I lurk on quite a few forums. Some of them are dedicated to paganism and some of them are not. Out of frustration, I've stopped reading a couple of them in the past due to what I see as an epidemic in the paganism communities. Insincerity.
It seems as though the pagan community at large has a high volume of people who put forth an air of "shiny, happy people" and of being above the natural responses people have toward annoyances or hostility or silliness. It's seen as PC for them to sugar coat the world, so that paganism is seen as "above" everyone else and all the drama.
But, there are weeds in every yard and they can't escape the fact that it's not really all that believable and some of us can see through the veneers that they erect to fool people. This whole "epidemic" is why I left the greater pagan community awhile ago. I don't want to be associated with people who lie to put forth a different face.
Recently, there was a question posed on a forum that asked, "Do You Accept Other People's Religions?". This question has been posed in many forums, not all of them having to do with religion. I posted that the word accept really wouldn't be the correct word. If we use the word accept we are setting ourselves up for a loaded world. That would mean that we accept those beliefs that space ships are going to come and pick people up when the comets come by. Or the belief that we are all going to hell for not accepting Jesus Christ as our savior. Perhaps a very few people do accept those beliefs, but I doubt many of them are pagan. The correct word we want is tolerate.
Yet, that doesn't stop them from saying that they do accept it. Why? Does anyone really think that by saying the accept these things they are showing that pagans are more accepting than other people? Because that's what it seems like. It seems more like people are too afraid to say what's real and instead and just saying anything so that they don't draw attention to themselves. I don't believe that these people really accept everyone's religions, unwaveringly. That would go against out very human nature. Are we suddenly evolving past rudimentary skills like judgement? I would highly doubt it, and I really hope that's not the case.
It kind of seems like pagans have decided to one up the Christians by showing them what "Judge not, lest ye be judged" really means. Sadly, I just don't believe that it's genuine and I never have. I know how people talk when they're around like minded kind. I saw it all over eclectic wiccan groups and I still see it today. Say one thing when you're in public and then say what you really think and feel when no one's looking.
Can you really say that you don't judge those people who protest funerals of fallen soldiers with greatly offensive signs?? Can you really say that you accept their religion? They're a completely extremist branch of Christians, you accept this?? Does that mean you accept extremist Islam, too? The Boston bombers for instance? 9/11? Or is it that people just don't think before they speak anymore? You're setting yourself up for a giant can of worms bursting open if you put forth the opinion of acceptance.
One person who commented mentioned that they wouldn't want to subject another human being to the word tolerate and instead would rather use honor. Again, I have to raise eyebrows at this. It's a very loaded word when it comes to just what kinds of ridiculousness there is in the world, today. People honor killings in the name of religion?? That's what you get when you take religion wholesale and not use judgement on it. You get extremism. Do you really honor that??
I'm sorry. I apologize to whomever I many offend, but I don't buy it. I just flat don't buy it. No one is saying to themselves, "You believe it's okay dominate women because your prophet says to do so?? Alright, I can honor that." Rational people aren't doing this. The only people who are doing it are people within that religion. Don't sugar coat things to make them more in line with the erroneous assumption that pagans have to be more passive and accepting than other groups do. I don't know where this incorrect assumption got started, but it needs to die. Now, preferably. No one is honoring WBC. And, if they are, they need some professional evaluation. No one is accepting WBC, except WBC. Why do people feel the need to give off the illusion that they are?
It's these insincere perceptions that have kept me from really connecting with pagan community as a whole. Twenty years, and I still can't take most of them seriously because not very sincere. Pagans are just like any other group of people in reality, everyone. We use judgement. We do it every day. The ones that say we don't judge are lying. The ones that say we do judge, we just do it in favor of the oppressed, are still lying. We also say what we really mean when the PC police aren't listening. I will flat out tell you to your face, but I guarantee you, most people who look overly PC on the outside aren't like that on the inside. They're making the same judgements everyone else is making when faced with silliness and extremism. I just don't believe they really accept any of it. It makes no sense to say they do.
This brings me to my point. People have got to stop whitewashing and sugar coating in paganism. I've seen so many people ranting over the years about how the fluffy bunnies have whitewashed their Gods. Turning dark skinned Gods into light skinned beings, turning dark Gods into huggy, loving beings, and trying to make the public at large believe pagans are only really singing kumbaya by that fire in the forest. People have got to stop sugar coating everything they say to make it go down the PC gullet easier. The bottom line is, if you really aren't using any judgement, you're pretty dangerous.