Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Baby worship in paganism

This is prompted by an otherwise valid rant on kinky/oversexualized behavior/dialog in general public spaces. While I don't believe that kids should be exposed to sexuality before they are ready (as determined by their parents and/or biology), I don't think that kids should be the "most sacred thing" in any religion.

Children are the most sacred element of your religion.

It may be a blow to some people, but the most important element is NOT THE SELF, maybe the self is the most important part of your spiritual journey (although I pity you if it is), but your religion is nothing, absolutely nothing without a generation to hand it off to.

No, they aren't. Each person's "most sacred" element is different. It's not a "blow" to me, it's a stupid pronouncement that bears no damn obligation on my part.

I hate to tell this guy, but kids aren't the center of everyone's universe, nor should they be. Really. He is welcome to take his stinking pity and tuck it. I don't need to breed a "generation to hand it off to" in order to have a valid religion. My religious views definitiely do not include forcible indoctrination of children, and/or requiring children to indoctrinate. I would much rather support those who chose to have children, than feel compelled to produce my own, no matter how unwanted by me.

Children should have a place in our religion(s), but should not be the center of it. They should be protected, but our rites should not all be dumbed down to what children can handle. Adults only spaces should be honored, as well as general or "child safe" spaces. IMO, if it is *NOT* designated "adults only", then it should be able to be assumed child/abuse survivor safe.

What's so hard about that? Why does the cult of the child have to be dragged forth? Why does someone feel the need to tell me and everyone else that, essentially, my religion is invalid unless I consider the most sacred thing in it to be completeing a simple biological act? Yuck!


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 12th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC)
you know, I do think there are some projection issues going both ways.

For parents, their kids are the most important things in their life. They do realize that their kids are not important to other people I believe.

But kid and family friendly advertised spaces should be exactly that. Which I know you agree with.

I also agree that kids dont need to be at everything either annd tht adult only spaces should be honored.

the two are not mutually exclusive in my book.
Jan. 12th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
The "your religion is nothing, absolutely nothing without a generation to hand it off to" is so full of child worship that it makes me ill. I haven't spent 25 years studying/developing my religion to be told that it is all for nothing unless I have kids to indoctrinate in it. It's just insulting. My path is not for preteen children.

Even if I had kids, they'd be raised UU or generic pagan, and introduced to the actual specifics of my path once they were teens, if they were interested.
Jan. 12th, 2006 02:06 am (UTC)
It's amazing how many people invalidate their own arguments, press numerous irrelevant buttons, and get themselves dismissed as irrelevant cranks, because they can't stick to the topic at hand, or more likely cannot imagine a middle path or compromoise solution.

The paragraph you quoted is pretty bad, and guaranteed to alienate anyone who's felt significant pressure to become a parent. It's also flat out unecessary to the rest of the argument.

To be really frank, I don't want to be involved with someone who apparantly thinks that the best way to motivate people not to demonstrate nipple torture in front of 8 year olds is to tell them that it's vitally important for religions to produce another generation of members, and that it's selfish of them not to put this goal ahead of all(?) other goals. I'm glad this author is not a self-appointed spokesperson for my religion.

Jan. 12th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
Well said.
Jan. 12th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC)
This may seem like a strange time to ask, but do you mind being friended? We have two friends ("dreamingcrow" is the other), several interests, and apparently a fair bit of political shizzle in common.
Jan. 12th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
No problem.
Jan. 12th, 2006 06:35 am (UTC)
Bah. If the only way you can tell you done good is to look at your kids, that's sad--but traditional. If the only way is to dictate to others that they must have kids, that's just twisted.

Jan. 12th, 2006 07:13 am (UTC)
I hope you've let the author know you quoted him here. It seems only fair that if you take issue with his words, you tell him.

I never read the words you quoted to mean that each Pagan should procreate. The essay itself is about community and there's no disputing that as a community, we have a generation of children to hand our religion off to. What buttons has he pushed that offend you and your right to non-parenthood so much that you read his words as a personal affront rather than a statement of community?
Jan. 12th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)

"there's no disputing that as a community, we have a generation of children to hand our religion off to."

Why do we need to "hand off" our religion to anyone else? What is it about religion that makes people think they have to share it or it's not valid? Why shouldn't each generation discover religion for themselves?

