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Author Topic: Stereotypes I hate about my religion  (Read 41121 times)
dragonfaerie
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« Topic Start: December 16, 2008, 08:50:55 pm »

Spawned from the MMC/GUM thread in the Gods & Goddesses board...

One of my HUGE peeves are people who make incorrect assumptions about Wicca... e.g. that Wiccans can't be hard polytheist. Or we all believe in "Harm none". That all eceltic Wiccans are just magpies. That Wicca's just about female fertility and conception. Or that Wicca's just a phase people move through on their way to somewhere else.

What sorts of stereotype peeves bother you guys about your paths? Maybe the "All Asatruar are racist" thing? Or that recons are all academic snobs? Or that perpetual seekers just can't make up their minds?

I think it's important to clear the air about stuff like this from time to time. The more info that's out there on pagan paths (especially online), the harder it gets for newbies and seekers to sift the chaff from the wheat, or to know which BNPs (big name pagans) should be taken with a grain of salt.

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« Reply #1: December 16, 2008, 11:02:39 pm »


Not pagan, but there are plenty of stereotypes about Buddhists/Buddhism that bother me.

Buddha is NOT a god. He is the Enlightened One, and as such personifies a goal anyone can attempt to reach. Likewise, Kwan Yin is NOT a goddess. She is one of the many boddhisatvas, albeit one of the most "famous"; she, also, represents an ideal to which we can aspire. She Who Hears the Cries of the World definitely is the one who called to me, but looking back, it was more of a "you're on the right path, just listen to what you already know to be true" than a "You're MINE."

Buddhists do not have to be vegetarians. Indeed, Buddha himself ate meat. :-)

Those are the Big Three, for me. I follow a nontheistic belief system, that's been given the misnomer of a "religion" through millennia of misunderstandings. (Ja, there are monks and nuns in Buddhism. Still doesn't mean there has to be a god for them to worship, though.)

http://www.buddhanet.net is a good place for anyone who wants to learn more. I've highly simplified things for this post, admittedly.

And now I'll get out of the way and let the pagans speak. :-)
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« Reply #2: December 16, 2008, 11:48:46 pm »

What sorts of stereotype peeves bother you guys about your paths?

Gee whiz, I can't think of any negative stereotypes about Jews.  Wink

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« Reply #3: December 16, 2008, 11:49:10 pm »



Even though I've been a Pagan for many years now, I've basically been a perpetual seeker and a lot of people have assumed that I can't make up my mind. I think that I want to find the ultimate path that will make me completely happy and satisified with it, even though I know that's a pipe dream. Wicca didn't make me happy, so then I went to being a Celtic Recon. Though, like you mentioned, they are often stereotyped as academic snobs. I have seen more debates and arguments over recons on boards than I have seen over any other topic, I think. And the thing is, for quite a number of ancient groups/tribes/societies, we just don't know exactly how they practiced their religions. We have to make inferences from the archaeological records and those are very subjective. Yet, recons can get almost into what amounts to screaming matches on the boards I've visited. So I've basically kept my mouth shut over my own beliefs here, because I don't happen to like people jumping down my throat about it.



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« Reply #4: December 16, 2008, 11:50:49 pm »

Kwan Yin is NOT a goddess. She is one of the many boddhisatvas, albeit one of the most "famous"; she, also, represents an ideal to which we can aspire. She Who Hears the Cries of the World definitely is the one who called to me, but looking back, it was more of a "you're on the right path, just listen to what you already know to be true" than a "You're MINE."



I have a question for you. Is Tara seen as a goddess? Or is she a boddhisatva as well?
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« Reply #5: December 17, 2008, 04:11:45 am »

Maybe the "All Asatruar are racist" thing?

I havent had much of a problem with this, mainly as the few people i talk to about my faith dont have a clue about it, including the sterotypes.

One that does kinda grind my gears is those who say "Buddhism isnt a religion, its a philosophy."

To some it is one of those, to some the other, and to some both. The point is that those people who usually say it, (non-buddhistts) dont have a clue about buddhism anyways and even then how dare they say what it is and what it isnt to other people.
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« Reply #6: December 17, 2008, 07:29:41 am »

I have a question for you. Is Tara seen as a goddess? Or is she a boddhisatva as well?

