Sunday, April 6, 2014

Anti-theism vs. Atheism and Witchcraft

There are lots of people who self-identify as witches and say that they are atheists because they don’t worship gods.

There are also a surprising number of people who call themselves pagan who don’t believe in gods or magic.  So, um, what’s the point of that?  Why identify with a group of people who believe in magic (at the very least) without having that one core thing in common?

Worse yet are the anti-theists who don’t want anyone believing in gods or magic.  The minute a person says “Anyone who believes in imaginary sky people is an idiot”, they have just called every Wiccan I know an idiot.  Including me.  People who claim to be pagan and refer to magic as “crap they don’t believe in” are really identifying with the wrong crowd.  And honestly, they’re being assholes for hanging around a bunch of people for the sole purpose of making fun of them.  I see a lot of posts from people that say “You don’t have to believe in a higher power to be a good moral person”, and that’s true.  You don’t.  Being kind to others is its own reward.  Telling people they’re idiots is not kind, and definitely does not make one “superior” in any way.

Those of us who’ve been around the pagan community for a long time (like over 20 years kind of long) know that these folks come and go, usually doing damage to other people before they go.  My personal spiritual beliefs are not so fragile as to be compromised by the words of an unkind individual, but my faith in my ability to choose friends wisely is shaken when I hear someone who says they’re my friend make fun of all people who are religious.

I’m a very religious person.  I don’t talk about it a lot, because that’s a very private part of my life.  Unless I’m working in a coven, it’s no one else’s business at all and I like it that way.  It does however make people more comfortable trashing religious folks in my presence.  That’s got to stop.

I’m not saying anyone has to believe what I believe, or practice my personal spiritual path.  It’s not for everyone, but it works fine for me as a source of strength and comfort when I need it.  When I teach another person how to live life as a pagan, I’m not teaching them to be a carbon copy of myself, I’m teaching them to find their own path and be comfortable finding their own way to connect to their own sources of strength and comfort.

There’s a natural tendency in the pagan community for people to make fun of Christians, and speak disparagingly about them and their faith.  Usually, they are the people most wounded by something or someone connected to Christianity and have yet to complete their own work on healing the damage from the past and finding peace about it.  Everyone has their own baggage from past pain to deal with, but at some point you have to unpack it and put it away.  At the very least, stop using it as a weapon against others.

If you don’t believe in gods and recognize there’s magic in the world and cast spells, I have no quarrel with you as long as you’re not disparaging those of us who do believe.  If you’re one of the people who thinks all religious people are idiots, then please stop reading my blog and unfriend me on Facebook.  I don’t need secret back-stabbing haters in my life.  Because all magic and gods aside, holding contempt in your heart for people you say you’re friends with is not anything a friend really does.