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volcaniclastic
05 Apr 2013, 18:48
There's a post on r/occult (reddit) that asks about what kind of paths people follow. I answered with 'atheist pagan' and somebody said something that kinda bothered me.

Do you equate being an atheist pagan (or secular humanist, or naturalist pagan, or humanist pagan) to be 'just a witch'? I was a little offended by the remark, which suggested it was just easier to call myself a witch, but I disagree.

Because I'm not a witch.

What do you think?

PsykhikosAnarchosNautikos
05 Apr 2013, 19:07
If you only work magic, I would say you are a witch, but if you do not work magic, or it is not your main practice, than atheist pagan is what you are if that is how you define yourself. Then again, even if you do practice magic and don't consider yourself a witch, than, simply, you are not a witch and that responder is rather presumptuous. Not to mention that pagan and witch, and even atheist, are such widespread terms with several different meanings to the individuals who claim those titles. Hell, I've been talking to an atheist magician/occultist and psionist on another forum that doesn't believe in energy bodies and that sort of thing... I didn't think that was possible!

Long story short, you are what you are and what you define yourself as through your own beliefs and practices. That's what I think.

Juniper
05 Apr 2013, 19:56
Hell, I'm a Shamanic pagan; I do some energy work and I don't call myself a witch. I *personally* think that the term witch applies to certain specific groups. Pagan of any sort does not automatically equal "witch" in my book. Especially Atheist Pagan. I'd consider the source/group and take it with a Grain of salt. I tried to communicate with the "pagan" people on Gaia Online once. Once. Big mistake. Reddit, albeit a different demographic, ranks up there among troll haven and I wouldn't go there myself looking for meaningful discussion. But I'm also very biased. I like PF over any other place. :P

MaskedOne
05 Apr 2013, 20:01
No.
I've dealt with spellcasters that don't acknowledge gods and don't take up the title witch and I've met atheists that adopt elements of pagan philosophy withput much in the way of craftwork.Combining both of those groups and several more theistic groups under the single banner of witch doesn't seem useful to me.

volcaniclastic
05 Apr 2013, 20:19
Yeah, okay. See, that's what I thought too, but I wasn't sure if I was the only person who had that view point. The argument brought up was that I was 'misleading' people by saying I was pagan because it automatically implies polytheism, and therefore, atheist paganism is an oxymoron.

I thought the dude was an oxy-moron, personally, but I thought I'd have a double-check just in case I was the one in the wrong. Heaven forbid a pagan use the wrong terminology!


Hell, I'm a Shamanic pagan; I do some energy work and I don't call myself a witch. I *personally* think that the term witch applies to certain specific groups. Pagan of any sort does not automatically equal "witch" in my book. Especially Atheist Pagan. I'd consider the source/group and take it with a Grain of salt. I tried to communicate with the "pagan" people on Gaia Online once. Once. Big mistake. Reddit, albeit a different demographic, ranks up there among troll haven and I wouldn't go there myself looking for meaningful discussion. But I'm also very biased. I like PF over any other place. :P

I agree. I'm not on the pagan subreddits for their meaningful discussion. I usually just comment once in a while to help a fellow out. PF is the only pagan forum for meeeee!

Juniper
05 Apr 2013, 20:30
Yeah, okay. See, that's what I thought too, but I wasn't sure if I was the only person who had that view point. The argument brought up was that I was 'misleading' people by saying I was pagan because it automatically implies polytheism, and therefore, atheist paganism is an oxymoron.

I thought the dude was an oxy-moron, personally, but I thought I'd have a double-check just in case I was the one in the wrong. Heaven forbid a pagan use the wrong terminology!
Oxymoron always reminds me of Renaissance Man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBlMLlfJrRc




I agree. I'm not on the pagan subreddits for their meaningful discussion. I usually just comment once in a while to help a fellow out. PF is the only pagan forum for meeeee!
Woot woot!!! :D

Aeran
05 Apr 2013, 20:33
Out of curiosity, what do you mean when you define yourself as an 'atheistic pagan'? It sounds to me like you mean that you follow the ideals/interests/lifestyles that would generally be considered pagan, but don't believe the deities involved? Or possibly believe, but don't worship them?

As for the 'witch' thing, I don't think it fits at all. To me, the label of Witch isn't a spiritual or cultural one, but a title designated to those who's magical or other occult practices conforms to a particular category.

iflewoverthecuckoosnest
05 Apr 2013, 20:37
Atheist pagan most certainly does not mean "witch". If you practice some form of magick, you are a witch, and I certainly don't see that as fundamental to being an atheistic pagan. Whoever said that probably didn't know what they were talking about.

thalassa
06 Apr 2013, 04:22
Nope, a witch is someone that practices witchcraft and self-identifies as a witch. There most certainly is a subset of Paganism that is atheistic, humanistic, naturalistic, etc.


