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fizzyclare1

Defining Athiest Paganism

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Guest Ashley under the Stars

I was brought up going to Church... I knew from a very young age it didn't make sense and I hated it! It confused me so much growing up as in school we where learning about science and evolution and in Church God made the earth in 7 days! Now to a child that is mind blowing... I was about 9 or 10 when I told my dad I didn't believe in God so instead of Church I got to go and stand in the rain in a field watching my step brothers play football... it sounds bad but I loved it compared to Church! So since then I haven't believed in a God or a Goddess for that matter and until talking to FizzyClare1 (sorry I don't know how to tag or whatever) I thought Paganism was the same...

 

I Love that with Paganism I can have my own beliefs within it so for now I'm not going to put a sub label on myself, I probably never will to be honest! And just see what parts of paganism suits me :D for example I love the nature part and crystals and lots more don't worry! I think everyone should stop worrying about putting a label on themselves you don't have to ... I love that there are so many parts to Paganism and I can't wait to experience them all!

 

Thanks again FizzyClare1 you have really helped me!

 

love *Ashley*

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Guest Ashley under the Stars

I'm not sure if I'm an athiest, I think in the main most view Athiests as someone who doesn't believe in Jehovah, Allah etc. If that's the case, then yes I am, but on the wider Deity scenario, I'm open & ready to listen.

 

I agree with this! It makes sense to me I've loved the Grecian Gods and Goddess especially Athena and Poseidon, but I think Christianity and Church put me off believing in Gods and goddess so much it is hard for me... I like the idea of believe in Deities though, some one that can represent the God and Goddess for me... very interesting!

 

thank you !

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Moonhunter

Some of our newer members may not have spotted the thread on "Is it possible to be atheist and pagan" earlier in this sub-forum - you might enjoy it!

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Xalle

 

I suppose some athiests are just that athiest. Like this is it, there's nothing else. But by being Athiest Pagan maybe they are admitting there something going on or going off in the universe which effects us all, but very much from a non deity prespective?

 

 

I dunt like the way you've worded that. "admitting there is something going on" it's like you're saying "Atheist Pagans are in denial" or "Atheist Pagans are hedging their bets" Atheist stands for one thing. Lack of belief in deity. For many it also means lack of belief in "the supernatural" Even *I* who believe in ghosts and magick do not see it as supernatural, but rather super nature. I believe in nothing beyond science and nature. Under consideration I believe that magick is explicable, I believe ghosts are explicable, all be it in some distant time. I believe I am a pagan atheist because the science I know shows me daily that we are all connected. That we are stars, that reality is perceived and that the universe as it stands makes me feel my place and while I could happily claim JUST to be an atheist, it doesn't describe who I am, my outlook on the human race or society or the multi-verse.

 

So if you don't mind, I'll assure you in the strongest terms, that I believe there is NOTHING else going on other than physics and I'm fairly certain most pagan atheists would fall into this category. (willing to be corrected on this tho! lol)

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tibbington

I suppose some athiests are just that athiest. Like this is it, there's nothing else. But by being Athiest Pagan maybe they are admitting there something going on or going off in the universe which effects us all, but very much from a non deity prespective?

 

 

I dunt like the way you've worded that. "admitting there is something going on" it's like you're saying "Atheist Pagans are in denial" or "Atheist Pagans are hedging their bets" Atheist stands for one thing. Lack of belief in deity. For many it also means lack of belief in "the supernatural" Even *I* who believe in ghosts and magick do not see it as supernatural, but rather super nature. I believe in nothing beyond science and nature. Under consideration I believe that magick is explicable, I believe ghosts are explicable, all be it in some distant time. I believe I am a pagan atheist because the science I know shows me daily that we are all connected. That we are stars, that reality is perceived and that the universe as it stands makes me feel my place and while I could happily claim JUST to be an atheist, it doesn't describe who I am, my outlook on the human race or society or the multi-verse.

 

So if you don't mind, I'll assure you in the strongest terms, that I believe there is NOTHING else going on other than physics and I'm fairly certain most pagan atheists would fall into this category. (willing to be corrected on this tho! lol)

 

But do you believe there's things going off in nature or Science you don't fully under understand or comprehend which may now be considered supernatural but which tomorrow might be considered mainstream thinking.

 

Would Electricity be considered magic to some dark age peasant? Electricity must have existed then, but they hadn't got the equipment & mind to make it function, (other than that Babylon Battery which was must have been forgotten about by then?)

