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Author Topic: How do you describe your religious identity in public?  (Read 7930 times)

Mivi

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2018, 05:02:15 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 saying "shaman" has such ugh connotations now thanks to plastic shamans and core-shamanism in the west. So since Mugyo is fairly intertwined with Taoism and Buddhism, I opt for the brief explanation "something like a Korean tradition-specific monk".
Mivi | Mudang (Korean shaman-priest)

만신

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2018, 01:00:57 am »
What descriptors have you taken to using for your faith in various non-pagan circles?
Religions rarely ever comes up in conversation, but when it does I either describe myself as "Pagan", if they have some knowledge of the broader Modern Pagan movement; or "polytheist" if not.
The specifics almost never come up except in an online setting. At which point I might use "Roman reconstructionist" or "syncretic Roman pagan". But that's usually followed by a better explanation of what I believe and what I do anyway.

JupiterSkies

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2018, 11:23:50 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?

Most of the time, it doesn't come up. 

When it comes up while I'm talking with people who may become friends, it entirely depends on how I've read them. I don't like to hide the fact that I'm Pagan, and so most of the time I just say it like that.  Usually by this point, I get the nod of "Oh, duh, that makes sense," because when they think about what they already know about me, it just fits.  I'm very lucky to move in open-minded circles often.

At work, it's also depended on the person.  A few coworkers are incredibly open to the thought because of their personal experiences, so it's easy to be open about it if I think they'll keep it discreet (and they have).  Some coworkers, I've danced around it by saying it's spirituality or alternative religion.  I put my involvement with my college pagan group right on my resume and discussed it openly in my interview, so... I'd sum up by saying, I'm not obvious about it, but if someone asks, I don't mind the discussion.

Family has been shades of tough.  Dad's side, I have always been the slightly off-kilter cousin, so those that have asked, I've been straight with.  Some have understood, some have pretended to.  I don't make an issue of it, which is probably why they mostly shrug.  Mom's side... is very Christian and there's contentious threads of history involving witchcraft and a few family members.  I've done a lot of nodding and smiling here, because it's just easier to not drag demons out of the closet.

General public, I count myself fortunate to have not had a negative experience.  I know people who have received harassment for wearing a pentacle, gone so far as to have someone try to rip the pentacle off someone's neck.

The short answer: there is no stock answer, and it depends on the read of the situation in its entirety for levels of disclosure, if the subject is broached at all.
Eclectic witch - crystal, deity, animal focused work.
I write, mostly poetry.

Lykeios Lysios

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2018, 09:26:25 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've actually never had a problem with this. If someone does ask (as Morbid mentioned, I try not to bring up religion in public as it's usually frowned upon) I just answer honestly. If they seem interested I give more info, but usually "Greek polytheist" works for me. I've never had a problem making people uncomfortable. If they're going to get offended by my beliefs that is their problem and not mine.
"Man fears the darkness, and so he scrapes away at the edges of it with fire." - Rei Ayanami
"Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate." - Zhuangzi

Hariti

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2018, 02:25:26 am »
As a bonus question: how are you able to interact with those of other faiths outside of pagan spaces using that presentation?

If I'm asked directly what my religion is, I simply tell people that I'm Hindu. It gets... mixed responses, here in Kentucky, but I'm used to that. If they press me about how I became Hindu, I tell them that I was an atheist and was convinced to convert by Hare Krishna missionaries. Which is partially true, and tends to satisfy most people's curiosities. I've had a few real issues with harassment, which is why I don't go around telling people unless they ask me directly. I present myself in an unashamed and direct manner when people do ask, and if they try to cause trouble, I just walk away. If it's someone I can't walk away from easily, such as a co-worker, I just tell them to GTFO before I report them for harassment.

I generally get acceptance from most people. They might think I'm going to hell, but they keep quiet about it. Since Hinduism is a well known religion, and most people have positive (or at least don't have negative) associations with it, I don't usually get labeled as a devil worshiper. A hippie sometimes, which is rather ironic given that I have strict rules regarding drug abuse and sexuality, most of which are religiously mandated. The bible thumping types prefer to call me a idol worshiper; when I plead guilty to that charge, they usually just get flustered because "Yes, I do worship several Gods and venerate idols," isn't the response they expect to get.

Evangelicals, at least around here, are trained to scare atheists and lapsed Christians back into church. They aren't really ready for in-depth theological debate on the spot with a non-Abrahamic theist (who knows quite a bit about Abrahamic religious teaching). If I act like I am willing to talk about our religious differences without getting offended, it tends to scare them off or simply make them get angry and leave.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 02:32:08 am by EnderDragonFire »
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

The Solitary Wolf

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2018, 01:32:56 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'm fortunate enough to live in a fairly liberal area - fortunate, at least, in the sense that I'm not in any immediate danger should people pick up on the fact that I'm not Christian. There really aren't many occasions where my beliefs come up, since I prefer not to shove them in strangers' faces.

