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atky90

opinion

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atky90

Belief or religion for Paganism?

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Moonsmith

There was a time when I would have ducked behind the sofa and watched the war here  on UKP when that question was asked.

The answer is "both".

Paganism is a very wide umbrella term.  It covers many different groupings and sub groupings some of which are religions and many of which are not.  It also covers a huge number of individuals working alone or in small groups.  Some of those individuals align their thinking with one of the groups; some select from more than one group but the majority are not aligned with any group, they are just Pagans.  Some of these individuals will consider themselves to be religious, most will not.

There was once a pole here to canvass opinion - which was pretty stupid as the result wouldn't influence anyones opinion.  Two thirds of UKP voted "Not a Religion",  one third knew that the majority were wrong.

As someone who has had a religion in some depth, I am certain that what I have now is not a religion in any meaningful sense of the word  🙂  That doesn't stop anyone else from being a religious Pagan if they choose.

Hope that helps.☂️

[Mods - Should this be in General Paganism or is it classified as a baroom brawl in the snug as it used to be 🙂 ]

I'd like to see it in Starter's Orders so everyone who enquires can see it.

Edited by Moonsmith

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Ember Autumn Rose

*just an opinion, a perspective, not necessarily fact at all*

I agree on the answer of "both", and perhaps a bit of "not sure" too. It really does come down to who you ask. There is so much variation within the paths of Paganism, I doubt there are very many who follow the same "carbon copied" paths.

For some, their way of practising might be considered to be quite "religious" in nature, e.g.: certain shared deities, shared ethics and principles, shared practices, shared rituals, working within groups of similar-minded people, and doing things a certain way. Similar, not the same - pagans are human, and we all differ slightly (even when we try to match up) :laugh:

In my experience, religion appears to be quite structured, and often a shared experience with others. Some Pagans may not see their beliefs in such a way, nor may they feel they share enough similar thoughts with others. Perhaps too dissimilar to work with others, and so would prefer solitary work... though there are plenty of solitary pagans who would consider themselves religious too.

Some may link religion to deity - some Pagans vehemently respect and work with deity, but there are plenty of Pagans who have an atheistic perspective...

I suppose it comes down to how you perceive religion and belief too - I don't believe the two are so black and white. Surely one must have belief/faith/trust to also follow a religion with what might be thought of as little definitive proof?

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Ellinas

Semantics.

Does it matter?

I don't regard myself as particularly religious, but the divide between the terms is not entirely neat.  If I am discussing beliefs I may well speak from a "religious" point of view meaning nothing more than that this is to do with a belief system.

I happen to regard certain philosophies as nearer to being a religion than my own position - even where those philosophies are either atheistic or neutral.  LaVeyan Satanism claims to be both atheistic and a religion.

So, I would say:

Either, neither or both.  Whatever floats your boat.

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Pomona

moving to Starters Orders 🙂

 

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Freydis

Both.  My religion is Heathenism, and that's the basis of my beliefs.  

I do, however, have some beliefs that are not connected to my religion.  Like "marmite is a revolting substance fit only for repelling slugs".  Oh no - hang on a minute - that's a fact. :tongue:  

 

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Moonsmith

Pure Fact and Absolute Truth are such vague terms aren't they?

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Reverend Nick

Ah, saints (or evolutionary process) preserve us from pedants to whom this kind of thing really matters. We’ve all encountered them: “It’s not Spaghetti Junction - It’s the Gravelly Hill Interchange.” 

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Ellinas
On 8/3/2018 at 12:28 AM, Moonsmith said:

Pure Fact and Absolute Truth are such vague terms aren't they?

Absolutely.

 

5 hours ago, Reverend Nick said:

Ah, saints (or evolutionary process) preserve us from pedants to whom this kind of thing really matters. We’ve all encountered them: “It’s not Spaghetti Junction - It’s the Gravelly Hill Interchange.” 

Absolutely.

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atky90

Thank you for your answers, Even though some didn't really answer lol

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Jackal Girl

Both/neither. For example, as far as I understand it, Wicca is a Pagan religion. However, there might be Wiccans out there who identify as atheists.

