Thursday, July 30, 2009

Calling all Pagans, Wiccans, and Shinto.

I have recently been trying to make myself believe in God. Partly as a thought experiment and also out of respect for my Christian friend Tracy who was honest and respectful enough to acknowledge that, at least for her, faith is a choice. In This discussion she says that yes she could choose to believe in another god or no god. I was very touched and moved by this and have been trying to believe in her deity very much. I have been reading the bible(sometething I often do anyway), Praying for the first time in my life, reasoning with god, trying, and failing to set aside all of my rational objections and just believe. I Have Failed.

I know at least one pagan reads this blog and I am going to contact her personally and invite her for discussion, but if there are members of other faiths who wish to discuss their religion with me you are welcome to do so. I would also like to hear you discuss it with some of the Christians who read here. I think if nothing else it could be a wonderful cultural exchange.

I am not saying I want any religion. Regarding Christianity, I would be very willing to believe if I could but that doesn't mean I would worship. As to others I don't know, I am familiar with many religions but not intimately so with all of them. Perhaps there is one that could inspire belief or even worship. Of course as my pagan reader pointed out, maybe it is simply my destiny to be an atheist.

41 comments:

Tracy Wagman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh said...

I don't see how being an athiest is meaningless. I greatly respect what he is doing here, he asks us all to seek more knowledge, to step out of our comfort-zones.
I can't speak for every branch of paganism, but what I practice, a Norse/Druid mix, asks you to question everything, even your own faith. To accept things blindly means you are no longer thinking, and that is unacceptable. There is nothing more meaningless than an existence where the wonder has been stripped out of your world and you are no longer asked to or even allowed to question things. And if that questioning brings you be athiesm, so be it. Maybe you don't need religion any more. There is nothing wrong with that.

Monkey Girl said...

Tracy,

How is studying other religions inviting trouble? It is never a mistake to learn about the world we live in...and not everyone in this world chooses to believe in your religion.

I studied eastern/western religions in college and when I lived in South East Asia, I gained an enormous amount of respect for Buddhism and Hinduism. Primarily because the people I met of this religious background were the kindest, most non-judgemental people I'd ever met. There was no 'pressure', no judgment, just respect for themselves, the world, and everyone in it.

I couldn't agree more strongly with Leigh, when questioning and learning about religions is deemed as 'wrong' there's a problem.

There are writings, texts, transcripts, etc... of MANY religions for as long as man has walked this earth. Who am I to say their beliefs are wrong? And who are you to say that your religion is the only 'true religion'?

Tracy Wagman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh said...

Why would he be confused? I know a number of people who study different religions at the same time. They seem to be OK.
I don't mean to seem insulting but I'm not sure what you mean. I'm just curious.

Ryk said...

Tracy

I am seeking a god. More specificallyI am trying as you say to make a choice to believe in a god. I am not seeking Jesus I am trying to believe which is somewhat different. So far I have not been able to make myself believe andif there is a god listening it is not answering me back. So far I have been focusing on the Christian deity, partly out of deference to you and partly because, Christians are the group most likely to question atheists.

However Christianity is not the only or even the most credible religion, if I am trying to believe in a god then there are others available.

Ryk said...

@Leigh

Thanks for coming by.

Norse/Druid? I know enough about both to know that isn't as contradictory as it sounds but it is still unusual. Is it Druidic practices combined with Norse cosmology. That would be pretty traditional, or is it a fusion involving the legends and deities of both.

I often invoke both Wotan and Angus when discussing pagan religions. A faith that involves both is pretty fascinating.

Leigh said...

Ryk: That is close. I was a practicing Druid, studying to be a Shaman, when I got "discovered" by a Norse god (Odin, so you invoking Wotan is plenty cool by me). I found out that there are some similarities between Norse and Druid mythologies, which makes sense since they were both sea faring Northern European cultures from the same basic part of the world who shared a cultural past. If their stories had been wildly different that would have been more notable.
Anyway, I ended up finding a middle ground, marrying practices from both cultures. Since I'm Irish with a smidge of German this all made sense to me. Heh.

