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Author Topic: Multiple separate paths and beliefs  (Read 4664 times)

zamotcr

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Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« on: September 01, 2014, 02:12:04 am »
As many have read, I have wandered through many paths and I can't settle exclusively in just one.

I can happily work in several ones. I believe all gods are real and worthy of respect, I don't even follow a single pantheon. If I follow a god, I approach him/her in his cultural context, due to respect, I try to learn everything I can of their culture, to understand them better and have a closer connection, but even that, I am not stick to any pagan religion, nor pantheon. I describe my belief almost as an eclectic druid (druidry not just focused on celtic, but also on buddhism, asian shamanism, local folk practices, etc).

For those following multiple paths (or pantheons) how do you reconcile beliefs?
My beliefs does not match one single system, but are influenced by a lot of them, some may not believe in rebirth, but I do. Some may believe in a different soul structure as I do, etc. So basically I have my beliefs influenced but separate from the systems I'm following. Can't explain correctly.

So how do you deal with beliefs following different systems. Please, any suggestion also is welcomed.

Sobekemiti

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2014, 03:36:23 am »
Quote from: zamotcr;157892

For those following multiple paths (or pantheons) how do you reconcile beliefs?
My beliefs does not match one single system, but are influenced by a lot of them, some may not believe in rebirth, but I do. Some may believe in a different soul structure as I do, etc. So basically I have my beliefs influenced but separate from the systems I'm following. Can't explain correctly.

So how do you deal with beliefs following different systems. Please, any suggestion also is welcomed.


I struggled with this a few years back when I was looking into several different paths and practices, trying to figure out what to do. I'd been called by Hekate, and She was the first non-Kemetic god I'd done any significant work with, but I wasn't sure how to incorporate Her into my (then mostly Kemetic) practice. I also liked the Roman household practices and wanted to bring those into my path, too. I tried for a while to keep the practices separate, but in the end, I could never quite make it work.

And you would think that following Greek, Roman, and Egyptian practices together would have the highest chance of working cohesively together this way, but no. It didn't work. It was never cohesive enough for me, and I discovered I was the sort of Pagan who needed an overarching structure to my practice. That overarching purpose, and framework for what I do, is incredibly important to me, and how I work. If it's not cohesive, it won't work, not for me.

It wasn't just the different religious paradigms, but also the different frameworks that underpinned the different ritual structures. Different concepts of land spirits, of how to approach the gods, disposing of offerings, how the world even works. Who looks after the household, concepts of the afterlife and the spirits of the dead, how to incorporate magic, and how to live properly. In the end, I just couldn't deal with the disparate paradigms, so eventually, I just gave up, and made my own. I built my own foundation for my practice, and worked my gods around and into it, so it's all cohesive now, and I don't have to deal with trying to handle three different cosmologies at once.
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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2014, 05:43:50 am »
Quote from: zamotcr;157892
As many have read, I have wandered through many paths and I can't settle exclusively in just one.

I can happily work in several ones. I believe all gods are real and worthy of respect, I don't even follow a single pantheon. If I follow a god, I approach him/her in his cultural context, due to respect, I try to learn everything I can of their culture, to understand them better and have a closer connection, but even that, I am not stick to any pagan religion, nor pantheon. I describe my belief almost as an eclectic druid (druidry not just focused on celtic, but also on buddhism, asian shamanism, local folk practices, etc).

For those following multiple paths (or pantheons) how do you reconcile beliefs?
My beliefs does not match one single system, but are influenced by a lot of them, some may not believe in rebirth, but I do. Some may believe in a different soul structure as I do, etc. So basically I have my beliefs influenced but separate from the systems I'm following. Can't explain correctly.

So how do you deal with beliefs following different systems. Please, any suggestion also is welcomed.

 
My beliefs don't really have much relevance on other systems or religious traditions I'm pursuing or interested in, since they seem to mostly be based on practice. Usually it is practice-wise that I'll find conflicts - f'ex, a tradition that emphasizes worshiping or revering your ancestors isn't one I could work very well in. Then again, that depends on what kind of ancestral reverence is going on in that specific religion...

Even in the religious tradition that I'm crafting, I expect it will eventually have differences from my own personal beliefs as more people add to it and contribute. I'm not really worried about that unless there's a huge theological or ethical divergence. But because I do care more about practice, that's where I focus.

