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Morals in pagan culture

Discussion in 'Neopagan or Revival Religions' started by Wild Fox, Dec 27, 2020.

  1. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in where those of us who consider themselves pagan derive what they believe is moral verses not moral. What do you see as your source for what is considered right or wrong in your view of your particular pagan religions?
     
  2. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I don't frame things in moral terms.

    This is perhaps fitting, because as I understand it, our ancestors often framed things in terms of virtue or character instead anyway, which is what I do because it just makes more sense to me. An academic with a strong background in philosophy who is part of our Pagan community has spoken at length on the subject. I listened to a fair few interviews of them back in the day via podcasts, but still haven't gotten to reading their actual book on the subject... haha (The Other Side of Virtue: Where Our Virtues Come From, What They Really Mean, and Where They Might Be Taking Us by Brendan Myers).

    In essence, focusing on character or virtue means the center is on knowing who you are and the relationship your nature has to the nature of everything else around you. It is not about obeying some set of rules (morals) someone fabricated, but being true to oneself or cultivating certain qualities. There's also a lot of mindfulness in being aware of how our selves are shaped by others and how we in turn shape others.
     
  3. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the response. I should have been more careful using the word morals. What I am asking is as a pagan is about how you do decide what is right or wrong to do. I do not care whether you call it morals or virtues. For me it is the same think. I do not believe that morals are a set of rules fabricated but rather the way we make our decisions on what is the right thing to do and they are determined by the individual ultimately. If you want to call them virtues that is fine. So what are the virtues you hold important and where do you derive them from?
     
  4. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    No worries! For me it isn't quite the same - I often associate "morals" with the black-and-white dualistic thinking or classifying behaviors into "good" and "bad" or "right" or "wrong" categories that are fixed and rigid rather than relative and fluid. Perhaps that's because one of the lessons I've learned is that everything comes at cost. Something "good" for one is "bad" for another; it depends on perspective. So instead I focus on character or virtue - being true to oneself. There's an inherent allowance for what is "good" for you to not be "good" for someone else with this perspective.
    To use an example, one way I am true to myself is through simpler living. This is a net good for the biosphere, but a net bad for the economy.



    I think everybody derives them from their life experiences - we are a product of our environment and I was raised with certain values through my parents that have shaped who and what I am. Those values in some respects underpin my religion - my way of life - as well. I am a Druid because I deeply value non-human persons the diversity of the world; because I deeply value learning and the pursuit of knowledge; because I deeply value creativity and the fine arts; because I deeply value the otherworlds and storytelling.
     
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  5. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I think my moral/ethical values come from experience, including the experience of contemplating the lessons of what I've done and observed. And what I can learn from others. My 'virtues' arise primarily out of respect for others...both human and other-than-human persons...

    If there is a rule to describe my approach, it would be some version of the golden rule.

    I am sometimes concerned about outcomes, but I find that I lack full information, and computational abilities, to consider all the costs and benefits of my actions or inactions. I also recognize that if done honestly with all others in consideration, the result of such rational analyses might be for me to cease to exist...and I'm not willing to take that step yet. And so I tend to fall back to respect, and the correct attitude of do unto others.

    It is, frankly, what I expect of others...
     
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  6. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I do agree with this and what is right and wrong is so dependent on context of a situation. I also agree our behavior as in what is right and what is wrong is strongly developed from our social context and family at least initially. Interestingly I was so deeply influenced from my studies of Ecology and Evolution or in other words the story of our world. I was also deeply influenced by Native American virtues (if preferred over the term morals) and my personal experiences in the world outside of my four walls. I was also deeply influenced by Norse and Celtic myth. Ironically the myths of Christmas the non biblical aspects and samhain/halloween were despite my deep love of what science teaches me also reminds me of the mystery of world also.

    From this combination I finally felt a deep connection with all life as my extended family. I started to see the world differently as well as life and death. So much of what I see as virtue or morals seems to come from my connection with the earth with utter amazement that what is important to me has finally became meaningful which I never found in other religions. I have learned to appreciate both creative and chaotic forces of this world.

    Again thank you for your input. I have learned to appreciate this forum from what I have learned from the wisdom and ideas from others.
     
