All In, Balls Out for Easter

It falls upon me, the resident Heathen here at PoliticusUSA, to say a few words about Easter. Why a Heathen? Because at its heart, Easter is as much a Heathen as a Christian holiday, with intertwining themes few seldom bother to try to disentangle. It’s just accepted, I guess, that a dead Jew and brightly colored eggs and bunny rabbits go together. If you’re satisfied with that, fine, go read something else. Otherwise, stick with me for a few minutes.

First, my objections: I’ve never seen so many pictures – often quite gruesome – of dead guys as at this time of the year. For a non-Christian it’s a hard-sell, Easter. We hear people around us, online, on the television, all talking about the “holiday weekend” but it isn’t really a holiday, is it? And isn’t celebrating a holiday about rebirth with images of death kinda sick? It’s almost as if some of these Christians, like a bunch of Mel Gibson wannabes, compete to see who can post the bloodiest Jesus. Yay! They nailed him to a cross! Look at all the blood! Whoopee! People pass these pictures around via social networking as though they were photos of their newborns and with the same sort of ecstatic glee. Note: this is the time of year, if you’re so inclined, to “un-friend” people because of religion, even if they are family.

And then there are the eggs. Eggs everywhere, mixed with the blood and gore, and I’m trying to figure out as a little boy what eggs and cute bunny rabbits have to do with dead saviors nailed to crosses. The cacophony of sounds and images is too much for my Heathen brain even now. It’s all as discordant as Madonna sensuously writhing while she sings about being a virgin. Not to insult anybody’s beliefs but isn’t enough, enough? I hear complaints about a war on Christian belief but how about a war on my sanity? You can’t have all my Heathenism and claim you’re celebrating a Christian holiday. I’m sorry, but you just can’t. Not without me having my say.

Look, stripped to its core you have a story about Jesus that has little or nothing to do with the historical Jewish Jesus, and a later layer of Gentile Christian belief about a Jesus who is a God and not a dead Galilean Jew, and a bunch of Heathen themes cut and pasted onto it. Easter itself, as a name, is taken from a Heathen goddess, Eostre/Ostara, whom modern Heathens still remember this time of year for reasons of spring and fertility. Jesus, manifestly has nothing to do with fertility. Neither, arguably, does his mother, since Catholics insist the woman was pure her entire life. I mean, fertility doesn’t even enter into the whole Jesus spiel. As we Scandinavian Americans say, Uff da!

So here you’ve got Jesus rising from the dead and he’s surrounded by all this Pagan imagery – the bunnies, the eggs. The bunnies stem from Ostara, for obvious reasons: they are highly fertile. Eggs are an ancient Pagan symbol of fertility and of course, life and rebirth have been tied to spring since long before Judaism or Christianity. To illustrate just how long Paganism lingered in the so-called Christian world after being repeatedly beat bloody over many centuries, the Easter Bunny did not make his appearance until the 1500s thanks to this merging of Christian and Heathen symbols and belief.

Here is what our earliest witness, the Venerable Bede, tells us about Easter in the days when Eostre was still remembered:

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated “Paschal month”, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.”

Early Christians had to pull such bunnies out of a hat to get Pagans to go to church. Of course, once you lured them with the bunny you had to whack them over the heat with the stick, but that’s another story.

What about Eostre/Ostara herself? Rudolf Simek calls Ostara a “spring-like fertility goddess” and Grimm has this to say:

OstaraEástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the christian’s God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy […]. Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing […]; here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess […].

Easter ain’t just for Jesus, kids. So this Easter Sunday, as you look at your little Heathen eggs and bunnies, remember your Gods and do them proper sacrifice. If you really want to do due justice to Easter/Eostre, be, as the song says, “all in, balls out” because that’s how a Heathen approaches life, and Easter in its Heathen manifestation is about just that: life.  Don’t let ’em fool ya: remember the fertility gospel this spring.

47 Replies to “All In, Balls Out for Easter”

  1. I came across this blog because my sister had posted it on her facebook page. Please explain to me, if you don’t believe in God or Jesus’ Resurrection, then why care that others do? If you are offended by the images of Christ, then why look, why comment? Do you really think that Christians (I am Catholic) don’t know that most of the Christian “Holidays” are intertwined with pagan/heathen themes? We are not stupid, we are not uneducated. However, it is our right to have our beliefs even if others don’t agree. So, instead of slamming others beliefs, why not write something uplifting & enlightening about your own beliefs or life in general? Surely, you must have something good to say about mankind.