30 years ago they said there was no water on the Moon, now they say there might be. So does Athiests beliefs in Science keep having to evolve to keep up with the current thinking & ideas? Does that make Athiest very non dogmatic?

 

I wasn't really thinking of Deity, more about how the cosmos works, interacts & breathes.

Edited by tibbington

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Xalle

But do you believe there's things going off in nature or Science you don't fully under understand or comprehend which may now be considered supernatural but which tomorrow might be considered mainstream thinking.

 

Would Electricity be considered magic to some dark age peasant? Electricity must have existed then, but they hadn't got the equipment & mind to make it function, (other than that Babylon Battery which was must have been forgotten about by then?)

Like 30 years ago they said there was no water on the Moon, now they say there might be. So does Athiests beliefs in Science keep having to evolve to keep up with the current thinking & ideas? Does that make Athiest very non dogmatic?

 

I wasn't really thinking of Deity, more about how the cosmos works, interacts & breathes.

 

Erm.... I think I answered the bit about "do you think things now that are explicable were once considered supernatural"... just in case I wasn't clear. Yes. Science has proven it's not unhappy gods making the earth shake and it's not a message from a god when the world goes dark, it's an eclipse etc etc

 

As for the universe... Atheism is not a belief system based on science. Atheism is a consideration made regarding the likely-hood or otherwise of gods. I know plenty of atheists (my sister as a case in point) who knows nothing about universal science and physics. She has a pretty good understanding of the human mind and an ability to reason and follow arguments. She made her decision of no gods based on the evidence she found but when it comes to the moon, the big bang, quantum... Not. A. Clue. No interest. Couldn't pick out Orion in the night sky never mind Betelgeuse. Me on the other hand, *I* am interested in that. And speaking for myself as an atheist who has an interest in physics and universal science, yes. My understanding of what goes on in the universe changes almost weekly with every new thing I learn and yes, it strengthens my reasons and proof for atheism, as does the interest I have in the mind, how we are who we are, what evolution give us (this is the side of science my sister is interested in). That however is us. I can't speak for all atheists.

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tibbington

 

As for the universe... Atheism is not a belief system based on science. Atheism is a consideration made regarding the likely-hood or otherwise of gods. I know plenty of atheists (my sister as a case in point) who knows nothing about universal science and physics. She has a pretty good understanding of the human mind and an ability to reason and follow arguments. She made her decision of no gods based on the evidence she found but when it comes to the moon, the big bang, quantum... Not. A. Clue. No interest. Couldn't pick out Orion in the night sky never mind Betelgeuse. Me on the other hand, *I* am interested in that. And speaking for myself as an atheist who has an interest in physics and universal science, yes. My understanding of what goes on in the universe changes almost weekly with every new thing I learn and yes, it strengthens my reasons and proof for atheism, as does the interest I have in the mind, how we are who we are, what evolution give us (this is the side of science my sister is interested in). That however is us. I can't speak for all atheists.

 

That what I was trying to get at earlier on, finding differences between Pagan Athiest & just Athiests. How much science is there in being being Pagan Athiest? I was reading something last night how Science as replaced religion & how it's become as dogmatic as religion. How Scientist who step out of line with current thinking are figuratively burnt at the stake or at the very least hung out to dry by their peers.

Edited by tibbington

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Xalle

That what I was trying to get at earlier on, finding differences between Pagan Athiest & just Athiests. How much science is there in being being Pagan Athiest? I was reading something last night how Science as replaced religion & how it's become as dogmatic as religion. How Scientist who step out of line with current thinking are figuratively burnt at the stake or at the very least hung out to dry by their peers.

 

I honestly don't think there is a difference in how we see science, pagan atheist or just plain atheist. People disagree on science. There are a bundle of hypothesis about the origins of the universe, there are arguments about what rules actually govern fundamental forces like gravity, we know for example that physics as we know it breaks down at the quantum level and people challenge Einstein all the time. SOME people don't want to hear new ideas, some people don't want to look at the new possibilities because it makes something they are working on obsolete or challenges how they have perceived the universe and some of those people will be atheists and some of those people will be pagan atheists and some of those people will be ordinary pagans with an interest in science.

 

You only have to look at someone like Galileo to see that scientists don't like to have their view of the universe challenged and it has nothing to do with belief in gods or not.

 

How much science is there in being a pagan atheist? For me lots. It is everything to me. Science, or rather Physics is what I am. I believe we personify (you,me, the man next door, the cat, the tree, river, planet,) science. There is nothing more interesting to me or makes me feel more connected to reality than understanding that reality. I question everything. I drive people mad with it.

