Thanks for helping everyone explore and learn more about what Paganism means...
If I understand this correctly, any religious person, if they have an interest in saving the planet from pollution, and/or have an interest in animal rights, or saving the rainforest, could be called a 'pagan'?
There are lots of ways to care for our planet and those who live upon it. Not all who do so fall under paganism, which is a collection of beliefs that find divinity in the natural world.
Other religions may care for our enviroment as a directive from their one god/all soul etc... , but in paganism each part of our world is divine in its own right, rather than under the leadership of a single god.
The individual tree, lake, forest etc... each have their own spirit, more like a family of the divine that live in our world with us.
For the more mainstream explanation...
Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller", "rustic") is a blanket term, typically used to refer to polytheistic religious traditions, although from a Christian perspective, the term can encompass all non–Abrahamic religions.
This post was modified from its original form on 15 Sep, 15:27
This post was modified from its original form on 15 Sep, 15:28
I have already given Davida a green star this week so I will wait patiently til next week before sending another star.
Pagans do not do things for the planet or ecosystem because they are environmentalists. Pagans worship and protect the planet because She is our Mother.
Pagans also have a strong believe in reincarnation and are generally polytheistic.
I will be looking for some good links on those two topics and how they are so important to Pagans tomorrow.
is pagans a formed and organized religion in itself? is there a place, book or practice that is followed by pagans, such as other religions?
in reading the definition on the link above, seems there is varied aspects of paganism, but not the same in all practices of it, or the same concept from person to person. so this confused me and was wondering if there is actually a detailed outline of guide or book for a pagans as a whole to follow?
No, it is every belief that does not fit into a certain main stream religions pattern. But who really is Pagan?
Many religions borrow from what they say is Pagan
Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or with their real identity, if they choose.
If one gets into the metaphysical or mystical aspect of any particular religion, it would be natural as part of this inner journey and discovery process to make the divine nature of everyone and everything a part of it.
In this way, members of any religion may discover and explore a Pagan part of themselves, despite never leaving their religion or changing their church. (Does this make them heretics? )
Rather than seeing Pagans as the enemy, or as someone 'going to Hell', pagans can be seen as vitally important teachers for all religions.. The piece that is missing in most religions that would allow them to fit in harmony with all other religions is the pagan piece...
In a strange and ironic twist of fate and destiny, what is rejected (paganism) is the most precious gemstone of all, and actually should be the most to desired part of any religion, because it is what gives LIFE to them...
This post was modified from its original form on 18 Sep, 10:33
Pagan is an insult that Christans and arrogant anti religious elitists coined.
Any belief in anything is mental and metaphysical by definition. No metaphysical belief has physical qualities, even if felt. What is the color or size of love, hate, fear? Emotions, beliefs, and intuitive thought are all very necessary for being human, but they must always be balanced with practical real world testing thought. When emotions to beliefs are very strong and powerful, they can distort or even destroy practial and real world testing or critical thinking.
Today's teabagger mentality of the people supporting no taxes or regulations for corporations, that has caused our current economic crisis, as a way to restore "normalcy" to our economy lacks critical or real world thinking. Reasoning based on religion or god lacks critical thinking, even if strongly felt.
Casey that seems to be quite a ginormous brush you're painting with. I do believe there are critical thinkers in every faith and in every group of people. I respect that in all people in spite of our many differences.
Actually, my understanding of the word when learning Latin is more aptly defined as 'country dweller' if you would like to be more specific. 'Rural district' comes close, but not quite.
Why would I listen to a misogynist like Tertullian's origin of the word who could be more specific by stating, "The impudence of the heretics' women! They dare to teach, to dispute, to carry out exorcisms, perform cures - perhaps they even baptize." (Tertullian, On Baptism and the Veiling of Virgins, p.160). This man was one of the first and noisiest of witch hunters and very Protestant like in his belief that God came only through man. If a woman was a thinker, independent or accepted by liberal Catholics, she must be a witch to him. Though he was on the scene roughly 1300 years prior to Luther, he held the same belief that women were mere reproductive vessels with inferior reasoning powers and a proclivity to succumb to temptation.
