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Author Topic: I'm here to find my path  (Read 1187 times)

whiteorchid

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I'm here to find my path
« on: June 06, 2013, 03:52:08 am »
Hello, everyone,

I'm extremely grateful for having found this forum. I'm sure you guys get a lot of questions or request for help from people who are confused about their religion and, I'm afraid to say that I, too, am one of those people.
I've been born and raised in a Christian family. However, none of my family members are particularly religious people. My grandma never went to church, she only went one week before her death because she felt it was her time to leave this world, and she raised me to believe that church was full of hypocritical people and that the real faith lies within each one of us. Me and my parents only go to church on Easter night and very rarely when we feel problems piling up on us. But we do pray, and we believe in the God we were raised to believe in, only not in the church. There are a lot of things about Christianity that i do not agree with. Mainly the fact that it encourages people to stay stupid, to not question anything the Bible teaches them, to live in poverty and not seek the richness in this world, to have sex only in order to give birth (which we all know no one does, not even Christians), to give to the poor with no discrimination (even though some poor people are poor because they don't try hard enough and they expect others to help them due to their conditions - don't get me wrong, I truly sympathize with those that really can't do anything about it, but not from lack of trying). I also hate that the church condemns homosexuality, even though gay people are born the way they are, so wouldn't that mean God made them this way, just like He made everyone else?

I have always been attracted to magic. I used to sing rain incantation when I was little and was always been rewarded with a little rain  also something my Grandma had taught me,-  I had an altar from the age of seven even though I rarely prayed at it, but it was my favorite place in the house. All my prayers have been answered, always. Which led me to believe divinity is real and that I have a guardian angel that is taking care of me.
But I'm confused. I want to be a witch. But on the other hand, I'm afraid of leaving the path I've been raised to believe in. Moreover, I truly believe that as long as you wish no harm on anyone, nothing you do could be wrong.

So, am I becoming a pagan? Or am I just a different sort of Christian?
Any Christians or former Christians out there that are/were here for the same reason as me?

Sorry for the long post. Nice to meet you all and cheers for spiritual harmony!

Sola Stone

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 06:35:14 am »
Quote from: whiteorchid;110851
Hello, everyone,

 
Hello and welcome! :)

First, I apologize if I'm a bit incoherent. I'm kinda tired at the moment and plan to go to bed right after I post this...

So, it sounds to me like your issue isn't so much with the spiritual side of Christianity as it is with the community and its morals. This leads me to ask you, do you need the community? There are plenty of Christians who don't go to church. If you do feel that community is important, maybe it's just that you haven't found the right one. Congregations are different from church to church even within the same sect. Maybe a bit of "church shopping" is in order?

Or maybe, just keep doing the spiritual practice at home thing. Do you have any family or friends that you'd be comfortable getting together with and holding a sort of private service with? My grandfather used to say that any gathering of people, no matter how small, that got together for the purpose of worship, was a congregation and would be a legitimate substitute for going to church. He was the sort of person who actually took time out to study the Bible, so take from that what you will.

On the subject of morals, not all Christians believe/agree with all of the things you listed. I certainly didn't when I was still a Christian, but then I'm not one any more, so maybe not the best example. However, I could probably name several people in my family (most of whom are Catholic) who would agree with at least one item on your list, if that makes you feel any better. Not everyone subscribes to the church's official stance on things, is all I'm sayin...

...Which brings me back to sects. Some of them are more liberal than others. Some don't have issues with birth control and homosexuality. Some do. Again, not all Christians are the same. Maybe most of your experiences are with more conservative Christians?

Finally, if you want to be a witch, then be a witch. If practicing magic feels right to you, then I say go for it. There are such things as Christian witches, you know. I'm afraid I can't really help you in that area though, because while I have been both a Christian and a witch, I have never been both at the same time. I'm sure there's probably someone around here who could give you a bit of advice regarding that though.

