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Author Topic: Paganism and Critical Thinking  (Read 3233 times)

MadZealot

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2014, 10:58:10 pm »
Quote from: Breeze;157465

People started posting it in almost every facebook group that I belong to, calling for members to report it.  I've pointed out several times that it is parody, and all of the (mostly hostile) responses I've been given are people telling me that I'm a horrible Pagan and terrible Witch for not standing up when "the Christians are attacking us".


There's the problem: the FB 'pagan' groups I've seen are lousy, and overpopulated by fuckwits.  

It's almost impossible to be a voice of reason in an echo chamber full of Can a Christian be a Witch? and Help, the Xians are attacking! and Teh Christians stole all teh things! threads.  You're better off spending time here.  :D:
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Altair

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2014, 11:02:17 pm »
Quote from: Breeze;157465

I know we encourage critical thinking here (which is why I love it here), but I've notcied that critical thinking on the whole seems to be going out the window in  maintstream Paganism (that's a hell of an oxymoron).  So do I keep trying to educate the folks who don't understand?  Or, do I drop it because they're autonomous adults capable of making their own decisions?


My solution is to do my pagan hanging out here. And pretty much only here.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
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Altair

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2014, 11:09:04 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;157529

You're better off spending time here.  :D:


...and if I'd bothered to read to the end of the thread before posting, I would have seen MZ's post and saved myself the trouble.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

PrincessAstrid

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2014, 11:11:09 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;157529
There's the problem: the FB 'pagan' groups I've seen are lousy, and overpopulated by fuckwits.  

It's almost impossible to be a voice of reason in an echo chamber full of Can a Christian be a Witch? and Help, the Xians are attacking! and Teh Christians stole all teh things! threads.  You're better off spending time here.  :D:

 
This is what all the pagans I knew in school and my very late teens, very early 20's were like. It was a little nauseating, really. And I do completely understand that sometimes, those feelings of persecution do come from somewhere. I was raised by parents who did not at all approve of paganism.

But at the same time, it's a different story to bash on Christianity (or any other religion that you don't think is cool), go out of your way to make Christians feel bad about their teachings (written as in the Bible, not some of the hateful stuff that actually does get said by some groups), or in general try to disillusion Christians.

It's stuff like that that honestly kept me from having any pagan friends for quite a while. I couldn't stand to see the hypocrisy.

Sefiru

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2014, 07:17:48 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;157518
Here's the thing: critical thinking (or the lack thereof) is not a Pagan problem. It's a societal problem.


Indeed. The other day at work, some of my coworkers were quite convinced that there was such a thing as a squirrel-rabbit hybrid, displaying a dismaying lack of knowledge about biology, photoshop and basic research. (Note: even if a squirrel-rabbit cross were biologically possible, it would not look like a normal squirrel with rabbit ears stuck on.)

Louisvillian

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2014, 02:49:01 am »
Quote from: Breeze;157465
I've notcied that critical thinking on the whole seems to be going out the window in  maintstream Paganism.

It is the unfortunate side-effect of a movement that encourages the idea that reality is subjective. It's easy to go from that to 'everything is subject to opinion'. Not that the core idea is a bad one; honestly, it's a notion that I strongly agree with. But because a great deal of people in general are bad with critical thinking, they'll latch onto any line that allows them to excuse it. And a poor analysis of existential ideas make for a positive-feedback loop: someone is already iffy on critical thinking, and they come across a philosophy that allows them to view the world subjectively, so they think that they can dismiss others' statements of facts as 'just opinion' in favour of their own thoughts. Which in our religio-spiritual umbrella might lead them even more down the road of not-thinking-critically due to the very fine line between logical fallacy and magical thinking. Compound onto that the genuinely negative personal experiences some people have had with Christians or others from their "birth" religion, and the Neopagan community can be a mess to deal with sometimes.

ainellewellyn

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2014, 04:03:33 am »
Quote from: Louisvillian;157648
But because a great deal of people in general are bad with critical thinking, they'll latch onto any line that allows them to excuse it.

