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Author Topic: Earth based v.s other systems  (Read 18286 times)
Aster Breo
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« Reply #9: December 31, 2008, 04:00:08 pm »

Aside from polytheistic tendancies, what makes "earth based" belief systems any different from all the other belief systems out there?
*snip*
So what makes earth based paganism any different from any other belief system. What is the point of switching when it SEEMS one ismerely making a lateral transition from one method of worship to another?

I found your question very interesting, partly because you are approaching the idea of "earth-based" from a very different perspective than I do.  To me, an earth-based religion is one that focuses on or includes as very important the idea that honoring and stewarding the earth is a religious duty.  That can take many different forms, of course, up to and including the concept of the earth as a sentient being and/or a deity itself.  I think that definition is the primary way that an earth-based belief system is different from other systems -- other systems don't necessarily view the earth as a deity or include the duty to honor or steward the earth and its resources.

At least, that's how I see it.

As to what is the point of switching to an earth-based system...  Well, I think it's the same as switching to any other system, as Jenett (I think) has already said.  If you (general "you", not specifically you) are called in some way to honor the earth as a religious duty, then it makes sense to switch. 

It seems from the rest of your post that maybe you're thinking of the kinds of rituals and symbols used by Wicca and druidry and other established pagan paths, and comparing them to the rituals and symbols used by Christianity.  And when you make that comparison, you don't see much difference.  A ritual is a ritual.

I feel much the same way, myself.  I've never been comfortable with ritual, regardless of whether I was in a Christian church or some kind of pagan gathering. 

However, for the people who are committed to those paths, ritual can be very powerful.  And in some cases, ritual is a required element of the path.  That is, if you don't do the rituals, you're not fulfilling your religious duties.  (Which makes me think of what my brother, who is a Methodist minister, calls the "Holiday Christians".  They're the ones who only attend church on Christmas and Easter.  In his opinion, they are not fulfilling their obligations as Christians.)

For my personal spirituality, ritual is not an issue, except in the sense that a daily devotional practice can be called a ritual.  I am starting to shy away from calling my spirituality a "path" or a "religion" because it does not have any formal structure.  Instead of having a religion, though, I have a Goddess.

She is very important in my life, and I consider myself Her dedicant and Her servant.  But in no way do I think She runs my life.  Jenett's analogy to a spouse is very appropriate.  For me, being dedicated to Brighid is very similar is many ways to being married to my husband.  He doesn't control my life either.  But I do consult him on important decisions.

Ultimately, I think switching from one religion to another has to be about much more than the method of worship.  That's important -- if you don't like ritual, you're not going to be happy in a religion that requires it.  But there's more to religion or spirituality than the form of worship. 

Your post seemed to imply that, in you opinion, one deity is just as good as another.  (Please forgive me if I misunderstood you.  I inferred that from your statement about Wicca just having more choice of deities than Christianity.)  If you don't have a connection to a specific deity, I suppose that might be true. 

But, for me, it's ALL about the specific deity.  My spirituality is about Brighid.  Period.  It's not about the form of worship, or ritual, or symbols.  It's about Brighid.  The practices I do and the symbols I use are directly related to Her and my understanding of how She wants to be served.

You asked, what is the point of switching to an earth-based belief system when it seems like you're merely making a lateral move from one form of worship to another.  I would answer that the whole point is that you're moving from worshiping (or serving or working with, or however you want to phrase it) someone or something that you have no connection with, to someone or something that you DO have a connection with.  But that assumes you have a connection or a calling to earth-based paganism.

If you don't have that calling, why would you want to switch to an earth-based system?  Why not look for something that does speak to you?

Sorry for the long post.   Cheesy
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