Ryk said...

So Leigh what does faith in Odin involve. I know traditionally he is a giver of victories and a keeper and sometimes purveyor of dangerous knowledge. I know his old worship involved being generous, just and openhanded, but the only ritual I know of is the sacrifice of criminals by drowning. I imagine that isn't part of it any longer.

I have three main questions. What does Odin ask of his followers, How does he feel about, and deal with non followers, and does your faith still involve Valhalla. I know Hel is nothing like Hell, there being no torture, pain or burning, but it is certainly inferior to the Hall of Glory.

Leigh said...

Yeah, sacrifices are frowned upon. They used to also hang men and animals out of respect for Odin, as he did hang on the World Tree to obtain the runes. There are rumors that the Vikings used to hang men when they reached an unfamiliar land to ensure the pleasure of the gods.
Odin usually choses certain people, those who tend to have long battles ahead of them. After all, he is a god of war, so he's a god that you don't often want to have chose you. However, once you have him he will expect you to fight that battle fairly. He expects the upmost respect for your family and community, you treat them well or risk his displeasure. Now that doesn't carry the same weight, we don't often ride to war, but it is still not the best idea to go pissing off gods. He is a god of knowledge, so learning is very important, and the need to keep learning is important.
As a rule, Odin doesn't seem to give a wit about non-followers. If they don't bother his people he won't deal with them at all. If they do then he may just urge you to give them an almighty bitch slap and be done with it. He's an impatient guy with little tolerance for fools.
We do still believe in Valhalla for those fight well. It is the ultimate reward.No one seems to believe that you have to die in battle to get there anymore, now it's fighting well in the battles in your life. Hel isn't as bad as hell, it's cold, and a place of sadness. But not an eternal punishment.

Ryk said...

I like that you still see Odin as a war god. In many modern stories and legends that is left out, and only the knowledge is focused on.

It may have been the hanging not drowning I was thinking of, I remember reading about hanging sacrifices now. I also remember the Norse drowning prisoners for the gods but that might have not been for Odin specifically.

I remember that the goids were supposed to each get sacrifices after his own kind. Tyr got horses, Thor goats, and Odin got men. There were others as well Frey got boars but as an elf he is somewhat distinct from Odins kin. Another modern misconception is that all of the gods were allies and that divided up duties like the greek gods. It is my understanding that there were rather patronages, similar to the middle eastern system, where different tribes had their favored god. The Danes were blessed by Odin but the Scandinavians were empowered by Frey and Freja. Sort of like the Canaanites had B'aal and the Hebrews had Yah.

If I am making any major errors let me know, I am going from memory instead of using google because I want to convey what I understand not what I can look up.

In high school I wrote a paper where I found an interesting parallel between Norse religion and Christianity. In the Norse Cosmology Odins first son is killed by the mistletoe, due to the trickery of Loki. Balder was the kind and gentle son, a poet and baladeer. This set in motion the path to Ragnarok where Thor, Odins second son would fight the final battle, and defeat evil as the world is destroyed.

In Christianity Yahwhehs first son Jesus is killed on the cross due to the betrayal of Judas. Jesus was a gentle healer and teacher. This sets in motion the final days when Jesus will return as the conquering messiah to defeat evil and bring about Armageddon.

The link is sketchy I admit and at the time I was only interested in getting a good grade,(which I did). However despite the many differences, there is enough similarities to indicate that it could be a mythological meme. The gentle corn god dying to be reborn as the conquering hero.

This theme is also common in Druidic tradition. As a polytheist do you see this link among the various gods? Is it supernaturally significant? As an atheist I see it as evidence that mythology has certain themes that predate any existing religions, going back to our earliest ancestors and being carried accross the world. This is easy to see among closely related faiths such as Norse and Druidism or Christianity and the greek pantheon. However it becomes less distinct with disparate faiths such as Norse and Christianity or Druidic and greek.

JD Curtis said...

