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Author Topic: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?  (Read 4518 times)

Greenlove92

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Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2011, 05:15:08 am »
Quote from: Faylie;33129

Hi faylie.
First of, i suggest you assist to those workshops. Even if you don't know how how to cast a circle. You're going there to learn. If you feel insecure, try it, practice. You still have a lot of time before next year.

Now about deities, my answer is yes! I think you should accept what feels right to you. What matters is what you are and feel at your core. Any words put on it are labels, or just a way to identify yourself to others.

:)

This is just my opinion, hope it helped.

Blessings,
Greenlove.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 10:38:11 am by Marilyn/Absentminded »
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Stardancer

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2011, 05:40:49 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;33272
The whole omnipotence/omniscience thing is something that I think only the monotheistic gods (and occasional branches of polytheistic systems that approach monotheism from a funny angle) actually claim.

I was actually once asked by an atheist "What's the point in worshipping a god that isn't omnipotent?"  I was too flabbergasted to come up with a response to something that alien.

 
I can't remember who on this board said the perfect reply: "Just because they're not omnipotent, doesn't mean they're impotent."
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Faylie

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2011, 11:33:38 am »
Quote from: yewberry;33149
Because things of the non-deific have called me.  Very much not gods, or anything with the kind of scope described by folks who work with deities, but (to my meager human eye) powerful nonetheless, and worthy of honor and reverence.

Sometimes there's a new religion (or system of beliefs, or whatever).  Sometimes people are called to things that aren't attached to an existing paradigm.  Sometimes people create a framework for these beliefs.  And sometimes they fall under the broad umbrella of neopaganism.


Brina,  thank you for posting your beliefs, did you create your own path or was it something you found that fitted your beliefs?
 
Quote from: Valentine;33195
...Some people want to start a new belief system, some people want to join an existing one; some people want to fit into something established, and some feel fine going it relatively alone; and as I said in my post, there are pagan-y traditions and belief systems that don't do deity, really, but I wasn't sure if the OP was asking 'Is there a deityless way I could do this?' or 'Is belief in deities a test for membership?' or 'Which flavor of neopaganism would fit best to what I already do?' or 'I don't have this experience but would like to, thoughts?'  


I hope you don't mind if I answer these questions too, it is helping me think it all through more which I am finding quite helpful.  
I don't necessarily want to start a new belief system, but if what I am looking for doesn't fall into a current one, then I would be more comfortable with adapting an existing one to fit me, but then not call it that.  If that makes sense.  I don't really like the idea of bastardising other peoples beliefs, but there are already a lot of systems that are adaptations of other systems, and I think it worse to try and squeeze yourself into a hole you don't fit into.  

I think I would like to know if there is a deityless way of doing this until or if I come to a conclusion about them.  I don't know that there is an answer to a flavour to fit what I am currently doing, as I don't know what I am doing, What I would like to do, that I need a lot more thought on.  Would I like to have an altar?  Yes, Would I like to give an offering? Yes, (Can you do that without a recipient in mind?)  Would I like to honour the passing of the seasons? Yes, and a lot more.  I get frustrated at myself that I don't know how to go about it yet, but the places I have looked to find this out don't really match with what I want to do or how I want to do it. It has been mostly Wicca based paths I have come across and I know that's not for me.  Hence me showing up on the doorstep here asking questions.

Another question then, do people tend to pick a path and stick to it, or is it common enough for people to begin one way and then evolve into following another way?  

 
Quote from: Valentine;33196

(I know I can sometimes be a bit of a snarkerton outside the beginner areas of this board,)

In my experience...it's not that you have to believe in something to run into it, whether it's dead folk or nature spirits or what we might call Gods?  Sometimes they're just there and brook no argument about it?  But the universe talks to us in our own language, a lot of the time.  

...

We're in conversation with the universe all the time, whether or not the universe has anything like a God or a spirit in it, and I think our mediating frameworks matter:  everything we learn or interact with is filtered through the fact that it's us doing the interacting.  So openness to something existing might mean it's a face that will show up when you're trying to understand infinite things, if that makes sense, and at the same time, there's no problem with seeing it differently.

My wife is a nontheist.  ...  Maybe the world tells her what she needs to know through her experience of her art, and tells me by sending a jackal-headed God with a terrific deadpan, and we're both living in true worlds.  Does that make sense?


Nothing wrong with being a snarkerton, at times people need a good snarking at, and I know I am one of them.
 
So pretty much, go about what I want to do, how I want to do it and just keep myself open.  Interact with the universe as I do and it will speak to me if and how it chooses, but usually in a way I will understand.  
 
