Friday, August 19, 2011

I had another interesting debate on Facebook. The dialogue went off in a different tangent than I expected. I had posted about being proselytized at work by an evangelical Christian. One church member posted a funny comment: "I'll attend your church if you'll attend my coven." I got a laugh out of that one. Yeah, I bet the evangelical would freak out over that. When I mentioned not liking Wicca very much (like Scientology, I just get a negative vibe from Wicca), one church member started harping on me. She and I have gotten into it plenty of times in the past, previously on the webboard she had started after several liberal church members were banned from the church's official webboard. The problem, quite frankly, is that she is a hardcore feminist, so despite having similar political beliefs, her feminism comes across as extreme.

She wanted to know about my aversion to Wicca and was pretty defensive about it. However, it was difficult for me to articulate what it is about Wicca that I do not like. I even tried a New Agey response: "Wicca simply does not resonate with me." I did not condemn it nor called it Satanic or evil, just that I was not interested in it. I even mentioned that there have been a few women who had a romantic interest in me and something about their personalities did not appeal to me and eventually, I learned that they were Wiccan. Of course, it may be unfair to judge an entire belief system on such a small sample, but I don't think so. My impression of Wicca is that it is not an authentic religion. It seems to be an invented belief system that tries to tie itself to the Salem Witch Trials and the massacre of women accused of witchcraft back in Europe for centuries. Wicca seems to appeal to the type of person who reads too many fantasy novels and attends Renaissance or Medieval Faires, and mixing up their cultural understandings. The clothing style of preference may be Medieval, but the nature worship and the moon worship and the spell casting is pure pagan. While I have no problem with Druids or Celtics, the idea of Wicca as a religion just seems bizarre and outlandish as Scientology. Its a reinvention of history to appeal to "magick fantasies" of some mythological "Middle Earth."

I did not say it in the lengthy dialogue, but the three ladies who were interested in me (one in college, one when I lived in Atlanta, and one in Portland) were all "pushy" / demanding. There was little compatibility with me. I don't know the stats, but it seems like Wicca appeals more to women than men. I guess the preference of worshipping the "goddess" or honouring the goddess is tailor made for feminism. Or at least, the man-hating form of feminism. Outspoken women in history have often been accused of witchcraft and I wonder if that's what the appeal of Wicca is to modern feminists. Christianity doesn't have to be male-dominated, though.

This Wicca-loving church member, though, kept trying to find out what it is about Wicca that doesn't appeal to me and I know I did not do a good job explaining myself. The problem is, I base my opinions on it through the murky, undefined feelings. It really is true when I say that Wicca does not resonate with me at all. In New Age spiritual thought, there is the belief that each idea, word, deed, religion has a certain vibration. If you resonate with an idea, you are a "vibrational match." If you don't, you are not a vibrational match. This is the basis behind the Universal Law of Attraction concept. Thus, Wicca and me aren't a vibrational match. I can't explain why, really, because I'm not basing it on logic. I'm basing it on my core feeling. She tried to win me over by telling me certain beliefs of Wicca that match my belief, such as believing that reincarnation is real. Well, a lot of belief systems have reincarnation (such as Hindu and Scientology) but that doesn't mean much. I find the prancing in the woods beneath to moonlight to cast spells on other people to be a serious problem. Paganism is something I'm glad most humans have evolved away from.

To make it clear to my readers, I'm not saying that Wicca or Paganism is morally wrong or that believers are bad people. I would have no problem being friends with someone who considered themselves as such. However, there is a huge difference between friendship and a relationship. So, when I said that I would not date a woman who was a Wiccan, this lady really got on my case. She had posted a comment, then deleted it. I can see why she deleted it, though, because it made no logical or consistent sense. She was comparing an orange to an apple. This is what she wrote:

"Sorry but this just makes me _furious_ when someone preaches 'open mindedness' patting themselves on the back for it, and then basically says the equivalent of 'I would never date or be friends with a black person... I have known a couple black people and I just didn't like them much. Their culture just seems wrong to me.' "

There is a difference between race and religion. I responded (even though it had already been deleted) that a person's race was inherent, but beliefs are not. It is wrong to discriminate against a person's inherent qualities (though people do have their preferences) but when it comes to something like beliefs, compatibility definitely matters. Especially for someone like me who rates spirituality as one of the top qualities I seek in a wife. If I don't find a woman in the Community of Christ to marry, I would need to marry a lady who belonged to a religion that interests me, particularly a liberal and mainline Christian church, such as Methodist, Quaker, Unitarian-Universalist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, or others in that vein. Buddhism, Hinduism, Secular or Reform Judaism, humanist / agnostic, and New Age spirituality would also be acceptable. Anything else would be problematic (such as Assemblies of God, Jehovah's Witness, Southern Baptist, any fundamentalist or charismatic evangelical church, Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon, Scientologist, Christian Science, Muslim, Wiccan, Satanism, atheist, etc.).

