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Author Topic: Pagan Heretics?  (Read 4390 times)

RandallS

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Pagan Heretics?
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:43:56 pm »
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?
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Euryalus

Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 02:06:45 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?

 
I think that pagan religions as they stand now are too young to really have heresy per se.  I think that as time goes on and they crystallize and develop clearer dogmas disagreements will stop being simply considered a different interpretation, and start being considered actual heresy.  The closest thing to accusations of heresy I've heard of pagans doing is the traditional Wiccans with their whole oathbound thing, and belief that only someone who's been initiated into a lineaged coven can be called wiccan, getting mad at neo-Wiccans for believing that the religion can and should be shared.

Darkhawk

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 02:20:09 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121


 
I call myself a heretic, because I don't do appropriate obeisance to the concept of the Nisut.

People still seem to think that my logic is sound, though, so whatever.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

HeartShadow

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Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 02:46:03 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?

I'd love to be a heretic, but FK really doesn't have the concept.  Also being the founder makes heresy tricky.

iulla

Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 05:35:11 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?


I guess that at some small level, yes, there is a concept of heresy among strict Roman Recons.  A lot of people gripe that things must be done in this exact formulaic way, and that they have to involve things that the original followers would have done.  An individual who does not adhere to this strict formula might not be called a heretic, but they certainly won't be taken as seriously in the community.

I've seen some very strict reconstructionists get on the backs of more eclectic pagans for "picking and choosing" deities and not "properly" honoring them.  On the one hand, I can see why that's so irritating - like if you do absolutely no research into the deity and the practices surrounding them, or take everything as sunshine and rainbows - but some people can take it a little too far.

I think the only negative repercussions of that are not being taken as seriously (as I said earlier) and possibly making some people angry.
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Annie Roonie

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 10:52:30 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?


Not in my spirituality but I do think that the gods themselves may have their own ways of ejecting people whose philosophy or practice is at variance with them.

Shine

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 11:11:03 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?

 
Maybe a bit.

Like Darkhawk mentioned, there is the Nisu(t) thing. Most would say I don't have a Nisu(t), but I count Atum, who's the prototypical pharaoh.

I've occasionally heard that Atenism is heresy. Atenism has a place in my practice, so, yay me?

It seems like deviating too far from the lore is heresy amongst most Recon religions, although obviously not everyone agrees with that. Being that I'm not a full blown Recon, I don't feel qualified to talk about that. :whis:

As for people deviating from standard beliefs and practices, I've got no right to say whether or not there will be negative consequences for them. If they're going to get hit with negative consequences, I'm screwed, let me tell ya.
Leave your darkness with me, and I will make you shine.

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 06:02:36 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?

 
I think I'm too busy with apostasy for heresy...
"Let be be finale of seem." - Wallace Stevens, "The Emperor of Ice-Cream"
"There isn't a way things should be.  There's just what happens, and what we do."
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RandallS

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 06:49:51 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;76307
I think I'm too busy with apostasy for heresy...

Quoting a friend of Christian mine. "LOL. I'm too apathetic to be a heretic. Heresy requires effort."
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Lokabrenna

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 09:49:30 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?

 
There isn't really a concept of heresy (as far as I know, it's a Christian thing) but that doesn't stop some people from treating other people as if they were heretics. See this thread as an example: http://runatyrkindred.com/forum/index.php?topic=174.0

Yei

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2012, 08:08:41 am »
Quote from: RandallS;76121
Does your religion have the concept of heresy? Have you ever heard of a Pagan being called a "heretic" or of certain  beliefs or practices being considered heresy by other members of a Pagan  religion? If a  member of your religion were to deviate from the standard beliefs or  practices of the religion, would there be negative religious consequences for them? Why or Why not?

 
I think the term 'heretic' has a few too many associations. To me it seems to relate to Christian ideas of orthodoxy, which are inappropriate for some, if not most, polytheistic regions.

That said, there is a historical element at play. Like many others here I'm a re-constructionist so historical accuracy is important to me. So I do get annoyed when beliefs are attributed to ancient civilisations (especially Mesoamerican ones) that they simply didn't have.

Of course this doesn't mean that those beliefs are spiritually invalid, and they may combine well with the older forms of spirituality. But they still should not be attributed to the historical societies.

Materialist

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 11:30:46 am »
Quote from: Rob;76364
I think the term 'heretic' has a few too many associations. To me it seems to relate to Christian ideas of orthodoxy, which are inappropriate for some, if not most, polytheistic regions.

That said, there is a historical element at play. Like many others here I'm a re-constructionist so historical accuracy is important to me. So I do get annoyed when beliefs are attributed to ancient civilisations (especially Mesoamerican ones) that they simply didn't have.

Of course this doesn't mean that those beliefs are spiritually invalid, and they may combine well with the older forms of spirituality. But they still should not be attributed to the historical societies.


