live side-by-side and still have respect for one another, regardless of our beliefs.

There are very religious people out there. I respect that.

You may pray before your meals, and at various other times during the day. I respect that.

You may do bible study daily. I respect that.

You might include me and my family in your prayers. I respect that.

If you explain to my three-year-old that things are the way they are due to God’s intervention, my respect wanes.

I get that religious people (particularly of the Christian faith) like to attribute anything and everything they can to God’s will. As a person of faith, I get it.

I get that you may believe that God somehow built the human form, and put everything on this Earth.

I get that, in some cases, you may believe that God has an active hand in everything going on here on Earth (and possibly in the Universe), even down to your daily life.

I get it; I do.

But when you start to tell my preschooler that God gave us teeth so we can chew, I begin to falter.

At this point, God is among beings like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny on the list of characters my children may hear about.

When I am asked to prove God doesn’t exist, my answer is that God’s existence cannot be proven either way. Not to mention, the question is moot when I am asked, because I do believe in the existence of god, so asking me to prove the opposite is a practice in futility.

There is no written-in-stone truth about God. I have chosen to educate my children accordingly.

Within the next few years, I’ll be tackling the task of giving my children the education that most of us got (or didn’t get) from public schools. I will be teaching my children about science and, with that, (gasp!) evolution. Historically, God and evolution haven’t gotten along well (although, there are theories that make it work).

Our goal is not, necessarily, to raise pagan children. We intend to teach them about many religions from around the world. To have them learn what those religions are about, how they practice, and what they believe. When they are old enough, they can make their own decisions on what they choose to believe or not believe, and how they choose to follow that belief.

The short-sighted insinuation that it would be wrong if I chose to raise my children pagan disappoints me.

This is the one thing that really turns me off about “religious people”; the idea that their path is the one and only path to a destination. That there is no possibility that we are all talking about the same thing, but in different ways, with different languages.

And then the proselytizing begins. Ideas about religion are pushed onto others, many that are very happy in what they believe. It’s done under the pretense that it will save their soul, as if their soul needs to be saved. It’s forced upon people that don’t want to change what they believe. It’s shoved down our throats almost everywhere we turn. It’s an assault on anyone that doesn’t believe the same way. And it’s not welcome.

No one person can say for certain that they know anything at all about the complexities religion speaks of. There simply is no evidence pointing in any direction. To claim what you, specifically, believe to be the only true way, to claim that no other belief system can possibly be right, is folly.

If you think I’m going to hell, and that’s why you’re praying for me, then please respect my asking and stop. Because I don’t believe in hell. And I don’t appreciate your thinking that I belong in such a place.

As for how our family lives, and how we’ve decided to raise our children, ultimately that’s none of your business. I appreciate your concern but, no matter what your belief, you have no right to attempt to change the way we’ve decided to go about our religious lives. You don’t want me meddling in your religious practice; why would I want you meddling in mine?

3 Responses

  1. theatrewhisper
    | Reply

    “This is the one thing that really turns me off about “religious people”; the idea that their path is the one and only path to a destination. That there is no possibility that we are all talking about the same thing, but in different ways, with different languages.”

    That’s the meat and potatoes of how I feel. Preach it sister!

  2. theatrewhisper
    | Reply

    That and not only do we have the freedom of religion, we also have the freedom from religion. If people choose not to follow any deity there is nothing wrong with that. Life is about differences and that’s what makes everybody special.

    • Rowena
      | Reply

      Agreed, theatre. I feel that people too often take for granted an automatic belief in some sort of religion, and more and more often these days people are very much secular.

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