52 Weeks of Paganism: Week 9
9. Do you have a moral code you follow? What kind of ethics and values do you hold? Are they shaped more by society than your religion? Or is your religion more key?
This is where my Christopaganism comes into play. I try to live by Christ’s example as much as I possibly can. I don’t get it right - nobody does. (For example, I have a foul mouth and am pretty unrepentant about it.) But as far as compassion, honesty, trying to treat others right and be the change I wish to see in the world, Christ is a big inspiration to me.
Coupled with this is that the main demon that I work with (I believe demons have a necessary place in the order of things and are Divine agents) and consider to be my patron (in this case, my teacher/mentor/working partner/ally) is associated with Law, Wrath, and Judgment. I have to be mindful of myself around him particularly with regard to upholding the law - I got bitched at one time for not wearing my seatbelt in the car. One of the things that my patron really does not approve of is vigilante justice. Another thing that my patron does not tolerate is lying, especially lying to yourself, which is one reason why I’ve been forced to deal with some things I haven’t wanted to deal with (like suppressing being trans for most of my adult life) and am having to “unfuck my life” from narratives I picked up from abuse and become who I actually am as opposed to the lies my abusers told me (if you’re wondering what the Project Phoenix tag is on my blog, this is some of it). Yet another thing is there have been some issues I’ve had to speak up on when I see them even though it’s cost me followers and made me enemies. I try to not spend my life arguing on the Internet (which would be easy to do under his influence), and I hold my tongue at a lot of things, but once in awhile I have to put my foot down, because ultimately he wants me to put my foot down about whatever it is, and he’s right. He also doesn’t want me to beat a dead horse - there’s a line there, and I try to hold to the two-response rule. But sometimes things need to be said.
I am dual-trad Abrahamic pagan and Vanatru (my Abrahamic leanings are in a polytheistic context); the Vanir have hospitality and generosity as a big cultural value, so I try to practise that as best as I can as well (one reason why I will do giveaways periodically for my followers, or have started to splurge a little on offerings for my People now that I can afford to do so).
All of that being said, I think that while religion can help us to become better people, I know plenty of atheists/agnostics who are good people, and I know a number of religious people (including pagans and polytheists) who make a career out of intentionally harming others around them. I think a lot of a person’s values tends to be shaped by whatever life experiences they’ve had - a lot of my own “honor codes” admittedly come from having abusive parents and not wanting to make the mistakes they did; some people rise above, and some do not (some because they don’t know any better). Gods and spirits can inspire us to be excellent to each other and become excellent ourselves, but you have to want it and you have to try. Too many people don’t, in this world.