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Author Topic: Hostility to Christianity  (Read 13355 times)

Zephyrine

Hostility to Christianity
« on: December 01, 2015, 09:47:11 pm »
I'm just wondering if some of the occasional Pagan hostility toward Christianity was more a matter of the Christianity that people grew up with and not Christianity itself.

I grew up in the United Church of Canada. It is LGBT friendly (the current moderator is a lesbian and her predecessor was a gay man), divorce, sex outside marriage and remarriage were OK, social justice was a big deal, God was all-loving and sin was never, ever mentioned. The Christianity I knew was friendly if somewhat gutless. The idea of a judgmental, patriarchal god is completely foreign to my experience.

I feel Pagans can sometimes be very hard on and make blanket statements about Christianity, while Buddhism and Judaism get something of a free pass.

Scales

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 10:38:59 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183083


 
To keep it short, I'll say yes. There are different degrees of it, though, I'd say these are probably the most noticeable:

- People who had abusive religious experiences (with their family, church or school)

- People who had fundamentalist (to some degree) churches (/family/school), which if not abusive still had a firm doctrine based on guilt/shame and forbaying things, and can't picture Christianity as anything else (just as much as their kind of Christianity is foreign and hard to comprehend to me)

And last, more common, also less scary:
- People (mostly young ones) who had a more casually religious upbringing that nonetheless had hangups over sex, not going to church, etc, thereby limiting that person's freedom and causing resentment (and even if paganism itself isn't 'acting out,' this often leads to them loudly disparaging christianity in pagan circles, since they know they won't be 'in trouble'

In all of these, even if they know other organized religions (especially Abrahamic ones) are similar, they're reacting more to their experiences with the church than its exact doctrines and usual interpretations, so stuff like Judaism gets waved aside because despite sharing the Old Testament, they aren't the people that caused said person pain.

Of course, I can't actually speak for people. This is the pattern I see, but I could be misinterpreting.

Faemon

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2015, 12:26:58 am »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183083
I'm just wondering if some of the occasional Pagan hostility toward Christianity was more a matter of the Christianity that people grew up with and not Christianity itself.


But who's to say that "the Christianity that (someone) grew up with" is not "Christianity itself"? The same statement could be turned around, and your tolerant and friendly experience with Christianity dismissed as, oh, it's just what you grew up with and not "Christianity itself".

Quote
I feel Pagans can sometimes be very hard on and make blanket statements about Christianity, while Buddhism and Judaism get something of a free pass.


Or this. I could say, "It could just be the pagans that you've met, not the pagan community itself."

If someone's been abused by another person who then couched their justification in terms of religion, and the practice had no evident self-correcting process, or evidently enabled or perpetuated that abuse, and therefore the victim couldn't reclaim the faith on its own terms but just noped out of it all...I just think that complaining would be part of that process. It's probably true that there are religious abusers everywhere, and if Rohingya Muslims' persecution by (not of) Buddhists gets mentioned less often or loudly in pagan communities, there would be several angles to numerous reasons why that would be.
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2015, 10:33:15 am »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183083
I'm just wondering if some of the occasional Pagan hostility toward Christianity was more a matter of the Christianity that people grew up with and not Christianity itself.

I grew up in the United Church of Canada. It is LGBT friendly (the current moderator is a lesbian and her predecessor was a gay man), divorce, sex outside marriage and remarriage were OK, social justice was a big deal, God was all-loving and sin was never, ever mentioned. The Christianity I knew was friendly if somewhat gutless. The idea of a judgmental, patriarchal god is completely foreign to my experience.

I feel Pagans can sometimes be very hard on and make blanket statements about Christianity, while Buddhism and Judaism get something of a free pass.


Your experiences sounds similar to mine.
I do not harbour any hostility towards the Lutheran environments in which I found myself, before leaving C of S, and becoming Pagan.

The best aspects of Lutheranism was (and is, I guess) the international relief aid (constructing wells and irrigation, reading classes, medical aid) many Lutherans engage in by donations and work abroad.

