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Author Topic: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?  (Read 2251 times)

Darkhawk

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2014, 05:06:13 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139860
Maybe I am just being a purist and going under the assumption that if you pick something you should stick with it in its' purest form.

 
Don't know about the Sumerians, but I do know that the Norse and the Greeks lacked a unified, codified conception of an afterlife shared by all people; speaking from my own religious background, I also know that the Egyptians did not have a single unified conception thereof.

So I do wonder which model is the "pure" one, since any pretension of purity would have to be something made up by a modern person.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Jack

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2014, 05:11:08 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139860
I am not creating a false dichotomy here, you are. You are assuming I deny reincarnation when I said that every sort of afterlife is plausible.


No, I'm responding to what you actually said, which is "reject the afterlife in favor of annihilation or reincarnation." If you are rejecting one thing in favor of another thing, the implication is that those are two different things. If this was not what you meant, you may wish to reconsider your wording there.

Also, I am creating no dichotomy, by definition, as I am including reincarnation under the forms of afterlife.

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I am only interested in why so many pagans choose reincarnation over the more typicall received afterlife supported by the origin of the pagan practice.
I am fairly certain that Nordics, Sumerians, nor Greeks(mostly) associated the concept of reincarnation as an afterlife nor did many know of it.


Considering that, at least in the case of us "Nordics," all we have is a handful of documents, half of which were written after Christianization, and some burial sites, which leaves a a lot of room for guesswork, to cover hundreds of years and half of Northern Europe, I think the idea of pure adherence to the lore is incredibly limiting.

I can't tell you why some other Heathenesque folks believe in reincarnation, though I've seen interpretations in which souls leave Hel and reincarnate, often along family lines. (Though really, if you're not aiming for Valhalla or Folkvangr, reincarnation would be an improvement.)

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Maybe I am just being a purist and going under the assumption that if you pick something you should stick with it in its' purest form. I am not a great eclectic :ashamed: I admit


I tend to be open to revising my beliefs based on my experiences. It's pretty awesome.
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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2014, 05:15:05 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139860
I am not creating a false dichotomy here, you are. You are assuming I deny reincarnation when I said that every sort of afterlife is plausible. I am only interested in why so many pagans choose reincarnation over the more typicall received afterlife supported by the origin of the pagan practice.
I am fairly certain that Nordics, Sumerians, nor Greeks(mostly) associated the concept of reincarnation as an afterlife nor did many know of it.

Maybe I am just being a purist and going under the assumption that if you pick something you should stick with it in its' purest form. I am not a great eclectic :ashamed: I admit

Gotta say, the idea that whatever mess we make of this world in this life we have to deal with upon reincarnation in the next life is a lot more meaningful to me that some deific boogeyman in the corner.  Next life will deal with itself.  My religion is about this one.

Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2014, 05:19:09 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;139817
As a (sort of) Heathen, the idea of “divine retribution” is not something to be avoided, rejected or ignored. It is fundamentally incompatible with the basic worldview.

Firstly, Heathenry contains a strong focus on this life and meeting your obligations and responsibilities to those who have obligations and responsibilities towards you. Living to achieve a specific goal or state in the afterlife is simply not relevant.


Divine retribution and heathenry go hand in hand although that depends on your idea of heathen. Our ancient ancestors held the concept of divine retribution far before Christianity and I am not even concerned with such a thing.
I am not familiar with old Germanic folk religion but that is because I am not interested in European 'Paganism' in the slightest bit(no offense). It is just easy for me to focus my time on one specific cultural background I am familiar with.

Also I never claimed that anyone should focus on the afterlife and the rewards of it. I have been a Muslim in the past and I seriously find this idea negative and dangerous. You are asserting ideals that are not even relevant to me, most of which I am firmly against actually.

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Secondly, the role of deities is vastly different for Heathens than it is in Abrahmic religions. Deities are not considered to be omnipotent, omniscient, or omnibenevolent, or even necessarily that concerned with human affairs. “Divine retribution” for poor moral conduct would be a rather strange idea, divine retribution for “incorrect theological beliefs” would be incomprehensible.


Never mentioned a word that even implied 'omni-anything'. Also you must define the word heathen as I am thinking of it in a very colloquial sense and not sure how you are using it.

I also never claimed divine retribution for incorrect beliefs either. I specifically mentioned that divine retribution is only to be used when the worshiper of a deity breaks the trust or standards of the god her worships.

Are you saying you worship something entirely amoral and without standards?

