The Religious Pundit Class Equivalent of Hippie Punching

Director/producer Alan D. Miller seems like a very intelligent guy, he participates in the NY Salon after all, so I was disappointed to see him participate in the religious pundit class version of “hippie punching”: criticizing all those “spiritual but not religious” people for CNN’s Belief Blog. You see, these spiritual (but not religious) people are very shallow, and don’t realize how darn important the Christian Bible has been to human history.

“A bit of Yoga here, a Zen idea there, a quote from Taoism and a Kabbalah class, a bit of Sufism and maybe some Feing Shui but not generally a reading and appreciation of The Bhagavad Gita, the Karma Sutra or the Qur’an, let alone The Old or New Testament. So what, one may ask? Christianity has been interwoven and seminal in Western history and culture. As Harold Bloom pointed out in his book on the King James Bible, everything from the visual arts, to Bach and our canon of literature generally would not be possible without this enormously important work. Indeed, it was through the desire to know and read the Bible that reading became a reality for the masses – an entirely radical moment that had enormous consequences for humanity. Moreover, the spiritual but not religious reflect the “me” generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking, where big, historic, demanding institutions that have expectations about behavior, attitudes and observance and rules are jettisoned yet nothing positive is put in replacement.”

So, you see, spiritual-but-not-religious people are dilettantes who should, I guess, be really respectful and thankful for the Bible? They should know that Christianity has dominated Western culture for a long, long, time? Ultimately, according to Miller, there are just two sides and we all, but especially these self-absorbed yoga-breathing spiritual types, need to just pick one.

“Theirs is a world of fence-sitting, not-knowingess, but not-trying-ness either. Take a stand, I say. Which one is it? A belief in God and Scripture or a commitment to the Enlightenment ideal of human-based knowledge, reason and action? Being spiritual but not religious avoids having to think too hard about having to decide.”

Ha-ha! Take that straw-man spiritual-but-not-religious demographic, you’ve been defeated again!

So I have two problems with Mr. Miller’s essay, aside from the lazy broadsides against a diverse demographic that he most likely only thinks he understands. First, people who actually define themselves as “spiritual but not religious” account for less than 0.3% of the US population (even if you include all “liberal faiths” you only get to 0.7%). So he’s taking the time to complain about what a tiny demographic does because they get up his nose? Because he’s tired of hearing about their latest guru at cocktail parties? That’s just petty, unless he actually means people who refuse to associate themselves with a religion, the “nones,” in which case you’re talking about a far larger demographic, and one that won’t slot easily into Miller’s conjectures.

Secondly, I want to talk about the importance of the Bible. I completely agree that the Bible (particularly the King James Bible) has had an immense influence in Western culture, but let us not pretend that this is because the book excelled in its prose, was especially unique, or won in some metaphysical literature competition. The Bible was dominant because Christianity was dominant, and Christianity is dominant because of a Constantinian turn, not because it fairly competed against other forms of religious literature. To believe that the printing press, great art, and great music, would not have occurred had the pagans triumphed is folly of the highest order. Miller is praising the Bible for the role any number of other works could have taken had Christianity not enforced strict controls on who got to read what for generations. Are we suddenly going to forget that the ancient world had a thriving literary tradition (one that smart Christians constantly cribbed from)? That the Rennaisance and the Enlightenment had as much to do with access to pre-Christian works as it did the Bible? For a long time Christianity has only had to struggle with itself, and to praise the flowers that bloomed in its tended garden is to ignore the forest it razed to plant those seeds.

In my opinion the outsize reactions to spiritual but not religious people are knee-jerk and ultimately telling. You “punch the hippie” not because the hippie is necessarily wrong, but because it benefits you in some way to engage in the punching. Right now there are a lot of people involved in institutional religion who are working very, very, hard to remind you how much good they’ve done you in the past. Art! Music! Pretty buildings! Don’t forget! This is despite the fact that a majority of people are still professed Christians in the United States. That a tiny minority has shaken off institutional faith and is searching for something different, and maybe hasn’t found it yet, is threatening because people are worried that it will catch on. That they may even stop searching and choose to be Buddhists, or Hindus, or Pagans, and weaken the cultural throne that institutional forms of Christianity have long taken for granted.

