Witchy Wednesday - Disagreeing with Pagans

Over the last ten to twelve years I have been exposed to many types of people in the Pagan-ish community.  I say Pagan-ish because the term Pagan is often time up for dispute as to what actually is and is not Pagan.  When I use the word Pagan, I am referring to any person who has a spiritual (or magical) path outside the three major religions.  Judaism, Christianity or Islam.   To me this encompasses with Witch or Warlock as well as those following Wicca or Heathenry.  In today's instant comment world and with the anonymity of the computer screen we are able to say whatever we want with pretty much little or no regard for the person on the other side.  Be it inside or outside this community at times it is blatantly obvious that people have lost the art of debate, discussion and rebuttal.

The real problems that people have are the same that happen in face to face debate however they escalate so much more quickly online.  As a person who has been on the interest since its creation, I can say that I have see the pendulum swing widely left and right on this issue and how has centered itself in the middle of a constant state of outrage. There's usually only one emotion in online disagreements and that is complete disdain for others.  We have loss the art of debate.

The main issue I see with online debate today is that the parties to the debate fail to debate the issue or topic at hand.  Instead, they resort to the typical school yard bullying tactics of name calling. Nearly ever encounter I witness inevitably one party calls the other a troll or attacks their family or background. This is not something that Pagans don't jump on the bandwagon for either.  One person calls another a fluff bunny or attacks their path directly resulting in the No True Scotsman fallacy which spirals out of control into an assortment of cherry picking, false analogies and other faulty generalizations. 

When strong personalities come into play online discourse quickly turns into real life attacks. A simple disagreement or difference of opinion can jump directly into parties making threats to the livelihood, business or reputation of the other. A quick search on Google reveals that all too often we have plummeted to the bottom of the barrel in our need to be right, our desire to silence the opinions of others on a social media platform.

With the changes in our current political climate in the United States, there is so much to be passionate about.  Many are commenting on things that they simply just do not understand. The fail to understand what things like Religious Protection laws and will actually do to the families of  United States Citizens. Illegal immigration is a serious situation for both the individuals fleeing their own country but also to the infrastructure of the United States. We do need a strong immigration policy. We do need to allow people to believe in the deity or the option to have no deity as they see fit. We do not however need to allow people to persecute others based on their faith.  We do not need to allow illegal immigrants to be abused by employees or those who may push them into the sex trade with out the ability to reach out to us, the United States for help. There should be, and can be balance in what we say and what we do.

We have a choice to make as this year rolls on and we begin life under this new era of government. We need to have a strong look at ourselves and our values. What do we stand for?  What can we do to make the world a better place? How can we get our message our into the world without falling victim to the online hostility and rhetoric that is so prevalent today?

For the most part Pagans are pretty forgiving types of people.  Yes, that is a generalization. We want others to be happy.  We want to live and let live. We don't care what deity you follow or what magic you practice.  We are for the most part very caring loving, caring and we will fiercely defend those we feel have been wronged.  We just need to find a better way to deliver our message to the masses to ease the possibility of misunderstanding, distrust and anger.

What do you think?  What can we do to ease this season of discourse in our community today?  Is this a new thing?  Do you think people take things too seriously?  What would you do if presented with a personal attack on your livelihood after an online disagreement?

Rude or attacking comments will be deleted.


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