The latin term for civilian is civile (from the Latin phrase jūs cīvīle = civil law). Military not only referred to the actual military, but to those who specialized in any form of dignitus (dignity, rank, public office, distinction). Working hard labor of any kind, not just in a legion, for 10 years earned you this in Rome. All of this led to the highest achievement, Actoritas, or real power and leadership. Now, it is of no surprise that Tertullian would use a derogatory term algamated from other terms to make his point. It is not proper Latin, however. It is like slang today which I am not trying to critique, but to point out.
I am a Pagan. Am I capable of critical thought in your eyes? I agree with your analysis regarding the blindness of some, many, all, whatever of the teabaggers. Are they capable of critical thought? Maybe some are. But I agree with Rachel about the brush. You are talking to a Pagan with a 160 IQ (as if that really matters) who has done his homework big time (maybe that really doesn't matter either). The point is, there are thinking people in every group as your icon displays... By the way, I have every book he has ever written and think he was brilliant and I read them specifically to get to know the man himself and not listen to what government, media, or other people had to say about him. Therefore, I became a critical thinker, a historian, anthropologist and scientist who respects all life on this planet...
May you all be ad enstar solis exornatus - illumined by the Sun.
I am amazed at the depth of knowledge as expressed above, which I am sure is just a hint of what is there in terms of depth.. Wow..
Anyone care to expand on the historical link about where the Old Testament or other Holy books came from, in terms of paganism as the original or partial source?
I'll start with this quote:
"...Genesis preserved a whole mythology of the traditional type. It begins with the cosmogony and the creation of man, paints the "paradisal" existence of the ancestors, related the drama of the fall...,which justifies the flood, and concludes with..the loss of linguistic unity....As in the archaic and traditional cultures, this mythology... explains the origin of the world and... the actual human condition....
...the religion of Israel did not invent even one myth.
[MIrcea Eliade, A History of Religious Ideas, volume 1 §55]
I did not use this to speak to specifically nor insult Jews. I do not even agree with every word in the quote, yet feel it is a good starting point. The same generalization is mostly true for the New Testament also. That is where I was headed with this.
Not only was the Sabbath dropped from the new religion, and Sun-day (a holiday of the pagans) adopted; but they likewise rejected the Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and adopted Lent and Easter Sunday instead. So, the passage. Or better put, Easter (Pâques in French) comes from the popular Latin pascua and the Greek paskha formed from the Hebrew pesah, meaning "passage". The Christian holiday of Easter (more familiar Pagan origins to many, but would start here nevertheless) in fact consists of a reply to the Jewish Passover. Judaism celebrates Passover in commemoration of a passage - that of the Hebrews over the Red Sea when they were pursued by the Egyptians in the Exodus (a whole nother can of worms here). This miraculous passage was interpreted as a salvation granted by God to his chosen people. Moses instituted Passover as an annual commemoration of the event. On this day, according to Hebrew tradition, it is necessary to sacrifice a young male lamb and eat it with unleavened bread.
To Christians, Christ achieved another form of passage that is also understood as a form of salvation: the passage from death to life through the resurrection, which is commemorated on Easter.
The Jews celebrate Passover on the 14th day of the month of Nizan (corresponding to March). At the Council of Nicaea in 325 Anno Domini (AD), the Christians, somewhat appropriating the Jews' custom, decided to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon of the spring equinox, making it a movable feast.
For a more detailed analysis of Easter there is a great read called Christianity, The Origins Of A Pagan Religion written by Philippe Walter.
Pagan Temples became Churches, in fact they were built directly on top of them. Pagan Goddesses and Gods became saints, such as Brighid, Bacchus became St. Bacchus, and Dionysius became St. Denys or Denis. The list is lengthy, anyone could search them online with ease so I will stop here.
