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Atwater Vitki

Modern Or Neo-Paganism

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Several months ago I posted a similar topic that got very sidetracked. It was decided to close that topic. I have recently been asked about some of content of that Topic Post and felt reposting in a different manner may answer the questions recently brought up. I hope this time things will not go so awry....and thanks for the interest, you two know who you are!!

In our contemporary society the term “Paganism” has taken on a bit of a different meaning than it did in ancient times. Our advances in science, education, natural phenomena and Spirituality have dictated a completely new understanding of things quite mystical and unknown to our ancestors.

While a formal definition of Paganism from a dictionary may read something like:

pagan
- anyone not of Judeo-Christian or Islamic beliefs

this does not take into account recognized formal religious affiliations such as Hindi, Shinto, Taoism or Buddhism. Even though the Vatican may not recognize these last four listed as religions, their counterparts practicing and instructing in these spiritual endeavors certainly do.

In ancient times, the word paganos simply referred to someone that lived in the country or foothills surrounding established metropolitan areas. “Heathens” on the other hand referred to people who practiced various forms of paganism in the heath-rows, a large, prickly hedge-shrub that was commonly used to separate individual properties or land tracks.

In our modern cultures and societies, Paganism can best be described as any number of nature based forms of soliciting and honoring traditional, ancient pantheons. The theologies of the various forms of Paganism are as broad and varied as the number of groups, congregations and even in some cases cults, that practice non-religious forms of deity emulation.

The type of Paganism I follow is called Ásatrú Folk which is based on the Nordic Pantheon of gods and goddesses. The Nordic pantheon is in turn based on the older Germanic form of paganism with only a handful of deities specific to the Scandinavian culture being the most significant difference. One of the most important aspects of Ásatrú Folk Paganism to understand is the difference between “worshiping” and “emulating” our pantheon of deities.

To further define this for you:

wor·ship (wûr'shïp)

n.

1.

a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.

b. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.

2. Ardent devotion; adoration.
(1)

and

em·u·late (em'yu-lât')

tr.v. em·u·lat·ed, em·u·lat·ing, em·u·lates

1. To strive to equal or excel, especially through imitation: an older pupil whose accomplishments and style I emulated.

2. To compete with successfully; approach or attain equality with.
(1)

To most Pagans the above definitions are the crux of our belief system and what truly gives the esoteric or internal, hidden, inner most air of protected secrecy to the very definition of esoteric. It is an inner part of our being while traditional religious forms of worship describe an exoteric or external form of acknowledging their deity. The nature, or natural, aspects of Paganism acknowledges in every manner the creations on the Earth, commonly known as Gian or Giana, “The Mother” under the Heavens generally referred to as “The Father”.

When the elm, yew or ash tree is venerated or the oceans or lakes are called upon for a bountiful harvest of fish or the heavens asked for the gift of rain, there is no “worship” going on at all, rather more of a petition.

In essence, the Pagan is asking that nature recognize their dutiful allegiance to a particular way of living and honor their request. For the most part contemporary Pagans are naturalist in that they do their best to treat “mother earth” with respect. In our modern society that is by leaving as small of a footprint as possible through recycling, non-polluting and organic means of survival. To some of you “Tree Hugger” may come to mind, but I assure you there are many religious folks that proudly carry that label.

My particular “sect”, as it were, is called Runic in that I firmly believe in the associated power of the ancient form of writing known as the runes or runestaves. If one were to take a tour of Norway, Sweden or Denmark, relics of the many centuries old rune monuments still stand along the road sides, besides buildings and in farmers fields nearly everywhere. The vast majority of these hand chiseled stone monoliths are National Monuments and are registered as such in the various countries of origin.

Specifically there are numerous forms of runes but those such as Ogham, Elder and Younger Futharks are the most familiar to the majority of pagans following a runic path. My specialty is in the Elder Futhark, which derives its name from the first six runes; fehu, uruz, thurisaz, ansuz, raidtho and kenaz. The term “vitki” that I use in my display name is simply an old Norse word meaning the equivalent of “learned” and/or “shaman” in this particular formalized title

The runic system and the practice of paganism are two distinctly different ends to a means. I happen to be a pagan that has furthered his belief system incorporating the majikal aspects of the runes. I would say the vast majority of contemporary Pagans have little or no understanding what-so-ever of the runes as it is most certainly an archaic and unnecessary part of Paganism as a whole.

