There you are at Thanksgiving, surrounded by your loving family. Everyone is dressed, clean, thankful and on the same page politically and religiously… and then your alarm clock goes off waking you from your dream.
Why am I writing about Thanksgiving nightmares in May? Well for one reason, the year is zipping by at an alarming rate and it feels as if T-day is next month and for another reason, well let’s start a new paragraph for that one.
Since April I have been embarking on a personal study that has been partly responsible for my lack of being able to get other things done which is why I still have not done anything formally with the Elder Thaddeus study. Oh I’m reading it alright but I am in no fit way ready to write out questions or lengthy blog posts about it. The personal study I have been working on is… understanding paganism and witchcraft. Don’t panic. I’m still a Christian, but I can see how people can lose their faith when they begin looking into such things if they are weak on their understanding of Christianity. Why did I begin to study these other spiritual paths? Not to give up my Christianity but to understand first hand what these paths are about. I wanted to know for myself what they were about and not rely on second hand knowledge. I’m glad I did. I’m all about ‘Get your oats fresh’… you know that saying right? ‘Get it straight from the horses mouth!’. Why? Because I had actually been told one time by someone in leadership at a house of prayer I attended that daydreaming was a form of witchcraft! With that sort of nonsense being tossed about as wisdom, I had to do my own research.
Paganism and witchcraft are on the rise. This increase has partly come about, I believe, because of the circus Protestantism has become and because of our exposure to paganism through entertainment.
There are certain factors that have increased our exposure to paganism; The Marvel movie franchise that wrapped up not too long ago, The Game of Thrones books, and mini-series (or not so mini of a series), the focus of late that all-white-people-are-colonizing-devils-and-only-giving-up-Christianity-and-embracing-our-roots-in-our-pagan-ancestory-can-save-us-because-Christianity-is-a-religion-for-old-white-supremacist-men. There is a belief trending that the only truth is what our ancestors believed before white people brought in Christianity to colonize the natives.
In reality, you can have your culture and still be a Christian. You can still follow the season and read the signs of nature, go on hunts and honor your ancestors. Christianity is not a religion just for white people however, white people also went through some devastating things in history because of religion and religious hate- both white Christians and non-white Christians. okay, okay-everybody preyed upon everyone. Can we ‘hug it out’ and forgive each other? See life is just one giant Thanksgiving dinner lived over and over, and over. If we do not learn how to get along, or at least forgive each other and let go… we’re doomed.
Some additional information about Orthodox Christianity demographic statistics can be found on Pewforum.
In my Internet travels, I have encountered many challenges to Christianity. It seems Christians are not alone in their fervor for their religion and for some, in their intense dislike for those not of their religion (dear Christian brothers and sisters, God COMMANDED us to love one another, not beat people over the head with our bibles). We Christians have hurt people of other faiths in our over zealousness and insensitivity. Who ever became a Christian by being hammered on constantly, or told they were going to hell (pagans and witches do not believe in hell), or told their gods are demons?
One of the vlogs I came across in my study ‘travels’ belongs to a Norse pagan. One of his video titles declared; ‘How to destroy Christianity with this one argument’. One of the commentators wrote that they were going to use his argument at Thanksgiving dinner, hence the title for today’s post.
First I apologize to all the pagans and witches I have offended over the years. Please forgive me. Second, I point out that if you are a pagan gleefully constructing what you think are destructive arguments against Christianity to destroy your family’s faith in God, you are no better than the Christians who attack you. We are all not in a contest to see who can crush the other person the best, or worst depending on how well you are doing in your compassion for your own friends and family. Ahem…
This is the expected reaction this particular pagan expects to see when he asks what he thinks are very tough, and soul crushing questions. His question to end Christianity once and for all (all of that should have been said in your head (or out loud) with a loud authoritative and echoing voice followed by maniacal laughter). Are you ready for his profound, faith crushing question? Here it comes:
If God is omniscient, and omnipotent, how is it possible that His word (scripture) is so misinterpreted by His people? You would think something written by God (scripture) would be easy to understand by all and no one would ever misinterpret the Word of God. Can the Christian God not convey Himself in a way that is understandable? Wouldn’t He infuse His word with understanding so His message would be clear?
That’s a good question. I have asked myself something similar on many occasions. My version is; “If we all have the same bible, and we have all read the scripture that tells us to be unified and there are hundreds of thousands of denominations, Christian don’t get along, and can’t even agree on sprinkling or dunking for baptism, what is going on?!”. My question was asked in a moment of frustration. I know what is going on, I just don’t like it.
What this pagan vlogger is saying comes from a place of confusion and a lack of understanding about who God is and how Christianity really works, i.e. he didn’t read his bible when he was a Christian. Plus, he chose one of the most ridiculous persons on the web to use as an example (a video of a baptist minister ‘loosing it’ over the word, ‘is’). That’s what people like him who wish to refute the bible and God do, they use the least qualified person as the fall guy in the scenario and build their argument on that one person. The person he chose to use is someone I have seen before mocking every other Christian who is not a baptist and mocking how Jews pray. Not the best person to hold up to scrutiny but that’s how such persons argue. They argue weakly. They rarely, if ever use someone in authority who knows their stuff.
Oh how I wish they would pull that kind of argument out at a dinner table where one of the guests is a true Orthodox priest.
If you find yourself in a situation where your pagan or witch sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle etc. has asked this very profound (but really not at all profound) question here is your response.
The Word of God is in fallible. It is perfect… uncorrupted and incorruptible. However, people are fallen and corrupted by their sin, and the sin of the world. God has given us free will which extends to the reading of His word. Without the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church, it is quite easy to misinterpret scripture.
If you buy a new car and wreck it, it is not the fault of the manufacturer. You wrecked it. The same principle applies to scripture. If you buy and read a bible and get it wrong, it is not because God did something wrong and you couldn’t understand His word. God gives us free will which extends to reading His word. Most misinterpretation of scripture comes from rebellion and pride; the rest comes from not having Holy Tradition to sort it out. Humble people understand and obey God’s word.
That last part about humility could cause you to end up with a drumstick in your ear, tread lightly.
People who attend a church where the liturgy is performed (Orthodoxy) get an enormous amount of scripture read to them during the service.
Scripture is not meant to only be read alone at home with no tradition to back up, or refute, your personal interpretation. This is a very damaging residue from the reformation which has lead to hundreds of thousands of denominations within ‘Christianity’. Denominations are started because someone got a butt hurt over something and instead of submitting to their leadership, they went and started a new church (cult) in their basement and it grew until it became a whole new denomination.
Every denomination that came after the reformation is heretical.
Scripture is meant to be read out loud. As an Orthodox Christian, you go to the Liturgy and hear the scripture read, you study your bible at home, you read the Holy and ancient fathers, you pester your priest endlessly with questions.
Look, the people who are questioning their faith without Holy tradition to guide them are the ones falling away. they become Muslim, pagan, atheist, etc. There is so much confusion, misdirection and misinterpretation within Protestantism its a wonder anyone is left. Even the pious Amish got it wrong. This is the path where personal interpretation of the bible without Holy Tradition leads.
If, at some future Thanksgiving dinner, some pagan who thinks he is clever asks you how scripture can be misinterpreted, as if he’s just cracked the pagan version of the Davinci code, you now have an answer, I hope, to that ridiculous question.