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View Full Version : Pagans, What Gives?


'Hamas' Jenkins
06-18-2007, 03:25 PM
Today while at work I was approached by a proselytizing Christian. After quickly creating an excuse to avoid that uncomfortable conversation, I went back to my work area and relayed the story to my colleagues. One of them mentioned being visited by Christian door-to-door missionaries, and that she was taken aback that they didn't recognize the pagan symbol on her front door.

So, knowing that this was an area of open and honest debate, I asked her why she chose paganism and not agnostic-atheism (the Uncertainty principle of religion :) ). Much like an evangelical, she responded with a hateful retort to my rather unassuming, good natured question.

But it got me to think, can paganism really be considered a religion, or is it merely a catch-all for various forms of non-standard practices?

RJ
06-18-2007, 04:02 PM
I think before paganism can be considered a religion they will need to have picnics and bake sales.

BucEyedPea
06-18-2007, 04:09 PM
T
But it got me to think, can paganism really be considered a religion, or is it merely a catch-all for various forms of non-standard practices?
Who can really say what a non-standard practice is?

It's a matter of conscience as far as I am concerned. If someone wants to worhship rocks then that's still a religion to me.

Some define religion broadly others not as broad. Paganism is a belief system as far as I am concerned in that it deals with one's relationship to god(s) and end of life issues. Although I am not really familiar with what their end of life issues are. I just know some from ancient history.

Even Pope John Paul considered Buddhism a religion albeit an atheistic one which I consider accurate. So there is no god in that one. However, some Asian practices may include a god within their Buddhist beliefs. No different than converted Africans mixing animism and such things with their Christianity.

Many Christians take offense to the idea of any religion being godless like Buddhism though. I don't. To me it's whatever one wants to make it...not what some authoritarian says is valid.

StcChief
06-18-2007, 05:22 PM
I believe I'll have another beer.

Logical
06-18-2007, 07:23 PM
Paganism is definitely a religion with icons and practices as ceremonial as any other religions. Some intersting practices actually, though not for me.

Cochise
06-18-2007, 08:03 PM
I think the general meaning of the word was 'outsider' in antiquity, so I tend to think of paganism as adherence to some kind of faith outside the world's currently major 5 or 6 (or however many you want to define as 'major').

It's definitely not the absence of any kind of faith in the supernatural or uncertainty about the idea, which is how I suppose I would categorize agnosticism.

The person you were speaking to might have been Wiccan, there seem to be a few of them around.

'Hamas' Jenkins
06-18-2007, 08:38 PM
Paganism is definitely a religion with icons and practices as ceremonial as any other religions. Some intersting practices actually, though not for me.

Yes, but they are incredibly varied. There are hundreds of different pagan sects. Saying I'm pagan is like saying I'm religious--there's no certainty.

BEP--Non-standard doesn't imply good or bad, it implies different from the norm, not that norms are good, FWIW.

Cochise, I believe the exact etymology is rural, but I'm not 100% certain on that.

'Hamas' Jenkins
06-18-2007, 08:42 PM
The person you were speaking to might have been Wiccan, there seem to be a few of them around.

I think this might be true, and if so ROFL....Wicca is like the Whole Foods to Scientology's Starbucks.

NewChief
06-18-2007, 08:53 PM
My main problem with paganism/wicca/New Age is that neopagans (not to be confused or associated in any way with Neocons, BEP) tend to completely romanticize and project their modern fantasies on the past at the expense of historical accuracy. They couch their philosophy in some half ass research with very little actual proof in the form of primary or even secondary sources. So what you really have is a new, shallow and modern religion that tries to masquerade as ancient, deep and steeped in tradition.

I had the same issues with a bunch of hippie chicks I used to hang with in college who were always blathering on about Native Americans and how they lived in some sort of peaceful Utopian matriarchies prior to the invasion of Europeans. They were always trying to throw out some modern idea (women are equal and should have an equal say) and robe it in the mantle of some prehistoric pseudomysticism.

I've got no problem with the tenets and beliefs of the Wiccans. I do have a problem with these people trying to act like their religion in any way resembles the ancient religions of druids, shamans, or witches.