Hope this helps in some way. I'll come back and see how much sense this makes in a few hours, after I've have some sleep. :whis:
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Laveth

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 06:38:45 am »
Quote from: whiteorchid;110851
Hello, everyone,

 
Welcome. :)

RandallS

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 08:10:52 am »
Quote from: whiteorchid;110851
Hello, everyone,

Welcome to The Cauldron!

Quote
So, am I becoming a pagan? Or am I just a different sort of Christian?

That's actually up to you. I've known both Christians and Pagans who have beliefs silimar to yours. While I'm just guessing, it sounds (to me, at least) more like you are a non-practicing Christian who is interested in magic. I see nothing wrong with that. There have been lots of Christians who practice some form of magic over the last 2000 years. Many of those simply see magic as a gift from God (the Christian God, of course).
Randall
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missgraceless

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 09:49:08 am »
Quote from: whiteorchid;110851
I have always been attracted to magic...But I'm confused. I want to be a witch. But on the other hand, I'm afraid of leaving the path I've been raised to believe in. Moreover, I truly believe that as long as you wish no harm on anyone, nothing you do could be wrong.

So, am I becoming a pagan? Or am I just a different sort of Christian?
Any Christians or former Christians out there that are/were here for the same reason as me?

 
First, welcome! I'm fairly new here, too.

Second, I know how you feel. Even though my family raised me Eastern Orthodox and I went to a Catholic grammar school, I always thought there was magic in the earth and everything around me. I just didn't know what it was called until I got to high school. I found Wicca, and a lot of it made sense. But not enough to actually call myself "Wiccan." So I dropped everything that didn't work for me, and adopted new things, like the Buddhist/Daoist/Chinese Goddess of Compassion, Quan Yin. Well, She adopted me.

Don't feel like you have to stick to one religion/path. Some people will tell you that you can't pick and choose beliefs from different paths (trust me, I've heard it before from the conservative Christians), but those conservative Christians pick and choose from the Bible. I finally settled on the phrase "eclectic pagan" because it's all-encompassing and doesn't offend any specific Pagan sect/path.

Quote from: Sola Stone;110853
Finally, if you want to be a witch, then be a witch. If practicing magic feels right to you, then I say go for it.

 
Sola Stone's got a point. I don't practice magic horribly often, but when I do, results are subtle, but there. I call myself a witch (although I'm not ashamed to admit that I mostly do it to piss of the conservative Christians). I've got a corner of my altar set up for a protection spell while one of my friends is overseas. I have a shrine to Quan Yin that I pray/talk to at least daily. If a specific deity shows hirself to you, embrace it. If not, that's fine too.
The best part about Paganism is that there are very few specifics. Sure, you've got rules among the different sects, but if you want to believe in the Abrahamic God and Buddha at the same time, no one's going to (seriously) bother you. At least not among the Pagan community.

Sorry for my rambling, but I hope it helped. :)
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whiteorchid

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 09:56:33 am »
Quote from: Sola Stone;110853
Hello and welcome! :)

First, I apologize if I'm a bit incoherent. I'm kinda tired at the moment and plan to go to bed right after I post this...

So, it sounds to me like your issue isn't so much with the spiritual side of Christianity as it is with the community and its morals. This leads me to ask you, do you need the community? There are plenty of Christians who don't go to church. If you do feel that community is important, maybe it's just that you haven't found the right one. Congregations are different from church to church even within the same sect. Maybe a bit of "church shopping" is in order?

Or maybe, just keep doing the spiritual practice at home thing. Do you have any family or friends that you'd be comfortable getting together with and holding a sort of private service with? My grandfather used to say that any gathering of people, no matter how small, that got together for the purpose of worship, was a congregation and would be a legitimate substitute for going to church. He was the sort of person who actually took time out to study the Bible, so take from that what you will.

