Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I Hate Project Pagan Enough - a response

Before you read this article, read this: http://greattininess.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/why-i-hate-project-pagan-enough/

Thank you, Bex, for bringing this to my attention. I realize that parts of my Project Pagan Enough definition and parameters might be unclear to some. As such, I have reprinted, for your viewing pleasure, my response to this article below.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte


Hello, Great Tininess!

I would be the pagan blogger, Fire Lyte, who started the immature attempt to solve immature problems.

I appreciate all constructive criticism, and I actually wish you had sent me this article in tandem with your posting. I rather enjoy it, and you do make a great point. The outlining of PPE is quite pedestrian and simplistic, and there is a very good reason for this.

The issue at stake is not defining paganism, as one cannot define a path that - by its very lack of uniform definition - is unique to each one who ascribes to it.

I'm not really sure why buying a Prada shoe is any different than buying a $9.99 pair of generic tennis shoes from a large chain retailer. In fact, I would prefer - if we're speaking of matters of conscience - to purchase the name brand shoe, as I can nearly guarantee that it was not made by prison labor, child labor, or other third world work force in conditions unfit for human subsistence. But, does my spending the money I earned on a name brand take away my years of study and education in pagan practices and beliefs?

As for standing up for oneself, this movement is seeking to empower those that feel put down upon TO stand up for themselves. So, I suppose you're in agreement with the movement in a manner of speaking. Good for you! I have a button for your site if you'd like it.

As for the shallow level of tolerance, I think you skipped over the part about academically discussing issues of paganism, debating one's 'fluffy factor,' etc. I have been a big proponent of education and building a deep foundation of knowledge rather than relying on simple New Age bookstore finds. I actually have gotten a lot of flack for calling one another's bullshit out and holding those in the pagan community accountable for the insubstantial drivel many espouse. You can Google the essay The Pagan Secret - it was the most read article on Witch Vox last year. Shouldn't be too hard to find.

As for paganism being meaningless... Well, you're sort of right and you're sort of not. If I come up with the word...consuelance. That's not a word. It has no dictionary definition. But let's say that I tell people the word consuelance means 'ease of use,' as in, "The consuelance of the iPad makes it a fierce competitor in the new tablet PC market." I have given the word a set definition and a manner in which it can be used. This is how the relationship between words and definitions works.

Such it is with the word Christianity. I know it means 'religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.' Buddhism follows the Buddha's teachings. Scientology was born of L. Ron Hubbard's greed, etc. Paganism, though, does not have such roots. It does not have a set definition. Most can't even agree on where we got the word pagan, or, if they can agree on its root, how it is to be applied to modern adherents. Is an Egyptian ceremonial magician a pagan? Is an agnostic or non-denominational witch a pagan? And, if so, what makes them both fit under the same umbrella? What set of key words quantifies or qualifies both as being pagan?

'Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, Sikhs, Scientologists, Raelians, or Atheists. Anybody.' Not any of these groups could be considered pagan, because they already have their set definitions, and by their definitive nature are not pagan. I know what is not pagan by whether it defines itself as such. Buddhists cannot be pagan, because Buddha did not say so. I know the same for the rest of these groups in a like manner.

We do not know what paganism is. The dictionary says a pagan is one holding religious beliefs other than those of the world's main religions. Gosh... That's...well... That's a lot of people. Surely they can't all be pagan...unless, that is, they define themselves as such. I can tell someone they have a set of facts wrong or call them on the BS they're spouting about raising someone from the dead or academically debate issues of religion or philosophy, but if someone defines themselves as pagan I'm not going to take away their title based on trivial, superficial fluff.

Attempting to strip someone of their pagan moniker simply dilutes the overall conversation and averts us from the bigger fish that need frying. I would much rather hash out the details of Margaret Murray's nonsense than gossip over someone's Prada any day.

