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Christianity by stealth

June 21, 2013

Christianity by stealth

It’s the summer solstice – on paper anyway. It’s the time of year when people purporting to be varying flavours of Pagan go off to Stonehenge and basically have a party whilst rein acting a pseudo religious rite. Good luck to them, it must be a buzz to watch the sunrise and join in the collective rapture of the dawning of the longest day. For the most part it’s harmless, a brief respite from the drudgery of everyday life, a glimpse of an imagined past where nature, the land, the gods and ancestors were at the forefront of everyday thought. A time before the Romans sprinkled Britain with their own particular brand of polytheism, and the time before the Augustine revolution brought horror, pain, decay and abuse in the shape of the fish, under the metaphorical flag of Christianity.

Mercifully that was a long time ago, and for the most part the country, its people and traditions have recovered. Of course, Christianity has built its churches on the foundations of sacred sites and temples, it has shamelessly rebranded and hijacked ancient festivals, and like a gargantuan company has swallowed up and assimilated whole swaithes of belief and practices.

But, in this modern age, the age of organised factionalism, where organised religions wage war against ideology and each other. And extreme versions of Christianity take the moral high ground and insinuate superiority over other religions. In this environment the modern Pagan has flourished.

From backyard, kitchen witchery to organised quasi druidic rituals. I myself am an Ovate in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) choosing to study and for the most part meditate, cogitate and celebrate alone.

So what is Christianity doing to catch up? The Anglican church is, in my view being very subversive, stealthy and canny. It is inveigling itself into the favour of those with alternate beliefs. With a smile, a nod, a wink, a self-conscious sense of self-mockery it is choosing to join them rather than beat them. It is beginning to hold some services in woodland, some members of its clergy are bringing along drums, they are even saying prayers around bonfires.

Whilst on one level this is all very sickly, slightly embarrassing and ultimately harmless, simply a way to draw new, more alternative people to the faith, I think it is a shameful, shabby and downright underhand way to subvert, convert and ultimately assimilate. It is not conversion by force of arms, it is not a crusade, but it is a coercion, a cunning and slippery way to be all trendy. To say, “Hey guys let’s chill together. We all worship the same god, let’s have a drum and I’ll drop in Jesus when you’re at your most vulnerable!”

You may think me a curmudgeon
– you may think that it’s great that those who label themselves Pagan are hanging out with those who label themselves Christian’ and of course it is – in the same way that it’s nice to see a Labrador playing with a Staffordshire bull, that is until the Staffordshire bull turns around and bites the Labrador’s guts out.

Faith is a personal and ever evolving thing. A thing of gossamer feathers and tranquil reflection. Everyone has the right to worship how and who they want, the right to commune with spirit in whichever way fits into their own sense of self. I’m not anti Christian, I’m anti clergymen getting down with the Pagans in a patronising and self seeking manner. It jars in the same way as William Hague jarred when he donned a baseball cap.

If you want people to get along, if you want belief systems not to clash, simply leave them alone to get on with it and respect their right to do their thing. If the Anglican church want new souls, don’t mess with our souls, find your own. Make church more relevant, more fun, more community driven. Or just give up and admit that organised religion stinks.

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From → Culture, Religion, Society

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