Ok probably not the ONLY fundamental difference, but this meme from my facebook feed today does sum up the core philosophical difference between Christianity and Paganism. At least, one of my very favorite differences.
It’s not the singling out of women that bothers me here. It’s the idea that people are so fundamentally flawed that we have to get rid of everything that makes us US. That whatever personality or uniqueness we are born with isn’t meant to be celebrated, but is supposed to be ruthlessly purged as we try to become carbon copies of Jesus.
I thought God didn’t make mistakes? That he already created us in his image or whatever? That we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Yet we are supposed to spend our entire lives overriding our innate desires and tendencies so that we can superimpose a “godly” personality.
Don’t get me wrong.. everyone can make improvements. We can strive to be kinder or more patient or less selfish. But what’s the motivation for doing so? For Christians, the motivation is to please an external figure. To deny yourself and live your life in such a way that it makes God happy.
Contrast that with the general philosophy shared by most pagans. We want to improve ourselves to be MORE ourselves. To be the best version possible of the unique human being that we are. Nobody else in the history of the world has been exactly like you or me, and so we should be all of that person we can be. Why? Because when we fully embrace our uniqueness, when we are fully authentically US, it blesses the entire world. We add pieces to the universal puzzle that nobody else can add.
See the difference?
This is why, for me, it has been so liberating to embrace the pagan path. I am not fundamentally flawed, I don’t need fixing. I am a unique and wonderful creation and the more ME I can be, the more I can bless the world around me.
I’ll take that over self-denial any day.