 

As for the next pagan atheist, I don't know. There are plenty of pagan atheists out there who have no interest in science.

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tibbington

You know Xalle, when it comes to the Judaic, Xtain, Islamic God, I'm as Athiest. To the outside world who sort of know me this is how I come over. I also have a love for Science, especially anything space , but what I am really interested in that what FizzyClare says is that ability to manipulate energy as part of Witchcraft. It's trying to understand what that energy is what fascinates me & each Pagan ideas how it represents it's self to them & how they interpret it.

I think that energy envelopes everything, to me it certainly exists in my own experiences, but as yet Science can't measure it or create in the lab, so to them it maybe doesn't exist at the very best.

If I call that energy part of deity that then must say I'm not an Athiest in the purest sense?

Edited by tibbington

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Xalle

I think if you believe in gods in any form you'd struggle to use the term. That's like the folks who say they are vegetarian and eat fish.

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tibbington

I think if you believe in gods in any form you'd struggle to use the term. That's like the folks who say they are vegetarian and eat fish.

 

I know one of them, I live with her.

 

And that's why I am unconfortable using the term Athiest personally, although if others use the term towards me I don't tend to correct them. I don't tend, outside these virtual 4 walls, to wax lyrical about Paganism & only talk in very general terms if pushed.

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Xalle

Then you might want to inform her that anything with a face is an animal and not a vegetable. :)

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JohnMacintyre

Dear Xalle,

 

I think if you believe in gods in any form you'd struggle to use the term..

 

As Granny Weatherwax is a fictional character, her view that we shouldn't believe in the Gods because it only encourages them can't really be cited as evidence. Which is a great shame :). Nonetheless, I think some of the confusion - not that I've got anything against confusion, mind - with regard to Pagan atheism is probably as much due to us theists as it it is to you atheists. So credit where credit's due ;).

 

Pagan theism covers a very, very broad spectrum of understandings of the divine, in many of which 'belief' as such isn't particularly relevant.Granted the modern spectrum is probably broader than the ancient spectrum, but it's always been a very broad spectrum. At one end, and I'm not claiming there are only two ends, we've got those who understand the Gods & Goddesses as personifications of natural forces, the Gods & Goddesses as archetypes within the collective unconscious, the Gods & Goddesses as mythologised memories of distinguished but mortal ancestors, and those awkward Epicureans who believe the God & Goddesses exist but have no interest or involvement in human affairs whatsoever.

 

At the other end, and again I'm not claiming that there's only one other end, we've got those who believe in, and those who experience (and both of course), the Gods & Goddesses as distinct, individual, beings with personality, power and agency.

 

Then, somewhat off-spectrum, we've got (some of) the Stoics (often, but not necessarily pantheists and, where pantheists, not necessarily only pantheists) to whom God is (not very simply) Nature and everything that happens happens through the agency of the divine.

 

Then, also somewhat off-spectrum, we've got those to whom the Gods & Goddesses are Mystery, something that can be understood through experience but never more than hinted at in language.

 

Not necessarily finally, we've got those who believe the Gods & Goddesses exist, subject to extensive and inconclusive debate on the meanings of both 'belief' and 'existence', but do not see the point of confining themselves to one theological perspective as all can be valid and useful to some degree and the divine is ultimately beyond human understanding anyway.

 

And that's only before lunchtime. Once we've eaten and refreshed ourselves there may be many more :).

 

Given the magnificent diversity and complexity of Pagan understandings of the divine, it must surely be just a wee bit difficult for even the most dedicated Pagan atheist to disbelieve in all of it at all times. Just as even the most devout Pagan theist sometimes finds themselves contemplating a range of possibilities, in some of which reality shades into metaphor. I think it was Esk who wrote a truly brilliant line many years ago, that "the Gods encompass all possibilities, including that of their own non-existence."

 

So it probably shouldn't surprise us that sometimes Pagan atheists and Pagan theists are going to be standing on the same turf, looking around at the same cosmos, discussing very similar experiences, coming to different conclusions, and not worrying about it.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

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tibbington

Then you might want to inform her that anything with a face is an animal and not a vegetable. :)

 

I must admit, when it comes to her, it's something I could never get my head round, but each to their own I suppose

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tibbington

So it probably shouldn't surprise us that sometimes Pagan atheists and Pagan theists are going to be standing on the same turf, looking around at the same cosmos, discussing very similar experiences, coming to different conclusions, and not worrying about it.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

 

It's a bit like 10 folk standing in front of a large landscape painting & then asking them individually what they see.