However, to me, the runes encompass an ideology that serves many means to an end. There is a direct or “majikal” method that is recognized and practiced through varying forms of spell casting, scrying and incantation of invocations. Then there is also the intellectual forms of practice which delve into the inner most core of the Self-awareness of who and what we are as living human beings. I would also like to point out the variances of the “majikal” and “magical” forms of which I speak. The two spellings merely differentiate the many differences between the personification of esoteric knowledge produced in our wyrd (core essence) and the traditional slight of hand tricks one may see at a magic show by some showman.

There is little difference between “prayer” or “ceremonial rite” of the religious person and producing majik by Ásatrú Folk that participate in such things. The religious person will pray to “God” under any number of circumstances while the Ásatrú Folk will invoke a majikal rite for the same means to an end.

To further indoctrinate the uninitiated into pagan practices I would like to offer the following list of descriptions offered by the Bay Area Pagan Assemblies(2) or BAPA. Here they give what I too considered to be the essential practices and Beliefs of a contemporary Pagan.

Many Pagans tend to:

* Be polytheists, believing in more than one deity or more than one aspect of a single deity.

* Be pantheists, seeing the God/Goddess force represented in everything around them.

* Recognize the divinity of the feminine as well as the masculine, not seeing masculinity as a superior force.

* Believe that the life force is sacred, and that nature, as a vital representation of that force, is divine.

* Believe that all life forms are equal, sharing an equal claim to the earth as a home.

* Believe that each individual is solely responsible for his or her actions.

* Believe that the forces of nature can be shaped in ways commonly called magical.

* Believe that magical acts designed to bend one to another's will are manipulative, and not encouraged.

* Believe that whatever actions a person takes, magical or mundane,good or bad, come back to him/her, sometimes threefold.

* Believe that there is no single path to spiritual fulfillment, and that the individual must determine the spiritual expression most appropriate to him or her.

* Believe in reincarnation, or some form of life after death.

One of the other admirable and common traits that I find representative of most modern or Neo-Pagans is a tolerance for people of any belief or non-belief system. As the above list is not in any particular order of relevance, I believe the second from the bottom, ...that there is no single path to spiritual fulfillment..., would be the first if listed in order of priorities. This is something that many Pagan have the most difficulty in understanding; why so many people of religious Beliefs must “convert” or “save” other people and not simply allow others to find and have their own Belief structure.

Tolerance is something society as a whole uses as a common measuring stick around the world to determine their place within this mass populace upon the Earth. Democracy, which granted has its good and bad attributes, and has become the foremost sought after form of governance is suppose to be based on tolerance and the majority opinion. To deny this to the individual is in reality against the very teachings of The Christ of Christian Beliefs and even in some regards to the teachings of Mohamed, though I personally find it to be a bit linear in his interpretation of the very word tolerance itself.

When we have parts of a society that still obsesses over their particular Belief being the only “right” belief we have not progressed much beyond the most dismal and clouded actions of any Religion recognized throughout history.

As a modern Pagan I would hope that my peers and fellow travelers on this planet would define me as Tolerant above all else. I realize I have strong opinions concerning many things and people along this journey called Life, however, allowing those things to be as they are and to flourish in their own means is something I adamantly support. I do not believe religion is about being 'perfect' or fitting into some predestine classification, rather, about how we view our Self-awareness and define Self.

There is a common expression; “I'm not religious, I'm Spiritual” in today's culture. While I firmly believe we are indeed Spiritual beings experiencing a physical reality I also think that having a Belief in a Creator makes us something more than merely a living and breathing concoction of carbon based atoms in a mostly water based meat-sack. I believe it is our conscious recognition of our conscience that defines us as hu-man.

Whether a person's Beliefs and/or religion may be Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindi, Shinto, Taoist or Buddhist, which are typically the seven recognized “religions” we share, or Pagan, Heathen, Atheist or any number of other descriptions regarding Faith and Beliefs, we are all, above all else, Human. Some of us are comfortable being a part of organized religion while others are not so inclined. Some believe in absolutely nothing as far as deities go and yet others would probably be best described as agnostic, not sure if there is isn't any validity to religion.

