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Author Topic: How do you describe your religious identity in public?  (Read 1729 times)

Tay Redgrave

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2017, 07:56:50 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

I haven't had the 'opportunity' to try to navigate around the topic; I'm usually pretty honest if it happens to come up. I'll just say that I'm Pagan (best term to use, especially since I don't even know what to call my own path) and leave the statement open for them in case they want to ask more. If they do, I try to explain to them what Paganism is, how board it is and my personal beliefs.

And then offer to show them books or websites they can look at for more answers (if I have the means to do so, anyways).

Morbid

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2017, 10:41:15 pm »
Will you be my friend?

Sure.

I think this is probably a sensible approach for a lot of people. It just doesn't need to come up in public.


To me, it's just a thing.  I don't usually go around shouting "I'M GAY LOOK AT ME."  Same as I don't go to a party and shout "I'M A WITCH LOOK AT ME."  Personally I think it's rather distasteful to bring up religion in mixed company if you're just doing it to start conversation or stir the pot so to speak.  It's kinda like going to a KKK rally and saying "I love Barack Obama."  And honestly there's nothing wrong with having an open conversation about religion - I mean look at TC, we do it every day - it's when the Bible thumpers come out (no offense to any here) that my skin starts to crawl.  And it's not to say I don't like educating others, either, but there has to be some interest in that.  I live in the Bible belt of the US, you're either Christian or you're an alien most days. 
For he who has truly lived never truly dies.

Sorcha

Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2018, 05:32:16 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

I tend to describe myself as "Christian" or "a really weird sort of Christian" or just "religious" which isn't... wrong. It isn't a complete answer, but it's an answer most people just accept and move on.

A better answer would be what I recently put on my dating profile, "Christianish, paganish". Basically, I don't disbelieve in some of the major overarching themes of Christianity, but I definitely see them in a pagan context, work with pagan deities, etc.

Happily, this worked out ok. I'm seeing a guy who is an agnostic but used to be Christian, dabbled in Asatru and definitely has a respect and appreciation for pagan belief and ideas. I'm generally not that honest because my family is EXTREMELY conservative and them having any inkling that I was even a liberal Christian would cause tons of drama and strife and general awfulness, but if somebody dates me I want them to know what's up.


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Emma Eldritch

Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2018, 06:56:18 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

Honestly, it almost never comes up. I can't remember the last time someone flat out asked what my religion was - I think it was in high school, back in the Bible Belt, and even then it was phrased more like, "what church do you go to?" Like there was no alternative between Christianity or atheism, I guess.

Eventually anybody who spends enough time around me starts referring to me as a witch without me actually saying a thing about it. Only one of my coworkers has ever seemed very hung up on it, but he's very churchy and flat out asked if I was a Satanist. (Possibly because of my goat skull mug? He also got drunk at the staff holiday party and said, out of NOWHERE, "Emma, what's with all the witch stuff?" after I said it was nice to finally meet his wife. I think he thought I was gonna steal her away or something. I dunno, he's not very bright. But we get along; he cracks me up.)

ElleEnchanted

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2018, 10:31:01 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

I just tell people if they ask. I don't think there is at point in lying about it, or trying to tread carefully about it. Unless I am at work (old folks homes, and paganism doesn't mix well). Usually, if they get upset about it or start telling me something along the lines of going to Hell. I just shrug it off.

mona lizard

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2018, 12:48:12 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

Being an arab, from a muslim family, in France which has a very islamophobic climate nowadays, everyone, even the non-islamophobic people, immediately thinks of islam when they see an arab. So i've never been asked the question "what is your religion?" but over and over "are you a muslim?" or when I do something obviously haram "are you not a muslim?". So I usually answer "no" and move on, I've never tried to answer "no, i'm a pagan". So I guess people must assume from the "No, I'm not a muslim" that i'm an atheist, because that's basically the two things you can be in France, everything else is a fairytale in people's minds. (Even Christians are made fun of in France which is hypocritical as hell because the atheists in France still celebrate Christmas, still marry in church, and even though they claim to be religiously neutral workplaces are still universally closed on Christmas but you have to ask for your own day off for Eid...)

To my close friends who ended up asking the question I tell them it's something that resembles Wicca but isn't exactly Wicca, since that's usually the only neopagan religion people in my social circles sort of know about.

The view people in France have of arab people's religion makes it hard to talk about it in public. I love talking about religion in theory (love to nerd out about folklore and magic with curious people who don't know much about it!) but when the conversation gets personal I change the topic. Cause honestly people give me shit when they assume from my race that i'm a muslim, then they give me shit when they find out i'm not, and at that point in the conversation i'm already too tired to be given shit for not being an atheist.

How country differences affect religion is interesting! :)
- 20 year old artist from France, childlike wonder! -

Redfaery

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2018, 05:54:55 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?
I usually just say I'm Buddhist, but it does depend on context. Here in my hometown, I'm reluctant to divulge even that information, and I will usually try to evade the question - "My family goes to Church X." It's not a lie. I just don't happen to go with them.

In pagan circles I call myself a devotee of Saraswati. Of course, this often has meant I have to explain who Saraswati is, but I don't mind. ;) I've actually had more problems explaining to them that, yes, I'm Buddhist too.

