A Little Respect

Sometimes the online Pagan community drives me nuts. I will honestly admit to being a bit of a loner. I don’t generally join groups, but when I do I try my best to get along. It is in my nature to be a people-pleaser and a smoother-of-ways. Anyway, I’ve been poking around the online community lately, looking for new blogs to read and a forum or two to join. I like to lurk for a long time before I make the jump of becoming a member and getting involved in discussions.

So, I come across a forum that looks like it has potential. It is one related to Ancient Egyptian religion, etc. There are some good posts about the usefulness of texts written by Budge, info on various gods, etc. All pretty good. But, I soon come across some posts slamming some pretty well known Pagan writers, a few of which I have a great deal of respect for. Now, clearly voicing one’s opinion doesn’t bother me, but outright name calling and ad hominem attacks piss me off. Especially when the author is dead and can not defend himself, and when any voice raised in objection is roundly discounted and also called names.

Sure, there are some authors out there who write junk or are out to make a buck. But there are some excellent authors who writer beginners books. Some of those books are excellent for beginners. They may not get into heavy theology, discuss the Great Rite or the Dark Goddess, but they are still great. Beginners don’t know everything, and to throw it all at them at once would be doing them a disservice. I think that it takes guts and skill to write a good beginners book, to be able to judge what information they need to know and how to present so as to not overwhelm them. When someone with a decade or more of experience looks back on them, the books may not seem that great. And that is fair. Talk about the weakness of the book, and maybe write your own beginners book. But don’t resort to name calling.

Oh yeah, I think calling beginners “newbies” isn’t very nice either. It strikes me as a very derogatory term. Would you like it applied to you, or would you rather a term that is a little kinder and shows a little more understand on the part of your more advanced co-religionists?

1 Comment

One Response

  1. BrentN says:

    The state of being a ‘newbie’ is a sort-of-Zen thing. The label is only derogatory for those who refuse to do anything to rectify their status. People who are genuinely interested in becoming informed/educated/enlightened are often called newbies (usually in self-reference) but are rarely denigrated. I believe that this is because they know how to ask smart questions. There is an essay on this here: http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html which, while related to the computer community, is directly applicable to any esoteric field of study.