Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shocking Teachers and My Grandmother

From a user on another website by the name of "mystic-spiritus".

In English class today, we were discussing how a Puritan poet's religious views influenced her writing. I was reading to catch up, since I had missed the previous class because of a doctor appt.

All of a sudden, I'm being asked by the teacher "Can you tell me any other religions?" I thought she had probably already had all the generic answers, as I'm not usually called on first. So I answered "Paganism. It encompasses a group of religions and spirituality." Apparently I was wrong. According to her, Paganism is a lack of religion. She then went on to elaborate on how a few of the substitutes in the past few years had been 'white' witches and how they practiced 'good' magic, and how 'black' witches worshipped the devil.

I was so astounded I couldn't speak.

Another girl asked if Wicca would be considered a religion, and she said no. At that point I butted in and said it was, seen as its an approved symbol for veteran's headstones. When she asked if there were any witches in the class I remained silent - it was pretty obvious that she was against it. After that, she went on a story about how a town half an hour from our house had a group of 40 witches that were doing sacrifices awhile back. She said they did everything from small animals to cows and horses. And apparently they moved away (all 40!) when the town started causing an uproar. I find it kind of hard to believe, especially with her (in my opinion) incorrect views earlier. My dad works near the town everyday, and I've never heard him say a think about witches sacrificing anything there.

I think my favorite class has just become intolerable. I wish I could go back to last years teacher.. The whole curriculum is almost based around religious texts too (not of her choosing, atleast).

And to think, it was just 3 days ago that she was lecturing a student not to talk about religions you don't know about..

I think this teacher's story about the 40 witches is bullshit too. If I'd been where I am religiously now while I was in highschool, I think I would have had more fun messing with people.

I ran into a situation similar to this when I "came out of the broom closet" told my grandmother that I was a pagan. I've learned that Pantheist or Earth-Worshiper is a better way to put it because of the controversy behind the word Pagan. But She thought I was saying that I was so devoid of purpose in a way that is worse than atheist on some level or something.

We agreed to look the term up in the dictionary and here's what it it says.

Quoth the Oxford:

pagan |ˈpāgən|
a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.
• dated derogatory a non-Christian.
• an adherent of neopaganism.

So basically when you say you're a pagan, you're saying that you're not Christian. So a Muslim is a pagan. There was another definition for Pagan with a capital 'P'. So I looked it up as well.

Pagan |pəˈgän|
ruins in Myanmar (Burma), located on the Irrawaddy River southeast of Mandalay. It is the site of an ancient city that was the capital of a powerful Buddhist dynasty from the 11th to the 13th centuries.

Not quite what I wanted it to say.

But I found this.

neopaganism |ˌnēōˈpāgiˌnizəm; -gə-|
a modern religious movement that seeks to incorporate beliefs or ritual practices from traditions outside the main world religions, esp. those of pre-Christian Europe and North America.

A little more satisfying. But still not the definition of what I believe. But definitely closer to what I thought pagan meant.

But anyway, my grandmother was a little more satisfied with this response. It was in this conversation with her that I found out that my grandmother isn't a Christian. She confessed that she called herself agnostic, but was probably a pantheist as well. She understood what I was talking about when I talked about the mystery of life in relation to the earth and seeing life as something of reverence. But she made a few comments that made her sound like a Deist. So I showed her the definition.

deism |ˈdēizəm|
belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind. Compare with theism .

My Grandmother said that she kinda agreed with that on some level. But still wasn't sure. She admitted that she hadn't really thought about it that much because she hadn't been asked about it that much. And thus had never really done the research.

She did ask about morality though. And I told her that I didn't believe in good and evil as much as I believed in positive and negative actions. That to define morality, one must consider the positive and negative effects of the actions they make, and act accordingly. A lot of times you can have an action that has both positive and negative effects, and you have to weigh the options. According to this outlook, it's impossible not to sin, but sin doesn't really matter int he first place because negative action isn't necessarily bad all the time.

This does make morality more subjective than objective, but there's really no other way to see it. Even objective morality is subjective from my point of view, because you define the objective morality as your own. Morality is purely created by humans in the first place.

This was a heartwarming experience on some level. I'd connected with my brother on subjects like religion and thought even though we're on opposite ends of the spectrum. But this was the first time me and my Grandmother had really connected as adults. It felt good.

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