If It Harm None, Do As You Will

Hello dear reader(s)!

This is one way to phrase the Wiccan Rede (the less Old English version) that I just love.  Now, I am not Wiccan, I am Agnostic at this time, although I do find this particular contemporary Paganism to be fascinating, and am learning about it.  Why do I find it fascinating?

Mainly because there is no “My God is better than your God” mentality.  That I am aware of, no practitioners of Wicca have ever bombed an abortion clinic, shot up a city, or justified the enslavement of others.  In fact, many religions have some version of this, but their texts are full of contradictory ideas and justifications not to follow it.  In addition, where it does appear, it is never as central a theme as it is in contemporary Paganism and specifically in Wicca.  The fact that this particular belief system also supports the strong connection with the natural world is just a bonus for someone like me.  Although the point of this isn’t the nature of Wicca.  It isn’t trying to tell everyone to be a witch.  It is simply to say that if everyone lived by that Rede, think about how much better this world would be.

There is of course the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but that doesn’t really necessarily have the freedom emphasis that the Rede has.  And the followers of that rule, don’t really live by it anyway, do they?  They have to play the persecution angle in order to feel close to their God.  If a church gets torched or shot up, it isn’t racism, it is part of a war on Christianity.  If a country is bombed, it isn’t a war against the brutal dictator in charge, it is an attack on Islam.  In order to be believers, one must believe they are persecuted.  And believing they are fighting their oppressors, they can justify anything using their books.

Do you know who has been and still are persecuted by both Christians and Muslims?  Pagans.  The catholic church wiped out millions of Pagans who would not convert to their monotheistic ways.  Then they tortured and executed many more they crossed paths with.  Then, in an attempt to totally bury their belief system, they adopted their rituals and holidays.  It’s why I love Christmas, despite not being Christian.  (And no, I don’t care what you call it.)  I love the festivities that mark the change of season.  I couldn’t care less what you think happened around then.  (Which even biblical scholars believe actually took place in September, but that’s beside the point.)  I like the decorations, the trees, the celebrations, the gathering of friends and family, and the willingness of people to go out in the cold and celebrate the fact that they are alive in it.  Yet, with the stolen traditions, the mass murder of any polytheists, the near total democide…how many attacks have you heard of by Pagans on monotheists in any modern times?

Why?

If it harm none, do as you will.

In short, these people don’t care what you do, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone.  Again, I don’t really consider myself Wiccan or Pagan, but that idea sounds pretty awesome to me.  And worth potentially looking into in order to see if my own scientific and logical extrapolations on those scientific principles could reconcile.

All over my social media, after the attacks on Paris yesterday, were Christians talking about how often the Qur’an justifies the murder of infidels.  Christians claiming the religion was not a religion of peace.  Then there were Muslims citing specific passages that contradicted the passages the Christians were talking about.  Leaving only one conclusion:  Islam can be peaceful, or not…depending on one’s interpretation.

The same things can be said about the bible.  The Christian bible has some pretty fucked up shit in it.  Not many Christians live completely by the bible (thank any God you want).  If they did…shit would be ugly.  Interpretation is everything.

Of the 6,000,000 Muslims in France, a handful of asshole murderers decided to kill a lot of people.  For nothing.  Nothing will happen as a result of these murders except for more death and destruction.  But think about that number.  If 10% of those 6,000,000 were murderers, you would have 600,000.  If only 1%, you would have 60,000.  One-tenth of one percent still leaves you with 6000 murderers.  That. Doesn’t. Happen.  Some assholes interpret a book in the shittiest possible way.

Think of them as the Westboro Baptist Church of the Muslim world.  Westboro isn’t wrong, going by the bible, with their interpretation.  That book is fucked up too, if you read it the same.

Now I’m not saying everyone who wants to be religious should be Wiccan.  I’m not saying people should even be religious if they don’t believe.

But imagine, if Atheists, Agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and all other systems of belief and non-belief adopted that one simple idea:  If it harm none, do as you will.  Imagine if they adopted it, and truly attempted to live by it.

Wouldn’t this world be a much better place?

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

14 thoughts on “If It Harm None, Do As You Will”

  1. There are so many doctrinal inconsistencies and atrocities done in the name of religion, which is why I choose to be agnostic (and admittedly leaning more towards being atheist). In the end, I choose to accept responsibility for my actions – which is more than most religions are willing to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s why I’m agnostic myself, but I lean more toward believing in something…I just have no idea what. And that is only because to me, if something comes from nothing, that very thing-particle-energy-what have you, is supernatural of some sort. But I definitely detest any religion with concrete dogma or a “our way is the right way” mentality.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Love this post. Very thoughtful.
    I do not follow a religion. I believe in the power of nature, my garden is my temple and the sky is my cathedral ceiling. All bad energies one sends out will come back to kick one in the ass, eventually. All good energies and gestures will come back to blanket one in warmth and peace of heart.
    Hope all is well with you!!!!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Couple of things here.

