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Author Topic: Multi-Path Struggles  (Read 3143 times)

Demophon

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Multi-Path Struggles
« on: June 07, 2016, 10:10:07 pm »
Like the title suggests, I am struggling with my multiple paths, and I don't really know what to do going forward on my "spiritual journey," so to speak.

The Wiccan coven I have been working with for the past little while doesn't appeal to me very much at the moment, as I feel frustrated with the classes, as I am not at all a beginner, and the rituals aren't really my cup of tea, either. It's a Gardnerian group, but I guess the traditional Gardnerian stuff is more for initiates, as each sabbat ritual so far has dealt with different gods from different source cultures, and clearly I'm okay with eclecticism as long as it's well-researched and reverent towards the deities, but in typical neo-pagan fashion, it just isn't. The people are nice, but I don't know if I have much in common with them. The pagan community is usually not very edifying, and definitely not very unified, so it's hard to really find where I fit into it.

I often rely on church for community, and it has actually been good for that, lately. I still attend both a high church Anglican parish, as well as a Roman Catholic church, and I like the people at both places, and feel comfortable and well connected. The problem is, I have been struggling with the theology and doctrines. This past Sunday, the homily at my Anglican church was about how death wasn't part of God's original design, and while I'm familiar with this idea that sin separated us from God and introduced death into the design, but Christ restored us to immortality, I just don't think it makes sense. Death is part of the natural evolutionary cycle, and if we are supposed to believe death is unnatural, then we might as well be creationists, as evolution could not have happened if everything was immortal since the beginning of time. To make matters worse, I am supposed to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in less than two weeks, but I'm getting tired of Christianity in general. I'm sure it's common for people to not agree 100% with Christian teaching, and mainly value the community of church, so I'm not too worried about my impending reception, but at the same time, I don't want to be dishonest about my sincerity. There are things I like about church, but unfortunately most of the beliefs just are not included among the things about church that I value.

So that's really the gist of my rant. I identify more with pagan spirituality, but I have trouble relating to other pagans, and am not satisfied with pagan groups. On the other hand, I struggle with Christian doctrine, but like the community that church offers. There's always something. In terms of my personal practice, not much has really changed. I do my witchy stuff at one shrine, and have a combined shrine area somewhere else where I honour Hestia and the Olympian gods, and my statue of Isis is there too. Then I have yet another shrine where I have a statue of the Virgin Mary, a candle, and a rosary, and there I do my regular Catholic prayers and devotions. It's getting to be a lot to juggle, but I don't really want to eliminate anything, even though I sometimes think it would be a good idea to simplify my practice somewhat, and at least commit to either the pagan or Christian side, exclusively.

Darkhawk

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2016, 10:52:09 am »
Quote from: Demophon;192414
This past Sunday, the homily at my Anglican church was about how death wasn't part of God's original design, and while I'm familiar with this idea that sin separated us from God and introduced death into the design, but Christ restored us to immortality, I just don't think it makes sense. Death is part of the natural evolutionary cycle, and if we are supposed to believe death is unnatural, then we might as well be creationists, as evolution could not have happened if everything was immortal since the beginning of time.

So one of the deep actual practical problems I see with Christianity in many forms is the attempt to make mythology something that fits into literal linear time, and this looks to me like falling into that here.  (I think Christianity is the most prone to fall into this trap, because there's the "But you know it's real because Jesus actually happened" thing to point at, rather than other mythologies where the historicity is less bound up in the ideas of validity.)

There is nothing wrong, in the abstract, with a mythological position that at one point things were perfect and eternal, got broken, and have been restored by subsequent action.  (Hell, there's an Egyptian myth that does something similar that I'm very fond of.)  There is, however, something wrong with trying to literalise that myth and say "And this happened in historical time."  That's not how myths work.  No, there was not a point at which there was no death in historical time; there was not a point at which there was no change, no entropy, no whatever.  That doesn't say anything about myths!

