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Author Topic: Being put into one box/ religious misunderstandings  (Read 4966 times)
Waldfrau
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« Topic Start: July 27, 2008, 04:50:04 am »

Have you ever been put in one box with people/religions you didn't feel to belong?

Recently I mentioned to a scientific sceptic friend that I use Tarot cards and was startled when she started ranting about a dentist who uses a pendulum to check if a patient is getting the right filling. Shocked It was a bit upsetting to me that my friend didn't ask how I use the cards but straight assumed I belonged to a specific crowd of people who are all the same.

If I see someone wearing a cross I don't straight away assume that he/she believes the world was created in 6 days. It annoys me that some people don't do me the same favor.

Maybe I should have been more carefull about mentioning Tarot cards.


How are your experiences?
How did you react?
What do you think one can do to prevent such a misunderstanding?
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« Reply #1: July 27, 2008, 11:14:48 am »

How are your experiences?

Some have tried to lump me in with Wiccans (sometimes in real life, but mostly online with those idiots who believe all pagans are Wiccan) and Satanists (so far, only in real life).

Quote
How did you react?

I have nothing against Wicca or Satanism, but I'm not one of them.  These days, a lot of this stuff happens online so I can just ignore the individual.  It happens less in real life than it use to.

Quote
What do you think one can do to prevent such a misunderstanding?

There will always be misunderstandings so I don't think there is anything that can be done to prevent them.
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« Reply #2: July 27, 2008, 11:51:14 am »

Have you ever been put in one box with people/religions you didn't feel to belong?

Recently I mentioned to a scientific sceptic friend that I use Tarot cards and was startled when she started ranting about a dentist who uses a pendulum to check if a patient is getting the right filling. Shocked It was a bit upsetting to me that my friend didn't ask how I use the cards but straight assumed I belonged to a specific crowd of people who are all the same.

If I see someone wearing a cross I don't straight away assume that he/she believes the world was created in 6 days. It annoys me that some people don't do me the same favor.

Maybe I should have been more carefull about mentioning Tarot cards.


How are your experiences?
How did you react?
What do you think one can do to prevent such a misunderstanding?

With the exception of online, I haven't found there to be a lot of misconceptions directed at me.  Of course, normally by the time I tell anyone what my religion is, I have already found them to be fairly intelligent, and willing to understand.

My family and a few close friends are all that really know what my religion is.  I have explained to some others, using terms that they can understand, a few basics of my religion.  Because of the misconceptions, I tend not to use the word pagan, unless I'm fairly sure the person at least understands as much as that we aren't all "baby-eating satanists" or "tree-hugging, hippy whitelighters".

Then again, most of the ones I would call friends are a lot like the ones in here, intelligent, understanding of differences, etc.
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« Reply #3: July 27, 2008, 12:04:24 pm »

How are your experiences?
How did you react?
What do you think one can do to prevent such a misunderstanding?

Some people have assumed that because I wear Catholic medals around my neck that I'm Catholic...I'm not.

It hasn't really been a problem...I can understand why people might be confused. I'm also not one to be concerned with what other people think.  Wink

There will always be misunderstandings (religious or otherwise) for various reasons. If it's someone important to me or someone open-minded enough to listen then I'm happy to try to explain my beliefs to them. Close-minded folks generally aren't worth the effort IMO.

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« Reply #4: July 28, 2008, 12:39:54 am »

How are your experiences?
How did you react?
What do you think one can do to prevent such a misunderstanding?

I get lumped so often I can hardly even think of specific examples, lol. You're Catholic, so you must ... do whatever the Pope tells you (um, no, he's not my bishop, dude), eat a lot of fish (ew), think sex is bad (no, in my marriage blessing, the priest ordered me to have lots of it and have fun), worship Mary without knowing it (I'm actually pretty clear on what and who I'm worshipping, thanks; do YOU often find yourself confused on this point?), vote for X party (I guess they're right half the time), have no brain (and yet I walk and talk) ....