(Then again, belief often informs practice, and I think 'walking the talk' is important - so I couldn't really be part of a religious trad that was monistic or claimed that mysticism or divine experience had to be in a monist framework, nor could I be part of a faith that shunned the modern world as evil or held that technology was the bane of all. That last bit is why I don't get on with a lot of Pagans.)

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2014, 06:16:31 pm »
Quote from: zamotcr;157892
For those following multiple paths (or pantheons) how do you reconcile beliefs?

 
Personally, I don't try to adapt systems in which the beliefs require reconciliation.  (I am a terrible chaote, insofar as I can only believe multiple systems if they're actually functional-some-might-say-true.)

For any given religious system, there are practices/beliefs that are required to be a member in good standing of the system; there are practices/beliefs that are not technically required, but are expected; there are practices/beliefs that are common; there are practices/beliefs that are entirely orthogonal; there are practices/beliefs that are forbidden.

I do not consider it possible to practice religions where the forbidden practices/beliefs of one fall in the mandatory practices/beliefs of another concurrently, for obvious reasons.  Pretty much anything else can be managed with work, though.  More or less work depending on the system.

I mean, if the practices/beliefs of two religions mostly fall in what's required or expected for each other, that's dead easy.  If, say, the beliefs are largely concurrent, and the practices have next to no overlap, well, that's a lot more practical-tangible work, but not actually much more complicated.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
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we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

EJay

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2014, 04:27:12 am »
Quote from: zamotcr;157892

For those following multiple paths (or pantheons) how do you reconcile beliefs?
My beliefs does not match one single system, but are influenced by a lot of them, some may not believe in rebirth, but I do. Some may believe in a different soul structure as I do, etc. So basically I have my beliefs influenced but separate from the systems I'm following. Can't explain correctly.

So how do you deal with beliefs following different systems. Please, any suggestion also is welcomed.

 
I'm a panentheist, so I believe in an "Ultimate God" as my son once put it.  I also believe in deities and people.  I also believe that all roads lead to Rome.

There are many commonalities in belief systems, but not always.  Sometimes there is no way to combine belief systems, but that's okay.  Sometimes you have to decide whether you want to take the mountain path or follow the river--you can't do both.  It doesn't mean that either path is worth less than the other, they're just separate.

Best~
EJay
If you understand, things are just as they are.  If you do not understand, things are just as they are.

Louisvillian

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2014, 09:48:35 pm »
Quote from: zamotcr;157892
For those following multiple paths (or pantheons) how do you reconcile beliefs?

I have my own beliefs, most strongly anchored at where my paths overlap. But in some areas, I try to synthesize different historical beliefs; especially when it comes to the afterlife and what happens to the souls of the dead.
Luckily, my paths have a decent amount of overlap in terms of general practices and general beliefs. When they get into more specific cultural ideas, I tend to look and see if they are actually mutually exclusive before discounting a synthesis.

Nyktelios

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 11:16:22 pm »
Quote from: zamotcr;157892
As many have read, I have wandered through many paths and I can't settle exclusively in just one.

I can happily work in several ones. I believe all gods are real and worthy of respect, I don't even follow a single pantheon. If I follow a god, I approach him/her in his cultural context, due to respect, I try to learn everything I can of their culture, to understand them better and have a closer connection, but even that, I am not stick to any pagan religion, nor pantheon. I describe my belief almost as an eclectic druid (druidry not just focused on celtic, but also on buddhism, asian shamanism, local folk practices, etc).

For those following multiple paths (or pantheons) how do you reconcile beliefs?
My beliefs does not match one single system, but are influenced by a lot of them, some may not believe in rebirth, but I do. Some may believe in a different soul structure as I do, etc. So basically I have my beliefs influenced but separate from the systems I'm following. Can't explain correctly.

So how do you deal with beliefs following different systems. Please, any suggestion also is welcomed.