Out of curiosity, what do you mean when you define yourself as an 'atheistic pagan'? It sounds to me like you mean that you follow the ideals/interests/lifestyles that would generally be considered pagan, but don't believe the deities involved? Or possibly believe, but don't worship them?


Not speaking for V here, but for a number of people, this would be an accurate summary (http://humanisticpaganism.com/what-is-humanisticpaganism-2-0/).

SPhoenix
06 Apr 2013, 04:29
I have never heard of an atheist pagan, so I wouldn't have called you a witch, if it's any comfort. I would have just said, "huh? how can you be an atheist pagan?"

It only makes sense to me if you're "pagan" in the sense of "not of the abrahamic religions".

I'm sure it might make sense to me if explained, but my first reaction would be "huh?" not "omg, ur a witch and you better call yourself one!" lol.

I don't know how it's anyone else's business what you call yourself, though.

Maria de Luna
06 Apr 2013, 05:30
I don't know how it's anyone else's business what you call yourself, though.^^What she said.

volcaniclastic
06 Apr 2013, 06:41
Out of curiosity, what do you mean when you define yourself as an 'atheistic pagan'? It sounds to me like you mean that you follow the ideals/interests/lifestyles that would generally be considered pagan, but don't believe the deities involved? Or possibly believe, but don't worship them?

As for the 'witch' thing, I don't think it fits at all. To me, the label of Witch isn't a spiritual or cultural one, but a title designated to those who's magical or other occult practices conforms to a particular category.


Nope, a witch is someone that practices witchcraft and self-identifies as a witch. There most certainly is a subset of Paganism that is atheistic, humanistic, naturalistic, etc.



Not speaking for V here, but for a number of people, this would be an accurate summary (http://humanisticpaganism.com/what-is-humanisticpaganism-2-0/).


I have never heard of an atheist pagan, so I wouldn't have called you a witch, if it's any comfort. I would have just said, "huh? how can you be an atheist pagan?"

It only makes sense to me if you're "pagan" in the sense of "not of the abrahamic religions".

I'm sure it might make sense to me if explained, but my first reaction would be "huh?" not "omg, ur a witch and you better call yourself one!" lol.

I don't know how it's anyone else's business what you call yourself, though.

Thal's link is mostly correct, though I don't think I would have worded it in those terms (btw, I totally follow that blog too!)

To be honest, I don't consider myself anything. I don't even think about it. A label is a silly thing, but when someone asks me "What's your religion, what's your path?" I can't very well not have an answer for them. So I did think about it. And atheist pagan is as close as I can come to explaining myself in two words.

Basically, without going into large amounts of detail: I forage for herbs. I make tinctures and tisanes, and I make my own beeswax candles. I celebrate the seasons, and I celebrate the cycles of the moon (when I remember). I'm fond of candle magic, I will admit, but I don't think I actually believe in magic. I really like the part of that site that explains that magic and ritual are just tools to aid us psychologically. Makes magic less, well, magical, but I think it's closer to the truth. Until science can prove me wrong, I don't really believe in something that doesn't have mass or matter. I use runes, and tarot, and crystals, and incense, and I like to have shrines around the house.

But no. I don't worship deity. I don't have a lord and lady, or a pantheon, or any of that business (but if you do, that's great, and I envy your ability to believe in that) ...I work with the gods, a bit, but only as aspects of the natural world. I'm rather fond of Artemis, for example, because I'm a hunter and an archer myself. I'm not that fond of Dionysus, but I can't seem to escape seeing symbolism for him wherever I go. I respect Poseidon, because I love the sea. But I don't think they are real, and I don't think they made us. I do think that the myths serve a purpose, in teaching us morals (or perhaps teaching us what NOT to do) ...and yeah, there's other pantheons out there, but I used the Greeks because I know the most about them.

Does that answer the question?

SPhoenix
06 Apr 2013, 07:57
Well, you just sound like a naturalist to me. And an atheist. But I'd call you whatever you want to be called. :)

To me, paganism includes some sort of acceptance of deity, be it faith in deities/ a deity and under-deities, or simply faith that they exist without any personal attachment or veneration/worship/etc.

