Sunday, April 22, 2012

People, knowledge, and education. My confusion and rant

Today was interesting to say the least, most of my family in the area know that I am a pagan.
Ok, most don't really care, I think that's awesome! We don't talk about religion except to exchange knowledge and things that we find that is interesting or new. It works out and no fights thus far, but this week one of my aunts found out. While at Tim Hortons of all places, she found out over coffee and even though the rest of us 3 wanted to stop the conversation at that, she wanted to go further.
Now I know that she is smart, but she isn't really knowledgeable about religions or belief systems, and she doesn't catch onto subtle hints that people throw off. But what she said today just made my brain go WTF!!!

She said "I don't understand all this separation of religions. It's all the same god, there is only one god and everybody believes in the same god, so why do we have to separate into different religions?"
She then goes on to tell a story about how she couldn't stand up with someone during a religious ceremony because the priest said that only a person of that brand of religion could stand up and that since she didn't follow that religion, she wasn't allowed to participate.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my aunt and think the world of her because she is one of the nicest people in the world.
But how do you manage to live into your 40's and still not know the basics about how other belief systems work?
I know not everyone goes out of their way to research other religions like many people I know have done. But we live in a place where it is not uncommon to have upwards of 10 people with different religions or belief system in the same working group or even in the same building. Most people pick up on the fact that some people believe in more than one god or even none at all, and that certainly not all the religious books in the world are based on the same bible (another point she brought up in her speech).
I had a brain freeze moment and so did the other 2 people at the table, so no one managed to correct her about that view (I'm trying to figure out how to approach her or even if I should). On one hand her lack of knowledge might eventually offend someone (if it hasn't already) but on the other hand do I know that she doesn't take well to learning new things. I might have to recruit someone to help me as I can be a little (very) blunt at times when dealing with her.
I thought about maybe taking a book for her to borrow but looking at my bookshelf was a failure as all of the books I own assume that you know at least the basics, or at least that paganism usually does not equal christian (yes I am aware of christo-pagans and have a neutral/good opinion of them as I do with most other forms of paganism). Maybe I should look up an into to paganism or barring that make one myself to share with her.
I don't want to seem pushy about my beliefs on her but at the same time I fear that if she goes on with how she is thinking now that maybe she might say the wrong thing to the wrong person and get hurt. (it's been known to happen, watch the news)
Maybe just a "hey aunt *insert name* did you know that there are religions that believe in others gods and even goddesses?" and then take it from there if she is interested.

I have a week to think about it anyway since the next family gathering isn't until next week, I hope I can come up with something not too mean or pushy by then.

Time for bed now as it is well after mid-night

g'night and blessed be

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