In the past (and present at times) I have been at a lack of words as to why (other than the obvious reasons) I am no longer a Christian. Do I believe in a God? Yes. Do I believe in one God? No. Then we get into the Goddess aspect discussion and I totally lose most folks. But my relationship (the personal one) is just that – Mine. I don’t feel the need to share my personal spiritual stuff with certain folks. I find that sometimes it’s just entertainment for them and I’m more serious than that.
But, what I’ve been mulling over the past few months is this: FEAR.
“Once we face our fear, once we treat our anxiety itself as a thing, we can then choose otherwise. Instead of filling the unknown in our minds with expectations of the tragic, we can choose to fill the void with a different expectation – the expectation of adventure. For example, Seneca, the Greek philosopher, refused to be afraid of what he did not know. When asked if he was afraid of dying, he replied, “Absolutely not, why should I be afraid of something I know nothing about.” His orientation toward the unknown of death was not to fill the gap in his understanding with horror but potential.” – David W. Jones, Moses and Mickey Mouse: How to Find Holy Ground in the Magic Kingdom and Other Unusual Places
I believe Christianity is a religion based on and promoted by fear and it most certainly has profited by fear. I believe this with all my little ole’ heart. Without going into the history of any religion, including Christianity, there has always been a fear of the unknown. I get that. But, to have the fear of what will or will not happen hanging over you every day of the week, 24-7, in church, in life and in death – well folks – that is just cruel in my book. Oh, now I hear some say – I have no fear because God/Jesus will save me (has, will again, over and over) – the Bible says so – my preacher says so – etc. “Save me.” It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the need to be saved from what will happen in my next life.
I worry about my Mom and Dad because they are afraid of death. I don’t even think they would deny it. But it is so plain on their faces when they talk of relatives or friends dying. You can see the fear on their faces. You can FEEL it. So I worry and I feel sad that they are consumed by a religion that makes them fear – because no one can be perfect all the time, no one can live up to the expectations that have been pounded into them their whole life if they want to “get to Heaven.” It breaks my heart. They are wonderful people, awesome parents, hardworking up to the day they physically couldn't be. They have always been there for me, my brother and sister. I KNOW they will go to whatever place they call Heaven, they will move on to a beautiful place. Your truth is what you believe. But would they believe their Pagan daughter if I told them so? No, they will continue to struggle to be that perfect or near perfect human and still have that fear of the unknown instead of just simply being happy and LIVING.
We, as Pagans, have other perspectives on death. I don’t fear death. I hope that it doesn’t come sooner than I want – if I could be choosy about it. But I don’t have that fear of Hell and burning in fires for eons hanging over my head. I just simply cannot fathom believing – truly believing – that this will happen to me or anyone who is not following the God of Abraham.
Blessings! – Amaya