However, part of the problem that we run into in trying to decide and ascribe labels is that language is so imprecise and limited; not forgetting the fact that the word 'pagan' has the further complication of having the baggage of being 'not-something' rather than being exclusively used as its own descriptor.

So, my point is that I would be mostly offended by someone trying to tell you that "you have to use this word because I think you fit there" than anything else. Whatever word he or she tried to shove onto you is less offensive than them trying to shove a word onto you. Even if you didn't reject it outright, it ignores the fact that language itself is imprecise and there is no ultimate, deciding factor in how 'pagan' (or 'witch') is used by all people who speak English.

I think that finding gods interesting but unreal would make you definitely an atheist. A high degree of interest in nature and herbcrafting and hunting would make you a woodswoman or a naturalist. Accepting psychological power in ritual doesn't make you a believer in magic, so I wouldn't personally feel any need to utilize that in 'labeling' you. But that would be MY label for you, not yours, and I would thus never insist on calling you anything that you reject.

I find it offensive when any person of any belief (or unbelief) tries to tell me what label I must accept, especially since none really fit me well. And there's no established label for what you are, either. And if you know that 'witch' doesn't fit you, then you know yourself best and the person pushing you to accept it was being highly disrespectful.

Tylluan Penry
07 Apr 2013, 14:07
Well I describe myself as a pagan witch because my religious beliefs are (broadly speaking) pagan and I am a witch (i.e. I practise witchcraft.)

And the next time some know-all tries to pull you apart on this, kindly tell them that the correct response is: 'An atheistic pagan, eh? Tell me more....'
;)

thalassa
07 Apr 2013, 15:21
To me, paganism includes some sort of acceptance of deity, be it faith in deities/ a deity and under-deities, or simply faith that they exist without any personal attachment or veneration/worship/etc.

I think that you might find the number of people that are atheists, naturalists, humanists, agnostics, etc and still consider themselves to be Pagan of one stripe or another to be somewhat surprising.

...Or, in my case, I fin the actual be-ing (or not) of deity to be largely irrelevant. TBH, I don't think the reality of or faith in deity to be relevant to my practice or beliefs, and functionally I'm polytheistic (in practice)...though I would describe my belief to be closer in nature to a somewhat ambivalent fence-sitting pantheist that worships deities as representatives of Nature, and my bioregion as a deity in and of itself. If I had to enter a discussion on the matter, I tend to lean in the direction of gods being historical and culturally relevant thought forms that are creations of man, based on actual natural forces and ideas and powers of the universe.

Funnily enough, this subject sort of came up on a blog I follow, and I ended up blogging on it (http://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/real-is-irrelevent/)tonight.

darksyderainmaker
07 Apr 2013, 17:52
I am really enjoying this discussion. Especially since, of late, the best way I could probably describe myself, were I forced to label it, would be agnostic pagan.

Maria de Luna
08 Apr 2013, 01:50
a somewhat ambivalent fence-sitting pantheist that worships deities as representatives of Nature I tend to lean in the direction of gods being historical and culturally relevant thought forms that are creations of man, based on actual natural forces and ideas and powers of the universe.

Totally off-topic, I know, but can I just say that I love that phrasing? Just love it...
But I have apparently plussed you too recently... and cannot do it again.

SPhoenix
08 Apr 2013, 05:03
I think that you might find the number of people that are atheists, naturalists, humanists, agnostics, etc and still consider themselves to be Pagan of one stripe or another to be somewhat surprising.

...Or, in my case, I fin the actual be-ing (or not) of deity to be largely irrelevant. TBH, I don't think the reality of or faith in deity to be relevant to my practice or beliefs, and functionally I'm polytheistic (in practice)...though I would describe my belief to be closer in nature to a somewhat ambivalent fence-sitting pantheist that worships deities as representatives of Nature, and my bioregion as a deity in and of itself. If I had to enter a discussion on the matter, I tend to lean in the direction of gods being historical and culturally relevant thought forms that are creations of man, based on actual natural forces and ideas and powers of the universe.

Funnily enough, this subject sort of came up on a blog I follow, and I ended up blogging on it (http://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/real-is-irrelevent/)tonight.

Except that to me, it sounds more like you're agnostic, not atheist. A pantheist acknowledges a divine factor; be it specific deity or nonspecific. If it were me saying "yes you sound pagan to me" or "no, you don't sound pagan to me"; any agnostic could say, "I am pagan" and make sense to me.

For me, a person who says "I am an atheist" means "I do not believe in any divine factor whatsoever." A person who says, "I am agnostic" means, "I think there is probably some kind of divine factor, but I don't really know how to describe it and am not sure what form it may (or may not) take."

