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About LeopardBoy

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    Initiate of the Pickle Conspiracy
  • Birthday 06/08/1982

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    Single and Complete
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    Baltimore, Maryland USA

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  1. It applies to many pagans in my experience. Because they too were once Bible believers and it’s hard to divorce oneself from that worldview. I’ve had to explain to other pagans that the myths weren’t taken literally even by ancient polytheists. That I can worship Zeus and Hera without drawing on the many problematic behaviors assigned to them in myth. That Ares even in the ancient world was more than just a bloodthirsty savage. Because myth is not religion. Religious practice is religion.
  2. Do you believe there’s no knowledge to be gained from myth? I ask this as someone who doesn’t take myth literally, but still values its importance in my religion for what it is.
  3. And I fear those among us who are religious but not monotheistic fundamentalists will get swept up in this as collateral damage, which is just more of the same we’ve been getting with Christianity as the dominant cultural worldview. There are unfortunately a lot of atheists who define the word religion in the same exclusive way fundamentalist Christians do.
  4. There’s not much about my theology that would change if extra-terrestrial beings suddenly made themselves known. Some form of syncretism might occur, and new myths written to explain the appearance of new gods or added epithets for old gods, but it doesn’t really make much difference to me from a religious standpoint.
  5. This isn’t a dilemma for polytheists. Apollo the healer is also the bringer of plagues and disease. Demeter brings a bountiful harvest as well as famine. Even in the realm of human civilization, Hermes is the patron of both merchants and thieves. I hold a sense of spiritual awe even for the destructive power of nature. It’s part of the natural order, and I believe in gods that are an intrinsic part of that same order. The world needs hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and earthquakes as part of the creative process. There are also creatures that require what we would consider pests as part of their diet. Circle of life and all that. I do actually look at nature and see gods, but I also have a different understanding of what a god is and hold the belief that human comfort and wellbeing isn’t necessarily at the center of their attention.
  6. You’ll find many an ancient philosopher had quite a lot to say about gods, the nature of gods, and the relationship between mortals and gods. I’ll admit that orthopraxic religions are a bit alien if one is culturally indoctrinated to view religion through a monotheistic lens influenced specifically by Christianity. But I’ve come to view religion as “things you do” and philosophy as “things you believe.”
  7. Tykhe/Fortuna is still “Lady Luck” in casinos, and the goddess Dike is still Justice personified in the courthouses of modern law. Artists still speak of their Muse, and buildings where art is kept are still called by their ancient name: Museums - the temple of the Muses. The Rod of Asklepios, though often mistakenly replaced by the caduceus, is still the symbol of modern medicine. In the English speaking world, the days of the week still bear the names of Germanic gods, and in the Romance languages, they still bear the Roman names of gods. Venus and Mars can be seen in the night sky. The gods of the various polytheisms have never truly left the minds of mortals.
  8. It’s been my experience that the loudest voices in the pagan community speak for and to a specific audience. Namely adherents of the myriad traditions that derive from Wicca or are at least similar enough to speak the same ritual and theological “language”. Many of the reconstructionist polytheists, myself included, or followers of indigenous polytheisms tend to keep to our own smaller communities. We don’t have that same shared language for the most part that the greater pagan community has. Which again is due to its origins in a specific religion (Wicca), or an eclectic pagan mix so derived from it that they at least share the same Western occult-based ritual stylings and eight holidays.
  9. There are times when the dictionary definition of words is woefully inadequate or too simplistic to convey the nuance of certain theological terms or their understanding in actual religious practice and philosophy. The word sacrifice in the English dictionary isn’t going to go into the details or meaning of the Greek θυσια. There are other times when the dictionary conveys the meaning of a word as understood by a modern culture that has an entirely different theological worldview than the one from which the word has originated. The word anathema, for example. The dictionary is a useful tool, but it has its limitations, particularly as certain terms are used in religions that deal more in poetry than prose.
  10. By definition, a cult is a specific sect of a religion or the worship or veneration of one or more specific figures within a wider religion. It has nothing to do with how many people accept it or take part in the cult worship. For example, the cult of Athena Polias was the central cult of the city of ancient Athens with thousands of worshipers among the population, not some fringe group, but is still considered a cult by historians and anthropologists within the wider religious practice of Athenian polytheism. The Roman Catholic church still uses the term cult to describe the veneration given to specific saints, some of which also have thousands of followers. It’s only relatively recently that the word cult has taken on a connotation of fringe extremist groups such as the community of Jonestown.
  11. This really isn’t a problem for polytheists, what with our Zeus who dwells on the mountaintop and the Zeus who dwells in the household pantry. Not to mention the Zeus of different cities, or the Zeus of foreigners who know him in their own “barbaric” tongue.
  12. Why only the two choices, no afterlife at all or the Christian version of an afterlife?
  13. I also think the term religion in these type of polls seems to be defined too narrowly. In many cultures, religious practice is intertwined with the culture itself, so a person answering the polls might not define the everyday spiritual practices they perform as a “religion” separate from their culture. I see countries like China and Japan listed as secular-majority countries, yet both cultures are steeped in spiritual practices that could be described as religious, if one is defining the word religion more broadly than the context Westerners apply the term.
  14. I can understand doing that. When I meet someone new and a friendship begins to develop, I try to work in the topic of my own homosexuality in a tactful way to gauge their response to it. It doesn’t mean that my bringing up the subject early is a statement that it’s the most important part about me, but that I want to get that out of the way before I develop an emotional attachment to someone. I’ve lost longtime friends when they found out I’m gay. Because years of friendship and emotional connection can be erased by that one truth about myself. Especially with male friends. Suddenly every display of affection is retroactively viewed as me “making a pass” and even a simple compliment becomes seen as a flirtation. It just gets awkward and painful for everyone.
  15. In Hellenic polytheism, dekatai are voluntary thank-offerings of a tenth of an acquired enterprise or fortuitous windfall (either in goods or its value in cash), made to a god and given to a temple. It’s the closest thing I can think of to the typical 10% tithe of Christianity, though a dekate wouldn’t normally be given as part of regular religious practice. Personal acts of charity really aren’t considered part of the general Hellenic public cult. Philanthropia is an Hellenic virtue, but it isn’t tied to temples or any specific religious practice.