Jan. 12th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
First, I didn't say anything about validity. I said that another generation already exists and is taking part in our religion. My children grew up sharing my religion because I was unwilling to (and disinterested in) set it aside for 25 years. My religion lives with me in my house. Its symbols are present in some of the decor and its meaning is present in my observations from honoring the cycles of the moon to recycling everything possible. Why shouldn't each generation discover religion for themselves? Why should each generation have to reinvent an age-old wheel?
Jan. 12th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)

"I didn't say anything about validity."

Nor did I say you did. If you'll read what I wrote, you’ll see I used proper generic phrasing so the questions would be considered in the serious light intended. By taking my comments personally, you have removed the discussion from the realm of rationality where I placed it and made of them an emotional issue.

My questions were serious and, while you may have dismissed them as unimportant, I won’t.

How you raise your children - while interesting information - is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Why do we need to "hand off" our religion to anyone else? is a pretty straight forward question. I completely and utterly fail to understand the urge to "hand off" those beliefs to anyone else as if those beliefs were unchanging one-size-fits-all material objects. People who are close to me will pick up on them, and take or leave what they will. That's family/community life. Inheritability should not be an important or even a defining characteristic of a religion.

What is it about religion that makes people think they have to share it or it's not valid? is also a pretty straight forward and clear question. It sort of goes hand-in-hand with a few other questions, but I'm not asking those here and now, just the one that relates to Ravan's issue (which is, after all, the whole point of this conversation). I don't have any supportive evidence that says a religion is more valid if it's shared with other people. I don't have any evidence supporting the contrary view, either. So, my stance on this is a neutral one pending evidence - all religions are valid so long as one person holds that religion in their heart, even if they never share it with anyone else and even if no one else knows the religion exists. Again, inheritability should not be a defining characteristic of a religion.

Why shouldn't each generation discover religion for themselves? was perhaps poorly phrased, but the intent is still obvious. The trappings of religion are worthless without personal understanding. All the teaching, all the proselytizing, all the missionary work is a waste of time if the person being preached to doesn't discover it for themselves. I suppose this should have been phrased as an observation rather than a question. Each person (and thereby each generation) must discover religion themselves, must "re-invent the wheel" themselves. They can use tools and symbols and all the other outward trappings that develop around religion, but in the end, if they don't discover religion for themselves within themselves, it's useless (albeit sometimes entertaining) drivel.

Jan. 12th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
My response was not at all emotional. It was factual. I answered your third question since I had no opinion on the first two nor do I find them particularly relevant since I operate in a community that has children and is sharing religion with them.
Jan. 13th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
Not everyone does, so they are perfectly relevant, since you really can't validly generalize your community to all of paganism.
Jan. 13th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)

"I answered your third question"

Actually, no, you didn't answer the third question I posed at all. If you'd answered the flip side of my question, I would have agreed that you answered my question. But you didn't. You flipped my question around and then left it hanging there all naked and alone.

"I had no opinion on the first two"

That's very sad.

"nor do I find them particularly relevant"

And that is beyond sad. This statement makes it seem as if you only care for "us four and no more", and everyone else is unimportant. I do hope that's not truly the case.

Jan. 12th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
You missed the point. Not all pagan denominations have, or need, a pack of children to indoctrinate.

Furthermore, his assertion that the "most sacred" thing is the children, and anyone that doesn't have that belief is pitiable, is very offensive.

That isn't a statement of community, but a statement of derision toward people whose religion is not child centered. Since I am one of those, I take it as an insult. Also, it is a statement of his own dogma, with the subtext that he expects good pagans (not objects of pity) to automatically share his beliefs. Bleah.
Jan. 12th, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, I did miss that point. What I heard was that since you don't want to have children, his entire essay is to be disregarded based on the importance he places on children.

So, on an adult level, is it ok for people to assume that others want to know the details of their sex lives or witness their particular brand of sexual release? A number of abuse survivors seem to think not. As an adult who hasn't experienced abuse issues, I still don't want to hear or see it unless I'm in a venue where I know specifically that these things will be aired. I fear that his one comment about the importance of children has derailed an otherwise very important conversation.
Jan. 13th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
What I heard was that since you don't want to have children, his entire essay is to be disregarded based on the importance he places on children.

