Author Topic: Secular Paganism  (Read 324 times)

Sandra Craft

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Secular Paganism
« on: December 04, 2017, 10:45:28 AM »
I've decided to stop picking on Xtians for December.  It's my Xmas gift to them. 

Anyway, I know I've touched on secular Paganism before by posting an article about Pagan atheists, altho the author of that earlier article just mentioned secular Pagans to be firm that they were nothing like Pagan atheists (tho I swear I can't see any difference).

This is an article specifically defining secular Paganism: Am I a Secular Pagan?  In my case I suspect that the answer is yes, as long as I don't have to do any rituals because I just can't get into that at all.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the author's religious trajectory since it had similarities to my own, and we both ended up atheists with a lingering fondness for Paganism.

As so often happens, the comments are as interesting as the article.  Quantum physics is once again raised and causes the liveliest discussion.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Dave

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Re: Secular Paganism
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 11:34:11 AM »
I am always bothered by this question about paganism. I like clear definitions but also underdtand ussge drifts over yhe tesrs - if enough people attach themselves to a new use of a particular label.

But, in my understanding, whether original, modern, neo- or whatever paganism involves the supernatural in some form. So "pagan atheism" is as oxymoronic as "christian atheism" in my mind.

"Secular paganism" is as valid as "secular Christianity", i.e. confusing! But I have seen the latter described as the acceptance of the authority of common law over canon law. One may live according to "Christian values," or whatever, but still comply with the secular law in every way. Some Christian sects are well known for flouting common law, as are some Jewsh ones (in spirit at least) - though Israeli common law bends towards them.  Of course, in Islam the religious laws are mostly the ones the authorities also bow to.

So, one assumes "secular pagans" are law abiding citizens who obey some sort of "sacred" rule set where there is no conflict. But "atheist pagan"? Surely impossible?

The conflict between secular (Western style) and religious law is, of course, one of the drivers of Islamic terrorism.
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Sandra Craft

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Re: Secular Paganism
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 07:17:22 PM »
But, in my understanding, whether original, modern, neo- or whatever paganism involves the supernatural in some form. So "pagan atheism" is as oxymoronic as "christian atheism" in my mind.

Oh, I can get more oxymoronic than that -- there's also a growing trend of Christo-Pagans and Christo-Witches.  That's a truly high degree of cherry-picking. 

And yeah, I've come across Xtian atheists  -- not as defined by conservative preachers (usually lazy or bad theists rather than atheists), but people who follow Christ philosophically without the woo.  Not much different really from Jewish atheists, who retain the cultural identity but not the religious beliefs.

As I understand it, being a Pagan atheist/secular Pagan is an ethical position rather than a religious one.  To me it doesn't seem too far from scientific Pantheism.  Belief in gods is either as something entirely metaphoric or non-existent, the focus is on respect for, protection of and emotional attachment to nature.  There might be an accompanying belief in what I think of as scientific supernaturalism (energy this and energy that, simplification of quantum physics, etc) but in what I'm reading Pagan atheists/secular Pagans have abandoned the supernatural entirely. 

The word "pagan" is generally taken back to its "country/rural dweller" roots tho it does seem to me most non-religious Pagans (and religious ones as well) are city people.  Still, the word is used to emphasize love of nature rather than religious beliefs. 

As far as I can tell, there are no sacred rules to be followed, certainly none that would over-ride secular law, and that seems true of both religious and non-religious Pagans.

Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver

Dave

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Re: Secular Paganism
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 08:14:50 PM »
Hmmm, that all seems far too complex for me, hanging unnecesssry labels on things. A person who follows Chridstan principles without the woo element is, to my mind, heading towards humanism. Below us a graphic I did when experimenting with how to relate things.



"Religion" should really be "Christianity", but the former made a more visually ballanced graphic!

But the intent was to make the point that there are many shared things, shared because they are basic to being human. I don't push my "label" unless it is rrlavdnt to a discusion, better to just quietly practice the precepts as life goes by, as opportunity arises.

However, "atheism" gained a bad rep from bias, it is a "catch-all" label, as applicable to the worst of totalitarian communist regimes as it is to the nice person that has no interest or belief in gods but will give their last coin to charity. "Christo/athiest" seems merely an attempt at a very clumsy definition - "I don't believe in woo but I am a nice, ethical, caring person really." Why not simply be a nice, ethical, caring person?

Paganism was originally applied to those Romans who stuck with the old polytheistic beliefs IIRC. I have seen it applied to more "naturalistic" belief systems.
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Sandra Craft

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Re: Secular Paganism
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 05:40:01 AM »
I love graphs.
Sandy

  
"I think this is the prettiest world -- as long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness?"  from The Kingfisher, by Mary Oliver