I'm a witch, but not Wiccan. I don't have to have any belief in anything at all (even magic!). I describe myself as an atheist but I commune with deities...

So much about Paganism just doesn't fit neatly into boxes. It was years before I figured that out.

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hedgerose
On 7/29/2018 at 1:50 PM, Moonsmith said:

 

There was once a pole here to canvass opinion - which was pretty stupid as the result wouldn't influence anyones opinion.  Two thirds of UKP voted "Not a Religion",  one third knew that the majority were wrong.

 

I remember that poll, MS. I was one of the 3rd.  My experience at that time had been mainly coven based at that point, and my training had been couched in those terms. Although with the benefit of hindsight, I had espoused what I regard as core pagan beliefs even from my teens, when I was nominally a Christian. Perhaps I still retained enough reflexive  habit of " god-fearing" to  reason to myself that although I had rejected and changed my former indoctrination, I still retained the need for Deity.

Now, I'm less sure. My concept of deity defies my attempts to grasp. I have called upon Deity, several in fact, from different pantheons over the past 30-whatever years. But what was answering me? I have no idea. 

Is Deity a higher power, or a thoughtform, or what? I sometimes find the Kabala Tree of Life diagram helps imagine levels of energy travelling from the Source, between the pillars of force and form, down to the level just beyond ours a useful visualisation and subject for meditation . It doesn't answer the question, though, does it? I may find out, after I fall off my perch. Or not. Either way, I am uncertain whether my beliefs, which are continually evolving, qualify any more as religion. 

 

See the source image

 

 

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Earthdragon
4 hours ago, hedgerose said:

But what was answering me? I have no idea. 

How did they answer? And did you ask them what they were?

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Moonsmith

Oh dear - yes it was a poll not a pole😄

I am unapologetically dyslexic and trying to discipline my brain by not using a checker.  An idea that cannot work.

Now, I am a Theistic Pantheist.  This statement is tautological in that it says the same thing twice but the qualification is necessary.  These days most Pantheists claim to be atheist which is of course oxymoronic.  I refer to the universe as deity in the basis of the duck theory.  If it creates like a deity, nurtures like a deity and smites like a deity then it is probably a deity.  I am unable to distinguish between the accepted and very varied descriptions of deity and my understanding of the universe.  One of the objections raised here about my view is that it lacks any form of hierarchy.  This is because it is the nature of "everything" that there is nothing else😄 Therefore no hierarchy, no worship (statement of worth) and no subjugation is meaningful.  Just deity because that is a word that we use in  the English language that describes this state of being.

I consider myself spiritual but then I see spirituality as a projected onto experience by myself.  This is no less effecting nor valuable an experience as that sensed by those who see spirituality as having some external origin.

.... but this is just me.

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Moonsmith

Double posting to prevent text lookieng intimidating.  Well some of them scare me!

You posted an illustration of the tree of life.  (This may also be of interest to anyone interested in numerology).  The tree originates with a culture that did not use zero.  Even since the adoption of zero the number one has been considered undefinable other than by itself.  "One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so."  All numbers were thought to derive from it.

A fairly recent paper has derived unity from zero without using One.

Would replacing Kether by zero affect your belief?  Your religion? Your philosophy?

My feeling is that if Paganism is a religion then it is less likely to learn than if it is a belief.  I could not be part of anything that throttled learning.

Learning and my Paganism go hand in hand.

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Guest Usk
3 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

I refer to the universe as deity in the basis of the duck theory.  If it creates like a deity, nurtures like a deity and smites like a deity then it is probably a deity.

🤣 Thanks, I needed that.

Edited by Usk
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Guest Usk
3 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

You posted an illustration of the tree of life.  (This may also be of interest to anyone interested in numerology).  The tree originates with a culture that did not use zero.  Even since the adoption of zero the number one has been considered undefinable other than by itself.  "One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so."  All numbers were thought to derive from it

I have a couple of questions if that's okay?  Do you you mean the Sumerians?  I read that a guy called Robert Kaplan said there was an earlier symbol made of angled wedges but others did not agree with him.

