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From the Keltria List
Being a Pagan
A recent and lively thread on the Keltria List was a discussion of what it means to be Pagan. I was pleased to see the diversity of the membership in describing their thoughts and feelings on the subject. Certainly the dictionary meaning, “Country Dweller” was mentioned, but to many the focus was honoring the ancestors. Others communicated the importance of living in harmony with the Earth, while other members expressed achieving a oneness of body, mind and spirit. One thing that was not mentioned was belief or faith, which is a defining characteristic between Pagan and nonpagan. Pagans focus on their religious practices. In a Pagan worldview, what you do is important; what you believe or have faith in is not.
This is in conflict with nonpagans, whom often believe that if a religion does not require a belief, it is not a religion. Nonpagans then use that lack of beliefs to disenfranchise Pagans by saying they are not practitioners of a real religion and therefore should not receive the benefits of a religion, such as chaplaincy to prisoners and hospital visitation.
Belief and faith have nothing to do with Responsibility. This is not to say that the majority of nonpagans are irresponsible. I do have opportunities to ask the following questions of Pagans and nonpagans alike: Are you proud of the things you do? Would your mother be proud of your actions? Do you have integrity? Are you honorable? These are the values that matter and are much more important than what you believe.
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