This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about… doing better?
Topic for the Week of 8/19: “What can Paganism learn from the history of various (or specific) world religion(s) so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and become and grow into a better religion in general?”
Like one of the hosts on Pagan Perspective replied, I think the idea behind this question is good. It’s about how we (as a collective, or as individuals) can learn by example and do better. I just don’t think that the phrasing is all that great, primarily because “Paganism” is a broad umbrella term instead of a specific religion.
Taken in its broadest term, it really boils down to what can people learn from the history of various religions of the world in order to become better people.
I don’t have a huge amount of knowledge on the history of religions, but I can say that the one thing I see the most that is needed in the religions I have read about and encountered is that an open mind is needed. So many are so closed off and so closed minded. You must do this thing, or think this way, or proselytize successfully, or whatever it is that is required of you to be considered a part of that religion.
IF this was about living an inclusive life and being a good person, then that would be great. But what we see (or what I’ve seen) instead is that these requirements are impossible to achieve or require the smothering or outright cutting out of your inner-self to “serve the collective”. This damages people and I think learning from this, everyone would benefit from remembering that individuality is a good thing, and very important.
Another lesson that I mentioned briefly above is the proselytization issue. You recently said that you very much enjoy learning about my faith because I’m not pushing it on you or requiring anything from you. I’m just sharing to share.
I think more people out there (not just in the pagan community but as a whole in humanity) need to learn this. Forcing people into a faith that doesn’t fit them doesn’t benefit anyone or the faith as a whole. This was true back in the Crusades (an extreme example, but it was at its heart an extreme proselytization campaign), and it is equally as true today.
Yes, putting your beliefs out there is a wonderful thing. But trying to force (or trick) people into an ill-fitting box? It is simply a bad idea all the way around.
I can’t say that I am much of a fan of today’s question. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just because my experience with other religions, and the history of religions in general, is a bit limited. I hope that what I’ve said at least makes sense though.