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A Message for My Christian Visitors
Who do you listen to? Whose words are more important to you: those of your Jesus, or those who speak from your pulpits?
In speaking to you, I will have to use concepts that you hold to be true, but which I and many other pagans do not find in our belief systems, such as the concepts of "heaven" and "hell", in order to aid understanding.
There are many Christians, indeed, perhaps most, who believe that anyone who is not Christian is doomed to hell. Looked at from this perspective, any decent person who believed that would feel it necessary to try to save as many people from that as possible. Quite understandable. But is that belief correct? Your Jesus Christ, seeing the faith and righteousness of a Roman centurion, a Pagan, said: "Assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:10-12)
If you accept those words as true, then heaven will contain many who are not Christians, and hell will contain many who are. In many places in the New Testament, your Jesus sets forth the criteria for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and they include love, kindness, forgiveness, and a refusal to judge others: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15) "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Matthew 7:2) "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.'" (Matthew 9:13) "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:36-38) You believe all these things, right? So will calling yourself Christian save you if you ignore them?
Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 7:21) As one of your own said, "Yet it is not by good works that we earn our way into heaven, because there is no way we can earn the free gift of God's mercy and grace, which alone can save us. But it is clear that it is not by faith, in the sense of sharing the Christian faith, that we are saved, either. The faith which saves us is not faith in the goodness of our works, nor faith that we have the right theology and/or belong to the right church. Rather, it is faith in God, and in His mercy:" He then goes on to quote: " So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy." (Romans 9:16)"
Those who call pagans Satan-worshipers are entirely wrong. We don't worship Satan, or even believe that Satan or any other devil-figure or embodiment of evil exists. Some of us worship a Goddess and a God. Of those who do, some see them as autonomous, others see them as manifestations of a "great All" which is also most often called Goddess. A feminine view of deity due to the genetive principle of procreation.
Problem is, we have different concepts as to what "God" is. The Christian God is an entity seperate from all others. Well, some pagans have the same view of their ultimate deity, but many others of us don't. Some of us believe in an all-inclusive ALL, of which the gods, spirits - everything that exists - is a part. In other words, that God/dess is immanent. Not "out there", somewhere, but here. That the universe - every galaxy, sun, planet, moon, I, you, every animal, stick, stone, insect, particle, energy wave, etc. is both an individual entity and God/dess. A rather difficult concept for many to stretch their minds around.
If you're still with me, I'll try to explain this. You have the concept that God created the world and everything on it, right? What did He make it from?
My former order, Trefn Gwyddoniad, has a similar story, but it's on more than one level. On the religious level is the mythos. In the beginning was Kerridwen the Great (a name for the ultimate deity). She is all that existed. Similar to your view of your god so far, yes? Well hold on, 'cause from here on the ride might get a bit bumpy. So She takes on two aspects, being the Manifest and the Unmanifest. And they take on yet more aspects, creating time and matter. Harking back to the beginning of this tale, all that existed was Kerridwen the Great - remember? So the matter was necessarily of Her. And from that matter everything that is, was created. So everything that is, is Her. But we are also individual entities. Please keep in mind that this creation mythos belongs to only one small order of pagans. It is not held by any others that I'm aware of.
Oh, yes. I mentioned more than one level, didn't I? Well, there's the mythos, and then there's the interpretation. "In the beginning was the All. And through some as-yet unexplained process there was a shift in the cosmos, creating a dichotomy of matter and energy on the one hand, and pure undifferentiated potential on the other..." That's right; a religiously scientific, or scientifically religious view of the universe. But they, I, and others like us are rather in the minority in that. However, the idea of the gods being aspects of the Goddess is a rather more widely-held belief; albeit one with many variations.
For those of you who are unable to simply stand on your God's word, and must prove to yourselves the truth of what it proclaims, your Apostle John has given you the method for doing so. Just attend any public pagan ceremony, and test the spirits which are there to see "whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). You will find that the power there is NOT evil.
Now, some of you will want to quote yet other verses in your Bible. But ask yourself this: Do these other passages agree with the words of your Jesus? The most notorious passage used against pagans is the infamous "Thou shalt not allow a witch to live." Firstly, not all pagans are witches. Secondly, this passage is found only in the King James version of your Bible and those versions based off of it (most of the "plain English" versions). The original passage, found in the translations from Hebrew and Greek versions, is "Thou shalt not allow a (evil) sorceress to live." But don't take my word for it - look it up for yourselves. Here's one source.
Pagans have been terribly slandered by a great many who call themselves Christians. They have lost jobs, and homes, and places of business because you have assured others that we worship Satan, which we do not. Pagans have been beaten, had their property vandalized and even been shot at. You have persecuted many. Your Jesus said, "Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40)
So who will you listen to - the words of your Jesus, or those who speak hatred, fear and intolerance?
Since writing the above, I have found that the Bible is a very versatile book. With it, you can prove just about any point you wish to prove, as has been documented in the following links.
Interested if there's a place in Christianity for practicing magic or a place in Wicca/paganism for Christian beliefs? There are people who think so, so I offer the URL's of some of them.
Christian "Witchcraft" Sites:
More sites of interest:
The "Holey" Bible - Contradictions & fallacies in the Holy Bible
Contradiction in the Bible
the Bible and Biblical Problems
A List of Biblical Contradictions
And a book, as well: "Deceptions and Myths of the Bible" by Lloyd M. Graham