Leilû (suswatari) wrote in nonmagicpagans,

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Okay folks, in my neverending quest to hit people up for their opinions, I have yet another set of questions to propose. I hope they're not considered too off-topic.

What's the importance of polytheists doing charity? I tend to be of the opinion that while many Pagan organizations do charitable things, (donate drygods to the poor, etc.) they do them on an individual basis and not in the name of their religions. Also, charity seems to be not an integral part of religious practice but rather a "nice extra" that will make you a better person but isn't integral to the faith. The pervailing attitude seems to be "theology first, good works second or not necessarily at all." (But I will say that the Kemetic Orthodox have a children's charity organized under their name-- I believe it's udjat.org but I'm not sure-- but whether it's consistently donated to by the KO's or it's just there for the sake of merely having a religious charity under their name I don't know; I hope it's the former. )

I feel that, in the sense that religion is nothing without its gods, theology must cone first. However, I tend to think it's important to do charity as a religious duty for two reasons:

1) Making the world a better place means making it a better place for all people, Pagans included, and I think helping others pleases the gods.

2) Non-Pagans will see that our religions foster good works and helping others, so instead of seeing us as "people who hopefully don't hurt anyone" and tolerating us with gritted teeth, they'll come to see us as "people who devote themselves to good deeds" which is GREAT PR for polytheists. Deeds, after all, are louder than words, and Pagans, who do quite a lot of apologetics with non-Pagans throughout the day, would have to defend their religions much less through arguments if they got together as an organized charity (like "Asatru Children's Charity" or something like that -- I totally made that up, btw.) and donated books to schools or something. It would build their reputations for them.

Here's some more thought-fodder: If specifically Pagan charity orgs were to be developed, it would be best, I think, if they were non-fundraising oriented, because outsiders would think we were just trying to steal money from the community for our "subversive religion." I think it should be focused on stuff that doesn't give the impression of money-laundering, like giving school supplies to needy schools, or cleaning up parks and highways, or canned food drives. And we should do it so that non-Pagans can see us doing it.

All righty. I'm done rambling. *wipes sweat from brow* Let me know what you all think of this.
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