Ryk? Why are you bothering to investigate Shintoism and Paganism when you still havent settled the Christianity question? In case you need a reminder, here it is.

Ryk 2 days ago...

Is there a hell according to you?

Is there torture in this hell?

Is your God omnipotent?

Did it set the criteria for who is tortured and who is not?


How is it, assuming that you did not answer no to these questions, do you claim your god does not torture.


Torture: anguish of body or mind (1st definition, Merriam-Webster)

Now let's compare you definition of a God that tortures to elected officials in the state of Florida.

1. Is there a state prison system according to you?

2. Using a standard dictionary definition of "torture" (especially the "anguish of mind" part), is there torture there?

3.Do the governor and state lawmakers have the power to write laws and the state penal code? Do elected judges decide often times the punishment for convicted people?

How is it, assuming that you did not answer no to these questions, can you claim elected officials in the state of Florida do not torture by your very own tortured logic?

Please do not play snipe-and-dodge on this one and answer a fairly straightforward question for a change.

Ryk said...

Yes I would say that by your definition of torture they are doing so.

By mine however there is a significant difference between a finite punishment for a finite crime and eternal burning torture, and there is a difference between the "mental anguish" resulting in temporarily or even permenantly removing a dangerous predator from society and crushing them in a vice or stretching them on a rack. I do however agree that many people who are incarcerated, are not a threat to their fellow man and it is morally wrong to lock them up. Any crime that does not harm another person directly or wrongfully deprive them of property is not something for which incarceration or any other punishment is warranted. While punishing someone unjustly is not comparable to torture it is a terrible thing and since that is done in florida I would agree that is unjust and evil. However it is not torture.

I am really surprised that you are unable to see the difference between incarceration and torture. Since you seem to accept torture so easily do you think that elected officials in florida have the authority to take those same prisoners and burn their skin off with blowtorches. How about sodomizing them with razor edged iron rods surely since you believe incarceration is torture then these things are no worse are they?

You are still playing semantics and it is silly. If you can justify torture because the state justifies incarceration then you are morally bankrupt.

Anyway I answered your question now answer mine. How is it that you think that your god does not torture? Or are you going to divert by playing semantic games and dodging the question... again.

JD Curtis said...

NEWSFLASH: A legitimate case can be made that there IS torture in Florida state prisons! Ryk! Do you know what you've stumbled upon here?! Just click HERE for torture evidence in Florida state prisons. And also HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE. There appears to be no shortage of evidence re: torture within Florida's prison system. But what do we do with this information RYK? How can we bring the Florida legislature, Gov Crist and elected judges to justice? Shall we notify Amnesty International? I GOT YOUR BACK RYK!!!

Ryk said...

Also it should be noted that elected officials enforcing laws, did not have the power to create people who did not break them. Elected officials allow people clear and convincing evidence that both the law and those enforcing it exist. There are not several thousand legal systems in place, requiring you to guess correctly which one you are supposed to follow. There is no doubt that there is a legal system in the first place.

Also laws are applied based on what one does not on whether they worship the Judge or not. According to your supposed moral system any amount of crime and harm is not punished at all if the criminal worships the judge but the smallest momentary crime deserve infinite torture if the judge is not properly worshiped. There is another reason that crime analogies are useless comparisons to religious torture.

Ryk said...

As to the newsflash I am unsurprised that there is such torture going on. Do you find it to be good, warranted and Christlike? Personally I condemn it.

Ryk said...

I do not live in Florida but I find torture every bit as evil when the government does it as when a deity is imagined to. I am not sure how this helps your case. It would seem that you are not only pointing out that torture is as I said different from incarceration, but that it is evil. How much more evil is infinite torture for a finite crime?

Ryk said...

Do you live in Florida? If so and you do not in fact admire torture as being good and holy perhaps you should do something about it. I give money to amnesty international and the ACLU. I would also do what I could were such things going on in my state prisons and I knew about it. Are you against this torture? Do you support it?

JD Curtis said...

