religious freedom

The biggest virtue in religion is religious freedom. The Gods do not force us to worship them. Noone has died because s/he is an atheist. Atheism is perfectly moral. The most important virtue is that we can shape freely our relationship with the gods or the lack of any relationship. Unfortunately there are countries with zero religious freedom. That’s wrong and ugly. For crying out loud, they can kill people for making cartoons out of the god. Or they think that if they kill infidels they will go to heaven and there are suicide attacks. Not to mention some countries ban atheism! People with zero tolerance are the criminals here and not the atheists.

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Theodicy and the Limiting Case

And, in questions of morality, the limiting case all too often involves Nazis….

From a discussion on dietary ethics which got a little off the rails:

I don’t quite understand what you mean by that. Why would Nazis want people to be accountable for their actions regardless of their motives? That’s what I am advocating for, for constant and universal application of moral standards upon all people, for all time. Men, women, young, old, straight, gay, able or disables, it doesn’t matter. What is evil for a homeless man in the streets of Mumbai is evil for a billionaire in LA; what is evil for an active duty marine in Syria is evil for a housewife in Tennessee. It doesn’t matte if your life is very hard, or very easy, you still have to behave according to the same moral guidelines. Don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t rape, don’t terrorize people, don’t promote addictive substances without informing people what you are selling, etc.

Men like Himmler and Eichmann though that the end justified the means; in their mind, it was OK to kill millions of people to create a Utopian society for the German people.

I’m saying that it isn’t. That the ends do not ever justify the means. No goal is noble enough to warrant doing evil to achieve it.

No, you do what’s right, even if it kills you. There’s never a justification for breaking moral laws, regardless of what economic, medical, social, or political motive you might have for doing so.

Perhaps you misunderstood my comment because I used the word “chafe?” I can see how that might lead you to think I am dismissing it as a hindrance, which was not my intention. Rather, I was just pointing out that I find it to be a rather large obstacle to vegetarianism and other strict codes of moral conduct.

If you promote vegeterianism, aesceticism, celibacy, or other such restrictions, people will throw the problem of evil at you

“Why should I be good if it hurts me? I don’t benefit from being good, but I do from being evil. What gives?”

To which my response would be that what gives, is that the world is a crapsack hellhole, and that you should be good even if it hurts you because righteousness is it’s own reward.

Sorry, I wasn’t being precise enough. I was specifically referencing your statement that:

People should be able to decide what they do based on their own values and conscience, not be put under pressure from outside forces.

…and what the expected outcome is if those “values and conscience” are distorted. So if my own values are taken from Hollywood movies like Hooper and I feel that I ought to be able to drive 95 (miles an hour [US], not kph!) after having five or six beers to loosen up, you’re saying that no “outside forces”…including those with a badge and a gun…should be able to pressure me otherwise?

Ender, unless you want to be dropped into a universe with a single rational inhabitant (yourself), there are always going to be “outside forces”. Now, I think that there are ways to manage the interaction of those outside forces. Once such is Federalism; if everything worked properly we would have fifty functional laboratories of democracy which could attune themselves to the needs and desires of their residents. But the big push in recent decades has been to do away with that and make every initiative…from both the Left and the Right…nationwide. If we were truly following the Constitution, Obamacare wouldn’t even have been an issue….so California wants a cradle to grave welfare state and finds a way to make it work, then let others follow their example. Texas goes full-on laissez-faire capitalism? Let’s see if that works.

I’m coming close to putting words in your mouth and I’m sorry, but forty years ago I realized that I was at about the same point and boiled it down to this basic fact: I want to be my own god. I want to do what I want to do and be told it’s all good, but at the same time I want to tell others that you need to do what I want you to do…or else! Obviously, when you boil it down like that, it’s untenable with two or more gods in the same room. So there has to be an ultimate standard.

If you want to continue this conversation we can go deeper into detail about what we each think that ultimate standard is and should be. While it’s true that mine is based in Christian thought, it’s not taken strictly from the writings of either the Old or the New Testament…it’s rooted in my understanding of the heart of the Living God which was, yes, expressed in those writings but, being alive and ever expanding, knows that the challenges and situations we face these days are not the same as those which faced the ancient Hebrews.

