The Five Points of Pagan Calvinism
- The Fluidity and/or Subjectivity of Ultimate Spiritual Reality
- The Pagan Elect
- Irresistible Enlightenment
- Exclusive Pluralism
The Fluidity and/or Subjectivity of Ultimate Spiritual Reality
There is a mystical Oneness of All Things which permeates all of nature. No thing is ever separate from the One. Separateness is an illusion and an error. We perceive separateness by being unaware of or unwilling to recognize the logical elegance, fluidity and adaptability of the One. Any attempt to create firm distinctions, classifications or boundaries is a denial of the subjectivity of our experience of the One.
The Pagan Elect
By nature or education some persons (the elect) are able to comprehend, appreciate and experience the One easily. Those unable to comprehend, appreciate and experience the One may strive to be Pagans, and with effort become Pagan with proper education and guidance by the elect, but are likely best suited to other religious paths. Adopting another religious path is preferred for the non-elect, as their use of Pagan terms and the Pagan label is divisive, confusing and incorrect. The elect is generally well-educated, intelligent, and creative, and can be discerned from the non-elect by these qualities.
The elect transcend the material cares of this world to seek unity with the Oneness of All Things. Salvation is either unnecessary, for the next life, or eternal. Temporal salvation is petty and unworthy.
For the elect, the reason, logic, spiritual fineness and poetic beauty of the Oneness of All Things is irresistible and will overcome any temptation to stray from it. Those who resist this enlightenment are either not of the elect, or will embrace it eventually. Those who staunchly reject the Oneness of All Things are not Pagan, or are simply gone astray and will return due to irresistible enlightenment.
There are many valid religions, but only One True Paganism. Those who identify as Pagan and do not adhere to the doctrine of the Oneness of All Things are either not of the elect or in error. If not of the elect they should be encouraged to practice a faith better suited to them. If in error, they must be corrected, and being of the elect they will then see their error and embrace the irresistible enlightenment.
I’ve written about the prevalent Pagan orthodoxy before, and mostly tried to ignore the latest round of asshattery by Humanistic/Naturalistic/Atheistic Pagans, but the phrase “Pagan Calvinism” came up in a conversation with Cara Schulz the other day and then last night this post went up. So I’m stealing Cara’s phrase and using it to provide some clarity to what I mean when I talk about Pagan orthodoxy.
The whole point of the post in question is that “hard polytheists” are merely in error, and if they were honest with themselves and open to reason, logic and poesy, they would see this error and adopt a different theology. There are a lot of problems with the post. For one, “hard” is just as derogatory as “soft” if you look at it objectively, and those descriptors are not value judgements but an accurate way to phrase theological boundaries. A picket fence is a hard boundary (dog cannot go through it) while a line of rose bushes is a soft boundary (dog can push through). Also, I began describing the gods as an ecosystem awhile back, in that specific pantheons when worshiped and worked with in their entirety are harmonious and balancing. Using the concept of an ecosystem to suggest Apollo is really Helios is as absurd as saying in a swamp ecosystem a frog is really a cypress. Bad logic.
What really cheeses my grits over this, and over other Humanistic Pagans making asshat statements, is that what they are preaching is essentially Pagan Calvinism: there is one true Paganism that the intelligent elect understand and all others are either in error (to be eventually won over to the correct Paganism), or they are somehow usurping Pagan labels and language that they have no right to and taking up space they have no right to. Using emotive language worthy of any sappy Evangelical altar call, they dismiss those who disagree with them as ignorant, stupid, backward, barbaric and superstitious. They paint those who disagree with them as anti-logic and anti-science.And they do this in the name of tolerance and love, as all things ultimately exist within the pantheism/animism/psychological constructs/mysticality/Oneness of All Things, including the errors of those who disagree with them.
Humanistic Pagans aren’t the only ones who are practicing Pagan Calvinism. There are Wiccans, Druids and unaffiliated solitaries who are espousing the same ideals. Pagan Calvinism is the new Pagan orthodoxy, firmly aligned to far left politics and ideals, and those who do not embrace it are at best on the fringe of Paganism if not outright treated as outsiders.
Having boundaries is healthy. A fence does not necessarily indicate bad neighbors. Having theological boundaries does not indicate “bad Pagans.” Insisting that people with boundaries are merely in stubborn error is incredibly rude. This section alone is so incredibly rude and arrogant that I am amazed anyone could have the guts to publish it:
But natural polytheism doesn’t have to be “soft” at all. In fact, you can be a hard polytheist and a natural polytheist — it’s just a matter of deepening your relationship with your gods and learning to ask the tough questions.
My natural response to this quote isn’t fit to print.
Calvinistic Pagans tend to take on a tone of martyrdom. I have no sympathy. You cannot be a bully and play the victim. You cannot insist on steamrolling over other people’s boundaries, mansplaining their religion to them, and arrogantly insisting you know better than them the nature of their gods, and expect anyone to feel sorry for you.
The most common complaint about Calvinistic Pagans from “hard polytheists” is that they are disrespectful. It’s not hard to understand why when there is a whole chorus of them calling those who disagree with them ignorant, unenlightend, superstitious, stupid, and just plain wrong.
I’m not a polytheist with firm theological boundaries simply because I have a shallow relationship with the gods and refuse to ask tough questions. That is ridiculous, arrogant, and extremely rude. I am tired of people thinking that another person’s spiritual boundaries are there for them to mow down. I’m tired of this idea that you either conform to the orthodoxy or you must subject yourself to the bad manners of the Calvinistic Pagans. One good example of this is what happened to M. Macha NightMare, and I’m glad she didn’t stick around to be hissed at. (And I have heard the apologetics but everyone knows hissing is a rude act of hostility.)
Establishing healthy boundaries is a good thing. Feeling compelled to knock them down and ridicule them isn’t.
If Pagan Calvinism is the future, and I suspect it might be, then I no longer have any desire or use in calling myself Pagan.