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Author Topic: Interesting Article on Christians and Pagans  (Read 9340 times)
Caebrug
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« Topic Start: June 11, 2010, 02:37:34 pm »

This article was brought to my attention by a friend on Facebook, thought I would share here.

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=95979
Paganism is not a distant or very different religion

"Christians and Pagans should reconsider the similarities of their beliefs, and forge more understanding, says Penelope Fleming-Fido"

It would be interesting to see what other people think.

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« Reply #1: June 11, 2010, 03:43:50 pm »

This article was brought to my attention by a friend on Facebook, thought I would share here.

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=95979
Paganism is not a distant or very different religion

"Christians and Pagans should reconsider the similarities of their beliefs, and forge more understanding, says Penelope Fleming-Fido"

It would be interesting to see what other people think.


B&SB

Cae


Let's try Christians and Christians getting together first.
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« Reply #2: June 11, 2010, 04:02:01 pm »

It would be interesting to see what other people think.

I think they shouldn't have let the Pagan Federation define paganism for the rest of us.  Wink

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« Reply #3: June 12, 2010, 03:35:44 am »

This article was brought to my attention by a friend on Facebook, thought I would share here.

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=95979
Paganism is not a distant or very different religion

"Christians and Pagans should reconsider the similarities of their beliefs, and forge more understanding, says Penelope Fleming-Fido"

It would be interesting to see what other people think.

In an ideal world, maybe this would be possible, but the world that we actually live in is far from ideal.........
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« Reply #4: June 12, 2010, 07:50:53 am »

I think they shouldn't have let the Pagan Federation define paganism for the rest of us.  Wink

That would be a good start, yes.
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« Reply #5: June 14, 2010, 03:31:53 am »

"Christians and Pagans should reconsider the similarities of their beliefs, and forge more understanding"

Sure!  I've had a lot of fun over this past year or so learning about various pagan ideas & practices, and it has influenced my practice of Christianity.  More understanding between peoples is always a good thing, as it lessens fear and hatred.

Nothing in the article seemed new or earth-shattering to me, though.

Depending on how the author meant it, I could have a beef with the final paragraph, though:

"It would be better if the 21st cen tury 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?"

Religious tolerance is a good thing indeed.  Friendship and understanding between all peoples is a good thing.  However, I am suspicious of people who want to only focus on similarities and neglect the differences between religions.  I find it silly and tiring, and it does a disservice to the religions involved if you just want to ignore their uniquenesses and paint them all with the same brush.  Like I said, I might be misreading the author's intent, but this kind of sentiment rubs me the wrong way.  But the rest of the article was pretty straightforward.   Smiley
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« Reply #6: June 14, 2010, 05:37:08 pm »

<snippage>
Religious tolerance is a good thing indeed.  Friendship and understanding between all peoples is a good thing.  However, I am suspicious of people who want to only focus on similarities and neglect the differences between religions.  I find it silly and tiring, and it does a disservice to the religions involved if you just want to ignore their uniquenesses and paint them all with the same brush.  Like I said, I might be misreading the author's intent, but this kind of sentiment rubs me the wrong way.  But the rest of the article was pretty straightforward.   Smiley

I see what you are saying, and I'll toss my two cents into the hat.

I don't think it's a matter of ignoring the differences. I think it's a case of finding the similarities in order to have a ground from which to start. Once the discussions have started, the differences will present themselves in short order (or so I have found). Even the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th of that title) has made similar statements about ecumenical discussions. He went so far as to say that (paraphrasing here, as I don't have the reference to hand--he wrote a guest OpEd piece for the NYT within the last week or so, which is where I read this) "all religions have, at their core, a sense of elitism." I take issue with this; I would say, instead, that "all religions' FOLLOWERS have a sense of elitism" in that each set of followers feels their way is the best.

My point, before I lose it entirely, is: Finding common ground from which to start rather necessitates the setting aside of differences, in order to focus on similarities. (Now, get a Fundamentalist Christian to accept the fact that Islam is an Abrahamic religion, just like Judaism and Christianity. Good luck with that one. And therein lies one of many problems with "common ground.")
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« Reply #7: June 15, 2010, 01:26:26 am »

My point, before I lose it entirely, is: Finding common ground from which to start rather necessitates the setting aside of differences, in order to focus on similarities. (Now, get a Fundamentalist Christian to accept the fact that Islam is an Abrahamic religion, just like Judaism and Christianity. Good luck with that one. And therein lies one of many problems with "common ground.")