My impression of reconstructionist religions is that they have a concept called The One True Gnosis, referring to the original gnosis that started their religion. This seems to be on the verge of becoming dogma to some people. All gnosis occurring after the T.O.T.G. is considered to be invalid by a lot of folks. I've heard of practitioners of Rokkatru receiving death threats from followers of Asatru, even.

Yei

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 06:27:27 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;76458
My impression of reconstructionist religions is that they have a concept called The One True Gnosis, referring to the original gnosis that started their religion. This seems to be on the verge of becoming dogma to some people. All gnosis occurring after the T.O.T.G. is considered to be invalid by a lot of folks. I've heard of practitioners of Rokkatru receiving death threats from followers of Asatru, even.

 
That, I don't know. I'm not too familiar with Asatru, or it's internal politics. In any case I think your overstating the emphasis of this Gnosis in this case. Fundamentally there are several reasons why historical sources are needed. One is to be sure that practices are accurate and reasonably familiar to the gods being called out to. Another is to show respect for the culture which the worshipper is learning from.

This is especially true for the case of Indigenous American Religions and Religious Systems. Many of these religions are misinterpreted in popular culture and exploited by 'Plastic Shamans'. Obviously this is offensive to the still living members of those groups, and to people who may be deceived by what is essentially fraud.

Materialist

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 09:18:37 pm »
Quote from: Rob;76489
That, I don't know. I'm not too familiar with Asatru, or it's internal politics. In any case I think your overstating the emphasis of this Gnosis in this case. Fundamentally there are several reasons why historical sources are needed. One is to be sure that practices are accurate and reasonably familiar to the gods being called out to. Another is to show respect for the culture which the worshipper is learning from.

This is especially true for the case of Indigenous American Religions and Religious Systems. Many of these religions are misinterpreted in popular culture and exploited by 'Plastic Shamans'. Obviously this is offensive to the still living members of those groups, and to people who may be deceived by what is essentially fraud.


Well, I am becoming increasingly disappointed with Germanic reconstructionist religions. The more I study the first millenium of the Christian era in Europe, the more I have realized that the holy tides of this set of religions are a sham.

Swain Wodening wrote  a book on the Anglo-Saxon form, (Hammer of the Gods) and in it he says ground hog day is the last remnant of an ancient, pagan Anglo-Saxon ritual...but, this festival originated in 19th century America. How on earth is this connected to paganism two thousand years ago, on another continent no less?

To make matters worse, he says the feast of Hlaefmaest is a modern one...but it was first recorded in 673! That's not old enough for him?

A few minutes ago I stumbled upon Galina Krasskova's blog (Gangleri's Grove), and an article she wrote in August this year about Humanist Paganism. Atheist pagans, to put it simply. Whoa. She believes atheists should not have the right to practice paganism-they need to be kicked out of the temple. Hard polytheism to her is the Apostle's Creed: you must literally believe it or you are not an Asatruari.

I'm so disappointed that I no longer want to associate with the word "reconstruction," on the other hand, in studying another ancestral faith (Mazdayasna), I learned of a restorationist movement among these followers, and I thought their ideas on things was totally awesome. I'm thinking of doing some "restoring" for Germanic paganism.

I hope the way of the Aztecs is not so fraught with the kind of crap I've found.

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Re: Pagan Heretics?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 09:49:24 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;76458
My impression of reconstructionist religions is that they have a concept called The One True Gnosis, referring to the original gnosis that started their religion. This seems to be on the verge of becoming dogma to some people. All gnosis occurring after the T.O.T.G. is considered to be invalid by a lot of folks. I've heard of practitioners of Rokkatru receiving death threats from followers of Asatru, even.

 
While I can see how you got that idea from the way some folks behave, it's not accurate.  No, reconstructionism does not have any such concept (and they certainly don't use the phrase "The One True Gnosis" - it would, perhaps, have been more honest had you said, "... a concept that I call....").

What you're seeing is mainly a concept of historical accuracy, no gnosis required, except insofar as people's interpretations of ambiguous points in the literary or archaeological record might sometimes be considered as UPG (unverified personal gnosis).  Aside from that (and sometimes even including that), most recons consider gnosis to be suspect - sometimes only suspect in the sense of "must be subjected to intense scrutiny", sometimes in the sense of reflexive rejection.

As a result, people who claim, explicitly or implicitly, to be recon, but who don't use the reconstructionist methodology, are called out - quite accurately, though sometimes far too viciously - as not recon.  It's not about acceptable vs unacceptable gnosis, but about acceptable vs unacceptable methodology.  Or, acceptable vs unacceptable terminology - if someone is not reconstructing, as closely as possible, the way a culture historically practiced, they have no business suggesting they're part of reconstructionism.

That doesn't prevent individuals from being complete asshatted jerks, of course, nor even prevent them from unwittingly bringing along baggage from the modern culture in which they were raised/socialized - f'ex, the (entirely modern) idea that there's some point in history at which a given religioculture was at its most pure and "true", and anything else is either not yet fully developed, or degenerate, or a variation from that.  But that's baggage individuals bring with them, and is not in any way inherent to reconstructionism.

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