Sunday, June 3, 2012

K is for ... Knowing What You Know

K left me struggling a bit, and I started thinking about what I "know".  I have alot of knowledge.  I've read thousands of books, on many topics; I've gone to college; I try to keep up with the important current events.  Even though I consider myself fairly intelligent, sometimes I feel like I just "don't know".

Whether it's a particular political issue I'm not familiar with, a question my son asks me that I can't answer (such as how many types of fish are there?) or when someone asks me a question about being Pagan.

In the first, if it is a matter that is important to me, I do my research so I can form an opinion, and I talk with other people who may have more information that I do.  In the second, it is usually fairly easy to flip on the computer, open up the internet and google an answer to whatever bizarre question my kid wants to know.

Then we come to the last one: when someone asks me about my religion.  I know what I believe, I know why and how I came to those beliefs.  I am still learning, still questioning, and still growing in those beliefs, and, at times, my specific beliefs may change regarding a specific area.  But, here we come to a challenge that's a little trickier than just knowing.  It is important to know how to answer questions from others.  Giving an answer that boils down to "just because" doesn't benefit anyone.  It doesn't help the asker, because they are usually genuinely interested or concerned about your spirituality (or lack thereof, as they may see it).  It doesn't help you, because your answer is not backed up with any substance, and therefore lacks credence.

Generally, I try to explain the what, why and how of any given topic.  More than simply stating "this is what I think", I try to explain how I came to that conclusion, and what historical or archeological research there has been to support the theory.  Sometimes, it is just a feeling, and I admit to that.  Perhaps there was a particular book or author or incident that influenced me, and I'll share that.

A couple years ago, I sat down and came up with a list of common questions I heard over and over again, whether from my kids, friends or other people who happened to hear I am Pagan, and wrote out extensive, detailed answers.  I think that notebook is actually still in a box since the move, but I am thinking I need to revisit it and see what may have changed, or need to be added to.

So, I guess what I'm getting at is just having a solid understanding of what you believe, and knowing why you believe it, so you have a ready answer whenever someone questions you. 

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