Posted by: aediculaantinoi | November 3, 2013

Good Luck To ‘im…

There’s a whole load of things I’d like to write about, and I’m having trouble choosing one that I think I can get done in the time I have at present. With any luck, all will be addressed as the weeks of November process onwards, but today’s still a bit of a question mark…So, I’ll go with this one.

Various people have written about Teo Bishop’s “revelation” (so to speak!) on The Wild Hunt yesterday.

I’m sure many modern pagans and polytheists are upset at this. I personally have no love for nearly all forms of institutional Christianity, and I think that monotheism is one of the most destructive and insidious notions that has ever occurred in human history.

However, in Teo’s case, I wish him well, and I think this may actually be a really good thing. I say that not because I like Teo (although I do, and have enjoyed speaking with him on the occasions where we’ve been able to), but because I think getting to Jesus through paganism might actually be a “right way ’round” sort of maneuver that is to be encouraged–and I say this in all seriousness.

While not all pagans and polytheists agree on this, I don’t really have a problem with the figure of Jesus; I personally don’t think he existed historically as he is portrayed in the Christian writings about him, nor do I think he need have existed on the earth at all, but I do affirm that some spiritual being that goes by that name does, indeed, exist, and isn’t necessarily what people say he is. (The same is true of his ostensible father, Iao Sabaoth, even though nearly everything Christians have said about that god is false.) One can accept the reality of a particular divine being without accepting what the purported followers of that being espouse in their theologies. In fact, that methodology is so common amongst pagans that it is second-nature to us. I can’t tell you how many pagans have said over the years that such-and-such deity is “more than” or “different than” or “has evolved from” what was said of them in the past, often by their actual devotees and people who had interacted with said deity to whatever extent in the past. If we do this all the time for Isis and Loki and Shiva and Kali and Amaterasu-Omikami and Brigit and Antinous, then why not for Jesus, too?

So, Teo has indicated that what may result from all of this is a kind of blended religious practice, a Christo-Paganism as many have called it previously. I don’t have a problem with this, as long as it doesn’t end up being monotheistic or monistic, and subordinating all other deities to the “One God” of Christianity. There is nothing which says that the Christo-Paganism of any given person needs to accept a monotheistic theology, or to prioritize Christian views on any given subject. (Indeed, the prevailing Christian thoughts on queerness of various sorts are nothing to emulate or admire, for starters.) Thank all the gods that there is no such thing as the Christo-Pagan pope, and that people can take that particular path as experientially as they wish to, and can avoid the worst excesses of creedalism in doing so. Getting to a religious viewpoint that has Jesus as an important part of its practice from the viewpoint of paganism or polytheism is a good thing, I think, because even knowing that there is as much diversity amongst divinity as there is before evaluating Jesus within such frameworks gives a lot more options and a great deal more freedom to those theological viewpoints than has been the case with almost all of modern Christianity, and that has to be construed as a positive step, I think.

Thus, I wish Teo, with all sincerity, the very best of luck with whatever comes in the future on his path. You shall always be welcome under my roof and at my table, wherever it may be!


Responses

  1. I haven’t read what you are speaking of yet, but I do like and agree with what you have stated. I personally believe that many around the world worship the same deities, just via different names. I do have some difficulties with the manner in which the worship of the Christian God has evolved, and in turn stomped upon the deities of others, but really I think the blame lay in the followers and their manipulation and manipulations.

    I don’t worship any deities myself, but I do show respect. I do think they existed and in some cases still do. Be they from a different dimension or planet, or maybe some form of energy we don’t understand. My mind will not allow me the belief of one without believing in others. Both because of what I have read in research, but also just in a more analytical logic based viewpoint. So while instinctively an objection to such a viewpoint as a Christo-Paganism might rise within me, I too think it could be a positive thing if it enabled an acceptability and open mindedness to more than the very one sided viewpoint that so often exist in monotheism. Not that others are any better in many cases. An open mindedness to more than we personally believe seems to come with difficulty to humans unfortunately.

    This could certainly be the start to something beautiful though. After all, not everyone is born into a family whose belief is of a poly nature. I went the path of Catholic, athiest, Wiccan, a confused blend of Wiccan and Buddhism with a strong dash of some Egyptian, South American, and druidic spice thrown in for measure, to where I am today. A world where no one is thumping their chest declaring one God/Goddess better than the other could be a beautiful thing. Spreading a lot more love couldn’t hurt.

    The last week had me busy because of the time. This was an interesting post to return to. Thank you.

  2. After reading your other posts I hoped over to read the one you speak of here. I didn’t read the comments. I do not know the man, but the way he expressed what he is feeling was quite positive, I think. He’s not denying what is calling him at this time, what is in his heart. Nor is he hiding it, which would have been much easier. He didn’t raise a “follow me” banner. And in fact appeared grateful for what his beliefs have taught him thus far and to the goddess who touched him.

    These times they are a changing. I think many times in the past people would return to the fold, so to speak, out of fear and a need of acceptance. Not always, but often enough. It likely still happens today as well. But maybe sometimes there is a purpose to the madness, as it were. Imagine the shift in the world that would occur if Christians did start acknowledging other deities. If other religions did as well. The very act of trying to understand would be such a massive shift in and of itself. Such peace. Such love. I wish him great success in combining the worlds he walks in.

    And now it’s time to see what dreams await me.

  3. On the issue of Christo-paganism and wishing Bishop well, in general, I’m with you, even though I’m highly unhappy with the idea of him remaining on staff at other pagan blogs, at least until time has told whether this will be something he feels is syncretic with paganism, or not. But as an actual liberal degenerate, that makes sense as the cause for my unhappiness is other people, and those who need to heal before taking in a new Christian’s conversion narrative objectively.

    • There is that: if he hasn’t officially raised the flag of being a Christo-Pagan at this point, then there isn’t really much call for him to be on the (paid, as at The Wild Hunt) writing staff of pagan blogs (and, unlike some of us, I don’t think he needs the money that badly!). But, if the management of said blogs are all right with him still being there, who am I to question it? It’s their forum, they can do what they want with it and let whomever they wish be on their writing staff.

  4. Thank you for this. I appreciate your kindness and understanding, and your willingness to truly read what I wrote.

    I would love to sit at your table someday and raise a cup in honor of Those who we honor.

    May it be so.

    • Indeed–thank you for all you’ve done (I enjoyed your interview in Witches & Pagans!), and I do hope that your journeys are very fruitful, and that you do feel free to stop by here whenever you like, and that we shall see each other in person in the future as well!

  5. I wish him well, as well. It’ll be refreshing to have a Pagan to Christian conversion story that doesn’t involve born again Christians who are deeply ashamed of their Pagan origins and do whatever they can to demonize them – oft literally! I can have a hearty respect for a Christianity that is seen through pagan eyes, experienced in a pagan context.

    • Wasn’t there a “big reveal” about five years or so ago, which apparently few people paid attention to, where some of the “former witch/pagan, now Born Again Christian” folks admitted it was an act devised by some preachers who hired them at the height of the “Satanic Panic” during the 1980s? I seem to remember that this was a follow-up maybe a couple months after the relatively big story, where the (now adult) kids who essentially started some of that panic finally admitted they were coerced into saying it.

      • I don’t think I heard about that, no. Wish that would’ve made bigger news!


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