Beautiful thoughts, as always. Off to bed for me as well.
Ali, darling, it isn't my intention to censor your posts- but if I am to approve a post, it has to add something to the conversation. Your posts are really just attacks on me, for what you perceive as intolerance on my part. You have to ask why you see intolerance in me- you are, after all, bringing a lot to the interactions we have. You may be some wonderful liberal Christian who has some love for the old traditions, but you are not all Christians. You don't even begin to put a dent in the massive and true intolerance and stupidity that is promulgated by Christians about the Pagan past, and which is hurled at modern Pagans. You don't yet really comprehend what I'm trying to say, or what my struggle is. Like it or not, modern Christians who don't believe in the Gods are not "okay". The Gods are real. They will always be real. They've been with us since the beginning and will be with us until the end. To believe that they were all fake or demons, in favor of the invented notion of "just one God" is a savage breed of ignorance, and it handicaps people and their ability to know the truth about the spiritual world, and those beings within it who are our best companions and guides.I'm sorry- but until you begin to grasp how your worldview of total acceptance for all beliefs is a mistake, a cover to allow people to carry on in error, we won't understand one another. Real tolerance has nothing to do with allowing everyone to believe what they want- it has to do with wanting what is best for people, and working to help them achieve that. I can't force people to be what I want them to be, but I'm also not going to sit around and just smile at their beliefs when I know that they have deviated dangerously and perilously far from the truth about the Gods, which is, in a way, the truth about Us. I'll speak, and I'm not going to tiptoe around other people's fine eggshell sensibilities.Dynamic conflict drives this world, not some false sense of static harmony. I wish you well.
Ule, While I appreciate your sentiments and your commitment to helping others to truly examine their ideas, I must say, I don't quite believe you. After all, comments that are mere gushing about how wonderful you are don't add much to the dialogue, either, do they? Yet you allow those without objection.As far as my views of tolerance, I quite agree that blind, simple acceptance of everyone thinking and believing whatever they want is not helpful, but I have also found that automatic condemnation of certain individuals just because they happen to belong to a certain religious or social group shuts down honest, intelligent exploration just as effectively. The fact that you censored my comment because you felt I was "just attacking you," when in fact I was attempting to express my opinion about the anthropologists and sociologists that I know and have interacted with as a counterexample to your assumptions about them as a group, continues to lead me to believe your not so much committed to honest discussion and debate as you are in dominating the conversation with views you've already decided are correct. Perhaps you are seeing complacency and over-tolerance where really there is only my willingness to admit I don't yet know everything there is to know.
Ali, Darling, as I can see you've felt the need to start a bashing post against me in your blog, I'll be brief. You have not been censored- as I said, posts that add to the discussion- such as the one I just approved from you where you mention the Bhagavad Gita- are always allowed through. Calling me names in posts is not adding to the discussion. It's my blog; I have the right to put my opinions there- and you distinctly do NOT have the right to put yours there. What writings of yours goes onto my blog is strictly up to my discretion, and that's just the way of things. In a spirit of good discernment, I try to read all posts with an open mind, and find value in them, so that I can approve them. Your post about the anthropologists missed the point of the original post entirely- I don't give a fig that some anthropologists (and yes, I know them too) may have some respect for the peoples they are digging up out of the earth; mere respect is not enough in my book. Belief is what I require. You can't respect a Goddess or a God that you don't believe in, no matter how much you may think you can- that sort of respect is fake, shallow, illusionary, and not a little insulting. All you're doing with that sort of respect is fulfilling some liberal, politically correct urge to seem tolerant. Or worse, you're riding the fence in your own religion- if you believe there's only one God, then respecting the errors of other people- and you MUST see them as errors, as all the Church fathers did- means that your heart is divided; it is a traitor heart. It won't give up its addiction to the dead set of Monotheism, and it won't give in to its natural desire to love the Old Gods and break with the fabulously fake and invented monotheistic worldview. I feel that you are one of these people- a Christian who calls herself Druid, who takes this universalist stance to all religions, because she's so drawn to the Old Faiths- you are suspended in dusk, darling, over the sharp pickets of a fence, in a nebulous space between pure faith in one religion and love for another's aesthetics. There's no peace there, no matter how often you patch the hole with notions of "open mindedness" and "tolerance". You cannot serve two masters. Your spirit will lead you somewhere, finally- here, in the meantime, you can't expect us all to be accepting of this sort of behavior.What I am is sorry for you- and in support of you should you decide to cast the dice with your secret heart and re-enter into the Ancestral stream. For your information, you are literally the only person who ever posts in my blog insulting me. I don't ask people to post calling me wonderful and wise; I have wise moments, but I'm far from wonderful. I don't like ass kissery very much. But your insistence that many people write in and never get their posts through is just not right.
"Darling" Ule, I did not even mention you by name (though your lack of anonymous posting on my blog seems to indicate you don't mind being known)--your blog was only the impetus that got me thinking about the nature of debate and communication online, and I wrote that entry before even noticing you'd responded to my comment. (In other words: it's not always about you.) I even hesitated to post it after noticing you had replied, knowing you would assume it was an attack against you and not just musings of my own--but what kind of person would I be if I let circumstance intimidate me into silence?My only question to you (as I believe I understand where you're coming from quite well, even if you don't believe me) is: is there ever a place for genuine tolerance, or is all tolerance merely liberal posturing in your book? You seem to take for granted that others are not truly tolerant but only want to appear so out of fear and a need to conform, and therefore all tolerance is useless. I wonder why genuine tolerance seems like such an impossibility for you...