Close with a quote also:
"The old ways were seamlessly bonded to the new, so that ancient rituals continued, ancient divinities became saints."
-FINDING THE GODDESS IN IRELAND
By Patricia Monaghan, author
The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit
From Cave Paintings to the Internet A Chronological and Thematic Database on the History of Information and Media Religious Texts / Religion Timeline
even have HISTORY OR HOAX, books written on subject
Critical thinking is the ability to think about thought and integrate information. We all do this. The trick that I illuded to above is to think about how important or how emotional we are about what we are thinking about and then compensate by understanding our own bias and distortions. To me there is nobody who is not emotional or at the same time less able to really think objectively and therefore less critically. The ability to truly be critical is much like reading a very academic scholarly article or book that leaves you knowing the author's direction and message, but not a hint of their emotional feelings on the same subject.
The opposite, and I have done this many times too, is to feel so strongly about an issue, such as bush&co stealing the 2000 and again in 2004 elections with electronic election machines in Ohio, New Mexico, and New Hampshire, and his brother illegally removing 26,000 registered African American voters from the poll books in Florida and then setting up the failure of the machines. We are paying for the election fraud with two trumped up wars, millions of displaced and dead, and an economy that challenges the great depression, not to mention 9/11 was caused by demolitions, after the perceived cause was propagandized from the orchestrated planes crashing. No steel building has ever collapsed from fire in history. So, how did building #7 come down when it wasn't even hit from a plane and the fire was under control? These are very emotional issues for me because I see them as the greatest act of treason and crimes against the U.S. Constitution and mass murder ever committed in history, but I did not use foul language, made my points with evidence, and encourage anyone else interested in these issues to investigate.
Blind faith in our government's explanations is why we don't have real explanations for these monumental crimes. People protecting their own emotional security and identity by committing themselves to not questioning the prevailing authorities or thinking critically keeps this out of the public debate arenas or cable TV, radio, or print media.
Thinking critically is the elimination of what you are expected to think and investigating what you know makes sense or you know is wrong. Those examples above are more or less objective because they originated in the real world and not inside our head. Thinking subjectively is trying to understand what originates inside your head, such as religion or beliefs. Personal beliefs are not justifiable to anyone else but yourself, if they only influence you. When a leader of a political group starts going on about their personal religious or intuitive thought, it is not appropriate because it is personal. Criticism of what my personal issues are is not objective to anyone else but me. Therefore any critical thought I might have about your religious views or beliefs are not objective or appropriate because they are your business, not mine, they are your subjective issues and I can not, nor can you really be objective about those kind of issues.
Religion then becomes similar to talking about sexual experiences. Who's business is your sexuallity? Yours and nobody elses. Your feelings are both objective as you think about past experiences, as much as you can separate out emotional feelings, and subjective thought when emotions run high and you can't really see yourself or the experience without strong feelings. Religion and beliefs are the same.
Critical thought is clouded when it is less ojective and more clear and precise when it is less subjective. Put another way blind faith is subjective because it can not see the real world, and makes the person blind and usually is tied to a very emotional identity.
Being human is knowing the flexibility necessary to reach an objective view of oneself and the world we live in, while experiencing life subjectively, expressing our creative selves intuitively, and learning he discipline necessary to think critically.
It is a process of being human. We are not perfect, so we idealize our own alter ego in the form of supreme beings in the hope of being more perfect, while denying the flaws in our beliefs.
So much intellect. And wonderful. What to respond to? Is a response wanted?
Thank you Casey and Mike. So many ideas, and some contradictions, in my mind anyway.
Here are my contributions;
To say "blind faith is subjective because it cannot see the real world" makes two assumptions that I fund questionable. First is the assumption of what the "blind faith" is in, and second is what you presume to see as the "real world".
