Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Discussions Welcome...

I enjoy discussions.  I enjoy discussions with people that don't necessarily agree with me or who see things from a different point of view.  Discussions of that nature, allow both points-of-view to be explored and for the people involved to compare where they are coming from on a topic. 

What I don't enjoy, is people who are angry and bitter.  They name-call.  They compare you to Wiccan's, or Christians, or some other belief system in an attempt to smear you.  They believe that their point of view is 100% correct and everyone else's is 100% wrong.  They somehow believe that they have the key to Truth and that everyone else is just making it up as they go along.  They use a mocking tone and insults.  And when you call them on any of these things, they accuse you of "not tolerating another's opinion."  Or of "not allowing open discussion on a topic."

Now, this sort of behavior takes place in discussions of political issues, culture, and other religions.  But in Heathenry, it is especially interesting to observe.  Here we are with no Holy Book or central authority.  We are a tribal way of life and are attempting to reconstruct for ourselves a world-view from materials that are somewhat imperfect in their completeness and quality.  And yet, almost miraculously, we still manage to create fundamentalist Heathens that feel it is their task in life to express their singular correct point-of-view, and tear down anyone who doesn't share an appreciation for their brilliant correctness.

Yes I do express my point-of-view and the point-of-view of my kindred.  But, I don't go to other Heathens blogs, or message boards, or internet postings and tell them how wrong they are.  And I certainly don't do so with a mocking, insulting, angry bitterness.  I've been around long enough to understand that there are intelligent, reasonable, and thoughtful people who hold widely divergent points-of-view.  So, I don't spend my time attempting to tear down or vilify people who have a different point of view than mine.  And I don't feel obligated to entertain those who would seek to do that to me.

Discussions are welcome...

Afterall, I have discussions with scores of Heathens on Facebook, Google+, the Heathen Gods Message Board, and many other places and rarely do we all agree.  But everything seems to go just fine.  

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods


  1. I bring this up a lot, but I believe absolutely that education has a limit. We have a mixed blessing in that we have no "holy book" of our own, but that doesn't mean people won't put that mentality into the Eddas or Sagas. Words and education aside, there comes a point where we must interpret and involve these things in our lives to fully understand them and bond with them. No two people are the same, just as no two people will experience or live our folkway identically. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't. Big hairy deal. The in-fighting is one of the biggest things that holds us back. Iceland may not have all the answers in their hands (hey, we're all just humans), but they've got a good thing going on there, without a lot of this kind of thing.

  2. Well, we see it in politics too. Those who are heavily right-leaning believe that people who are left-leaning are deluded, stupid, evil, or just don't get it. Those that are left-leaning believe that people who are right-leaning are deluded, stupid, evil or just don't get it. But there are intelligent, well-read, thoughtful people on both sides of political issues. It illustrates that we are all different, and we all see things through a different lens.

    In Heathenry, people also view things through a different lens. Where we grew up, how we were educated, our socio-economic background, our career, our family-situation, and even just how we think all play a role (with 1000's of other factors) in causing two intelligent, well-read, thoughtful people looking at the same exact passages in a book...or the same archaeological finds...or the same situation, and coming to two completely different points-of-view on the matter.

    To say there is one way, or one truth, or one answer...and then to further claim that you are one person who has found that one way, truth, or enormously close-minded and ignores the human condition completely. At least, that's how I view it.

    There are disagreements even between those who by their actions suggest there is one way, one truth, and one answer...further illustrating that there are many ways of viewing the same problem, or set of beliefs.

  3. As further example of what I'm talking about, what I just wrote in the comment above sounds completely reasonable to me. But, I realize some would read it and scoff at what I'm saying. They would say that I'm giving everyone permission to just do what they want, and believe what they want, and to just "make up" whatever they want.

    I don't agree with them of course. I don't think I'm doing that at all. But through their lens, and how they view the world...that's exactly what it looks like I'm doing to them.

  4. I thought the comment was totally reasonable as well, so I'm right there with you. There is being open minded and there is being totally eclectic. There is a world of differences between the two, which is fairly obvious and Wicca exists for a reason, to that end. Not every one of them are eclectic, but you get the point.

    It's true though... thinking that your perspective is the one true answer for everyone to hold is nothing short of the religious version of dictatorship. If we want to progress, not just as a people, but personally, I believe it is not going to come by telling others that they are wrong in what they are doing in their practices, but furthering our own personal ideas and ways. I could care less if someone else believes differently than me (That doesn't mean I want you to come to my door and hand me pamphlets on your god though).

    I'm a big believer in the "individual" component. When we walk through that door at the end of our lives, it's one person wide. We all die alone and while we fill our lives with people it doesn't mean we stop having our own selves. To each their own! But like you said... "Discussions welcome".