Soon after my abrupt and spectacular expulsion from being a Catholic at age 14, I found Leland’s Aradia. I was fascinated by the concept that the ultimate deity was a Goddess, specifically, Diana. Later I wondered why Apollo’s sister, the Virgin Huntress, came to be considered the Queen of the Witches. A clue lies in the myth of Actaeon, killed by his own hounds as punishment for spying on Artemis; the clue is that Artemis was bathing to renew her… Read more

Mark was a literary genius. He invented the “gospel” as a new literary genre. That is comparable to Aeschylus’ invention of drama. But, like Wagner, Mark was anti-Semitic. He despised “the Jews.” Please be aware that I am here boiling down almost 250 years of scholarship focused on the gospels. The history of that scholarship is one of liberals beating the literalists back step by step with a wand of reason, showing that the gospels are works of theology, not… Read more

I am here entering the URL for the article. My essay is beneath it. California Bill Would Ultimately Erase Religious Schools This is very important story. I had not known about this California bill. It is intended to protect not just LGBTQ people, but everyone, from being harmed by false beliefs. A belief cannot be falsified by the scientific method, if it is a genuinely nondisprovable hypothesis, but it can be falsified by Wm James’ pragmatic test: if it harms… Read more

Leslie White predicted this back in the 1950s. He could already see it happening, because the pressures had been building since the Renaissance. He was one of the great Cultural Historians, along with Toynbee and Kroeber. He was a Marxist—of a school that consisted of him and Karl Marx. We’ll get to the churches—but first you need to understand the historical forces at work. White took seriously Marx’s insight that history is driven not by abstract ideas, as Hegel thought,… Read more

In response to a blog I posted a while back entitled, “So Am I Jewish?” in which I was speculating about what the rules are in the various branches of Judaism for defining who’s a member, one woman asked, “Are you willing to stand with us?” My immediate thought was “But I always have!” I began thinking about why I felt that way and realized the story goes back to my great-great-grandfather, Jacob Scheer. My mother, Marie Cecile Kelly, told… Read more

I am willing to entertain the nondisprovable hypothesis that our religions are inspired by the Gods, but if so, the Gods always employ one or more of us to do the actual writing for them—and we are fallible. If they do send us messages, we rarely understand all of the message or manage to not contaminate it with our own unexamined assumptions, wishful thinking, or simple ignorance of what we would need to know in order to understand such messages… Read more

In early December Melinda was on, trying to track down her Cherokee ancestors, the Shellnuts. Her mother was born Lois Anne James (yep, related to Jesse). Looking at Lois’s maternal grandmother, she found that Alfred Shellnut had married a Rosa Salmat. Looking up that name, she suddenly yelled, “Oh, my God, I’m Jewish!” Yes, she is, and so are her sisters and all three of our kids. She has been chatting with a Rabbi who could see the whole… Read more

Recently a brilliant woman doctoral student picked me, apparently by intuition, out of the hundreds of editors available online, to edit her research proposal. Having hired me, she then googled me, learned much more, and sent me a long enthusiastic email about her psychic talents and experiences. She is immensely well informed and is what I might call a “natural-born Witch”—but she had never met another Witch face to face. We have been having long, advanced chats about many things;… Read more

Interestingly, the problem of good and evil exhibits the same structure as the problem of understanding the infinite. Augustine’s conversion from Manichaeism to orthodox Christianity was inspired, in part, by his realization that the Manichaean concept of deities that were absolute logical opposites was logically untenable. Logical opposites must be opposite in every detail. However, if evil exists, then it shares the fact that it exists with the good, since existence itself is good. Hence the absolute opposite of anything… Read more

A dialog about whether the Gods are infinite or not sometimes begins with “Gerald Gardner wrote that the Gods of the Wica are ‘little gods.’” Yes, he did, but he was not very interested in abstract theology. I don’t think he was asserting that, if the Abrahamic God is infinite, then our Pagan Gods must be finite. Rather, his point was that, whereas (many) Christians believe in a God who is distant, arbitrary, angry, vengeful, and punishing, Witches believe in… Read more

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