 
When it comes to reconciling following deities of various pantheons, I don't see it as much of an issue. Ancient cultures didn't really make distinctions of what we would call "religion" when it came to other cultures. I don't think the ancient Greeks would have seen ancient Egyptians, Celts, Norse, etc. as having a distinct religions from them, just different customs for worshiping the gods. None of these cultures had a "religion" as a single monolithic and homogenous system, but had many cults of different gods, none of which were exclusive. Sometimes the inclusion of "foreign" gods into public worship was discouraged, but that was more political than theological. Ancient people didn't seem to have much of an issue with functioning in various cults in different contexts. Polytheism is pretty open and tolerant by nature. It appears to me like they had a much more fluid and flexible worldview than modern people would understand, not a set of unchangeable "beliefs". What a person believed was pretty irrelevant in pagan cultures

For me, it's a bit more difficult because I am a pagan, but also function in Christian communities as a high church Anglican/Anglo-Catholic. As I described above, I find it helpful to adopt the more flexible worldview that ancient people seem to have had, and not necessarily adhere to a set of specific beliefs. I can attend a mass or evensong service and genuinely take communion and participate in the prayers, and I enjoy lighting candles at the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then I can burn incense in front of a statue of Isis at home and make my devotions, and I don't necessarily feel like it's a contradiction (though people at church might disagree with me). There is definitely some overlap, but mostly it just involves functioning religiously based on context rather than rigidly held belief.

I think I've posted this video at least once before, but I like it because she comes from an academic background when it comes to the study of religion, and explains that following an exclusive, monolithic religious system is a completely western notion, and is completely irrelevant to anyone outside an Abrahamic tradition.

[video]http://youtu.be/rHeH3qI8kFQ?list=UUPX1hub6z9z_nMsWGoZk1Bw[/video]

Jainarayan

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 03:36:07 pm »
Quote from: EJay;158205
I'm a panentheist, so I believe in an "Ultimate God" as my son once put it.  I also believe in deities and people.  I also believe that all roads lead to Rome.

There are many commonalities in belief systems, but not always.  Sometimes there is no way to combine belief systems, but that's okay.  Sometimes you have to decide whether you want to take the mountain path or follow the river--you can't do both.  It doesn't mean that either path is worth less than the other, they're just separate.

Best~
EJay


Well said. I'm a panentheist also, as well as a universalist. I hold with the Rig Veda verse ekam sat viprah bahuda vadanti: "one truth the wise give many names". I tried mixing Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism with Hinduism... didn't work. Full-on Hinduism didn't/doesn't work for me. But I'm discovering that Asatru, what I'm really being called to, can accept Hindu deities. Basic rituals of offerings and prayers are also not incompatible. So, that is working. It's trial and error. Unfortunately there's no easy way, especially not the Belief-O-Matic test. :D:
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śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2014, 02:02:16 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;158171

I do not consider it possible to practice religions where the forbidden practices/beliefs of one fall in the mandatory practices/beliefs of another concurrently, for obvious reasons.  


This makes total sense, but I'm sort of curious what sort of specific, contradictory religious practices there are out there. Could you give me a few examples of when a religion says one must do 'A' and another says never do 'A'? I'd like to look into them more.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2014, 03:28:01 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;162377
This makes total sense, but I'm sort of curious what sort of specific, contradictory religious practices there are out there. Could you give me a few examples of when a religion says one must do 'A' and another says never do 'A'? I'd like to look into them more.
An obvious answer is the Judeo-Christian "worship no other Gods" vs polytheism. I'm sure there are more subtle ones out there.

(Though that's why I give "ChristoPagans" a wide berth. I truly don't get how that can be a viable thing as a blended path.)

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2014, 03:42:02 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;162383
An obvious answer is the Judeo-Christian "worship no other Gods" vs polytheism. I'm sure there are more subtle ones out there.

(Though that's why I give "ChristoPagans" a wide berth. I truly don't get how that can be a viable thing as a blended path.)

Karen


I had considered that one as well, but I'm not sure it works. Christianity says not to worship any other gods, but heathenry , f'ex, doesn't have any rules concerning which gods to worship or not. I could, as a heathen, chose to worship only God and still maintain heathen philosophies, satisfying the requirements (or non-req) of both.

I guess my main question/curiosity is if opposing religious practices actually conflict in their underlying philosophies.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 03:42:59 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Darkhawk

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 03:59:30 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;162377
This makes total sense, but I'm sort of curious what sort of specific, contradictory religious practices there are out there. Could you give me a few examples of when a religion says one must do 'A' and another says never do 'A'? I'd like to look into them more.

 
Monotheism vs. polytheism, as dragonfaerie mentioned, is a quick one.  What powers are and are not to be venerated, as the more general case.

