Celebrating Life, Preparing for Death

Lligwy Burial Chamber

“How does your religion say you get to heaven?”I’ve been asked that question several times, at least once in those very words.  In answering, I begin by pointing out the unstated assumptions behind the question:  1) that heaven and hell are the only possible outcomes, and 2) that preparing for death is the most important aspect of religion.Christianity (at least in its more conservative forms) is a death-preparing religion – its primary focus is on holding the proper beliefs so the follow … [Read more...]

You’re Doing It Wrong!

the lower level of the Roman Coliseum

The last post Am I Doing It Right? was about how to deal with healthy doubts surrounding your beliefs and practices.   But I also listed a few examples of how you might be doing it wrong: if your religion tells you the world would be fine if other people would quit screwing it up, you’re doing it wrong.  If it tells you society is great just like it is, you’re doing it wrong.  If it tells you it’s all about you, you’re doing it wrong. In the comments, Yvonne Aburrow said this needed more unpack … [Read more...]

Polytheism Redux

O

I spent yesterday working on a post about how the success of my “themes not goals” approach means I’m now setting goals for 2014.  But before I could finish it there was a rash of posts on polytheistic theology and I feel the need to respond.Much of this discussion is contentious and some of it has become personal.  If you want to catch up, read this post by Morpheus Ravenna, this one by Rhyd Wildermuth, this one by Alison Lilly, this one by Traci Laird, this one by Anomalous Thracian, and th … [Read more...]

Religious Buyer’s Remorse

a offer is presented: choose

We who are living in 21st century America have more religious options than ever before in the history of the world.  Thanks to legal protections for religious freedom, a free flow of books and other information, and the connections made possible by the internet, if a religion is being practiced or has ever been practiced you can practice it here and now.That’s a good thing, right?  Isn’t “more choices are always better” a fundamental axiom of American life?  As someone who found the religion … [Read more...]

Trusting the Gods

Thunder Hole 07 28

Monotheists’ commands to “trust God” are a double-edged sword.  On one edge, they promote wishful thinking and a passive acceptance of the status quo that can easily turn into the spiritual opium Karl Marx ranted against.But the other edge of that sword can be helpful.  Whether you are a Stone Age hunter-gatherer, a medieval peasant working the land, or a high-tech city dweller, you are dependent on many people and processes that are out of your control.  It can be comforting, even liberati … [Read more...]

Psssst – We’re Winning

the Parthenon, Athens - 2012

In the past week I must have seen a half dozen articles, essays and blogs attacking polytheism. Some were from Christians, others from atheists.  Some were mocking, others were rational.  Some appealed to the authority of scientistic materialism, others appealed to the authority of scripture. But all of them thought polytheism was important enough to devote writing time and publishing space to counter it.Though even the Big Tent of Paganism is still comparatively small, we’re no longer small … [Read more...]

Seeking the Mystery

SeekingtheMystery

I reviewed Seeking the Mystery on my old blog in December.  I’m updating the review in part because the book is now available in print but also because the material it covers is very relevant to the recent discussions / debates / shouting matches on hard vs. humanistic Paganism.  If you’re going to argue about the nature of the gods, you need to understand monism, pantheism, animism, and other views of Divinity; and you need to understand how modern Pagans have used these terms during the on-go … [Read more...]

Mystery

07 39a Cadillac Mountain

Several commenters on my last post (both here and on social media) have pointed out that John Halstead’s original essay on the Three Centers of Paganism included the idea that the three centers overlap. That’s correct, of course, and I’m hardly unique in my quest to integrate Nature-centered, self-centered, and deity-centered beliefs and practices. But I feel a particularly strong need to consciously combine three separate identities into one whole identity.Beyond my own concerns, it seems th … [Read more...]


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