This only applies for me but I have always viewed that when one worships a deity there must be guidelines between the worshiper and the deity as all pagan cultures have had int he past. This is especially relevant for someone interested in Semitic polytheism.

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Thirdly, I think I would be reasonably accurate to say that ancestors rather than Gods are the beings that are most important in your life/afterlife. Rather than “divine retribution”, one would be seeking to avoid living a life that would leave behind a reputation for dishonesty, cowardice, sloth, etc.


You just denied what I said that provided support for what I said :confused:. What on earth do you think divine retribution is?

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To add the idea of “divine retribution” to Heathenry would actually be the exact process of “reforming it into something it never was”, specifically by grafting on Abrahmic ideas of punishment.

 
Oh you know very little. Must I seriously start pulling out the Sumerian stories of old along with the Kemitic?

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Your path is far more deity-centric than mine. My obligations are to my family and ancestors. If a Gods “whims” required me to violate those obligations than that would be the end of my relationship with that particular deity.

 
Well you are a Germanic pagan and I am very familiar with concepts such as ancestor worship in Europe. But what is the relevance of god for you then? You asserted that because I believe god is relevant to paganism or any religion it is "deity-centric". This is like accusing a car mechanic on focusing on cars to much.

I never denounced importance on the family and social interactions. I have not even mentioned them because they are not relevant to the topic.

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2014, 05:22:17 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
Divine retribution and heathenry go hand in hand although that depends on your idea of heathen. Our ancient ancestors held the concept of divine retribution far before Christianity and I am not even concerned with such a thing.
I am not familiar with old Germanic folk religion but that is because I am not interested in European 'Paganism' in the slightest bit(no offense). It is just easy for me to focus my time on one specific cultural background I am familiar with.

 
Do you think you're being perhaps a bit prescriptive about Germanic beliefs for someone who states your unfamiliarity with it?
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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2014, 05:33:40 pm »
Quote from: Jack;139864
No, I'm responding to what you actually said, which is "reject the afterlife in favor of annihilation or reincarnation." If you are rejecting one thing in favor of another thing, the implication is that those are two different things. If this was not what you meant, you may wish to reconsider your wording there.


You left out a veyr important part....

Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah
So why do some of you reject the afterlife in favor of annihilation or reincarnation?

I am asking a question on why many reject the concept of living after death in favor of reincarnation.
I never made a statement nor a recommendation. When I say afterlife I mean living after death not dying and coming back to live. I am an emphatic literalist with words by the way because when people tend to lie in arguments they use semantical arguments so I have made a habit of using words very literally.

Sorry if that usage of the word bothers you :)

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Also, I am creating no dichotomy, by definition, as I am including reincarnation under the forms of afterlife.


Sorry about that. It is just my usage of the word it seems.

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Considering that, at least in the case of us "Nordics," all we have is a handful of documents, half of which were written after Christianization, and some burial sites, which leaves a a lot of room for guesswork, to cover hundreds of years and half of Northern Europe, I think the idea of pure adherence to the lore is incredibly limiting.


I am not saying pure adherence to anything is recommended, I am just saying that the excessive need to swap out the things you like or dislike is sort of intellectually dishonest.
When I was a Muslim there was a lot of arguments on the whole "Neo Pagan and New Age Movements". Many shuyuh liked to rant against such people because it seemed like a cop out.

I am not saying it is but I am saying that pagans should be careful of criticizing religions like Christianity or Islam considering that 80% of their theology is a copy of Hellenic theology and Semitic theology.

There are extensive records on pre-Abrahamic religions I may add. al-Kitab al-Asnam is just one of my favorites.

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I can't tell you why some other Heathenesque folks believe in reincarnation, though I've seen interpretations in which souls leave Hel and reincarnate, often along family lines. (Though really, if you're not aiming for Valhalla or Folkvangr, reincarnation would be an improvement.)


Depends on how you look at it. I myself have associated with more religions and focused on interfaith discussion throughout my life so making a compare and contrast between religions is sort of a hobby of mine. I was about 3 minutes away from being a Daw'ah preacher before I quit Islam I may add ;) .

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I tend to be open to revising my beliefs based on my experiences. It's pretty awesome.


Good! Means I can convert you to Googlism......for Google is the only almighty search engine. ;)

Nothing wrong with being open to change it is just not good to be quick to change nor to slow. When it comes to theological matters I recommend people to be like lukewarm oatmeal.

