This is interesting…
Long-time pagan blogger ‘Pax” has inaugerated a month of encouraging other pagan bloggers to talk about the values (as in ethics) of their beliefs.
As he puts it in his intitial post;
In June the sun is at it’s height in the Northern Hemisphere and nearly hidden from view in the Southern Hemisphere. Midsummer and Yule, festivals of fire and of light.
Let us then use our hearts and minds and words, invoking the fires of inspiration; let us write of the virtues and ethics and morals and values we have found in our Pagan paths, let us share how we carry these precious things forward in our own lives and out into the world.
This is a splendid thing for many reasons. Aside from a chance to show to other religious writers (specifically monotheists) that these beliefs actually can have a sense of ethical and honourable conduct, it offers a chance for that community to attempt to define what those ethical stances are… and hopefully to take a good look at where those stances are either in opposition or contradiction, or are observed more in the breach, even ignored.
There’s been some good stuff on this so far. I especially liked a short but pithy piece by Deborah Lipp, “Putting the ‘poly’ into polytheism”, on pluralism as a basic pagan ethic:
Monotheism has “mono” as a root value. One God, one Truth, one Right with all other things Wrong. This is a net negative for culture, I believe.
Polytheism allows us to worship many gods, few if any of whom are “jealous Gods.” None of them seem to demand that we worship Them and Them alone. Kali has never asked me to cease worshiping the gods of Wicca, and vice versa. Doing one thing fervently, wholeheartedly, with body, mind, heart, and spirit, does not prevent Pagans from doing another, very different, thing with the same wholeheartedness.
There are surely things that are wrong, but a pluralistic world view means that, once we have found something we know to be right, we do not know that everything else is wrong. One god worthy of worship does not make all other gods false. One life worth living does not make all other lifestyles inferior.
Also good to see this by Dawn on the Witchmoot group blog, which asks “What are pagan values, exactly?”, which is more than a little critical of some aspects of the pagan community:
We don’t want to be Christians. Not really. But wouldn’t it be nice if, when considering whether to attend an event, you could predict the sort of values that would be expressed there? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could dance skyclad without the worry that some dude would stick his hand in places he has no right to? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take your kids to an event and not worry that some drunken fool was going to push mead (or something) on them. “No it’s good. I made it myself, you have to try it. It’s sweet. Tastes like honey. It’s alright, this is religious gathering. You can have some. You’ll like it.”
Although I don’t consider myself pagan as such, a lot of my friends are and modern paganism was a major influence on my own beliefs. It’s good to see self-examination and sincere thought about these matters there.
I’m bunging up links to interesting posts on my Twitter – and set up the #paganvaluesmonth hashtag for ease of finding.