The stereotypical Christian strawman some Pagans ruminate about, does not apply to Lutheranism: The Church is very much into environmental concerns, there is women clergy since 1960, the attitudes towards LGBT persons are generally positive (with a few exceptions in the countryside), same sex unions were introduced in the 1990's and same sex marriage in the 00's.

My critique of Lutheranism is rather, that it is intellectually shallow, and that it is unable to decide which stance it will take towards domestic social issues, the practice of contemplation and the practice of ritual. Friendly, welcoming and superficial is the description I would use about Lutheranism. Coffee is more important than the Eucharist,  entertainment is more important than helping beggars at the shopping mall and arranging meditation groups. The quarrels between those who view the Eucharist as entertainment with a boring sermon, and those who actually regard it as performance of a sacred mystery of a dying and rising god, are very tiresome.

Better sacrifice to the lares, penates and genii at home, and meditate at home, but there's no need to depict the Christians worse than they actually are. Some are rather nice.

DemeterDelusion

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2015, 01:31:48 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;183101
Your experiences sounds similar to mine.
I do not harbour any hostility towards the Lutheran environments in which I found myself, before leaving C of S, and becoming Pagan.

The best aspects of Lutheranism was (and is, I guess) the international relief aid (constructing wells and irrigation, reading classes, medical aid) many Lutherans engage in by donations and work abroad.

The stereotypical Christian strawman some Pagans ruminate about, does not apply to Lutheranism: The Church is very much into environmental concerns, there is women clergy since 1960, the attitudes towards LGBT persons are generally positive (with a few exceptions in the countryside), same sex unions were introduced in the 1990's and same sex marriage in the 00's.

My critique of Lutheranism is rather, that it is intellectually shallow, and that it is unable to decide which stance it will take towards domestic social issues, the practice of contemplation and the practice of ritual. Friendly, welcoming and superficial is the description I would use about Lutheranism. Coffee is more important than the Eucharist,  entertainment is more important than helping beggars at the shopping mall and arranging meditation groups. The quarrels between those who view the Eucharist as entertainment with a boring sermon, and those who actually regard it as performance of a sacred mystery of a dying and rising god, are very tiresome.

Better sacrifice to the lares, penates and genii at home, and meditate at home, but there's no need to depict the Christians worse than they actually are. Some are rather nice.
As a former Lutheran, I feel compelled to note that there are several branches of Lutheranism that take incredibly different stances from one another. I believe there's three major bodies in the United States, at least.

Some Lutheran churches I've attended are indeed exactly as you describe: more like a social club than a church, but extremely accepting of all types. Others have had extremely old fashioned views about morality, tradition, and the like. F'ex, the WELS church I was baptized at (and attended their private school for a short time) does NOT allow female clergy members, is generally anti-LGBT, and is very vocal about being the seriousness of the scripture. Meanwhile, the church I attended immediately afterwards after moving out of state was the exact opposite. So, even within specific types of Christianity, there's a variety of experiences to be found.

The importance of aid relief work and tendency to work abroad tends to be pretty universal in Lutheranism, though, so I'll give you that.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 01:33:41 pm by DemeterDelusion »

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2015, 03:09:14 pm »
Quote from: DemeterDelusion;183102
As a former Lutheran, I feel compelled to note that there are several branches of Lutheranism that take incredibly different stances from one another. I believe there's three major bodies in the United States, at least.

Some Lutheran churches I've attended are indeed exactly as you describe: more like a social club than a church, but extremely accepting of all types. Others have had extremely old fashioned views about morality, tradition, and the like. F'ex, the WELS church I was baptized at (and attended their private school for a short time) does NOT allow female clergy members, is generally anti-LGBT, and is very vocal about being the seriousness of the scripture. Meanwhile, the church I attended immediately afterwards after moving out of state was the exact opposite. So, even within specific types of Christianity, there's a variety of experiences to be found.

The importance of aid relief work and tendency to work abroad tends to be pretty universal in Lutheranism, though, so I'll give you that.