I find that many of your accepted constructs are your own personal beliefs stated as reasonable truth. Perhaps we may back up to what certain meanings entail because words are but symbols of symbols in our mind. The ego loves to be sophisticated with facts constructed from past learning. Yet, I could construct giberish with facts if it gained no reasonable traction or meaning to other minds apart. Perhaps we could back up further to more basic meanings of the more simple words that have made up our mental construct of the "real world" and the basic idea of what the "self" is.
Much is made of the history of "Christianity" and what is true about it.
To me, True Christian thought has no acceptance of the past at all. The past is RE-ligion, or linking to the past. I find a certain value in DE-ligion, or the idea that the prophets of the past were doing the best they could with the thots they had in mind, and it has brot our conciousness to this present awareness, where so much more is possible, if we open to appreciate it. The past, after all, is gone, it is not here now, and those who think they remember it are remembering with a mind that is not the same as the mind that believed what it saw then. If we do not accept the restructuring capability of our bio-dynamic computer of a mind, then any of this dialog is completely meaningless, isn't it?
If we can establish these precepts we may be able to move forward, for repeating the thinking of the past is meaningless, at best, and possibly destructive. Yet much of ancient texts would seem to ordain that only what has happened in the past is yet true if seen thru the eyes of some learned philosopher with a point to make, when their purpose may have been to show that what the mind remembers is not real because all memory is flawed. Perforce the many contradictions. That may be the only positive benefit of ancient spiritual scripts, the bible among them.
The "real world" as described by cold, hard facts is the world I see with the bodies eyes and is based in fearful ideas and sees the world "for getting". I see that I must always asses if my thot constructs are supporting a world view that elevates the mind above, or more expanded than its past state, or is it a construct or approach that merely supports a purpose that I think has been established as reasonable by my ancestors, such as getting or dominating a field, or a world, or even surviving beyond other beings in bodies, like the body I may see that I am, (if I have accepted the idea that I am a body.)
Many intelectuals are extremely threatened by this construct because it may be seen as negating their life purpose untill now, but I do not doubt that these avenues of thot did and do need exploring for their value to be found. Doing so has brought my mind to its present state of awareness, however that may yet seem to be.
Over all, I find that no one can take away my ability to change my mind. And I am happy it is so. To me, it is what being free is for. Using my free will, to me, is taking full advantage of that gift from God, and rather than seeing the world as limitation, it may just be a place to establish the Peace of Heaven on earth. Nothing is impossible for the mind at Peace. The seeming difficulty is maintaining that peace in a world we have made as if it were apart from our source.
Idealization, perhaps. But an alter ego must have an ego to be altered from. I would rather enter a mindfull reality where the ego is modified to see itself as no longer threatened by other egos because it is a part of certain truth of one Wholy Loving Mind. It may seem rather utopian and far fetched, but to me, the "alter-native" is unworthy of a Creation of God. I choose to see myself in that way, and many others are seeing this on a daily remembering basis as what they were all along.
Instead of arguing about mental experiences, your view versus mine, consider:
René Descartes (French pronunciation: [ʁəne dekaʁt]; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650)
Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to provide a philosophical framework for the natural sciences as these began to develop. In his Discourse on the Method, he attempts to arrive at a fundamental set of principles that one can know as true without any doubt. To achieve this, he employs a method called hyperbolical/metaphysical doubt, also sometimes referred to as methodological skepticism: he rejects any ideas that can be doubted, and then reestablishes them in order to acquire a firm foundation for genuine knowledge.
Initially, Descartes arrives at only a single principle: thought exists. Thought cannot be separated from me, therefore, I exist (Discourse on the Method and Principles of Philosophy). Most famously, this is known as cogito ergo sum (English: "I think, therefore I am"). Therefore, Descartes concluded, if he doubted, then something or someone must be doing the doubting, therefore the very fact that he doubted proved his existence. "The simple meaning of the phrase is that if one is skeptical of existence, that is in and of itself proof that he does exist." 
