Friday, April 25, 2008

Newbies, Christians and Heathenry

When I was a newbie to all this non-Christian lark - back in the early/mid-nineties, I used to search for any and every bit of 'proof' that Christianity was wrong and that I'd picked the right path.

I used to care what Christians thought of me and yet went around spelling the word Christian with an 'x' in a very childish attempt to show my disdain for them. Then again, at that point the word 'magic' had umpteen number of spellings and everyone's online name either included the name of a deity or the word 'Lady' or 'Lord'.

Over the years, I came to care less and less about what Christians thought of me and as the polytheistic mindset really sunk in - I was no longer threatened by the existence of the God of Abraham whereas previously I tried to find ways to prove that everyone was deluded and that he wasn't real. I developed a taste for Catholic art and at one point even considered getting a tattoo of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. I was a languages major and through my studies of Spanish and consequently Latin American culture, I grew to love the aesthetic. One Pagan housemate was shocked and disgusted. She hated my tacky plastic pictures of the Virgin Mary, she hated my Fatima pin that I used to wear on my punky jacket with the pink flames on and she definitely hated the Virgin of Guadalupe patch that I had stitched to my excessively baggy jeans for a while.

'Why the fuck do you wear/have that shit if you're a Heathen?'

'Because it's fucking cool and it's not like it means anything to me. I just like the way it looks'

She was rather new to it all and very anti-Christian and I think that is something that we all go through in the process of conversion.

People seem to think that conversion is just a matter of a ritual or just deciding but it's not. It takes years and years for that change to happen - especially if you were raised in a religious family.

My family aren't particularly. They'll show up at church for 'hatches, matches and dispatches' but other than that - they don't really see the point of churches. My father has quite a recent habit of changing his religion(one day he's announcing he's a spiritualist, the next a shaman and the next a traditional Christian!). My mother just thinks that it doesn't really matter what anyone is as long as they're good people although I would say my mother is a bit of a Pagan type but doesn't really know it yet. And my say he's completely unreligious is a bit of an understatement. Gideon bible?? Smoked it.

Yet in spite of growing up in a family that thought it was funny that they buried the last pope in a dress with shoes that didn't quite match - it was still a bit of a process to get to where I am now because I read a fair chunk of the bible, I went to church for a while (less than a year - stuck to that one, didn't I?! LOL). And really, we underestimate all the Christian stuff that exists in our society and ideas regardless of your upbringing. For example - I opted out of the Religious Education course at school but they still made us do modules entitled 'Caring, a Christian perspective' and 'Marriage,a Christian perspective' and sent us to do community service activities for good measure.

My first community service activity involved having to pull cancerous skin from a senile old lady's leg before covering it with cream.


Anyway, back to the point. It takes years for you to change and part of making that change is being rabidly anti-Christian - guess it's the only way of dealing with the cognitive dissonance. But eventually the change comes when none of it matters anymore and you go into a church service and haven't got a clue what's going on, hungover and wishing the fucker that keeps ringing the bell would fuck off. You find yourself having to have Christian concepts explained to you and you might as well be having Hinduism explained because it's just that foreign to you. Bible stories end up being 'fucked up' but highly entertaining costume dramas and you figure you might as well take the local Christians that are offering freebies for everything you can get.

There is so much Christian baggage in modern Heathenry - not that it's not to be expected or anything. But I think give it a few years, let the first generation of children born to Heathen parents come through, let folks come to terms with the conversion process or even admit that there is a process to get over it.

It's only when Heathens stop giving a shit about how they're seen or about what they're doing and how it relates to every other bugger that we'll start to become credible.

Er...yeah...not really a point to any of that but nevermind.

It's my blog and I'll post if I want to :P


Suzi said...

Hmm. As a somtimes Catholic, Heathen-ish, not really sure, the truth is out there type I agree with you.

Fucks me off mightily (especially as a student of the sciences social) that so much of our culture is dominated by a religion that the overwhelming majority of people don't actually subscribe to and which has distinctly dodgy ethics at best.

lady val said...

Love the comments about family, and the broken pope!