I’ve been reading interviews by many Pagans in a book titled, Jesus Through Pagan Eyes by Rev. Mark Townsend. The former Anglican priest asked several prominent Pagans if he could interview them and was especially interested in how they view Jesus. Many of the respondents had been Christian, so their comparison of Paganism and Christianity was especially noteworthy.
To a person, each saw Jesus as an important person- a teacher, prophet and healer- but none said that he was Divine in the sense that Christians maintain. Most did recognize in Jesus ‘the living awareness of the Sacred Spirit within him.’ The author said of Jesus,
He is human like you and me, yet filled with personal and divine awareness that overflows and affects those who meet him, putting them in contact with the same spiritual flow. In that sense he is a son of God— because he mirrors back to us our own naturally divine status.
When the Pagan scholars were asked to identify the cherished words that Jesus taught, they pointed out that most Pagans live by many of the teachings uttered by Jesus [and other prophets throughout the eons], especially ‘Love one another.’
Yet to a person, each interviewee maintained that there are quite a few so-called Christians who do not reflect the teachings nor the modelling of their executed prophet. The conservative, Bible-thumping, holier-than-thou Christians met universal disdain from these Pagans. Many pointed out the hate, bigotry, intolerance of those of different faiths and disrespect for women in these ‘followers’ and noted that none of these characteristics was evident in their Leader. In fact, some Pagans were former Christians, driven from the church by these same ugly characteristics, especially the disrespect for the spiritual viability of other faiths.
So far in my reading there has been no overt political talk which, naturally, one would not suspect in a book on religion. On the other hand, the very conservative Bishop of Toledo mandated his letter be copied, printed and handed out in church services this weekend. It began, “As Election Day approaches…” Yes, the tax-exempt Catholic Church. It was clear in the bishop’s letter for whom the faithful Catholic should vote, although as the bishop pointed out, it was not his intention to ‘tell you for whom to vote…’
The body of the letter had phrases like, intrinsic evil can never be justified; examples of intrinsic evil include abortion and embryonic stem cell research. He goes on to mention attacks on religious freedom and the God-given definition of marriage.
To save time and paper, the bishop ought to have directed the parishioners to google the GOP platform.
The Pagan? Which party or persons would they support? As mentioned, none has brought up politics in their discussions with Rev. Townsend as overtly as the Bishop of Toledo. Yet it is safe to conclude that they might find this letter disgusting and perhaps the very reason that they left the Christian church in the first place.
Pagans actually like what Jesus taught and modeled throughout his life; it is the organized Christian church that they see as anathema to the message of Jesus. ‘Do what you will, as long as it harms none’ is one of the few tenets of the Pagan.
One Pagan quipped that Jesus would cry if he knew how terribly his name has been abused by the usurpers!