Conflicting food standards might be another, though I'm not sure about whether eating, say, meat, or drinking alcohol might actually be mandatory in anything, as opposed to merely preferred.  (Though I'm reminded that certain juice sterilisation methods were invented by a Methodist to prevent I ACCIDENTALLY SOME WINE.  Mr. Welch and his grape juice...)  (Some suggest that the separation of meat and dairy in Judaism derives from a rule that was fundamentally about not consuming a particular ritual meal from a neighbouring culture, by the way.)  It is also possible to have conflicting feast and fast days.  (I'm now pondering what one would do when one of the Days of Obligation falls during Ramadan, for example.)

Other similar stuff.  (Clothing standards, f'ex: "always cover your head" vs. "head bare in ritual", or "wear no animal products" and "performance of ritual requires wearing a pelt".)

Standards of behaviour of various sorts.  (For example: treatment of sexuality according to various religions varies widely.  Strict pacifism vs. religions that mandate violence/retaliation under certain circumstances and conditions.)

Mandatory ritual action and mandatory ritual inaction.  (For example, in particularly the more strict forms of Judaism there are days on which certain activities are forbidden, which include lighting fires, cooking meals, and so on.  This means that one cannot practice a religion that requires lighting a fire or preparing a ritual meal on a particular day at the same time as a form of Judaism that expects you do not light a fire on that day.)
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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 05:20:15 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;162383
An obvious answer is the Judeo-Christian "worship no other Gods" vs polytheism. I'm sure there are more subtle ones out there.

(Though that's why I give "ChristoPagans" a wide berth. I truly don't get how that can be a viable thing as a blended path.)

Karen

Well, 'Pagan' doesn't necessarily mean 'polytheist'.
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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2014, 08:07:37 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;162391
Well, 'Pagan' doesn't necessarily mean 'polytheist'.


No, it doesn't. But even going more of a pantheist route, I still find it difficult to truly understand a real blending of Christanity and Paganism beyond "I still like praying to Jesus". I think UU comes pretty close, but from what I've read of UU liturgy, they're erring more towards the side of pantheist, universal terms than anything specifically Christian.

Karen

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Re: Multiple separate paths and beliefs
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2014, 09:37:58 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;162387
Monotheism vs. polytheism, as dragonfaerie mentioned, is a quick one.  What powers are and are not to be venerated, as the more general case.

Yeah, but as I mentioned to DF, isn't it one-sided? Christianity may make the claim that one can only worship God, but I don't know of any polytheistic religions that say one can worship a variety of deities except God. Only worshiping God doesn't break any rules of worship in polytheism.

Quote
Conflicting food standards might be another, though I'm not sure about whether eating, say, meat, or drinking alcohol might actually be mandatory in anything, as opposed to merely preferred.  (Though I'm reminded that certain juice sterilisation methods were invented by a Methodist to prevent I ACCIDENTALLY SOME WINE.  Mr. Welch and his grape juice...)  (Some suggest that the separation of meat and dairy in Judaism derives from a rule that was fundamentally about not consuming a particular ritual meal from a neighbouring culture, by the way.)  It is also possible to have conflicting feast and fast days.  (I'm now pondering what one would do when one of the Days of Obligation falls during Ramadan, for example.)


Other similar stuff.  (Clothing standards, f'ex: "always cover your head" vs. "head bare in ritual", or "wear no animal products" and "performance of ritual requires wearing a pelt".)


Standards of behaviour of various sorts.  (For example: treatment of sexuality according to various religions varies widely.  Strict pacifism vs. religions that mandate violence/retaliation under certain circumstances and conditions.)

Mandatory ritual action and mandatory ritual inaction.  (For example, in particularly the more strict forms of Judaism there are days on which certain activities are forbidden, which include lighting fires, cooking meals, and so on.  This means that one cannot practice a religion that requires lighting a fire or preparing a ritual meal on a particular day at the same time as a form of Judaism that expects you do not light a fire on that day.)




This is kind of what I'm looking for, and I'd love if you could be more specific on the purpose of these. I'm wondering if the devil is in the details. Do the rules of symbolism confuse the purpose of the symbolism? For example, if the purpose of feasting is to invite god/s to the table, and the purpose of fasting is to bring one closer to a god/s, then they share that common purpose and a substitute practice could be performed. Or, one could alternate between feasting and fasting.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 09:38:34 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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