Also it should be noted that elected officials enforcing laws, did not have the power to create people who did not break them.

Hand-waving. Means nothing. If the son or daughter of one of the aforementioned elected officials is employed by the system and is engaging or complicit in said torture than your theory goes up in smoke. I only have 49 other states to compare it to and then on to Canada and the rest of the world. I like my odds.

Also laws are applied based on what one does not on whether they worship the Judge or not.

Jesus told the thief to his side that He would see him in Heaven. We have no evidence of said thief ever worshiping or being anything other than a convicted thief. Apparently worship is nice and beneficial to the believer but not an absolute prerequisite to a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card.

JD Curtis said...

Let's run down the comparison here so we don't get bogged down Ryk.

Elected officials in the state of Florida authorize construction of places where people are sent against their wishes because they broke the law.

God created Hell for the devil. Apparently those whose names do not appear in the book of life are sent there as well.

There is evidence of torture in Florida state prisons.

There is evidence of torture like suffering in Hell.

God set the criteria that determines who goes to Hell.

Elected officials in the state of Florida wrote laws and a penal code to determine who goes to jail.

By your reckoning, Both God and elected officials in the state of Florida are torturers.

What am I missing here?

Ryk said...

Semantics again?

If the "judge" judge forgives there is no punishment regardless of the severity of the harm done. Yes or no?

If the "judge" does not forgive then there is eternal torture regardless of the severity of the harm. Yes or nO?

So you don't call this asking for forgiveness worship, so what. Just more word games. It has nothing to do with the point I made.

Also I noticed that you are once again avoiding answering the question. I answered your, even though I asked you first. I am still waiting for you.

In what way do you think your deity does not torture?

Oh and about the whole family member thing, how is that even relevant? Do parents have omnipotence and omniscience? You are once again playing word games.

Ryk said...

Yes God and the elected officials in Florida are torturers. I already answered that and you were kind enough to provide documentation. Is "torture like suffering" another one of your word games? I would call being cast in an eternal lake of fire from which there is no respite, torture not torture like. Also while the officials in Florida are torturing with chemicals and such just as your sadistic deity does with fire, incarceration is not the torture being implemented.

While incarceration is a punishment and so is torture they are not synonyms. Claiming incarceration is the same as torture is either more semantics or proof of complete moral bankruptcy.

JD Curtis said...

If the "judge" judge forgives there is no punishment regardless of the severity of the harm done.

Forgiveness is a completely seperate issue and would involve the victim of a crime. A judge is to determine guilt or innocence based on evidence in absence of a trial by jury and sentence the person if convicted.

If the "judge" does not forgive then there is eternal torture regardless of the severity of the harm.

Again, judges do not forgive. See above. If you are insinuating that GOD can forgive once we stand before Him in judgement, you are mistaken. My friend, once we are dead, that's it. It's clearly spelled out for you on this plane of existance. There is no salvation from the grave.

Oh and about the whole family member thing, how is that even relevant? Do parents have omnipotence and omniscience?

Where are the goalposts? I can't SEE them! You said nothing about omnipotence in your previous post. You stated that "elected officials enforcing laws, did not have the power to create people". If you think your Mommy and Daddy had no role in act of "creating" you then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to show you.

even though I asked you first. I am still waiting for you.

In what way do you think your deity does not torture?


Actually Ryk it was you spouting off factual nonsense, stating that God tortured people, that started this discussion. I asked you to provide evidence of such and you gave me an example to consider. Following your logic to it's logical conclusion, I was able to determine that elected officials in the state of at least Florida are guilty of torture by your definition. That's where we are.

Yes God and the elected officials in Florida are torturers.

International courts and Amnesty International have no jurisdiction in subpoening God. Why arent any elected officials from the state of Florida appearing before these courts, international or otherwise, to answer for the crime of torture Ryk? Why?! They certainly are as guilty as sin using your definition.

Also while the officials in Florida are torturing with chemicals and such just as your sadistic deity does with fire, incarceration is not the torture being implemented.

