View Full Version : i dont know if it would be ethical to still call myself a pagan,

21 Jul 2018, 15:01
Hello everyone,
Ive had a break from the board and I feel like ive learned a lot, I hope that due to the journey I have been on i'll return here a slightly more chilled out person than the one I came here as.
my last post on here contained some things that I still agree with, but overall I was very vengeful and arrogant.
I left for a while and I started hanging out with more ex muslims (as in atheist ex muslims) and im grateful I did although I have to say some of them drove me mad... but others made me think and question.
For quite a few months now ive been describing myself as an atheist. But I cant seem to find peace with the label. I know that technically all it means is someone that doesn't believe in god. but for me, an ex muslim that's been hanging out with other ex muslims some of whom are caught up in an 'us vs them' attitude about muslims and ex muslims, theres connotations to the word that I cant make peace with.

The thing that first made me think I was an atheist was learning about accretion (in the astrophysical sense) that took away my need for a god/the gods to start the big bang and the process of evolution. I have to say I feel like my life has gotten dramatically better because I stopped waiting and hoping and started actually doing... but I also feel like I became a bit of an a** in the process. Because I fitted in with all the other atheist ex muslims, I feel like I started to finally become part of a group, and I got caught up in a mob mentality. I didn't like who I had become. I had become an atheist because of science. I had even learned about some of the scientific explanations of paranormal phenomena, I didn't, and dont think religious people are stupid, I just simply think I found a better explanation. One of the reasons is to do with electrical impulses in the air, I cant call someone stupid for believing what their brain is telling them to believe.

I guess to cut a very long and boring story short. I don't believe the Gods are real, but I do believe they are helpful. (bear with me, i'll explain). I am someone that you could say "hits the minority jackpot." and one of my major beliefs is my belief in equity, not equality. I don't believe that we are all born equal, but we are all born human. Someone's humanity is a biological fact and something that never can and never should be taken away from them. I feel that I have never been allowed to simply exist as I am. Ive heard plenty of people say things like "we're all the same on the inside" or "we all bleed red." But we're not all the same, we are individuals with individual wants and needs. We all have our own stories. And that's ok.
In my opinion, the longer we continue to say "We're all the same on the inside." the longer the idea that we all have to be alike to be acceptable will remain. I believe pagan myths, and the symbolic nature of the gods describes the antithesis to this belief perfectly, and I believe it describes it far better than atheism ever can do.
I dont mean to offend anyone when I say this but pagan beliefs aren't exactly always cheery. I believe they represent the harsh realities of life much better, the pagan gods never promised perfection, only relief.
Essentially, whilst I dont view pagan mythology as fact, I do view it as truth.

Before I considered myself a reconstructionist, and I believed that myths were fables, essentially, they weren't fact but there was truth to them. But I did believe in the gods. Which is why im unsure how to classify myself now. I have had quite a few mental issues and I have an addictive personality, I wonder if I somehow transferred that to religion, I feel like I practiced paganism the way my mother wanted me to practice islam.

I am currently training to be a psychologist and so have been researching a lot about the mind and science. I was convinced going into it that I would become truly anti-religious, but actually, the opposite has happened.
I was reading about evolutionary psychology, the quantum mind theory and the controversy between the two. What I found striking was how scientists felt that their theories were being over simplified by both atheist and theists alike, and how much they just wanted people to actually listen to the theories in front of them.
This really challenged me, and I began to feel like I was doing science a disservice by equating it with atheism rather than a search for the truth.

When I say im an atheist I feel like what im saying is "I dont believe in god." When I think about describing myself as a pagan, I feel like what Im saying is "I am free."

So I wonder if I should call myself pagan, but I think if I was to ever do that again I would simply say,
"I'm Pagan, but I don't really talk about it because I want my beliefs to be reflected in how I act, not how much Sh*t I can talk." (or how much I evangelise when in polite company :P)

That way hopefully I will give myself and others the space we need to be ourselves.

21 Jul 2018, 15:55
While I do have an idea of who were before on PF,I will not guess just from your post. I myself have been on PF a LONG time,so feel free to PM me if you wish.

- - - Updated - - -

Welcome back,even if you do not feel people would understand,life happens as it will.

23 Jul 2018, 08:38
I see what you mean about myths. Joseph Campbell defined a myth as something that never happened but was always true. Clifford Geertz said that it was a story that was good to think with.

The reason for believing in the gods is nothing to do with myths (how many did the Romans have?) or philosophical arguments (which few people are interested in) but experience. If you have experienced them, you don't believe, you know. If you haven't, then you can either remain agnostic or you can take what other people tell you about their experiences on trust — just as you take most of what you know about science on trust.

Can you call yourself a pagan? Why not? The term originally applied to ancient polytheists, while today it's been largely appropriated (at least in the anglophone world) to refer to neopagans, few of whom seem to be polytheists and many of whom aren't theists of any description.

26 Jul 2018, 14:08
You are who you are. You don't have to attach a label to yourself. If you want to, that's fine, but definitely don't worry about what others think and the norm. We were not born alike in this world and therefore we know who we are. We go through change and change is good in many ways. So I think you should do whatever you want to do.