How I react depends on the situation. Sometimes I just ignore it, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I correct, and sometimes I get pretty snarked off. As I'm a fairly public "intellectual" (teaching now) with a degree in Catholic theology from a prominent place, I think I'm *expected* to explain more often than most people are; as a side effect, I'm usually given the space to do that. That is, people feel quite a bit more free to challenge me in public about X, Y, or Z about Catholicism, knowing who I am and what I do; but they do so EXPECTING ME TO ANSWER and typically intending to at least listen to my answer, if only so they can argue more. Smiley It's rare anymore for someone to attack me on a religious topic without expecting me to respond to it ... and I do get some doozies of attacks (there's a militant atheist in my department who just can't let it go that I'm not, lol), but I'm always expected to respond.

It's actually twelve years since I first started answering "theology" to "What's your major?"; it's hard to remember when these kinds of questions weren't second nature, lol. I'm an absolute champ at diffusing awkward religious conversations at dinner parties.

All you can really do is educate others, or ignore them. Snippy responses are amusing and fun, but don't help much ... except your personal sense of well-being, lol.
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« Reply #5: July 28, 2008, 08:26:25 am »

....worship Mary without knowing it (I'm actually pretty clear on what and who I'm worshipping, thanks; do YOU often find yourself confused on this point?)....

I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that.
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« Reply #6: July 28, 2008, 10:54:28 am »

I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that.

I also ask people this when they say "You're worshipping icons/art/statuary!" Like, seriously, are YOU ever confused about this? Then why do you think that *I* am confused about this?Huh It's this interesting believe that everyone but the speaker is too dumb to make basic distinctions about their own actions ....
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« Reply #7: July 28, 2008, 11:06:44 am »

It's this interesting believe that everyone but the speaker is too dumb to make basic distinctions about their own actions ....

Just read a Chick Tract...that attitude is very prevalent amongst fundies Sad
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« Reply #8: July 28, 2008, 11:21:33 am »

It's actually twelve years since I first started answering "theology" to "What's your major?"; it's hard to remember when these kinds of questions weren't second nature, lol. I'm an absolute champ at diffusing awkward religious conversations at dinner parties.

Yeah.  I've only been answering "Religion" for about five months now, and they're already starting to get to second nature.  The most common question "Oh!  Are you going into the ministry then?"  No.  No I'm not.
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« Reply #9: July 28, 2008, 07:35:37 pm »

How are your experiences?
How did you react?
What do you think one can do to prevent such a misunderstanding?

Whenever I tell my mum that I would consider myself Pagan (and I have done more than once, and each time it is fresh news to her; she has a selective memory) she automatically presumes that I'm a nymphomaniac tree-hugger who is purposely trying to be 'different'.

And seeing as how she then refuses to talk about the subject, I can't put her right. Thus, the misunderstanding will no doubt continue for a long long time. *sigh*
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« Reply #10: July 28, 2008, 09:19:33 pm »

Whenever I tell my mum that I would consider myself Pagan (and I have done more than once, and each time it is fresh news to her; she has a selective memory) she automatically presumes that I'm a nymphomaniac tree-hugger who is purposely trying to be 'different'.

Hey, it could be way worse than that. She could presume you're a baby-eating Satanist. Satinist. Whatever.

Huggin' trees, bein' a nympho... I could deal. :-)


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« Reply #11: July 31, 2008, 04:41:08 pm »

I also ask people this when they say "You're worshipping icons/art/statuary!" Like, seriously, are YOU ever confused about this? Then why do you think that *I* am confused about this?Huh It's this interesting believe that everyone but the speaker is too dumb to make basic distinctions about their own actions ....
It's funny how prejudices are different in different countries. I've never run into that one while I was raised Catholic. I can't remember to have run into any hard feelings between Catholics and Protestants. I've been a bit insensible to Protestants in one situation. I was hanging around with some collegues after a ancient Greek class and some of them were talking about the chalice going around in their churches. And I didn't know this about Protestants and shouted surprised 'In your church the chalice goes around?! Blimey!' The reaction of them was just 'Yes of course, but you can't have seen it if you're Catholic.' They weren't accussatory or condescending, it was just a funny situation.

If I'm thinking hard about prejudices against Catholics in Germany it might be conservativeness (also politicly) and misogyny.
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