Happy Thor’s Day
A humanist is a person who sees human beings and the human race as the central thing to solving human problems. A pagan is a person who finds spirituality in all things. I want to talk about how these two intersect. For me, people are both the solution to their problems and sacred as part of the universe. I don’t look to political or religious forces to solve human problems. Both of those things tap into tribalism hard and push us to fear and hate one another. If you looking for the evil that might exist, you don’t have to look too far into any political or religious organization and you will find some.
As a humanist, I don’t think political ideology solves problems. Speaking as a political scientist, I can tell you that politics is about putting groups of people against one another to gain power, not solve problems. Unless you see solving the problem as subjecting other people to what you think is right and forcing them, politics and government is not the way to go.
As a pagan, and former Christian, I can see how religion is used much the same way as it influences culture to label things ‘sinful’. Once again, this is then used to put groups of people against one another as ‘the righteous’ put themselves against ‘the sinners’. Using shame, shunning and general looking down noses at others because ‘they don’t have the truth of our faith’, you can see once again how this is used to control people through fear and manipulation. Sorry, religion tends to create more problems not solve them.
It seems if human beings want actual solutions to their problems, they might want to look at themselves and stop joining religious and political groups that are not about solving problems but rather are about control. Time for an alternative way of looking at people that might actually solve their problems. Time to start looking at people as sacred.
Time to Look Through the Eye:
Having faith in human beings to solve their own problems is difficult at first. Both the above forces fo government and religion do some pretty good PR to label some people as the problem and having the need for others to control them. I always marvel at political and religious leaders ability to label whole groups of people as the problem and not themselves of course. They are the solution.
I can say that if you sit back and really think about it there are two things I can have faith in: 1) That things are getting better all the time for humanity, and 2) That a whole bunch of people are trying to convince you that things are getting worse for their own gain. But if I look at it objectively and consider people being sacred. You can have faith in each individual human being to solve their own problems if they are given the freedom to do so. Letting people be themselves is the most sacred and loving thing you can do for someone else.
Religion, in general, sees humans as problematic or having problems. Paganism sees them as sacred. Not problems but wonderful parts of the universe. Religion involves chains and spirituality involves removing them. The first step in seeing people as sacred is to stop thinking they need religion to help them overcome their problems.
Because each person is sacred, they hold within themselves the ability to solve their problems. Religion always tries to get a person to look to the divine, or faith or something outside one’s self to solve the problems they have but in truth, each person’s decisions will either lead them into problems or out of them. Religion makes a lot of false claims and promises they cannot prove, but one thing you can know for yourself is there is always a better path that you can take as a human being if you tap into it.
What needs to change is our understanding regarding humanity. As a Christian, I taught mankind is sinful and only god can get them out of the problems that cause. The problem is there is no evidence that sin even exists outside the say-so of the Chrisitan preachers. That theology certainly does not look at people as sacred, that is part of the goodness that is creation.
As a pagan humanist, my viewpoint of humanity is very much changed. Each person is unique and the most sacred thing they all have is the ability to choose their own direction. To choose their own path. It is this that must be guarded and protected as the previously mentioned forces of politics and religion will always try to take this away. What makes a person sacred is their ability to sovereignly choose for themselves the path they want to walk.
The spiritual side of all this is that to walk this path we have far more going for us in helping us to do do this. That in addition to their being a rational and logical side to life, there is an emotional and passionate side. There are also the factors of driving needs and wisdom gained through experience. All these combine into a spiritual walk that allows us to use all we are as human beings to set and guide the choices we make.
Part of that is respecting that people are sacred and walking it as a spiritual path is to guard it for ourselves and respect it in others. To interfere in a person’s choice, even benevolently, is to look at them without this respect for the fact that they are sacred and what makes them sacred is their ability to choose for themselves what path they are walking.
In the end s much as sometimes I can think people are stupid in their choices, I respect that their ability to choose is sacred to them. It is what makes each individual unique to me and worthy of a measure of respect. Now, this doesn’t mean all choices are good ones or even benevolent and some choices can be stopped if they violate this principle. A choice to force, coerce or defraud someone is one that does not have this respect of another person’s sacredness. It should be stopped. But there are many choices that I would not make but they are not violating the principle of sacredness so I should not interfere.
It is amazing to me what peace of mind comes when you leave people to be sacred in their own lives. The freedom from the desire to control and manipulate is a wonderful one. It also brings about the simple truth about yourself – you are the product of your choices. Those choices are sacred no matter if they were good or bad because as a human being you made them. That is freedom with responsibility.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.