Why is it that so many pagans feel the need to dump on Christianity? When did pagans get it in their head that paganism has a less bloody and less violent history than Christianity? I recently had a rather heated discussion over on the Wild Hunt with some fellow pagans about the various evils of the dreaded Monotheists. Dum dum DUM! *Scary music and evil laughter echoes in the distance*
I find it very disturbing when individual pagans spew their shadows onto Christians and act as if our movement is without it’s own problems and controversial past. Many pagans point to historical legacies like the Crusades as proof of how awful Monotheism *evil grin* is. Yet they conveniently forget famous polytheists like Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan in their list of bad men. Why is that? The consensus, if you read some of the replies, is that the act of mass murder is not as bad if you are *not* trying to convert them to your religion. Seriously?
We pagans have just as much blood on our hands as Christians do. Period. One argument was:
I guess what I’m saying boils down to this: yes, we shouldn’t ignore that bad things happened in the pre-Christian West, but you’re simply stating the obvious and trying to equate it to something it is not equal to. Modern Pagans are nowhere near as stained by those past actions perpetrated by unrelated Pagans as modern Christians are by a thousand CONTINUOUS years of dominance and intolerance that has instituted the privilege that they now enjoy. That’s like comparing a valley to Mt. Everest.
First off, I am not sure what exactly connects the modern Christian to the Crusades anymore than the modern pagan to Alexander the Great. The post seems to be arguing that since a person is Catholic under the modern day Vatican they are complicit by default of the Crusades simply because the Vatican is still around. I am not defending the Crusades here. Nor am I defending the Vatican, which I see as a passe, archaic institution that turns a blind eye to very serious problems. Nor, however, will I defend Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great as somehow better than Richard the Lionheart or other Monotheistic *mwahahahahahaaa* military leaders. Lets also remember that the Crusades were against other monotheists *cackle*, not pagans.
This discussion began about some of Robert Wright’s opinions on the evolution of religious thought. Unfortunately it quickly turned into neo-pagans insisting that they were better than Christians and that the atrocities of the pagan past are totally disconnected to modern pagans. I have to wonder why they don’t give Christians the same pass? For instance when I pointed out that even the Celts were guilty of large scale military campaigns in the early Iron Age a response was:
“You project too much modern (or Classical) thought of ‘militaries’ on what were tribal societies. Wars were fought for *dominance,* not destruction or conversion.”
And this somehow makes it better? How?
I try not to put myself on a moral high horse about how one religion is “better” than another. I think that leads down a dangerous path that ends in self delusion and arrogance. I do not think that attitudes of intolerance and apathy are unique to Christians. I would think that would be common sense. I am not sure why it is important to argue that modern pagans are better than modern Christians. I think it is clear that every religious group has their crazies and we are no exception to that. It is when we don’t recognize that, or happily cast our shadows onto others that the trouble starts. I for one do not think that paganism is immune to bigotry, intolerance, and violence. When we ignore the past and blithely cast evil onto Christians and Monotheists *cackling laughter* we run the risk of becoming exactly what we hate.