Yes, of course. I only describe the Lutheranism two thirds of the Swedish population adhere to (many of them non-practicing).

Gigi Kiersten

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2015, 04:45:49 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183083
I'm just wondering if some of the occasional Pagan hostility toward Christianity was more a matter of the Christianity that people grew up with and not Christianity itself.

I grew up in the United Church of Canada. It is LGBT friendly (the current moderator is a lesbian and her predecessor was a gay man), divorce, sex outside marriage and remarriage were OK, social justice was a big deal, God was all-loving and sin was never, ever mentioned. The Christianity I knew was friendly if somewhat gutless. The idea of a judgmental, patriarchal god is completely foreign to my experience.

I feel Pagans can sometimes be very hard on and make blanket statements about Christianity, while Buddhism and Judaism get something of a free pass.

Honestly, I used to be hostile to Christianity as a teeanger.  Mostly because I live down in Texas, and a lot of people I went to school with used to pick on me because I was openly pagan. Although, I admit I rubbed my paganism in those people's faces just stand out. I was a jerk as a teenager and grew out of it.  I was also hostile towards Christianity because I was angry with god due to being abused as a child.

 As I grew up I came to the personal realization that every god is a just a piece of the Creator and that things, even terrible things happen for a reason.  I try very hard as an adult to not generalize Christians and other religions and beliefs. Everyone is different and religion and personalize interpretation of that religion is different for every person.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 04:47:01 pm by Gigi Kiersten »

MeadowRae

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2015, 05:23:49 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183083
I'm just wondering if some of the occasional Pagan hostility toward Christianity was more a matter of the Christianity that people grew up with and not Christianity itself.

I grew up in the United Church of Canada. It is LGBT friendly (the current moderator is a lesbian and her predecessor was a gay man), divorce, sex outside marriage and remarriage were OK, social justice was a big deal, God was all-loving and sin was never, ever mentioned. The Christianity I knew was friendly if somewhat gutless. The idea of a judgmental, patriarchal god is completely foreign to my experience.

I feel Pagans can sometimes be very hard on and make blanket statements about Christianity, while Buddhism and Judaism get something of a free pass.

 
Like previous posters have mentioned (I believe, I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth) I believe it has to do with the personal experiences of many Pagans. We have a Bible Belt, after all, not a Torah Belt, so many more people experience fundamentalist Christianity than Judaism or Buddhism. Judaism and Buddhism are also not, to my knowledge, proselytizing religions, so not many people try to convert Pagans to that religion. It is not only the norm in Christianity to attempt to convert others, in many sects it is considered a sin not to. Naturally, this causes a reaction out of people who are quite happy and fulfilled in their current faith.

I, myself, still attend church with my husband. It's a pretty progressive church and we do a lot for our community. The church I grew up in? Not so nice. I don't have any hate for Christians or Christianity, but when a group has that much power and influence, things tend to get a little out of hand. (Crusades, anyone?)

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2015, 06:01:32 pm »
Quote from: ViolaRae;183108
Judaism and Buddhism are also not, to my knowledge, proselytizing religions, so not many people try to convert Pagans to that religion.


The three largest proselytizing religions are: Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

Buddhists generally proselytize less aggressively than Evangelical Christians. Nichiren Buddhists, though, are traditionally known to proselytize in an oddly aggressive way*. It's called shakubuku. Some Pure Land Buddhists in Taiwan use pop-music and televangelism in a way very similar to American Evangelical Christians, but there are many different 'flavours' of Pure Land Buddhism, so that description does not apply to all. Pure Land milieus are nowadays very diverse.

* Which I personally feel sad for, since I think that the Lotus Sutra is one of the most fascinating Buddhist scriptures. If I wasn't Platonist, I would probably have been Buddhist.

LunaStar

Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2015, 06:13:10 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;183083
The Christianity I knew was friendly if somewhat gutless. The idea of a judgmental, patriarchal god is completely foreign to my experience.

I feel Pagans can sometimes be very hard on and make blanket statements about Christianity, while Buddhism and Judaism get something of a free pass.