You sound to me like you acknowledge some sort of divine factor (or deity).

An atheist pretty much says the opposite, there is no divine factor, and if there is any 'higher power', it's only that we are subject to the laws of physics, basically. And that there is nothing unknowable about it (even if there is some that is unknown).

While, unless I misunderstand, you seem to give a sort of divinity to nature itself. Whatever "gods or deities" you might acknowledge as social constructs, there seems that you have an underlying sense of something unknowable and divine within nature.

Again, however, language is so imprecise, particularly in the realm of the 'esoteric'. I could be entirely misunderstanding both you can volcan.

volcaniclastic
08 Apr 2013, 06:22
An atheist pretty much says the opposite, there is no divine factor, and if there is any 'higher power', it's only that we are subject to the laws of physics, basically. And that there is nothing unknowable about it (even if there is some that is unknown).

While, unless I misunderstand, you seem to give a sort of divinity to nature itself. Whatever "gods or deities" you might acknowledge as social constructs, there seems that you have an underlying sense of something unknowable and divine within nature.


I think something can still be divine, without being deity. While acknowledging the gods as useful tools, and as social constructs, and as personifications of nature, does not, I think, make them divine.

I can see the point you're trying to make towards agnosticism, and to be honest, I probably float somewhere between atheism and agnosticism. I don't believe in the gods as deity, but I want to. I envy those of you who do. But I can't. And I can't because they didn't create us. We created them, we invented them, and we made them from our natural world. A vision can be described psychologically, magic be brought down to its basest roots by philosophy, and math and physics are the gods of our universe. Science doesn't have to make our experience less, though.

Which is why deity isn't important, which is how pagans end up atheist in the first place.

...also, it's early in the morning still, and I think I got off track from what I was saying in the first place. I really just wanted to make the distinction between divinity and deity. I think the tree outside my house is divine, and the rain is divine, and fire is divine, and the rocks and the soil and the sea are divine. I worship all those things. (I worship rocks? This is funny to me as a geologist) ...but the sea is not a goddess, fire is not a god, and I am not a theist.

SPhoenix
08 Apr 2013, 09:24
I think something can still be divine, without being deity. While acknowledging the gods as useful tools, and as social constructs, and as personifications of nature, does not, I think, make them divine.

I can see the point you're trying to make towards agnosticism, and to be honest, I probably float somewhere between atheism and agnosticism. I don't believe in the gods as deity, but I want to. I envy those of you who do. But I can't. And I can't because they didn't create us. We created them, we invented them, and we made them from our natural world. A vision can be described psychologically, magic be brought down to its basest roots by philosophy, and math and physics are the gods of our universe. Science doesn't have to make our experience less, though.

Which is why deity isn't important, which is how pagans end up atheist in the first place.

...also, it's early in the morning still, and I think I got off track from what I was saying in the first place. I really just wanted to make the distinction between divinity and deity. I think the tree outside my house is divine, and the rain is divine, and fire is divine, and the rocks and the soil and the sea are divine. I worship all those things. (I worship rocks? This is funny to me as a geologist) ...but the sea is not a goddess, fire is not a god, and I am not a theist.

I think this is again where language issues come in, and how/why we need to be careful to allow people to create and choose their OWN "labels".

I should have used the word "divine" to begin with, rather than "deity" when I said atheists refuse the concept of deity. I meant deity as an encompassing word, taking in both 'that which is divine' and 'that which embodies the divine in some form of avatar'.

I think that an atheist doesn't accept the entire concept of divinity--whether embodied by a being or whether in a pantheistic way.

I would see you as more of a pantheist, because you accept the concept of there being something or some things which are divine. During my stint as an atheist, the more I studied it, the more I realized that I was not really an atheist, because I could not deny what I might call "the divine factor".

However, I doubt that I'm really a pantheist, either... because I see the Divine Factor as something that is self-aware and intelligent in its own right... and I do feel that it has been, and can be, personified IN PART within "deities" of various kinds... but that these "fragments of the divine" are worthy of what you might call 'veneration', but not 'worship'.

It is very frustrating to have these sorts of conversation with such a limited language, however.

Again, although I might see you as either agnostic or pantheistic, I would call you what you most identify with on a personal level. If I were trying to describe you to others, I'd feel compelled to attempt to explain more completely; not because I feel that your choice is incorrect, but more because I feel that language is so limited that trying to stick you into two words is unrealistic.

Lately, I've been meeting more and more people whose general set of spiritual views do not fit into any "established norm". As such, I think we must all begin to attempt to understand people's choices of their labels, rather than trying to understand the person through their chosen label. If that makes sense. I recognize that it's a fine distinction, but I think it's a profound one.

