Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Paganofascists

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you've ever had to wait 8 months for an appointment with the doctor of your choice, you know that some gods, like some doctors, are too damn busy to return your call. A bored god or goddess will take special interest in your case. And they won't ask if you have insurance.

So what is this word: Islamofascist? We here at "The Gods Are Bored" take a great interest in words.

Some people will tell you that Islam promotes fascism if you read its holy scriptures. Other people will say the same thing about the Bible: that if you follow it to the letter, you're gonna fling some stones while alive and watch folks fry (from a safe distance) after you croak.

Well, see, here's the problem. Islam and Christianity (and Judaism too) all have books. Someone writes something down, someone else calls it the Revealed Word of God, and next thing you know, someone's gonna come along and use the words to justify flying planes into buildings. Or bombing abortion clinics.

But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here. We at "The Gods Are Bored" submit that the One God Model produces an overworked deity. This deity can't take the time to teach all of his praise and worship teams civilized behavior. He trusts they'll read the books and make sound decisions.

Most do. A few don't. Books are like that. It's all in the way you read them.

The ancient Celts, from whom spring the practices that today are called Paganism, Wicca, and Druidism, did not write books. It's not that they weren't smart. They just preferred oral transmission of information. Some Druids spent 20 years memorizing. You can't do that if you're stupid.

The beauty of this model is that it's fluid. It can morph. It doesn't carve anything into stone. It offers opportunities for local, national, and regional deities. It also invites open minds about other peoples' deities, because hey. The new dude's goddess might be a sister or a cousin of your goddess.

You'd be surprised how often that happens.

This is why it's hard for me to picture a Pagan of any stripe feeling so disgruntled against some other group of folks that he or she would choose to engage in suicide/murder, pulling down as many other folks as possible.

I'm not counting these Doomsday cults like Waco as Pagans.

So you've read that Druids practiced human sacrifice and all that sick stuff? Yeah. Those reports came from the pens of the Romans, who spent their weekends cheering in arenas while watching wild beasts pull people apart and eat them.

I'm not qualified to speak for every polytheist on the planet, but by and large I think I can say that we haven't produced any suicide bombers in at least a millennia. We might have been compelled to defend ourselves that way in the past, but by golly, we've morphed.

So next time you see the word "fascist" tucked onto the back of some big One God praise and worship team, think first that it's unfair to blow up a whole barge of apples because one or two are rotten. And then think that perhaps you could choose a religion that no one would think to call "fascist."

Pagan fascists? Not on the religious radar. Not now, hopefully never.

So might it be.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

3 comments:

buddy don said...

gratep points. tiz also innerestin how them thats callin folks 'islamofascists' are the closest thangs we gut to ackshull fascists since wwii. fascists have states that cuntrol everthang n wurk together with corporayshuns to make shore everthang wurks fer them same corporayshuns. i dont see no islamo innythangs a'doin that!

n yer rite: tiz unthankabull that a pagan wood bomb innybidy.

Athana said...

Here's Wiki's defintion of fascism:

"Fascism is a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism."

Frankly, I have a hard time imagining any pagan group falling in love with corporatism authoritariansim, nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism OR anti-liberalism.

I think we're safe.

Interrobang said...

Considering that all those holy books predated the modern corporation by millenia, it's hard to see how even book-using religionists of the unreconstructed stripe could be anything resembling "fascists." I think those folks who like to throw around that political "F word" probably mean "totalitarians," but maybe that has too many syllables in it for them.

By the way, just as a point of trivia, although they may not have spent 20 years memorising their tenets, at least one of those book-using religions pretty much requires its adherents to be smart -- if you were or are of the Jewish persuasion (and primarily male, but not always), you'd spend a lot of your spare and not-so-spare time learning a foreign language (a dead foreign language, even!) for liturgical purposes only. And when you were done studying the language, then you could start studying the holy books. Then you could start studying the commentary on the holy books. Then the commentary on the commentary. Then the enormous body of legal rulings and precedent. Then the commentary thereon. You could easily spend 20 years just reading all that stuff.

Worse, if you were an ancient, native-Hebrew-speaking-type practitioner of that religion, you had to learn to count using letters (Hebrew natively has no numbers) and a convoluted, ritualised way of writing the numbers using those letters. (For instance, if you want to write 15, you have to write the letters for 9 and 6 instead of 10 and 5, because the letters used to write 10 and 5 are too close to a name of god to be used.) I'm pretty damn smart and I can't do it.

Modern Christians have it so easy, and they are such whiners.