On the subject of morals, not all Christians believe/agree with all of the things you listed. I certainly didn't when I was still a Christian, but then I'm not one any more, so maybe not the best example. However, I could probably name several people in my family (most of whom are Catholic) who would agree with at least one item on your list, if that makes you feel any better. Not everyone subscribes to the church's official stance on things, is all I'm sayin...

...Which brings me back to sects. Some of them are more liberal than others. Some don't have issues with birth control and homosexuality. Some do. Again, not all Christians are the same. Maybe most of your experiences are with more conservative Christians?

Finally, if you want to be a witch, then be a witch. If practicing magic feels right to you, then I say go for it. There are such things as Christian witches, you know. I'm afraid I can't really help you in that area though, because while I have been both a Christian and a witch, I have never been both at the same time. I'm sure there's probably someone around here who could give you a bit of advice regarding that though.

Hope this helps in some way. I'll come back and see how much sense this makes in a few hours, after I've have some sleep. :whis:

 
Hello, SolaStone, thank you for welcoming me.

Nope, I don't crave the community. I'm a loner and I don't really enjoy praying. mainly because the Christian prayers don't make me feel comfortable. there are only three or four which I like to read when I'm completely alone and I feel the need to reach out to divinity.
What I'm confused about is that Christianity is all black and white. If you don't adhere to all beliefs promoted by the Bible, that is supposed to be the word of God, then you don't really qualify as a Christian, at least not according to those who practice it. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way, though.
Thank you for your advice!

whiteorchid

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 10:00:56 am »
Quote from: RandallS;110857
Welcome to The Cauldron!



That's actually up to you. I've known both Christians and Pagans who have beliefs silimar to yours. While I'm just guessing, it sounds (to me, at least) more like you are a non-practicing Christian who is interested in magic. I see nothing wrong with that. There have been lots of Christians who practice some form of magic over the last 2000 years. Many of those simply see magic as a gift from God (the Christian God, of course).

 
Thank you for the welcome, Laveth and RandallS. RandallS, your message is real comforting.
I felt guilty for a lot of time for being interested in the Craft, that according to Christian beliefs is the biggest sin, but after reading much on the subject I see there are a lot of people who crave getting in touch with their spiritual power and it's not, like Christian preachers say, for the sake of having material accomplishments, but because they need to feel divinity in their lives on a more intimate level.  Seeing that you guys agree with me makes me think I'm doing a right choice.

whiteorchid

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 10:08:56 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;110864
First, welcome! I'm fairly new here, too.

Second, I know how you feel. Even though my family raised me Eastern Orthodox and I went to a Catholic grammar school, I always thought there was magic in the earth and everything around me. I just didn't know what it was called until I got to high school. I found Wicca, and a lot of it made sense. But not enough to actually call myself "Wiccan." So I dropped everything that didn't work for me, and adopted new things, like the Buddhist/Daoist/Chinese Goddess of Compassion, Quan Yin. Well, She adopted me.

Don't feel like you have to stick to one religion/path. Some people will tell you that you can't pick and choose beliefs from different paths (trust me, I've heard it before from the conservative Christians), but those conservative Christians pick and choose from the Bible. I finally settled on the phrase "eclectic pagan" because it's all-encompassing and doesn't offend any specific Pagan sect/path.


 
Sola Stone's got a point. I don't practice magic horribly often, but when I do, results are subtle, but there. I call myself a witch (although I'm not ashamed to admit that I mostly do it to piss of the conservative Christians). I've got a corner of my altar set up for a protection spell while one of my friends is overseas. I have a shrine to Quan Yin that I pray/talk to at least daily. If a specific deity shows hirself to you, embrace it. If not, that's fine too.
The best part about Paganism is that there are very few specifics. Sure, you've got rules among the different sects, but if you want to believe in the Abrahamic God and Buddha at the same time, no one's going to (seriously) bother you. At least not among the Pagan community.

Sorry for my rambling, but I hope it helped. :)

 
Nice to meet you, missgraceless.