One of the principles which I do believe my God holds to is, “government by consent of the governed.” But I also believe that an election is held every night. So long as you choose to wake up in this world, with all its problems and pains, over one of the alternatives in your dreams, you are consenting to His ultimate Sovereignty. I’m not saying that it makes you in any way, shape or form a Christian, Jew, or anything else…but it means that you are subject to being judged by His standards. Again, of course, In My Opinion.

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Deifying Disney?

I stumbled across an interesting website a couple of weeks back called the Cunning Wife, she writes all sorts of fascinating articles about witchcraft and folklore. But the series that really piqued my interest was the one titled ‘Witches Incognito’. Where she reinterprets classic fairy tale princesses as witches themselves, I started on the Cinderella one and I was hooked from there.

This gem can be found here:

Even if you don’t agree with her analysis it certainly is a different way of viewing beloved, old tales.

So this got me thinking, I’ve encountered Pop Culture Pagans who venerate superheroes, Game of Thrones Characters etc. But what about Disney? Or Don Bluth films? Heck, even Moomins or Winnie the Pooh could lend themselves to it.
Working with Jim Henson’s and Brian Froud’s creations could be interesting too. I imagine working with the Mystics and Gelflings from the Dark Crystal could be an interesting and fulfilling path. The thought of communing with Aughra also rather tickles me. ;D

Are you guys out there? Do you work with fictional characters from your childhood? Do you view them as guides or mentors?  Sorry for all the questions, my mind is just a-buzz with activity tonight. XD

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Mean Gods – do deities form cliques?

It’s a question that’s been rattling around in my head for the past couple of days. Well technically it started a few weeks back. I was surfing on Tumblr and came across a post about a ‘dark sisterhood’, my memory is pretty hazy but it was like a sorority for fictional badass chicks who may or may not dabble in the dark arts. If I can find the post I’ll add the link as it’s a pretty interesting read.

So anyway, recently I’ve been dealing with some mental health issues. Which as usual is drawing me to the “darker” side of deity/spirits. And well..they seem to have really latched onto this dark sisterhood notion. I’m picturing them as a totally don’t-mess-with-us girl gang. 8)

I’ve decided not to question it, I’m just gonna roll with the punches. But it got me a-thinking, has anyone else had experiences with deities banding together. Like Odin and Zeus totally bro-ing out or Aphrodite and the Morrigan chatting about boys, while Hestia tuts in the background. Or have you had the opposite, where deities just butt heads? Maybe form a clique and exclude the others?

Inquiring minds wanna know. ;)

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Curious about labelling and confronting/sharing

Hi! I’m new here and, as I said in my introduction I would like to share some of my thoughts/experience and hear what you think.

I’m not new to paganism (on the contrary, I have been ‘pagan’ since I can remember) but I’m new to the pagan ‘social’ world and all his labelling. The following text is a brief explanation of how I live religion and I would be curious to hear if there is someone who share the same thoughts or would like to confront some ideas.

1) I could really stay in touch with nature since my birth, so for me that’s a basic requirement. When I ‘pray’, I do it outside, where I can stay undisturbed in a natural environment.

2) I don’t follow any kind of specific pantheon. I recognise stories and gods repeat themselves in time and space with different names and details in art and traditions. We divided them in two sexes, because of our human nature. I see them as an effort to comprehend the universe and his nature plus, specifically, our (I mean of the earth) nature. Besides this, I respect the old traditions and legends from here and I follow them if I can. Because of where I live I’m more involved with the German/Nordic pantheon, so I will name a particular god/goddess when I’m referring to a specific attribute linked to him/her, but I’ll not choose a specific time (e.g. only the medieval tradition or only the Bronze Age etc.,) and I’m not really referring to THIS god or goddess, like a living person but only to the specific tradition linked to him/her.