Not Starglade, and not strictly speaking a Buddhist (just increasingly Buddhist influenced), but no, Tara is not a goddess. Buddhism doesn't have gods or goddesses, this is why Starglade said that it is a belief system that has been rather missnamed as a religion. Buddhism is more a way of living and Tara was a person who lived according to that way of life and was enlightened and became a bodhisattva. Anyone and everyone is capable of becoming a bodhisattva so Tara is someone one would wish to emulate. She has also chosen to remain here and help people on that path. Helping people to overcome desire and suffering and reach enlightenment is somewhat of the goal of Buddhism, or at least the Buddhism I practice (Tendai).

Starglade will be able to say more. But I thought I would chip in. It is a stereotype I also have a problem with and so I don't mind correcting it Smiley.
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« Reply #7: December 17, 2008, 07:34:58 am »

What sorts of stereotype peeves bother you guys about your paths? Maybe the "All Asatruar are racist" thing? Or that recons are all academic snobs? Or that perpetual seekers just can't make up their minds?
The racist thing really isn't something I've run across either. Can't quite say the same thing about the academic snobbery, however. lol. I study lore and history and whatnot, and I think it's very useful, but it does not replace personal practice and a personal relationship with the gods. The "loremongers" are a pet peeve of mine.

There's is an article discussing the differences (and similarities) between Wicca and Asatru, and the end (second to last paragraph) has a tongue-in-cheek argument between the stereotypical member of each that had me lol'ing... quite funny. The full paper is here: http://www.ravenkindred.com/wicatru.html
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These differing methods of communication naturally set up an easy to follow pattern of communication, or rather miscommunication, between Wiccans and Ásatrúar. The Wiccan begins with a statement of where he or she stands on an issue. The statement is conditioned with one or two phrases such as "in my opinion" meant to allow their opposite room for compromise in the event of disagreement. The Ásatrúar, upon hearing this, assumes that because the Wiccan has conditioned his statement, that it is loosely held and subject to revision or correction. He or she replies very directly that he feels the Wiccan's position is incorrect and supports evidence as to why. Up to this point, each party has acted exactly as their community standards lead them to react. The Ásatrúar expects the Wiccan to either accept the reasoning or to refute it. The Wiccan is simply stunned. He or she feels they have made a polite statement and had it answered in a rude and disrespectful manner. At this point, he has already decided the conversation is without purpose and attempts to end it by agreeing to the validity of the Ásatrúar's opinion, but restating his own, this time even more conditionally. This is a common way to end such a conversation in the Wiccan community, but the Ásatrúar sees it in an entirely different light. Smelling rhetorical blood, he or she strongly dismisses the Wiccan's opinion and even more strongly restates his own. The Wiccan now feels insulted beyond tolerance. He replies angrily, not concerning the original subject of the conversation, but chastising the Ásatrúar's behavior. The Ásatrúar is shocked by this reaction and asks what the problem is. Assuming the problem is obvious to everyone involved, the Wiccan turns and leaves. The two part, the Wiccan convinced the Ásatrúar is a rude and insensitive jerk trying to force his opinions on others, the Ásatrúar convinced he is the victim of yet another attempt at politically correct censorship by someone who can't defend his own beliefs.
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« Reply #8: December 17, 2008, 08:01:45 am »

There's is an article discussing the differences (and similarities) between Wicca and Asatru, and the end (second to last paragraph) has a tongue-in-cheek argument between the stereotypical member of each that had me lol'ing... quite funny.

I'd be laughing harder if I hadn't seen that exact thing actually happen--several times.  (Though not necessarily between Wicca and Asatru--but between the "fellowship" mindset and the "discussion" mindset.)  Sigh.

The only stereotype I'm coming up with that bugs me is the old "all Pagans do X", where X is something that is specific to Wicca (or, at most, Wicc-ish religions).  I haven't run into the "recon=snob" thing too much, fortunately, but then most of my Pagan interaction is here at TC.  Wink

The idea of seekers/eclectics as indecisive magpies also bugs, but that's not so much me personally right now, it's a sort of a secondhand irritation.
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« Reply #9: December 17, 2008, 09:42:45 am »

I have a question for you. Is Tara seen as a goddess? Or is she a boddhisatva as well?