You see, we are at an impasse here Ryk. According to the Bible and NDE's, Demons are in Hell and thus metting out any type of "torture" that might occur there. If you can provide some sort of "evidence" that it is actually God who is in Hell, actively torturing people, please quit hiding it from me after all of these exchanges and produce this evidence so that I might examine it.

You clearly stated that due to God

A. Creating Hell and..

B. Setting criteria that determines who is sent there depending on their guilt

That this makes Him guilty of torture. Just like elected officials who

A. Are responsible for the construction of prisons and

B. Set criteria through the criminal code as to who can be sent there depending on their guilt.

I am unaware of any elected officials actively torturing people in the Florida prison system. It's my understanding that corrections officers are hired through a civil service exam and arent elected to their position.

Claiming incarceration is the same as torture is either more semantics or proof of complete moral bankruptcy.

No Ryk, I never made this equivilancy. You did. The five links I provided above pertain to incidents of "torture" that happened to inmates who were incarcerated.

Ryk said...

Absolutely therefore those who torture and order torture both your god and the officials in florida are evil. Those who order incarceration are not. Very neat and tidy. So what was your point again? Or did you have one other than semantics, invalid comparisons and evasions?

To sum torture is always evil, using prison gaurds or demons to do it is just as evil as doing it personally. Failing to prevent demons or prison gaurds from doing it when you have the knowledge and ability to do so is evil. You are making my case for me, your god by your own description is absolutely evil.

If the officials in florida knew about and permitted the torture in their prisons the way your god authorizes and permits torture in hell then they need to be tried for their crimes and incarcerated, which is by the way morally distinct from torure.

So you are here as a worshiper of an evi god defending its evil actions, and dishonestly trying to equate incarceration with eternal burning torture.

JD Curtis said...

Absolutely therefore those who torture and order torture both your god and the officials in florida are evil.

Now we're getting somewhere Ryk. Please cite for me
A. An example of God actually torturing someone (how many times have I asked you for this example?)
B. An example of a (Florida) elected official specifically ordering torture. We'll get them YET!!
This is the absolute last time I will ask you to provide an example of God torturing anyone. If you cannot provide one, I ask that you retract your statement.

Failing to prevent demons or prison gaurds from doing it when you have the knowledge and ability to do so is evil. You are making my case for me, your god by your own description is absolutely evil.

Please present your arguements stating that the sentencing of a person to either Hell or the Florida state prison system is completely passive and the person being sentenced had no free will whatsoever to determine the circumstances in which they were judged as to where they go. Neither one is a desirable place. If a completely unrepentant rapist is convicted of 1st degree, premeditated murder and rape, should they be set scott free due to the fact that torture occured there in the past and there is no way to reasonably 1000% ensure that torture absolutely will not occur at some point in the future?

If the officials in florida knew about and permitted the torture in their prisons the way your god authorizes and permits torture in hell then they need to be tried for their crimes and incarcerated, which is by the way morally distinct from torure.

Please cite for me the chapter and verse authorizations of torture by God. Please make sure that the word "torture" appears so that we can know without a doubt that you know what you are talking about and you arent making this up as you go along.

What of the "mental anguish" part of torture experienced by prisoners? Shall we set them scott free because they are in mental anguish being there? Shall we prosecute God or the elected officials for knowing that the person could be in mental anguish if they had knowledge beforehand that this could occur?

So you are here as a worshiper of an evi god defending its evil actions, and dishonestly trying to equate incarceration with eternal burning torture.

Ryk, God doesnt randomly send people to Hell any more than a judge can randomly send people to prison. The actions performed and choices made by individuals determines whether they go to either undesirable place. I'm using a standard dictionary definition for torture. Youre the only one equating it to incarceration.

RYK, FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME, PLEASE CITE YOUR REFERENCE THAT DEFINITIVELY SHOWS THAT (AS YOU SAY) GOD TORTURES PEOPLE. IF YOUR NEXT ENTRY DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY SORT OF EVIDENCE TO THIS ASSERTION, THEN I FORMALLY REQUEST THAT YOU RETRACT YOUR STATEMENT.

