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Thread: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

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    Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    What's the difference between a humanistic pagan and an atheistic pagan? After a post by Thalassa (you mentioned you felt a blog post coming on, I forget what thread it was posted in, though) ...I started doing some research into Humanistic Paganism. What is it? Does it make sense to me? I was curious. After several hours of reading on a site called The Allergic Pagan I started to wonder.

    So, correct me if I'm wrong, but a humanistic pagan is a pragmatic pagan with belief in the natural world, and the gods as archetypes. As an archetype, they are of human design, and therefore, not real. Since they are not real, how does that make a humanistic pagan different from an atheistic one?

    Or is it just six of one, and a half dozen of the other?
    We are all these things [...]. Pride, desire, compassion, cleverness, belligerence, fruitfulness, loyalty...and guilt. But above it all stands love. And if we desire to be more than human, that is the star by which we must set our sights.

    Questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as my heart.

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    You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

    “Leaving is not enough. You must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did. And now you pull down the bridge between your houses, you make him call before he visits, you take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don’t lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street.”

    Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    Well I'm not a Pagan. But I have experience with this very subject. I've been accused of not knowing what I am. I've been called a Humanist and not an Atheist. I guess because of my philosophy through Satanism. I would think maybe the different between humanist and pagan is the nature part perhaps? Humanists tend to follow nature etc etc (I'm being extremely general). Atheists. Well Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity ONLY. Atheists are Republicans, Democrats, poor and wealthy, Racists and Liberal. Atheism is a description of a non belief. While Humanism tends to involve alot more. Such as I am a Atheist Satanist. Which means I am an Atheist. The only thing that says it that I don't believe in deities. And I am a Satanist. Which says about 20 more things then just saying I'm an Atheist.

    Did I make sense? Or did I just make things tougher?
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    To me, humanism always seemed to have a focus on lifting humans, as the 'only' animal capable of reasoning, explicit verbal/written communication, deep thought, etc., above and outside other organisms. It also seems to remove the concept of an outside divinity as being responsible for anything that inspires humans to do anything.

    Atheists might have an appreciation for humans as part of the natural world, and might remove the concept of deity from human existence, but might not necessarily place humans above and beyond the rest of the Universe.
    The forum member formerly known as perzephone. Or Perze. I've shed a skin.

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    Silver Member Caelia's Avatar
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    This actually illustrates why scholars are focusing more on the term "non-theist" for these types of things. Lots of confusion for folks about the atheism label.
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    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelia View Post
    This actually illustrates why scholars are focusing more on the term "non-theist" for these types of things. Lots of confusion for folks about the atheism label.
    I am a redditor. And I belong to the subreddit r/atheism. It's full of 'Atheists' who get upset that 'A' is capitolized. Or that Atheists are all one type of people. Or that we are all 'thumbs up ONLY science!'. Or anti religion. Over and over...

    Atheism. The simple definition: no gods.

    It has nothing to do with every other belief under the sun. It has nothing to do with how you form your morals. It's a definition pertaining to your belief. 'a' 'theism' as in 'without god'. Nothing to do with any other beliefs.
    Satan is my spirit animal

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    Silver Member Caelia's Avatar
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I am a redditor. And I belong to the subreddit r/atheism. It's full of 'Atheists' who get upset that 'A' is capitolized. Or that Atheists are all one type of people. Or that we are all 'thumbs up ONLY science!'. Or anti religion. Over and over...

    Atheism. The simple definition: no gods.

    It has nothing to do with every other belief under the sun. It has nothing to do with how you form your morals. It's a definition pertaining to your belief. 'a' 'theism' as in 'without god'. Nothing to do with any other beliefs.
    Exactly, which is why scholars are trying to further the two regardless of reddit.
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelia View Post
    Exactly, which is why scholars are trying to further the two regardless of reddit.
    Honestly I think personal agendas get in the way. They want to some how form a 'block' of a certain type of people. Maybe to push all those weird laws they want. Like marking out IN GOD WE TRUST on money and other crap I don't have money to do and why don't you focus on my health care dummies. Arg. We aren't a block of voters. It's like women aren't a block of voters either. Women cross all social/economic/racial/religious lines. So do Atheists. I'm ranting. My bad.

    But honestly scholars? It ain't rocket science here.

    Name any belief. It has a list of things to it.

