I was about to pull an internet no no and just start writing while I was angry. Instead of creating a rant I’m going to attempt to create a discussion.
What HappenedBased upon various previous posts, (here, here, and here) I’ve written on my own beliefs and how though they are common pagan beliefs they don’t encompass all that is normally considered Pagan or Heathen. In my openness I have yet to receive a direct negative reaction.
There has been a lot of talk about Brendan’s Myer’s Guest Post over at The Wild Hunt about Humanistic Paganism. I’ve read a lot of it and generally most of the criticism is about his word usage. Not that Humanistic Paganism exists. Today, while reading through my blog roll, I read something that at first had me furious.
The post (which I deleted and unfortunately am having trouble finding) wrote about how it’s completely wrong for this to be considered under the Pagan umbrella. Also that Pantheists, or those who say deities as archetypes aren’t Pagan or Heathen either. Basically my interpretation was that anyone who wasn’t a Hard Polytheist shouldn’t use the label. If I am remember right the author of the blog is a Reconstructionalist and I presume they were meaning only in that frame of reference. The overall message was if you weren’t a polytheist then you shouldn’t be labeling yourself Pagan and should go back to your respective communities.
My ReactionMy initial reaction was anger. I wanted to first come up here and start a rant about someone creating strict definitions on what is or isn’t Paganism, a term that is by nature broad. I deleted the post from my reader and unsubscribed from the feed. (For me that’s huge I follow over 500 blogs and am always adding)
In the time it took to open up my writer and take a few deep breathes I realized a rant would serve Zero purpose. Based upon what I’ve stated my beliefs are and that I still use the Pagan label it’s obvious that this opinion bothered me. Let’s Move on.
Does Paganism Need an Exact Definition?
- Does the lack of definition of Paganism hinder the faith?
- Or are the precise definitions of each individual sub-faith, denomination, tradition, etc. sufficient?
Some criticism towards the “All beliefs welcome under our umbrella” philosophy is it gets in the way of outsiders taking us seriously.
- Does a core set of beliefs need to be universal across all Pagan traditions and practitioners?
- Does a Single interpretation of Deity need to be one of those core beliefs? (Example Polytheist, Archetypes, etc.)
- We all know the joke ask 10 Pagans something you’ll get 15 different answers. Is this detrimental to the faith? Should someone be able to ask 10 Pagan something and get 10 similar answers?