Common Sense Religion




Common Sense and Religion
By Steven Stone

When I was brought up, my parents taught me that you should ask questions, not just readily accept things.  They taught me that you can’t understand the reason for some things unless you look at them with a questioning eye.  If you don’t understand and you don’t ask questions, how can you truly learn?  Its really a simple concept.

Because of that concept I never could follow most standard church religions.  Many religions preached that we can’t understand and so we should not question.  I’m sorry, but that has always been unacceptable to me.  I understand the concept of faith.  I understand the concept of belief.    Both faith and belief ask for trust.  Nowhere in either faith or belief does it say that you should not seek understanding.  When I ask a religious authority, and I get the pat answer, “You just have to believe.”  Or “You need to have faith.” I feel like I have just gotten a “no comment” on a news show.  Any ideas and doubts we might have are put in to our selves for a reason.  Just as the creator made faith, it also made doubt.  

I finally found a religious man that I gained respect for when I asked a question, expecting the same old answer.  He said to me, “That’s a really good question.  I know the {insert religious authority here} says it’s a matter of faith and tradition, but if you find another answer, please let me know.”  It showed me something that up to that point had not occurred to me.  Even ministers aren’t really sure of their own faith at times.  Highly decorated and well respected religious leaders are still men and women.  They are still on their own path towards learning what they believe in.  Probably the most honest and holy teachers are less sure of themselves than the arrogant zealots.  On the other hand, You can ask a true holy man any question, and it will not offend his belief.  Zealots will get mad at you for thinking wrong.

But the main point of this article is common sense and religion.  I was actually inspired to write it after reading an email that promised a class in Strega.  You paid your money to this store, you got a book and were taught by the people in the store, and after you got to a certain level you would meet and get to find out who the Strega practitioner is that wrote the book you have been learning from.  I had to laugh.  I felt like that common sense police should keep anyone in their right mind from registering for that class.  Who would pay their hard earned money for a class taught by a teacher that is not there, and is unwilling to give you their name up front?  

Then I remembered the problems in South Carolina a few years ago.  A pedophile was using “Wicca lessons” to get young virgins to have sex with him.  He would put up an Internet web site, promising lessons in “true witchcraft” and accept only girls in their preteens and early teens.  The graduation was to have sex in circle with him, thus “anointing the novice into the practice”.  

We called the website to the attention of the Columbia SC police.  My understanding is that he was eventually found and arrested.  It did not matter that he had no knowledge of Wicca, or any other type of magicks.  All that mattered is that he said he did.  No one really checked on his credentials, because there was no way to check any credentials for Pagan religions.

Now, don’t take this article as a call to organize Pagan clergy and make us all become registered in some way.  I think that trying to organize so many different types of religion into anything is probably harder than herding cats in a rainstorm.  What I am trying to say is, use that same common sense that keeps you from ramming your car into the truck beside you to keep you from joining a group or following a person that is not leading where your instinct and heart want you to go.  Do not ignore the warning bells inside your mind when someone insists that things must be done in a way that you feel is wrong.  NO ONE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS.  If they say they do, leave them behind as fast as you can.

The days of secret societies are slowly coming to an end.  Most groups have at least some sort of public presence, even if it is a front.  The days of mystery teachers and hidden leaders went out with the KKK unmasking and the Reich falling.  Not all practitioners are ready to come out of the broom closet.  Not everyone should.  Some people must keep their beliefs hidden for all sorts of reasons.  If someone is in that position, should they really take it upon themselves to become a teacher?  If they are that out of balance, can you even trust their lessons?  If a teacher is unwilling to meet you and talk to you face to face, they are not teaching the magickal life, they are teaching a lie. 

Of course, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Reverend Steven A. Stone: 

Pastor, Church of the Earth Of NC, 

1st  Ordination, 1995 - Minister

2nd Ordination, 1998 – Reverend

3rd Ordination, 2001 – Priest

Degree, 2001 - Master of Religion


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