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  2. We could use more Pagan voices in the broader social discourse, too, just like any minority. Unlike many other social minorities, Pagans have countless subtle variations and sub-groups, and there is no single defining characteristic. Moreover, there is no single, central body or authority. Even the Abrahamic faiths that we skirted above have a common basis to draw from, regardless of the fact that they are all three have vast differences in expression, to the tune of fundamentalists of each stripe calling for war with at least one of the others. (cf. The Crusades, the Global Jihad, and the Jewish/Palestinian war in Gaza and other areas.) So, anyway, like I said, I see that several of the reasons that I took my leave most recently have been dealt with, so I'm back, and I'm Pagan. What would you like to talk/hear about?
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  5. Either way, it's interesting. The scientists were shocked to discover that the expansion was speeding up. It's not what they were expecting. I have confidence that if different facts show up, they will be accepted. After all, these are scientists. Not clergy. They want to be corrected. One of the things that puzzles me: The finding that space itself has greater than zero mass. Very tiny, but greater than zero. And space is expanding. In time, that could be a lot of mass. Well, it's interesting.
  6. Yes, the observation is correct. And at present the rate is expanding. The problem is with the assumption it will keep expanding exponantially (exponential curve) while in nature more often than not something that starts as an exponential curve ends up as an s-curve (so the rate "smoothes" back gain)...
  7. It's based on observation of the "dopler" effect. (red and blue light shift) The most distant galaxies are receding the fastest. This is happening, because the space between the galaxies is expanding. Reality is stranger than fantasy.
  8. Isn't that "just" theory? I mean, AFAIK that presumption is based on the assumption of exponential growth of that speed. And as far as we can observe now we see an exponential curve in the growth of that speed. However, in nature, a lot of growth that is observed as exponential at first later turns out to be an S-curve instead of an exponential curve... A lot of interesting questions left, indeed...
  9. Maybe not. Black Holes "leak". They emit energy in the form of Hawking radiation -- named for Stephen Hawking. Over time, a Black Hole will evaporate. It takes a lot of time for that to happen. Still, we are talking about the Cosmos. Deep time allows even Black Holes to dissipate. Do you want something to chew on? Nothing can travel through space, faster than the speed of light. However -- the space between galaxies can expand faster than the speed of light. In the distant future, the light from distant galaxies will be lost to us.
  10. This is my simple understanding of it: as stars fade and implode into black holes, the other stars that turned into black holes in that galaxy start to attract one another until one all-encompassing black hole reaches a critical mass to explode again... causing a big bang (again).
  11. Of course? I am often mistaken. About many things. The field of Cosmology is in great flux. There are more questions than answers. For instance, the nature of Dark Energy. The force behind the expansion of space. Dark Energy might exist. Or the expansion of space could have a different explanation. If it is Dark Energy -- things could change. For all we know, there could be a mechanism -- which changes Dark Energy -- from a repulsive force -- to an attractive force. We don't know. Exploration is preliminary. At this point -- there is a consensus, that the expansion of space is caused by Dark Energy. If Dark Energy remains constant -- the Universe will end in heat death. That is -- total entropy. If Dark Energy becomes more powerful -- Heat Death is replaced by -- the Big Rip. Every atom and sub atomic particle will be ripped apart by the expansion of space. Of course, not for billions of years. Something to remember. The expansion of space only occurs between galaxies. That is why the galaxies are receding from each other. Inside galaxies, the expansion of space is countered by gravitational forces. The exception is galactic clusters. When galaxies are close enough to each other, gravity will prevent Dark Energy from expanding the space between them. It's fascinating stuff. I follow as well as I can. It does hurt my head.
  12. You're right, off course... I should have quoted the discussion below. That was more on topic regarding this link e.a. That is the model on it's way out. The current word in favor is "oscillating". In this model, there is a "Bang". Not an explosion. A sudden expansion. (The word they use is "inflation".) According to this model, there is a Bang -- followed by "inflation" -- followed by slowing expansion -- followed by contraction -- ending in "The Big Crunch". Rinse and Repeat. (oscillating). This is why they were taking the new measurements and calculations. Two discoveries. 1. The Inflation was not slowing down. It's speeding up. 2. There isn't enough mass in the Universe to stop the expansion. That leaves the possibility of Cosmic geometry. They asked, if Space really is curved, maybe the expansion ends up where it started? The consensus is no. Don't ask me to explain. The math is beyond me. The consensus is that the Universe will continue to expand, until Entropy is the final result. They refer to this state as "Heat Death." This assumes that the values for Dark Energy remain constant. There is no expansion of space within a galaxy. That is because the gravitational forces within a galaxy, serve to prevent Dark Energy, from expanding space. If this is so, the Universe will end in Heat Death. If this changes -- if space inside the galaxies starts expanding -- the Universe will end in "The Big Rip". As to the multiverse -- As yet unproven speculation. There are different models for this. All unproven. I find the arguments interesting. There is no proof for any of it. The math is beyond me. It hurts my head.
  13. An addendum: I read the author's vision of a Pagan future. The central feature is good. A Secular government (not Atheist -- Secular) with full religious freedom. I like it. For the rest -- I like it also -- but we could really use more Pagan voices. The ones that have gone silent on this board.
  14. Just because the Monotheistic religions share a common mythology; does not mean they share a common authority. I have separate rants for all three. I'll spare you. Yes. The perfect friends and allies -- to get the Monotheistic God off the money -- and out of the Pledge. It's time to find common cause.
  15. When you consider that there is actually no central authority of Paganism, like there is with Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (all go back to Abraham, where most of the core doctrine comes from), it's not surprising at all. Rather, it's surprising that we can come together as well as we can at all! Lol You'd be surprised to learn how many contemporary military personnel are some variety of Pagan. The Evangelicals who have ben running the Chaplains' Corps for years have been fighting a losing battle against recognition of non-monotheists for decades. As for shaking things up, John Beckett has an interesting post on Patheos about this very thing: My Vision of a Pagan Future
  16. I think we can all see the joke coming. Getting Pagans to work together is like herding cats. Why am I not surprised? You have my sympathies. Pagan chaplains in the V.A. would be an interesting cultural development. So would Pagan chaplains in the military. I like the idea. It would shake things up. The dominant religious cultures need shaking up.
  17. I followed your link and got lost. How did we get from an expanding Universe -- with the rate of expansion speeding up -- to infinite cycles? I'm not arguing. I'm asking.
  18. I've been absent for a while, due to both personal and reasons associated with the board. I did some digging the other night and I see that at some of the significant issues that I had with the board have been addressed to some extent. I'm back to give it another whirl. Believe it or not, both the Department of Defense (The U.S. Army Chaplains Guide to Wicca, Department of Defense adds Heathen and Pagan religions to recognized faith groups)and Veteran's Administration have been making inroads for the acceptance of various inclusions of Paganism from an official perspective: Multiple different Pagan symbols authorized for use on VA/DoD headstones, Circle Sanctuary Minister Becomes First Pagan VA Chaplain Resident. Both Circle Sanctuary and Sacred Well Congregation are recognized by the VA for being formally recognized Pagan clergy (lots of administrative ooga-booga as far as the VA and DoD go) training and ordination. That's required for access to VA hospitals in a professional Chaplain role. There is always less headache if there is no government involvement. Too much government involvement and we have the likes of Iran, with religious conservatives running the show. Too little involvement and there is no protection for minority sects. Hell, even the Bahá’í Faith is more protected in general than Paganism. Then again, it looks like Bahá’í is another manifestation of monotheism, so it's less of a challenge to wrap the head around. Anyway, in this day and age, Paganism needs government and societal recognition protection much the same way as Islam does. The only effective way for that to happen is for the Big Umbrella of Paganism to get it's collective ** together and realize that there is strength in numbers, even if the individuals are not in 100% agreement. Kind of like the Democratic Party in US government (he says while looking at his 2019 DNC membership card). To answer your question directly, most Pagans don't want to work together. They want to be left alone to do their own thing, which is a perfectly reasonable desire, but an immature and short-sighted one. I don't have any answers. I wish I did, but even IF I did, I don't have the Big Pagan Name to push it in front of other people... Nor do I have the energy that would require. But I know that there is movement in the Pagan community toward formal recognition in pursuit of equality. It's just taking time.
  19. I have been watching the You Tube videos on physics and cosmology. In particular, Neil DeGrase Tyson -- of the Hayden Planetarium. It is only the space between galaxies that is expanding. The gravitational forces within the galaxies are strong enough to counter this force -- generally called, dark energy. If this were not the case, galaxies would lose cohesion and the stars would fly off. If all space were expanding in our solar system -- the orbits of all the planets would be expanding. We would be getting more and more distance between ourselves and the Sun and we would all be dead from the cold. If all space everywhere were expanding -- molecules would fly apart. There would be no matter -- anywhere. I like Roger Penrose (and Vahe Gurzadyan)'s view on the the universe iterating through infinite cycles (Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (ccc).
  20. The Monastery put more effort into their site. Aside from that? Their forum vanished years ago. Just another on line store, pretending to be a church.
  21. This is rather disheartening to read. I admit I haven't been around the forum a lot, and when I have been it seems like there's been so little traffic, I've wondered if people are still around. But I'd hate to think the church itself is going anywhere. Then all that would be left is the Monastery.
  22. An addendum: I'm not real clear on what it takes, for an on line church to be real. (Something more than a web site) As a practical matter, If the ULC loses this forum -- it will reduce the Church to being an on line store. They can still sell their books, certificates, diplomas, shirts and other goods. I think it takes more than a store to be a church. The ULCHQ site, is still looking forward to their big convention -- in 1995. There's not a lot of life there, either. I'm not in a position to judge how much life is in the Modesto Church. When the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, sent me their list of Churches -- the ULC was not on the list. Evidently, there is a great deal that Andre does not care about. Where does that leave the Church? A corporate entity with no life -- and a dying board. If Andre wants to kill the board, because it's too much trouble -- well -- We will see what happens. I expect it will be a death spiral. If anything as lifeless as this church, can be said to spiral. The board could still come back -- with new, active administration. What do you think is likely?
  23. At this point, my concern is that the Pagan -- and Heathen -- voices on this board have gone silent. It's a sad loss. I miss them. I expect that some of them got disgusted, between the binary of Monotheistic true believers -- and the opposing binary of Atheists, Agnostics, etc. The conflict between Monotheistic belief and non-belief doesn't leave much room for others. I'm sure that some of my own arguments, have contributed. It's unfortunate. Alas, when I'm arguing with a Monotheistic true believer, subtleties get lost. There are also real differences in the Polytheistic world. Distinctions as wide as the differences between Christianity and Islam. Or between Sunni and Shia. Between Catholic and Baptist. I get that Pagans can hate being lumped in together. Since you're Buddhist, I can tell you that I took "empowerment initiation" to Medicine Buddha and White Tara. At the time, I was pursuing the Buddhist origins of Reiki. I took another initiation to Sekhmet. Said to be the origin of Seikhim Reiki. I have no other connection to the Egyptian Pantheon. For similar reasons, I was initiated to Kuan Yin. Now, to your response. I used to be acquainted with a Druid. He said that he was a priest. He was also a ULC minister. He said that this was to perform legal weddings. He said that the State didn't know anything about Druids and he didn't want to discuss it with them. I think that you had similar motives, in getting the ULC ordination. I also think that the military, might have a legitimate use, for Pagan Chaplains. I'm not sure that the military should have any chaplains -- but if they must -- there is no reason to exclude Pagan Chaplains. There are institutional problems. The military has a list of organizations that can propose chaplains. The American Humanist Association is trying to sponsor a Humanist Chaplain. The American Department of Defense isn't having it. The Pagan world, would need to have an institution, that the Department of Defense would recognize. How much of the Pagan world could work with that particular Pagan body? This won't be easy. Less grief if the government is not involved. Still, how much do the different Pagan groups, really want to work together? I'm not in a position to know. That was the point of the article.
  24. Ok, that was quick. First, let me say that I define myself as follows: I am a Buddhist, a Druid, and a Devotee of Hekate. I would classify myself as a devotional hard polytheist, as I perform rites to Hekate and I view the many gods as separate individuals, discrete in and of themselves, rather than as different aspects of some amorphous universal Divine. Now, I originally took my ordination through ULC with the expectation that I would be available for my Pagan community in general. Most Pagans don't think that they need formal clergy since they mostly do things for and by themselves. Seasonal rites being an obvious one. I view the word "clergy" as being a general category denoting some sort of legal and/or formal recognition and training as well as informal education, as would be self-taught and "lay-leaders" in formal churches. Professional clergy is, in my mind, a phrase that covers two distinct types of religious figures: Those who lead congregations and write sermons ("pastors" in my book), and those who take care of the more spiritual needs of their congregants, like leading rites of passage and care of the ill and their families ("ministers" as I choose to call them). In the Pagan world, we have little in the way of formal education. Cherry Hill Seminary is pretty much the closest thing that we have. IMO, we *do* need some specific trained, professional clergy, so that we can "sit at the adults' table" along with the monotheists. We need people trained to work with people having a crisis of faith, having to deal with major life changes, etc. But, as Pagans are both distrustful of organized faith and authority, it's a fine line to walk. John Beckett is a UU Druid who posts frequently on Patheos. I don't always agree with him, but I definitely respect his work and writing. He wrote a blog post a few weeks back that pretty much works in concert with my own beliefs: 15 Roles of Pagan Priesthood – How Many Is Too Many?
  25. Speaking as a Pagan voice, I got tired of being ridden down and incessantly argued with by a handful of specific individuals on this board. The administration has gone absent, and one of the people who was (is?) one of the largest problems *is* the only active admin. When I addressed the issue with Andre directly, he basically washed his hands of it and said that if the forum was too much of a problem, he'd just kill it off. Now, that being said, let me read the article in question. Brb.
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