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Godless Paganism (Book)

Discussion in 'Paganism DIR' started by SabahTheLoner, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. SabahTheLoner

    SabahTheLoner Master of the Art of Couch Potato Cuddles

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    I've been reading a book that I think many Pagans, theistic or not, should take the time to read. The book is called Godless Paganism. It's a fairly large collection of essays compiled by Pagan atheists, naturalists, humanists, pantheists, soft polytheists and even a few syncretic occultists about Paganism without literal godlike beings, the importance of ritual and/or belief, and what being a Pagan means.

    Amazon link for E-book: Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-theistic Pagans - Kindle edition by John Halstead. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

    This book has been opening my eyes to just how broad the diverse Pagan spectrum actually is and confirming the fact my beliefs in the gods as energies and faces of life and nature is in fact a Pagan belief. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. In the middle of part 2 out of 10 right now, it's been interesting thinking about everyone's perspective and learning about myself through their words. If you're interested in or currently reading or have read this book, let me know what you think.

    To all Pagans, please continue to keep the community of many paths beautiful and enjoy your time on this inspiring Earth. :purpleheart:
     
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  2. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I suppose I'm one of those folks who thinks non-theistic Paganism is an oxymoron. I understand that it has become a relatively accepted thing, but but I view it as symptomatic of the constrained thinking most Westerners have about theism and theology more than anything else. I make that observation because I was in that headspace, and because when I read things written by those who identify as non-theistic Pagans, I see no difference between what they are doing and what I am doing other than them not using words like "god" or "deity" or "theism."

    I mostly just find that unfortunate and frustrating. Abrahamic/monotheist ideas about theism have such a stranglehold on people's minds that some Pagans cannot use those words to describe the things they worship. I look forward to a day when that is no longer the case, even though I also know this is will not happen within my lifetime. In the meantime, I try to remind myself that the labels put to things don't matter. It's a lie, but I try to tell myself that. :sweat:
     
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  3. SabahTheLoner

    SabahTheLoner Master of the Art of Couch Potato Cuddles

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    Some of them do use "god language" do describe their beliefs. I don't think it's necessarily that they cannot worship or devote to gods, they just have a different idea about how they can or do exist. And they want to respect that but they can't really force a literal belief in a cosmic individual entity upon themselves, or they belief in the forces being there as the deities. Although it is true many leave Christianity, some of the people who contributed to the book were irreligious before they found a theology they could agree with, but they needed a frame of reference to apply it; scientific knowledge and what can't be explained, simply. We know sceintifically how lightning forms, but we don't know why it's that way and not some other way. So we put a face on both he force and the unknown: his name is Thor. Here is what Thor looks like, his personality, and his stories. Then people look at Thor and say "hey, he's like me in so many ways!", or, "What a great guy, I would like to be like him!". That's basically how the gods were acknowledged by man in the first place; we saw something, we may have understood how it happened but not why, we make a reason why it might be that way, and then other people started to devote to the idea of this entity.

    Do they exist, then? Well, we won't know until we agree upon what a god is and if science can do anything to prove us otherwise or possibly explain what they are. There's so many ways to see what a entity like a god or spirit is that if we are to argue about whether or not they exist, we'll end up arguing about how they exist. I think that those kinds of people who can't believe in literal beings or otherwise spiritually present gods in any way but want to honor the Old Ways should do so. In fact there is some evidence that some ancient peoples didn't believe in literal gods but used them as a way to talk about the earth or even themselves.
     
  4. Mister Silver

    Mister Silver Faith's Nightmare

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    Thank you for the recommendation. :)

    I have often considered myself an atheistic pagan, despite how I kept attempting to reason away the pagan part with atheism, but lately I have come to understand and accept that it is very possible to be an atheistic pagan who cherishes the spiritual messages of paganism while having a disbelief in pagan deities.
     
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