The contagious nature of dogma

Beautiful things happen to us when we least expect it, or as a result of other intentions. The RDNA is one of those things. The RDNA is like a beautiful woman, fresh and free and vital and sexual and oozing with possibility and hope.

So it saddens me when those who claim to love and cherish something, instead end up holding it hostage, chaining it down, strangling it, choking off the very life force that made it unique and beautiful.

Mostly, the restraint they use is dogma.  What is ironic is that many came to the RDNA to escape dogma.  Ironic and historic.  The Puritans you know, came to this country to escape religious persecution. Once established though they turned to the very thing they had escaped from, and this led to such things as the Salem Witch trials, and the torture and death of innocent people.

Tradition is alive and well in the RDNA, and that tradition has been preserved in print by the ARDA, which like the RDNA itself, is a living, breathing, beautiful thing, meant for history and inspiration and as a guideline, not as a dead, unflinching, unyielding, unchangeable law.  In other words, the ARDA is not dogma. It was never meant to be a system of “have tos,” “must believes,” or “can’t dos”.

Some would have it so. And that is sad, very, very sad. You have to ask “why?”

Like dogs returning to their vomit, many who have escaped the chains of the big, societally approved religions, will, take the very thing that freed them and dogmatize it to death. I suppose it’s habit, or  the desire to preserve the status quo, or it might be a jealousy akin to that jealousy that drives men to kill the one they love if that one finds affection for another.

Those afflicted with dogma take on the role of antagonists, using paranoid conspiracy theories, character assassination, and the drumming of talking points (see the big lie) to undermine their perceived enemies efforts. A good book for dealing with these types is Antagonists in the Church: How to Identify and Deal With Destructive Conflict, by Kenneth Haugk. This book is highly recommended by Arch Druid Isaac Bonawits, as the generally lessons and advice given are universal solutions (despite the books heavy Christian leanings). In recent years the Pagan community has suffered from these dogmatists, and both Witch Wars and now, Druid Wars have been the result.

I like Fritz Jung’s (of Witch’s Voice) advice: “The best way to win is to refuse to play.” But we don’t always follow this advice. A recent attempt to make contact with some fellow Druids in our own neck of the woods turned into a confrontation with an antagonist, which, though we believe I handled it well (finally refusing to engage and further) still could have been handled better – we should not have engaged at all.  Hind site is 20/20.

Posted: 2005 September 9