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 Post subject: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 10:17 
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First, I really wasn't sure where to start this thread, so feel free to move it.

So, I have been perusing this site and I find that I am curious on how and why you guys are pagans. I am sure that many of you have posted your thoughts on the matter before, but in the interests of generating discussion I thought I would start a new thread.

For me I was raised a Christian, and it was through my personal deconstruction of my faith that I became an atheist. I examined a few of the other major religions out there, but found them to be essentially the same as Christianity. In the end I adopted the philosophy that since I had never seen evidence of the supernatural I would assume there was no supernatural. I am open to evidence to the contrary, but as had been said - "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

How you became pagans in interesting to me because it is not mainstream. It is easy to see how someone joins one of the mainstream religions - they are very good at selling their goods. It must be a much different journey to end up here.

So, anyone care to share their journey?

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 10:42 
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Well, people have posted their stories in the tea room, like mine here, so I'm not going to repost mine, but I'm happy to discuss it here.

But, from my discussions with other people and my own thoughts, just because it isn't 'mainstream' doesn't mean it was difficult to find or to be comfortable with.

In all honesty, it just makes sense to me. It doesn't have the 'extraordinary' claims of the more mainstream religions, and it seems more.. original and honest than any form of the Jewish spinoffs (including LDS and Islam). Judaism has been warped through the ages from a very pagan start to what it is today---

I guess, on some level, it seems original. People start with some form of animism/ancestor worship to deal with the world around them, and it seems like we are, as social mammals with large frontal lobes, drawn to this sort of belief system. And, personally, I feel on this level that the more 'original' the better.

I'm not awake yet.
eta: It's 'common knowledge' that a lot of pagans come from the Catholic church--- and they are mostly pagan themselves... ;)

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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 11:10 
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Maverick wrote:
How you became pagans in interesting to me because it is not mainstream. It is easy to see how someone joins one of the mainstream religions - they are very good at selling their goods. It must be a much different journey to end up here.


Well, I have a bunch of my info on a similar thread that Otter started, but this part of your question brings up a sort of different take.

:? Why paganism for Hex? :?


I think that at some level the hypocrasy or the brainwash-y aspects of what I saw of Christianity really helped to show me that they were not a good 'fit' with what I was experiencing for the world around me. None of the mainstream religions that I glanced at/ read about (because I can't say I did tons of research at that point :oops: ) seemed to 'fit' any better. The idea of setting an arbitrary set of rules and understandings over the ever-changing world and it's ever-changing situations really didn't work for me.

And, while science and math were my absolute best subjects, and I was able to understand and use the knowledge of cause and effect within the world, there just always seemed to be something missing. What it was was some sort of cohesive aspect. A reason, if you will, that would answer the question "Why?" Some things just fell into place too well to leave to an explanation of 'chance', some things were just too ironic to not have been set up by some sort of humor, and very obviously, some things were the product of man's work, not that of the systems of the world.

So, my worldview developed, without any desire to 'conform' or be part of some greater collective of people who thought like me, because I knew there likely weren't any who thought like me and judged situations like I did. Thus, a more pantheistic / polytheistic view was what I went for. Call to the right gods/ goddesses/ spirits/ forces at the right times and get the right result. Still cause and effect but of a much more etherial nature and tailored to -just- my situation on my own timetable.

Self-serving? Sure, but to a point. Times when something special happened (a woinderful sunset or a lightning storm out over the lake) in which I got no physical benefit and hadn't asked for anything, I knew that I wasn't alone in that moment and I could offer ... thanks on the one hand that I got to see it, but also support to the one in control that they had done such a spectacular job.


Now, I may not be typical. I was raised in an area with very low population density and was physically alone quite a bit. Maybe if I'd been in more contact with other folks, it would have been different. I'm really not sure. I'm fairly sure that -my- brand of paganism is fairly unique to me, even though I might recognize some of the same gods/ goddesses/ spirits/ forces that others do.

But when it comes down to it, I'm definately not a sheep. Maybe not even a goat. Maybe something like a badger. :cheeky:



Now ... Does that answer the question, or did I just ramble on and miss your point? :)

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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 12:57 
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Interesting. In a recent conversation with my wife (liberal Christian), she mentioned that she wished I believed in "something". I think she would be perfectly content in any type of spiritual belief. What I keep telling her is that I don't need a belief in a supreme being or some guiding force in the universe to appreciate the wonder and majesty of the natural world.

