I suppose I should start off this little round table pow-wow by stating for the record that I'm a Pagan. Yep, that's right, I'm one of those unique little snowflakes that you see wandering around occasionally hugging trees and blathering on about the love of the Goddess (as opposed to the love of the Bloggess, which is a totally different thing).
It's a faith system that works for me. I know it wouldn't work for everyone, but that's cool. Not everyone is meant to believe the same thing. That's why they call it belief, not fact. But like most Pagans out there I've come across my fair share of people who take offence to my faith, although I've never been able to work out why something like what I believe in is such a big thing to other people that they actually make judgements about me because of it.
There's plenty of the little examples. The people who avert their eyes when they work out what the star around your neck means. The ones who are all friendly right up until something comes up to show you're a Pagan, and suddenly it's like an Arctic chill has settled. The ones who, once they learn of your religion, make sure that no part of their body comes in contact with yours, like you could pass Paganism on like leprosy or something.
But those people are easy enough to deal with. For the most part it's just a mixture of ignorance and discomfort. Nine times out of ten they get over themselves after a bit and forget to be all standoffish. I think human nature takes over, and it's human nature to want to be friendly with people who are being friendly to you.
No, the ones who really scare the bejuzus out of me are the zealots. People like the Westboro Baptist Church, who do reprehensible things like protest funerals and ludicrous things like protest geek conventions. Seriously, who the hell protests a geek convention! You're just giving us fuel to make fun of you, and there's nothing we like more than that! Check out this video if you don't believe me.
Yeah, it was never going to work out well for the Westboro guys. Geeks have a natural tendency towards the ridiculous.
I suppose the final lesson to take away is this. I don't give a shit about your religion. You can be Catholic, Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist, or even a freaking Pastafarian and I have absolutely no problem with that. More power to you and let your freak flag fly! In fact, if you're a Pastafarian, I salute you, sir or madam, and hope that your path crosses with many pirates (yeah, that's an in joke).
What I do have a problem with is if the lessons and morals taught by your church cause you to treat others with disrespect or distain based on nothing more than the fact that they don't have the same faith system as you. I have a problem with people who use faith as a way to camouflage their bigotry and intolerance. I have a problem with people who use something that is supposed to be a good thing, a moral guideline to make one's life better and more rich, as an excuse to treat others as somehow less than themselves.
I also have a problem with religious door knockers. Seriously, if I wanted to get up at what-the-fuck o'clock in the morning to answer the door to someone trying to shove their faith down my throat I'd put up a sign or something!
But then I think we all have a problem with them, don't we.