So the next time you see someone knocking the “nones,” or bemoaning the spiritual people, ask yourself what their agenda for doing it is. Why are they punching the hippie?

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  • Apuleius Platonicus

    Miller would have had a somewhat valid point if he had not made it so clear that he himself has never closely analyzed the lazy assumptions that he makes about his own religious views. As Jason points out, Miller has only a crude, propagandistic view of the influence of Christianity in Western culture, and in particular, Miller completely ignores the violent and coercive way in which that influence came about.

    As Socrates taught 2500 years ago, it is far better to not know and to acknowledge that one does not know, than to live in ignorance while believing that one possesses knowledge.

  • Mojavi

    A few points:
    1: The poor illiterates studied and were taught to read the bible because it was the only book given for free after the invention of the printing press

    2: Lazy?!?! So a church goer who does not ask questions but follow blindly isn’t considered “not thinking”?!?! Just because one attends church doesn’t mean they know alot about the history or theology of their faith.

  • Guest

    I find the “spiritual but not religious” phrase most often used by people who know damn well that Other People’s Stuff works but don’t want to credit that they could be important to those that made and use them. They are the people who spend large amounts of cash for antique temple Buddhas because they look pretty, and discard them away soon as the fashion has grown tired.
    I’m not saying that’s all wrong, but why’s the phrase “spiritual but not religious” so often come with mockery of other beliefs?

  • Pitch313

    OMG! If it weren’t for Christianity’s dominant and dominating influence on our historical culture, our historical culture couldn’t be described as “Christian.” If it weren’t for Christian believers, we wouldn’t be able to mock and deride those who might not be Christian believers. And if Christian believers always saw eye to eye, we’d all adhere to the same denomination of Christianity.

    Wouldn’t we?

    Hey! Don’t mind me. I’m just a dinosaur lazy hippy who studied Sanskrit to read those hazy mazy cool laid back old Hindu and Buddhist religious tracts that unhinged me from knowing my true cultural duty was only to the Christianity that made the world I live in what it is!!! If I weren’t so constitutionally lazy and spliffed out I’d turn myself in to the cultural inquistion!

  • Anne Newkirk Niven

    The most obvious “hole you could drive a truck through” in Mr. Miller’s analysis is that he doesn’t even attempt a hand-wave at multi-culturalism by including *any* of the other major world religions in his rubric. Where, for example, does he put religiously-identified (presumably “Western” adherents) Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews? This is in no way any kind of serious argument for *anything* if he can’t be bothered to recognize other major faiths (he’s also obviously clueless about including Paganism and indigenous faiths among them.) The man sounds like he’s stuck in the 20th (or maybe the 19th!) century.

  • LogicGuru

    Goddam, this problem with SBNR isn’t “shallowness” but that they don’t kick in to maintain the infrastructure–the church buildings and their furnishings, the music, art and ceremony. I’m religious but not spiritual: the Church is my God. I detest the Bible: I worship the church. I want to see the most elaborate ceremonies, the fanciest buildings that maximal high church so that I can go to church and escape from the dull world into a fantasy land of the woo-woo–the acid trip. Give that to us and we will come. The Chuch is God–aesthetics is the whole purpose and end of life!

  • Guest

    Yes he’s off-base. He thinks only Christians hear “spiritual but not religious” about their practice or faith and thought his views were being attacked and treated shallowly and tried to figure why, all cooked up in his head.
    Personally, I think because he’s suggesting they are “bad” some go then assume they’re hippy? That’s off-base, too. IMHO.

  • Nobodhi

    In a world of sloppy thinking (including Mr. Miller’s) I find this to be a well-reasoned and balanced response. Thank you Jason.

  • Guest

    Much of the US is overwhelmingly Protestant Christian (usually Baptist or Pentacostal in some stripe). In this century.
    Some rural people’s heads would explode if they knew having mosques, churches, synagogues, temples, and more in the same neighbourhood and/or the same street is “normal” for many, with peace and not having tense issues amongst them all also the norm. All they know about most of the religions of the world are what they’ve seen on tv or the internet or what they could have found in a textbook.