I mean, there was also not a point at which the world was surrounded by a giant snake, flat and divided into three realms, constructed from the parts of the corpse of a primeval creator-monster, hatched out of an egg, or summoned up from the depths of the ocean.  But people don't have problems with those myths.  They can still go at them and figure out what those myths are trying to say about the cosmos and the relationships with the powers described without trying to literalise.

I would suggest using the same skills you would apply to the interpretation and understanding of pagan myth to Christian myth, and see whether or not you are compatible with the conclusions you draw from there.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2016, 10:54:07 am by Darkhawk »
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MadZealot

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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 12:31:29 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;192427
So one of the deep actual practical problems I see with Christianity in many forms is the attempt to make mythology something that fits into literal linear time, and this looks to me like falling into that here.


Can't give DH anymore rep, so I'm popping in to say 'Hell yeah' to the above.  Insistence on historicity makes faith a little... I want to say conditional, like when a believer says 'either the Bible is all true or none of it's true.'  That kind of absolutism puts conditions and limits on faith (and on G-d) that, imo, shouldn't be there.  And it's not needed to get the import of what's written.  Do you need to believe the Good Samaritan was a real person to get the parable?  Hell no!  They who have ears, let em hear.

Quote
There is nothing wrong, in the abstract, with a mythological position that at one point things were perfect and eternal, got broken, and have been restored by subsequent action.

Kind of the whole point of the-fall-to-the-resurrection, innit?  
A Martinist friend of mine once described the Christ as the restorer of souls, which I thought was a neat turn of phrase.
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 02:13:58 pm »
Quote from: Demophon;192414
The problem is, I have been struggling with the theology and doctrines. This past Sunday, the homily at my Anglican church was about how death wasn't part of God's original design, and while I'm familiar with this idea that sin separated us from God and introduced death into the design, but Christ restored us to immortality, I just don't think it makes sense. Death is part of the natural evolutionary cycle, and if we are supposed to believe death is unnatural, then we might as well be creationists, as evolution could not have happened if everything was immortal since the beginning of time.

 
Back when I was a Lutheran, I always interpreted the fall from immortality in the way Origen, St. Anselm and Jakob Böhme did: The collective of entire humankind fell from an atemporal spiritual level of existence into the material and temporal universe.

Its content isn't much different from my present use of the myth of falling from the chariots of the deities, described by Plato in Phaedrus. In both cases, we need henosis.

MeadowRae

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 05:50:01 am »
Quote from: Demophon;192414


So that's really the gist of my rant. I identify more with pagan spirituality, but I have trouble relating to other pagans, and am not satisfied with pagan groups. On the other hand, I struggle with Christian doctrine, but like the community that church offers. There's always something. In terms of my personal practice, not much has really changed. I do my witchy stuff at one shrine, and have a combined shrine area somewhere else where I honour Hestia and the Olympian gods, and my statue of Isis is there too. Then I have yet another shrine where I have a statue of the Virgin Mary, a candle, and a rosary, and there I do my regular Catholic prayers and devotions. It's getting to be a lot to juggle, but I don't really want to eliminate anything, even though I sometimes think it would be a good idea to simplify my practice somewhat, and at least commit to either the pagan or Christian side, exclusively.

 
I am in a similar position right now, except I don't have a pagan community that I'm involved with. I feel like a liar in church. When they stand to say the creed, I stand out of respect, but I don't say it. My ex told me that was rude, but I am truly trying to be respectful.

On the other hand. The community I have found at some churches is hard to come by, and I have no issues with the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.
I just wish I could be honest about what I believe and don't believe. The whole salvation by faith in Christianity really throws me for a loop,  for one.

It sounds like your multi-faith system is much more complex than mine, and I wish you all the best in your journey.
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 07:02:29 am »
Quote from: ViolaRae;192451
I feel like a liar in church. When they stand to say the creed, I stand out of respect, but I don't say it. My ex told me that was rude, but I am truly trying to be respectful.

It sounds respectful, honest and polite to me.

