[personal profile] asthefiretree
“…this Electric Monk had developed a fault and had started to believe all kinds of things, more or less at random. It was even beginning to believe things they'd have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City.”
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Piety seems to be an idea that a lot of individuals in the Pagan world struggle with. It is difficult for many to reconcile with a pagan belief system this idea that is more often than not pinned solely to Christians, and brings to mind the image of celibacy and self-deprivation, monks or nuns kneeling and praying.

When I think of "piety" or "the pious", being originally from Central Pennsylvania, I initially think of a house church full of Amish people praying quietly. My mother's family is Catholic, and the other image that comes to mind is of course, monks chanting and nuns in adoration in some remote monastery. Or of martyrs: those who have died for their religious causes. Which is all well and good, but those are not the only images of piety.

For a while, I wasn't really sure myself how to see piety in a non-Christian context, and then one day I was flipping through my Dedicant's Program book and found a statement that made sense to me: "The virtue of Piety is about keeping faith, about keeping commitment to specific practices and works over a long period of time." (pg. 90) Stated this way, piety can be applied to any religion.

Recently, I was talking via Live Journal with another dedicant who had issues with the idea of piety, because she saw it as adhering to duty out of obligation.

My answer to this objection is simply this:

Personally, I don't believe that adhering to duty solely out of obligation is true piety. When one keeps obligations for no other reason than obligation itself, it opens the door for a lot of resentment- the pious are not resentful of what duties they keep. In my eyes, piety is not about obligation, but about keeping a commitment because it's in your heart to do so, because you want to, because you need to, because that is what is within you.



March 2010

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