Why I don’t trust the gods (at least not if I’m alone with one)

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I think it’s a mistake to assume the gods are benign. The word “worship” derives from the Old English word for “worthy”. I wonder then, why have I rarely seen the question asked whether the Pagan gods are worthy of worship. To put it another way, why should we assume the gods can be trusted? If the gods are paragons of virtue, are they not also paragons of vice? The polytheistic gods, as I understand them, are not necessarily good and they are not omni-benevolent. If the myths are to be believed on any level, the gods are just as flawed as human beings — they just have more power. Why bow down to power, if it is not paired with virtue? One answer perhaps is that the gods should be worshiped because they are — just as nature can be worshiped because it is. Nature is not moral or virtuous, but worship (or reverence) is a natural human response to it. But worshiping something and trusting it are two different things. I don’t ever assume that nature is benign or trustworthy. Why should we assume the gods are trustworthy? [Read more...]

“Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” — Friedrich Schiller

Controversy has broken loose on the Pagan blogosphere again.  This time over the suggestion that pop culture icons, like comic book superheroes, are equivalent to polytheistic deities.  It began on May 13th with a post by Sunweaver at Patheos titled “Making Light: Hero Worship” in which she compares contemporary superheroes to ancient Hellenic heroes and [Read More...]

An infant dedication and second thoughts on Unitarian Universalism

Last week, I went to town on the excessive rationalism and the lack of “poetic enthusiasm” (William Ellery Channing) in the Unitarian Universalist church.  But as I sat in the service this past Sunday, I felt that I had been unfairly harsh last week. For the past year, we have had a young interim minister [Read More...]

“One needful thing”, Part 1: What’s missing from Unitarianism

This is a mutli-part series.  In this part, I discuss the history of Unitarianism, including the Transcendentalist revolt, the humanist revolution, and the search for a language of reverence. A few weeks ago, a married couple who are friends of mine joined the Unitarian Universalist congregation that I attend.  They have been attending for about [Read More...]

If I can’t dance, I don’t want your religion!

This is a variant of a quote attributed to Emma Goldman (“If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution!”), and it is also a variant of what my 9 year-old daughter told my wife this past Sunday.  My daughter had just gotten chewed out by my wife for taking so long to find her [Read More...]

Janet and Gavin Bone, Part 3: Ritual that doesn’t connect

Originally posted on August 1, 2011 by John Halstead Let me begin by saying that the ritual was not terrible.  But it wasn’t great either.  There was no connection … no juice.  Now the girl swaying next to me, in apparently orgasmic ecstasy at the mere presence of Janet and Gavin, would probably disagree (especially [Read More...]


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