RealPagan- Paganism for the Real World

Paganism is about being open-minded....

Right? In my opinion, no. Well not to the extent that most seem to want to take that. Paganism does not come with the requirement that you throw your brain out the window, and I'm not sure where people get the idea that it does.

First, to claim that paganism as a whole is about tolerance and acceptance is a HUGE assumption, as paganism applies to an innumerable variety of paths. Paganism is an umbrella term most commonly described as any path that is non-Abrahamic, i.e. not Christian, Islam, or Judaism. Therefore, to assume that ALL pagan paths are about any one thing is a claim which is virtually impossible to make.

Secondly, a spiritual path should include discernment, judgement, and and a healthy dose of skepticism. If not, your path will become shallow and watered-down, and will be personally unfulfilling. How can a path be personally meaningful if it accepts every idea coming and going? If you do not use discernment on your spiritual path how can you identify the "good" choices from the "bad" ?? If you do not use judgement, how can you then make the choice that is right for you? If you are not a bit skeptical how will you stay on *your* path without being lead astray by misinformaiton and misconception? How will you keep from leading others astray in the future with the misinformation you have accumulated?

This brings me to another point..... some people *have* to be wrong. They just have to be. As much as you might not like it, not everyone can be right. Not all matters are subjective. It is an impossibility that every person you encounter will be right, many will be wrong. And that is OK. It's ok that they are wrong, and it's ok for you to call them on it. A good deal of the time being wrong is how we learn. Calling someone on how and/or why they are wrong might help them to grow. They will either realize their error and correct it, growing in their path OR they will continue in their willful ignorance and there is nothing you can do. The ones that choose the first will be surprisingly grateful for your help.

In addition, it is ok for YOU to be wrong and it is ok for people to call you on it. When someone tells you that an idea or concept you have is wrong, they are not invalidating your personal path. Your path is your path, it cannot be invalidated unless YOU let someone do that for you. Even telling you the title you have assumed is incorrect does not invalidate the path, only the title. If you discover that your claim to the title is wrong, move on. Continue down your path with a different one, or none at all. When someone tells you that you have misinformation or misconceptions, these people are helping you to prune the bad branches from your tree. They are helping you to make your path more fulfilling and meaningful. Discovering "truths" is part of growing on your path. And sometimes that requires that you are wrong. If you are never wrong how do you grow?? Being wrong, admitting that, learning from it, and moving forward is part of the spiritual process.

Now am I saying that you should be closed to all new ideas or to any that differ from your own? Of course not. being *too* skeptical or judgemental will leave you no room for growth. In my path, discernment and skepticism are vital, but it is also vital that I remember that something can be learned from every person and every experience, even if it is what NOT to do. The point I am making is that being overly open-minded is not what paganism or a spiritual path is about. Balance is the key. It is important to keep both your heart AND your brain engaged. Without this type of balance, your path itself will be unbalanced.

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Tags: acceptance, judgement, open-minded, paganism, tolerance, wicca

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Comment by Jīn Fǎ Zǐ 金髮子 (Jai) on January 5, 2011 at 2:29
You can expect Strata to behave correctly in her role as a moderator, as she has. Any attitude is perceived on your end, and should thusly be ignored.
Comment by Strata on January 4, 2011 at 21:46

Thank you, Ron.  And that is, in my opinion, a much greater service to a person, than letting them continue to make the same mistakes or to labor under misconceptions or unrealistic expectations.


I am glad that you appreciated it. 

Comment by Makoons on January 4, 2011 at 21:15
Because they don't want to be subject to judgment, or because they don't wish to be called out on their BS? If your intentions are good and your spiritual views informed you have nothing to hide. The attempt of RP is not to put anyone on a pedestal, but it is also not to suffer fools for the sake of their egos.
Comment by Moon Beam on November 17, 2010 at 13:41
Great Advice and great post:)
Comment by YarrowSage(the path is changing) on November 16, 2010 at 9:14
Love this post Strata! Balance really is the key to any practitioner within Paganism, you have to be able to analyze new ideas without completely dumping all of your foundation into the brain soup sea. Keeping it together and having the courage to grow, discern, and be skeptical are vital to your own path and to the growth within Paganism as a whole.
Comment by Jennifer Renee on November 15, 2010 at 12:23
Very good post Strata! Thanks for the is easy to be too open-minded or too close-minded...balance is definitely the key!
Comment by VLM on November 15, 2010 at 10:23
Two of my favorite quotes, both by Richard Feynman:

It's good to have an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.

There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.

This is a really good post, and it is in a lot of ways linked to the fluffy bunny post, and others... I think that one of the issues we face is that a lot of people are so accepting of every idea, that they don't take time to stop and think for themselves.

Thank you!!

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