  2. …”Not to insult anybody’s beliefs but isn’t enough, enough? I hear complaints about a war on Christian belief but how about a war on my sanity?”

    Enough is enough??!!! Why if that were the case, we’d all want to be Communist! Why, people would only take or use what they needed according to their needs and that of the community at large! Why, that’s crazy-talk!

    Now see what you’ve done; you’ve politicized a “holiday” and ruined the greed of others by exposing them to reality. I gotta’ go to work; my job is at a place where all the ultra-orthodox gather for Passover like lemmings and, “drop” snotty tissue on the floor as are not required to bend over and pick it up because that’s work…talk about “fertile” ground!

  3. I had a delightful little buck rabbit named Mr. Winter, who was always sacked out Easter morning. First of all, it’s truly difficult for any rabbit to lay eggs, and doubly so for a buck. Next, he had to deliver the damned things, so I always gave him a good feed of an apple (his favorite dish) that morning.

    When my dog passed away, I let him in the house with the cats. Someone must have told him little buck rabbits were supposed to chase pussy, because he was in amorous pursuit of them. He chased one little calico so much I named her Sanborne. But on a chilly night, they all huddled together. One cold January night, they all curled up next to him in front of the heater. Towards dawn, they got up and he didn’t. He had passed away at the age of eight.

    I wonder who is doing his job now…

  4. And if you do believe in those things, why do you care that others don’t? Why do you have to hunt down everyone who disagrees with you down and attempt this feeble-witted chastisement? Are you beginning to see why you aren’t liked?…

  5. Did you actually read what I wrote? You have misinterpreted what I have said. I do not care what anyone else believes I would just like to know why you (and other like you which I suppose you cannot answer for) insist on putting down those who do have beliefs. And for you information, I did not “hunt you down” as I stated my sister posted a link on her FB page & judging by the title I expected to read something politically humorous, not a religious bashing. Whether you bashed Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Jewish, my comments would remain the same. Why do you care what others personally believe? And why bash their beliefs simply because you have none? I believe it is you who feels you are disliked for your angry tirades. Personally, I am well loved by many (and yes by people of other opinions, gender, sexual orientation, nationality & religious beliefs)& have never felt this dislike that you comment of. Nothing I said was hurtful, angry or demeaning. I simply asked why you feel a certain way. I am still waiting for a proper answer not the “feeble-witted chastisement”, that you seem to prefer.

  6. Trish, one can hardly avoid the images given they are posted everywhere, sent to you, shared, etc. It’s in your face. No one, least of all me (as I said) is slamming your beliefs. I am pointing out the hypocrisy of a so-called “war on Christians” by pointing to the Heathen/Pagan underpinnings of most every Christian holiday. Look, I just want my holidays back and without Jesus interjected into each and every one of them. I have a right to my beliefs too. Whatever today’s Evangelicals say, right of belief extends to everybody.

  7. Or, on a different track, how about approaching the site with an open mind.
    I find it fun to explore all the different ways that religion has developed.
    There are times in which frustration is shown in some of the articles written by many of the bloggers on how close minded some of our more prominent political leaders seem to be (Santorum comes to mind) and that frustration is shown in these writings. What I also find is some interesting solutions or facts that fly in the face of what is supposed to be the truth from the GOP.
    I wouldn’t exactly call this blog a “liberal” site, more an open minded site with left leaning ideas that are used to demonstrate an appreciation of the middle and lower class, as well as a healthy respect or criticism of different ideas and religions.
    Look at the site in this light, and you may be able to say what you say in a less ridged view.

  8. Of course you have your right to your beliefs, that is my point EXACTLY. There are just better ways of making your point rather than exclaiming to Christians what they already know. Sometimes I feel that it is a small disgruntled few that makes things more difficult for themselves. What are your holidays? Why don’t you make it your mission to bring them back to the way you enjoy them & concentrate on that rather than opposing others.

    Also, to make a point, it is not just you and yours being bombarded with others beliefs. I am constantly deleting e-mail messages & avoiding FB posts that are offensive to me. All that I hold dear in my heart, what my life is built around is CONSTANTLY under attack. I take it quite personally, as if you were attacking one of my children, my beliefs are THAT important to me. So, I must choose carefully what I read or listen to or view. Generally, I do not get caught up in a debate such as this, there is never a positive outcome. Like I said earlier, I was expecting to read something funny here, not this. But, when my family is attacked, it is difficult for me to keep my claws sheathed.