'Hamas' Jenkins
06-18-2007, 08:54 PM
My main problem with paganism/wicca/New Age is that neopagans (not to be confused or associated in any way with Neocons, BEP) tend to completely romanticize and project their modern fantasies on the past at the expense of historical accuracy. They always try to couch their philosophy and belief in some half ass research with very little actual proof in the form of primary or even secondary sources. So what you really have is a new, shallow and modern religion that tries to masquerade as ancient, deep and steeped in tradition.

I had the same issues with a bunch of hippie chicks I used to hang with in college who were always blathering on about Native Americans and how they lived in some sort of peaceful Utopian matriarchies prior to the invasion of Europeans. They were always trying to throw out some modern idea (women are equal and should have an equal say) and robe it in the mantle of some prehistoric pseudomysticism.

Thank you. It doesn't help the cause that their theology is less than 80 years old, even with the most giving of estimates.

And I take it they never read "The Ecological Indian", which, if you are so inclined, is a rather enlightening take on the precolonial Native American population.

Mr. Kotter
06-18-2007, 09:07 PM
... is it merely a catch-all for various forms of non-standard practices?
Pretty much my take from the limited knowledge, I have.

How the hell do you expect to compete with Jenson's thread, when you, yourself, supply the answer to your thread...in your threadstarter? You have much to learn from Jenson/DaveLane "grasshopper."

;)

Thank you. It doesn't help the cause that their theology is less than 80 years old, even with the most giving of estimates.

And I take it they never read "The Ecological Indian", which, if you are so inclined, is a rather enlightening take on the precolonial Native American population.

I find Crowely's writing, fascinating....but only in the same sense as I find sci-fi, or totally unrealistic horror movies "fascinating."

:hmmm:

BucEyedPea
06-18-2007, 09:11 PM
My main problem with paganism/wicca/New Age is that neopagans (not to be confused or associated in any way with Neocons, BEP)
That's okay. My net's not that wide for them.
Anyhow I believe some New Age things...such as karma.

Mr. Kotter
06-18-2007, 09:14 PM
...I believe some New Age things...such as karma.

Me too. I hear it's a real bitch. I wonder if Hillary is big on karma.... :hmmm:

BucEyedPea
06-18-2007, 09:18 PM
Not only that but it comes back 3 fold.

Fishpicker
06-18-2007, 11:26 PM
can paganism really be considered a religion, or is it merely a catch-all for various forms of non-standard practices?

whether paganism is a religion or not; other religions have adopted pagan rituals.

the christmas tree has it's roots in paganism.

a May day Maypole is a pagan celebration of fertility. They are kind of rare nowadays but I still see them every once in a while.

Aside from holidays, there are pagan beliefs/rituals that are still prevalent. have you ever heard of Hollywood magic? Hollywood is named after Holly wood, which is the preferred wood to be used in creating a witch's wand.

it's strange but I think it interesting how christians can be so opposed to paganism/witchcraft while they (unwittingly) participate in their own christian/pagan perversions.

Nightwish
06-18-2007, 11:28 PM
My main problem with paganism/wicca/New Age is that neopagans (not to be confused or associated in any way with Neocons, BEP) tend to completely romanticize and project their modern fantasies on the past at the expense of historical accuracy. They couch their philosophy in some half ass research with very little actual proof in the form of primary or even secondary sources. So what you really have is a new, shallow and modern religion that tries to masquerade as ancient, deep and steeped in tradition.Although I still identify very strongly with many of the core tenets of Wicca, you are absolutely 100% correct, and it is the main reason why I no longer consider myself a Wiccan, strictly speaking. I got disgusted by all the rewriting of history intended to give some added credence to the religion. I've never quite understood why people felt the need to validate their religion through the argument of antiquity. The oldest religions on earth were very new at one time, and if they are valid now, they were valid then. There is no good excuse for Wiccans to claim ancient heritages that don't belong to them, or to claim huge atrocities that didn't happen (9 million witches killed during the Inquisition? Puhleeze! There weren't even 9 million people killed, and the total number killed for the charge of witchcraft (a lesser included charge sometimes attached to the more serious charge of heresy - the Inquisition was more a practice of Christians killing other Christians for their land and monies than anything else) totalled only a few thousand, most likely. Fortunately, more and more Wiccans are starting to realize that the histories Gardner and others have painted are not all that they seem.I've got no problem with the tenets and beliefs of the Wiccans. I do have a problem with these people trying to act like their religion in any way resembles the ancient religions of druids, shamans, or witches.Ditto. Many of us are trying to combat that, but some of it is so ingrained in the minds of Wiccans (especially "fluffy bunnies" whose only experience with it is what they've read from $ilver Ravenwolf, et al.)