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2014, 05:34:16 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139860
Maybe I am just being a purist and going under the assumption that if you pick something you should stick with it in its' purest form. I am not a great eclectic :ashamed: I admit


I'm inclined to agree with you on that point. If you scour the records, you can justify a wide variety of opinions for any reconstructionist faith. After all, think of the variety of views in contemporary Islam, Judaism, and Christianity! I think a lot of people reconstruct in opposition to a religion they've rejected and so don't necessarily get the best or even the commonest opinion. When an Hellenic pagan says "I don't believe that deities are necessarily all-good and all-knowing", I say "that's not what Plato, Plutarch, or the Emperor Julian would have said."

As for your original point, I'm never too happy about the idea of God punishing people. But, as many Hellenes said, we are quite capable of punishing ourselves. The extent to which we can participate in the divine must depend on how closely we approach it. If we make ourselves bad enough, we wouldn't be able to perceive God at all.

As for reincarnation, I'd agree that the idea was far less common in the past. I see no evidence for it in Mesopotamia, Canaan, or Egypt. The concept is late in Greece. It was one of the points the Chinese found objectionable in Buddhism, and it's been very much played down there.
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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2014, 05:37:26 pm »
Quote from: Jack;139869
Do you think you're being perhaps a bit prescriptive about Germanic beliefs for someone who states your unfamiliarity with it?

 
This is why I am asking for the definition of heathen because it has been used as an exclusive European term in reference to Nordics and Germanics. This is why I asked if the colloquial sense of the word is being used.
Semantics is always a pain but it is necessary

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2014, 05:48:05 pm »
Quote from: DavidMcCann;139871
I'm inclined to agree with you on that point. If you scour the records, you can justify a wide variety of opinions for any reconstructionist faith. After all, think of the variety of views in contemporary Islam, Judaism, and Christianity! I think a lot of people reconstruct in opposition to a religion they've rejected and so don't necessarily get the best or even the commonest opinion. When an Hellenic pagan says "I don't believe that deities are necessarily all-good and all-knowing", I say "that's not what Plato, Plutarch, or the Emperor Julian would have said."

As for your original point, I'm never too happy about the idea of God punishing people. But, as many Hellenes said, we are quite capable of punishing ourselves. The extent to which we can participate in the divine must depend on how closely we approach it. If we make ourselves bad enough, we wouldn't be able to perceive God at all.

As for reincarnation, I'd agree that the idea was far less common in the past. I see no evidence for it in Mesopotamia, Canaan, or Egypt. The concept is late in Greece. It was one of the points the Chinese found objectionable in Buddhism, and it's been very much played down there.

 
I am not saying eclecticism is wrong it is just that I feel as if I am being intellectually dishonest if I try to incorporate an outside influence into something.
More of a habit than a belief but it is obvious for me nonetheless. I do not criticize people on this but I do question their justifications for it.

Also when I say divine retribution I am actually using it in an Islamic sense, I am sorry but this cannot be helped. Spent WAY too much time as a Muslim it will take an exorcism to get me to stop behaving like one regardless of my religious identity.
Divine retribution is more a contract type thing in Islam that references towards the idea of ibadah. When one becomes a worshiper of a deity they abide by that deities standards. If you lived in a communist country you abide by communist norms and if you lived in a democratic society you abide by those norms. I have always held the view that you just do not get up and accept a god and just do as you wish. Each and every god throughout history has his/her's own standards rules and methods of worship and ethics etc.
You establish the relationship you want with that deity like a contract and keep it. It is a form of honesty essentially. What if I find benefit in praying to a god for something and I become lazy and stop doing my part of the job?

I view paganism as being more open because you can establish the standards with a deity however you wish to while in almost every other religions(Hinduism is excluded) you cannot. What the book says is what the deity permits.

I apply solipsism to god always so it is a very individual and personal experience void of interference.

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2014, 05:51:49 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139870
I am asking a question on why many reject the concept of living after death in favor of reincarnation.
I never made a statement nor a recommendation. When I say afterlife I mean living after death not dying and coming back to live. I am an emphatic literalist with words by the way because when people tend to lie in arguments they use semantical arguments so I have made a habit of using words very literally.


That is not the definition of afterlife, though. One definition of an afterlife is the realms where one is said to go after death (ie. Purgatory, Hel or the Elysian Fields) and another definition is the entire concept of life after death.

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Sorry if that usage of the word bothers you :)


If you want to call me a liar, you could at least have the decency to point out what thing I am lying about. I'm not bothered so much as I am bewildered that one who describes himself as a literalist about definitions doesn't seem to know the definitions of either dichotomy or afterlife.