    I just think things can be done a little more kindly and I strive for that in my daily life.

    Peace to you & yours.

  9. Trish – We care not what you or any other Christian believes. However, we do care that those beliefs are being imposed on all of us in all areas of our lives. For non-Christians, it is offensive and if we say we’re tired of having it imposed on us, Christians claim they are being attacked. It’s all perspective and if one isn’t in the club, it is an outrage. Happy Easter

  10. hahahaha that was grate, being a peagan myself i did enjoy reading that. There are other articals like this one, but this one is a bit more crude. Not the way one should debate but oh so much fun to read :)

  11. Hraf, here is a actual invitation that was sent out to people in the church!

    http://bit.ly/HVgxeR
    “HORRY COUNTY, S.C. –

    A Horry County pastor is using some shock value to try to get people to attend Easter Sunday services.

    The invite includes a picture of a dead bunny lying in the road with Easter eggs scattered around it. The invite has the text: “Bunnies stay dead, Jesus didn’t.”

    Some people who received the mailed invite didn’t appreciate it.”
    ************
    I am not “christian”! This crap is offensive and being pushed down our throats!

  12. Is it not written….you are to worship God with spirit and TRUTH.
    Seems a little hypocritical to borrow trappings of paganism, which Jesus would never have allowed when he walked this earth, and use them in their worship of him.
    I’m solid behind you on this. Its interesting that when the “real” truth is put out there, “christianity” in all of its embracement of things pagen, gets its nose out of joint.

  13. “Also, to make a point, it is not just you and yours being bombarded with others beliefs. I am constantly deleting e-mail messages & avoiding FB posts that are offensive to me. All that I hold dear in my heart, what my life is built around is CONSTANTLY under attack. I take it quite personally, as if you were attacking one of my children, my beliefs are THAT important to me. So, I must choose carefully what I read or listen to or view. Generally, I do not get caught up in a debate such as this, there is never a positive outcome. Like I said earlier, I was expecting to read something funny here, not this. But, when my family is attacked, it is difficult for me to keep my claws sheathed.

    I just think things can be done a little more kindly and I strive for that in my daily life.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Precisely. As a Pagan, I am subjected to people banging on my door, demanding to know if I’ve found their god. My elected representatives pass laws to subject my body to their religious beliefs. My tax dollars are used to relegate my beliefs to the realm of evil. BTB – you can’t be a Satanist unless you believe in the Christian devil.

    My symbol of faith (the pentagram) is routinely defiled and used as a symbol of evil. The area at the Air Force Academy set aside for my rituals was desecrated in the first few days it existed. President Bush attempted to refuse to allow me and my fellow servicepeople to have our symbol of faith on government-issued grave markers. Bill O’Reilly and others demand that Christmas be exclusively Christian and that Hallowe’en be shunned as evil.

    Parents attempt to shield their children from even knowing people like me exist.

    Try reading more, not less. A strong faith is certain of itself, unshaken by the beliefs of others. It is doubt and fear that makes us withdraw from other humans in all their diversity.

    We of other spiritual paths have contributed to our common heritage and we want a place at the American family table.

    Like Oscar Wilde said “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are on the menu.”

    The resurrection of the militant Christian dogma is frightening to those of us marked as unbelievers. We’re not attacking. We just want to be recognized as citizens and humans.

  14. She actually didn’t read what you wrote. You didn’t praise her brand of faith; therefore, you must be wrong and what you wrote must be attacked.

    I’m really tired of whiny christians complaining that their religion isn’t respected. Behave in a way that demands respect and you’ll get it. Whine and you’ll be dismissed as a child.

  15. I suppose I am a bit different. The bunnies are chocolate and the eggs are crunchy. I don’t use anyones religion to eat them, I am just thankful they show up at easter.

    On the other hand, while living in a strong part of the bible belt, Who knocks on my door? Jehovah Witness’s! Not a Baptist in the bunch thanks to a nameless god. This while I am surrounded by Baptist churches (literally)

    Easter = Money
    Xmas = Money
    Sunday = donation plate
    Coming soon, the celebration of Tony Perkins birthday = donation plate

  16. Here is how it works (or has worked for most of 2000 years): the Church dictates; the state enforces that dictate. That’s what fundamentalists want, it’s all they want, it’s what they insist upon – and it’s precisely what the U.S. Constitution forbids.