Yes, I pretty much agree with you here.  I guess I've just always taken the value of "let's find common ground" as a given, almost like basic human manners that apply to getting along with others no matter what the subject (family, passtimes, nationality, ethnicity, social status, whatever).  My comment was based on this assumption and then expressed just a single misgiving about something in the last paragraph.

But you're right, the value of "let's find common ground" isn't always a given in religious circles.  *sigh*
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« Reply #8: June 15, 2010, 07:30:42 am »

I don't think it's a matter of ignoring the differences. I think it's a case of finding the similarities in order to have a ground from which to start.

I think that would be the ideal "focusing on the similarities" discussion.  Unfortunately, I've too often seen that phrase used to mean "we're all the same, really" as well.  Sad
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« Reply #9: June 15, 2010, 05:42:43 pm »

<snippage>

But you're right, the value of "let's find common ground" isn't always a given in religious circles.  *sigh*

No, it isn't--and that's a problem right there, in and of itself, sadly.
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« Reply #10: June 15, 2010, 05:43:17 pm »

I think that would be the ideal "focusing on the similarities" discussion.  Unfortunately, I've too often seen that phrase used to mean "we're all the same, really" as well.  Sad

Agreed, and agreed. :-/
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« Reply #11: June 16, 2010, 12:05:20 pm »

(Now, get a Fundamentalist Christian to accept the fact that Islam is an Abrahamic religion, just like Judaism and Christianity. Good luck with that one. And therein lies one of many problems with "common ground.")

How 'bout get a Fundamentalist Christian to accept a Catholic as Christian - or even Abrahamic!
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« Reply #12: June 16, 2010, 02:15:55 pm »

How 'bout get a Fundamentalist Christian to accept a Catholic as Christian - or even Abrahamic!

I was trying not to go that far--but sadly, I've seen that, too. (Not even Fundamentalists--my own mother once told me that my best friend wasn't Christian because she was Catholic.)

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« Reply #13: June 16, 2010, 03:59:07 pm »

I was trying not to go that far--but sadly, I've seen that, too. (Not even Fundamentalists--my own mother once told me that my best friend wasn't Christian because she was Catholic.)



I grew up Catholic, but it was only after I was firmly away from the Catholic Church that I (multiple times over the years) have had to give Protestants history lessons.  Martin Luther anyone?  And yeah - not just Fundamentalists!
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« Reply #14: June 16, 2010, 04:48:36 pm »

This article was brought to my attention by a friend on Facebook, thought I would share here.

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=95979
Paganism is not a distant or very different religion

"Christians and Pagans should reconsider the similarities of their beliefs, and forge more understanding, says Penelope Fleming-Fido"

It would be interesting to see what other people think.

B&SB

Cae


The tone of this sort of stuck me as the old "why can't we all just get along..." tune.

It is the differences that make religions unique, facinating and so suited to the varied individuals that practice them.  The reason there are so many flavours of paganism is because we have not been forced to stuff our square spiritual practices into round holes. Over the centuries, Christians have been forced to endure schism after schism as various groups try to create a religion that fits them better, or at least fits in with their time and place.

I challenge anyone to find a single active religion in the world that does not have different flavours/branches/sects etc. People will modify their religion to fit their own values and spiritual needs. Some do so from within their religion, some seek outside of it.

At one time I thought people truly sought to understand the similaritites between different religions, but now I think most are more interested in the differences, and how those differences appeal to them as individuals.  Take TC for example. At one time a forum to share and compare faiths, it has more recently become a place where folks can find out all about the different pagan religions (or non-religions as the case may be), as well as a colloection of other faiths that do not fall under the pagan banner.

We are no longer so much interested in the similarities, but are facinated by the differences. And some of that facination is driven by our own seeking, and the need to find the faith that fits us best.

Perhaps the ultimate end product might be a message board of uniquely spiritual beings, that have no common religion. In acknowledging that we are all different, and that our spiritual practice mirrors those differences, we might find acceptance for those differences.
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