    But Atheism has only one. Just one. Just look at Rok and look at me. He was (could still be, I haven't taken a closer look at his user info) an Atheist Pagan. And I am an Atheist Satanist. Hell I'm pretty sure FW is an Atheist ___. One thing we have in common. No god. But then the other word differentiates us.
    Satan is my spirit animal

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    Silver Member Caelia's Avatar
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    Unless we get into soft and hard atheism...
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Well I'm not a Pagan. But I have experience with this very subject. I've been accused of not knowing what I am. I've been called a Humanist and not an Atheist. I guess because of my philosophy through Satanism. I would think maybe the different between humanist and pagan is the nature part perhaps? Humanists tend to follow nature etc etc (I'm being extremely general). Atheists. Well Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity ONLY. Atheists are Republicans, Democrats, poor and wealthy, Racists and Liberal. Atheism is a description of a non belief. While Humanism tends to involve alot more. Such as I am a Atheist Satanist. Which means I am an Atheist. The only thing that says it that I don't believe in deities. And I am a Satanist. Which says about 20 more things then just saying I'm an Atheist.

    Did I make sense? Or did I just make things tougher?
    So I kinda get what you're saying. Atheism is just the nonbelief in the gods, but defines nothing else. So, an atheist pagan is someone who worships the natural world (perhaps worships is too strong a word?) but with no help or belief in any supernatural deity. Humanism then, is the belief that we are all connected to nature, and isn't reliant on the supernatural, but it doesn't label out a specific nonbelief in deity?

    I found this quote here: "Humanism goes beyond atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, and other similar philosophies by introducing an ethical element. Not only must we invoke no deity to solve our problems, but also we must actively acknowledge our responsibility to solve these problems. Responsibility is a necessity if we hope to prosper as individuals and as a species on this planet." - from this description, I see very little difference, except the acknowledgement that if you eff the world up, you recognize it's your fault. But to be honest, that seems like common sense than any real sense of humanism.


    Quote Originally Posted by perzephone View Post
    To me, humanism always seemed to have a focus on lifting humans, as the 'only' animal capable of reasoning, explicit verbal/written communication, deep thought, etc., above and outside other organisms. It also seems to remove the concept of an outside divinity as being responsible for anything that inspires humans to do anything.

    Atheists might have an appreciation for humans as part of the natural world, and might remove the concept of deity from human existence, but might not necessarily place humans above and beyond the rest of the Universe.
    Hm. The little bit that I've been reading so far hasn't given me this impression, but I can see where you're coming from. Silly humans, you are just mammals too!


    Quote Originally Posted by Caelia View Post
    Unless we get into soft and hard atheism...
    Is that even real? :P
    We are all these things [...]. Pride, desire, compassion, cleverness, belligerence, fruitfulness, loyalty...and guilt. But above it all stands love. And if we desire to be more than human, that is the star by which we must set our sights.

    Questions of science, science and progress, do not speak as loud as my heart.

    Hot Pickle!

    You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

    “Leaving is not enough. You must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did. And now you pull down the bridge between your houses, you make him call before he visits, you take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don’t lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street.”

    Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Humanist Pagan VS Atheist Pagan

    A humanist can be an atheist, they can also be Christian, or Pagan, or Jewish, etc. Humanism (no matter how parts of the fundie would like to paint it otherwise) at its most simple is a ethical philosophy of putting people first over religion/spirituality. For some people this means emphasizing humanity over their own religious beliefs, for other, its a total rejection of religion, and for others, a total rejection of Divinity (and religion), and for others it is actually a religious philosophy that has its own religious practices... Most Unitarian Universalists are also humanists--TBH, to accept the 7 principles of the UUA, I'm not sure how you *couldn't* philosophically be one (and quite a few UUs are also Pagan).

    Humanistic Paganism, as I understand it is pretty much as you put it--"a humanistic pagan is a pragmatic pagan with belief in the natural world, and the gods as archetypes". I would probably add that the belief in the natural world includes some idea of sacredness or sanctity (maybe not for everyone, but for most). But I would quibble over the idea that the gods as archetypes--as non-material and non-literal begins--makes them not real. I mean, yeah, it makes them a product of our consciousness and our imagination and our dreams...but it doesn't make them not important, or non-existent or without power. Real is a tricky idea to play with...

    Have you found this site yet? It talks about the 4 main components that make them both humanist and Pagan. If you notice, there isn't really any statement on theological ideas...some humanists are some variety of theopanist (pantheist, panentheist, etc)...it wouldn't surprise me if that were the case here as well, or that a number of Humanistic Pagans are functionally atheist also.
    Last edited by thalassa; 17 Apr 2012 at 06:04. Reason: to fix code
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
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