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,
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,