However, humanity would not exist in this flux of unknowns if anyone had a certain proof of the existence of “God”, “The Creator”, “The All”, “The Collective Conscious”, “The Source of All things” or myriad of other descriptions of that little spark within that makes us all wonder and strive to find out.

I've held the opinion for years that perhaps there are some things we are simply not suppose to know, and “God” is one of those things. If we knew for sure, without any doubt or wonder, would we really be better off? Or is it in reality the quest for an Almighty that makes our journey here on Terra Firma worthwhile? Perhaps we have found “God” and s/he is expressed through the many facets of our diverse expressions of his/her Divinity. Perhaps no one, but all of our diverse Faiths are what make “God” who and what s/he is. I think if we were to take the very best attributes of all religions and sum them up into one belief we would have a most admirable group of followers as well as the most respectful and inclusive description of “The Creator-God.”

Maybe, just maybe “God” really is Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindi, Shinto, Taoist or Buddhist as well as Pagan, Heathen and Atheist, but being Human, we're just to arrogant and intolerant to believe that. Maybe?

Over the following weeks, I plan on providing some more specifics on my Spiritual Path, but I thought I would start it off by giving a very basic summary first. I welcome all thoughts and commentary and look forward to a continued dialogue with those that wish to participate.

Blessings of Peace,

“Atwater Vitki”

References and bibliography:

(1)http://www.thefreedictionary.com/

(2)http://www.sacred-te.../bos/bos627.htm

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Maybe, just maybe “God” really is Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindi, Shinto, Taoist or Buddhist as well as Pagan, Heathen and Atheist, but being Human, we're just to arrogant and intolerant to believe that. Maybe?

How could God be an atheist?

If Christ was who he said he was, then God is Christ and no other. Imo, monotheism will always clash with polytheism, they just can't mesh together.

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Hello Atwater,

Interesting lesson.

Question:

You mention that Pagans tend to believe in several dieties, gods, and goddesses. Do you or most other Pagans view these dieties as "real" or more as a way of humanizing an abstract concept like, say, Spring? Do you invent new dieties or use traditional ones?

Best Regards.

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How could God be an atheist?

If Christ was who he said he was, then God is Christ and no other. Imo, monotheism will always clash with polytheism, they just can't mesh together.

If God is the supreme being, then he has no god, he has only self and possibly his creation. If he has no god then he is an atheist.

A good example of the working wedding of monotheism and polytheism is the Christian Trinity, probably because the polytheism is denied.

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Hello Atwater,

Interesting lesson.

Question:

You mention that Pagans tend to believe in several dieties, gods, and goddesses. Do you or most other Pagans view these dieties as "real" or more as a way of humanizing an abstract concept like, say, Spring? Do you invent new dieties or use traditional ones?

Best Regards.

as i understand it,pagans tend to believe in more than one deity,or incarnations of one;as i also understand it,most pagans tend to have one deity they identify with on a personal level.not to get to far off topic,but some pagans just refer to said deity as the"goddess".

thank you vikti for your kind observations on the eastern"religions".they tend to get lumped under the"pagan"umbrella,and not always with good results.

Edited by mark 45

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Dan, see panpareil's post...and I meant it in the loosest of terms just meaning "one for all and all for one" type connotation.

Carl, myself as like one would an ancestor...was once alive and in the physical form and now "up there" in Asgaard (Heaven) watching us over along with Grandpa and Uncle Johan. Other folks makes them more real, here and now and yet others place them in an eternally ethereal position to my understanding. I stick to the existing pantheon but there are groups that develop new deities based on modern culture, but I find the Old Ways pretty astute at covering the bases even for modern invention like the computer, car and missiles etc.

I hope other Pagan's here will chime in on their personal beliefs and understandings. Any time I give a "lesson" it is strictly from my personal practices and understandings based on the Nordic Pantheon.

Panpareil, yes the Trinity has always perplexed me if we go by the strict definitions of mono/polytheism. In one manner, I could think of it as multiple personalities, same physical manifestation with multiple facets/aspects to the same Being.

