Contemporary Paganism is a very diverse religion with a correspondingly broad spectrum of beliefs about the nature of the Divine. It does not derive from a single vision, or a single doctrine. There is no definitive Pagan creed or universally authoritative Pagan sacred texts. Pagan literature, whether ancient or contemporary, is illustrative rather than definitive regarding beliefs and attitudes. Understandings of the Divine largely arise from personal experience of the sacred within Nature rather than through the authority of the written word.
Paradoxically, the very diversity of Contemporary Paganism seems to actively promote community cohesion. Pagans see that diverse religious thought allows deeper understanding of yourself and at times your own religion. Recognizing the importance of the parts that make up a whole allows us to better understand the whole itself.
Contemporary Pagans do not confuse unity with uniformity. To Unite the Tribes does not mean we have to compromise our respective faiths to be friends and work together with other tribes for the common good. It also does not mean that suddenly we nod our head and state “Why, of course your religion is better than mine, how silly of me.” The act of uniting does not mean losing our individual identities. It is about finding a way to create an environment to combine our talents and skills to create something that is mutually beneficial. The act of uniting is the act of finding common threads and focusing your attention on them.
An understanding of our religious differences is the best hope for promoting cooperation among different religions. This will allow us to move from simple tolerance and acceptance to understanding. We need to develop the ability to listen to each other and understand the reasons for the differences among us in our approach to life. We may not always agree, but by understanding the basis for differing ideas about various parts of our lives, we can find the common ground that enables us to work together for the good of all. With a deeper understanding of our differences, we can begin to understand how to coexist peacefully.
In a world full of misunderstanding and fear, we must learn new ways of simply coexisting as a society together. In a society that is growing more multi-cultural every year, where it is possible to live next door to those whose faith may seem foreign or mysterious, the ability to listen carefully, accept differences, and articulate one’s beliefs without antagonism or coercion on either side has become more than a matter of social etiquette. We really do live in a global village, and so it is vital that we learn how to Unite the Tribes.