Descartes concludes that he can be certain that he exists because he thinks. But in what form? He perceives his body through the use of the senses; however, these have previously been unreliable. So Descartes determines that the only indubitable knowledge is that he is a thinking thing. Thinking is his essence as it is the only thing about him that cannot be doubted. Descartes defines "thought" (cogitatio) as "what happens in me such that I am immediately conscious of it, insofar as I am conscious of it". Thinking is thus every activity of a person of which he is immediately conscious.
To further demonstrate the limitations of the senses, Descartes proceeds with what is known as the Wax Argument. He considers a piece of wax; his senses inform him that it has certain characteristics, such as shape, texture, size, color, smell, and so forth. When he brings the wax towards a flame, these characteristics change completely. However, it seems that it is still the same thing: it is still a piece of wax, even though the data of the senses inform him that all of its characteristics are different. Therefore, in order to properly grasp the nature of the wax, he cannot use the senses. He must use his mind. Descartes concludes:
"And so something which I thought I was seeing with my eyes is in fact grasped solely by the faculty of judgment which is in my mind."
The simple example, besides the wax's changing states, is if a tree falls in the forest, but you don't see it fall, did it fall? No is the practical mind's answer and with experience, we know trees fall in forests all the time. So, through mental projections of what we remember or have learned we can generalize or have "faith" that things occur, but we can't know for a fact where, how, or when because those aspects are empirically based on experience.
Religion is faith based on emotional perception, not empirical experience. No real god has left material proof of existence, yet billions of people believe their god is real. That is blind faith. The tree falling in the forest is faith based on reality.
I think the real point is that the discussion has gotten sort of off topic, no?
This is an inter-faith forum with a topic of Paganism and Neo-Paganism, right?
I would not consider debating reason and faith here - it is the wrong forum. I only wanted to correct some of the Latin used and explain a few historical things as a Christian scholar, and answer Green Road's question regarding Pagan origins in other early documents. Not trying to beat up reason in any way, nor make a bad name for anyone's faith. The whole point is that all religions and ideas are interconnected and this forum allows the discussion of 'how' they are connected.
Connectedness is how psychology and philosophy explain religious or other mental perspectives. The discussion that Descartes views illustrates is directly applicable to naturalism or fascism.
If we do not see ourselves as part of the natural world and therefore god's gift to the world and when we die going to heaven or some place that in essence denies death and the natural world, then religion is the enemy of realisim and the natural world. Peganism may be a way to not be religious, but claim magical thinking of religion, as it relates to nature.
"Peganism may be a way to not be religious, but claim magical thinking of religion, as it relates to nature."
i don't know of this?.....
magical? now that is a interesting word to use?
perhaps the icons of all religions have a belief of magical qualities.
whether it be resurrections or reincarnations, dust to dust after life.
of paganism in which i now am doing much reading, since this thread caught my attentions on that subject. there are many things in which pagan is applied, but not really a set regulated rule book, or regulated belief systems.
being that i find pagan under alot of self awareness or self improvement categories was interesting to me also. hypnosis, and meditations that are things chosen by pagans. even native traditions are under the category of pagan.
along with anger managments, herbs, health, dietary needs. in all i have viewed a great deal is into self improvements areas of every day life. is not self improvements a basis of all religions ? no matter what level in which that self improvement is taught?
upon my own personal readings of pagan in trying to learn of this...the goals of pagan is not much different then other faiths or religions. the hope is still the same ...to be whole in mind, body, spirit and being aware of who/what self might be? thats just a guess for my personal level of study right now, as this area is new to me, and i will research to the core and to every particle of pagan as i go along. i try to turn each stone, and look underneath every detail that can be found when i come across a new subject in which i dont' know too much about yet. hee hee... a new adventure for me!
whether i agree or disagree of anything in this study, at least i will be aware with open mind what it means to someone else.