But that is not what I said. In the very first paragraph, I specifically said "otherwise valid rant".

What I find very distasteful is his assumption that people who want general spaces seperate from adult spaces are doing it because of the "sacred" children. 'Taint so.

So, on an adult level, is it ok for people to assume that others want to know the details of their sex lives or witness their particular brand of sexual release?

No, and I never said that. Don't even try to put words like that in my mouth. I don't want someone's kink shoved in my face, either.

However, he made his diatribe all about the children, not about common courtesy in the community. He completely ignored the adult survivors of sexual abuse, in fact, until someone pointed it out. Hell, he ignored people who just get squicked by certain things.

To me, a public "scene" or a discussing involving graphic sex belongs in an "adults only" space, so that people (adults *and* children) can chose whether or not to be exposed. Not just for the sake of children, but for the sake of anyone who might be uncomfortable, including children and adults.
Jan. 13th, 2006 07:36 pm (UTC)
Why focus on children?
Its a fair question. My paper reached 5 pages, and others said my views on child psych were simplified!
I could have wrote also about adults who just don't want to hear it.
I certainly could have written much about what this does to adult abuse survivers.
But I chose to foucs on children for two reasons. Firstly, the thing was getting too damn long and I wanted people to really read it.
More importantly, second. Out of the three groups of people listed above, children are the only group incapible of defending themselves or even recognising when they have been harmed.
To my mind, this makes the case absolutly inarguable. You can debate wheather or not I should be subjected to such things, but with an 11 year old there is no question.
I also believe as a part of a community that it is my duty to protect community children from abuse. But I realize that not everyone sees it as a religious duty protect the weak and defenceless.
Jan. 13th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Why focus on children?
But I realize that not everyone sees it as a religious duty protect the weak and defenceless.

Oh, I see it as a duty to protect the truly weak and defenseless. I just don't confine that group solely to children, nor do I include all "under 18" persons in that group.

People who have been abused in the past can be just as defenseless against certain triggers as children, maybe more so. They also can be blindsided to the harm until after it is done. I've known a lot of such damaged adults.
Jan. 13th, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Why focus on children?
Oh, certainly! In fact, I can think of many adults more childish than children and chidren more grown up than adults!
Jan. 12th, 2006 08:37 am (UTC)
Just in general (as I'm not Pagan, but Lutheran), my stance is this: By having my son baptized into our faith at 3 months, I've shown him a spiritual path which I believe is a good one. (No disrespect for other religions intended!) By having him (that does not mean forcing him in any way) go through Confirmation at age 14, I've set his feet on that path.

Whether he actually (or ever) walks that path is entirely up to him. (Helped by the fact that here in Germany, children by law are religiously adults and can choose whether or not they want to be members of any church/religion as soon as they turn fourteen -- without parental consent, too.)

I think that's all anyone can do, no matter which religion. It's not my job, not even as a mother, to provide more members of any faith just for the heck of it, or because it's expected.
Jan. 12th, 2006 10:40 am (UTC)
6 billion people on the planet
and the only ones important to your religion are the ones you've physically produced? Odd way of thinking.

I do think the guy was mid-rant - and it was a good rant otherwise. Quite frankly, I don't want to see other people's kink or hear about it either. I think the problem goes beyond whether kids are present and is often down to people attention seeking or being so self-absorbed that they don't understand that other people might not want to share _everything_ with them.
Jan. 13th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
Let me reexplain
I was writing from academic definitions. Academically speaking, religion is the construct that answers questions of relationality to the universe. Or to put it another way, religion tells us how we (as the religion) relate to the universe.

Spirituality is the evolution of the soul, a personal relationship between yourself and 'God'.

When I said children were the most sacred element of religion, I was not saying they should be the central focal point of every individuals spirituality. What I was saying was that without children, religion cannot perpetuate. Even if a religion draws adherants from the outside, those people were children, and if they were raised dysfunctionally, you will have a dysfunctional religion. Without a future generation, there is no future. Its axiomatic really.
Because of this it becomes practical, even for those without children, to ensure a modicum of protection of the next generation. If this does not happen, all our work has no lasting impact. I cannot imagine any action having great impact while it has no future.

Two things I am not encouraging; everybody to have children. I never said anything like this. I am certainly not a pro-natalist. What you said about protecting others children I am in complete support of.
Forcible indoctrination of children. Was not my point either, my point is that it is a religious obligation to protect and preserve the next generation, and that it is a central doctrine of all the religions that come to mind. My point of view is that if you teach children good morals and ethics they will find thier own religion as adults. You can show them yours, but always provide them with alternatives.

Pro-natalism and forcible indoctrination were assumed in my post, I suspect because other religious groups that protect children from "indecent acts" out of moral sensibilities hold these points of view, I do not.

The question is not biology, the question is perpetuation of religion.
I hope that this clarifies and resolves your issues, as I agree with a lot of your assertations.
Jan. 13th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Let me reexplain
You say the question is perpetuation of religion, and to answer that, we must first answer this: Why should religion be perpetuated?
Jan. 13th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Let me reexplain
Not really, I don't have to ask for two reasons. 1) the paper was written originally to religious people in a religious context.
2) The argument that "religion demands X of its adherants" does not need to be examined through the lense of the value of religion. Any more than "The Government needs tax money" should be evaluated through the necessity of government. The factual accuracy of the statement is irrelevant to the value of the object.

That said,
Religion should be perpetuated because (among many , many reasons), as Carl Marx said; "It is the Lily that guilds the chain". Religion provides comfort and context in the world for people who need it and derive critical comforts from it. Further, Religion as defined academically is inescapable. Religion is loosly defined as "The perspective of relationships with the cosmos that give meaning and order to existance". Which is fancy talk for religion gives you a way to grapple with the world. When one does not have a religion, one makes their own 'meanings and orders', naturally this expands outside of the traditional religious dogmas, which is what I suspect your real concern is about.
If nothing else, religion acts as a surrogate parent for people who are not matured enough to survive on their own ethical structure. Religion gives these people structure.
Religion also helps people assimilate spiritual experiences, voices in the head, strange dreams, visions, etc. This context allows these people to contextualize otherwise unexplicable (disturbing) phenonoma and allows them to reintegrate as productive members of society.
Jan. 13th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Let me reexplain
Ah. So you were discussing religion in the abstract, not in the personal, sense.

I would still argue that there are aspects of religion in general that are not suited for young children. If you view religion as a full spectrum concept, it would follow that religious concepts and practices meant for the elderly and dying might not be suited for young children not yet ready to deal with those concepts.
Jan. 13th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Let me reexplain
To the latter; Go ahead and argue, I'll agree with you! Thats why there are rights of passage ceremonies! I would never think that children should have full participation in adult religion (or activities). Any more than men should have full participation in womens rituals. Not everything is for everybody, and thats precisely my issue with the 'floggers'. Children do not and should not need to be exposed to everything.

To the former, religion, to my best understanding, is both personal and communal, because it answers the questions of relationship. E.G. "how do I relate to God" is both a personal and abstract question. "How do we prepare for the future" is both personal and communal. In academic (regretfully not popular) understanding religion is personal, but it addresses the persons relationality to the "larger patterns of being" (god, universe, the totality, whatever).
Jan. 14th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC)
Re: Let me reexplain

"1) the paper was written originally to religious people in a religious context."

We're probably going to have to agree to disagree, because, apparently, you (a) don't think I am a religious person or (b) you don't think my question is a religious question in a religious context, both of which are untrue, and if you can't accept that I am a religious person asking a genuinely religious question in a religious context, then we have no base of communication. The fact that I am not referencing your paper, but Ravan's journal entry should also have clued you in to this portion of the conversation.

"2) The argument that "religion demands X of its adherants" does not need to be examined through the lense of the value of religion. Any more than "The Government needs tax money" should be evaluated through the necessity of government. The factual accuracy of the statement is irrelevant to the value of the object."

And here I have to strongly disagree. The value of the religion is vitally important to discuss especially when examining the demands of it, just as it is critically important to examine the necessity of government when the question of taxes arises.

I'm going to end my part of the discussion here because I really shouldn't take up any more of Ravan's comments space on this topic (unless she says otherwise).

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

September 2019


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner