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To: alt.pagan,alt.satanism,alt.religion.wicca,talk.religion.misc,alt.magick.tyagi
From: (TOKUS)
Subject: Teen-Fringe and Serious Religion (was Re: Sabrina the Teenage Witch)
Date: 5 Dec 1996 03:43:33 -0800

49961205 AA1 Hail Satan!

The Issue: 'Teen-Fringe' and 'Serious Religion'

over the course of several years in and out of Usenet and email forums
I have noticed among the neuvo-religious a preponderance of judgement
as regards who is 'serious', who is 'self-styled' or 'fringe', and 'who
is giving the rest of us a bad name'.  typically these condemnations
and criticisms come from those who have somewhat fundamentalist
attitudes, intend certain political results, and generally may not
care that much about the repercussions of their dissection of the cult
of martyrdom into fragments (whether Neopagan, Wiccan or Satanist).

here we have a semi-stalemate, Felis Uncia (Ounce) attempting to pin
RainOne to the wall in query of his 'justification' for an attempted
separation of the 'fringe pagans' into some sort of other category
such that they may be singled out for purposes of discerning who is
a 'real' and an 'false (Neo!)pagan.  

let's join the argument already in progress.... (Felis Uncia):
#># can't support the claims you've made ...about who is 
#># and isn't pagan....

#>  I dont have the great need to support  my claims.  You have a great
#>  need for  me to do so. (Felis Uncia):
# If you weren't interested in discussing them, why did you post them to 
# Usenet?

# ...You've claimed that, since you've been a member of pagan community 
# for a while, that you've the right to decide who is and isn't pagan.  

now this is a typical justification-schema: seniority.  normally in the
Satanist and Neopagan communities it is the orgreligious who begin the
degradation of the eclectic, accepting societal constructs through their
doctrinal edicts ("X, Y, Z characteristics constitute *real* religion,
and those teenagers are just *playing around*, making things up, giving
us all a bad name.  I know.  I've been around Q years, part of the
*original* religious of my type..." etc.).

the implication here is that longevity or temporal sequence somehow
justifies exclusion based on primary format of religious practice,
something which I don't tend to value as part of my Neopaganism.  this
is why we underscore the Dobbsians, Discordians (aren't you a Pope by
now?) and New Faith X.

# ...If you want to decide whom you'll associate 
# with in the pagan community, that's your affair.  Preaching to the rest 
# of us that the only _true_ pagans are folk who 'blend-in' with the 
# Baptists and Evangelical Christians, and conform to what you describe as 
# their 'social predjudices' is another matter.  In seeking to "blend-in" 
# with the Evangelical Christians, you've begun to emulate them.  

now *that*'s a switch.  in Satanism (ToS) the judgement is more often 
'how much of an affiliation do you have with "other religions"?', with
"too much" being some sort of DISqualification.  of course this is,
among the intelligent Setians, only a 'Setian thang', but seldom have
I heard requirements about how well someone fit in with other religious
as a means of determining membership in the (Neo!)"pagan" category,
usually quite the opposite ("No Christians, Jews or Muslims, simple!").

# go about telling everyone in the pagan community that _those_ 
# pagans aren't really pagans at all, and that they're actually a danger to 
# us all, and giving us a bad name.  

this is directly comparable to what I have fondly dubbed "Asshole 
Satanists" among the latter community, with various orgSatanists
squaring off to discern themselves from all the 'silly cemetery-
desecrators' and 'church-burners'.  the teen years are, due to their
volatility, perhaps quite rightly considered less deep or lasting a
'conviction' (pun intended, RAW! RAW! RAW!).  

yet seldom is the identification-process itself, the very means by
which we somehow determine 'what makes person P a member of our
religion R' examined.  not as a kind of Frat House or Keen Club, 
but as a litmus stencil defining in some absolute way what *is* 
and what *is not* a 'part of "us"'.  

I say the ossification of religion indicates its life-stage, with
certain format-restrictions and oral-to-written transformations
taking place over a period of time in which it sort of 'hardens its
arteries'.  compare how all the old Western religious trads became
writ-bound and developed rigid membership lines which fragmented
their social power in ridiculous disintegration.

and where does it start?  DEFINITION.

#> ...Since I have self-acceptance, I am accepted, Pagan and all. That 
#> is the result.  However, I am  not entrenched in the result, rather 
#> in the process.  

#'re entrenched in [a] mindset... which allows no acceptacne or 
# tolerance for _anything_ that does not fit your personal notions of 
# what is and isn't paganism, and leads you to preach to the rest of 
# the pagan community that people not conforming to your personal 
# notions of paganism are not, in fact, pagan, and should be cast out 
# of our community.  

now of course (regardless of RainOne's position in this) this is JUST
what is happening when Neopagans begin to consider the lines between
themselves (so-idealized) and 'Satanists'.  "'Satanists' (whom we know
must be Christian (!)) can't be (Neo!)pagans.  we should cast them
out to the Christian, Witch-Hunting Wolves!"

# You claim that they are a danger, when their 
# only flaw (according to you) is that they don't conform to _your_ notions 
# of paganism, and disprove the _dreck_ you've been spouting to the local 
# Christian community about what "true paganism(tm)" _really_ is.

and so, do we accept that someone has the Perfect Notion of what a religion
includes, or do we accept 'just any old BoB' who sees fit to adopt OUR LABEL,
take up OUR IDENTITY, and generally abscond with OUR RELIGION?

I submit to you that RELIGION is the problem.  dispense with it before it
is too late.  worship is great.  but 'organized religion' is an oxy-moron
which drives itself into fascist disrepair.

#># You've claimed that you don't want people 'who have no reverence for 
#># the Old Ways' representing you, 

now this does make a certain amount of sense.  representation is, after
all, a delicate affair.

#># and that you don't wish to be associated with the pagans you refer 
#># to as'derelicts and outcasts', the ones you refer to as 'fringe pagans'.

that's fine too.  'not being associated with' could mean that you have
two covens from across the county but don't speak to one another (common,
given the politics which crop up in religious rivalries and scramblefights).

#> These are two seperate issues.

# 1.)  You claim that these people are giving you a 'bad name', and making 
#      you 'look bad' as a pagan.
# 2.)  You claim that you don't care about others' opinions of you.
# 3.)  If you truly didn't care what others thought of you, you wouldn't be 
#      bitching that those you call 'fringe' pagans are giving you a bad name.

this does seem to be logical.  and yet could RainOne have some *other*
means of discernment in mind (I wouldn't claim to know, being but a
quick bypasser in this tangle :>)?  

perhaps he rightly indicates that the newer Neopagans are somehow more
antisocial, socially maladept, or generally malcontent.  if this is the
case, then doesn't this say something about the VALUES of these people,
as compared to the values of those whose acquaintance RainOne admires?

perhaps he is attempting to delineate (Neo!)"pagans" based on a value-set
which is underlying the criticism (one which I would agree has often
been associated with Neopaganism while it was a small movement).

perhaps as religious movements change and grow the 'rebellion factor'
sets in, second generationalists fabricating objectionable and strongly
transformative alternatives to the previous guard.  perhaps this starts
to show through general maladaptation to the largely puritanical mold
from which most Americans and Western religious are stamped.  in such a
case we should see the 'old religious' deprecating the 'new fringe' on
account of their 'disrespect', 'intoxication' and 'unruliness' (outside
of real Satanism, since these are the marks of independence).

I suggest that, caught in a malaise of modern conflict of values (seeing
the world shot to shit by the older generation and those others who 
*claim* -- but don't live by such claims in their eyes -- to worship or
love 'the earth'/'Gaia'/'wildlife'/'Satan'/etc.), it is hardly surprising
that the youth and revolutionaries should be 'giving the old religion a
bad name'.  it strikes me as precisely the WORK OF THE GODS (for they
shall take their vengence from within us, not from without, for doing
such nasty things to them and their ways while claiming to honor them).

