Wednesday, 16 June 2010

"Paganism is not a distant or very different religion"

From The Church Times:

SOME Pagans see a strong link between the more ritualistic worship of Christians — for example, lighting candles, burning incense, making the sign of the cross on oneself, asking saints for intercession with God — and the way in which Pagans often per­form rituals. The practice of directing rituals to “appropriate” deities is similar to asking saints for intercession — the Protestant Re­former Erasmus made this very point, suggesting that instead of praying to a god of healing, Christians now prayed to the patron saint of healing.

  Equally, the lighting of a candle and directing of thoughts to one person or issue is used as a basic form of magick by many Pagans. There is a misconception that “magick” implies an intention of compelling a Deity to do one’s bidding, but it is considered by Pagans to be more about “opening the world to possibilities”. This may be done through chanting, drum­ming, lighting candles, dancing, and singing — perhaps not so different from many church services.

  It would be better if the 21st cen­tury could bring the first seeds of a new era, a truly Common Era, which would emphasise religious tolerance. What religions share — indeed, what humanity shares — should be granted more importance than the smaller differences between us. The way forward lies through peace and understanding. What better gift could we give to any Deity?

Penelope Fleming-Fido is a prac­tising Pagan, and runs an online coven. No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.


Richard Brown said...

This is one of those articles that I really don't see the point of reading. If I want to know about paganism, I don't think the columns of the Church Times is the place to go.

The apostle Paul spent 18 months or so in Corinth arguing against the paganism that was rife in that city, and then a great deal of ink writing back to the church that seemed to have syncretised the love of the Lord Jesus with all their old pagan ideas, and against all the immoral behaviour that was the direct result of their syncretism. 'And that is what some of you were'....

All these years later, the Church Times, bless its heart, thinks it knows better. Syncretism isn't apparently a problem after all.

James67 said...

Sadly, many people in the Anglican Communion appear to be totally incapable of tolerating the views of their fellow Anglicans, let alone tolerating the views of other religions.

Addressing that problem seems to be a worthwhile task. I'm not so sure of the value of what Penelope Fleming-Fido is suggesting.