Ryk said...

I have presented it many times. The fact that you try to dismiss it with semantics changes nothing.
Omnipotent god creates hell, Omnipotent god sentences sinners to hell, torture happens to those in hell. Omnipotent god knows this, omnipotent god planned this, omnipotent god created this, therefore omnipotent god causes this therefore omnipotent god causes it. Therefore omnipotent god is an evil torturing monster.

Using all caps and formal requests is no more effective than your semantic games.

Ryk said...

Also please continue this on the previous thread, it is highly off topic on this one and is inappropriate here. I was fine with it when I assumed it would be brief but if we are going to continue, then the previous thread would be a better location.

Daveda said...

Hi there, my name is Daveda and I came over here from tracy's blog. We had a breif exchnage there and I thought I would come over here say hello. So, hello :)

I have a thought about your post...we cannot try to make ourselves believe. True belief comes from the heart, and a person is unable to change his or her own heart. This is part of how relationship with Father works, we realize these things about ourselves and ask Him to change us. Only God can change our hearts. Instead of trying, maybe you could ask Him to do that work in your heart for you, and ask Him to help you trust that He will. It's really all about Him loving us, and us learning to trust Him to do so.

Stp by my blog sometime and say hello!

Be blessed on your journey!

JD Curtis said...

Omnipotent god creates hell, Omnipotent god sentences sinners to hell

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41

the “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41, KJV) will give a careful student of the Scriptures no cause to question God’s justice in the destruction of the wicked. “Everlasting” is from the Greek word ainios or aion, a word for which there is no true English equivalent. The root means “space or period of time,” “lifetime or life,” “age,” or “era.” It is similar to our word “ever.” We can say the “ever living God” and mean that God will live on through eternity. But when we speak of an “evergreen tree,” we all know the tree will not be green after it dies or is consumed by fire. The “ever” in both cases is limited by the age of the era of the thing described.

The everlasting fire lasts as long as the wicked do.

When John the revelator speaks of “the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth” (Revelation 14:6, KJV), he does not mean the gospel will continue to be preached in the new earth, where there will be no sinners.
Link

torture happens to those in hell. Omnipotent god knows this, omnipotent god planned this

What did God "plan" here?

Tracy Wagman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryk said...

JD you ask What did God "plan" here?

Obviously to create a hell in which sinners would be tortured, what else could the plan be? Unless of course it planned something else and then failed.

As to the rest of your post you seem to be saying hell is not infinite. I like that and you may have made a case for it. Is that your intention.

JD Curtis said...

I think that it's safe to say that neither one of us is a theologian and neither one of us has studied the Bible in the original language that it was written. I'd be willing to examine it further. What evidence do you have that the source that I cited is wrong? Any at all? He's quite specific in advancing his thoughts on the matter.

Might you have a reference for your claim that God created "a hell in which sinners would be tortured". I assume the evidence for such a theory would actually exist, but then agin you havent provided a single solitary reference to support your strawgod of torture either. It's truly amazing how you can completely misinterpret Scripture and attribute to God the characteristics of Satan when such distinctions between the 2 could not be made any clearer.

Ryk said...

JD I responded to this on the other thread because it is off topic on this one.

Leigh said...

Goodness, I'm gone for the weekend and the thread explodes!
Ryk: I have always thought that the mythology of religions tends to be stories that our ancestors told to keep themselves warm at night. I doubt very much that Odin literally hung from a tree, or Zeus literally raped a woman while we was a swan. They are ways to explain what we didn't know. that doesn't mean that there aren't gods, it just means that we didn't know what they were actually doing, so we made crap up. Humans are wonderful storytellers. And because we all came from the same place the stories all share common threads, they vary in details because the people who tell them ultimately end up in different lands.
Davida, I have always wondered about the idea that you need God to change. In my religion we are taught that you change yourself, it isn't up to a god to do it, you need to find the courage in your own heart to be a better person. Why leave it to a god? I feel my gods all of the time, however I also know that they will not change me, they will show me the path only. Do you mean that your god will show you the path and give you the means to walk it?