Mark, in reality, which came first? I always go back to our 6th grade youth group at Modesto Covenant...teacher grilling me and a couple others who answered a test question when we marked the Eastern's listed as "religion" instead of "non-religious"...the only two choices. Naturally these "test" were always designed to make Evangelical #1 and when questioned as to the technical correctness, usually meant extra homework or worse.

Yes, there are groups that refer to the Goddess, meaning Giana or one of her many manifestations, names and spellings, depending on association and group. There is a large group that insist the Christian "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" come from the pagan trinity of Father (Heaven's), Mother (Earth) and Son (Humans/Creation). The Nordic Pantheon of course puts Odhinn, The All-Father at the pinnacle of the pantheon...(Oden, Odin, Othin, Wodan etc)

My own Evangelical Covenant/Lutheran upbringing is basically what drove me away from those very concepts. Even as a kid I could see through the thinly veiled "us good" and everyone else "bad/wrong" in sermons, youth group and Sunday School. Perhaps if they had just stuck to what made them think and teach the way they do, without all the attention put on detailing other's wrongs or incorrectness in belief, I'd never had noticed....just a thought.

Blessings of Peace,

Edited by Atwater Vitki

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I follow a modern eclectic form of Wicca. In my tradition, we don't pretend that everything we do stretches back to the Ancients. For example the circle casting rituals come from John Dee, a Christian Magician.

Wicca can vary between hard and soft polytheism, with some strict Duo-theism (everything from the Lord and Lady).

Most see the Source as the Goddess, and she creates her son, which becomes her husband. Then the myriad Gods and Goddess as emanations of this original source.

One thing I like about the Modern Wicca I practice is that we can honour the Gods and Goddesses of other pantheons without too much 'Fundie protest'.

At the end of the day, I think "polytheism' is about seeing God as 'plural', instead of 'singular'. As the Elohim, instead of Just Yahweh.

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I follow a modern eclectic form of Wicca. In my tradition, we don't pretend that everything we do stretches back to the Ancients. For example the circle casting rituals come from John Dee, a Christian Magician.

At the end of the day, I think "polytheism' is about seeing God as 'plural', instead of 'singular'. As the Elohim, instead of Just Yahweh.

Great points Raincloud.

This is why even within the various Nordic groups I belong to we have myriad "sub" groups. Those, such as myself that are extreme Nordic history buffs try as best we can to piece together the Old Ways, more as a hobby or specialty than any real "need" to do so. We also have crafts people that do strictly ancient constructs and those that do only contemporary and re-purposing. It basically falls into where our modern folk have the greatest interests.

There are even those among us who can not figure out how anyone can condone following the "White Christ" (a misnomer most certainly) or "Yeshua" while also studying/following the Nordic pantheon. This is exactly why many of us elders try to get folk to understand the huge difference between emulation and worship. Emulating the many attributes of an ancient pantheon vs. worshiping in a modern manner a millennium old Faith have things in common as well as a tremendous number of differences. Mostly though, two of the groups I'm a member of, do our best to concentrate on the similarities and leave the at odds differences to those who enjoy the controversy.

Ya know, my "pride and joy" as it were is my old robe, which was made from the wool ($450.00 at a reenactment fair) spun by hand from an aurochs, the ancient beast of uruz the second rune of the Elder Futhark. However, the most comfortable and best all around one I usually wear at events and during harrowing is my modern day muslin robe I sewed myself. (In avatar pic) Not so "traditional" or "Old Ways" but special, to me none the less!

But at the end of the day, no matter what our intentions are or how much we would like to think we know, there is simply no way any of us know with 100% accuracy, just what it was like to live in 350BCE, 970 CE or during the Inquisitions. It's difficult enough remembering what I was doing at the last moot I went just a few years ago!! :dntknw:

I agree with you about its all really our relationship with "The Creator" (God) in all the various aspects (pluralism) today. Beyond that we can only do our best o represent the best, and sometimes even the not so "best" of our heritage and cultures. I see that as merely a method of recognizing and honoring our Continuum of ancestors, everything else is simply a personal like or dislike.