P.S. I did not insist that tons of people write in to criticize you (nor did I merely insult you in my comment, though I'm sorry you continue to perceive it that way). I merely wondered if others have shared my experience of censorship. Sadly, choosing to censor certain people usually has that effect, shaking their trust that the comments that do appear are entirely free of selective censorship. Notice, for instance, that we are having this conversation uncensored and publicly on my blog, not yours, but that anyone who agrees with you is perfectly welcome to follow your username link back to your own blog. That's a risk I'm willing to take (a) because people can only benefit from a wider consideration of complex and opposing ideas, and (b) I'm not so concerned about an aching ego that I can't let readers make up their own minds, being just as intelligent as I am with equal access to the same information.
Your even temper is a credit to you. Yes, there is a place for genuine tolerance, but it's a touchy issue for me and people like me.You see, religion, for me and for us, makes demands- it's never a free or easy thing. If it didn't make demands, didn't force us to make sacrifices or work harder at being better people, it would be useless. Part of the burden of religion is having to act like you really believe what you say- if I met you and your friends, and got to like you, or love you, then met a woman who said "There are no other women on the planet- just me", I'd have to tell her otherwise. I know that she's wrong because I've experienced communication and love with other women.Just so with the conflict between Monotheism and Polytheism. On this ground, tolerance becomes a reality only when the side that originally called the other side's Gods "fake" or "demonic" finally admits that this is not the case. Without that admission, there is no possibility of tolerance. The reason why is easy enough to see- how can you respect me as a human being, an individual of sacred dignity, when you are convinced, at the gut and heart level, that my gods are either fake or demons, and that my soul will experience an eternity of torment?You can't. And even if you decide to remove the responsibility from yourself and say that it's for "God" to decide, you're doing me a further wrong, by assuming that I must be subjected to the rules of your religion in my own death, and not mine. You can't accord me Gods that have the same status as your own; you can't even let me die in my own faith. It may seem like a small thing to some, but this sort of thinking is an invasion of the most personal space imaginable, that of the heart. And the reason why it exists is because something is fishy in the entire system- when before, in the history of the world, did a religion exist that cast such disrespect on every other? Never, before monotheism. The polysphere of human thinking and believing that existed before had _no_ issue with other people believing different things. Ideas of the Underworld and the afterdeath state were shockingly uniform, with slight variation all among the Indo European peoples, and due to their origin in the worldwide Underworld Tradition- something that even appears in the Old Testament- there was no argument over the fate of the dead; all people, almost without exception, once believed that most people went to the land of the dead, and that was that. Some may have merited an Elysium-like state for their virtuous deeds, but that was to the individual culture, and it wasn't an issue of major concern.The reason why the members of the polysphere were able to accord one another tolerance was because religion was tied to culture and family, not the entire world- to create some worldwide, universal religion was unthinkable, and is still an abject failure of an idea. Everyone was free to believe as they liked, and others did NOT devalue them as "deluded" or "misguided" or "demonic". Most of all, they didn't insist that the Gods of others were fake and that these people would have to face some _other_ God in some judgment, regardless of their beliefs. The first culture to subject every other nation to their God and to their standards of living was Israel, and it took the birth of Christianity to really faciliate this to a large extent. Monotheism is odd. It sticks out conspicuously in the history of world religions. Despite it's supposed appeal, it's spread was violent and political, and it maintains itself through misinformation about the past, rote dullness and fear, mostly. When we compare it to other religions, historically, ANYONE can see that it is a major deviation in logic, in understanding, and in sheer madness from the natural course of organic human history.If Monotheists could see and realize that their God is nothing more (or less) than the Tribal God of Israel, and admit that he is not alone among the Gods, all would be well. But this can't happen now on account of the political history of the last 1700 years. Not divine politics, but mortal politics has created this mess, and now, tolerance and acceptance is largely impossible.I personally believe that Christians are praying to Tiwaz- which is the Proto-Germanic name of the Sky God, the God of Order, Self-Sacrifice, and Rightness, whose name is cognate with Zeus and Deus- the Latin name for "God" used in the bible. Despite the fact that I have a historical case for believing this, Christians won't agree, for reasons that you well know already.The day we can really give other people their souls, is the day we can have tolerance. My Gods- the Gods- are not separable from my soul. My Fate, my Wyrd, my Destiny- it's not up for grabs, to some idiot who thinks I'm deluded, and until they can REALIZE IN THEMSELVES that they are violating me (even if they don't openly tell me) by believing that I'm a deluded Heathen freak who will have to face the REAL God one day, tolerance is not possible. My war- our war- with the CONSTRUCT of monotheism is not a war on Tiwaz, nor the Storm God of Israel. It's a war with a construct that damages human beings, on the soul and spirit level, and drives them to madness. It makes them rapists of the souls of other people, and plunderers of cultures. It makes them ignorers of ancient wisdom, and it makes them judgmental and wicked. And we won't sit back while the tide of it covers us, especially not in the name of a "tolerance" which only benefits them, and never us.
Ule, You've given me a lot to think about, and I have a lot to say in response. I hope you don't mind if I hold off until tomorrow before replying, however, because I want to take some more time to think about your latest reply. Thanks for sticking with it, though, and I promise I will respond in the near future.
Ule, I've replied to the bulk of your ideas in my latest post, but I wanted to add an aside about the idea of respect. You say that tolerance and respect are impossible until one side admits culpability to the other, but I think this approach is bound to fail. I believe strongly in the inherent freedom of each individual not only to respond, but to act creatively--that is, to create new options, choices and solutions in even the worst situations. My individual creative freedom carries with it the moral responsibility to respect others even if they do not respect me, for this is the only way that I can actively choose to break the stand-off of distrust and disrespect. If I wait for the other, the opponent, to show me respect before I deign to show respect towards him, then I am reducing myself merely to a reactionary, a slave of circumstance, only able to respond positively and for the good when others have set a precedent. I choose, instead, to live as a creative participant--an active creator--in the growth of myself and others.
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