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Paganism, Morality and Responsibility


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#1 Joel Mac Donald

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 05:11 AM

Last night I spent trolling Objecti- err wait, last night I was at the local Beltaine festivities and thought I would throw out a question to see how Pagan morality relates to Christian morality.

The question I posed was this -

"Suppose someone who shared the Pagan path informed you that their god or tradition compelled them to take an action you considered highly immoral. What sort of issues would you bring up if you chose to respond?"

What shocked me was despite the groups apparent heterodoxy the responses were virtually identical.

1) Everyone told me they would certainly bring up their objections and not sit by in moral relativism.

2) The moral law, whatever its nature (different people gave different sources for morality from Altruism to Common Sense, to Self Interest), is above and beyond the gods. The gods are not the ultimate moral authority but struggle with moral questions as well. One pagan pointed out he does not Pray to god but merely Talks to him. To quote Frances Schaeffer, the Pagan gods are amplified humanity, not Divinity.

3) Gods and traditions are always questioned. If Aeries tells you to break someone's legs, question and attack that instruction the same way you would any human. The god may budge.

4) If the God persists you had the right to say no. They do not control the after life nor do they control you.

5) If you did the deed anyway it is still your responsibility. Because all paths and gods are real you are responsible for choosing that path and god as well as not changing the path you're on.

They believed every human being discovers morality for themselves and no god or path can act as a shield for your conscience or responsibility.

I. Love. Pagans.

Edited by Joel Mac Donald, 01 May 2011 - 05:15 AM.

U mad Bro?

#2 studiodekadent

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 05:57 AM

I have friends that are Wiccans and Pagans of various sorts (I'm gothic), and even though I disagree with their religions I don't find them offensive or revolting or anything.

Most of them have a better moral code than many Christians.

Plus, Pagan and Wiccan spirituality tends to be less transcendent/Platonic and more immanent/Aristotelian, which means its technically closer to reality than the Abrahamic Monotheisms (all of which believe in a Platonic, Transcendent God that is meant to be omnipresent yet is not immanent in creation, apparently).
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#3 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 06:14 AM

I prefer the company of a fair minded, good hearted pagan to that of a hyper-moralized Judeo-Christian sh*t head or a Muslim crazy. A good pagan has not been rendered un-sane by his god or his beliefs about his god.



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#4 Selene

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 09:18 AM

Folks:

As in most case, each individual should be perceived as an individual, despite the apparent labels, or masks, that are worn.

"True believers" can be really dangerous when armed or impaired by their belief systems.

Paganism has an earthy live and let live foundation, at least in modern times. Not sure anyone would want to live in an ancient pagan society especially as a virgin.

One of my favorite Dennis Miller observations is that prejudice makes no sense at all because when you really get to know someone, you can find more than enough reasons to hate them, especially if that is how you operate.

I prefer to try to relate to the best in each person. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, but it is there.

Adam

Post Script: Beltane - FYI - Wiki

Edited by Selene, 01 May 2011 - 09:23 AM.

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#5 Joel Mac Donald

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 09:35 AM

Folks:

As in most case, each individual should be perceived as an individual, despite the apparent labels, or masks, that are worn.

"True believers" can be really dangerous when armed or impaired by their belief systems.

Paganism has an earthy live and let live foundation, at least in modern times. Not sure anyone would want to live in an ancient pagan society especially as a virgin.

One of my favorite Dennis Miller observations is that prejudice makes no sense at all because when you really get to know someone, you can find more than enough reasons to hate them, especially if that is how you operate.

I prefer to try to relate to the best in each person. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, but it is there.

Adam

Post Script: Beltane - FYI - Wiki


Selene, this is why the relative uniformity of opinion in the group surprised me, Pagans I have met tend to have really diverse beliefs.
U mad Bro?

#6 Selene

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 09:53 AM


Folks:

As in most case, each individual should be perceived as an individual, despite the apparent labels, or masks, that are worn.

"True believers" can be really dangerous when armed or impaired by their belief systems.

Paganism has an earthy live and let live foundation, at least in modern times. Not sure anyone would want to live in an ancient pagan society especially as a virgin.

One of my favorite Dennis Miller observations is that prejudice makes no sense at all because when you really get to know someone, you can find more than enough reasons to hate them, especially if that is how you operate.

I prefer to try to relate to the best in each person. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, but it is there.

Adam

Post Script: Beltane - FYI - Wiki


Selene, this is why the relative uniformity of opinion in the group surprised me, Pagans I have met tend to have really diverse beliefs.


Joel:

I am gathering that you were physically at the local event in the real, not virtual world. You question to them asked each one to consider an act that each one would consider "highly immoral" as an individual.

Therefore, there should be a relative uniformity as to an "unspecific" act that each person considered "highly immoral"...? No?

Do you think that there would have been a different response if you gave a specific act?

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#7 Rich Engle

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 12:22 PM

Funny this came up. I just got back from church, where after service I played with a folk group I play with called Silver Branch, outside for the Beltane Ritual/May Pole dance. I work with members of the area pagan group (called CUUPS) here quite a bit, and they are fantastic people--all makes and models, all very intelligent, earthy, and FUN. These people love nature, and they love to throw parties, let me tell you.

There are many, many people that follow one of the earth-based spiritualities--I have always found them refreshing to deal with on many levels, and above all very cordial, welcoming, polite.

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#8 Xray

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 12:54 PM

Last night I spent trolling Objecti- err wait, last night I was at the local Beltaine festivities and thought I would throw out a question to see how Pagan morality relates to Christian morality.

The question I posed was this -

"Suppose someone who shared the Pagan path informed you that their god or tradition compelled them to take an action you considered highly immoral. What sort of issues would you bring up if you chose to respond?"

What shocked me was despite the groups apparent heterodoxy the responses were virtually identical.

1) Everyone told me they would certainly bring up their objections and not sit by in moral relativism.

2) The moral law, whatever its nature (different people gave different sources for morality from Altruism to Common Sense, to Self Interest), is above and beyond the gods. The gods are not the ultimate moral authority but struggle with moral questions as well. One pagan pointed out he does not Pray to god but merely Talks to him. To quote Frances Schaeffer, the Pagan gods are amplified humanity, not Divinity.

3) Gods and traditions are always questioned. If Aeries tells you to break someone's legs, question and attack that instruction the same way you would any human. The god may budge.

4) If the God persists you had the right to say no. They do not control the after life nor do they control you.

5) If you did the deed anyway it is still your responsibility. Because all paths and gods are real you are responsible for choosing that path and god as well as not changing the path you're on.

They believed every human being discovers morality for themselves and no god or path can act as a shield for your conscience or responsibility.

I. Love. Pagans.

Why do they feel in need of gods at all? To me, it looks that all they value can do without the concept of a god or gods; therefore couldn't one apply Occam's Razor entia non sunt multiplicanda sine necessitate and jettison the god idea as not needed here?

Edited by Xray, 01 May 2011 - 12:56 PM.


#9 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 03:44 PM

The Paganism I practice deals with Internet marketing.

There is a genius in the IM world who teaches great stuff. He's one of the best I have studied, and I have studied quite a few.

His name?

Pagan, of course.

Eben Pagan.

(When he teams up with Wyatt Woodsmall, he's even better--absolutely amazing. I tried to work Wyatt into a pun on Paganism, too, for the benefit of this thread, but "wood small" brings an altogether different kind of image to mind. :) )

Michael

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