Sunday, 28 November 2010

Paganism as a recognised religion

There has been a lot of talk in the press in the last few months, particularly in one of Britain's more right wing mainstream publications, about the rights and wrongs of Paganism being recognized officially by a religion in the UK.
Now when taking on this topic it is very, very easy to get drawn into making rhetoric, biased and , in the case of the Daily Fail, down right hate filled statement making.
I'm going to avoid going down that route.

What I would like to say is that there is no reason for it not to be.
I will go as far as saying that there is no reason for anyone's religious beliefs not to be accepted and recognized.

If we accept that we live in a country that accepts an individuals right to believe what they want - which we do (and long may that continue) - then how can anyone say that anyone religious belief is any more valid than another. After all once you remove your own personal religious views out of the decision making progress then you have no choice but to accept the views of others as being valid.

Devout people, be they monothiest, polythiest, agnostic or athiest, will all hold opinions about what is valid and what is not, and some religions, and the individuals that belong to them, are more tolerant of beliefs that fall outside theirs than others, but the way to look at is it this:

If I were a Catholic then how would I like it were someone belonging to another faith were trying to belittle my religious beliefs by saying it wasn't really a religion and should not be recognized?
The answer is, of course, I would not like it.
Now then, this being the case, what would give me the right to do just that to others?

When people talk about a modern civilization being "formed" or "based" upon one particular religion and it's practices then they are wildly incorrect, especially when you consider the United Kingdom.
Whilst it is true to say that since 500ad, or so, that the country has been officially a Christian one, it is not true to say that the rules, laws and practices of this union of countries were based purely on biblical teachings.
The foundations of our laws, cultures and practices can be found to originate in Pagan Britian. The Church, be it the Catholic one or the Protestant one, never managed to fully Christianize this fair isle and remove the elements that preceded it.
You cannot claim that any one religion is responsible for the moral foundations of a group of people that existed prior to the creation of the religion.
A quick check of a decent history book will show how flawed that approach is.

Now getting back to my original point, to be fair to everyone, of all faiths, then we should scrap the list of "recognized" religions and adopt an approach of complete and total tolerance and acknowledgement.

If something rings true in your heart and soul to the point where you will stand tall and announce it to another then it should be recognized and respected by all.Simple as that.


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