Maria de Luna
08 Apr 2013, 11:28
and I am not a theist.Nope you are an athiest.... sorry had to do that.... now back to your regularly scheduled forum....

ChainLightning
08 Apr 2013, 13:05
To the OP, I don't really get where that comes from. Where everything is so black or white. To me, right off the cuff, the words 'atheist pagan' simply means "a pagan that doesn't do the god/dess bit." And throwing witchcraft into the mix is decidedly non sequitor.

That's part of the reason that I define my religion as 'Pagan', an arguably meaningless word that gives no indication of my (or anyone's) beliefs and, in fact, barely scratches the surface of what beliefs it DOES'T entail. The word 'athiest' isn't *quite* as vague as 'pagan' but is still ambiguous.

That should also shed some light on my choice of descriptors, in my profile, for religion questions.

Denarius
08 Apr 2013, 14:51
As of now, everyone is either agnostic or wrong. The existence of deity is unknown, no one can rightly or truthfully say either way whether any god exists.

The only problem I have with a person identifying as an atheist pagan, is they probably have their words in the wrong order. They are using atheist as an adjective and pagan as a noun, when what they are most likely trying to do is describe their practices as being related to paganism while maintaining that they are non-theistic.

In other words, that they are a pagan atheist. Pagan can be an adjective, atheist cannot. The adjectival form is atheistic, if you feel strongly that you should identify as a pagan.

I identify as a pagan atheist, at least most days. I think it would be disingenuous to refer to myself as a witch, either outright or somewhat depending on what I am meaning by "witch."

Aeran
08 Apr 2013, 17:18
As of now, everyone is either agnostic or wrong. The existence of deity is unknown, no one can rightly or truthfully say either way whether any god exists.

Not really. Just because they don't know absolutely whether they're right or wrong, doesn't automatically make them wrong. You don't have to be sure that a belief is correct for it to be correct. And that's ignoring the vast spectrum of different attitudes towards deity, there are plenty of ways of incorporating theistic ideas into your spiritual practice without believing that deities exist as literal, independent entities the way humans do.

Denarius
08 Apr 2013, 18:02
Just because they don't know absolutely whether they're right or wrong, doesn't automatically make them wrong. You don't have to be sure that a belief is correct for it to be correct. And that's ignoring the vast spectrum of different attitudes towards deity, there are plenty of ways of incorporating theistic ideas into your spiritual practice without believing that deities exist as literal, independent entities the way humans do.

I don't deny that, but belief is irrelevant to the point I was making. The existence or nonexistence of gods has not been established, it is not known. The agnostic position is that the existence of deities is unknown or unknowable, in other words it has nothing to do with belief. You can be an agnostic theist, or an agnostic atheist.

I said that someone is agnostic or wrong, because the existence of gods is not known. In other words, if they say they are not agnostic they are wrong. It's not a matter of if they identify as such, only if they understand and agree with the point thereof.

Agnostic, as an identifier, means nothing unless you are specifically claiming that the existence of deity is unknowable. If you believe you believe, if you don't you don't. Either pick a side, or say that you haven't made up your mind yet. Saying you're "agnostic" is just deflecting the question.

Theism = belief in deity. Atheism = No belief in deity. There is no third option or middle ground, you either do or you don't.

volcaniclastic
08 Apr 2013, 19:21
To the OP, I don't really get where that comes from. Where everything is so black or white. To me, right off the cuff, the words 'atheist pagan' simply means "a pagan that doesn't do the god/dess bit." And throwing witchcraft into the mix is decidedly non sequitor.

That's part of the reason that I define my religion as 'Pagan', an arguably meaningless word that gives no indication of my (or anyone's) beliefs and, in fact, barely scratches the surface of what beliefs it DOES'T entail. The word 'athiest' isn't *quite* as vague as 'pagan' but is still ambiguous.

That should also shed some light on my choice of descriptors, in my profile, for religion questions.

See, and that's the bit that gets me about labels period. I don't even call myself anything. I think most of my family thinks I'm an atheist, but that's just because I don't talk about my spirituality. If somebody asks, "What's your religion?" I say "Pagan." ....if I have to elaborate, well...a discussion like this thread happens.