Thanks for your contribution to the discussion and I appreciate everyone input. I hope as we go along here we all learn something about each others deepest thoughts and feelings regarding their own, personal path and Spiritual Journey...whatever that may be!

Blessings of Peace,

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One of the things that inevitably comes up at our Rune-Gild and Ásatrú Folk moots (gatherings) is the public conception of the Pagan. Too many churches and even individual ministers/pastors, even the well meaning ones, seem to have a lack of info on just what a "Pagan" is in our contemporary society. What the vast majority of Neo-Pagans are not, are "devil worshiping, animal sacrificing, sex orgy participating" anarchists. Most Pagans, that you work, shop and enjoy outdoor recreations with, you probably are not even aware of their Beliefs.

Your average "Pagan" is no different than anyone else of religious Faith or the myriad of belief systems adhered to by the public mainstream. We don't have horns, cat or reptilian eyes and have to hide our tails. Normal, everyday folk, period. In a survey completed in 2010, over 80% of those people that label themselves "pagan" do not even congregated with others of similar beliefs. In the same survey, nearly 70% thought it was the duty of the organized body, rather than the individual to "spread the word" or to try and get people to understand Paganism.

Anyway, I hope that you will do a little research on your own, rather than take the word of someone else, as to what we Pagans are really about. I firmly believe that if you do you will find that much of the ballyhoo you've heard in the past is exactly that...ballyhoo!

One of the most profound misconceptions is the belief in the various pantheons of deities found among the differing groups. To quote from the American Neo-Paganism site; We chose deities and myths from among the historical and contemporary pantheons of the world’s religions that are particularly evocative to us. For us, these deities are symbolic personifications of the forces of nature and of our own deeper selves. I hope that puts one misconception to rest. I'll let you decide for yourself just how other thoughts may effect you on a personal level.

You can put "paganism" or "neo-paganism" into your search browser and find many more links. I've added these just to get those who don't have "favorite sites" saved away yet to get you going.

http://www.neopagan....ansBelieve.html

http://www.americann...com/beliefs.htm

http://www.blue-moon-manor.com/religions/neo-paganism.html

Blessings of Peace,

Edited by Atwater Vitki

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Oh dear, it seems as I am am late to the party. Before I begin my comment, I would jut like to remind everyone that although I am a Celtic Pagan in general, I am a "classic" Witch and not a Wiccan, so please do not think I speak for them (or for anyone else other than myself). Well, here goes. In the list of beliefs and practices of a contemporary Pagan I do not adhere to the following:

* Believe that magical acts designed to bend one to another's will are manipulative, and not encouraged.

* Believe that whatever actions a person takes, magical or mundane,good or bad, come back to him/her, sometimes threefold.