As I tried to explain it, spirituality is very important to me. Unlike most people, I will bring up the religion question on the first date because it goes to the root of a person. I have a whole life experience of dealing with various religious people who were controlling or demanded conformity of belief or basically made my life hell. I have no objection if a person's religion helps them be a better person. That's a good thing, no matter what guise it comes in. The problem is always in how accepting they are of another person maintaining his or her own beliefs. Many churches expect a married couple to have the same religion (this is one aspect of Mormonism that I do not like. I could marry a Mormon lady no problem, however, because her salvation depends upon her husband being a temple-worthy priesthood holder, there is simply no way that'll happen with me). I've brought this issue up with people before, who try to claim that I'm not open minded or liberal just because I know that there are certain religions that are deal breakers for me. I read an article before that whenever there is a disagreement in a married couple, the conservative partner will win and the liberal partner gives in. This is true, because conservatives tend to be more controlling and in need of things being a certain way. A liberal is more accommodating, possibly to maintain the peace in a relationship and because the issue isn't worth a prolonged fight over. I don't want a relationship like that!

If I marry a lady who belongs to a different religion than I do, I am willing to attend her church half the time. I actually enjoy attending other churches, even as I remain loyal to my own. The Clintons actually inspired me, because Bill is Southern Baptist and Hillary is Methodist, so they raised Chelsea in both religions and allowed her to choose when she was old enough. If I remember correctly, Chelsea chose her mother's faith. And now she's married to a Jewish guy, so the interfaith marriage continues for a new generation. So, when I'm married, attending a different church / religion half the time would be fascinating for me. However, I know myself well enough and I'm a bit more traditional / establishment than I care to admit. The Community of Christ began during the spiritual revival going on in the United States in the early 1800s. Several churches were born in this time. Its a heritage to which I can relate and appreciate (Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were part of the Transcendentalist of this period).

But if I met a lady who was into Wicca, a relationship would be a non-starter. Especially if she was into "casting spells." Though I don't believe that stuff is real, I also think it reveals too much of a person's psyche who believes in such things. I once came across a spell for women to cast to attract the guy they want. I read it and laughed because of its ridiculousness. Namely, the spell called for getting a pubic hair from the guy and putting it into a blender with other ingredients and feeding it to him. Supposedly, it would make him fall in love with the spellcaster! What a croc! I much prefer the New Age spiritual belief: to attract love, you have to visualize the kind of internal traits you want the significant other to possess and to bring those qualities into your own life before the person appears. There is no spell to cast, no chasing after people who may not even want you.

The last Wiccan lady I knew who was so blatantly obvious in her crush on me claimed that she was going to cast a "binding spell" on everyone who worked at our dysfunctional office (at the place that shall not be named). I don't know if she ever cast a spell or not, but if she had, it did not work. I was not trapped there forever. I managed to escape. Having getting to know her, though, I can understand why Wicca appealed to her. She had issues with men and perhaps the male-dominated view in Christianity of God being a male was something to rebel against. Though I refer to God as God, I do not believe God has a gender. When people refer to God as "goddess", they are assigning it a gender just by their language alone.

The second Wiccan lady I knew was obsessed with the fantasy genre and used the spelling of "magick" for magic. She was a writer and her short stories were all in the fantasy genre. I've never gotten into fantasy. I admit that I can have kind of a harsh view of people who are into fantasy, to the point where they incorporate it into their lives. I can see how Wicca would appeal to such people, because its just one more aspect of continuing their literary fantasy tastes into their lives. Whether Wicca rituals are true or not probably depends on the person. Then again, there's a quote that I like that says: "Your focus determines your reality." Again, an example of "Law of Attraction."

So, we all have our interest and what appeals to one person won't appeal to another person. It is not wrong to say that I don't want to be in a relationship with someone who is into Wicca. I'm a loyal and fair guy. Is it wrong to desire a woman whose spiritual interests are more compatible with my own? I don't want to go to late night gatherings in the woods by the moonlight to engage in rituals I may not understand. I don't want a woman who believes that she can cast spells to get what she wants in life. I don't want a house full of pagan imagery, which includes the pentagram. I don't want to read fantasy books or see them on my bookcase.

Spiritual compatibility is important in romantic relationships. But when it comes to friendships, I actually like having friends of all kinds of beliefs. However, I'm not in contact with any Wiccan. I think they understand quite well that we simply do not resonate at the same vibrational level. This lady who critiqued my comments on Facebook sounded a little too defensive about it. I often suspected her of being a Wiccan, even though she's also a member of the same church that I belong to. My personal belief is that she is Wiccan or at least partially Wiccan because she likes the worship of the goddess, since she has issues with men and the idea of "God" being a male. God is just a word to define the unknowable. There should not be a gender attached.

Oh well. To each their own. "Blessed be."

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