I believe some stuff. I don't believe some stuff. I can't really confine it to one word, or two words, or even a whole sentence of words. But people generally aren't happy with that, and want the tl;dr version (because ain't nobody got the time to listen to me describe what I believe in) ...so I usually throw atheist pagan at them, or nature worshipper (if I'm talking to hippies. saying this to normal people embarasses me, though I think it is the truest phrase)

And yeah, I guess I do a bunch of cottagewitch type stuff, but I still don't really feel like I'm a witch, either.

Words and stuff, man. Why do we have to be defined by words and stuff?

MaskedOne
08 Apr 2013, 19:26
This is the advantage of saying eccentric, insane or Jedi. They're fun to use and very big, bright "I can't be bothered to define myself for you" signs. Or maybe, I'm just a bit odd....

SPhoenix
09 Apr 2013, 05:04
Agnostic, as an identifier, means nothing unless you are specifically claiming that the existence of deity is unknowable. If you believe you believe, if you don't you don't. Either pick a side, or say that you haven't made up your mind yet. Saying you're "agnostic" is just deflecting the question.

Theism = belief in deity. Atheism = No belief in deity. There is no third option or middle ground, you either do or you don't.

That's not true at all. A lot of people don't know for sure. An agnostic can be someone who isn't willing to say either one, because they aren't sure if they believe in a divine being or force or not. Agnosticism can (and often does) express a degree of doubt or uncertainty.

No one has to be certain they believe there is some divine force or being, or certain that there isn't. "I don't know. I think there might be a higher power, but I see no evidence of it, so I'm just not sure" is a valid stated as much as "I am certain there's some divine force or being, but I don't know what it is" or "I am completely convinced no such force or being exists".

Uncertainty exists and is valid.

Denarius
09 Apr 2013, 05:31
That's not true at all. A lot of people don't know for sure. An agnostic can be someone who isn't willing to say either one, because they aren't sure if they believe in a divine being or force or not. Agnosticism can (and often does) express a degree of doubt or uncertainty.

If they believe in at least one god that makes them a theist, if they don't that makes them an atheist. Doubt, uncertainty, and the extent to which they hold their beliefs does not have any bearing on this.

Uncertainty does exist and is valid, what it is not is agnosticism. Which is a formal philosophical term referring to a specific ontological argument.

As I said in that quote: Either pick a side, or say that you haven't made up your mind. If someone asks you what you believe, in the context of deity, just say "I don't know." or "I don't care." It takes no more effort than saying you are agnostic, and actually gets across the point you are making in an intelligent and practical manner.

SPhoenix
09 Apr 2013, 06:14
If they believe in at least one god that makes them a theist, if they don't that makes them an atheist. Doubt, uncertainty, and the extent to which they hold their beliefs does not have any bearing on this.

Uncertainty does exist and is valid, what it is not is agnosticism. Which is a formal philosophical term referring to a specific ontological argument.

As I said in that quote: Either pick a side, or say that you haven't made up your mind. If someone asks you what you believe, in the context of deity, just say "I don't know." or "I don't care." It takes no more effort than saying you are agnostic, and actually gets across the point you are making in an intelligent and practical manner.

I'm not being disrespectful, but when people ask, "What's your religion", 90% of the time they are NOT engaged in any sort of formal philosophical ontological arguments. The term "agnostic" in standard conversation relates to a person who is not sure.

agnostic: a person who holds neither of two opposing positions on a topic: Socrates was an agnostic on the subject of immortality.

So while you may choose to attempt to force internet or random street-side discussions to accept formal philosophical terms and to be, will they or nil they, ontological arguments... I wish you great luck with that, but I don't foresee you having much luck with it.

volcaniclastic
09 Apr 2013, 06:28
So while you may choose to attempt to force internet or random street-side discussions to accept formal philosophical terms and to be, will they or nil they, ontological arguments... I wish you great luck with that, but I don't foresee you having much luck with it.

This is completely unrelated, but I just learned where the phrase "willy nilly" comes from. Thanks!

SPhoenix
09 Apr 2013, 06:48
This is completely unrelated, but I just learned where the phrase "willy nilly" comes from. Thanks!

I love experiences like that! I think my most memorable was when I found out about "a pig in a poke". Who knew how awful that saying really is! :ohnoes:

thalassa
09 Apr 2013, 14:10
or nature worshipper (if I'm talking to hippies. saying this to normal people embarasses me, though I think it is the truest phrase)


Spiritual bioregionalism...

I'm tellin you, its the future of nature worshipping.

<------see?

Denarius
09 Apr 2013, 15:35
I'm not being disrespectful, but when people ask, "What's your religion", 90% of the time they are NOT engaged in any sort of formal philosophical ontological arguments. The term "agnostic" in standard conversation relates to a person who is not sure.