  • LogicGuru

    Like good President Ike, who held that our country “didn’t make sense unless founded on a deeply held religious faith” but didn’t care what it was, I believe in high church and don’t care whether it’s Anglican, Hindu, or whatever–as long as there are fancy buildings, elaborate ceremonies and high art. I’m a certified hippie: I used to go to church on drugs to get the thrill. And that’s what I think religion is for: metaphysical thrills through “Art, Music and Pretty Buildings”

    The problem with spiritual-but-not-religious is that it doesn’t produce or support that infrastructure. The spiritual-but-not-religious are assing around because (1) they don’t know that they can get the thrill, the aesthetic stuff that produces the woo-woo in church and because (2) they think that they have to pay for it by buying into stupid doctrinal and ethical views.

    Show them that they can get the thrill, and that it’s cost free. The church is my God–I worship the Church, I adore the Church–and by “Church” I mean the aggregate of buildings, silverware and aesthetic goodies. Aesthetic/mystical experience is the whole end and purpose of life and it’s the Church’s duty to provide it. God is Beauty–ethics sucks.

  • LogicGuru

    Baptist or pentacostal? this is white trash religion. Where do you dome from. These people are detestable garbage–I’m episcopalian: don’t associate me with those stinking shit lower class filth.

  • LogicGuru

    The issue isn’t who as the “truth” whatever htat is, but who has the buildings, and the art.

  • LogicGuru

    OK, Buddhists and Hindus. Build some temples and I’ll get on board. I’m a Christian because in the Western world that’s where the art and architecture is. If you want to promote some other tradition, let them produce the aesthetic goodies.

    And, yes, I am lazy. I just want the aesthetic kick and mystical experience, with the least possible effort. And that is what Christianity provides.

  • Janneke Brouwers

    “For a long time Christianity has only had to struggle with itself, and
    to praise the flowers that bloomed in its tended garden is to ignore the
    forest it razed to plant those seeds.”

    Nice. Very nice.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Evidently Miller would prefer a violently hostile heretic to someone who just doesn’t give a toss about Christian issues. I daresay he’s scared by the “nones” but can’t get a handle on them, so he beats up on the spiritual-but-not-religious.

  • kenneth

    We have an ascendant movement of “hippie punching” within the pagan community these days as well. One of the fundamental divides in the wider pagan movement these days is between religious (perhaps even “small o” orthodox”) pagans and the eclectics and humanist/secular pagans. It is clear from fairly recent posts that the former REALLY don’t care for the latter and I suppose the reverse is true as well. Miller’s underlying attitude and argument, if not his theology, is gaining serious currency within some corners of our own movement.

  • RedMaple

    Many years ago I quit the Protestant church and joined the Catholic church for these reasons: the high mass; the frankincense wafting its heady sweet scent, the sunlight streaming through the stained glass and through the incense smoke, the bells, the gregorian chants, the plaintive music and simple homilies. As the years passed I became bored with the catholic church – reciting the Nicene creed every damn Sunday is their method of programming your minds, you little sheep. I’ve had enough of that, and all the contradictions that their doctrines are heir to. I’ve had enough of “religion”. I turn Miller’s phrase upside down thus: Being religious but not spiritual avoids having to think too hard. I want to avoid religions, because they try to keep you, to convince you, to program you, to get your money, to get your mind.

    Religion is a crumbling ediface like a house of cards built on sand. It is all mythology, but they do err by presuming their metaphors to be concrete reality. Ralph Emerson encouraged us to be spiritual but not religious in his essay on Self-Reliance. IOW, you don’t need them – the ecclesiastical authorities. Hence: to be spiritual (open to beauty, enchantment, mystical awareness), but not religious (going to buildings every Sunday, reciting myth as if it were concrete) — this is the pagan path. To seek in Nature the simple beauty and feeling of being. It’s a hippie thing, dudes, and it’s beautiful.

    To answer Miller: I’m on the rational enlightenment side of the fence, but I’m still open to Spirit, in this sense —
    Einstein wrote: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

    And, btw, wasn’t Jesus the original hippie (think of GodSpell) ; the original SBNR? He warned us against the establishment religion; advised us to pray secretly and spiritually; encouraged us to behold the lilies of the field; enjoined us to forgive others and not to condemn; overturned the bankers’ tables; instructed that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; taught us to become peacemakers; and protested against injustice?