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  7. Cassandra

    Cassandra Active Member

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    Pagans base on traditions. They base not on morals, but mores. Mores can best be understood as what is the decent, proper thing to do in a situation, and what is not. It is primarily based on example, upbringing, tradition, stories and culture in general. It is no laid down in rules. It creates invisible borders you are not allowed to trespass. Growing up in a tradition people develop a feel for it. For instance by reading the expressions of people towards things happening.

    It is only a foreigner or stranger who would try to write them down as morals for his countrymen, But that only creates a rude understanding. It is much more sophisticated than morals. What is correct changes from situation to situation, person to person, roles people play, place and time. It still exists in a varying degree in families or communities through proper upbringing. It rests in feeling nor reasoning.

    When important decisions need to be made and the course is not clear, then a more conscious process is used of weighing. It is a reasoning based on important values that are held high. Again this also demands feeling to value things. It depends on inner development not intellectual training.

    It is important to distinguish this from the Abrahamic thinking that is all around us en pushed on us. They emphasize morals that are rules, laws. The Abrahamic writings are rule books with commandments. It is much about obedience and subservience.

    They were made for colonized people of different cultures. A kind of standardized moral was created in doctrines. You can not create standardized mores. You can not impose mores on people of other cultures. Mores grow naturally over many generations, they can not be imposed.

    Different Abrahamic religions and their offspring in atheist ideologies who use the same kind of thinking are still trying to push their "universal" morals on other traditions and cultures. We can experience this on this forum. People from other traditions are subjugated to a standardized moral in a rule book, and not allowed to use their own mores.

    Rejecting that idea alone is considered "breaking a rule" or undermining "the mission of the forum". Abrahamics are always on a "mission". Save the world, bring peace to the world through subjugation, like they are now pacifying Afghanistan. It is al done for the highest good.

    The main difference between Abrahamic intellectual thinking and Pagan natural thinking is that in Abrahamic thinking the end (goal. mission) justifies the means (actions). In dharmic thinking it is the other way round a person is defined by his actions, and his goals are rather justified by his actions. Pagans think forward, Abrahamics think backward in ethics. Pagan say: Act good and good thinks will come from that. Abrahamics say: Your actions are good if you work towards the (highest) goals. Pagans think pragmatic and natural, Abrahamics idealistic and philosophical, ideological, theological.

    I only post these things in the Pagan forum not to hurt feelings of Abrahamics. But history shows that the mere existence of other traditions is regarded an offense to their religion and God. That is why the forums for Abrahamics and non-Abrahamics should not be mixed on the same site or be shielded of from each other.

    But Abrahamics want mingling for their conversion, which is the greatest crime invented by Abrahamism. To destroy peoples traditions is even a bigger crime than murder. For we are destined to die, but traditions are meant to bridge death and allow our higher knowledge and values to be passed to next generations. We never burned their writings, but they burned ours.

    There is no common ground for discussion with Abrahamics. Where their morals happen to be in line with our mores, we can work together. For instance, it seems that it is downing to some Abrahamics that other beings in Nature have rights. Not because of empathy for Nature, but because it starts to hurt THEM that Nature is collapsing around them.

    This idea is mostly novel to them, but now they become so full of it that they want to impose new ecology rules on mankind. They do not even realize that they are to be blamed by a large extend by destroying all those traditional societies who lived in perfect harmony with Nature to impose their "superior" systems.

    Why are they so ignorant? Because morals make people stupid. Do not feel, do not think, just obey and follow the rules. And as rules are an intellectual pursuit, you can think around them. For instance if their God forbids to kill two sheep. Some will reason. But he does not forbid to kill one sheep. And if we kill another one a week later that is separate event. Imposed rules invite to circumvent them. It does not develop true ethics.

    Well I do not follow their rules, as the many warnings can testify. Those are their rules not mine. They should subjugate to them. I do not see God as a oppressor turning people into servants following his rules. I do not worship these kind of spirits, whether they are Pagan or Abrahamic. And I actually think God protects us against them. If they want to make us feel welcome here, they should show some RESPECT for different thinking and have traditions govern themselves. Leave the illusion of universal laws.

    Only in places where people from different thinking voluntarily meet, should they be made to accept common rules. That is not difficult for a Pagan, for he is not on a mission to convert. He is perfectly fine that others live according their own traditions and willing to spare their feelings.
     
    #7 Cassandra, Jan 16, 2021 at 9:59 AM
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021 at 1:59 PM
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