In the Hindu Ten Mahavidyas she's a goddess. She's #2, next after Kali. But she's also quite different in that pantheon than in the Tibetan one, much more like Kali. More tough love than Kwan Yin.

As an aspiring tantrika, what bugs me the most is the Western obsession with the sexuality aspects of tantra, which are a teeny part of tantric practice, and are usually taken entirely out of context. A skim through any of the tantric sex books you can get these days will teach you strictly jack about shakti tantra, but all kinds of stuff about sexual positions that have nothing to do much with religion.

Also, as an eclectic on a combined path, I find it somewhat amusing that Wiccans sometimes come to Sha'can and find it to be too Hindu and Hindus come to Sha'can and find it to be too Wiccan.
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« Reply #10: December 17, 2008, 10:13:08 am »


I think I need to learn more about Buddhism now...

Good starters?

(Off topic, sorry.)
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« Reply #11: December 17, 2008, 01:25:45 pm »

Not Starglade, and not strictly speaking a Buddhist (just increasingly Buddhist influenced), but no, Tara is not a goddess. Buddhism doesn't have gods or goddesses, this is why Starglade said that it is a belief system that has been rather missnamed as a religion. Buddhism is more a way of living and Tara was a person who lived according to that way of life and was enlightened and became a bodhisattva. Anyone and everyone is capable of becoming a bodhisattva so Tara is someone one would wish to emulate. She has also chosen to remain here and help people on that path. Helping people to overcome desire and suffering and reach enlightenment is somewhat of the goal of Buddhism, or at least the Buddhism I practice (Tendai).

Starglade will be able to say more. But I thought I would chip in. It is a stereotype I also have a problem with and so I don't mind correcting it Smiley.

That's where I was getting confused, because I would read in one source that Tara was a goddess and read in another source that she wasn't. I'd read the same thing about Kwan Yin, BTW. I guess it's difficult for some Westerners to think that you can have these......I don't know what to call them....."entities," "avatars".......such as Tara and Kwan Yin and not see them as deities. I know that Buddha himself can be seen as a deity by those who don't understand Buddhism.
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« Reply #12: December 17, 2008, 02:28:19 pm »

Likewise, Kwan Yin is NOT a goddess. She is one of the many boddhisatvas, albeit one of the most "famous"; she, also, represents an ideal to which we can aspire.

Just really curious.

I'm aware of the not-a-goddess thing. And sorry about the off-topic, but I feel very drawn to Kuan Yin (which is kind of funny considering my link with dark goddesses like Hekate - but hey, maybe that's one of those universe-balance thingys *lol*  Cheesy )

How do you feel about Kuan Yin being listed with the ascended masters?
Basically it's the same idea? Human beings becoming enlightend and decide to help the others along the way.

(I feel a little biased with the ascended master concept though - the very, very new agey people seem to cling to it and I don't have too many good experiences with those kinds of people. I havn't looked closer in that idea because of it.)

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« Reply #13: December 17, 2008, 02:32:43 pm »

Also, as an eclectic on a combined path, I find it somewhat amusing that Wiccans sometimes come to Sha'can and find it to be too Hindu and Hindus come to Sha'can and find it to be too Wiccan.

For those of us who are neither Wiccan nor Hindu, could you explain what Sha'can is? 
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« Reply #14: December 17, 2008, 02:38:27 pm »



Well, on topic now  Cheesy

I really don't like the 'we're all a one big, happy, happy family *add some rainbows and kittens* because we're all witches and that's why we love each other and are never nasty.'

That's the same with the assumptions from other pagan/witches that I have to believe in the same stuff they do (mostly that strange wiccanish-mix about MMC, threefold law and rede.)

Oh and that because I'm a witch, I have to be all into natural remedies - I'm not.
I hate herb teas save peppermint, if I've got a headache I take an aspirin and don't walk around for hours with an amethyst balancing on my head.

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We joke all the time about it  Cheesy

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'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation. That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance. You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long. All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.' Terry Pratchett 'Lords and Ladies'

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