I also feel very attracted by the Wicca religion right now because of their beliefs. Your message truly helped. May I ask how did your Goddess showed herself to you?
I know in my religion there are three divine figures that speak to me - the Holy Spirit,  Virgin Mary and the guardian angel (I'm sure I have one and I can feel him/her by my side at times).

missgraceless

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 11:57:10 am »
Quote from: whiteorchid;110868
Nice to meet you, missgraceless.

I also feel very attracted by the Wicca religion right now because of their beliefs. Your message truly helped. May I ask how did your Goddess showed herself to you?
I know in my religion there are three divine figures that speak to me - the Holy Spirit,  Virgin Mary and the guardian angel (I'm sure I have one and I can feel him/her by my side at times).

 
I'm Sasha. :) Glad to know I could be of help.

And I included the link to the thread I started about my relationship with Quan Yin, but I'll post in again here.
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Sola Stone

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 11:47:06 pm »
Quote from: whiteorchid;110865
Hello, SolaStone, thank you for welcoming me.

Nope, I don't crave the community. I'm a loner and I don't really enjoy praying. mainly because the Christian prayers don't make me feel comfortable. there are only three or four which I like to read when I'm completely alone and I feel the need to reach out to divinity.
What I'm confused about is that Christianity is all black and white. If you don't adhere to all beliefs promoted by the Bible, that is supposed to be the word of God, then you don't really qualify as a Christian, at least not according to those who practice it. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way, though.
Thank you for your advice!


You're welcome! I'm happy if I've been of help. You can just call me Sola, btw.
 
I understand about the community thing. I have lonerish tendencies myself. By Christian prayers I assume you mean the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, the Creeds, etc.? You could always make up your own if you don't like preexisting prayers, or go for the more informal conversation-like prayers.

Christianity is very fond of the whole good vs. evil thing. It's easier than addressing the shades of grey, I suppose. Historically speaking, it was probably preferable for priests and the like to have so many rules to give the peasants to keep them under control... The problem is that the Bible itself is contradictory. One of the most famous examples being the "eye for an eye"/"turn the other cheek" one. Which is the right thing to do? Your guess is as good as mine. It's important to remember, as well, that while the Bible is, as you say, supposed to be the word of God, it was physically written by man. Several different men, in fact. Then it was translated into different languages and edited by the Church. There were a lot of cooks in that kitchen, and the result is about what you would expect...

Point is, most of the people that say you aren't a Christian if you don't believe everything in the Bible, probably haven't read the entire thing themselves. They depend on priests and pastors and other church officials to tell them the good bits. As for the ones that have read it, well, I recommend not taking everything in the Bible as a hard and fast, set in stone, "this is what God wants", lesson, for the aforementioned reasons, and because the Bible also promotes incest and other things that are considered "not ok" in this day and age.

Anyway, do you really care what other people think? I mean, I was taught that, in order to be a Christian, you had to believe in God and accept Jesus as your savior, and the rest was between you and God. I think that as long as you feel like you are a Christian, no one has the right to tell you that you aren't. Again, that's between you and God.

Of course, no one said you couldn't be Pagan too. I know I've been talking a lot about Christianity. I don't want it to seem as if I'm discouraging you from looking into Paganism. It's like Randall said, whether you're a Christian or a Pagan or a Christian Pagan, it's all up to you, in the end.
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whiteorchid

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2013, 02:15:03 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;110876
I'm Sasha. :) Glad to know I could be of help.

And I included the link to the thread I started about my relationship with Quan Yin, but I'll post in again here.

 
Sorry, Sasha, somehow I missed the link before. That's a very interesting experience you've been though.

whiteorchid

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2013, 02:22:12 am »
Quote from: Sola Stone;110920
You're welcome! I'm happy if I've been of help. You can just call me Sola, btw.
 
I understand about the community thing. I have lonerish tendencies myself. By Christian prayers I assume you mean the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, the Creeds, etc.? You could always make up your own if you don't like preexisting prayers, or go for the more informal conversation-like prayers.