  • Aine

    They do have temples. I can’t even with this comment.

  • Aine

    Wow, classicism, really? You’re on a roll with your ignorance and hatred. You have to be a troll.

  • LogicGuru

    OK so you got bored with it. I didn’t. As far as the creed, recited it and believe what you will. I like nature and all that–I like beauty whereever I can find it. But those church buildings and ceremonies are more–and the more the better. That’s why Church is my God, the object of my adoration. I adore and worship the Church. If people want to do something else fine. AS long as those buildings are maintained and the ceremonies go on. The church is God.

  • Apuleius Platonicus

    No, the issue is how things came to be the way they are. And, more fundamentally, the issue is the fact that Alan Miller passively accepts a rather hackneyed view of the way things are, and never bothers to look into how things might have come to be this way. If he were to look into that he might find that not only is the situation somewhat different from what he supposes (Vergil and Cicero being rather more important in Western culture than the monstrosities and inanities of the Bible, for example, thank the Gods), but even to the extent that he has hold of some portion of the truth, the story behind that rather takes the shine off the supposed wonderfulness of that influence.

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    A philosophy professor actually:

    I guess this is what philosophers do in their spare time? Troll?

  • kenneth

    One can make the case that the art of trolling was in fact invented and perfected by a philosopher, Diogenes!

  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    “For a long time Christianity has only had to struggle with itself, and to praise the flowers that bloomed in its tended garden is to ignore the forest it razed to plant those seeds.”


    I wish that I’d written that.

  • PurplePagan

    To quote Mr D. Mustaine:

    “What do you mean, “I ain’t kind”?

    I’m just not your kind.”

  • A. Nonymous

    ” I want to avoid religions, because they try to keep you, to convince you, to program you, to get your money, to get your mind.”
    As I have often said over the last 30 years: Organized religion is just another form of organized crime. They both want the same thing, to control you and to take your money.

  • A. Nonymous

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe the spiritual-but-not-religious folks simply don’t NEED that infrastructure? That they can sense Diety (however you define that term) simply by looking at the world?

    Maybe the real problem is that it is YOU who need the infrastructure because you can’t connect in any other way. That does not mean that you have to denigrate those who can connect in ways that you simply don’t understand.

  • PurplePagan

    You can almost feel the peace, love and tolerance, can’t you?

  • Makarios Ofiesh

    I wonder how much of this particular type of hippie punching is rooted in envy. Consider a typical pew-sitter, going to church week after week, going through the motions, reciting by rote the responses and creeds, listening to the sermons, reading the holy book and the commentaries–and feeling, all the time, as if they’re chewing sawdust. And then they see people who don’t subscribe to their preferred brand, people who identify as SBNR, and who actually seem to find spiritual nurture in their blended practice.
    Because of their indoctrination, the pew-sitters can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that there is something lacking in their own church; and so, in the manner that seems to be hard-wired into the human psyche, they attempt to firm up the ground that they stand on by undermining others.

  • PurplePagan

    All this plus the possibility of being told you’re probably going to Hell can’t help the morale.

  • Andrew Milmoe

    *Now* I know what to do with my time machine…

  • Makarios Ofiesh


  • Briar

    I don’t know that I would say troll, so much as someone who truly believes what she’s saying in the comments here. My impression of that comes from her articles here: though of course I can’t totally rule out the fact that she may also be trolling anyway.

  • Jadelyn

    If you don’t believe any other religious traditions have “the goodies”, it’s only because you haven’t bothered to look around you and see them. Education is a wonderful thing. Find you some.

  • Andrew Milmoe

    “Goddam, this problem with SBNR isn’t “shallowness” but that they don’t kick in to maintain the infrastructure–the church buildings and their furnishings, the music, art and ceremony.”

    Under our current tax structure, the SBNR are supporting the secular infrastructure of the community that the Church benefits from but does not pay into.

    You’re welcome.

  • Aine

    I find it mildly hilarious, apart from the trolling, that your argument is basically ‘baw those other religions aren’t conforming to what I like and I’M the most important I’d join if they did what I wanted’.
    Ever cross your mind that other religions don’t want someone like you in them?

