Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Gods are not to be Trusted

I have to come out and make a confession-declaration:
I have insufficient faith in the Gods.
I do have faith in the Gods, but I also realize that there are many aspects of this life that the Gods either have no control over, or into which they refuse to intervene. I seem to be alone in this belief, however, and everyone else faith seems absolute. The fact that these other people have absolutely nothing to lose is surely completely coincidental.

Context: I work with a small team to organize events in my community, so we occasionally need to make practical decisions which some people object to loudly. When we try to explain why we came to these decisions, the Gods are often invoked and our lack of faith is presented as Exhibit A.

THEM: You should organize a Witches Ball for Halloween!
US: Eeek. To rent a hall big enough, we'd need about $1500 to rent the hall and pay the DJ. That means assuming we charge $10 per person, we'd need to get at least 150 people to show up. I'm not sure we'd get enough people.
THEM: You worry too much. HAVE MORE FAITH IN THE GODS!

THEM: Why do the Public Rituals cost $5 per person? Spirituality should be free!
US: The ritual itself is free, but the 3rd floor studio that is close to the metro and has an elevator (because making it accessible to everyone is important) costs $300.
THEM: You should pass the hat and ask for donations AND HAVE MORE FAITH IN THE GODS!

THEM: You should hold this event on a piece of land that is difficult to access, but also provide everyone with return transportation.
US: Eeek. Okay, that location is about an hour away. We could rent a bus, but that will cost about $500. We could car pool it, but there's no guarantee that a bunch of strangers would be willing to--
THEM: You worry too much! It'll work because it's a great idea and everyone will buy into it AND YOU SHOULD HAVE MORE FAITH IN THE GODS!

You get the picture. When I tell these people that, if they have such faith in the Gods and their ideas, they should organize it themselves.

THEM: "Oh no... I can't do that for Reason A. Then Reason B comes into play, which causes Reason C that makes Reason A even more impossible. But I'll help you and support you if you take care of it. JUST TRUST IN THE GODS!"

In the early days of my community involvement, I used to do this. When it seemed impractical and financially risky, I tried to put faith in the Gods that it would all work out in the end. What would actually happen is that these risky events would flop, the promised support would disappear, and I would be left to foot the bill. But on the surface, it would look like everything worked out and IT WAS ALL THE WILL OF THE GODS.

So yeah... I'm left to make the hard decisions that allow events to take place, while mitigating the risks, and dealing with a loud, disappointed few (who didn't support the event at all, btw). All the while to be told that everything would be fine if I JUST HAD FAITH IN THE GODS.

Fuck that noise. I have learned that replacing an insufficient trust in the Gods with some critical thinking and realistic risk analysis increases the chances that an event will be successful. Or at the very least, I won't lose my shirt in the process.


  1. Rah, rah! Not only is their point of view moralistic self-serving bullshit, but they do not understand theology. The gods act through humanity or aspects of nature, they are not the Yahweh arbitrarily intervening stuff - so, you and your friends embody the gods in doing what you do (as do I when I'm doing my community organizing etc) and THEY are showing their lack of belief in the gods capacity to act through people in their whinging.

  2. Thou Art God[dess) is one of the Wiccan Ordains and often something most Pagans adhere to. So when they say "have more faith in the Gods," I reply with "Thou art God(dess) so why are you not coming through for me but I MUST come through for you?" You are not alone in your belief, but agreed, it is not a popular view. Many suffer hard core from the disease known as "self-entitlement".

  3. My experience with people is when they say "have faith... blah, blah, blah", that they rarely have any skin in the game.
    Get them to sign on and accept a percentage of risk and then see if their faith is strong.