That's just it, agnosticism isn't a religion. It is an ontological position, it is always an ontological position. In other words it pertains to existence, in all cases where you are using the term literally. Formally it is as I said, it is used informally to refer to being agnostic (As an adjective, not a noun!) towards the existence of gods.

In other words, regardless of formality you are only an agnostic if you believe in agnosticism which is specifically the formal ontological belief that the existence of gods is unknown or unknowable. Otherwise you are only describing your beliefs as being like agnosticism, in other words the correct phrasing would be: "Socrates' views toward immortality were agnostic." This use is figurative.

When people ask what your religion is, answer them. If you have a religion that can be summed up in a few words then speak those words, otherwise say it would take too long. If you have no religion at all, then say so. The existence of gods has not entered the discussion, you could certainly state that your religion is agnostic... but that doesn't answer the question or provide any useful information.

When the existence of gods has entered the discussion, then guess what! You are actually having a philosophical argument, in which a formal ontological term would be useful.

I have no problem with anyone describing their beliefs as agnostic, that does not make them an agnostic though.

thalassa
10 Apr 2013, 04:18
V...I'm not sure if you were following HP when these were written (I just stumbled across them myself), but I thought you might find them interesting...

http://humanisticpaganism.com/2011/07/24/how-persephone-killed-the-gods-for-me/
http://humanisticpaganism.com/2012/08/13/how-can-a-naturalist-emerge-in-paganism/

Also, I thought you might find Allison Leigh Lilly interesting, if you haven't discovered her site yet: http://alisonleighlilly.com/blog/
...one of my fave of her more recent posts http://alisonleighlilly.com/blog/2013/biophilia-on-love-and-nature/

volcaniclastic
10 Apr 2013, 06:12
V...I'm not sure if you were following HP when these were written (I just stumbled across them myself), but I thought you might find them interesting...

http://humanisticpaganism.com/2011/07/24/how-persephone-killed-the-gods-for-me/
http://humanisticpaganism.com/2012/08/13/how-can-a-naturalist-emerge-in-paganism/

Also, I thought you might find Allison Leigh Lilly interesting, if you haven't discovered her site yet: http://alisonleighlilly.com/blog/
...one of my fave of her more recent posts http://alisonleighlilly.com/blog/2013/biophilia-on-love-and-nature/

Thanks, thal! I've read the most recent Allison post (we share a middle name, sigh) ...but the others are all new. I'll take a look :)

Louisvillian
13 Apr 2013, 23:04
There's a post on r/occult (reddit) that asks about what kind of paths people follow. I answered with 'atheist pagan' and somebody said something that kinda bothered me.

Do you equate being an atheist pagan (or secular humanist, or naturalist pagan, or humanist pagan) to be 'just a witch'? I was a little offended by the remark, which suggested it was just easier to call myself a witch, but I disagree.
To start, calling anything 'witchcraft' in modern Western culture is going to be a semantic clusterfuck. Because much of what the neo-Pagan movement refers to as 'witchcraft' are just folk magic practices that were recast as witchcraft in the early 20th century. Which is its own kettle of worms.

Second, I define paganism a little differently, and lot more specifically, than most do. I see it as intrinsically involving one's habitat and environment (to which I include urban areas). Connecting to it on a deep level, whether that is spiritual or ethical or what-have-you. It's not inherently theistic, let alone polytheistic, though it happens to be that most pagans are polytheistic or animistic in some fashion. But that's more of an incidental thing relating to 19th century Romanticism's focus on nature and its call-back to pre-Christian folk practices, and the extent to which the Occult revival took those principles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

So, I don't think that you have to be theistic to be a pagan. Or that being polytheistic makes you pagan. Or that witchcraft is inherently pagan or theistic, or anything other than just a rebranding of folk magic.

Sondst
20 Nov 2013, 18:02
Using energy work can be considered atheist pagan. After all the existence of energy is truth no? :)

Vigdisdotter
20 Nov 2013, 19:32
Using energy work can be considered atheist pagan. After all the existence of energy is truth no? :)

I'm not following your reasoning here. I know a number of energy workers who are Christian. One is a Buddhist. None of them self-identify as Pagan.

Louisvillian
20 Nov 2013, 21:42
Using energy work can be considered atheist pagan.
No, that just means you kinda practice magic. Not particularly complex or effective magic, but something.
But then, most religions do that. Religious thought is magical thinking. But it doesn't mean that you have a pagan outlook on things, which is more tied in with agricultural or pastoral idealism and the concept of nature as something sacred.