  • Aine

    Ow. Facts hurt.

  • NoBodE

    I’m not so sure they are actually reading the bible. While many are able to quote verses they have learned by rote, very few have actually read it cover to cover.

  • Obsidia

    So, those who follow their own spiritual path, or a “blended” path, or an “eclectic” path, are SELF-ABSORBED. Oh my! How horrible! Well, Jesus (whose teachings these religious pundits profess to follow) said to “love others as you love yourself.” Not MORE than you love yourself. AS you love yourself. So did they ever think about what that means?
    Remember the “concerned Catholic Parent” at the Indianapolis Pagan Pride event? His big criticism was, “These people worship THEMSELVES! They worship trees! They are silly.” Bascially the same criticism that Mr. Miller presents. If they are so silly, well, why not just laugh at them and walk away? Why be “outraged”? Why be upset at all?
    Another case of Cognitive Dissonance. Mr. Miller and the Concerned Parent seem to be afraid to break away from the comfort of not having to think for themselves, not having to explore the spiritual wilderness, not having to face their own deep SELF. And so they project their SHADOW SELF on others. Shameful.

  • Mia

    Your grammar suggests otherwise.

  • Marc Mielke

    Nuu’anu, HI: I went to school across from here. Sort of dominates the surrounding area, which has lots of other nice religious buildings as well.

  • Marc Mielke

    Gotta admit, philosophers got a lot of spare time.

  • Aine

    A professor? Wow. I don’t know if I should be disgusted or amused.

  • Northern_Light_27

    The orthodox vs. eclectic thing has been going on a lot longer than “these days”. I remember all the anti-”fluffy” venting channels across the internet about ten years ago, so the current incarnation is more than a little ironic. It looks like hard polytheists feel the secular/humanist Pagan posts are saying that they (hard polytheists) are less intelligent and less sophisticated than secular/humanist Pagans. I think some of that is due to bad writing, and at least one post (on Patheos, but not on TWH) was a gross misreading of the original post. In any event, I saw so many years’ worth of hard polytheists saying exactly that kind of crap about eclectics (eclectics are flighty, fluffy bunnies, unserious, unintelligent, etc. etc. etc.) that the juxtaposition is almost amusing.

    (Although I sit right in the middle of all of these slider-bars, so for me it’s less amusing and more annoying as hell. There are different ways to be Pagan. They don’t invalidate other ways to be Pagan. Just because your way isn’t someone else’s way doesn’t make yours better and theirs shit.)

  • Ursyl

    I think this is perhaps meant as sarcasm?

  • LogicGuru

    Science tells us the way things came to be the way they are. The Bible is not only largely false but one of the most boring collections of literature that ever saw its way into print. Religion gives us the kick, the metaphysical thrills, the aesthetic experience–the art, architecture, music and good things of high culture.

  • LogicGuru

    The problem is that those goodies aren’t HERE in the US and readily available. If I were living in India I would OF COURSE be a Hindu. Christianity is our culture-religion–it has the most convenient, plentiful shrines on the ground.

  • LogicGuru

    Why should I care whether they want me or not?

  • LogicGuru

    I don’t support tax exemption for churches. Religion is a consumer product and I’m happy to pay for it–as long as I can get the religious goodies I enjoy.

  • LogicGuru

    It’s not a matter of NEED–it’s a matter of want. I enjoy religion. I’m not denigrating people who don’t–I just want the bucks kicked in to maintain the buildings and support the ceremonies. I couldn’t give a flying goddam what anyone believes–as long as the goodies are there.

  • Wdayton

    I sense a strong thread of Trickster in you. I kind of get what you’re saying. Many secularists feel much the same way, but is it necessary to come into the cave of the bear and poke him with a stick? The SBNR crowd as well as the majority of pagans feel that the individual experience is what is important, however one gets there, and that the infrastructure and accessory trappings of religious institutions are irrelevant (or nearly so). I don’t think that always comes from a shallow place. Many in both camps are very well versed in the mythologies they utilize in their practice and appreciate what works. Spirituality is provably elastic and adaptable throughout history. Some of us take advantage of that very quality.

