There’s this whole to-do over at the Wild Hunt about questions of identity and community, stirred up by the public conversion to atheism and rejection of paganism of a formerly prominent podcaster. The resulting conversation and spin-off blog posts have been great, even some of the ones I don’t agree with. It’s worthwhile to go follow that particular Internet bunny trail if “the Pagan community” means anything to you. I thought of adding my own two cents, but at this point any viewpoint on the subject I might express has already been put out there by someone or other. This is more of a meta-post on the whole thing.
One of the conversational threads that has come up is the existence, or lack thereof, of a “Pagan community.” The Pagan community has responded strongly both for and against its own existence. Another claim is the supposed academic weaknesses and anti-intellectual strains in this community (that might or might not exist.) Many brilliant people, some with academic degrees, have given well-thought-out responses both for and against the presence of intelligence and philosophical thought within this maybe-community. I think this is really funny, in a charming, oh-these-are-my-people sort of way. We can argue with depth and intelligence over whether or not we are shallow and stupid.
None of the complaints I have heard about Pagans – that we’re weird, silly, irrational, resistant to philosophical argumentation over heartfelt beliefs, fuzzy and imprecise in our theology – are at all exclusive to Paganism. That’s just what people are like. I happen to love weird. I’m practically a connoisseur of weird. I’d much rather have lunch with someone who wants to tell me all about the aliens who founded Atlantis than with someone who wants to talk about sports scores. There are people of every religion and no religion with beliefs equally as weird as anything a Pagan might subscribe to, and belief isn’t really the point, anyway. Irrational, illogical, emotional – yep, that’s everybody, to varying degrees. Since we are all (to my belief) humans, it’s not surprising that we act like humans. One of the things I love about Pagans is that we don’t feel nearly as shy about admitting our human weirdness. Some of us revel in it.
Pagans! I address you. Regardless of what your dad or your former pastor or your boss or that one professor might think, regardless of how the other PTA moms gossip about you, regardless of what Richard Dawkins might think, and regardless of what you believe or don’t believe about the Gods – you are wonderful. Even if you can’t put together a cogent argument about your faith, or if you still haven’t figured out what to think of that god who keeps visiting, or if you call yourself Priestess Sparklepony and blow bubbles to the four quarters. I don’t care. I think you’re terrific. Even if you think I’m doing it wrong. I still would rather have you tell me why I’m not a Real Druid because I work with a four-element system than have a whole roomful of normal, rational people talk about whatever cheap plastic crap they just bought or what they saw on TV the other night. Seriously – I love you guys. You’re awesome.
(The title of this post explained, if you don’t know the reference: Reading posts that decry the overall silliness, irrationality and wishy-washyness of Pagans made me think of Homer Simpson saying, “Everyone is stupid except me!” I couldn’t remember the episode, but I started giggling to myself after reading another of these posts and hearing Homer’s voice, so I googled it and was delighted to find that it’s from the episode “Homer the Heretic,” where Homer decides to stop going to church and renounce religion. He’s at home relaxing on the couch on a Sunday morning, feeling superior. This made me giggle even more.)