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There are extensive records on pre-Abrahamic religions I may add. al-Kitab al-Asnam is just one of my favorites.


That's lovely for you and all but not really relevant when discussing what the "pure" form of a religion we have very few records of might be.

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Depends on how you look at it. I myself have associated with more religions and focused on interfaith discussion throughout my life so making a compare and contrast between religions is sort of a hobby of mine. I was about 3 minutes away from being a Daw'ah preacher before I quit Islam I may add ;) .


I don't usually mention this in arguments but since you brought it up, I'm also quite fond of studying religion! I actually have a BA in comparative religion, which means I spent four years writing papers about false religious dichotomies and comparing mythologies and concepts across religions. ;) Looks like we have something in common!

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Good! Means I can convert you to Googlism......for Google is the only almighty search engine. ;)


Sorry, I am one of those heretical DuckDuckGo followers! Free yourself from the shackles of monosearchism!

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Nothing wrong with being open to change it is just not good to be quick to change nor to slow. When it comes to theological matters I recommend people to be like lukewarm oatmeal.

 
Though you really have no idea how long anyone you're talking to has been working through this stuff and how long our beliefs have been steaming in warm milk.
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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2014, 05:53:21 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139873
This is why I am asking for the definition of heathen because it has been used as an exclusive European term in reference to Nordics and Germanics. This is why I asked if the colloquial sense of the word is being used.
Semantics is always a pain but it is necessary

 
Yes, you'll find that in pagan spaces, Heathen is used to mean something along the like of "Germanic Neopagan" or the like. Specialized vocabulary and all.
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Megatherium

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2014, 06:36:15 pm »
Firstly, there appears to be a lack of understanding regarding how “heathen” is being used. When I use Heathen in this thread, I am referring to the ancient religious practices of the germanic-speaking peoples and their modern revival. I am making no claim to speak for any other tradition.

Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
Divine retribution and heathenry go hand in hand although that depends on your idea of heathen.


I really think you need to clarify what you mean by “heathen”. If you are referring to pre-christian Germanic religion, than this statement is false. If you are referring to all Western Eurasian/North African traditions that were displaced by Islam and Christianity, then you are making rather large generalizations that do not describe a large number of traditions within the region. If you are referring to the pre-Abrahmic traditions of the various Afro-Asiatic speaking peoples (Semitic) than that is irrelevant to me as I do not practice such traditions.


Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
Also I never claimed that anyone should focus on the afterlife and the rewards of it.


And I never claimed that you did. I simply stated that such an idea is not relevant to Heathenry (the germanic kind). The same goes for your assertions that you did not mention omni-whatever deities, retribution for theologically incorrect beliefs, etc. I am contasting my beliefs with some of the commonly-held beliefs of some Abrahmic monotheists. I made no mention of you or your beliefs anywhere in my post.


Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
Are you saying you worship something entirely amoral and without standards?


I am saying that although I am a polytheist, deities are not the main focus of my spiritual life. Many Heathens (again, the Germanic kind) do not see deities as intensely involved or interested in the lives of their worshippers. I do not expect poor moral conduct on my behalf would be any more likely to bring down the wrath of the Gods than poor moral conduct by the sparrows at my bird feeder would lead to me seeking to blast them out of the sky.

However, poor moral conduct on my part would be a disgrace to my family and ancestors - which is a much more important to me than the approval or disapproval of any deity.


Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
You just denied what I said that provided support for what I said :confused:. What on earth do you think divine retribution is?


Something that involves deities. Leaving behind a poor reputation among my family members does not involve deities.

 
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
Oh you know very little. Must I seriously start pulling out the Sumerian stories of old along with the Kemitic?


While “Heathen” can certainly be used in the generic colloquial sense you are using it, when used among modern pagans the term usually refers to people who practice the pre-christian religions of the Germanic-speaking peoples. Sumerian and Kemetic traditions are not relevent to my own practice.


Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
You asserted that because I believe god is relevant to paganism or any religion it is "deity-centric". This is like accusing a car mechanic on focusing on cars to much.


There are many traditions where ancestors and land spirits are more central than deities, such as Germanic Heathenry. Traditions with a focus on the relationships between humans and deities are necessarily more “deity-centric” than traditions that are more focused on ancestors and land spirits.

Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139867
Well you are a Germanic pagan and I am very familiar with concepts such as ancestor worship in Europe. But what is the relevance of god for you then?