After all the existence of energy is truth no? :)
Not in the way that you mean 'energy'. The magical or occult concept of energy is something that is easily debatable. Just because we believe it to be real does not mean that it is necessarily so.

B. de Corbin
21 Nov 2013, 07:37
Not in the way that you mean 'energy'. The magical or occult concept of energy is something that is easily debatable. Just because we believe it to be real does not mean that it is necessarily so.

Yes - it looks (actually 'feels') to me as if the Chi in Asian martial arts is pretty much the same as muscle memory in the West, and, in Asian martial arts, 'flowing with the Tao' is the same as 'using body mechanics well.'

Since what one calls it is based more on tradition, teaching, and feeling than it is on any objectively verifiable data, that "energy" is debatable.

Sondst
21 Nov 2013, 08:25
I meant that energy as in elecrticity, flowing constantly ect. Its not hard for an atheist to take that known type of scientific energy and conclude magical energy is real to. Perhaps I should of been more clear. That was my belief once upon a time when I was atheist.

Also I did not mean that using energy makes them pagan. I meant that most atheists don't believe in it so the belief in it and a certain number of other things could make you pagan. You can combine those two things togeather to be considered what you want.

I did not make a clear or descriptive post my bad. Not sure if much of this even makes sense. My bad lol.

fourgottenchilde
22 Nov 2013, 19:59
Here is the deal .. If you are an Atheist you shouldn't care one Way or another. Just do what you do. However, I have run into .. more individuals then I would like .. consider.. Anarchist, once they declare their allegiance to that belief .. it negates their purpose.. Now we have many organized groups of Atheist.. that.. my good people.. make's it a belief.. and.. if you carry it long enough down the road .. A Religion.

Briar
26 Nov 2013, 10:28
I use the term secular witch as appose to atheist pagan. If you are not a witch, you are not a witch. I am not a pagan (I can't believe in one god so I can't see how I would believe in many) so I don't call myself one. Still, a name is just a name. I wouldn't get upset by what people call me unless you need some drama today. Did they seem to be wanting to pick a fight?

I am me, if someone wants to know me instead of just label me then we can sit, talk and learn about each other. If they want to label me an atheist, pagan, witch or b**ch, it doesn't matter. They can't change me, only I can do that.

Rowanwood
26 Nov 2013, 10:45
I see the term witch as specific to someone to practices witchcraft, but I also think it was originally a term of rebellion against social norms more than that, much in the way the word queer or queen have been embraced. Now that "witch" is a less shocking term to most people, others use it as a catch all term for "paganism or other religious stuff I don't understand that might involve trees"

But then again, I tend to roll my eyes first and ask questions later, especially when it comes to Reddit.

Bjorn
10 Dec 2013, 11:36
"Just a witch?"

Ignorant response if you ask me. Witches are another breed entirely and, in my personal experience, it involves people who practice witchcraft/magic, or worship certain gods/follow a certain type of paganism, or those who simply like the term and think it best describes their particular path. In fact, it makes no sense to me whatsoever that you could put "atheist" in front of something and then still get a response with a description that, generally, comes with a pantheon.

LTW
21 Mar 2014, 07:02
There's a post on r/occult (reddit) that asks about what kind of paths people follow. I answered with 'atheist pagan' and somebody said something that kinda bothered me.

Do you equate being an atheist pagan (or secular humanist, or naturalist pagan, or humanist pagan) to be 'just a witch'? I was a little offended by the remark, which suggested it was just easier to call myself a witch, but I disagree.

Because I'm not a witch.

What do you think?

I've heard this before. One of the drawbacks to being an atheist in paganism is that you get crap from 3 sides of the religious spectrum. As if we didn't already have it bad enough getting crap from Christians because we are supposedly satan incarnate, we also get crap from atheists because they believe we cling to superstition, whether are even superstitious or not. They also believe we just want to be less controversial than just committing to paganism, and so we want our cake and to eat it, too. Then, lastly, we get crap from the Pagans (with a capital 'P', because they are the vocal majority of the community, I don't equate 'P'agan and 'p'agan) because they believe that in order to have your personal spiritual life qualify as 'p'agan, you need to believe in Gods, or practice magick, or whatever their accepted rules are that week.

In my case, I am a witch. All my hold over habits from earlier in my path still remain. I still stir my pots in sunwise or widdershins directions, and I actually am mindfully referring to that. I still 'sweep' my house with a besom, out the door. I still make witch bottles every year, I still mix my own remedies. I'm still a witch even though I'm an atheist and a naturalist. I just don't do any devotional work with deities.