I differ from Wiccan Witches in that I do belive in curses and hexes when appropriate. I would not enslave someone by totally breaking or dominating their will, but if a hex will keep someone from from harming me or mine I have no qualms about "bending" the person's will away from doing so. I also don't have a problem with love potions. I think some overestimate their abilities. If the gods (or Fate, Wyrd, or Cosmic Law) do not want two people together, a love potion is not going to accomplish it. To me, a potion, spell, or hex is just a formal petition to the powers that be, not much different than a prayer. (Sidetracking for a moment, but I was thinking of Sylvia Browne who said that "God aways answers your prayers, but sometimes he says no." :) ) This may be a hot button for some, but I do believe in retribution, not just prevention. If someone commits malicious acts and goes unpunished, then he may continue to commit such acts. (So I guess, in a way, retribution is a form of prevention so they don't do the same thing to the next person.) What gives me the right to be judge and jury? Nothing. But I accept personal responsibilty for my actions. If slapping a child on his fingers keeps him from touching a hot stove, or punching the school bully keeps him from picking on other kids, then I feel no remorse about my actions and can rest peacefully. As to the statement about the Threefold Law of Return, I do belive that what comes around goes around, but I don't believe that Witches and Pagans are so morally superior to other religions that we are held to a higher standard (three times what others receive). As for other beliefs, I do reverence nature, perhaps not to the extent of some Pagans (I am not a tree hugger myself), but I see the beauty in Nature. I feel we should be caretakers of the planet, not that everything was created by a deity to be dominated by us. I agree with Atwater Vitki about emulating the gods rather than worshiping them. I see the gods as divine ancestors. I may seek guidance from them, but ultilmately my decisions are my own. Eventually, I will join the ranks of the gods myself in the Otherworld (I do not believe in reincarnation except in special cases). I am a polytheist and believe in many different distinct gods (not that they are merely aspects of one or two supreme deities). I do believe in the concept of a unifying, impersonal life force (chi, prana, astral light, magick, etc.) which some may view as a form of supreme being, but for me it is not something with which we would have a personal relationship (no more than I would have one with electricity or radiation). Being a "classic" Witch, I do not work overly hard on presenting a squeaky clean image. I understand why many Pagans wish to set the record straight, but I do not feel personally obligated to cast pearls before swine who are not interested in truth. If people want to think I have horns, I'm likely to put on a red cape and grab a pitchfork as well. I draw a lot of inspiration from classic works on witchcraft (e.g., The Discouverie of Witchcraft, the Malleus Maleficarum, etc.), and I try to sort the wheat from the chaff. I believe there are alot of tidbits of folk belief and some old school Pagan practices to be found in there. I don't doubt that some Pagans of the time may have referred to Cernunnos or other Pagan gods as the Devil, or that they may have equated faeries with demons. I have no qualms about drawing on the archetype of the popular conception of the Witch, wearing a black robe, standing in front of a fire, and brandishing a ceremonial rod or dagger. Or that of the Witch (Maleficent) in Disney's Sleeping Beauty ("Now shall you deal with me, O Prince.... and all the powers of HELL!!!!" :evil:) I am a homosexual, and I liken it to those who embrace the word ** or queer rather than run from it. My intention has been merely to elaborate my personal take on some of the items discussed, not to provoke those with differing opinions ;).

Edited by Belenos

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~ Thank you everyone :gathering:

A wonderful discussion with much information :cheers:

It's marvelous to get to know you all better! :friends:

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I know there are different types of Paganism. Some exclude men others exclude woman (kind of like some Christian faiths), but I like the ones that see the Devine as both masculine and feminine in one. I like the types that see men and women as equals. I don’t like any religion that tries to oppress anyone. I like the Pagan/wiccan faiths that hold or acknowledge good and bad in all people holding no one person any better than the other.

Many family structures of today are dysfunctional, but I like the Pagan/Wiccan and sometimes found in Christian family structure where the female basically has all the power in the home, but at the same time she conducts herself in a manner the male approves of. It’s like each parent is a partner and has equal authority, but the male lets the female control everything as she is naturally better at nurturing the children and caring for all the needs of the family including his.

Just some thoughts.

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Aye, me Lady Guidance...with the fellas havin' the trees to chop down, dragons to slay, defense of the community to draw one's sword and ax against, you're so correct! This system has worked ever so well in the majority of Pagan household for millennium. When a woman has a man she can be secure with and proud of, and the man visa versa, the example it sets for the children is awesome.

Belenos, I thank you too for your insights, exactly what I was trying to promote was an open discussion of the variances on the basic premises of Neo-paganism. I agree with your evaluation of protection through whatever means available and to that end I too support the use of majik and spells.

I thank everyone for their contributions here!

Blessings of Peace,

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How could God be an atheist?

If Christ was who he said he was, then God is Christ and no other. Imo, monotheism will always clash with polytheism, they just can't mesh together.

The Unity behind existence is the source of all things. As to your question --- How could God be a Christian? Does God need faith?

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it was really a pleasure to read this topic

am reminded how much I have in common with many here - atwater's description of what a pagan may ascribe to is spot on for me.

I consider myself, and have for as long as I remember, one who follows the old ways

I am a Pagan, my belief is as strong as the most devout of any faith

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How could God be an atheist?

If Christ was who he said he was, then God is Christ and no other. Imo, monotheism will always clash with polytheism, they just can't mesh together.

The Source of all things created all things -- including the gods. There is no conflict.

Even in Genesis, the Sun is the Greater Light -- to Rule the day -- and the Moon is the Lesser Light -- to Rule the night. That is the language of gods.

:)

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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I find it hard to believe so much time has passed since this topic going cold.

