Reader Question #1: Is it morally wrong to break with my parents’ religion?

As previously announced, I’ve decided to take interesting comments, questions, and topics posted to Helleneste kai Grammateus and answer them in longer articles. You can take advantage of my offer after reading the Site Policy and completing the Ask a Question form. As always, this is a free service, but if you wish to help support this blog, you can make a donation.

Below is the first question that set me off doing this. It was a comment in reply to article on How to Find Your Patron Goddess or God, and it’s a really important one.

I’m a Catholic and I have been drawn too this religion, I’m not sure what it is but I love the gods but I will feel terrible for leaving my religion, I’m barely a teenager but like I said its like I’m being drawn too this, and I have been searching this stuff all day and it just feels right somehow I’m confused, would it be bad for me too leave my religion behind and start again??

Deanna

Continue reading

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RIP Gay Victims of Abuse: Will YOU Wear Purple on October 20th?

 

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...

LGBT flag Image via Wikipedia

 

This post follows a previous article on Tyler Clemente Dead at 18: Teasing and Bullying Teenagers is an Epidemic.  Please click there before continuing…

Tyler Clemente wasn’t the only recent teenage victim of persecution for being gay.  There was also Asher Brown (an 8th grader who shot himself in the head after suffering abuse by other students), Seth Walsh (hung himself at 13 after school officials ignored the problem), Justin Aaberg (at 15 hung himself following three of five suicides thought related to struggles with sexual identity), Raymond Chase (hung himself at 19) and Billy Lucas (hung himself at 15 after making administrators aware of his LGBT bullying, and they did nothing).

According to the Miami Herald, Campus Pride (which recently released a study on attitudes towards LGBT students on campus) issued a statement in reaction to the deaths:

…the recent pattern of LGBT youth suicides is cause for grave concern. Campus Pride demands national action be taken to address youth bullying, harassment and the need for safety and inclusion for LGBT youth at colleges and universities across the country. We must not let these tragic deaths go unnoticed. Together we must act decisively to curb anti-LGBT bias incidents, harassment and acts of violence.

Many consider this terrible pattern of abuse as a call to action. Continue reading

Islamic Center Proposed in Tennessee

Anti-Islamic protestors

Anti-Islamic protestors raise signs

Here’s another amusing video from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, this one on the topic of an Islamic Center proposed in Tennessee and the growing hatred and paranoia of all things Muslim.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tennessee No Evil
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party
Protestor holds a sign against proposed Islamic center

Protestor holds a sign against proposed Islamic center

Remember folks, religious tolerance applies to all religions. It doesn’t mean endorsing their creeds, liking what they do, or -gods forbid- agreeing with others’ beliefs. It means allowing them to practice their faiths. Ideally, it means trying to understand why others believe what they believe; but at the very least, not being a jackass about it by persecuting believers of other faiths.

This applies not only to Christians with respect to Islam and to us, as polytheists. It also applies to us and our behavior towards monotheists like Christians and Muslims.

What do you think of (and feel about) the building of Islamic Cultural Centers?  Should we be tolerant if and when we are not tolerated?

Which Gods Can You Trust?

Pagans, particularly modern Hellenic Polytheists and those of the hard polytheistic bent, will usually agree that the gods have their own agendas. This is clear in the earliest mythos of Homer. The gods take sides, have personal alliances, have varied personalities, and while our prayers are sometimes answered they are also sometimes ignored. So how can we trust them?

I visited a forum recently in which a poster asked this:

Currently, I’m a new pagan, only been pagan for about maybe a year or so, but how did you guys know which gods or goddesses to trust?
I realize that upon entering a relationship with any deity, there will be conditions that you will need to abide by.

It’s a very general question that I’m not sure how to phrase properly. However, how do you find a god or goddess who is open-minded, willing to let you ask questions no matter how irreverent, and just think for yourself? – gracesong

Zeus, the king of the gods, and controller of ...

Bust of Zeus via Wikipedia

My answer is this: Read up on the mythology of the god in question before approaching Them. This will give you a good start.

With many gods, you have to show that you are trustworthy first. That trust is built on exchange, you’re much more likely to develop that trust if you hold true to your side of the exchange than if you don’t. If you offer something in exchange for favor, then be worthy of Their trust and follow-through with your offering/sacrifice.

If you’ve done your reading, and keep your side of the exchange, then the rest is trial and error. Some gods will be indifferent to appeasement. Only They know who They favor.

If you’re not sure what to offer, then ask. If you don’t know which god to thank for something unexpected, you can say something like, “Hear me Zeus, if you are the right god to address, thank you for….” or “To whichever god blessed me with….thank you, I leave this offering for you.”

If you’re inclined towards the Hellenic Pantheon, these gods are known to be approachable:

  • Hestia – The hearth and seat of the home, what could be more inviting than that? She gave way to Dionisos and relinquished Her seat on Olympos when he was recognized as a god.
  • Hermes – He may play tricks on you, but he welcomes all kinds of people.
  • Asklepios – Very kind and known to accept all sorts of offerings (including a child’s dice) for healing.
  • Hypnos – The benignant god of sleep.
  • Which gods do you trust, and why?

    Brit Hume Proselytizes Christianity

    I don’t think that faith [Buddhism] offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. – Brit Hume on Fox News

    At first I tried to shrug this off. But it kept eating at me. Continue reading

    Miasma and the Mentally Ill

    Miasma: ritual pollution or defilement.

    Is mental illness, and disease in general, inflicted by the gods as punishment for hubris and other “sins”? Are we punished for approaching the gods when afflicted by Miasma (ritual impurity), or simply ignored? Or, is Miasma the result of physical and mental illness, which when afflicts us, bars us from approaching the theoi (gods)? If so, what can we do to seek Their help when we most need it (when ill) and yet do so with respect?

    How did the ancients approach this issue?
    Continue reading

    Fundamentalist Atheists

    Addendum: There have been some lively comments in response to the post below, but there seem to be misapprehensions that 1) I am calling all Atheists fundamentalists, and that 2) I am defending Abrahamic faiths, or that this blog is about Abrahamic faiths.

    This is not so.

    First, I am talking specifically about intolerance – when it appears among Atheists. Extremists (who are often marked by intolerance) are found in every group, and Atheists are no exception.

    If you are Atheist and tolerant of other people’s religious and spiritual beliefs, then this article is NOT about you.

    If you feel it could be about you, well, then try to take home the message of the golden rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have done to you’.

    Second, please read “About the Author” And “About Helleneste kai Grammateus” before posting.

    Thank you. Now for the post…

    The Major religious groups of the world.

    Major Religious Groups of the World Image via Wikipedia

    I read a new term today: “Fundamentalist Atheists” referenced in KCRW’s The New Atheists.

    The label is meant for those who don’t believe in any deity (soft or hard) and view the influence of any religion or spirituality as a threat to reason and science and fight back. They believe that religion inherently fosters ignorance and war and fight aggressively against beliefs in anything spiritual. Theirs is called the New Atheism movement.

    I would agree that one can be Atheist and be Fundamentalist about it. One doesn’t have to believe in spirituality in order to be so adamant about that belief (or non-belief if you prefer) to proselytize and show intolerance. Continue reading