|I guess I don't see the line as thin at all. What is wrong with divisivness?? Do we have a right to appropriate anything we want?? See I don't think so. I think that kind of attitude is one of the missionary and conquerer. That, I own all. I have a right to use and have anything I want. And that is just arrogant and not respectful
Hmm. I just looked over my post again and I don't think I really expressed what I was trying to very well. I sure didn't mean to give the impression that I believe the above!
I WOULD agree that a lot of people with "missionary and conquer" attitudes do (and have done) quite consciously appropriate beliefs and rituals in order to infiltrate and ultimately suppress an indigenous belief system, and yes, that is wrong, arrogant, and disrespectful - to say the least. One would have to be completely ignorant of the history of the Christian church in particular not to realize that.
However, I think a lot of appropriation is unconscious, not necessarily thinking "gee, I like that, I think I'll start doing it" and combining it with something one already does or believes, but just seeing or hearing something, liking it, and buying it, doing it or displaying it. I think in another thread the preponderance of "dreamcatchers" was mentioned as a good example of how something sacred and meaningful has been cheapened. In my own opinion, it's a similar thing with crystals and incense - you see them everywhere, and know they're being used in ways that have nothing to do with their origins or even their intended use. I think most of the people doing that, though, are completely unconscious that they have stepped on somebody else's sacred beliefs and being disrespectful - in fact, they probably often feel the opposite, that they are honoring them in some way. Is that right to do? No, I don't think so, but I don't know the answer to how to keep it from happening, except possibly more conscious living in general - know what you're doing and why you're doing it (which would be a good idea all around for everybody).
However, is it disrespectful of me to read about how a Wiccan would take a ritual bath before doing spell work and think to myself, "I really like that emphasis on an outward cleansing before inner spiritual work" and create a ritual for myself before prayer and meditation? If so, how do I go through life without getting ideas in this way? How do I grow and change?
I guess the problem I personally have with divisiveness per se is that the concept of "yours" and "mine" often (IMO) seems to lead inevitably to "better" and "worse" and "right" and "wrong". That I guess is what I am trying to express by the "thin line." I can acknowledge that your belief is different from mine but to me, that is a step away from saying I am right and you are wrong. I guess that's probably a quirk of my own mind, but when I say I believe that most belief systems are right, that is my way of negating (I guess in my own head) any notions of superiority or rightness that might tend to grow in me about my own beliefs. (ETA: I also think a lot of grief and bloodshed in the world were and are caused by this very problem: "mine is better/more right than yours.")
I will grant that I am so rooted in my "many faces of the One" concept that I did not think about true polytheism and I apologize for that oversight. I can see that this very assumption would probably be irritatingly disrespectful. That does throw a monkey wrench into my little "mind game."
(ETA: I'll have to find another way to reconcile things in my head....)