I agree with several comments above that our discussing the varied aspects of different pagan beliefs has been enlightening. Just like Mormon is to Catholic, beyond what popular belief may be by outsiders, we are not the same in every hof, stead or coven. Our views vary as much as those of religious thinking do to each other.

Perhaps the best way to revitalize this discussion is remind folks that most pagans are not anti-religion...we really don't care how others view their relationship with The Creator. If you need the structure of 1600 years of staunch, unbending indoctrination, fine, no problem. However, in the same tone, don't swear that all us pagan are going to burn in Hell for eternity because we don't believe the same things as religious folks do. The bottom line is no one alive today can say 100% for sure, without question they are right. We will all find out the truth to the next dimension when we arrive there.

Even many of the "Old Ways" deities had the belief of being created, not simply popping into existence by cosmic chance. As well, just because we don't label "The Creator" as YHWH or "God" doesn't mean we are describing someone/thing different.

One of things I find most compelling in my form of emulating the deities is the constant and eternal evolution of the practices we involve ourselves with. Yes, we have "ancient books" too, as well as the Nine Noble Virtues, that roughly equate to the "10 Commandments". We have traditions, charters and doctrines also. The biggest difference these all have been "allowed" to reformulate themselves as we as a people progress. Each group and sub-group of the Ásatrú community also have their newly formulated rites and rituals that interpret the Old Ways into our new society.

We continue old traditions by making them newly evolved things on a constant basis because that is how we believe it should be, not because we feel there is anything wrong or bad about how our ancestors made sense of things. In an age where second grade kids are just as likely to answer "the store" as "cow" when asked where milk comes from, it's only correct (in our thinking) that older traditions also evolve into modern constructs.

Anyway, I think if everyone revisits the above posts to refresh themselves on what has transpired, just because some religious people want to label pagans as "God haters" or "unbelievers", that's their prerogative, wrong, but still their right. We pagans do not have to reciprocate.

I firmly believe in The Creator and the Divine energies that flow from "above". I believe in what's right and wrong, good and bad for us all, not just those who believe the same as I/we do. I don't believe our 2,000+ year old scrolls and codex apply, other than in principle, to how we view our contemporary world. To do so would be to stagnate, and to stagnate is the same as dieing....and most assuredly, I'm not dead.....yet!

Blessings of Peace,

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While my religion could be classified as "pagan", it's not a term I willingly embrace for myself or what I do for several reasons. For one thing, the word's most common modern definition seems to be a negative one. It doesn't convey anything particular about my practices or theology, but only that what I do and believe is "not Abrahamic", or "not mainstream". Even the "not Abrahamic" definition is sketchy, because it would include indigenous religious practitioners that have their own cultural labels and object to being grouped together as "pagan", and exclude what is perhaps the largest neopagan religion, Wicca, due to the Abrahamic origins of many of Wicca's magical practices.

The second reason I don't like to use the term "pagan" to describe myself or my practices is because of the default association with the word in the pagan community with Wicca and practices derived from Wicca. The word "pagan" is often used interchangeably with "Wiccan" (more accurately, Wiccan-influenced eclectic neopaganism), and I've found a lot of assumptions come with using the term among other "pagans". It is assumed that I observe the eight Wiccan Sabbats, or Wheel of the Year, too often erroneously described as "the eight pagan holidays". It is assumed that I practice witchcraft and have no objection to the practice of witchcraft, with the caveat that anything I do "harms none". It is also assumed that I view the individual Gods as aspects of some all-encompassing universal Goddess and God. None of those assumptions fit what I do or believe.

I've found that if I eschew the term "pagan" entirely and describe myself as an "Hellenic polytheist" or "Hellenic reconstructionist", I don't have to spend as much time refuting the myriad "pagan" things I don't do or believe, and I can describe my own practices and theology in an easier manner to those who wish to understand them.

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How could God be an atheist?

If Christ was who he said he was, then God is Christ and no other. Imo, monotheism will always clash with polytheism, they just can't mesh together.

It has been a while since I've seen this thread.

1. "Christ" is not the same as "Monotheism." Ask any Muslim or Jew.

2. The question is not -- "will Monotheism always clash with "Polytheism." It's -- "Can Monotheists and Polytheists live together?" I think they can.

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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