Christianity is very fond of the whole good vs. evil thing. It's easier than addressing the shades of grey, I suppose. Historically speaking, it was probably preferable for priests and the like to have so many rules to give the peasants to keep them under control... The problem is that the Bible itself is contradictory. One of the most famous examples being the "eye for an eye"/"turn the other cheek" one. Which is the right thing to do? Your guess is as good as mine. It's important to remember, as well, that while the Bible is, as you say, supposed to be the word of God, it was physically written by man. Several different men, in fact. Then it was translated into different languages and edited by the Church. There were a lot of cooks in that kitchen, and the result is about what you would expect...

Point is, most of the people that say you aren't a Christian if you don't believe everything in the Bible, probably haven't read the entire thing themselves. They depend on priests and pastors and other church officials to tell them the good bits. As for the ones that have read it, well, I recommend not taking everything in the Bible as a hard and fast, set in stone, "this is what God wants", lesson, for the aforementioned reasons, and because the Bible also promotes incest and other things that are considered "not ok" in this day and age.

Anyway, do you really care what other people think? I mean, I was taught that, in order to be a Christian, you had to believe in God and accept Jesus as your savior, and the rest was between you and God. I think that as long as you feel like you are a Christian, no one has the right to tell you that you aren't. Again, that's between you and God.

Of course, no one said you couldn't be Pagan too. I know I've been talking a lot about Christianity. I don't want it to seem as if I'm discouraging you from looking into Paganism. It's like Randall said, whether you're a Christian or a Pagan or a Christian Pagan, it's all up to you, in the end.

 
Very good argument! You're right about the Bible and I indeed don't care what others might think. I guess, on a subconscious level, I'm scared God won't love me anymore if I don't listen to the Christian beliefs. That is the only thing that is holding me back. The change doesn't come easy, but I'm getting there. I feel that I've fought against my inner power for too long and it's time to make peace with it.
thanks you for the wonderful advice, Sola *hug*

EclecticWheel

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Re: I'm here to find my path
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2013, 07:34:52 pm »
Quote from: whiteorchid;110923
Very good argument! You're right about the Bible and I indeed don't care what others might think. I guess, on a subconscious level, I'm scared God won't love me anymore if I don't listen to the Christian beliefs. That is the only thing that is holding me back. The change doesn't come easy, but I'm getting there. I feel that I've fought against my inner power for too long and it's time to make peace with it.
thanks you for the wonderful advice, Sola *hug*

 
I agree with the advice given in this thread.  Your path really comes down to what helps you progress spiritually, something that will really make you grow.  As it is often put on this forum, do what works for you.

Part of your issue with the Christian side of thing stems from a fundamentalist view of the Bible, that is, reading the Bible in a very literal way.  You should know that fundamentalism and its obsession with literal interpretation of the scriptures is an exaggerated development in Christianity and a modern one, too.  Of course, it's totally legitimate for religions to change over time, but I think fundamentalism has been a harmful development.

For a fresh perspective on the Bible I would recommend Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally, by Marcus Borg and Jesus for the Non-Religious, by John Shelby Spong.  Marcus Borg is a lay Episcopal theologian.  The Right Reverend Spong is a retired Episcopal bishop.  There are other books, too, written by Christians of other denominations, but I am familiar with these two as an Episcopalian, a denomination that is not very black and white at all.

I think this kind of reading will help you on the biblical issues you might have.  On the neo-pagan side, you might be interested in ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path, by Joyce Higginbotham.  I really like this last book because it contains interviews and descriptions of people on several different paths.  Some of them identify as Christopagan or neo-pagan in some way, others practice more than one traditional religion in parallel without mixing the traditions (for example, Buddhism and Catholicism), and others who don't fit into a neat little box.

I would recommend learning about other religions, old and new.  It might help you get beyond the black and white mindset you may have been taught.

Again, I think the other advice on this thread has been pretty good.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

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