3) I follow the earthly festivities: equinox+solstices, moon cycles plus the traditional festivities of the place I was born (one in February, one the first days of May, 31 October, first days of December). I accept that probably this festivities are derived from the Neolithic times and more ancient festivities (connected to the hunters and gatherers world) are probably lost (plus they probably changed in the past according to the climate), but I think it’s ok because this dates are still connected to our way of living.
That brings me to…

4) I think a religion should evolve with the people that practice it. Traditions should be remembered and sometimes can remain alive and be respected, with the awareness that they are no longer needed or did change. I believe a religion should serve and follow the way of living of its people and I think it has always been like that in the long time. That brings me to:

5) I’ve always had a spontaneous approach, I believe rites have been so different during the history of mankind that I don’t give so much importance to rigid symbols and rites (I mean, each to their own: I’ve been born in a specific tradition and place on earth and I’ll use specific acts and symbols, other will use other symbols), the basic meaning is what’s important. Personally I use meditation and ‘nature-feeling’ as personal rites (I believe peoples have different ‘gifts’, so everyone will feel, pray, be religious in his own way according to his gifts and nature) and more mainstream locally rites for festivities and praying.

6) Moral: my grandmother has always thought to me that “my freedom begins where yours ends” and I think that’s a good way of behaving, although I think everyone deserves to take what is needed to live good and if one does not, it is his fault. I think be good and kind with others will set positive mood in circle but I believe in self preservation too (could be violent if needed).

Recently I had occasion to study some religious prehistoric European art and it re-sparked my curiosity about all the different acts possible to ‘be religious’ and, as I’m learning recently reading forums, all the different labels that exists to differentiate them. I find this forum very interesting because it contains many different approaches to paganism and I would be very curious to study them!

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Alternative gifts

Evening all,

I was flicking through a magazine just now and I came across an advert for the Woodland Trust’s Christmas presents. One of which is woodland adoption, which got me thinking about alternative gifts for various celebrations.

I think animal/woodland adoption is a great gift for nature lovers. As you can dedicate woodland to those who have passed it could be a great way to venerate your ancestors as well as nature deities.

Animal adoption or donation to animal charities could also be a great way to honour a deity you work with. Again, it makes a lovely gift for both adults and children. By choosing to adopt an animal that is sacred to that deity it could be a great way to bond with them. Donating to shelters or sponsoring children is another way that we can both practically help others and honour a related deity. Win-win. ;D

These thoughts have been buzzing around in my head for quite some time and I only got up the courage to post it when I saw the ‘All Talk No Action’ thread.

I don’t want to sound sanctimonious or preachy. Gods know, I fall short on such actions. It’s all well and good burning incense and offering prayers to my Forest Spirit. But I feel them looking down at me with crossed arms thinking ‘you can do more, y’know’.

And they’re totally right. I just need to get off my holier-than-thou backside and bloody do it.

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New & curious

Hi! I’m new here. I registered because I would like to share some of my thoughts with people who are interested in discussing religion/paganism.

Something about me:
English is not my mother tongue, so please accept my apologies for any present or future mistakes, I’m trying to get better :)

I’m pagan since I can remember, although I grew up in an European christian convent. My house was in the middle of a forest, so I could really stay in touch with nature since my birth, until my twenties, when I’ve had to move to the city (and it still hurts). I’ve always had a ‘natural’/’prehistoric’/’free’ approach to religiousness (is that a word? well, I hope you understand what I mean) and I don’t follow any kind of specific pantheon (a recognise stories and gods repeat themselves in time and space with different names and details in art and traditions).
Since I was a kid I’ve always been interested in pagan religions and history/archaeology in general, so I studied to become an archaeologist. Recently I had occasion to study some religious prehistoric European art and it re-sparked my curiosity about all the different acts possible to ‘be religious’ and, as I’m learning recently reading forums, all the different labels that exists to differentiate them. I’ll be explaining myself better when I post my direct question.

thank you :)

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A New Definition for the Kilogram

It looks like after this week the accepted SI unit of mass, the last fundamental unit of measure to be defined by a physical artifact, will be redefined in terms of fundamental constants of physical theory.


The kilogram is dead; long live the kilogram

Nearly every measurement of weight you’ve ever made, from peeking at your bathroom scale to measuring out flour for a recipe, can be traced back to just a single object: a metal kilogram made of platinum and iridium that resides under lock and key in an underground vault in Paris. It’s called the International Prototype Kilogram, or IPK, and since its creation in 1889 it has been the standard by which the world’s weights are defined. But not for much longer.

That one chunk of platinum and iridium has defined the kilogram for over a century. This is not an event that happens every day….

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