Quote from: Maps;33269

If you'd like to get more into it with the whole no-deity stuff, there's this: http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/showthread.php?146-Deism-theism-panentheism-combinations-thereof

I'm afraid of hijacking the OP's thread, haha. Though I guess, Faylie, heading over there might give you a little insight too?

 
I have the link open at the moment and will head there when i have finished replying, thank you.  Please, don't worry about hijacking, I am finding it interesting and thought provoking reading.  

Quote from: Greenlove92;33298

First of, i suggest you assist to those workshops. Even if you don't know how how to cast a circle. You're going there to learn. If you feel insecure, try it, practice. You still have a lot of time before next year.

Now about deities, my answer is yes! I think you should accept what feels right to you. What matters is what you are and feel at your core. Any words put on it are labels, or just a way to identify yourself to others.


Thank you Greenlove,  you are right, they are giving the workshops for people to learn and that is why I would like to go.  Even if it isn't all relevant to me, the learning pat most certainly is.   I guess you never know, the circle may be what I need to convince me.

yewberry

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2011, 11:53:06 am »
Quote from: Faylie;33315
Brina,  thank you for posting your beliefs, did you create your own path or was it something you found that fitted your beliefs?


I pretty much created it myself, though it includes inspiration from many established paths.  Before adding a component to my belief structure or ritual cycle, I do my level best to understand it within its own cultural and religious context.  I don't always know to whom I'm speaking, and the entities I deal with may or may not even be aware the way we animals are.  In short, I'm frequently flying by the seat of my pants, trying to be respectful to creatures that literally may not know I'm alive.  ;)

Brina

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2011, 12:06:13 pm »
Quote from: Faylie;33129
but I wouldn't want to be a hindrance in the more practical parts if it includes more practical parts like casting a circle which I have never done before and am not sure if I believe in.

 
Chiming in on this one bit. (I'm a strong deist, but I haven't had the brain the last few days for conversations about it in useful ways. Hello, cold!)

Generally, for intro workshop type things, even a series of them are generally pretty open to people coming into it with different perspectives. If they're not, they'll usually either say so, or have some kind of application process.

The thing I wanted to say about casting a circle, though is that it's not exactly a question of belief: it's more like "Hey, is this tool useful?" I think of it like mise en place in cooking (putting out all your ingredients before you start.)

You can cook perfectly good meals without it, and some people never use it. But some people find it very helpful for balancing difference things (like if you get tired easily, you can cut everything up, rest a bit, and then stand up and combine them), some people do complicated kinds of cooking where the timing is very precise (so if stuff isn't ready to go, something else will burn). And some people just like working that way.

Now, lots of people *don't* cook that way - and that's good too if it works for them and the food they want to make. But it's not like mise en place is a belief thing. More a "tool that doesn't make sense with what I'm doing" thing.
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Maps

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2011, 01:38:29 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;33324
Chiming in on this one bit. (I'm a strong deist, but I haven't had the brain the last few days for conversations about it in useful ways. Hello, cold!)


Oh wow, had no idea! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject when and if you're ever up for sharing them. :]

Faylie

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2011, 12:23:21 am »
Quote from: Jenett;33324
Chiming in on this one bit. (I'm a strong deist, but I haven't had the brain the last few days for conversations about it in useful ways. Hello, cold!)

The thing I wanted to say about casting a circle, though is that it's not exactly a question of belief: it's more like "Hey, is this tool useful?" I think of it like mise en place in cooking (putting out all your ingredients before you start.)

 
I hope you are feeling better soon Jenett, colds aren't fun.  

Thank you for the analogy, I don't know why but I always had the impression that drawing a circle you needed to call on the god and goddess to draw the energy into it, but thinking about it I have never actually read anywhere where you can't call on whatever energy calls to you.  So I could simply call on the energies I feel around me.  

I am guessing the answer can differ depending on your beliefs, but do pagans believe in evolution or creationism and the big bang theory?  I had always thought evolution and the big bang, but I wasn't sure what Deism was so I read a definition for it and it said that it was a creationist belief.  Is that right?  If so does it follow on with many other pagan paths?

yewberry

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2011, 01:56:26 am »
Quote from: Faylie;33437
I am guessing the answer can differ depending on your beliefs, but do pagans believe in evolution or creationism and the big bang theory?  I had always thought evolution and the big bang, but I wasn't sure what Deism was so I read a definition for it and it said that it was a creationist belief.  Is that right?  If so does it follow on with many other pagan paths?


I don't know any pagans who disbelieve good science to explain natural phenomena.  If they embrace creation myths, it's usually only symbolically/poetically.  Except in a few forms, deism doesn't dismiss science either.  God simply set everything in motion.