    The first about the meaning of the term ‘agnostic’. Agnosticism describes a state of uncertain knowledge. In this regard, even Dawkins admits agnosticism. I think I’m safe in saying that the man is unquestionably an atheist. One can be an agnostic atheist or agnostic theist. But regarding belief in a god or gods, one is either a theist or an atheist. To describe one’s beliefs about any supernatural divine agency with the liberal use of the term ‘agnostic’ means placing one’s self between we know the claim is possibly to probably true. And this is nothing more than a label of intellectual cowardice, equivalent to prevaricating on the basis of a lack of certainty – a lack of knowledge – that one is neither quite sure if germs exist nor if gravity really does operate all of the time but that either is possible.

    Look, one either believes in a god (or gods) or one does not. There is no make-believe middle ground conveniently (mis)labeled as ‘agnosticism’. Pretending that there is – and that it is quite reasonable because there is no certainty – is a dodge, an avoidance tactic, an unwillingness to admit one’s actual state of belief in a god or gods.

    Secondly, you’re promoting the old trope that all religious beliefs are interpretive and so justifications for actions that are religious belong to the individual. This is crap. Again, a dodge from applying appropriate responsibility to scripture for promoting certain unpleasant, immoral, and questionable rules of conduct. For example, good luck justifying the eating of pork under the banner of Judaism or Islam no matter how much you try to ‘interpret’ these texts. The same is true for violent jihad in Islam.

    Sure, one can ignore the rules and regulations around all kinds of reprehensible and morally depraved scriptural rules and injunctions and that’s what the majority of liberal Christians do to get along with their neighbours. But that does not mean that the core beliefs of a certain scripture itself is therefore wide open to interpretation and that those who do violence in its name are not representing the scriptural authority for these actions as you suggest in this post. Au contraire. And this is borne out in compelling data complied on international PEW studies. It’s not a scriptural interpretation that has one out of every three British born and raised, university educated Muslim youths in Britain supporting deadly force and capital punishment in defense of the faith. By comparison, there is zero out of any number of Jainists supporting violence in defense of the faith.

    The percentages in support of violence are near zero in many of the major religious streams. So scripture, not interpretation of them, is very much a central causal factor in promoting religious violence and does matter and can and should be held responsible for promoting and sustaining violence done in its name.

    Until we admit what the problem actually is regarding religious violence, we have no chance to address it properly. Placing the responsibility for religious violence only on those who carry it out, pretending it’s really just a case of poor interpretation by a few misguided individuals, is a case of special pleading and exemption for the religious scripture that causes and then promotes it. Until we hold the violent tenets of Islam itself (and not delude ourselves about a ‘few bad apples’ that just so happen to number in their hundreds of millions) as the root cause and responsible factor for a very great deal of violence done in its name, we will not be addressing the core problem. We will be fooling ourselves by shifting responsibility to those poor misguided fools – over a 1.3 billion at last count – who actually believe it to be the perfect word of god while exempting scripture and its authority much needed criticism.

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    1. We get it, you’re anti-religion. Again with the near religious belief in the lack of God, which I have mentioned before. I disagree with your definition of agnosticism. I am a supernatural leaning agnostic, and many are atheistic. Only the dicks in either category try to convince others their beliefs are wrong. You prove my belief that something that comes from nothing isn’t God-like, and I will concede. But you’ll never be able to, and I’ll never be able to prove otherwise. Hence my agnosticism. Now if you’ll kindly go preach your religious intolerance somewhere in your atheist church, where people are accepting of intolerant opposing viewpoints and kindly get the fuck off my page…I’d appreciate it.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hmm I love this post!Me I am a Pagan at Heart,while I have respect for the Modern religions like Christianity and Islam,Hindu and even Buddhism and those that follow them except those extremist who commit atrocities in the name of their religion as to me what those type do is nothing about their religion its more about Power but that is another subject for another time.I believe in the Earth Mother she protects us and nurtures us by giving us her self and in return we give back to her the same care.Not that Humans as a rule are doing a very good job of doing that but we are getting there slowly.My garden is my temple to her “The Earth Mother” I nurture her and all she gives me.I use no chemicals in my garden and and try not to kill anything here and she gives me wild tunneling bees ,birds and butterflies and all other creatures to take care of.And yes some thing else created The Earth Mother and the Sun her opposite,A Father and a Mother Created the universe and that is the balance of life,of all life in the Universe.Two opposing Elemental forces coming together in one Harmonious moment to give birth to all the beauty and life around us.Not one single almighty god because that wouldn’t be a natural balance of life.everything around us is a balance of Opposites … like Matter and Antimatter or male and female you can not have one without the other.
    This is my Beliefs and just a brief reasoning behind them.Oh and Yes I do celebrate Christmas but not in the way most do but in the traditional way the Dutch always did Father Christmas/St Nicholas and Candlema/St Brides Day/Imbolc festival its all the same festival of light that was christianised but was celebrated originally at the first signs of Spring pre Christianity.Anyway I don’t mind what religion someone follows or even if they don’t believe in any religion as long as they cause no harm to others or force their views on others after all we have free will ,the freedom to choose what we believe,Thank you for such a lovely post,xx Rachel

    Liked by 2 people

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