There were a lot of things that led up to me giving up on deities, as I mentioned in the other parts of this series. One of the things that contributed was an experience (or series of experiences, I guess) that I had with a witch group on Facebook.
I joined a “smart witch” group, because I was sick of all the fighting and bullshit in other Pagan and witch groups, and I was hoping for some intellectual discussion. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at all that I couldn’t find any. I was trying to get people talking and thinking, and they hated me for it.
I had the audacity to suggest that spelling and grammar matter, especially in witchcraft, and was told I was elitist and excluding people. They made a string of excuses for why people would make “mistakes” and blabbed on about how “intention is all that matters.” I tried to have a discussion about karma to see if anyone could make sense out of it, and I was torn apart for “attacking” people’s beliefs. I asked what people thought the gods were, if they believed at all, and I was torn into for being insensitive and butting my nose in, and all sorts of other hateful nonsense.
It was beyond obvious that they were just being reactionary and offended, without even really reading what I’d said or trying to understand it. I even had other people read the posts to see if maybe I really was in the wrong, but they agreed that I’d worded my posts well, and I wasn’t being rude. I was just asking questions, and they were getting offended.
I knew that the offended-by-everything attitude was getting prevalent everywhere, but I’d always counted on Pagans and witches to be smarter than that, to be reasonably open and understanding, but it seems that the Pagan and witch communities have been infiltrated by the stereotypical “extreme Left” attitude that the far Right is always whining about. They were acting like the hypocritical “snowflakes” that we hear so much about.
It made me both sad and angry. Here I am asking questions and presenting my personal beliefs, and they’re telling me that I’m the one being exclusionary, insensitive and judgmental, while tearing into me at every turn. Hypocrite much? How can you say “everyone’s beliefs are valid” in one breath, and say “you’re an asshole for thinking like that” in another? How can you say “we need to be loving and understanding of people who are different” in one breath, then tell someone that they’re a monster for being different in the next?
One friend posited that the other members were jealous. Confronted by someone with a genius-level IQ who was making them actually face their hypocrisy and the holes in their beliefs, they freaked and went on the offensive. It’s easier to attack someone than to actually think. And believe me, there were hate-ridden comments that proved that the person had only read a sentence or two before lashing out, like they just wanted someone to attack.
The hypocrisy of it all left me reeling. Be accepting, unless they don’t agree with you. That seems to be the motto. Everything is valid, except that. And there’s another thing that got to me… Pagans and witches have gotten accepting to the point of insanity. Traditions are dead, everything is muddled, they complain about appropriation while blatantly appropriating. They mix and match everything and scream “intent is all that matters” to cover their actions. I still feel that most of my Pagan and witch friends are good people, but I seriously wonder if they think deeply about what they claim to believe and how their actions are contradictory.
If it’s valid for someone to be an illiterate idiot by choice and condone others being the same, how is it invalid for someone to value and exercise intelligence and suggest others do it too? How is it valid to believe in karma, but not to question it? How is it valid to believe in deity, but not valid to question it? How is it valid to decry cultural appropriation while practicing a cobbled-together multi-cultural system that you invented because you felt like it? How is it valid to promote love and light and femininity, but not valid to see value in darkness, anger and masculinity?
The infighting among Pagans drove me out of their groups years ago, I was tired of every group claiming they were right and everyone else was wrong. I thought they would’ve gotten better over time, but it seems like things got far worse. It was like watching Christians with brooms and crystals. The groups I tried to join were all the same: Anything goes, except what you’re doing – all views are valid except yours – nobody’s better than anyone, except we’re better than you – love and accept everyone, but be prepared for us to virtually kick the shit out of you for not being like us.
I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be around hypocrites and haters claiming love and light. It was just more proof that people who believe in deities can become a special kind of crazy. They’re not all bad, but enough of them are that I just couldn’t throw my name in with their lot anymore. At this point I’d rather have people think I’m a Satanist than a Pagan. I hope that maybe they’ll wake up and see what they’re doing someday. Pagans used to be a pretty awesome lot. Maybe they just don’t realize that they’re becoming the very thing they want to be separated from.