 

I think what you say above a very good way to behave towards each other

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Xalle

 

So it probably shouldn't surprise us that sometimes Pagan atheists and Pagan theists are going to be standing on the same turf, looking around at the same cosmos, discussing very similar experiences, coming to different conclusions, and not worrying about it.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

 

lol Loved the list. I totally agree with everything you have said and would add to the point you made about atheists wondering. Of course we do! And not just pagan atheists, ALL atheists and they're liars if they say they don't lol but your final sentence summed it it beautifully. It doesn't matter. What matters is that we can share experience together and we can come to understand each other better because of it. Now that might sound like a terrible cheesy line from a terrible cheesy movie, but I believe it. :)

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Freydis

 

So it probably shouldn't surprise us that sometimes Pagan atheists and Pagan theists are going to be standing on the same turf, looking around at the same cosmos, discussing very similar experiences, coming to different conclusions, and not worrying about it.

 

 

Love the list, John. I don't think I've ever seen such a good summary.

 

I also think that the final statement sums up the different paths of paganism as well, if not better, than anything I've ever seen. :)

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sinistra

Even *I* who believe in ghosts and magick do not see it as supernatural, but rather super nature.

 

I'm struggling to see the difference between supernatural and super nature - can you explain this a bit further please Xalle? thinking-023.GIF

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Xalle

I can try! lol

 

When we talk about supernatural we mostly mean occult. Hidden, magic oogly boogly where things are done by some mystical force influenced either by gods or something special inside where magic can at it's most ridiculous have you shooting fire balls from your hands, raise the dead and whisk you off to live with fairy folk.

 

I personally believe that super nature is where natural, explicable things are happening. For example mostly we believe we have five sense but we don't humans there are about 20 amongst which are that we can sense magnetic fields, we are amazing and the universe is incredible and I believe we connect far more than we think we do.

 

 

Who is to say that we can't perceive more than we think we do? Influences as Mr Feynman says.

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tibbington

I can try! lol

 

When we talk about supernatural we mostly mean occult. Hidden, magic oogly boogly where things are done by some mystical force influenced either by gods or something special inside where magic can at it's most ridiculous have you shooting fire balls from your hands, raise the dead and whisk you off to live with fairy folk.

 

I personally believe that super nature is where natural, explicable things are happening. For example mostly we believe we have five sense but we don't humans there are about 20 amongst which are that we can sense magnetic fields, we are amazing and the universe is incredible and I believe we connect far more than we think we do.

 

 

Who is to say that we can't perceive more than we think we do? Influences as Mr Feynman says.

 

Do you think supernatural & super Nature are again down to the individuals interpretation of a given situation?

 

I tend to think that folk who see ghosts, Aliens, Men in Black, Fairies, orbs are actually linking in with forces that Scientists currently cannot measure, but are things the right brain, other lesser used parts of the mind, the bodies senses, can see & feel if they are in sync with it's surroundings & in balance with the natural world without no outward distractions.

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Xalle

Do you think supernatural & super Nature are again down to the individuals interpretation of a given situation?

 

I tend to think that folk who see ghosts, Aliens, Men in Black, Fairies, orbs are actually linking in with forces that Scientists currently cannot measure, but are things the right brain, other lesser used parts of the mind, the bodies senses, can see & feel if they are in sync with it's surroundings & in balance with the natural world without no outward distractions.

 

I think so yes. I see something magical and I wonder what's going on at the quantum level. Someone else sees something magical and they declare it unknowable or devine.

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Fortuna
I tend to think that folk who see ghosts, Aliens, Men in Black, Fairies, orbs are actually linking in with forces that Scientists currently cannot measure, but are things the right brain, other lesser used parts of the mind, the bodies senses, can see & feel if they are in sync with it's surroundings & in balance with the natural world without no outward distractions.

 

You see....... this is why I cannot understand how the label unimaginative or lacking in wonder is often applied to atheists. I agree with what you suggest Tibbs and find the idea that the human mind and senses can pick up such things, or that so much of the workings of the universe is still hidden from us awe inspiring. There are many wonderful things out there which I personally believe have a knowable explanation, but just not known yet. I find that more exciting and inspiring that believing such phenomena to be supernatural.

 

Mike

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Pomona

The essay I posted in the "Around the World" forum about Roman Agricultural practices is actually well worth a read, especially pages 3 to 13 if you're atheist as it talks about how "supernatural" was perceived in ancient Roman times.

