I meant to do my last few postings on Christianity yesterday, but I ended up[ staying at a BBQ yesterday for a lot longer than I thought I would, and than had to do a series of conjurations for a client late into the night. So, just pretend today is Sunday.
Over on Levanah's journal a guy named Harold Roth made a few posts that made a couple good points. You can go read the entire thread here, but I wanted to deal with two of his points in posts of my own.
The first one is one that I more or less agree with him on: the supposed "oppression of Christians" in the occult community.
I for one have never (I think) claimed any kind of Christian Oppression from non-Christians. There is a lot of misunderstanding and stereo-typing, but not any kind of oppression. As Harold states:
Try being kept out a college for being Christian. Try not being allowed to hold public office for being Christian. Try not being allowed to stay in a hotel or motel for not being Christian. Try being kept out of particular neighborhoods for being Christian. Try being turned into soap for being Christian. Try that, and then maybe you will have something to complain about, but until then, please, have one single speck of humility and shut the fuck up about your oppressionl.
He is quite right about that. It is something for other faiths to keep in mind as well. I have known Pagans who have had their houses broken into by "prayer groups" looking for the sacrificed remains of children and animals. I have known Pagans that have lost their jobs because of coming out of the broom closet. This is oppression. Someone I read recently complained that they felt oppressed because when they buy a Yule tree people assume it is a Christmas tree. That is not oppression. That is someone looking for crap to whine about.
Anyway, most of what Christian occultsists complain about as oppression (which to be honest I don't see phrased that way very often) is mis-understanding. They tell people they are Christian and despite the fact that they are occultists themselves, people automatically project the beliefs of a fundamentalist conservative on them. This is mis-understanding, not oppression. The worst part is, like the Christmas vs Yule Tree, it is a reasonable mis-understanding.
The reason that it is a reasonable mis-understanding is that fundamentalists, at least in America, are the loudest and most prolific voice of Christianity. If there is any oppression faced by Christian Mystics, Christian Magicians, Liberal Christians, or Emerging Chruch Christians it is the oppression brought on by these nutty windbags that dominate the airways. It is the oppression of not being able to proudly proclaim that you are a Christian without people thinking that you: are anti-science, anti-gay, anti-abortion, and think everyone on the planet that doesnt think like you is going to hell for eternity. It is this oppression that other Christians, the majority, must fight against, thus the reason that I posted the Father Mattew Video. He is attempting to do just that.
A few people have doubted me when I say that the majority of Christianity is not fundamentalist. Here is a little thought experiment for you: think of the typical evangelical fundie Jesus freak. Think of how separated from most people at work and life that person is. They usually pride themselves on how they are not like the majority of "secular" society. Got that image in your mind? Good.
Now here are the numbers:
76% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. Are 76 Percent of the people you know and bump into every day like that? No? Well there ya go.
Do you run the other way when someone that is "Born Again" is trying to witness to you? So do most Christians.
You will find that while the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches are themselves fairly conservative (though not anti-science like fundie's) their congregations are not that conservative and in general more likely to hold personal views that are different than their church (note the many Liberal Democratic Catholic politicians). Episcopaleans and Quakers are probably the liberal extreme as far as mainstream denominations go, here the congregation is probably a little less liberal than the clergy, but still not anything like a fundamentalist. Methodists and some Lutherans are also fairly liberal, much to the consternation of Fundamentalists within those denominations.
When i was a teenager I started going to Methodist Church, my minister there who gave me a test to see what scripture books different quotes came from. We all thought he meant books of the bible, but at the end of the test he revealed that amongst the Bible quotes were quotes from books of other religions. The idea of the exercise was to show how there are many paths to god. Sound a bit different than what you think of when you hear about Christians evangelizing?
Again, I understand the misunderstanding. It is a reasonable misunderstanding because the Majority has not done enough to be as vocal as the intolerant minority. That is our problem, and thus the need for good evangelists.