Trouble in Paradise
In my younger days I used to sometimes spend a few days camping out on someone's farm or campground with a hundred or so other Pagans. These festivals were kind of tribal – a little like the other gatherings of the clans we read about. They were an opportunity to spend a few days completely immersed in a Pagan lifestyle and surrounded by like-minded folk. People often came from around the region, and the festival might be the only time in a period of several weeks or even many months when friends from different cities would come together.
Being that at the heart, these were religious gatherings, there was a prevailing attitude of openness and trust. People would welcome a stranger to their meal, or offer to help a mere acquaintance with childcare. Many people shared rides or tents with those who had none of their own. And most folks weren't really overly cautious about leaving a drink unattended or storing belongings in their tent while they were off at workshops or rituals during the day.
But one of the dirty secrets of any religious community is that there will always be people who wrong other people. Whether it be partners cheating on one another or someone spreading vicious rumours about a neighbour, whether it be someone getting drunk and starting a fist fight, there is always going to be that small minority who just can't seem to respect the people around them. It doesn't matter if the motto of your community is “Love thy neighbour,” or “An' it harm none, do what thou wilt.”
So I remember the times when friends came to me, shocked, and revealed that money had been taken from their tent while they were away at a ritual. One friend actually came to me and revealed that his tambourine had been disassembled, and the jingles stolen. The thief had left him with just the soundless frame!
The perpetrators may have been hangers on, for whom there was no genuine effort to follow a religious path. Or they may have believed themselves to be quite devout, but simply had no impulse control. Whatever the case, part of the reason that religions have some sort of ethical code is that people will do unethical things if they aren't held to some sort of communal standard. And even when there is a standard, some will always give into weakness and temptation . . .
This is my Spirituality entry for &DawnWtiter 's A-W Category Challenge . Just 14 more categories to go!
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/door-old-wooden-door-heart-toilet-516731/