I just wanted to clear something up here.
Well, certain members of the site staff seem to be making it much easier by baiting me and trying to pit me up as an example of why religious tolerance shouldn't be applied to Christianity, because being a hypocrite is fine as long as you're convinced that you're right and they're wrong...
I have yet to see any members of the forums staff weigh in around here. Forums staff members, also known as moderators or Administrators have their title displayed immediately beneath their name, as well as have 5 full bars, rather than a post count meter.
What I have seen, though is a couple of folks who are mistrusting of the intentions of a self-declared fundamental Christian. You see, a lot of us have suffered abuses at the hands of people who claim to follow the same God that you do. This is a horrible thing, and quite obviously these children were not true followers of Christ, as they would know that Judgment is His, and to leave it up to Him.
Sadly, just like in the outside world, this same type of person comes to the Library and they come spoiling for a fight. They've found themselves a nest full of witches and heathens and they're going to take them down in the name of the Lord. Just as sadly, many of us have been wounded deeply enough that we will take the bait and defend ourselves from unprovoked attacks... and sometimes defend ourselves from things that we see as becoming an attack before it happens.
If you read through the Alternative religions section, you can probably find the detritus left by many such past occurrences. It's the same old story over and over again. Somebody claiming to be an open and tolerant Christian comes to this board to learn about paganism. And what we find instead is a hate filled mind, come to start trouble. Many of us have grown tired of this, and try to weed out the bad with loaded questions and not so subtle hints.
I sincerely hope that my fellows have been wrong in their assumptions thus far. But at the moment, you certainly do fit the profile quite nicely. You show up and claim an altruistic reason for searching us out. Then you identify yourself as somehow both fundamental, yet open minded. After a few innocent posts, you come out of left field with a question that delves deeply into the depths of our souls, while at the same time telling us not to ask you any questions in return because you don't want this to turn into 'quiz the Christian'.
Frankly, that's not a very fair question to ask. We are not here on display for you. If you're interested in the varied pagan faiths, there's ample information to be found in our reading rooms. Here's a section that many beginners read first: HTTP://www.paganlibrary.com/introductory/index.php
Now, if you're looking to hear our stories, all you have to do is ask nicely. Some of us will share, and more than willingly as they already have. Somewhere, I've got the really really long version of my story written out. I think I posted it in this subforum, actually. It was about two years ago, so I'm not sure if it's even still around.
So here's the short and sweet.
Like some others here, I've always been more sensitive to the so called paranormal world that exists around us. As a side note, it's not paranormal. These odd experiences are part of nature and are perfectly natural. They're just outside the norm of regular human experience.
Anyway, I'd never felt comfortable in the faith of my family. I'd always felt that there was something missing and something entirely artificial about the way they worshiped their God. I'd always felt more at ease in the forest near my house. For me, listening to a self righteous man reading from a book just simply cannot compare to walking off the path and wandering about the mossy trees, smelling the dampness of the woods, feeling the cool breeze from the creek on your face, and listening to the voices of the forest. That is how I initially experienced the Divine.
I'm not saying that there is only one way to experience the divine or that my way is the best way. Some feel the glory of god in song. Some are moved by self righteous men reading from a book. Some do not worship at all, but live in harmony with nature. Some honor their ancestors as guardians. Some are moved by the thought of keeping Alien spirits from infesting their bodies. There are many paths and they all lead to the same place.
In a nutshell, what I believe is that there is an all encompassing power. I call it The Divine and for me it is aspected by both male and female. You can call it a God. Call it a Goddess. Call it Gaia. Call it the Force. Luminous beings are we.
But seriously - we are, each and every one of us, connected to this power and to each other. Some of us are more in tune to this connection than others and we can literally feel the energy flowing. Some of us are not. We all have our place in life and we all have a purpose.
It gets more involved than that obviously, but I'm at work and don't really have the time to devote to properly explaining the ins and outs, nooks and crannies, and peccadilloes of my personal brand of faith.
Anyway - Welcome to the Library. We are many voices and yours is welcome. Please forgive us our past experiences with those who claim to serve your God and our prejudices that are born of such trials. Provided you are who you say you are, I don't foresee any problems.