Mr. Kotter
06-18-2007, 11:28 PM
whether paganism is a religion or not; other religions have adopted pagan rituals.

the christmas tree has it's roots in paganism.

a May day Maypole is a pagan celebration of fertility. They are kind of rare nowadays but I still see them every once in a while.

Aside from holidays, there are pagan beliefs/rituals that are still prevalent. have you ever heard of Hollywood magic? Hollywood is named after Holly wood, which is the preferred wood to be used in creating a witch's wand.

it's strange but I think it interesting how christians can be so opposed to paganism/witchcraft while they (unwittingly) participate in their own christian/pagan perversions.

Come on, admit it.

You are a witch....bitch? :cuss:



Or do you have a psuedo-penis Mr. Warlock? :hmmm:


:p

Nightwish
06-18-2007, 11:40 PM
But it got me to think, can paganism really be considered a religion, or is it merely a catch-all for various forms of non-standard practices?Technically, your latter observation is more correct. Paganism is an umbrella category under which many religions fall, from truly ancient religions that I like to call "paleopaganism" to modern day Neopaganism that is more of an attempt to reconstruct certain aspects of old pagan religions, but with a modern sensibility. I say this because most of the records of actual practices and beliefs of the ancient pagan world are lost, and because there are some documented practices of ancient pagan religions that very few, if any, modern Neopagans would care to reproduce in the modern age (human sacrifice, anyone?). Basically, modern Neopagans are looking to the ancient world as a way of trying to reconnect with a natural world that computers, technology and urban sprawl have largely distanced us from, by ascertaining to the best of our ability what some of their philosophies were, but adding new elements to it so that in the process of trying to reconnect with the natural world, we still remain connected to the technological world as well (everything in this world, from glass to steel to the circuits in your motherboard are made from things that ultimately break down to natural ingredients).

As for whether Paganism can be called a religion, ask yourself whether "Abrahamic Monotheism" can be called a religion. The answer is no, although several religions fall under the category.

As for whether it is only inclusive of "non-standard practices," it depends on what definition you are using for paganism. Some consider any religion that is not part of the Abrahamic family tree to be pagan, in which case, major world religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as Voodoo, African tribalism, Native American religions, and several Eastern religions would fall under the category (and indeed, they are heavily borrowed from by several neopagan religions, sects and traditions).

Fishpicker
06-18-2007, 11:44 PM
@ mr kotter

I was raised Lutheran (pretty close to pagan, I admit)

had I known... I wouldn't have been confirmed


I dont know where you're going with that last one but... If you like talking about my genitalia, I'm not going to dissuade you.


aside from all that, I'm agnostic. I'm a big fan of the Bible... I have read the KJ bible in it's entirety 8 times.
I read the NIV twice. The companion Bible is nice, I read that on a near daily basis.

I'm not christian but I really like the spirit of the Bible
more than any other supposed holy book.

Mr. Kotter
06-19-2007, 12:16 AM
@ mr kotter

I was raised Lutheran (pretty close to pagan, I admit)

had I known... I wouldn't have been confirmed


I dont know where you're going with that last one but... If you like talking about my genitalia, I'm not going to dissuade you.


aside from all that, I'm agnostic. I'm a big fan of the Bible... I have read the KJ bible in it's entirety 8 times.
I read the NIV twice. The companion Bible is nice, I read that on a near daily basis.

I'm not christian but I really like the spirit of the Bible
more than any other supposed holy book.