  • Guest

    now I can’t even, either

  • Andrew Milmoe

    Your support of tax exemptions is irrelevant. They exist. Because they exist, SBNRs do, indeed, “kick in to maintain the infrastructure–the church buildings and their furnishings, the music, art and ceremony.”

  • Northern_Light_27

    @LogicTroll All of those arguments made a few weeks ago by the hard polytheists about people who just come for the food and the party? Apply to you. Your entitlement is rather appalling.

  • kenneth

    Everyone definitely “kicks in” or rather gets bled in this country to support religious infrastructure. Every dime that churches don’t pay in various taxes gets paid by the rest of us, religious or not. One estimate puts that amount at $71 BILLION every year!

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    Many religious people see the building and ‘infrastructure’ as comparatively unimportant compared to the actual religious experience.

    If you are concerned about the degradation of historic buildings then, logically, you should worry less about religion and more about historic preservation societies.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    Because you want access to the ‘goodies’ of their club.

    Imagine if entry to sacred space was ‘invite only’.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    I disagree. There are a lot of good things to be said for the organisation of religion.

    It is the methodology of some that can be an issue.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    I’ve known plenty of regular church goer that get the same level of spiritual fulfilment from their collective worship as many Pagans get from their rites.

  • kittylu

    Not too long ago there was a study that said unaffiliated spiritual people accounted for something like 80% of millenials. Thats probably what has them all up in arms.

  • Cathryn Bauer

    Interesting timing. At the North Virginia Pagan Pride festival, our Seedgroup (Seedgroup of the Oak and Eagle, a sliver of OBOD) had a gentleman off the street come into our booth who described himself as “spiritual but not religious” and wanted to know what we were all about and what we believed. One of our leaders engaged with him and spoke for over an hour with him while the rest of us kind of faded in and out of the discussion. The man was open and interested, clearly able to re-examine ideas and assumptions and take in new data. Frankly, I see myself in these so-called fence-sitters, at least in the not-so-distant past, and I find no fault in either myself or our guest. It was several years before I turned away from Christianity before I ventured from my garden and solitary reading and practice. I had a lot of the same questions our guest did. Further, I owned up that for years into adulthood, I had bought into the “one way to salvation” mindset of Christianity; I did not want to make that mistake again. I was cautious and wanted a faith that came from my own life experience and awareness, not to swallow another institution’s articles of faith. I might well have been described as “spiritual but not religious” during that time, though I didn’t use the phrase. That solitary period of caution and learning laid the foundation for a faith and practice that ultimately has proven right for me.

    And who on earth is this writer to judge anyone else’s spiritual path and committed or perceived lack thereof? Really, who appointed him to do that? Seekers, pay no attention and carry on!

    Cathryn Meer Bauer

  • Cathryn Bauer

    It doesn’t have to be. But it’s up to you not to shut off your mind and to think critically about absolutes, including the absolute necessity to give anything more than a contribution to cover the inevitable expenses.

  • Gareth


  • Aine

    Actually they do have temples in the us. You’re horrifying uneducated.

  • Aine

    If that’s all you got from my response you shouldn’t be a professor at any school. Your reading comprehension is just sad

  • Aine

    LogicTroll doesn’t care about that. They just want to complain that other religions and people aren’t doing what THEY like.
    They can’t even conceive that people might not worship buildings like they do.

  • cigfran

    As thoroughly repelled as I was by the appearance of Miller’s editorial on CNN, I was reminded also of examples of pagan fundamentalism and of the overlap between those attitudes and some of Miller’s argument. Hippy-punching is by no means a pastime only of Xtians or their apologists.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    And that somehow makes it okay? We/they did it first, so feel guilty about being the target this time, it’s just your hens coming home to roost? Bullshit.

  • Rhoanna

    There are plenty of people who find beauty in the rituals of organized religions, and who use ritual to achieve mystical experiences.

  • cigfran

    Bullshit yourself, for your own response to straw-me, instead of anything I actually said.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    Then what was your point? Please enlighten me how your comment wasn’t a judgement on the validity of criticizing the editorial.

  • Ryan

    I loved the reference to the “Karma Sutra”, a book that doesn’t exist. Now the “Kama Sutra”, that’s the famous one the quote was probably referring to, and it isn’t a religious text.

