As with all things intellectual, eventually, talk turns to religion. This is not presumptuous. Even from me. This is historical. Pick your explanation and I am proved correct.
Evolution your Cup of Hemlock? Logic requires that our DNA ancestors could establish an organized religion only after they were able to effectively communicate conceptual thoughts on a group basis. Individual worship of a supreme being is not an organized religion. You need a common language in order to convert them to your particular belief system.
True, this type of thinking also led us to the American Advertising Association, but nothing comes without a price.
Creationism your Garden of Eden? It is explained that our Biblical/Koranish Mom & Pop understood the need to worship from afar only after they were caught taking a bite out of understanding and wisdom.
True, it is arguable that the actual infraction was the act of disobeying. However, I don't expect the creator would have had much trouble from them if the forbidden fruit was from the Tree of Disco Music, instead of enlightenment
However, back to my
original thought. Intelligence is an integral part of all our organized
religions. If you blindly follow doctrine, than you are in a cult, not
LEAVE NOW AND GO TO THE AIRPORT
However, in Revelwood we are blessed (my word) with many styles of faith worship.
We have all types: Atheists, Agnostics, Judeo/Christians, and Pagans. This is good. It promotes the free discussion of our beliefs, actions and anticipations.
Now one of the most popular aspects of any organization is the use of symbols. And organized religion is right up there with the best of them. Organized religions use symbols for identification of members, hierarchy, intention, preference and a bunch of other conceptual ideas. This is a learned behavior. It does not fall into the instinctual category of mammalian, omnivorous, opposable thumb, carbon based life forms. Chimpanzees do not, with few exception, wear green on Saint Patrick's Day.
However, it is the use of symbols that means so much during the interaction of those of different religions. It takes too long to ask a person what they expect will happen to them after they die, before you decide if you should kill them or not. It's much easier to take a quick peek at the symbol and act accordingly. After they're dead, it becomes their problem.
One must be careful on how we use symbols for decision making purposes. The same symbol means a different thing to everyone who sees it, and a different thing to everyone who uses it. The action resulting from the symbol is the thing.
Ultimately, we are answerable for our actions. This is an idea shared by all our organized religions. Even a few atheists.
If we make a decision based on our interpretation of a symbol, and do not ask the user's interpretation, then we have only half the information needed to make an intelligent decision. Granted, a person wearing a lobster bib will be instinctually avoided by lobsters. But we have the luxury of non-instinctual behavior. Revelwood is grounded on the free exchange of ideas. This is a pasture of great abundance.
Woe be to us if we start getting distracted by symbols and do not take advantage of our minds. We will become as clanging bells, making noise but not music. We will use all the words, but they will not impart a message. We will miss what it was we wanted in the first place, a home for free interpretation of thought.
Now believe me, I'm not talking about obviously violent or physically dangerous people. If you carry/wear/distribute a message that communicates the fact you plan me or mine bodily harm, then I will respond to your message in kind. I don't want to spend valuable party time dodging death either. I'm talking about a much more benign principle. I refer to people with different ideas on how the Universe works.
Revelwood became more than "just a few people getting together to party" because of spiritual persecution. We were told that our interpretation of the SCA was not tolerable. We had the wrong "spirit." Now we must be wary to make sure it does not happen here. If a newcomer is denied access to Revelwood because they do not practice a specific type of symbolism, than we are lost. We are no better than they who cast us out of their SCAdian Garden of Eden in the first place.
Remember, the forests of the world witnessed rites of spirituality several thousands of years before the first Papal Bull was ever proclaimed. Mistletoe was around a long time before the very first Noel. Ginseng root and milkwort have been around a great deal longer than Chocolate Bunnies. People were burying their comrades in ceremonial graves long before sitting Shiva, or drinking at a wake, became popular.
OH YE OF WEAK SPIRIT... BUGGER OFF
Revelwood is not the place to practice spiritual selectivity. If you are not comfortable with your spirituality, change it. But don't deny someone their opportunity to tell me what they think. You are not going to censure my life without a fight.
Of course, if you decide that you will only allow people who practice your own particular brand of Spiritualism into your house, that is your right. But put it up front. Post a sign: "My Religion Only" Send out a flyer: "No Pagans May Attend This Event" Make a few phone calls: "Sorry, You Don't Plan To Be With Me in My Particular Afterlife. Don't Bother Coming Over." This way I can make a decision never to enter you home again. We will then both be happier.
I am part of Revelwood to make my world better. Hopefully, so are you. Learning new things, seeing the Universe through someone else's eyes, and challenging my ability to deal with different perceptions are some of the ways of making my world better. If I am not able to do these things at Revelwood, than why bother putting out the effort and expense. I can buy my own keg of Guinness.
After all these words, even I am surprised at how much energy I put into this. Maybe it is because I am so anxious to prevent the same thing happening in Revelwood that happened in ancient Iron Bog. Narrow minds make for teeny tiny hats. With sharp points at the top. I want my hat to be big and furry, with lots of room for expansion, and landscaping.