#># If you _really_ don't care about what others think of you, then why
#># should it matter what _other_ pagans do?

#>  I care about where Paganism is going.  

this comes from similar voices within the Satanist and more aged
religious camps.  'we want to preserve the way of the Elders'.
this is the origin of the Priesthood.  this is the centralization
and control of the icons, doctrines, riteforms, etc., etc.  it is
age-old and displays the characteristics of that which (Neo!)pagans
often say they are trying to ESCAPE within our religion.

we cannot escape our own (human) nature.

#> if you want to always be in a community that is misunderstood, 
#> then continue to embrace the people who are giving Pagans a bad name.  
#> The FRINGE.

in order for a community to be 'misunderstood' (and the Great Martyrdom
Cult *always* claims this at certain key stages of its development --
notably as it begins a degeneration into a socializing mechanism and
institution) there has to be some sort of Clear Understanding.  now if
we begin to claim we have that, why not promote it as the Holy Doctrine?

# You claim you're concerned 
# about where paganism(tm) is going.  So am I, and I've no desire to see it 
# embrace the sort of "One-True-Wayism" that's splitting the Christians 
# asunder.  

ah, but how do we "keep away from One-True-Wayism" without CONTROLLING
THE REST OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY?  for the OTW is naturally part of
human religious systems.  certain consciousness wants it.  might as well
accept that this will be part of your religion, unless you somehow

but look, as soon as you do that, what do you have left?  all those
FRINGE mucking up the works, steering it away from How I Want Things.
only through _letting the religion be whatever it is becoming_ can
we preserve its health, and this goes once over for Neopaganism and
TWICE over for Satanism (which underscores individual sovereignty).

#># Ah, yes.  The martyrdom act.  ....

#> call me a martyr.  

# No, RainOne.  I said you were putting on a 'martyrdom act'.  I'd _never_ 
# call you a martyr.

and the undercurrent of the Satanic Movement rises to the surface even
in this discussion: MARTYRDOM.  through countless co-options and uses
does it change its target-value.  among Neopagans, fresh from the gullet
of the Christian Fish, 'martyrdom' is a 'bad thing'.  same to Satanists,
and yet look at its real meaning: living one's religion in the manner
one sees fit despite the costs (the very principle of diversity).

and it finally comes down to the age-old paradoxical question:

# then, by what right do you claim authority to define who 
# is and isn't pagan?

beautiful!  note the *reliance on authority* for the justification
of self-definition.  as if it is a PRIVILEGE!  but no, I claim that
seizing such 'authority' is the problem to begin with (and this may
have been Ounce's point).  

yet look: why NOT claim INTERIOR 'authority' to make such divisions?
see how the wheels spin and turn, inside-out, outside-in?  what a
horridly beautiful paradox.  the Bible clearly says that Jesus spoke
with 'authority'.  later a Church grew up around apostolic successions
to *sanctify and cement* that authority into institutional form.

within Neopaganism/Satanism can there *be* 'authority'?  does it come
from the Pulpit of the Satanic Pope?  it sure sounds like it at times
within alt.satanism with its screaming and hyping about what the
Mighty Poobah LaVey or Tani or Aquino or Long or whathaveyou is saying
or approving of this week.  same goes for the Wiccans and the Asatru
and the Druids and the list goes on.

all of 'em have their favorite definitions of themselves, as if this is
something to be VALUED, some sort of community-rigid line against the
next generation of 'idiots' and 'fringe'. 

and in the process the community is destroyed, fragmented, disintegrated
from within.  the solution?  RIGID DOCTRINES.  or  NO DOCTRINES.  it seems
anything in-between leads to further fulmination.  but who is to decide
this?  perhaps we each do.  personally I prefer the latter and like to
oppose those who claim to know the 'True Religion' (TM!).  it is so much
more fun and allows me to steer clear of that OTWism.

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