Why should we in the Pagan Movement discuss Values?
We can gain a greater understanding of our own relationships with virtues and values and ethics by discussing them with others, both within our Traditions and through interfaith dialogue. In engaging in this sort of dialogue not only can we build relationships with like minded fellow Pagans of many paths, we can also learn more ways of bringing these important issues forward in our lives. This sort of discussion can also help us in bringing our Values to bear in the larger world and into a deeper discussion of them within society at large.
This is especially important since there is a lot of confusion and mis-representation abroad in society at large as to what kind of people Contemporary Pagans are and what we believe and what our practices are. Much of this mis-representation is being put forward by individuals and groups eager to have themselves seen as the ONLY peoples or faiths representing values, virtues, and ethics; often at the expense of other social groups, religions, and even dissenting voices within their own religions.
It is only if we Pagans discuss our values, and ethics and ideals and virtues, within the Pagan movement and with those outside of it, that we can accurately be represented in society; that our fundamental Rights including Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion will be truly guaranteed and respected. (more information about the idea of Fundamental human rights, here, here, and here…) It is also worth noting that we only truly possess those Rights that we are actually willing to stand up and invoke and, should it become necessary, defend.
Actually discussing and identifying our Values is an important part of that process!
We have a spectrum and variety of faiths and beliefs represented within contemporary Paganism even within individual Traditions. Belief-wise we sometimes have rather little in common, even if our practices are sometimes quite similar. On the other hand, our many Values and the Virtues and the Ethics and Ideals we hold dear…; well, those overlap and intertwine throughout and across Paganism. Honor, Integrity, Courage, Generosity, Personal Responsibility, Hospitality, these are among the many values that the Pagan Traditions ALL seem to hold dear.
Given that we cherish them, shouldn’t we be willing to discuss and live and share our values with one another and with our communities?