Friday, March 17, 2017

Atheistic Paganism???

This post is not to be taken as a doctrine of intolerance, but of historical and intellectual honesty.

There seems to be a new movement popping up in Paganism called "Atheistic Paganism," which consists primarily of people who think they can be Pagan without believing in and worshiping the Pagan Gods.

By definition, Pagan is either someone who believes in the old Pagan Gods, or who worships nature, and therefore recognizes the conscious Divinity of the natural world and universe. Therefore, it would be impossible for an atheist to be a Pagan because Pagans acknowledge Divinity. Atheists do not believe in any form of God, Gods or conscious Divinity. I think the atheist community as whole would agree on that. That's why they're called atheists. It is A-theism, which means an absence of theism. Whereas Pagans believe in Gods or Divinity, which makes them theists. If you believe in a God, Gods, or Divinity, then you are NOT an atheist. You can call yourself a theist; it's ok. It's not a bad thing.

I think many people have confused the adoption of Pagan elements with an inherent constitution of Paganism, such as environmentalism, humanism, and a love for mythology. Pagans are most certainly environmentalists, humanists and mythologists, but just because you love nature, humanity and myth, doesn't necessarily make you a Pagan. No more than admiring Jesus makes you a Christian, or thinking parts of the Torah are beautiful makes you a Jew, or loving India makes you a Hindu. I am sure there are many Christians who enjoy Pagan myth and history as a study, and who are environmentalists and humanists, but that doesn't mean they're Pagans and not Christians. Just because you adopt elements of something, doesn't make you part of the larger whole. Barack Obama is an environmentalist, but still a general Christian. George Galloway is a humanist, but still a Catholic (some claim he's actually converted to Islam). My father-in-law has books on Norse mythology, but he's still an Episcopalian.

Never in all of my life have I heard of a Pagan culture that was atheist. Never in all of my years of study have I read any reputable Pagan material, either from modern or ancient authors, that does not talk about Gods and Goddesses or Divinity. Therefore, the Atheistic Paganism movement is an attempt to redefine what it means to be Pagan, and what it has always meant since the times of ancient.

I'm quite a liberal person, but there has to be standards when known identities are concerned, otherwise the Pagan movement is going to become so skewed that it won't know who it is anymore or where it's going. We have to have at least some basic structure. If you don't want to be Pagan, then don't be Pagan. But don't call yourself Pagan if you're not going to adhere to the structure that Paganism has always had since its first days on this planet, and that it still retains as a whole community.

In the Goodness of the Gods,


Ian Phanes said...

Most of the indigenous religious traditions of North American, and I think all of Australia, have no gods. Various spirits and culture heroes, sure, but not gods.

You are the one attempting to impose a definition on a category that is pretty much inherently undefinable, since its historical criterion is just anything other than monotheism.

Chris said...

That's simply not true. The Native Americans most certainly have gods. They may call them things like the Great Spirit for a general term, but it's absolutely not true that the Native Americans didn't or don't have gods. And it's also not true that the Australians didn't have gods.

This is exactly the point I am making. You are trying to redefine Paganism to fit your own narrative even when the history clearly does not agree with you. You can't rewrite history. You can create your own way of life certainly, but you can't change history, and your personal beliefs cannot change the physical makeup of reality.

I'd also like to point out that it's not me defining Paganism, it's the dictionary and the general Pagan community.



1. one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.

2. a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan.

Therefore, by definition, a Pagan is someone who is a Polytheist or who worships nature. Obviously, you wouldn't worship something you didn't believe could receive it, and therefore, worshiping nature is to worship or at least recognize and revere conscious and present Divinity. Atheists are not Polytheists, nor do they believe in Divinity. They do not believe nature is Divine or anything more than something that just happened to come into being. They don't believe there's intelligence, direction or purpose.

You can NOT believe in a Divine power AND be an atheist. It just doesn't work.

DracanoElite said...

Religion is bullshit period. We believe in religion when we are ignorant of the truth or we dont like the truth. Science is not always right but that is the beauty of it... Because it changes when certain things are disproven or new things are discovered. Religion always thinks it is infallible and refuses to change. In short fuck religion lol.

Chris said...

Dracano "Elite," there are so many fallacies in your post I don't even know where to begin. My first initial response was to delete and not approve it because it's pretty much void of any intelligent substance. However, I thought it would be a good opportunity to dispel some of these common radical and militant atheist propaganda arguments.

For one, like most radical atheists, you assume all religion is the same. It's not. The Pagans and Polytheists were certainly not haters of knowledge. The ancient Greeks were among the most religious people in the world, and yet they are still the founders of western sciences, medicine and philosophy. They were anything but a close-minded culture that rejected change and new knowledge. Quite the opposite, they embraced it, and still saw no reason to discard belief in their Gods. There are Greek Gods who are even Patrons of the sciences and medicines.The ancient Greek religion did not disappear until it was forced out by the emerging Christian dictatorship. So your claim that "all religion" demands ignorance and isn't compatible with advancement is simply dead wrong.

I mean, the mere fact that you clearly think all religion is the same throughout human history, shows you have really no understanding of religion, or even of Divinity.

Dylan said...

Dracano. Religion is not always right, but that's the beauty of it... it changes when certain things are disproven.

If someone could prove to me, with actual extant evidence, that the Gods are not real, I would drop my faith. I make Sacrifice to my Gods because I believe them to be real forces In this beautiful world. My faith is nowhere near infallible. It is a religion I have adopted and have adhered to for several years on the basis that, of all the religions out there, it seems to have the fewest quarrels with modern science (although I'm not aware of any glaring contradictions between my faith and my knowledge of science, please let me know!).

Prove to me that my faith is a bunch of useless bogus and I will happily join you in your world of science. However, based on our current understanding of the world, I do not believe that to be possible.

Chris said...

Well fortunately for Dracano, he's part of a community that claims no burden of proof. They can bring all the claims against something they want, and then say they don't have to prove any of it, and by the way, you're stupid if you don't accept what they cannot prove and refuse to prove.

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