Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Dirty Words

There aren’t that many dirty words in modern paganism. Probably two that spring to mind: worship and dogma. Oh and I suppose: ‘no, that’s incorrect’ is not looked upon to favourably either.

Worship to many pagans, especially those who come from a Christian background (and that covers most of them really) has too many connotations of getting on their knees and bowing down before God, grovelling at how worthless and sinful hey are and asking forgiveness. That is what I recall of being brought up Roman Catholic. So it is not surprising to find that modern pagans shy away from the idea of worshipping their gods. I was one of those pagans, however I have come around to the idea of using worship to cover what I ‘do’ as it were. The definition of worship explains why:

* noun
1 the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity,
2 religious rites and ceremonies, or
3 great admiration or devotion.
* verb (worshipped, worshipping)
1 show reverence and adoration for (a deity), or
2 feel great admiration or devotion for.
Derivatives: worshipper noun.
Origin: Old English, worthiness, acknowledgement of worth.

All of the above applies to me, I respect, revere, admire and show devotion to my gods therefore it is perfectly fair to say I worship them.

Next comes;

1 a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof
2 a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative
3 A generally held set of formulated beliefs.

Again, nothing worrisome there. No mention of strict adherence or blind subservience. No mentions of one true wayism.

Some degree of dogma within the pagan scene would be a good thing, being able to nail down a core of common held beliefs and values would be a uniting force and something that we could build on. We all believe in X, Y and also Z. At the individual level you can add, along with X, Y and Z I also believe A, B and C.

There is a general feeling of wanting some sort of acceptance from society and the ‘establishment’ in pagan circles, if we are going to all hold to our individual beliefs and weep at the thought of some uniting principles because it smacks of Chrisiantiy and Dogma and losing individuality, then we won’t be taken seriously, we will always be the disparate bunch of people who have 101 different beliefs for every 100 of us.

you dont need a reason to have orchid pictures

1 comment:

Evn said...

Personally, I prefer the word "venerate" to "worship." Strikes me as more intimate and familiar, which is the kind of relationship I like to have with my Gods.

I don't take issue with the concept of dogma, although I also confess to putting more effort into my religious practices than my actual beliefs. To me, the Gods are the Gods, and I venerate a few of Them, and I don't perceive things as needing to be much more complicated than that.

Of course, the locals get twitchy when I start waxing theological, so perhaps I should stop talking now.