 
To me Christianity will always be patriarchal because it is centered around a male god who manifested in male human form, as Jesus.  The only women you hear of are either extremely docile and obedient, virginal Mary, or women who are deemed shameful for not possessing those strict characteristics.  

Also, never in my life have I ever had someone try to convert me to their religion besides christians.  

It's great that you didn't grow up in an abusive Christian religion like many of us did.  But our apprehensiveness towards Christianity is still very valid.

Castus

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2015, 06:27:16 pm »
Quote from: LunaStar;183111
To me Christianity will always be patriarchal because it is centered around a male god who manifested in male human form, as Jesus.  The only women you hear of are either extremely docile and obedient, virginal Mary, or women who are deemed shameful for not possessing those strict characteristics.  

Also, never in my life have I ever had someone try to convert me to their religion besides christians.  

It's great that you didn't grow up in an abusive Christian religion like many of us did.  But our apprehensiveness towards Christianity is still very valid.

I should note that while God did incarnate as a man in Christian theology, it is false to say God is a "male god" insofar as things like gender simply don't apply to the divine. God is neither male nor female; but rather he is simply God. At least, that's true in any orthodox context.

As for the OP, yeah there are quite a few pagans -- especially those who grew up in conservative denominations -- who dislike paganism; which from my observation tends to stem from a liberal rebellion against certain aspects of Christian doctrine or against the conception of doctrine itself. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just is what it is.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2015, 06:31:00 pm »
Quote from: LunaStar;183111
... because it is centered around a male god

No, it isn't. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church is perfectly clear that God, in the Christian sense, is beyond gender duality, and most Lutherans and Anglicans I have met, share that theology.

The tasteless popular Christian art (baroque, for instance), that depicts God as a male with a bushy white beard, doesn't help to propagate this official view, though, and the Pentecostals I have met nurture a considerably more anthropomorphic (and gendered) view of God, than the Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans.

Nor do i recognize your depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary as docile. The Queen of Heaven/The Mother of God helping sailors, besieged cities and whatnot, can hardly be described as 'docile'. Personally, I find her similar to Cybele, Rhea and Isis. But as a critique of the Evangelical view (or non-view) of St. Mary your description is probably correct.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 06:35:53 pm by RecycledBenedict »

LunaStar

Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2015, 06:47:49 pm »
Quote from: Castus;183112
but rather he is simply God


Interestingly, you use a male pronoun to represent god.

LunaStar

Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2015, 06:51:21 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;183113
No, it isn't. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church is perfectly clear that God, in the Christian sense, is beyond gender duality, and most Lutherans and Anglicans I have met, share that theology.


Does the Roman Catholic Church allow women to have ranks within the institution that are equal to those of men?


Quote from: FraterBenedict;183113

Nor do i recognize your depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary as docile. The Queen of Heaven/The Mother of God helping sailors, besieged cities and whatnot, can hardly be described as 'docile'. Personally, I find her similar to Cybele, Rhea and Isis. But as a critique of the Evangelical view (or non-view) of St. Mary your description is probably correct.


I've never heard of Mary helping sailors, besieging cities, etc.  I'm genuinely curious.  Where can I find more information about this?

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Hostility to Christianity
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2015, 07:05:24 pm »
Quote from: LunaStar;183115
Does the Roman Catholic Church allow women to have ranks within the institution that are equal to those of men?


No. I haven't claimed it does. I have claimed that the official Catholic view is that God is beyond gender duality, and that the same view is significantly present within some other Christian communions. Those communions, by the way, allow women to have ranks within the institution that are equal to those of men. The present archbishop of Uppsala is a woman. And the present bishop of Stockholm is a lesbian.

Quote from: LunaStar;183115
I've never heard of Mary helping sailors, besieging cities, etc.  I'm genuinely curious.  Where can I find more information about this?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Charity

http://oca.org/saints/lives/1999/10/12/102948-icon-of-the-mother-of-god-jerusalem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Covadonga

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