 
Or, you know, a great many people are not taught critical thinking in the first place, and it doesn't make sense to expect people to be good at things that they haven't been taught. I think it's actually interesting/amazing/cool what giving people the tools to educate and learn and become better thinkers can do. Not everyone will utilize those tools, but plenty of people will.

carillion

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2014, 04:08:33 am »
Quote from: Louisvillian;157648
It is the unfortunate side-effect of a movement that encourages the idea that reality is subjective. It's easy to go from that to 'everything is subject to opinion'. Not that the core idea is a bad one; honestly, it's a notion that I strongly agree with. But because a great deal of people in general are bad with critical thinking, they'll latch onto any line that allows them to excuse it. And a poor analysis of existential ideas make for a positive-feedback loop: someone is already iffy on critical thinking, and they come across a philosophy that allows them to view the world subjectively, so they think that they can dismiss others' statements of facts as 'just opinion' in favour of their own thoughts. Which in our religio-spiritual umbrella might lead them even more down the road of not-thinking-critically due to the very fine line between logical fallacy and magical thinking. Compound onto that the genuinely negative personal experiences some people have had with Christians or others from their "birth" religion, and the Neopagan community can be a mess to deal with sometimes.


Succinctly put. Yes, that has been my observation as well and has pretty much kept me away from the 'pagan' community. Your post reminded me of something I read the other day which pissed a lot of people off but I think would be good for people to at least read and consider:

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/no-youre-not-entitled-your-opinion

Naomi J

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2014, 04:40:19 am »
Quote from: Breeze;157465
I really hope I'm tossing this one in the right spot here.  This is where I thought it fit best.

I've witnessed an alarmingly large scale critical thinking fail today on facebook, and it's pretty alarming due to its epic proportions.  There's a meme that got passed around today from a parody page about what can lead to Witchcraft.  Warning signs included composting, singing to clouds, and stuff like that.  The page is BLATANTLY parody, in the vein of 'Betty Bowers', but people have lost their freaking minds.

People started posting it in almost every facebook group that I belong to, calling for members to report it.  I've pointed out several times that it is parody, and all of the (mostly hostile) responses I've been given are people telling me that I'm a horrible Pagan and terrible Witch for not standing up when "the Christians are attacking us".

This whole thing has frankly scared the shit out of me.  My first thoughts were along the lines of "these people use the same energies I use and they can't discern a real threat from satire".  That worries me.  A lot.  It's also embarrassing as hell because I identify as both Pagan and Witch and, well, I'm not 'those' people (I hate my wording there, I really didn't know what else to put).

I really don't even know what my purpose is with this thread.  This is really, REALLY bugging me.  I know we encourage critical thinking here (which is why I love it here), but I've notcied that critical thinking on the whole seems to be going out the window in  maintstream Paganism (that's a hell of an oxymoron).  So do I keep trying to educate the folks who don't understand?  Or, do I drop it because they're autonomous adults capable of making their own decisions?  I'm really at a loss here.

Honestly, it is incredibly hard to tell if this is parody or not. Having grown up in the Pentecostal church, I saw things nearly identical to this. I'd start by researching the group,  if I had the time - there are certainly Christians posting there who seem to believe it's real.

And this is the problem with the thin line between satire and reality. It's like when someone post an article from The Onion (or more usually a lesser-known satirical site) believing it's real news. This has happened on my Facebook feed a lot. I always start by researching the topic or its source more thoroughly. As Catja says, this narrative is very common in the churches at the moment. Critical thinking about it requires quite a lot of research, which not everyone has the time to do throughly.
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Naomi J

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Re: Paganism and Critical Thinking
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2014, 04:42:41 am »
Quote from: catja6;157488
I've been doing a lot of research on the folklore of the occult in the US. From a brief glance over the page, from my perspective the "parody" element isn't, like, immediately obvious, because a lot of the deliverance ministry/Pentecostal/etc. etc. etc. propaganda (historical and ongoing) looks pretty much exactly like that. That's not to say it isn't parody, but a fair number of pagans/witches/etc. come from areas in which those forms of Christianity are commonplace; it's not necessarily "stupid" of them to react as such. If it's a parody, it is from my perspective a failed one--parodies by definition are supposed to exaggerate to the point of absurdity, but that page looks not all that different from the actual material that is known to circulate in those types of Christian communities. (See two books by Bill Ellis--Raising the Deviland Lucifer Ascending--for details.)

[snip]

On a broader level, it's super-interesting to me how Christianity has characterized what it calls "paganism" or "witchcraft"; and how, historically, old-school folklorists  and the pagan revivalists who were inspired by them took priestly denunciations of XYZ practices as evidence that Ye Olde Rustics were like, actively, consciously pagan. Ken Dowden, in his really good overview of European paganisms, explains how there was basically a rhetorical formula of crying "paganism/idolatry/devil worship" for any perceived backsliding/having too much unauthorized fun/insufficient kowtowing to church authority: regardless of what Ye Olde Rustics were actually doing, the point was for the Christian authority to cast them as the Hebrews with the golden calf and himself/the church as Moses coming down from the mountains.

I've been doing similar research from a different perspective. We should talk. :-)
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