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Jainarayan

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2018, 01:25:12 pm »
What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

1. I come right out and say I am Hindu, or I "follow Hinduism".
2. It's really only my family that presents a problem, i.e. mocking me: "oh now you worship cows?", or "don't you wear a dot?", or "where's your turban?" (I'm Hindu not Sikh).  ::) For the most part I ignore or avoid them.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

MeadowRae

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2018, 10:50:12 am »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

I have to tread carefully around family because not talking about Jesus or The Lord all the time is considered unusual. I think they have a sense that I am "strange" now, but mostly I think they assume I am a weird sort of Christian. I usually tell them that I'm spiritual or refer to god as the Holy Spirit if I'm put on the spot. Outside of awkward interactions with family it really doesn't come up much. I haven't flat out told anyone I was pagan except my partners, my best friend, and one coworker because I noticed some pagan symbolism on her desk.

TransporterMalfunction

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2018, 01:07:09 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

Generally, if I am talking about my own religious leanings, I will be a little vague. I might say something like "I have my own thing", "I have a non-Abrahamic religious background", or if I feel more comfortable I might even use the term polytheistic. If someone inquires further I may go into it, once again depending on my level of comfort.

I tend to feel more comfortable going into more detail around people of my own age (30 and under). Usually I find they are more open minded regardless of their own religious background. However, this isn't slander against people older than that - you can find open minded people in any age bracket. I've had a couple of negative reactions, one in the form of a very atheistic boyfriend who would use snide comments to try to goad me into religious debates and a woman who openly sneered at me. It's funny, because I am a person who can be very touchy about certain things, but in these cases I haven't really felt a reaction. I view them as being ignorant, and have been able to let it go.

Family isn't an issue. None of them are religious, and they don't particularly care to discuss religion ever.

So, TL;DR: I generally don't get into conversations about religion, and when I do I take it on a case-by-case basis on my own level of comfort and my own knowledge of the person.
Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II

TheGreenWizard

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2018, 09:18:40 pm »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

So, a few days ago, I would have answered this with: if someone asks, I state that I'm pagan, following nature-based deities and spirits. I would have said that to anyone, including family. However, after today, I can't say that I would say that.

What happened? Husband's family. We had to go to 5 pm mass for his cousin (so that he can get Confirmed come April/May). However, it was a last minute decision, and I immediately knew that his aunt/uncle/cousins would pick up on why I'm sitting the entire mass, looking at the architectural details (which there were some) and trying to place the priest's accent (possibly Irish), and contemplating what answer to give them for their questions... And sure enough, his uncle definitely asked me, "Are you Catholic?" as we got into the car.

My ideal response: No, actually, I'm not. Actual response: "I was a confirmed Catholic." I could not deal with having a discussion with his uncle - who reminds me so much of my own bully of a father - about different religions, as much as my educating side wanted to (context: we were at their house for two, three days, and I was at my limit of questions and discussions). I had to ask Michael (husband) if that was the right thing to do, and he agreed with me about it, though not without adding his own damn comments as well.

TL;DR: Depends on my damn mood, energy levels, and if the person asking is genuinely asking for curiosity's sake and won't judge me for it - if it's all favorable, or mostly favorable, I'll say pagan, and explain it. If I feel anything negative, as I did with his uncle, then I'll just avoid the convo entirely.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
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Jack

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2018, 02:20:56 am »
My ideal response: No, actually, I'm not. Actual response: "I was a confirmed Catholic." I could not deal with having a discussion with his uncle - who reminds me so much of my own bully of a father - about different religions, as much as my educating side wanted to (context: we were at their house for two, three days, and I was at my limit of questions and discussions). I had to ask Michael (husband) if that was the right thing to do, and he agreed with me about it, though not without adding his own damn comments as well.

I have done basically the same thing, falling back on a Catholic upbringing to "pass" in specific scenarios. Nothing wrong with it, IMO. You gotta pick your battles.

Most of the time I answer like Kiya, though - I live in a very liberal city, so neither pagan nor UU gets much attention.

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2018, 10:29:41 pm »
I have done basically the same thing, falling back on a Catholic upbringing to "pass" in specific scenarios. Nothing wrong with it, IMO. You gotta pick your battles.

Interestingly enough, just yesterday I flipped the script on this whole situation: I trotted out the paganism (or the esoteric spiritual interests, anyway) unprodded, in an attempt throw some ice on a flailing romance.

I try to stick to a two-date minimum (hey, anyone can have a bad night), and though I felt little chemistry on the first date, I committed to a second to be sure. To lay the groundwork for an easy exit, I figured I'd scare him off with my weirdo spiritualism. But to my surprise, he took it in stride, asked some reasonable questions, and confessed to some weirdo esoteric interest of his own.

The conversation went much easier this time around. I'm still not sure there's chemistry, but he didn't flunk the pagan bogeyman test. So there may be a third date.

The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

MeadowRae

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2018, 11:56:49 am »
I'm still not sure there's chemistry, but he didn't flunk the pagan bogeyman test. So there may be a third date.

My SO had to pass the pagan bogeyman test before he even met me in person, lol. I like this phrase and will be reusing it if you don't mind.

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2018, 10:22:49 am »
A lot of us following pagan and otherwise non-mainstream paths find that we have to tread carefully around the topic outside of pagan spaces, or even outside of our own personal mystic spaces. How do you navigate that? What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?

As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?
If the subject comes up, I just say "pagan," and take it from there. I don't really go into specifics unless asked further.

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