JD Curtis said...

Being that I don't see a plethora of Pagans, Wiccans and followers of Shintoism trying to make their opinions known on this thread, would you mind if we continue our discussion here and my discussion w/Rhiggs at the other?

As to the interpretaion of Matthew 25:41, here is an opposing viewpoint that translates the relevant Greek.

Leigh said...

JD Curtis, I am here. And I'm pagan. I'm sorry if you're not hearing me, but I am trying to make my opinion known. After all, I think we could learn a lot if we share.

Ryk said...

No JD I would prefer to continue on the other thread, I am sorry if I were unclear, I suspectded Leigh would be back and we were havinga conversation. I will look at your link however.

Ryk said...

Leigh

Your analysis of humans making up stories about gods is pretty close to my wifes "agnostic theism". She believes that there is some sort of god but that all of the stories and religions and such are just constructs of man. I would call her a Deist but Deism specifically considers god to be non interventionist and my wife is not certain that the god whatever it may be doesn't intervene. Of course all of the terminology applied to her beliefs is mine. She isn't nearly interested enough in religion to bother with classifying things. She has described to me wha she believes and it is sensible enough, even though I think it is wrong. However she has absolutely zero interest in studying or discussing religion or theology. She has read the Christian bible a few times and knows a bit about other mythologies but largely from a literary angle.

I have kind of gone off on a tangent. My original point is that your concept of the divine is sensible to me in the sense that it allows for the supernatural but does not bind itself to stories and superstitions thst conflict with observed reality. It is not surprising that paganism is on the rise in America. Regardless of the correctness of your beliefs, philosophically they bridge the gap between naturalism and supernaturalism and I can see the appeal. Certain Christians I know have a similar ethos in that they believe in Christ but claim that the Old Testament particularly Genesis is metaphor and analogy. They point out quite correctly that Christ never required anyone to believe in anything accept him. In fact it could be argued that requiring literal belief as a function of being a "true Christian" is works based and therefore heretical.

Leigh said...

I agree, binding yourself to a literal meaning of an old story is kind of silly. Plus if you are trying to believe in something that conflicts with the world around you, that won't end well. After all, who can argue with the observable world?
I think that's what most pagans don't get about Christians and many other fundies, even fundies in our own ranks, why on earth fight so hard to not believe in what you can see? It's just bizarre.
Anyway, pagans tend to be welcoming, I think that has a lot to do with our slowing growing ranks in the US. Paganism is the term for many many different kinds of religions, and as a rule we all get along pretty well. There are common threads to the religions we worship in and the personal experiences of your fellow community members. That's why we get on with athiests so well, we have been through that "outsider" branding too.
Anyway, I'm kind of rambling today, I guess the point to this would be that paganism tries to teach that the observable world trumps old stories every time. And we also try to teach that everyone who comes to paganism has had a struggle getting here, so lets all be nice, even if they believe something you don't. The gods led them here, that doesn't mean the walk was easy, and all that.

Fiat Lex said...

I'm really late to this party, and I'm sorry I missed out!

There was something Tracy said way up near the beginning, and again in the middle, that kind of startled me.

The trouble I am meaning is if ryk is seeking Jesus and all other gods and religions at the same time he is just going to be left confused.

The God described in Scripture didn't shy away from a competition against other invisible beings--he invited it! And so did his prophets and representatives. If indeed the Christian God is the only true one, and all others pale imitations, then if a person honestly and sincerely gave ALL of them a fair shot, the Christian God would quickly separate himself from the pack.

Asking someone who is not convinced he needs a religion to seek out YOUR god and shun all others seems to me like a construction company approaching a mayor who is not entirely certain he needs to authorize the construction of a new overpass and demanding a no-bid contract.

Really, really bad manners, m'lady. And shows a surprising lack of faith.

Tracy Wagman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.