For a while, I avoided praying Our Father after converting to paganism, but, after realising that it was used in Spiritism, after reminding myself how integral it is in grimoire magic, and reflecting over how syncretic late Roman religion was, I began praying it again. Our Father might be as culturally distinct as the Hermetic Prayer, Sikh hymns or the invications of Aion in the Greek Magical Papyri, but I am sure that the First Cause doesn't mind by which text we address it.

Quote from: ViolaRae;192451
The whole salvation by faith in Christianity really throws me for a loop,  for one.

Most Bible translations have 'salvation by faith in Christ', not 'salvation by faith in Christianity'. I have personally not seen the latter alternative anywhere. Koiné Greek is a tricky language. An interesting revaluation in academic New testament scholarship now suggest, that 'salvation by Christ's faithfulness' is a better translation (N.T. Wright). Would that make your situation easier?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 07:03:05 am by RecycledBenedict »

Castus

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2016, 09:18:13 am »
Quote from: Demophon;192414
Like the title suggests, I am struggling with my multiple paths, and I don't really know what to do going forward on my "spiritual journey," so to speak.


"I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

Unless you can honestly say that, you have no business being received into the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of the Church is not, at the end of the day, community. It's not feeling connected. It is preaching the Gospel, upholding the truths of the Catholic faith as understood by the sense of the Church, and leading souls to Christ. If you don't believe in the Catholic faith, you shouldn't be Catholic.
“Castus, meanwhile, goes straight for the bad theology like one of those creepy fish that swims up streams of pee.” — Darkhawk

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2016, 02:02:08 pm »
Quote from: Castus;192457
"I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

Unless you can honestly say that, you have no business being received into the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of the Church is not, at the end of the day, community. It's not feeling connected. It is preaching the Gospel, upholding the truths of the Catholic faith as understood by the sense of the Church, and leading souls to Christ. If you don't believe in the Catholic faith, you shouldn't be Catholic.


The official line and the folk Catholicism practiced by many Roman Catholics overlap each other in most regards, but there exist also certain differences. You would perhaps call these differences dissonances, but it is a state of circumstances, that the church has lived with - in different ways - for its entire history.

Many Italian Catholics - the most well-known example - use contraceptives. Sedesvacantist Catholics doesn't accept the authority of the popes in Rome since 1958. Many British and French Catholics join the Freemasons. Some French Catholics join the Martinist orders. Many Latin American Catholics practice Spiritism. Many Mexican Catholics practice the devotion to Santa Muerte. Many Cuban Catholics practice Santeria in parallel. Many Haitian Catholics practice Vodou in parallel. Many Brazilian Catholics practice Umbanda or Candomble in parallel.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2016, 02:38:28 pm »
Quote from: Castus;192457
"I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

Unless you can honestly say that, you have no business being received into the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of the Church is not, at the end of the day, community. It's not feeling connected. It is preaching the Gospel, upholding the truths of the Catholic faith as understood by the sense of the Church, and leading souls to Christ. If you don't believe in the Catholic faith, you shouldn't be Catholic.


There also exist a few examples of pre-Christian customs which are officially allowed by the Roman Catholic Church, such as Chinese devotion to ancestral spirits (allowed before 1704 and since 1939; In the time between these two years, the church took a more harsh and prohibitive line regarding this issue).

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2016, 07:54:03 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;192453



Most Bible translations have 'salvation by faith in Christ', not 'salvation by faith in Christianity'. I have personally not seen the latter alternative anywhere. Koiné Greek is a tricky language. An interesting revaluation in academic New testament scholarship now suggest, that 'salvation by Christ's faithfulness' is a better translation (N.T. Wright). Would that make your situation easier?


I didn't type that very well. What I really meant was many Christian churches here believe you save your soul by having faith in Christ alone- no one or nothing else. I've never believed that. What you've illustrated is  close to what I believe, but not many churches here preach that.

I believe Jesus taught us the way to become enlightened, to save ourselves from the hell we put ourselves in.
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Demophon

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2016, 07:56:53 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;192427
I would suggest using the same skills you would apply to the interpretation and understanding of pagan myth to Christian myth, and see whether or not you are compatible with the conclusions you draw from there.


