Growing Up Fundamentalist…Pagan!

Oh yeah, if that title doesn’t get your attention then there is no hope for you!

Fundamentalist Pagan? Is that even real?

Trust me, it is. I figured in this time of Pagan ritual (look up where Christmas really came from), I’d give some details into my own Pagan past and how it defines my work.

You see, fundamentalists come in all shapes and sizes, all religions and beliefs, all dietary extremes, you name the subject and someone will fit the description of a fundamentalist in regards to that subject.

Maybe a quick definition of fundamentalist is in order!

Definition of Fundamentalism:

1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence to such beliefs
2 : a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles

Yep, that about sums it up in definition 2.

Let me be very clear here, this post is not about religion or theology, not at all. In fact, as I watch your eyes glaze over, this post isn’t even about Paganism or really fundamentalism. It’s about how fundamentalism has influenced my writing and especially my subject matter.

Now, I can see the look in many bloggers’ eyes right now. That look says, “That’s quite a set up if you aren’t going to actually talk about fundamentalism and paganism.” In which I respond, “Just hold on, it’ll all make sense soon!” You see, I was raised to believe all conventional religions were the Evil that was destroying the world. And yet, my name is Jacob David Bible. Sure, it’s just a name and doesn’t define me. But, when you are trying to avoid discussion about theology, or specifically Christianity, and your name is Bible, well, good luck with that.

I spent my entire childhood being asked, “Are you a Christian? Which church do you go to?” and being the young, whippersnapper I was, I’d reply, “No, I’m not Christian. Christianity destroyed the earth religions and created a paternalistic hegemony that has driven all free thinkers into hiding.” The usual response? “Oh, well, that’s quite a name…”

“What does this have to do with writing?” you ask. Well, this set me up to be a rebel and heretic while also having the power of one of the most influential religions in history at my fingertips. If that isn’t the beginning of an epic saga then I don’t know what is!

I could embrace the mysteries of Druidism, the peace of Buddhism, the contradictory joy of Taoism, the millions of gods of Hinduism and the secrets of Astrology, with all the different healing and health elements that come with those and yet, I could walk the mainstream world of American Christianity with open arms. I mean, after all, who’s going to reject a guy named Jacob David Bible?

“But the writing!” Stop yelling at me. Don’t you see? What are religions? Any religion? Come on, guess! Give up? They are stories! Parables, fables, moral lessons, genealogical recordings, creationist musings, explanations of the mysteries of the universe and life itself! In religion we find the richest treasure trove of speculative fiction ever! This is where it all started. Whether a kick-ass resurrection story or how the world rests on the back of a great turtle (Prachet didn’t think that up on his own). Where else can people be turned to salt or a multi-limbed goddess of Death can devour the world? A great big dog headed god holds the fate of your afterlife in it’s paw? Not enough for you? What about the Djinn or ghuls of Arabia? No? Still not convinced? Harpies then? Demi-gods that must slay minotaurs or destroy cyclopean monsters? Wow, y’all are tough nuts.

Okay, let’s change stories. How about instead of characters and creation myths, what about all the end of the world legends? I’m a post-apocalyptic writer. All my novels take place after the world as we know it has been destroyed some way or another. You know, like the Apocalypse that comes to play in Armageddon? Or maybe Ragnarok? 2012 anyone? Yep, without those great Pagan, and Big 3, End Of Days stories I’d have nothing.

Now, I’m not going to go into my own beliefs, that would just tick some of you off and also start one of those pointless theological arguments. Plus I’m right, so no need for you guys to even bother!😉 (Big wink there).  But without my exposure to the thousands of different myths beyond Christianity, Judaism and Islam (and including those, too!) I wouldn’t have the depths to draw from that I do. Trust me, buy a copy of DEAD MECH and you’ll find a few themes in there. Many are buried under the blood and guts, the violence and gore, but they are there.

Read definition 2 again. “strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles”. That’s story and plot, people! By having to always argue and question my beliefs and the beliefs of others as a child, I fine-tuned a part of me that looks for the loophole, the weak point of every argument. It is something I’ve had to struggle with my whole life, how not to be an argumentative asshole that’s always pointing out the flaws. But, oh the mad plot skills it gave me! I read over a draft and I know exactly where my story weaknesses are. I know where the inconsistencies are and I am able to fix them. Once again, read DEAD MECH, you’ll find holes and missing explanations. They are there for a reason! I know every single one of them and they make for great jumping points for the next books! Fill in those holes and what have you got? One solid mofo of a story! Thank you Fundamentalist Paganism!

Is that all that drives and defines me? Hell no! I’ve got way more going on, plus I like to buck trends and convention and rip the skin off the myths and rules, turn them inside out and make readers squirm a bit. Religion can be brutal, sure, but if you make your followers nauseous they can’t really sit through a sermon. And thats where I come in! I take those bits or story, those archetypes and warp them so you are constantly off-kilter and looking over your shoulder. I ain’t here to make pretty stories, I’m here to grab you by your guts and pull! And you can thank Fundamentalist Paganism for that!

Okay, enough word rambling. I hope everyone had themselves a wonderful Christmas, Solstice, Festivus, Hahnukka, Kwanza, Yule time, Great Spaghetti Monster buffet feast, etc. Here’s to the New Year!


Posted on December 28, 2010, in What's Up.... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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