Sorry, I was going to ask where "One is one and all.." quote came from and then decided not to be lazy and went and found Green grow the rushes... 🙂

 

4 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

A fairly recent paper has derived unity from zero without using One.

Where could I find that please? Thanks.

 

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Guest Usk

Oooops double post.  Is there any way of deleting these kinds of mistakes?  May as well learn now.🙂

Edited by Usk
double post

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Moonsmith

I was unaware of a Sumerian zero.

Just a thought - is there a difference between having a numerical zero and having an expression for "nothing there"?

Hang on - I'll look for the derivation of "1".  It involves set theory if I remember correctly.  I may get chucked out of the Valley before I reach it.  

(pause)

[gap]

Oh - It's much older than I thought -1939.

The easiest way to access it is in (Yet another🙄 NS publication) called "Nothing." It is just a short section of a very readable book.  It appears in a discussion of mathematical zero.  There is VERY much more in the book - a lot about health, vacuum and placebo.  All articles that have appeared in the weekly mag.

If you want source then it's somewhere under the group pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki but I wouldn't go there without aspirin in your survival kit.

 

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Guest Usk

Sorry I meant that zero was supposed to have been invented/created in Babylonia (or India).  I think the following referres to Sumeria but I have not read the book...

"Robert Kaplan, author of "The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero," suggests that an ancestor to the placeholder zero may have been a pair of angled wedges used to represent an empty number column. However, Charles Seife, author of "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea," disagrees that the wedges represented a placeholder."

Which group do I look for Nicolas Bourbaki in?  Do you mean on here?  Hang on I can just go and look. 🙄

Nope I guess you mean somewhere else...

Edited by Usk
Quick correction

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hedgerose
13 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

How did they answer? And did you ask them what they were?

Sorry to be vague, but I can only reply that it "felt" as though someone? something? was aware of proceedings, and the build up of energy suddenly being released. I have occasionally, as HPs participated in the ritual of Drawing Down the Moon (and similar rituals). I can't explain the effects, I can't even describe it, but I was convinced that something "other" and very powerful was involved. 

I didn't ask who it was, or question the experience. I believed I was contacting a specific deity, and the results were as I had learned to anticipate. I may have been in some form of altered consciousness. or I might be imagining it all, but if so it was a mass hallucination that affected the 6 or so of us involved. 

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hedgerose
11 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

 

You posted an illustration of the tree of life.  (This may also be of interest to anyone interested in numerology).  The tree originates with a culture that did not use zero.  Even since the adoption of zero the number one has been considered undefinable other than by itself.  "One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so."  All numbers were thought to derive from it.

A fairly recent paper has derived unity from zero without using One.

Would replacing Kether by zero affect your belief?  Your religion? Your philosophy?

 

I did not know that. Maths is not my forte. The diagram - which I am probably doing a grave disservice to - helps me to visualise and understand the spiritual realms. I doubt very much that my understanding is the same as was intended when it was first devised. It makes a sort of sense to me, and for my purposes, that is good enough.

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Moonsmith
12 minutes ago, hedgerose said:

It makes a sort of sense to me, and for my purposes, that is good enough.

... yes,  that really is all that matters.  Don't worry, I've said many many times that I do not believe that any two people believe the same thing.  By the same token: I do not believe that any two people see or hear the same thing, nor do they have exactly the same interpretation.

My point was more about the relative reluctance of religion to change with learning when new knowledge appears.  When my thinking diverged with that of Christianity I ...... Well let me be fair, I was drifting anyway but it speeded the process. 

I will never take up religion again.  I enjoy thinking far to much and hate the idea of pressing my new learning into a pre-existing mould.

My Paganism is not a religion.  I've had one of those so I know!

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Moonsmith
6 hours ago, Usk said:

Which group do I look for Nicolas Bourbaki in?  Do you mean on here?  Hang on I can just go and look. 🙄

Oh dear, I'm having problems:

Nicolas Bourbanki the pseudonym of a group of French mathematicians in the 1930's.

I've tried to find a link to Bourbanki's proof of 1 but it goes back to the Bourbanki after whom the group was named.