 

There's an interesting bit about Natural Magick which I think would maybe chime with how atheists see the world of magic and I'll repost it here

 

Natural Magic

The third category is natural magic, magic which the practitioners say works not because of supernatural aid but because of innate laws of nature, which the magician is able to manipulate. Magic, in this conception, is not capricious, but a regular andpredictable phenomenon; it is just the operation of natural laws, which may look miraculous but are really ordinary. Richard Gordon describes the development of this conception of magic in the Hellenistic period, when a firm concept of Nature developed and a new scholarly tradition collected accounts of natural marvels, explaining them largely through the idea of sympathies and antipathies, which had existed in earlier periods but was now clearly articulated. The magician, then, is simply a scientist who understands things about nature that others do not, and so can manipulate it to achieve ends which look miraculous to the ignorant. The priority which natural-philosophical knowledge receives in this conception of magic is obvious. Natural magic is a subset of what Matthew Dickie calls learned magic, the tradition of educated philosopher-mages like Anaxilaus, who are first found in the Hellenistic world and who appear in late Republican Rome, people like Nigidius Figulus and Publius Vatinius. These were thepractitioners who produced the body of writings that Gordon terms pseudo-Democritean scholarship (as many works in it were falsely attributed to Democritus, the Presocratic philosopher who was reimagined in the Hellenistic period as a mage). Learned mages blur the line between natural philosophers and magicians; they are educated, scholarly,

and often associated with philosophical and mystical sects like the Pythagoreans, and they claim (or are claimed, in the case of legendary figures) to be producing marvels by natural means.

 

Natural magic removes the need for gods and other supernatural intervention; the magician is able to produce magical effects by their own power. The lack of a need for supernatural help in spells has occasionally been used to separate magic from religion; thus Mauss described the “automatic efficacy” of magic. What is distinctive about the Greco-Roman category of natural magic, as it emerged in the Hellenistic period, is that it is inherently a category of opposition: its proponents insist that things ordinary people regard as magic are not miraculous at all, but are the result of natural processes which

only look miraculous to the uneducated. Natural magicians, by comprehending these astounding effects which look like magic to the credulous masses. Thus we find Apollonius of Tyana insisting that he is able to predict earthquakes and understand the speech of birds not because he is a mage, but because his body is extremely sensitive to vibrations in the air

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Xalle

Wow. Yes. It does chime very strongly with me. :)

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tibbington

You know folks this is why I get a little disheartened when some one makes an miraculous recovery & say "It's an miricle, thank you God". Now I have nothing against the miraculous bit, but I always say give yourself or your friends some of the bloody credit for what happened & not use it of proof of some off world deity watching over us & deciding who to save & who not to.

I think we are capable of so many things that have been wrapped up in a Supernatural wrapper by The Main stream Media, Science & by default of those 2 the majority of the general public & effectlvely been labelled nothing to see here move on, only fruit cakes are interested in that sort of thing.

 

I think in general the Human Race knows little of it's existence other than what they see with their own eyes & with one almighty cop out against human potential, , when something out the ordinary happens say, "Oh God moves in mysterious ways" & then when it happens to someone else, "Oh what's he on & how many she had to drink".

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Maeve

Ohohoho! This is what happens in my world - when I use magic, it is drawing energy from nature (either up from the earth or down from the air) to me/the group, to be manipulated for the purposes of the magic. Only sometimes do I ask the assitance of a god/ess in that process as I do not deem it appropriate to involve deity in relatively mundane or minor magics!

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tibbington

Ohohoho! This is what happens in my world - when I use magic, it is drawing energy from nature (either up from the earth or down from the air) to me/the group, to be manipulated for the purposes of the magic. Only sometimes do I ask the assitance of a god/ess in that process as I do not deem it appropriate to involve deity in relatively mundane or minor magics!

 

I think this what's behind the power of prayer. I think if an individual whether the are praying to an imaginary friend or whipping up magic thru drum, dance & chant , we are making that slightly mind altering jump which enables us to have whatever the desired effect we require. This makes us connect with spirit.

If the belief is strong enough, probably anything can be achieved.

 

On another siituation it's like when a community comes together in grief, although the Vicar always appears on the News with thier platitudes, the people might think they are getting comfort from the off world deity, but really IMO it's the group coming together in a common purpose that brings comfort to the individual. ie we are all in the same suffering boat.

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sinistra

I think so yes. I see something magical and I wonder what's going on at the quantum level. Someone else sees something magical and they declare it unknowable or devine.

 

I like this very much. Simples! respect-054.gif

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