  • cigfran

    I see that you’re one of those unfortunates who is more driven by ideology than clear reading. It’s a condition you might want to get looked at.

    However, since I suspect that we are “on the same side” I will elaborate for comprehension:

    I think Miller’s an asshole, that his argument is self-serving and that it’s repulsive for CNN to be engaging in this kind of thing.

    I am, or have been, a hippy, to varying degrees at different times in my life. Parts of my worldview are or have been shaped somewhat by the New Ageism that Miller attacks. I have said on more than one occasion that I am “spiritual but not religious.” I do not like being erased

    But smug pagan criticism of Miller is one-sided and insufficient. I have seen arguments similar to his from “our side” of the fence on more than one occasion, and they anger me no less – in fact somewhat more because they come from a quarter that I would normally consider opposed to such crap.

    That I feel that way in no way suggests that I find criticism of Miller “invalid”. That was entirely your own projection of a well-clenched sphincter.

    Got it? Can you handle that or is it too nuanced?

  • BryonMorrigan

    That is such a “derp-worthy” comment that…I am just flabbergasted…

  • Vision_From_Afar

    I can see that you’re one of those unfortunates who suffers from inherent (if misplaced/illogical) superiority when compared to others who traverse the religious blog comboxes.

    I’m glad you don’t like Miller’s “self-serving” argument, but are you implying that Jason’s breakdown of his stupidity here constitutes “smug pagan criticism”? Do you often feel you encounter smug criticism at TWH?

    Your original comment can basically be boiled down to, “Well, it’s not just them.” The problem is, that inherently implies that the original criticism (of Miller) is somehow less valid, as it is now being argued (by your estimation) from a position no less flawed, as “this side” has engaged in exactly the same type of broad-painting fallacy. That’s why I called you out.

    You repeatedly mention encountering these types of diatribes from “our side”, but offer no links, no names, no evidence? It looks like you’re just using Devil’s Advocate with no real substance to back up your claim. (See kenneth’s comment for how to do it better)

    Your other problem is you seem to think we’re arguing from equal positions in this matter. We’re not. He’s on CNN, we’re on a well-organized, but much-less-mainstream religious blog collective. Miller, and by extension those other Christians who make similar arguments, have the power and voice we do not. As such, they are to be held to a higher standard than us.

  • Apuleius Platonicus

    Claiming that those Pagans who espouse “eclectic” and/or “humanist” and/or “secular” views are the pitiable, innocent victims of “hippie punching” by the Big Meanie Religious Pagans is, well, a deeply flawed theory that offers a very nice example of Orwellian Doublespeak.

    In the most recent go-round on this subject we were treated to the spectacle of self-proclaimed “secular humanist” Pagans touting their world-view as more intellectually sophisticated, more clear thinking, more rational, less superstitious, less naive, and less dogmatic than those silly, religious Pagans who, you know, believe in stuff.

    One cannot proclaim one’s superiority over others while simultaneously proclaiming that those over whom one claims superiority are Big Meanies who claim that they are, you know, superior. Well, you can, but it rather undermines any chance you might have had of being taken seriously.

    Here’s a suggestion. Grow up. If you have a position, defend it. If others disagree with you, either defend your position or go home. Disagreement does not equal violence. Demanding that your point of view be accepted without criticism does not mae you less dogmatic and more intellectually sophisticated.

  • cigfran

    Your persistence in arguing with “implications” rather than actual statements makes any reasonable effort to respond a frustrating and ultimately pointless exercise.

    In earlier years – or months, for that matter – I might have lamented the foolish antagonism that you seem so intent on manufacturing and perpetuating. But I don’t really care anymore. I’ve had to accept that red-faced imbeciles are as common to the pagan community – such as it is – as to any other identity-collective.

    Since you cannot hear anything but what you project into the words of others, I invite you to enjoy the no doubt endlessly entertaining discussions you must have with your own navel.

  • cigfran

    I viewed the spectacle quite differently. Rather than condescension on the part of the humanists, I saw unwarranted hostility on the part of the so-called hard polytheists.

    From my perspective, the humanists are actually pretty grown-up, and the pugnacious polytheists and militant “free thinkers” on both flanks, mostly infantile.

  • Cat C-B

    Are you still here?