The role of deities in Germanic Heathenry varies quite widely in modern times depending on the perspectives of the person who practices it. For me, the Gods are the bigger, more powerful intelligences in the universe. I make offerings to show gratitude for the proper functioning of the world. I have no way of knowing to what extent the Gods are concerned with my life. Given that, I focus on the beings that I know are concerned with my well being, which would be my family and ancestors.
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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2014, 06:45:45 pm »
Quote from: Jack;139876
That is not the definition of afterlife, though. One definition of an afterlife is the realms where one is said to go after death (ie. Purgatory, Hel or the Elysian Fields) and another definition is the entire concept of life after death.


I understand this but I am just being literal with everything. It usually helps......usually

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If you want to call me a liar, you could at least have the decency to point out what thing I am lying about. I'm not bothered so much as I am bewildered that one who describes himself as a literalist about definitions doesn't seem to know the definitions of either dichotomy or afterlife.


I never accused you of being a liar though. It turns out you had an issue with my usage of a few words and I was trying to avoid confusion but I failed.

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That's lovely for you and all but not really relevant when discussing what the "pure" form of a religion we have very few records of might be.


We have plenty of records they are just not extensive and complete. The tablets found in Ugarit are one such example. It is not a matter of keeping anything pure by following something it is a matter of purity by acknowledging it's existence.

Do you know the expression on people's faces when they reject that Zeus did the unspeakable to Ganymede?

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I don't usually mention this in arguments but since you brought it up, I'm also quite fond of studying religion! I actually have a BA in comparative religion, which means I spent four years writing papers about false religious dichotomies and comparing mythologies and concepts across religions. ;) Looks like we have something in common!


Ahhh I tend on working towards my PhD in philosophy. Not sure if it is worth it honestly but I am passionate about it. I am primarily interested int he philosophy of religion and the nature of myth and textual analysis.

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Though you really have no idea how long anyone you're talking to has been working through this stuff and how long our beliefs have been steaming in warm milk.

 
I primarily concern myself with Semitic mythology and have been doing so for 3 years as of now as a merely hobby/obsession and I have just started my college attendance. I admit though I feel ashamed spending my days in the library reviewing archaeological sources for anything concerning Semitic history and religion. I have not even begun on Jewish ancient religion yet.

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2014, 10:59:30 pm »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139793
Something that I am not used to when encountering many Pagans is the disassociation of divine punishment in regards to the afterlife...
snip

For one, not all Pagans are theistic. That is something to consider.

Second, a lot of modern Paganism takes considerable influence from Eastern mysticism, Theosophy, and the Western Occult revival. Many of these preceding traditions and new religious movements believed in reincarnation. To some extent, they were drawing from Hermetic, Orphic, and Pythagorean ancient beliefs in the transmigration of the soul.

Third, most ancient religions had somewhat separate concepts of the afterlife and the gods. Even ones with relatively complex funerary rituals didn't necessarily make a connection between the gods and our ultimate fate. Generally, most ancient religions believed that the gods granted us reward in life, not after it.

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Re: Divine Punishment in the afterlife?
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2014, 04:34:02 am »
Quote from: Shaykh Sha'ir Abdullah;139870
I am asking a question on why many reject the concept of living after death in favor of reincarnation.


Well, when it comes to Celtic Paganism, many people take their cue from the only writing we have on the subject, which says that some Celtic tribes believed in transmigration of the soul. While we don't know exactly what that meant, it may well have been intended to describe something close to the modern, Eastern-influenced idea of reincarnation.

There were many 'Celtic' tribes, though, and burial evidence also suggests that there might have been a concept of an afterlife, while later myths have souls going to the House of Donn - a shadowy afterlife in a place imagined as being under the sea. (I've seen the rock that inspired Tech Duinn - it's appropriately shadowy-looking.) Oh, and there's also the later Welsh myth of the Cauldron of Rebirth, which may or may not have something to do with reincarnation. Then you have the modern druid revival tradition, and Morganwg's idea of moving 'up' the circles of existence, from Annwn the underworld, through Abred where we are now, to Gwynfyd, the realm of the gods, to which we can aspire, i.e. we can become god-like.

Now, as a modern Pagan with influence from modern druidry and Gaelic reconstructionism, which of these am I supposed to believe?

Personally I believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Although I wouldn't discount waking up somewhere like Tech Duinn or the realm of Manannan mac Lir. That could be a nice, reasonably restful place to be. (Don't want to reincarnate, though. One go around the wheel is enough for me, thanks.)

Divine reward, though? I can't see myself getting one of those. The gods are far too busy to worry about me after death, IMHO.
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
- Doctor Who

Stone Onto Sand

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