Why the term "Xtian" is offensive, even to Pagans.

7:43 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
No one likes to have their faith derided. No one. Yet we love to Christian bash whether it's on the internets, with friends, or even in writing. I have even heard of fellow Pagans becoming outright hostile (check the comments) when asked to join in prayer around the dinner table. If that is not the definition of "hypocrisy" then I don't know what is.
That's not saying that I think we should collectively bite our tongues and not stand up for ourselves as a group. I am just wondering when good manners, tact, and common sense left us? Have we forgotten the Threefold Law or even the Golden Rule?
Most of us have left the Big Three with a soured faith in both the divine and our fellow humans. However, since enlightenment is a central focus to most earth-based religions, one would think this would result in better treatment of all Gaia's creatures, not just the ones with which you agree. Then again, that would be expecting each individual to overcome their own prejudices and become a better person in all facets of their life.
Let's take the example which sparked off this musing. Say the person who initiated the prayer knows that one of the group is not of their faith, yet persists. The solution is not to cause a scene and glare at your neighbours (unless you prefer your tuna casserole flavoured with negative energies and hurt feelings). Why not take the moment to meditate quietly? Or, I dunno, pray to your own Deity/ies? Neither of these requires your participation physically nor energetically, just an understanding that you are willingly a guest in the home of someone who obviously is a devout believer. Later, perhaps you could approach the host and let them know the conundrum in which this puts you. Or simply decline future invitations if you are so disposed.
Take, for example, my former High Priest. For years, he and his conservative Christian brother butted heads because of a difference in ideologies. Once reconciled, the brother said to him, "While you may not be a Christian, you are Christ-like." This was not intended in any way to convert, but rather as the compliment it is. The brother came to understand that he was not a Satan-worshipper, because my friend loved his brother and treated him with respect.
Then there is my handyman. At the end of the traditional message, his voicemail chirps, "Good day and God bless!" I have kept quiet about my own faith without hiding nor denying it, and have since learned about his growth as a person, a Christian, and a recovering alcoholic. The only confrontation I have had with him is when I came home one day at the beginning of a multi-day repair project (after two years, I trust him enough that he has a set of keys to my apartment). My altar, which had been moved out of his way, was covered with construction paraphernalia. I cleaned it, putting his tools carefully aside, and left a note indicating its purpose as it has been mistaken for a coffee table before. He was courteous to leave a note in response apologizing and explaining that he meant no disrespect. The last time Mr. Handyman came by to replace a faulty heater we had a polite and heartfelt conversation about how important it is to one's spiritual growth to respect others. In the same exchange he even complimented me on a decorative religious item. The connection and understanding we made meant that I was never so happy as to be without heat in the dead of winter because we shared the light and hope of both Yule and Christmas.
Had I thrown a tantrum about his choice of electronic greeting, cheerful chatter as he works, or faux pas in seeing my sacred space as a convenient flat surface our working relationship would have disintegrated. He would lose a viable source of income, I would have to find someone else who was trustworthy and reliable, and we would both come away with a negative view of the other's faith.
We all have our experiences that have made us who we are today. That will not change. All that we can do is try to change the world by how we interact with others. This is not to say that we should attempt to proselytize, but rather we tend to be representatives for our community on a personal level. Nothing is to be gained by donning the Armour of Self-Righteousness and wielding the Victim's Sword except for alienating others and perpetuating hate.


Lisa Holmes said...

Amen, well said. Have I mentioned I love you lately? LOL, no really... I hope you're doing well. I kind of miss our fast-paced and endless chatter where we both follow and other people can't keep up. I definitely concur with your statements here as a whole. People ought to live what they believe and not push it onto others. You and I know each other well enough to feel comfortable with our positions and recognizing that we're in some ways polar opposites, but I would respect you and I know you would do the same. Be blessed my friend!