Sunday, 31 January 2010

"The Big Questions" - Reaction

So, I watched the programme which debated "Is Paganism more relevant today than Christianity?" on Sunday morning.  I watched it again when it appeared, in two parts on Youtube.

And, here is what I thought:  I felt completely unrepresented.

I felt that the pagan speakers were poor.  For example, none of the pagans refuted the statement that past pagans practised human sacrifice, let alone counter with the Christian God requiring Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac.   It was stated that paganism had no benefit as pagans were portrayed as nothing more than nature worshippers, and a non-religion, having no moral or ethical guidelines.  Well, I, for one, don't worship nature. I do have moral and ethical guidelines, not borne of a "sustainable relationship with nature", as stated by ERO, but from the society in which I live and the myths of my ancestors; the central tenet of my particular faith being "truth" (roughly translated).  Those that follow the Norse tradition have a set of strict ethical and moral codes to which they adhere, as do several other groups, including Wicca.  So, the statement that paganism is not a religion because it has no moral/ethical guidelines is false, but was weakly rebutted on the programme offering only that morals and ethics were innate.

Paganism is not a religion, it is a "hold-all" term for many different faiths, religions and philosophies, and it is impossible to refer to pagans as a cohesive whole.   Although ERO tried to explain this in relation to the question of afterlife, it was ignored and the debate continued as though all pagans have the same ideas about everything and worship or practice in the same way.   Even the opening statement fostered this impression, when Nicky Campbell announced that "Pagans will be celebrating Imbolc on Tuesday".   Really?  It was my understanding that while some pagans will celebrate Imbolc, others won't recognise the festival at all.  I laughed when the gentlemen said the statements on JF's website were contradictory. Well, of course they are, because pagans are not a cohesive whole.

However, I was appalled at the Christian-bashing, made by JF, with sweeping generalisations and misrepresentations.

There was only a brief discussion which spoke to the question of paganism or Christianity being more relevant to today's society, and Mr Harvey's contribution was reduced to the matter of environmental issues, after which I got the impression he just gave up and watched the rest of the farce.  Certainly some of the faces he was pulling (in the background) led me to this assumption.

I am beginning to see why so many are rejecting the use of the word pagan, and opting for something else instead. I must admit I tend to refer to myself as a polytheist these days.

Friday, 29 January 2010

"The Big Questions"

The BBC programme, "The Big Questions" is to debate "Is Paganism more relevant today than Christianity?" this Sunday, 31 January 2010, at 10.00 a.m. on BBC2 in the United Kingdom.

It's a little early in the day for me, but thought it might be of interest to readers of these pages.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Cúchulainn on the Big Screen

It would appear that the story of the Irish mythological hero, Cúchulainn, is to be made into a film.  I have seen the odd news item, here and there, announcing it as being in pre-production.  According to the film company, the movie is to be made along the lines of 300, and Beowulf, wherein the actors are real, but everything else is CGI.  The graphics seem okay on the Facebook pages.  If they get it right, it could be a cracking film, and I hope they do get it right, as I would like to see more mythology revived in the minds of the general public.

I imagine it's going to be a long, long wait before we see this film in the cinema, since it is currently in pre-production and there are no details of any sort, just synopses.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Meditation

It occurred to me, in the early hours of this morning, that my meditation practice had fallen by the wayside. 

Meditation never came easy to me, I had to start with physical meditation - focussing exclusively on the act of walking -  and work from there, but I have never attained the ability to sit still and focus on a solitary thought, without an interruption from my "monkey brain".   Rather I use housekeeping for meditative purposes: ironing, washing up, dusting and vacuuming all serve me well, as they are repetitive and help me hone my focus. 

Lately, I have been using tasks to think, not meditate, and I thought it might be because I feel I have somehow failed.  Even as I write this, "monkey brain" is grinning at me and shaking it's head, like a chimpanzee - perhaps in victory?   Is time that I accepted "monkey brain" has won, and physical meditation is all I can hope for?  I wonder if I am giving up to early and should continue to strive for a more peaceful route in meditation, even if I've been attempting to do so for over 20 years?

I guess I know what I'll be thinking about when I'm scrubbing the bathroom floor tomorrow.