The title comes from a quote by a self-proclaimed ‘Pagan’ [our word, not his]. When asked to tell his favorite lesson or learning from Jesus he answered,
I resonate with Christ’s Discourse on Judgmentalism as given in the Sermon on the Mount. If only more followers would listen to their alleged prophet! Sadly, it seems that many self-proclaimed Christians, wallowing in their fear and hatred, are the ones furthest from the light of God.
The question was asked by Rev. Mark Townsend in his book, Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ. Rev. Townsend is an ordained Episcopalian minister who, as he said, has moved over to ‘paganism’ as a better means of getting in touch with the Divine in himself and others.
In his book he asks a dozen or so Pagans their concept of Jesus and the Christian church. This Pagan, Raven Digitalis, also was asked if a Christian and Pagan can understand each other; he said:
I think a person can balance Christianity with Wicca and other forms of Paganism if— and this is a big if— he or she is able to recognize Christianity as a mythological system that is very similar to other religions and mystical systems the world over. Of course, doing so requires the person to throw away the politics and pseudepigraphic rubbish: i.e., dogma and hatred!
So far in the book, I have read interviews of about half of the Pagans and nearly every one mentions the bigotry and arrogance they have encountered from Christians. Are Christians arrogant and bigoted? Even hateful? And if so, what is the cause of such?
It seems pretty clear that Jesus was not. The model upon which the Christian church was founded preached pure love which, all of the Pagans tout as necessary to achieve oneness with the Divine. ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ Simple, not complicated, straight-forward stuff. How did this simplistic message of Jesus morph into dogma and righteousness displayed by so many in the Christian church today?
Is it, as Raven said, because they do not know the history of their movement? Do they not know that the simplistic religion, the spiritualism of the first followers and their sharing of love and service to the poor, defiled, needy and destitute of their day, was usurped by military and political advantage in the 4th century by the Roman general Constantine? I think not. I suspect that today’s American Christian believes that it was a smooth, interrupted movement from Easter to today- a movement founded and promoted by the apostles and their successors. The naivety is stunning.
Is this the cause of the arrogance and bias that exhibits itself in today’s Christian- especially the evangelical Christian?
I think so.