And that's great if you feel you fit in wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. It wouldn't take much searching around the internet or Witch Vox - or other forum - to find that there are a large number of pagans and like-minded folk who feel put down upon for their looks or mainstream tastes. This turns away many new and old pagans from interacting with the community at large and it is high time this stops so that we can get to the business of establishing our belief system/religion amongst the larger religions of the world.

Without a true meaning - other than, well, a pagan is whoever isn't a part of the other religions - paganism, inherently, is meaningless as a term. As a people, though, we are a fantastic array of all types and it's time that all of those types come together, throw aside the superficial crap, and get to work learning and loving one another. Once this happens, the deeper issues can finally be hashed out.

As an extension of respect, I cordially invite you (oh Great Tininess writer) to be a guest on Inciting A Riot: the Podcast. I don't know if you actually spent any time at all on IncitingARiot.com, but I also have a show. It's currently resting at number 1 on Podcast Alley in the Religion & Spirituality category. I have a rather large listener and reader base and I'm sure they would leave to hear a counterpoint to the ideals and rationality of Project Pagan Enough. I am quite excited to hear more of how this little project of mine is full of middle school logic and immature rhetoric.

Truly, though, all kidding aside, I appreciate your article. It is well thought out and you make a good point. Do I agree? Well...no. But, again, I would be more than willing to discuss this further through email (IncitingARIotPodcast@gmail.com), twitter (@IncitingARiot), or on the show! Contact me to set up a time to talk.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

5 comments:

  1. I think this was a wonderful response, and I applaud you. I've known about your movement for quite some time and just haven't joined in ... until now that is. I think what you're doing here is wonderful, and I'm proud to be a part of it. I put your PPE image in my sidebar with a link back to your PPE page here. You can check it out at:

    http://collegewitchexperiences.blogspot.com

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  2. Just tossing this out there, although I figure you probably know it already - atheists can be pagan. A number of LaVeyan Satanists (who are by definition atheist) that I have had the pleasure of speaking with label themselves and other LaVeyans as "pagan".

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  3. Perhaps we should abandon the term pagan as it means so many things to so many people.

    When asked I say what I practise and believe and leave them to apply their own label in their minds.

    To some people I am pagan and others I am not.

    For the record I am a practitioner of Egyptian ceremonial magic and an inspirational worshipper of Isis.

    Now what images do those words conjure up? ;-)

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  4. I am glad you stuck up for yourself Fire Lyte! Your response is well articulated and definitely not immature. Which brings me to why I really did not like the article "Why I hate project pagan enough." I agree with you that the article brings up some good issues and we podkin all welcome opposing views-we are not preaching the Gospel just merely stating our opinions and trying to get the Pagan community talking and growing. It is not okay however to personally attack people! I don't understand why people can write things that are out right lies and just plain rude! It is moronic to say a movement for tolerance is immature! I really can't understand why people think when some of us talk about discrimination issues in the pagan community we are only talking about one set group of people? Our point is that all people should feel safe, welcomed, and loved in a Pagan group no matter if you come dressed in a Juicy Couture dress or a hand-made gypsy skirt from the thrift store. What you wear or look like has nothing to do with how Pagan you are! Keep up the good work Fire Lyte...there are many many people who love and support you!

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  5. Having read the "Project Pagan Enough", "Why I Hate Project Pagan Enough" and this response... I really don't want to read anything else you have ever said and I definitely don't want to listen to your pods. I would say you got your pride hurt by someone disagreeing with you, so you threw in a lot of Schopenhaueric "debate" techniques.

    "There are many many people who love and support you"...
    Sure. And that makes you right and everyone who dares to disagree is a nasty troll... >:->
    A wonderful show of solidarity, folks :-D
    Let's start blog wars and deliberately misunderstand and misinterpret what other people say, and let's form cliques and take sides, and not even bother to find the common ground! Wonderful! I'm sure this is really functional, mature, productive and beneficial for the cause.

    "We do not know what paganism is."
    Yes, we do. You seem to be seriously confused about it. :-D

    "oh Great Tininess writer"
    He has a name. It's even easier to find than some articles at Witch Vox.

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