Thursday, 17 March 2011

Truth v. Intolerance

Once again, I find myself worked up over the dissemination of misinformation by pagans - the catalyst for this blog post being the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.   This year, and last the Wild Hunt have done an excellent post on the matter of St Patrick and his supposed "genocide of the druids".

For me, it's important to get as close to the truth as possible, especially with regard to historical matters but, for others, "gut feelings" and wild supposition is just as valid proof as personal letters and biographies.  It seems some pagans want to play the game of martyrdom themselves and will rely on fabrications to do so. Myself, I am not into denigrating other religions just for the sake of it, though sometimes I am happy to criticise my fellow pagans. Some of my best religious discussions have been with those of another faith. Thus, I find myself intolerant of those pagans who would spout spurious information to all and sundry, disregarding reason to do so and without thought to the detrimental effect on others, especially when it appears to be no more than petty point scoring.  It would appear that critical thinking, and fact-checking is not an admiral trait in some pagan circles. 

I wish I wasn't this intolerant; I wish I could just let things lie and walk away, but somehow I can't. I get myself embroiled in these pointless arguments and when I request source materials but get no sensible response, I find myself getting frustrated, annoyed and then angry.

Let's face it, though it is just no good arguing with sheep.

I find myself intolerant of those that are happy to be sheeple* yet I have no right to be so. After all, isn't ignorance bliss, and what gives me the right to judge?  Perhaps this is something I should work on?   I have walked away from a lot of pagan groups, events and websites because I just couldn't stand the lack of common sense or individual thought amongst attendees.  Maybe it's that time again?  Time to walk away and stick with those who are happy to have questions asked of them; those who willingly point me in the direction of source materials enabling me to do the research myself and reach my own conclusions or, at the very least, eliminate a few theories and/or return with further questions.

What can I do to improve on this intolerance?  I suppose I could always become a real hermit, so I only have to be mindful of myself.   Or, I could stick to those fellow pagans who think as I do ... but then ... isn't that just avoiding the issue?  I could give up searching for the truth, facts, accuracy, or substantiated claims.   I have ruled out becoming a sheeple myself.   Are there any other options? 

Thoughts anyone?

* Those who act like sheep and run with the herd without question, even over a cliff.


Seren said...

I found myself in a similar situation yesterday. Some people just don't want to hear anything that contradicts what they want to believe, and it's pointless trying to argue, really. But I still do...

Unknown said...

I find that some people prefer not to question which really frustrates me. If asked how I would describe myself then I will usually say something along the lines of being a seeker of knowledge and understanding. To me, being Pagan is about exploring my path.

To others, it seems to be almost like an easy answer. You get to do what you feel like and the rules are pretty easy to follow, you dont even have to show up anywhere regularly. Oops. Looks like my own intolerance of these people is showing.

Oh and I love the word 'sheeple'. Mind if I use it?

Ancestral Gael said...

Well, at least I know now it's not just me. Feel free to use the word Spiritual Kitty; it's not really mine but something I heard recently.

Blue said...

It's nice to find someone with whom I agree. Perhaps at another time, our paths might've converged more closely. I always enjoy your thoughtful posts. I also do not feel the need to attack other religions and have long believed it was something wrong with me. I have also left forums/sites because of this. I finally feel validated.