The annoying thing is that the derivation is set out very simply in the New Scientist paperback.  Done and dusted in a couple of pages.  

If you understand the very basics of set theory I could show the derivation here.  I'd need to find a "Theta" symbol or adopt an equivalent.  Don't let that worry you - I promise that it is my level of explanation - very basic.

Of course it is off topic and will bore the arse off most people but I was very impressed as it seemed to change the Caballah and undermine numerology. Of course it hasn't 😄

O this will do for theta.

θ or this😄

Edited by Moonsmith
for experimental theta.

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Guest Usk

Ah Bourbaki without an 'n'.  That will teach me to not rely on cut and paste.  I should have typed it in from scratch.  

No MS you are probably at genius level in maths compared to me.  I did get a grade 3 CSE, but I think they let me have that because I was 'special'. 😀

In these days of hyper political correctness you apparently are supposed to 'validate' or 'own' the words for your oppression (whatever that means). 😶  So I claim 'special', 'autistic' 'working class' and definitely 'common as muck' 😃

I digress.

 

I have just downloaded this..Elements of the History of Mathematics  Is there a specific part in this doc which might help me a little (lot:) as there are many references to zero? 😀

Thanks.

 

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Moonsmith

Hmmmmm.

Get through The History of Mathematics and you will know more about maths than I do.

By rights we are about to get modded for diverting this topic but:

I don't know the book but start with - Naught is a number - if it's in there.

I'll (eventually) type out the derivation in my blog.

Back to OP😄🙄🙄

We have had some brave attempts to define religion so that it encompassed all the Pagan paths.  The problem is that if you used any of them then your local football fan club, any military regiment and the WI become religions.

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Ellinas
23 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

O this will do for theta.

No it won't.  It's a variant of omega.

If you ever need something from the Greek alphabet, just ask.  I have the Greek keyboard installed.

Definitions of religion are rather like definitions within a religion - as wide, restrictive, inflexible or bendable as the religious individual wants them to be at any given time.

Pardon my cynicism.

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Moonsmith
14 minutes ago, Ellinas said:

Pardon my cynicism.

What??????  Every time?????

May I take out an annual subscription on Diogenes birthday.

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Ellinas

My son has a copy of the saying of Diogenes.  For entertainment, he and his friend read them out loud to each other in order to see who laughs first.

I have a smaller collection around here somewhere.  They are hilarious.

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Earthdragon
14 hours ago, Usk said:

 

I have just downloaded this..Elements of the History of Mathematics  Is there a specific part in this doc which might help me a little (lot:) as there are many references to zero? 😀

I studied through a maths degree course and can't remember any of the lecturers exploring the origin of zero. Let me know if your search reveals anything interesting?

 

On 7/25/2020 at 10:50 PM, Moonsmith said:

My point was more about the relative reluctance of religion to change with learning when new knowledge appears.  

In my view this is true of history of science too. There is a long list of ground breaking scientists who were oppressed by establishment science of their day.

Nowadays what we might call  non-mechanistic cause and effect is something which some scientists are focussing on and which has been shown to be intrinsic to certain accepted aspects of scientific observation. However the vast majority of the  science that we, as joe public, are aware of doesn't incorporate any consideration of non-mechanistic qualities.

14 hours ago, Usk said:

because I was 'special'. 😀

In these days of hyper political correctness you apparently are supposed to 'validate' or 'own' the words for your oppression (whatever that means). 😶  So I claim 'special', 'autistic' 'working class' and definitely 'common as muck' 😃

'Bearded scruff' for me 😄

As to belief or religion. I can relate to the idea of Druidism being a religion that is nested within a person's core truth/faith/framework of spirituality etc. And that is a way I agree with and  complement your view , Moonsmith, as most religions seem to require the converse , that individual's core truth must nest within the religion and that is too much like being pressed into a mould.

We don't use require people in our Druidic group to believe in anything as such. We practice our methods, perform our rituals, contemplate meaning within story and poetry it's experiential as opposed to belief based. If it works that's good if it doesn't find something else...there are many paths. 

I'm away for a couple of weeks folks. Have fun and I'll hopefully see you in August ✌️

Edited by Earthdragon
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