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2011, 03:12:45 am »
Quote from: Faylie;33437
I am guessing the answer can differ depending on your beliefs, but do pagans believe in evolution or creationism and the big bang theory?  I had always thought evolution and the big bang, but I wasn't sure what Deism was so I read a definition for it and it said that it was a creationist belief.  Is that right?  If so does it follow on with many other pagan paths?

 
Depends what you mean by "creationist".  Usually it's used nowadays to refer to those who reject scientific theories like evolution and the Big Bang altogether - in that sense, no, Deism is not creationist (and neither are many explicitly-Christian denominations).  In the sense of simply positing a Creator (for whom the Big Bang and evolution can be among the means of creation), yes, it is.

For most pagans (as, indeed, for most Christians who don't reject science, and most other Abrahamic faiths), evolution, the Big Bang, and so on, aren't matters of faith - things to "believe in" or not - at all.  The idea that scientific theory is subject to belief comes from misunderstanding what "theory" means when used in a scientific context.

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2011, 09:31:09 am »
Quote from: Faylie;33437
I hope you are feeling better soon Jenett, colds aren't fun.  


Currently, I am praising elderberry syrup to the stars. (This is a cold that's been going around my office: I have it much less badly than anyone else has. I am crediting the elderberry syrup I made from a co-worker's berries this fall. And hey, not bad-tasting, either. Or hard to make.)

Quote

Thank you for the analogy, I don't know why but I always had the impression that drawing a circle you needed to call on the god and goddess to draw the energy into it, but thinking about it I have never actually read anywhere where you can't call on whatever energy calls to you.  So I could simply call on the energies I feel around me.


In my practice, circle casting is about preparing a space for deity to be invited into: they don't help make it. (It'd be like saying "Hey, come over for a nice party" and then asking them to do all the work of setting up. Which is just weird.) One can, of course, also just not invite deity to be present, and use the circle for other magical work.

If you look at my writeup on my Seeking site, at http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/how-do-we-do-ritual/, you'll see that I break out step 2 (which is all the stuff I consider circle casting) from inviting deity (which is step 3.) Step 2 has a bunch of sub-steps, but it's a complete thing in itself, as well.

(My practice, incidentally, does involve inviting the guardians of the quarters to lend their help and specific attention to the circle. But they're not deities, and other people do other things there that are not specific-being centered, like anchoring to specific directions, elemental forces, etc.)

Quote

I am guessing the answer can differ depending on your beliefs, but do pagans believe in evolution or creationism and the big bang theory?  I had always thought evolution and the big bang, but I wasn't sure what Deism was so I read a definition for it and it said that it was a creationist belief.  Is that right?  If so does it follow on with many other pagan paths?

 
Depends on the Pagan. I posted on the old forum, my own personal bit of cosmology - which is basically "I don't know if there were Gods at the creation of the world, and really, I don't care. I care a lot more about the Gods that grew up in the world later."

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=14000.0;p=6
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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2011, 12:18:10 pm »
Quote from: Faylie;33437

I am guessing the answer can differ depending on your beliefs, but do pagans believe in evolution or creationism and the big bang theory?  

 
Creationism is a fallacy of people too foolish or ignorant to know the difference between mythology and facts.  While I'm sure there are pagans who are that foolish or ignorant, I haven't encountered any.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Maps

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Re: Can you be pagan and not believe in deities?
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2011, 12:34:30 pm »
Quote from: Faylie;33437
I am guessing the answer can differ depending on your beliefs, but do pagans believe in evolution or creationism and the big bang theory?  I had always thought evolution and the big bang, but I wasn't sure what Deism was so I read a definition for it and it said that it was a creationist belief.  Is that right?  If so does it follow on with many other pagan paths?

 
I'm an enormous science buff, so yes, I believe in evolution and BBT (though it's useful to note that BBT is just that-- a theory, since there is no way to synthesize the creation of the universe in the lab to match the observations currently).

I hear one popular way that deists like to use when talking about their view of creation is something called the watchmaker analogy (which I'm more inclined to believe than not, though it's tinged with pantheistic thoughts), the main premise of which goes like... if you were walking along a beach, completely deserted and not apparently visited, and came across a watch, you wouldn't think that it just magically appeared there, would you? Your natural inclination would be to think that someone had made it, and it wound up there somehow, though still ticking away because watches are designed to function without intervention. The watch, of course, being a metaphor for the universe. It appears to operate in the same manner, by a precise set of rules by whatever created it, and designed it to function without its intervention. Whatever happened to this incomprehensibly distant creator is likely to differ between who you ask; some believe that the creator "became" the universe as part of that process and ceased to be an entity, some believe that it went on to create other universes, some don't know, and others just don't bother puzzling about it.

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