Sunday, May 08, 2005

Off-site Essay: Personal Values

I have not, on the whole, been a been fan of Wicca.

This is not because I disagree with its ontology, per say... I believe that Wicca is no more or less valid than any other religion out there (and if that sounds coy, I remind you that I'm an atheist &mdash do the math), nor is it because I have any moral objection to Wicca. I am certainly not concerned with the whole "witchcraft" angle, nor am I particularly concerned with the fact that Wicca has a rather dubious historical basis (again, something that I don't think distinguishes it from the majority of other religions in the world).

The biggest issue I have with Wicca has been the Wiccans. To be specific, I find that a lot of Wiccans strike me as being religious dilettantes. While I find nothing wrong with Wicca's core ideologies (other than the fact that they are a bit hard to pin down), I find that a lot of Wiccans seem to have joined the religion for the simple reason that Wicca has a very flexible belief structure. That alone isn't necessarily a bad thing. Buddhism, which I rather do admire, also has a fairly flexible range of potential beliefs that a given adherent can accept; however, where I find that most Buddhists approach that flexibility seriously and consider it an imperative to conscientiously work out their philosophy of the world, I find that many Wiccans seem to treat their religions flexibility as a lax fill-in-the-blanks theology that they can tailor to their personal convenience.

Fortunately, there are exceptions. I do respect those Wiccans that really take the time to think through their moral and philosophical stances. I am disappointed that they seem to be the exception.

Today's link is from the Existential Harmonics site which is run by one Kyle Lewis, who is also a friend of mine in real life. Kyle is definitely an extraordinary Wiccan and an extraordinary person. Recently he took the time to write down his personal values, framed by his Wiccan theology (as well as his studies of Kabbalah), in a systematic set of essays. He hasn't quite finished (ultimately he's going to have 10 + 1 categories); however, what he's done so far deserves reading. The link is to his introduction which he's thoughtfully cross-linked with the individual essays (currently through essay nine).

If you want to see a well developed set of moral considerations from a religious perspective that most people would find alien, exotic and, perhaps, threatening, I would implore you to take a look at what he's written.

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