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Is someone that holds beliefs and doesn't act on them really a part of the religion they claim to believe in?

I have a friend who has always been Pagan. She is proud of that, wears a pentagram and her collection of books impresses even me. But, her actions of late are not what I would consider very becoming of a Pagan. She hunts for fun (and leaves the body) and have even been known to set fire to bushes and trees because she likes the flames... The few times we go out, I am always picking up her trash, because she's to careless to toss it in the can or even pick it up when she tosses and misses. She told me she hasn't held or attended a ritual in 3 years. But she still claims to be Pagan.

To me actions have always spoken louder than words. If you act like it you are, no matter what you claim to believe. Because if you truely believe something it's reflected in how you live.

So, my question is, what makes one a part of a religion? Claimed beliefs or actions??

Answer Question

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 3:31 PM on Sep. 5, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • actions

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:32 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Now before anyone answers I do also want to note that I understand that there are many different views in each religion and that what I consider okay may or not is different from others. But in my mind to act so calousely toward nature and ignore the gods is not an accepted part of any path...

    I also understand that many do not see pleasure hunting as wrong. However I see it as a grave disrespect for nature just to kill and leave or worse to wound and walk away leaving some poor creature in pain... Either way, not actions even she would have seen as okay just a few years back.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 3:35 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • So, my question is, what makes one a part of a religion? Claimed beliefs or actions??

    I have to say beliefs, ones truly held not just professed. Their actions should reflect that but some people lack the will power to follow even their own beliefs & since you say "her actions of late" that can really just be a slip which is usually the result of emotional issues. Our emotions can easily overpower our beliefs.

    Answer by nysa00 at 3:42 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Sabrina.... as a Muslim.. what i believe is that the acknowledgment and acceptance that Allah is the Creator and the only deity worthy of being worshiped as well as that Prophet Mohammad is his final messenger is what makes a person Muslim whether they act upon the commandments and or rituals/ manners of the religion or not.

    so basically.. a Muslim is Muslim as long as he prays to Allah(the Creator of Heavens and Earth and all of mankind). and believes in Him and his messenger.

    He is a sinner if he does not adhere to the way of the religion. But sinning does not take you out of the religion unless your sin is to not pray to the Creator or if you associate partners with the creator, ie.. like saying that the tree is devine.. or that a person is devine.


    Answer by Aasiyah at 4:04 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Sabrina... you are right to believe tha tone should not wound creators and leave them.. we were commanded by the messenger that when we slaughter to slaugher well.. meaning do not leave the animal to suffer. i so agree with you on that point

    Answer by Aasiyah at 4:05 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • meant to say creature.

    Answer by Aasiyah at 4:06 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • My beliefs are similar to AAsiyah's. I'm a Christian, although I guess I consider myself more a spiritual person than a religious person. As a Christian I believe that if you accept Christ, you are a Christian. As a spiritual person I believe that although we may hold certain values, we are all on this earth to grow and become better people. Which means that we aren't always perfect. We aren't always strong, and often do things that are against our own values. I try not to judge other people....I'm not perfect about it, but I do think it's wrong to hurt or endanger others. I don't think it means your belief's aren't true, just that you (or she in this case) are weak.

    Answer by ohwrite at 4:14 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Just because your actions turn from being a faithful practitioner to an unfaithful one, doesn't mean your beliefs have strayed.. it means you have. Normally it's because something inside of her has changed that they haven't yet recognized. The only thing to do with a person who has lost faith in their beliefs and is making for the religion, a bad name, is to try to find the root of the problem. Why is she not respecting the religion she claims to follow? Is she even aware of her behavior? Is something depressing her that she is trying to hide?

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 4:40 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Personally I think its more than just actions. For certain littering and leaving carcases to rot is not a very paganish thing to do. But I wouldn't say she isn't pagan either. And just because she's not attended any rituals does not mean she doesn't practice in some small way in the privacy of her home.


    Answer by SalemWitchChild at 4:43 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • SalemWitchChild ~ We don't have any public rituals here at all! We tried a few years ago and were escourted off the property (which we rented) by police. There are still local laws about "witchcraft" and "devil worship". But we were just talking about what we were going to be doing this year for Samhain and she told me then that she hasn't done anything in years... She just sees no point in ritual... So, she isn't doing anything at home either... I guess I should have been more clear.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 5:18 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

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