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Thread: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

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    Member Orecha's Avatar
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    Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    I was recently told by someone that a pagan can't be a creationist.
    Another person in the same conversation said that a creationist can't support evolution and the big bang.

    With all of the recent Facebook attention from the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate, the topic of cosmogony has been on many people's minds as of late. It is causing a binary divide, with people feeling the need to take a stance, often without all of the knowledge required to make an informed opinion. There are strong (dare I say extremist) emotions driving both sides of the debate, leaving those who aren't Christians or atheists feeling uncomfortable, at best.

    My particular brand of paganism is panentheistic. As such, I believe that the Deity is existence and beyond existence, simultaneously. So for me, to believe that the universe and humanity were created by a deity and that the big bang and evolution were the processes by which that occurred are not in conflict. So should I identify as a creationist? In doing so, would it would align me with certain ideologies with which I don't agree (i.e. Christian fundamentalism)?

    I'm sure I'm not the only one having these thoughts. Among hard polytheists throughout all of history, for instance, there are many who could be considered "creationists." So I put it to you guys: Do you consider yourself a creationist? Why or why not? Do you support scientific explanations of cosmogony? Can pagans be creationists? Can creationists support evolution and the big bang? How old is the earth, based on your religious tradition's beliefs?

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    I am absolutely and utterly not a Creationist. I completely and utterly reject the idea of Creation Science. Both of these ideas are a specific fundamentalist Christian doctrine. But, I do entertain the possibility that scientific processes by which the Universe was born and life has developed, and the physical laws which govern this existence are the byproduct of Deity. AFAIC, this is not Creationism...or even creationism.

    IMO, C/creationism is the literal belief in a mythological origin of the universe and/or humanity. I'm a pantheist--I also believe that the Divine is existence and beyond it, but I believe that both of those are part of what is the Universe/Multiverse, and not separate. I personally am of the opinion that Divinity is a result of the Big Bang, not the origin of it, and that individual deities are the work of humanity and not their originator. I do not though, think this makes them any *less*.

    But yeah, there are creationist Pagans. I completely and utterly reject those beliefs for myself and find them to be just as onerous as Creationism when it is a Christian doctrine. I consider creationism to be the height of scientific ignorance and human arrogance. Honestly, I'm not ashamed to say that it probably my biggest prejudice.

    ETA: And yes, I accept the ~4.5 bya estimate for the birth of the solar system, including the Earth, and ~13.5 bya estimate for the Universe. Unless newer, better, peer reviewed data suggests something else.
    Last edited by thalassa; 12 Feb 2014 at 15:46.
    “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

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    Supporter Torey's Avatar
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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha
    I was recently told by someone that a pagan can't be a creationist.
    Another person in the same conversation said that a creationist can't support evolution and the big bang.
    I would be particularly interested in what the basis was for the conclusions that this person has arrived at. Exactly what is their argument regarding why a "pagan" cannot be a creationist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha
    Do you consider yourself a creationist? Why or why not?
    Yes, I consider myself to be a creationist. I believe that the Creative Force of the Universe is not a "deity" in the sense of an anthropomorphic "god" or "goddess", but is rather something more akin to a semi-sentient, incomprehensible Energetic Force.

    That being said, I also believe in evolution. I do not understand why creation and evolution are taken to be mutually exclusive. The initial creation of the Universe could be seen as a singular event - whereas the evolutionary processes which followed were products of that event. In that, I suppose that I am a theistic evolutionist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha
    Do you support scientific explanations of cosmogony?
    Certainly. Like yourself, I would postulate that the creation of the Universe by the unseen Creator occurred in the manner hypothesized by scientists. As far as I understand it, they have not identified the "cause" of the "Big Bang" (the Creator) - which still leaves room for belief in such a Force.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha
    Can pagans be creationists?
    I honestly do not understand the logic behind any argument which insinuates that pagans cannot be creationists. Yes, the term "creationist" is typically associated with Christians, but it is not a term exclusive to Christian belief. Creationism suggests a supernatural explanation for the origins of the Universe. Considering the fact that most world mythologies respectively describe such a supernatural event, in my belief - yes, "pagans" can be creationists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha
    Can creationists support evolution and the big bang?
    Yes. Again, there are theistic evolutionists out there - granted, they may be the minority, but they exist and I consider myself to be one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha
    How old is the earth, based on your religious tradition's beliefs?
    Around 4 billion years old. I support scientific evidence for the age of the Earth. I also believe, to some degree, in the creation myth of Biblical lore (though I do not attribute it to Yahweh). One interesting hypothesis that I have come across regarding the passages from Genesis which describe the amount of time it took "God" to create various aspects of the Universe and the Earth suggests that a "day", for something as vast and immeasurable as "God", may not be a day in our understanding of a day on Earth - but that a "day", to the Creator, may be millennia or even a million years.