I try to, though sometimes it's difficult to identify with a community that has views I find off-putting and unrealistic. Thinking about it later, I doubt that the priest who gave the homily has such literal views when it comes to physical death being unnatural. I've been listening to Sam Harris's podcast recently, so maybe I was just oversensitive to religious ideas that seem irrational. :D:

I've recovered a bit now, and my affection for the real substance of Christianity is returning, and I'm trying not to get too hung up on little things.
 
Quote from: Castus;192457
"I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

Unless you can honestly say that, you have no business being received into the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of the Church is not, at the end of the day, community. It's not feeling connected. It is preaching the Gospel, upholding the truths of the Catholic faith as understood by the sense of the Church, and leading souls to Christ. If you don't believe in the Catholic faith, you shouldn't be Catholic.


I agree that it's more than a community, and the reservations I have about some of the teachings of the Church have been a source of struggle in making this decision. Of course I have discussed this with both the priest who will be confirming me, and the lay minister who oversees the adult reception process at my parish. They reminded me that the Catholic Church is not as monolithic as it presents itself to be, and that there is room for a diversity of views. The lay minister gave me a book recommendation that he said is helpful when it comes to reconciling difficult teachings of the Church, and the book arrived today, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

I think the profession of faith is more of an acknowledgement of the Catholic Church's authority, rather than necessarily agreeing with all of its teachings. "All" is a big word, and as FraterBenedict said, many Catholics on the ground do not follow the Church's teachings completely. What the Church professes also is not static, as it has become much more flexible since Vatican II especially, and also reflects important issues of the day, such as environmentalism. I do believe in the message of Christ and the mission of the Church (as long as the Church isn't abusive, which is has been so often), even if I don't necessary believe in bodily resurrection literally, or that only men can act "in persona Christi," for example. I don't even think I am in the minority on those issues, even among practicing Catholics. I am on board with the important teachings of the Church, and can compartmentalize my Christian faith from my pagan practice, which I'm sure is hard for some people to understand. It's pretty hard for me to understand, too. As long as I don't pull an Arius by proclaiming heresy and trying to convert others away from the Catholic faith, it shouldn't be a problem.

Interestingly, I came across this article as I was typing this response, and it's exactly what I needed to read right now:

Quote
“This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother.  Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’ This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical.  Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws' rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well.  He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.”

(from http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/06/09/pope_those_who_say_%E2%80%9Cthis_or_nothing%E2%80%9D_are_heretics_/1235939)

This is what I love about Catholicism, not the authority and the "rigidity" to the laws. I'm glad Pope Francis gets it. I wish more people did. Striving for perfection is a life-long journey, and I'm only at the beginning of mine. I trust that whatever practices and ideas that I have which are not compatible with the authentic Catholic teachings will fall away with time.

Quote from: FraterBenedict;192459
The official line and the folk Catholicism practiced by many Roman Catholics overlap each other in most regards, but there exist also certain differences. You would perhaps call these differences dissonances, but it is a state of circumstances, that the church has lived with - in different ways - for its entire history.

 
That is all very true. Thank you.

I find I get excited when I want to get back into certain pagan practices that I don't do very regularly anymore, like devotion to the Hellenic gods, but then, as is happening now, I find them unsatisfying. Not that there is anything wrong with following the gods of ancient cultures, I just don't think it's where I'm at spiritually these days. I think I have said this on another thread a while ago, but the kind of paganism that draws me now is the more mystical, universalist kind that helps me experience God as more than the patriarchal paradigm of traditional Christianity, and integrates spirituality with nature. Neither of these, I believe, are contradictory to the core of Catholicism.

