Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Stop being on my side

Ah, Halloween. The time of year when we the pagan metacommunity get to be paraded in front of the rest of America so they can see whether we're still wearing the same old bling. Time to count how often Satanism is brought up. And, maybe, just maybe, an opportunity to enlighten a few people about what we are as opposed to what we aren't.

The people who get contacted for interviews are getting better and better at it, as you can see in this cross-section. Overall, it looks good, even if I keep seeing such people make blanket statements about Christianity that fall apart on contact with reality. For one, I defy anyone to tell me that ecstatic Christians don't get hands-on with their god. The biggest difference between being touched by the Holy Spirit at a revival meeting and drawing down the moon is force of numbers and who qualifies to do it. Speaking from ignorance of the primary mainstream faith doesn't help our cause too much. But I admit it could be worse. We could be watching the media talk to the sort of pagan who thinks it's possible to redirect a hurricane with candles and good thoughts.

Christianity isn't immune to that sort of belief. Pat Robertson claimed to have rerouted a hurricane through prayer. And most people thought he was nuts. Including some pagans. But I highly doubt there is no overlap between the people who gainsaid Robertson but think asking the universe to dissipate Hurricane Wilma is a keen idea. And from where I sit, the rank-and-file don't see a difference between them. They're both claiming enough hubris to be able to exert long-distance control over a force of nature just becaues they're on the side of the righteous. Said force of nature was set in place by the gods and forces they're calling upon. So this means they're both trying to tell the gun to not send the bullet out of the chamber when the trigger is pulled. And anyone with a passing understanding of the laws of cause and effect knows a bad argument when they see one.

I am not saying magic or prayer don't work. The plural of anecdote may not be data, but I've seen too many events that beggar coincidence. And those events are far more localized from what I've seen. If you know someone in the path of a hurricane, focusing on asking that their house be spared is more likely to work. If you must play with the weather, the "Rain, rain, go away" chant actually has sense in its childishness. "Not now, but later" is safer than "stop it and don't come back" when you work with elemental forces. May as well try to get a tractor-trailer to jump a ravine.

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