  17. A couple of comments: First, the word holiday is actually a contraction of “holy day”.

    Secondly, the Easter Bunny originated in Germany and migrated over to North America. The bunny, being especially fecund (the only mammal which can become pregnant with a second litter before giving birth to the first) was chosen as a symbol of Estros, from which the word Easter comes. Estros, of course, is the root of words such as estrogen, which the female mammal must produce in order to reproduce. And yes, it is very much pagan-related, and was adopted by the early Christians, as were most of the Christian symbols with us today.

    “the Church dictates; the state enforces that dictate. That’s what fundamentalists want, it’s all they want, it’s what they insist upon – and it’s precisely what the U.S. Constitution forbids.”

    Please, DO NOT let it happen! More and more of us are getting mighty tired of whiny so-called Christians hating us for not believing as they do.

  18. …”So, instead of slamming others beliefs, why not write something uplifting & enlightening about your own beliefs or life in general? Surely, you must have something good to say about mankind…”

    When I was in a cult, and it wasn’t a christian cult, the same exact words to the letter were used to keep the followers in line, making them feel shamed, inferior for saying or thinking “negative thoughts”…only the lowly, the unworthy “question” disagree, or say things that are not 100% positive about religion…if you’re “good” in god’s eyes, only nice things pop our of your mouth, not the truth or fact or anything contrary.

    Amazing that this old meme is still used by believers to try and stifle, stop or oppress contrary thought…

  19. Trish, almost every holiday you celebrate comes from Pagan beginnings. They were taken over by christians and their religion was inserted in. Easter, xmas and many others were originally pagan holidays

  20. Hey, great article here, informative and helps us all vent a little frustration too!

    I’m a Pagan from a Christian family, so while I celebrate Ostara all by my lonesome, I’m usually eyeball deep in Christian Easter. The way I reconcile it so I don’t go crazy is I equate the resurrection of Jesus to the rebirth of the Sun God, kind of a continuation of the celebration at Yule; the way I see it, Jesus Christ is just another face of the Sun God, regardless of what various Christians may or may not believe.

    I’m with you on the gory crucifixion pics; you’d think people would be more interested in the resurrection part of the story – after all, any old idiot can be brutally executed, it takes a God to come back to life afterwards. Yet Christians just love that blood-drenched imagery.

    Anyway, I just got back from the church where all the little ones hunted Easter eggs and talked about the baskets the Easter bunny brought them; I just smile and laugh on the inside, because it makes me happy to see the old traditions preserved, even under these false pretenses, and hopefully they will be available for future generations to better understand them.

    Meanwhile, this article brightened my day a bit. Keep your chin up! Hail Ostara!

  21. Hi Trish. There is lots of stuff that is wonderful and uplifting about Ostara. This particular article, however, is about a frustration that many Pagans share. Christians spent centuries tearing down Pagan ways of life and murdering and subjugating Pagan peoples, then they spent a few more centuries laughing at Pagan beliefs as silly, superstitious nonsense. Yet the modern Pagan must watch Christians hijack our traditions and pervert their meaning, all the while still demeaning and laughing at us. Its extremely frustrating, and this article is a reflection of that frustration. You are certainly entitled to your beliefs, but you do realize that your beliefs have nothing to do with bunnies and eggs, right? Those were ours from long ago; personally, I don’t usually mind sharing them. But it can be terribly frustrating to see them juxtaposed with a bleeding corpse nailed to a torture device; that is not what Ostara, the egg and the rabbit is about.

  22. Thanks for sharing that, crystalwolfakacaligrl. I’ve seen similar signs outside of churches, and that is in truly bad taste. It’s amazing to me that these same people can complain about atheist signs being an attack on their beliefs when they so consistently attack ours. Paganism gets the beat-down in thousands of churches all across this country every damn Sunday and yet I’m the one attacking Christianity? A sense of proportion is lacking here.

  23. I am very well aware of this, Shiva, as most Christians are. I stated such in my previous comments.

  24. I am a Christian, Crystal & I find this repugnant. It infuriates me how zealots make the rest of the Christian community look like fools. The majority of us just want to do our own thing and as do most other faith based groups. Unfortunately, a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.

  25. Rmuse, your beliefs are not my concern either. The majority of Christians just want to do their own thing. Are you are saying that if I feel attacked I should remain silent?

  26. Ahem…it’s more like 26% claim they’re evangelical Christians with 12% as traditional evangelical (Dominionst-types). 87% of the total (26%) voted for Bush and the same number against Obama. There are apx. 310 million people in this country which means about 14 million are Christian Evangelical…
    several million people are not just a “few bad apples” but a minority voting block.

  27. Yes, Skyfire. I am totally aware that my Easter has nothing to do with eggs & bunnies. lol I am 50 years old, I was raised Catholic & remain Catholic. When my children were small I left plastic eggs & chocolate bunnies for them. NEVER EVER did I let them confuse bunnies & eggs with Christ’s Resurrection, they were separate & remain separate. Chicks & baby bunnies meant springtime,when most animals have their young, which correlates with the Resurrection which is also in the spring. I do not see how one culture can own springtime, so I do not feel I am borrowing anything from anyone. If you want to worship bunnies & eggs, it makes no difference to me. Personally, I just like to eat them. You do not know me, yet you have no trouble insulting what I hold most dear, by calling my God a “bleeding corpse”. Tell me is THIS what Ostara is all about? If it is, I don’t want to learn any more about it. You wonder why we cannot get along?? At NO point in any of these comments that I have made here today, did I ridicule, insult or defame anyone’s views. But, that is my choice. Peace to you & yours.

  28. I was at a BEAUTIFUL service last night celebrating Christ’s Resurrection. There were no eggs, there were no bunnies, there were no baskets, there was no candy. (Apparently, from what I learned here today these are “exclusive” pagan items.) There was beautiful music, lovely candles, passionate biblical readings, unified prayer. Please tell me where the “trappings of paganism” were at my Mass last night?

  29. Arnt you carrying this a tad far? The celebration and the time of celebration are borrowed from pagan beginnings. The celebration of the ascension of christ is not pagan in origin. The church borrowed the time(date) of the holiday to prevent pagans from celebrating their own holidays. And mostly thanks to the church you attend. The taking of pagan holiday dates is what is being discussed here.

  30. Is it insulting to call an ace an ace? As I am sure you know, the cross is an ancient torture and execution device, and at this time of year, as the author pointed out, we are bombarded with images of a man/God (however you see it) being tortured to death. If this is part of your religion, I have nothing against it, you have the right to your religion. But so do we, at least in theory (not always in practice).

    May I ask you, why do so many Christians prefer the image of Jesus dying, to the image of Jesus rising from death? No disrespect intended, but images of Jesus being tortured to death are very gruesome, so why choose that as the preferred imagery, instead of Jesus coming out of the cave alive or Jesus rising up into heaven? I am genuinely curious.

    As for one culture ‘owning’ springtime, symbols aren’t about ownership, they are representative of ideas; flowers, baby animals, etc, these are springy images, but when you have a rabbit bringing you a basket of rainbow colored eggs in spring, you are clearly representing the idea of Ostara’s sacred rabbit:

    The legend goes that Ostara, the Saxon Goddess of the Dawn who brings the warmth of Spring, came late one year, and a sparrow, faithfully awaiting her return froze its wings off waiting in the frost. When Ostara came, she was so sorry for the faithful wingless sparrow that she saved its life by turning it into a rabbit. It became Ostara’s companion, sacred to her, and once a year, it lays rainbow colored eggs in memory of its first form and in honor of Ostara who gave it new life; traditionally, children would fill their their hats and bonnets with straw and leave them out at night, either at the equinox, or during the pink moon (the first full moon of Spring, also called the egg moon), and in the morning, they would be filled with colorful eggs and sweets, left by Ostara’s bunny.

    I’m sure you can see the direct connection – its not springtime being ‘owned’, it is some pretty specific traditions that have been assimilated. Again, I see no harm in sharing these traditions, but (and sorry if this is offensive to you, but its the truth of how I feel) it seems that most Christians do not want to share, but rather want to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to Easter – Pagans are spoken of as evil, ungrateful and hell-bound, but our traditions are fun, so they are kept for the celebration while their meaning is forgotten or twisted. Its very frustrating to many of us. That is what this article is about – not about Ostara, but about how many Pagans feel when confronted with the dichotomy of Pagan Ostara rituals assimilated into Christian holidays.

