For some reason during my dreams in the middle of the night my brain forms revelations. They may not be revelations for others, but for me it's a sense of all the cogs locking into their proper place on a subject I didn't even realize I was contemplating.
For some reason Christians (at least the ones I've encountered, obviously I can't speak for all) believe or are taught that Pagan's worship the devil. I know that's silly, you know that's silly, but for them it's the only thing that makes logical sense. You try to help them see differently but everything you say is just fruit of the same poisonous tree. You worship the devil so everything you say is wrong, or a lie, and you're simply sent to try to tempt them away from their convictions and to weaken their faith.
What most of us try to do is enlighten them to the fact that we don't even believe the devil exists. How can we worship something we don't believe in. The response I've always heard is "Satan's best trick is convincing you he doesn't exist". At this moment is where I've had my revelation. I think what's really happening is a theological language barrier. I really believe that when we tell them "I don't believe in Satan", they hear "I don't believe evil exists", and that's simply not true.
Now instead of assuming that we're outright animal sacrificing devil worshippers, we become something much more dangerous and naive. They believe we walk around with a free for all attitude and with no moral compass. We don't believe in sin so therefore we think all behavior is acceptable and since we don't answer to God we have nothing to make us feel remorse when we've hurt someone or done something wrong.
Oh how wrong they are. Of course we believe evil exists and of course we know the difference between right and wrong. We just don't think a finger can be pointed at specific being when we do something wrong, unless we're pointing that finger at ourselves. When we've hurt someone it's not because we were weak and taken over by Satan. We put the full responsibility and blame on our own shoulders. We know that it's happened not because of a weakness in faith but because of a weakness in our compassion and empathy. We believe this is something we should atone for not because someone's wagging a heavenly finger at us but because we know how it feels to be hurt and wouldn't wish it on anyone else. Sometimes this is purely unintentional but we still work and try to make it right.
Just as I can't speak for all Christians I also can't speak for all Pagans. I can't say we're all moral, upstanding, compassionate people. We're as different as the rest of the world regardless of religious affiliation. I can however speak for myself. I don't believe in Satan but I do believe in evil (some simply call it negative energy). I also believe that as in the great balance of life, there is evil inside of all of us. That snarky comment we could stop from floating to the surface of our consciousness, a sense of uncontrolled satisfaction at seeing someone we don't care for fail, and while I acknowledge and embrace it as part of my being, I put it's energy to other uses. If I don't like the way someone behaves I take that evil seed of unacceptance and allow it to blossom into wisdom by meditating on why it bothers me so much, and how I can use it to become a better person.
So I guess this is a letter to both Christians and Pagans alike. To the Christian's yes we understand the difference between right and wrong, even without your God. To the Pagan's simply try to understand that they've simply given their evil a name, and they think by denying the name they've given we deny the existence of it's force.
See, it's simply a theoligical language barrier.