The very rare occasion where my beliefs do come up is when I'm dealing with family. Most of my family doesn't know anything about my personal life, and the few that do know very little of it, and I like to keep it that way. If I get pressed for details about my faith, I generally tell people that I'm following my own path and learning about the world and spirituality in the ways that feel most natural to me. Yeah, that's incredibly vague, but it usually gets the job done.

Only a handful of people in my personal life even know that I worship Loki, and of them, only one person knows any actual details about it.

arete

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2020, 09:02:51 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 answer ''Christian Orthodox''.
If I say ''pagan'' they will think I worship the devil.

Gwen

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2020, 10:48:00 pm »
I don't find this an issue.

I've been open and honesty about my spirituality for so long now, I don't think I'm capable of anything else.  Even when my father passed in 2013, the minister knew about me and we worked very well together to plan the funeral.  I've been extremely lucky in that most people just accept me, and yes a few turn their backs but that's ok too.  Some people ask questions because they are genuinely interested in the similarities and differences of my faith and whatever faith they are.

I am just me, and they can either accept me or not.  I still wish them well.

moongate

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2020, 08:40:44 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 grew up a Christian in a very Christian family, however, I was exposed to the religion that I would eventually follow as a relatively young child. Back then, it was said that you should never tell people what religion you follow. It was secret and hidden, much the same way people were about sex. You never spoke about either.
Having said that, I don't announce my religion, but people figure it out about me, pentagram or no.

Mercy B

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2020, 06:01:57 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 am a spiritual eclectic practitioner. I interact with other faiths by exercising tolerance, and avoiding unneccesary conflicts. I don't ask other people questions about their religion, but I occasionally have family members and busybodies who think I should go back to church. I just stick to my guns and say I'm not interested.

Rodney_Dawn

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2021, 09:02:56 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?
Fortunately I have never had to hide it.  I am very openly Hellenic pagan. 
I try to overlook the ''trolling'' behavior of intolerants (like fanatical christians).

as for how I feel about meeting others of differing religions, I feel everyone is entitled to choose their own path.  trying to ''convert'' people is a christian practice, not a Hellenic one.    I do think people should be more aware of Hellenismos, and pagan religions in general, for the simple fact that how can they truly find their path if all they are exposed to is the closedminded views of fundamentalist groups of abrahamic faiths.

Now if said other faith individual is the enlightened openminded sort that wants to know WHY I believe as I do, then yes I explain Hellenism to them as best I can, and generally in turn they reciprocate explaining their own beliefs.

Haptalaon

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2021, 09:24:00 am »
trying to ''convert'' people is a christian practice, not a Hellenic one.

It's funny, you've no idea how many times in a month I think - I'm done with this, I'm going to produce a pamphlet about how the one true god is the mythic ecstasy of the land, asking my neighbours "didn't you know the reason your life is so bad is that you no longer revere the ancestors?" and explaining that if they do not write me back and ask for a starter pack, they will be pursued by the wild hunt forever on death.

It's just. You suddenly get this blinding insight into how profoundly rude a lot of conversion-type behaviour is, when I try and imagine myself actually doing this to others with a straight face.

but I do have a draft of that pamphlet
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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #42 on: March 02, 2021, 06:44:29 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?

Well this is actually funny. I was asked this as a question when I registered for my Lap Band Surgery. I said Spiritual. I usually am very honest to people who I have known for a long time. My brother-in-law and sister are Catholic know. They aren't too accepting but deal with it. My Mom and Dad are accepting of my religion which is nice. When I talk about my religion I tell people the truth. I say that I am a Wiccan.
Anubisa

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Jenett

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Re: How do you describe your religious identity in public?
« Reply #43 on: March 02, 2021, 11:48:28 am »
Well this is actually funny. I was asked this as a question when I registered for my Lap Band Surgery. I said Spiritual.

This is a really good example of how the context matters - when a hospital wants to know, it's usually...

a) so they can make sure any religious restrictions are respected (or at least, that they ask what your preferences and priorities are). For example, if you were Jewish and kept kosher, they would need to figure out appropriate food options (given medical needs), or if you were Catholic, and having a risky surgery, they might want to see about options for the relevant sacraments.

and

b) so that if you are in a situation where you need a chaplain, they have some idea which one you'd prefer. (Most hospital chaplain training these days is pretty ecumenical, part of what they learn is to deal with people from a wide variety of religious faiths and preferences within those faiths).

But obviously, some things are best done by someone in a particular faith, or people may prefer (given a choice of a couple of chaplains) to talk to the one of X faith who's on morning shift this week, and they can make notes and schedules appropriately if someone's there for a while.

The other reason is that sometimes clergy get special visiting privileges (longer hours, more time, etc.) so if there's someone in that role for you that you'd like to have visit, and it's likely you'll be there long enough a visit makes sense (in non-pandemic times..), it can be a way to check on that.

I know a couple of Pagans who've done chaplaincy training, but of course, there's not enough density to have them focus on Pagan support much of the time, and a given hospital may not have anyone focused on staff. (I say I'm Pagan, and that if a chaplain is relevant, either someone with a UU background or someone who likes some debate with their religion will be fine.)
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