As humans we seem to find comfort in rituals and the belief in something beyond us, so I understand where she and you guys are coming from. For me I have never found anything that passed the same types of tests that I used first against Christianity, and I am content with that. I don't need anything more.

I'll probably have some more direct questions for the two of you after I reread your "testimony", but I really should get some work done now ;). Damn inconvenient if you ask me.


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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 13:00 
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Bring 'em on ... :D

And yeah ... I'm doing payroll today so ... I understand ...

(And yes, the newsies are being posted whilst my dot-matrix printer churns ... :roll: )

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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 13:03 
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work. Curse of the drinking class.

I feel that since 1) it's personal and 2) there are no 'demands', there is no need for 'proof'. I have a couple of odd incidents that could be read as 'personal prrof' on good days, but normally I'm way more atheistic than anything.

I think the way your wife feels is interesting--- it's the same as my mom said--- that she's glad we believe in something. I'm not sure why, but hey. I think it may have something to do with the whole 'how can you be good without a 'sky daddy' thing.

And the pagan 'codes of conduct' I've read are fitting, regardless of belief, In My Opinion...

hurm...

Of course, I could merely like having fairies in my garden... ;)

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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 16:15 
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Hex wrote:
And yeah ... I'm doing payroll today so ... I understand ...
Hm, an anthropology/archeology educator that does payroll too... Sounds like a interesting combination.


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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2008, 21:49 
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don't get him started on how when he 'filled in' for the office manager about 10 years ago because he had accounting classes as part of his undergrad, he ended up being the only person at work qualified to do payroll... and there is no new training...

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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 20 Jun 2008, 12:16 
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I think I was born pagan--I was a weird kid, always very interested in nature and mythology, including the "dark" or "scary" side of both. Spiders and death-gods held no terror for me. I was raised Christian/Mormon, but the stuff we learned about in church never seemed like the real stuff to me, no matter how hard I tried to believe it. And no matter how many times it was reiterated to me that witches were evil and the only good power came from Jesus (and was never given to ordinary people like me), I wasn't convinced. I intuited that magic was just a tool like any other--anyone could pick it up and use it if they knew how, and its morality lay in its application. I experimented a little...I tried to make "witches' brews" out of plants I found in the backyard. I don't know what, if anything, I was expecting to happen, but it seemed obvious to me that magic came from nature.

I was interested in Wicca for a little while starting in my teens, thanks in part to a Wiccan aunt, but all I really took away from it was the comforting knowledge that the ancient pagan religions weren't totally obsolete after all, and that other people had also found the spirituality they needed in nature. I found the ritual forms more elaborate and heavy-handed than I prefer. Every time I tried a full-blown circle-casting, I felt like I was trying too hard to do something that should be simple and almost automatic. So I moved to a more informal, almost casual way of "doing" paganism.

One night about eight or nine years ago, I had a very profound and vivid dream that informed my view of the gods and of my path more than anything that I have ever read or learned from an outside source. In the dream, I was chosen by a Goddess in the form of a dragon to travel beneath the Earth until I reached a certain cave, where I would find black mushrooms that I was to bring back to Her. My dreams don't normally have that kind of organized narrative structure, so I knew that this was important, even if it was only my own subconscious mind addressing me. It certainly removed all doubt in my mind as to whether this was the right path for me. The dragon and the caves and the mushrooms are all very powerful mythopoetic symbols, and I still occasionally come up with a new insight into their meaning.

I guess you could say it wasn't really a journey for me at all...more like an exploration of my home.

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 Post subject: Re: So, why paganism?
PostPosted: 01 Jul 2008, 19:12 
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well not much more to add than my original thread over there, but it just "fits" for me. The principals that Jesus brought to this world have been interpreted a thousand different ways,hence I don't give much creedance to the Bible for that reason alone. It seems to me it was written by man for man to serve the purpose of indoctrinating others and the scare tactics are awful..so I am sure the good intent was there in the beginning but somehow when they got to Leviticus human nature took over....so when I speak of God, its not the benevolent tyrant my grandmother spoke off. I mean seriously, if we are forgiven before we even commit the sin, then why all the command and obey stuff that comes out of the other side of the mouth. lots of contradictions yk?



and Hex btw the badger is considered a powerful healer, kinda growly sometimes but he lives where the roots are, roots that hold powerful medicine, . People know what they are dealing with when they see a badger and to heed him respect ....and oooh boy watch out if he comes out upside down and snarling. so is that a fair assessment?

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