Monday, August 29, 2011

“My RoftlCopter Just Got Taken Out By Ninjas on Lollerblades.”

I'll admit it. I laughed when I read Star Foster's recent blog entry entitled, “Is Wicca a Christian Heresy?

The commentary ranks right up there with some of the comments I saw Esoteric Christians make about Wicca last night on R.O.'s facebook feed. We might call some of this bullshit an astounding level of ignorance, broadcast publicly for everyone to see.

To Star:
noun
1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.
2. Roman Catholic Church . a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.
3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.

noun
1. a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.
adjective
2. of or characterized by apostasy.

mid-14c., from O.Fr. eretique (14c., Mod.Fr. hérétique), from Church L. haereticus, from Gk. hairetikos "able to choose," the verbal adjective of hairein...

"An opinion of private men different from that of the catholick and orthodox church" [Johnson], c.1200, from O.Fr. heresie (12c.), from L. hæresis, "school of thought, philosophical sect," used by Christian writers for "unorthodox sect or doctrine," from Gk. hairesis "a taking or choosing, a choice," from haireisthai "take, seize," middle voice of hairein "to choose," of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE *ser- "to seize" (cf. Hittite šaru "booty," Welsh herw "booty").

The Greek word was used in N.T. in reference to the Sadducees, Pharisees, and even the Christians, as sects of Judaism, but in English bibles it usually is translated sect. Meaning "religious belief opposed to the orthodox doctrines of the Church" evolved in Late Latin in the Dark Ages. Transferred (non-religious) use from late 14c.

mid-14c., "one who forsakes his religion or faith," from O.Fr. apostate (Mod.Fr. apostat) and directly from L.L. apostata, from Gk. apostasia "defection, desertion, rebellion," from apostenai "to defect," lit. "to stand off," from apo- "away from" (see apo-) + stenai "to stand." Used in non-religious situations (politics, etc.) from mid-14c. As an adjective from late 14c.

Late 14c., "renunciation, abandonment or neglect of established religion," from L. apostasia, from later Gk. apostasia, from apostasis "revolt, defection," lit. "a standing off" (see apostate). General (non-religious) sense is attested from 1570s.

Words, you see, mean things. When you use them, make sure you're using them correctly. Or we'll throw popcorn at you and jeer.

I'll end this with my “favorite” Robert Cochrane quote to drop into these conversations, in regards to witchcraft in general (rather than Wicca specifically):

“I really think it is time that a distinction was made between witchcraft and paganism. One can be an ardant [sic] Christian, and practice witchcraft. One can be a raving pagan and never touch the stone or cord. The real trouble lies in Victorian interpretation of the Mysteries and the philosophers who have foolishly accepted such writing as being the last development of thought upon paganism.”
- Roy Bowers (Robert Cochrane), The 1734 Letters.

Now, if you want to be a “pure Pagan” and give up all elements of Abrahamic Religion? That's fine. That's a decision to be made entirely by you.. But don't spout ignorant nonsense to support your personal choice. Furthermore, don't act as if “salvation philosophies” are a strictly Christian category (they aren't), or that Dying and Reborn Gods are a strictly Christian category, because they most assuredly aren't. Now, I realize that Wikipedia isn't the greatest source on earth, but it seems like these brief overviews might be helpful to you. Am I being a condescending ass? Yes. Am I totally doing it on purpose? Yes. Some of the rather questionable debates going on right now have reached a level of stupidity that they never should have.

If you “really” want to research the subject, you might look at some rituals from 2000 years ago. You'll soon discover that “Abrahamic” godnames are included by Pagan magicians! OMGWTF!

I have trolled on this subject enough for one day. Now, to work on things I'm expected to finish.

EDIT: My hostility to this subject was raised yesterday, when the aforementioned moron on Facebook began "explaining" that Wicca "really" only involved thoughtforms and egregores. I subsequently realized that said individual did not seem to really understand what an egregore was. He followed up his justifications with a commentary about Archetypes and how Wicca was lacking in them.

And my brain just fucking broke. Jung did not develop the theory of the Collective unconscious to validate or invalidate religious thought: he developed it to help explore dimensions of religious and mystical thought in a way that might be useful to psychologists. Furthermore, saying that Wicca doesn't involve naturally occuring Archetypes is way, way off. You may say many things about Wicca; that is not one of them.

You can imagine my complete lack of surprise to read Star's blog entry, which while it diverges in the specific thoughts, still carries with it the same problematic tendencies: an inappropriate use of words (heresy, for example), a lack of knowledge regarding the topic brought up.

I have noted in the past, on the topic of the Stele of Jeu, that I prefer it to the Bornless One ritual that Crowley developed based on it. This is personal bias on my part; I would never, however, accuse Crowley of being a heretic of the Greaco-Roman magical school because of his adaptation.

The hostility of certain neo-Pagans towards anything remotely resembling Christian thought (even if it is not, in fact, actually a type of Judeo-Christian thought) is as absurd as the hostility of certain Esoteric Christians towards neo-Pagans that can't just learn to love and accept Jesus.

1 comment:

Joan said...

I'd ignored that entry, and now you've made me read it. I think my favorite part is in the comments where it's basically just Foster sticking her fingers in both her ears and singing LALALALALALALALALALA!

Which, I'm pretty sure, it a Judeo-Christian prayer, right? ;)

(I am unkind. She bugs me.)