    Lastly, this certainly is not meant to be personal. I don’t know you at all, as you say, and you don’t know me. When I speak, I must speak in general, since I cannot, and would not, comment on you and your life specifically. Sorry if it came across that way, or in any way insulting, it was not intended as such. I merely try to openly and honestly communicate in order that better understanding is had by all. Blessed be. =)

  31. Trish –

    Pagans covers a lot of ground, but in general, we feel we are part of Nature, connected to everything and aware of our limited knowledge of the universe.

    We tend to try to live up to the credo of “Do no harm”: to others, to Nature and to each other.
    We also believe that we should leave things better than we found them.
    Other than that, it’s hard to find a large group of Pagans that follow the same rules.

    We tend to prefer a female deity, a Mother, rather than a Father, because women give birth to life. But the Male is equally important, because both need each other to create life. Visualizing a Goddess Mother makes it easier to see Nature as kindred life, rather than servants, and feel all things are the Mother’s children.
    Even fleas. I do kill them, but recognize the part they play in the Dance of creation and entropy. My death will play a part in someone else’s life Path. I try to make it a good and useful part.

    We try for balance between male and female, life and death, joy and sorrow. We know we don’t know.

    I highly recommend a book called “Pagans and Christians” by Gus DiZerega. He examines the strengths and weaknesses of both life paths with sympathy, and concludes that Christians and Pagans complement each other, rather than conflict.

    Balance. I like that. I wish you much joy on your spiritual path.

  32. Reasonable question, and although I am a Christian (but one that most churches wouldn’t and don’t recognize), I can give you a simple answer.

    People are tired of being persecuted by “Good Christians” and they resent the usurping of their religious symbols and practices by those same “Good Christians”. They’re staying “Enough already!”

    “Good Christians” are really bad about persecuting others and when they say “enough”, the “Good Christians” start screaming “We’re being PERSECUTED!!!”. No, you’re being told to leave well alone.

    I suggest you read around and think about what is written before jumping on the “Persecuting us poor Christians!” bandwagon. Most Christians don’t know what persecution is, and they’ve never really experienced it. Those in this country who are NOT Christian, on the other hand, have. I would also add that a lot of real Christians have also experienced persecution – at the hands of the “Good Christians” – things like pets being poisoned, arson, death threats, being fired under false pretenses (“Good Christians” have a reputation of setting people up), getting beat up or “curbed”, and so on.

    Christianity has a lot of evil to answer for. Recognizing that fact is the first step in real spiritual growth.

  33. Trish, I’m one of those other Christians and I can state categorically that very few… VERY few Christians know that most of the ceremonial aspects (and even a good part of the theology) has pagan roots. The churches don’t teach it – in fact, with a few exceptions, they teach the opposite (the more fundamentalist, the worse they are). In fact, the only place where I’ve encountered people who knew that were in the Unitarian Universalist Churches… and yes, there are UU Christians (my wife also knew it and some of my colleagues, but that’s it).

    I suggest that you get a “Red Letter” Bible and focus only on Jesus own words for at least a few months. Also, if you want some enlightenment, go to the Book of Job and read it – remembering that the most important line in the whole book is when God – the voice of authority – tells Job’s friends that they haven’t spoken truth about God as Job did. Then re-read and re-read again Job’s diatribes.

  34. Think about this, Trish.

    If I leave the sanctuary of my home and go anyplace EXCEPT school or our church, I can expect to be pushed to convert or proselytized or preached at – it happens about half of the time except for those two locations (and they’re trying to expand on the school campus). Maybe I could say ALL of the time if I count offensive signs and offensive messages on T-shirts and so on. Sometimes it’s so intrusive that it is hard to ignore.

    For years, if I went outside and a couple of my neighbors saw me, I could expect a lecture or sermon from across the fence. It was a relief for me when they learned I’d helped to teach evolution and they stopped preaching and ranting (just this last week they spoke to us for the first time in a year in a half).

    Of course, when they learned that I’d helped teach evolution, I got subjected to a several minute (like between 5 and 15 and tending on the long side) rant against Evolution and being told I wasn’t and couldn’t be a Christian if I accepted that evolution was fact. I would have walked away but was stuck with listening to their BS.

    Many of my friends have had similar experiences – my online friends maybe a little less depending on where they live.

    Many of my friends were also driven from Christianity by that sort of behavior.

    That’s not a few bad apples. That’s a real problem. In some areas (like this) the “Bad Apples” are the norm… and if you examine the political scene, they’re everywhere and trying to force their religion and practice on everyone else. They make up anywhere from 10 to maybe 35% of the American population.