As someone who was converted ELCA, Lutheran for 15 years...now AFLC....I can relate. As for the bitch comment...I was just messin' wit you.

Bible is good, when taken in the correct spirit and context--which can be different for each believer, AND non-believer.

Best advice I can give...though it ain't original, it's true: See the forest, despite the trees. And keep your eye on the prize. :D

Logical
06-19-2007, 12:24 AM
So in the loosest definition is a Deist a Pagan? Enquiring minds want to know?

Fishpicker
06-19-2007, 12:33 AM
As someone who was converted ELCA, Lutheran for 15 years...now AFLC....I can relate. As for the bitch comment...I was just messin' wit you.

no problems... I assumed you were just ribbing


Bible is good, when taken in the correct spirit and context--which can be different for each believer, AND non-believer.

Best advice I can give...though it ain't original, it's true: See the forest, despite the trees. And keep your eye on the prize. :D

cool, I always appreciate friendly advice. you are right about the Bible, there are lessons to be gleaned by anyone & everyone whether they believe or not. I dont subscribe to any doctrine or denomination but I realize that the Bible is a great work (greater than man could produce IMO).

Mr. Kotter
06-19-2007, 12:37 AM
So in the loosest definition is a Deist a Pagan? Enquiring minds want to know?

Not at all, really. Although, technically...in its loosest sense, Deists could be considered by some to be "Pagan" I suppose. Although I'd certainly reject that label.

You METER needs a BIG adjustment, Jim. That, or my sarcasm device needs tweaked....a lot. Heh. :p

'Hamas' Jenkins
06-19-2007, 07:02 AM
whether paganism is a religion or not; other religions have adopted pagan rituals.

the christmas tree has it's roots in paganism.

a May day Maypole is a pagan celebration of fertility. They are kind of rare nowadays but I still see them every once in a while.

Aside from holidays, there are pagan beliefs/rituals that are still prevalent. have you ever heard of Hollywood magic? Hollywood is named after Holly wood, which is the preferred wood to be used in creating a witch's wand.

it's strange but I think it interesting how christians can be so opposed to paganism/witchcraft while they (unwittingly) participate in their own christian/pagan perversions.

Just to make sure that we aren't muddying the waters, I definitely agree with your points here. Most religions are a compilation of various unsourced materials from a variety of areas.

However, I am not opposed to paganism because I'm Christian, I'm in fact an agnostic, FWIW.

BucEyedPea
06-19-2007, 07:35 AM
no problems... I assumed you were just ribbing

That's what Eve was doin' to Adam.
ROFL

Cochise
06-19-2007, 08:07 AM
My main problem with paganism/wicca/New Age is that neopagans (not to be confused or associated in any way with Neocons, BEP) tend to completely romanticize and project their modern fantasies on the past at the expense of historical accuracy. They couch their philosophy in some half ass research with very little actual proof in the form of primary or even secondary sources. So what you really have is a new, shallow and modern religion that tries to masquerade as ancient, deep and steeped in tradition.

I had the same issues with a bunch of hippie chicks I used to hang with in college who were always blathering on about Native Americans and how they lived in some sort of peaceful Utopian matriarchies prior to the invasion of Europeans. They were always trying to throw out some modern idea (women are equal and should have an equal say) and robe it in the mantle of some prehistoric pseudomysticism.

I've got no problem with the tenets and beliefs of the Wiccans. I do have a problem with these people trying to act like their religion in any way resembles the ancient religions of druids, shamans, or witches.

I think it's just an excuse to not bathe and dance around naked.

Brock
06-19-2007, 08:31 AM
The person you spoke to probably didn't want to admit they're doing it to be hip.

'Hamas' Jenkins
06-19-2007, 08:41 AM
The person you spoke to probably didn't want to admit they're doing it to be hip.

Sad, but true :rockon: :rockon:

BucEyedPea
06-19-2007, 08:43 AM
I think it's just an excuse to not bathe and dance around naked.
I thought it was Christians who didn't bathe, at least for a few thousand years, because it was associated with paganism aka the Romans. :p