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2016, 10:20:39 pm »
Quote from: Demophon;192471
I try to, though sometimes it's difficult to identify with a community that has views I find off-putting and unrealistic. Thinking about it later, I doubt that the priest who gave the homily has such literal views when it comes to physical death being unnatural. I've been listening to Sam Harris's podcast recently, so maybe I was just oversensitive to religious ideas that seem irrational. :D:

 
So... basically... all of them. :P  ;)
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Demophon

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2016, 10:24:20 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;192477
So... basically... all of them. :P  ;)

 
Pretty much ;)

Castus

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2016, 10:37:37 pm »
Quote from: Demophon;192471
I try to, though sometimes it's difficult to identify with a community that has views I find off-putting and unrealistic. Thinking about it later, I doubt that the priest who gave the homily has such literal views when it comes to physical death being unnatural. I've been listening to Sam Harris's podcast recently, so maybe I was just oversensitive to religious ideas that seem irrational. :D:

I've recovered a bit now, and my affection for the real substance of Christianity is returning, and I'm trying not to get too hung up on little things.
 


I agree that it's more than a community, and the reservations I have about some of the teachings of the Church have been a source of struggle in making this decision. Of course I have discussed this with both the priest who will be confirming me, and the lay minister who oversees the adult reception process at my parish. They reminded me that the Catholic Church is not as monolithic as it presents itself to be, and that there is room for a diversity of views. The lay minister gave me a book recommendation that he said is helpful when it comes to reconciling difficult teachings of the Church, and the book arrived today, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

I think the profession of faith is more of an acknowledgement of the Catholic Church's authority, rather than necessarily agreeing with all of its teachings. "All" is a big word, and as FraterBenedict said, many Catholics on the ground do not follow the Church's teachings completely. What the Church professes also is not static, as it has become much more flexible since Vatican II especially, and also reflects important issues of the day, such as environmentalism. I do believe in the message of Christ and the mission of the Church (as long as the Church isn't abusive, which is has been so often), even if I don't necessary believe in bodily resurrection literally, or that only men can act "in persona Christi," for example. I don't even think I am in the minority on those issues, even among practicing Catholics. I am on board with the important teachings of the Church, and can compartmentalize my Christian faith from my pagan practice, which I'm sure is hard for some people to understand. It's pretty hard for me to understand, too. As long as I don't pull an Arius by proclaiming heresy and trying to convert others away from the Catholic faith, it shouldn't be a problem.

Interestingly, I came across this article as I was typing this response, and it's exactly what I needed to read right now:


(from http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/06/09/pope_those_who_say_%E2%80%9Cthis_or_nothing%E2%80%9D_are_heretics_/1235939)

This is what I love about Catholicism, not the authority and the "rigidity" to the laws. I'm glad Pope Francis gets it. I wish more people did. Striving for perfection is a life-long journey, and I'm only at the beginning of mine. I trust that whatever practices and ideas that I have which are not compatible with the authentic Catholic teachings will fall away with time.


 
That is all very true. Thank you.

I find I get excited when I want to get back into certain pagan practices that I don't do very regularly anymore, like devotion to the Hellenic gods, but then, as is happening now, I find them unsatisfying. Not that there is anything wrong with following the gods of ancient cultures, I just don't think it's where I'm at spiritually these days. I think I have said this on another thread a while ago, but the kind of paganism that draws me now is the more mystical, universalist kind that helps me experience God as more than the patriarchal paradigm of traditional Christianity, and integrates spirituality with nature. Neither of these, I believe, are contradictory to the core of Catholicism.

 
I respect your point of view, but I think our views of Catholicism are so radically different as to perhaps be incomprehensible to each other so I'm going to bow out here :p
“Castus, meanwhile, goes straight for the bad theology like one of those creepy fish that swims up streams of pee.” — Darkhawk

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Re: Multi-Path Struggles
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2016, 07:27:29 am »
Quote from: ViolaRae;192470
What you've illustrated is  close to what I believe, but not many churches here preach that.


The revaluation of what Paul meant among university scholars wasn't received with cheers in certain Protestant surroundings. Conservative Protestants, of the sort that are unable to digest advances in research, coined an expression: 'If Wright is right, Luther was wrong!', but yes: It seems like Luther and Calvin misinterpreted Paul, indeed. Wright is not the only one participating in the so called New Perspective on Paul: Krister Stendahl, E.P. Sanders and James Dunn contributed to this revaluation, too.

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Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall