Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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Everything posted by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

  1. Yes. Of course. Once upon a time, God created the Heavens and the Earth.
  2. This is futile. If Dan were to accept evolution theory as fact; it would destroy his entire belief system. It won't happen. Dan can't let it happen. He has invested too much of his life into his beliefs. The facts don't matter. They never did.
  3. I am not Pagan. I thought this Patheos blogger had something worth saying. The author is John Beckett How My Paganism Is Changing During the Pandemic MAY 17, 2020 BY JOHN BECKETT 4 COMMENTS Patheos Pagan channel manager Jason Mankey asked us all to write on “how Covid-19 has changed your practice.” I’ve written several posts on this situation and its impact on our lives, including on our spiritual lives. But I’m not sure I’ve addressed this question from a personal perspective. I think there’s value in that for me, and hopefully for you too. I’m glad I have a practice One of the consistent themes on this blog since its beginning almost 12 years ago is the necessity of daily spiritual practice: prayer, meditation, offerings, and such. Doing this work day in and day out builds a strong spiritual foundation. Then when times get tough – and they always get tough sooner or later, though never quite like this – you have something to support you. In a world where little is normal, I still have daily prayers and weekly offerings. Just doing them brings a sense of normalcy to my life. The Gods are still there. The ancestors are still there. The land, sea, and sky are still there. The sun and the moon… yeah, still there. Writing those words seems trivial – of course they’re all still there. But when so much else has changed, having these constants in my life has been beyond comforting. My Gods are not alarmed For years many of us have heard “get ready – a storm is coming.” I marked its arrival in 2016. Did our Gods know a pandemic was coming? I don’t know – They weren’t that specific. But while the details of what I’m doing have changed, Their tasks for me look a lot like what they’ve been over the past several years. Take care of myself and those closest to me. Build community. Be a resource for those looking to get started with Paganism, polytheism, and magic. Work on going deeper. “Not alarmed” doesn’t mean “not concerned.” But They have a perspective we do not. Perhaps that includes foreknowledge of how this will all play out. Perhaps it simply means a God-level confidence in Their ability to do what They do no matter what. I’m not a God and I don’t have Their knowledge and confidence. But They’re not alarmed, so I’m less alarmed. I don’t handle uncertainty well The most difficult period in my life – childhood – had a clear and definite end: going away to college. The second most difficult period – my job from hell in Indiana in 1995-97 – had a simple (though far from easy) exit plan: find a new job in a better place. But this pandemic? Will we be back to something resembling “normal” in a month? Or three? Or by the end of the year? Will this drag on for 18 months like the Spanish Flu of 1918? Or longer? For all that the Gods and spirits I follow are a source of reassurance, they’ve been mostly silent on the timeline – and on where all this started. All I’m hearing is “this is where we are – this is what you need to do.” I can deal with that, but I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I want to know when I can have a house full of people again. I want to know when I can get on an airplane without wearing a mask and go visit some part of the world I’ve never seen, where the people are happy to see me and not afraid I’m bringing the plague to their door. And I’m afraid that day is much farther away than I like to think. I’ve had to find new ways to do things I didn’t start my weekly newsletter because of Covid-19, but it’s been a good way to talk about some of things that don’t fit into the blog format. I miss the group rituals I do with Denton CUUPS for every high day. Gathering virtually isn’t the same thing, but it’s a lot better than nothing. I did a brief ritual on YouTube for the Spring Equinox and a longer ritual on Facebook Live for Beltane. I’m already working on something for the Summer Solstice. Blogging has been harder I’ve had no serious problems during this time. Me and mine are healthy. I’m still employed. We never ran low on toilet paper, or anything else. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Seeing the infection and death rates is disturbing. The isolation is getting to me. I’m an introvert, but I’m an introvert who needs a certain amount of human interaction. Dealing with this makes it hard to write. It makes it hard for other people to write too, and many of my blog posts are inspired by other bloggers. I’ve mostly kept to my usual blogging schedule, but not entirely, and what I have been able to write has come very slowly. I’ve had to limit my Facebook time I’m seeing so much anger on Facebook. I don’t have a lot of Trumpish friends – and I’ve unfollowed quite a few who were posting misinformation – but I’m also seeing anger from people on my side of the political aisle. Behind much of this anger is fear. Whether that fear is justified or not isn’t the question (in my assessment, most of it is, but not all of it). But legitimate or not, their anger is amplifying my own fears, and that’s making it hard for me to do what I need to do. When anger motivates you to do something to make things better, it can be useful. When all it does is cause you to rant at others, it’s counterproductive – even if your anger is legitimate. For my own health, I’ve had to remove myself from other people’s anger. I’m re-evaluating what’s most important in my life Just before the pandemic hit the US, I wrote 6 Pagan Things I Want To Do Before I Die. I put the odds on retiring comfortably and being a full-time Druid at 85%. I put the odds on going to Egypt at 65%, and the odds on hosting a polytheist clergy retreat at 30%. What are the odds on those things two months later? Considerably less. Mind you, I still want to do all these things. And deep down I’m still hopeful about my future, eventually if not over the next couple of years. But my calling is to be a Druid and a priest – the conditions under which I fill those roles wasn’t part of the deal. If I keep praying, meditating, and making offerings, and if I keep doing the writing, teaching, and other work They give me to do, I’ll be OK. I got a preview of the final years of my life Mostly stuck at home. Running essential errands only, and those with difficulty. Unable to travel. Unless I die suddenly, this is a preview of the last year or so of my life. And yours. I don’t want to spend those last years alone. Now, I haven’t been entirely locked down, and I’ve had my wife with me for the stay at home portion… for which I’m thankful. The difference between having one person with you and having no one with you is significant. But it’s not the same as having your eight or ten closest friends around you on a regular basis, supplemented by numerous good-if-not-close friends and co-religionists. I was thinking about this before the pandemic began. I’m thinking about it a lot more now. All those things I’ve written over the years about “build community now so people are there when you need them.” Because quarantining for a few weeks is one thing, even if it’s just the mild version we’ve had here in suburban Texas. Living this way indefinitely? No. If I can’t go to other people, I want them to come to me. I have no children, so I have to build a family of choice. My core Pagan beliefs have not changed I still believe Nature is good, even though Nature contains coronaviruses that occasionally cause pandemics. I still believe in the Many Gods, my ancestors of blood and of spirit, and the many other spiritual beings with whom we share this world. I still believe in magic, and while my magic isn’t strong enough to end a pandemic, it’s helping me and mine get through this. Any living religion is a product of the interactions of the people who practice it, the Gods and spirits they work for and with, and especially with the place and the time where they live. So yes, the pandemic is changing my Paganism – how could it not? But mainly, my Paganism is helping me get through the pandemic. And for that I am very, very thankful. Want to get my personal weekly newsletter every Friday? It covers things that don’t fit into the blog format, mostly in my usual range: Paganism, polytheism, and magic. Current events and politics. What I’m working on that you’ll see in the near to medium time frame. Sign up on my teaching site https://undertheancientoaks.com/ Enter your e-mail in the big green block and do the not-a-robot thing. You’ll get a confirmation e-mail – respond to it and you’re set.
  4. First, there is no good reason to think that this is true. Second, there is no good reason to think that it is your Creator. Something more than a bald, unsupported assertion.
  5. It's the old God of the Gaps. We don't have every definitive detail -- so God did it. It's what happens, when belief is more important than truth.
  6. It's what True Believers do. When their pretend facts crumble -- when their bald, unsupported assertions draw only laughter -- they make terrorist threats. Usually Hell Fire or Judgement Day. Then they wonder why nobody cares what they think. If "think" is the operative word. The problem is that there are so many True Believers. What is one snowflake? Nothing. Less than nothing. When it snows, trees break and roofs collapse. They are destructive. Their cultural dominance is something that we must endure. For now. Demographics shift. The Wheel turns. I'm thinking of a reality shift. Do you remember when smoking was cool?
  7. I think that's funny. It is not the function of science to prove that God exists. It is for religion to prove that God exists. In this, religion has failed quite miserably. A god which can not be demonstrated to exist -- which can not be detected -- is irrelevant and meaningless. Even if the god actually exists -- it still doesn't matter. As in -- So what?
  8. An addendum: A "spiritual entity" -- observable or otherwise -- is not the same as your Christian God. A spiritual entity could be almost anything. The god of Deism, the god of Pantheism, one of the many gods of the different Polytheisms. Even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You seem to be proceeding on the assumption of a false binary. That the truth is either Evolution or Genesis. No. There are other religions, other scriptures, other philosophies and other gods. There is no good reason to suppose that your understanding, is the correct understanding. One additional detail. Your understanding of evolution theory leaves much to be desired. Likewise, your understanding of science. Science is not intended to provide definitive answers. Science provides answers which have been verified -- subject to new information, which has been proven to be more correct. The old information is then corrected or abandoned. If new discoveries do disprove evolution theory -- it will be done by science. Not religion. It is religion which insists on definitive answers. At least, your version of religion. Even if they are wrong.
  9. Is that really the issue? You think that evolution is junk science? When Genesis is not taken as literally true -- When the story of Adam and Eve is understood, to be a story, instead of history -- then there are consequences for Christian belief. Without a literal, historic, Adam and Eve, there is no Fall. No Original Sin. Humanity is not in a Fallen state. It follows that there is no need for a Redemption. Or a Redeemer. No need for a second Adam. No need to wash away Original Sin with the Blood of the Lamb, because there was no Original Sin. No need for the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The foundation of Christian theology falls apart, like a house of cards. No. Evolution is not the issue. Evolution was never the issue. You are correct in only one thing. Creationism can not be confirmed. There are consequences for dismissing Creationism, as the mythology that it is.
  10. A thread, for the topic of Creationism.
  11. Alas, Christianity rests on it's Scriptures. Those Scriptures teach shame. This is the story of the first garments, found in Genesis. Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations Genesis 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations Genesis 3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations
  12. The minority experience of being a witch -- is similar to the minority experience of being Atheist. I can relate directly, to a lot of it.
  13. Witches and Christians. A Witch Speaks Out. (Up?) https://www.patheos.com/blogs/witchonfire/2019/04/legit-reasons-christians-resent-witches/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Pagan+News+and+Views&utm_content=37
  14. Regarding the video that I used to start this thread. It is amazing. These pious terrorists still think that their silly threats can frighten us into submission. These threats have been failing to frighten for hundreds of years, yet they keep trying. They are impervious to external reality. Neither reason nor evidence will penetrate. True madness. In the not so distant future -- when true general AI makes it's advent into the world -- I expect that this will be another test for religion. A test that will actually happen; unlike the alien visit. The future is coming for us. Ready or not.
  15. Of course. What makes the situation in China so bad, is the new AI, coordinating and storing all of it. Everybody, Everywhere, all the time. Say hello to the future. It's coming at us like a freight train.
  16. No. Of course not. I am partly responsible for a false binary which is plaguing this board. On the one hand, we have the Christian followers of the one true God. In the other camp -- my camp -- we have the Atheists. It bothers me that the Pagan voices on this board have gone silent. Now and then, I feel obliged to at least mention the Pagan perspective. It is a third way and the subtleties keep getting lost. I'm a poor choice to speak up for the Pagan perspective. I would much rather a Pagan stepped into the breach. Alas, someone has to do it. This time, it was me.
  17. It's not only the government. Announcing on Facebook, when I'm going to be away from home, is not a good idea.
  18. It's time for some nuance. "Kill the billionaires" is one statement. "Sacrifice the billionaires" is a different statement. Sacrifice? To whom or what do we sacrifice? Even in humor, we have to be careful of what we are calling for.