Thursday, April 1, 2010

Christian Militia and Real Pagans

My latest exchange on Twitter:

onfaith: Why does the media keep referring to arrested Michigan extremists as 'Christian' militia? How are they Christian? http://bit.ly/c7lUjJ

My response: Why do they refer to Muslim extremists as Muslim? If it's what they call themselves, is it our place to proclaim them non-Xian? The IRS goes by sincerity of belief. Extremists who define their actions as springing from their faith are generally sincere about why they need to kill people or at least not be forced to treat them fairly.

Too much BS circulates about what a 'real' Christian is and isn't. The same goes for Pagans. I'm tired of hearing about which groups or people are 'real' Pagans or witches. A recent blogger began Project Pagan Enough:
Project Pagan Enough seeks to say that - no matter your beliefs, practices, looks, or loves - you are pagan enough. We can argue theology back and forth all day long and disagree with one another's fluff-factor until the cows come home, but it is high time that we stop denigrating one another's level of being pagan. Paganism does not have a set definition, and there is definitely not a dress code or music-loving requirement.

We can hold debates over what the titles 'Christian' and 'Muslim' and 'Pagan' and 'Witch' mean, we can stop extremists from killing people in the name of their faith, we can explore history, philosophy, and anecdotal evidence... but people are going to keep referring to themselves by specific religious titles because that's part of their self-definition. Arguing over them is, basically, arguing about the opinion of your invisible friend as opposed to theirs.

Or, more to the point, it's arguing semantics. It's of interest to intellectuals and theologians, but, practically speaking, you're better off judging people by their deeds, not their labels.

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