Here’s an interesting thought. I lifted this from the Pagan Restoration column by Sam Webster on Pantheos:
“I focus on worship in this discussion because worship is the living act of religion. Belief is just thinking about religion, and in healthy persons it changes with their development. Only in Christianity is belief central. If you are focused on what you believe, not what you do, you are thinking like a Christian.”
I’m not a Christian, and I never have been one, so my experience there is pretty limited I’ll admit. And I’m in England, home of the Church of England, which is a very laid back and plain kinda sect, so I don’t know how it works in the more flamboyant ones. But from every pamphlet I have ever read (and I read them, all of them) and books I’ve picked up at the library, a big focus is admitting that Jesus is Awesome and God is the Bestest, having that belief and attitude in your head, and being nice to people, and that’s basically what the religion seems to want from you most. Praying is good too, but you don’t have to do much more if you don’t want to – I know plenty of nice people who identify as Christians, and just pop along to church twice a year at Christmas and Easter. And a couple who even don’t do that.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with that really. Not everyone wants to spend ages doing practical religious stuff. Some people just like having a safe place to operate from, and want to feel a part of something. And I think if you believe in something, it’s going to affect how you operate in the world, which means there’s a kinda greater meaning behind what you do, which is nice.
I feel you can be pagan and not do a lot of practical stuff based on what I have said above – I feel it’s a given you will be into recycling whatever you can, picking up crisp packets and supporting environmental causes. And that’s enough. It’s about how you see the world, which influences how you are gonna interact with it. You are gonna take at least a little action, spesh if you are a pagan, because it’s obvious what actions you take. Nature good. Treat nature good.
I think the idea of belonging to a religion but not personally doing much action about it does come from the Christian idea of the important thing being about believing, not action, because in Christianity, you’ve got more people taking action for you – ministers and priests and of course, the big J himself – and you just have to go around having your beliefs influence your actions. But being a Witch is more like being a minister or a priest than a believer – it’s about taking that action, whether you are a spiritual witch or a practical witch. That’s the whole point.
So I’m banging my Witches Have To Do Stuff drum again. There is nothing wrong with not doing stuff, and making a difference in the world through your eco attitude, but if you are a witch, you have to do at least a little witchcraft regularly. Thems the rules.