    I might add that you sound very much like a “Good Christian” to me.

  35. I see no attack. Disagreement isn’t attack. Discussing the pagan roots of many Christian practices isn’t attack. Why don’t you try learning something instead of fussing?

  36. Maple hit the nail on the head with his/her comments about fundamentalists wanting the US Government to enforce Christianity as a state religion despite the fact doing so is a precise violation of the US Constitution.

    Other than a few persistent Jehovah Witnesses I have no problem with people of any faith including pagans, atheists, etc.

    What I do have a problem with is when I receive emails from Christian friends which try to insert Christianity into our Constitution. When that happens it does get my hackles up and I will fire back at them and challenge them to read the Constitution and inform me of which section, or clause, proclaims Christianity as our official religion.

  37. Trish –
    I wrote a long post on general pagan beliefs, but don’t see it posted.

    Shorter version:

    Paganism is very fluid, but generally is based on a female Mother deity, since females create life within themselves. Males are important, but not supreme. We can’t be Satanists, because that requires a belief in Christianity’s narratives.

    Mostly, we attempt to work with Nature and honor it as an equal. We know we don’t know. But we try to learn from everything. We tend to honor, rather than worship.

    Our most common rede is “Do as you will, BUT harm none,” followed by “Leave it better than you found it.”

    We don’t generally feel the need to be ‘saved’ from ourselves because the Great Mother loves us all and we all Dance together in a Great Pattern that we cannot discern. If we do harm, we expect it to boomerang on us five fold. Sometimes you have to suck it up and do harm, but you do it carefully and accept the consequences. (Hindu Karma)

    Death is as natural as birth. Broadly, many believe we rejoin the Mother to assimilate what we learned in this life and decide what we need to learn or do in our next life. (Hindu, Buddhism, et. al.)

    It is a mish mash, like all spiritual paths.
    We all have a role to play and a path to follow, each one unique. This is why it’s hard to give hard definitions.

    I highly recommend Gus DiZegera’s “Christians and Pagans.” He concludes that the two complement each other, rather than conflict.

    I encourage you not to hide from knowledge. Only a weak faith is afraid. I wish you much joy on your Path.

  38. I’ve read all the comments here and have seen no attack on you or your religion. I’ve seen polite discussion & clear, rational explanations of people’s points of view. What I have seen is your sarcastic comments in return and a complete disregard for other’s beliefs. And you still claim you are being attacked. In my opinion, as a Christian, not a Catholic, your attempts to claim, inaccurately, that you’re a victim, are sad indeed. No one here has attacked you, the only attacker has been you.

  39. Trish, if that were true (“The majority of Christians just want to do their own thing.”), why did “Good Christians” burn down my electronics workshop, why did they poison some of our kitties, block employment when I belonged to those churches (and a few times since then – maybe even in the last couple of years), try to break up our marriage (once that I know of, and twice from what my wife relates), and things like that? If they actually cared about others and valued what Jesus said, they wouldn’t do things like that. You know: “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”

    Trish, the reality is that anyone not “Good Christian” are the ones attacked, and if we complain about it we’re either told we’re attacking them (by resisting), or whiners, or something like that. Every time, EVERY TIME I hear stories of “Good Christians being persecuted”, they leave out important points… like the person who complained about being persecuted was trying to force religious observance on others (or proselytizing) and that got them fired, not because they were Christian in the first place.

    They think their religious beliefs are the cause, when it’s their actions that bring about reaction.

    As an example, in one of the local Big Box stores, a couple of the employees kept telling people “Have a Blessed, Jesus-Filled DAY!!!”. I got tired of it because I knew where they were coming from – they were trying to take over the “mountain of business” and belonged to a NAR church. I finally lodged a complaint about it and they stopped, but were raising fits about being persecuted for their faith. Nope, they were stopped because they were proselytizing and forcing their religious beliefs on others and as it turned out, violating the rules of their employer. I don’t shove my religion on others, and I don’t demand that they follow it. I expect the same from others. (They should have counted themselves lucky they kept their job.)

    I wasn’t persecuting them. I wanted them to stay out of my space even as I stayed out of theirs. I wanted them to keep their religion to themselves, rather than bringing trumpets to the street corner.

    I’m also tired of the “America: Love it or LEAVE!” t-shirts that include some sort of Religious message, the “You’re going to hell if you don’t convert to my religion” t-shirts, and so on that are even sold in Wal-Mart.

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