mediaevalist: (Philosophy)
[personal profile] mediaevalist
Wow, it's been a while. I remember this site from years back. It's gone now, apparently, but just about all the pages are archived for our convenience. Huzzah!

Some of the stuff on general New Age beliefs like Wicca aren't entirely accurate, but the primary function here is historical and cultural preservation. Nothing against Wiccans, but they're perfectly capable of defending their own religion. But there's a number of points on the essay which got me there that I feel need addressing. Kaathryn MacMorgan, while stressing the need to do all the research, trips up and commits that very same mistake when it comes to the Holy Church here. As we like to tell people who claim they distrust "organised religion", our comeback is always "So do I! That's why I'm Catholic!" And we have nothing on Judaism in that regard.

It seems more to me that what MacMorgan was actually discussing wasn't religion per se, but worship, which is a little different. In painting Abrahamic faiths with the same rather broad brush, the author confused the two, but they aren't the same. To wit: the Romans given as an example are still members of the same religion, it's only their reverence to specific deities and individual practises that differ. But those three states exist for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, as well. Why do you think we all have so many different sects? Just because we all worship the same singular God doesn't mean that individual observances don't differ wildly, even among those of the same sect. I can guarantee that Maire the Irish Catholic has completely different observances than Maria the Mexican Catholic, even though technically they're both Roman Catholic. Heck, even the different aspects of Mary aren't universal: Maire might revere her as Our Lady of Knock while Maria might revere Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe. These are cultural differences, naturally, but so are most of MacMorgan's examples. And going back to the Romans who shared the same culture and religion, a better example would be between my own observations and those of Protestants. Our shared Religion of the State is the singular worship of the Triune God, but our Religions of the Family and Heart are different; Protestants don't pray the rosary, but we don't do full-immersion baptism. (To be fair, certain Protestant denominations don't, either) I can't even touch upon Judaism and the many different sub-levels of worship without sidetracking into a multi-page essay.

Now, where we differ is this, and here's where it gets confusing to the non-Celt: our Religions of Family and the Heart (or more accurately, our Acts of Worship) are more often than not the same. (And to an extent, this is true of certain other cultures which place the Family at the centre of everything, such as most Asian cultures and several West African ones) One's Family is both a smaller community and the Self is merely one part of it. So while other cultures and religions might have different practices and Acts of Worship between the Self and Family, among the Celts (at least) the internal observations and household observations have generally been the same. (Though to be fair, in the case of personal reverence women have traditionally been drawn to Mary and may have some additional rituals dedicated to her honour within a single household)

The difference between the levels of worship that pagans practise and the ones that we practise is this: the God we (and Jews and Muslims) acknowledge is not one who has limited power the same way the gods of our ancestors did, therefore we have no need to pray to different gods for different things. (Except Jews, they've always followed the same God) He is omnipotent and omnipresent the way the pagan gods simply can't be.

So when He demands our complete devotion, it serves more than a single purpose, though I'll only cite the two I think are most important to the discussion. One is to unify all, to acknowledge that mankind was created by Him and that all have the potential to become Children of God through their own choosing. Another is to differentiate Him from the limited, finite pagan gods: He is not like them, and He is beyond complete human comprehension, existing outside of finite space and time. (Wiccan religion sort of addresses the concern of true infinite deity, but the infinite God doesn't even require a gender) Unlike the gods of our ancestors, He is incapable of mistake or fault, meaning that we can completely and without reservation place our faith and trust in Him. Only a perfect God is capable of perfect salvation of every single soul on earth, and this is why I've chosen to follow Him and Him alone.

June 2015

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