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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    I wanted to address something else...The idea that anyone CAN or CANNOT be a Pagan and a creationist (or someone that accepts Evolution as a theory) (or, for that matter, a Christo-Pagan, or just about any controversial mix of ideas in the Pagan world) is a sort of foolish to me. How or why or the simple fact that someone else reconciles two ideas that I may or may not find diametrically opposed to one another doesn't negate their personal belief. One can say that they, personally feel that someone with belief A SHOULD or SHOULD NOT believe B...or that they believe that someone with belief A can or cannot also hold belief B without mistaking one or the other, etc... but they can't accurately state that they CAN or CANNOT...if that makes sense?
    “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.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    In the very technical sense, pretty much most of the non-Christian creation stories (I know of) would be some form of creationist story, if taken literally.
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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    I was told I couldn't be conservative and a pagan, conservative and a female, pro-choice and pro-death penalty, etc. I don't believe any such correlations.

    People are too complex to assume anything.

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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    I believe there may have been some Divine nudge in getting the whole Big Bang started, Something keeping evolution moving in a certain direction. It seems pretty simple to me, and I don't feel that science negates my religion. Just because the weather conditions are right for rain doesn't mean it's not an answer to a prayer
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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha View Post
    I was recently told by someone that a pagan can't be a creationist.
    Another person in the same conversation said that a creationist can't support evolution and the big bang.
    Nonsense.

    The problem with the term 'creationist' (especially if capitalized) is that most people assume that it means a literal belief in the creation events in Genesis. Most neo-pagan faiths have a creation story, and there are a lot of neo-pagans who genuinely believe that the Universe was created by The Divine, especially if they have a panentheistic view of The Divine (which many do without realising it).Technically, all these neo-pagans are creationist... it's just that they don't believe in the Christian version of creation.

    The other assumption that most people make is that creationism and evolution are mutually exclusive, which only makes sense if you assume that 'creationism' is directly related to Genesis and Genesis only. There are a few neo-pagan creation myths that clearly lay out humans being created by gods, but not to the same level of detail and specificity that Genesis does.

    I think it is definitely possible for a creationist to support evolution and the Big Bang.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha View Post
    My particular brand of paganism is panentheistic. As such, I believe that the Deity is existence and beyond existence, simultaneously. So for me, to believe that the universe and humanity were created by a deity and that the big bang and evolution were the processes by which that occurred are not in conflict. So should I identify as a creationist? In doing so, would it would align me with certain ideologies with which I don't agree (i.e. Christian fundamentalism)?
    My beliefs are fairly similar... that a panentheistic Divine Energy was the driving force behind the Big Bang, and that everything on earth evolved pretty much as the accepted Evolutionist story goes.

    I don't identify as creationist though, because I think it just causes confusion and I'd rather not facilitate people making incorrect assumptions about me. I also operate within a Northern Tradition context, which has a creation story. So if I were to start calling myself a creationist there's a good chance people would assume that I believe that a literal giant cosmic cow suckled a primitive androgynous giant-creature which was then murdered and dismembered in order to construct the Nine Worlds. I actually don't believe that the story of the creation of the Nine Worlds refers to THIS world at all... the Nine Worlds are Otherworld realms and that makes anything possible in relation to how they came to be.

    In general I think you should identify however you please. The benefit of being both creationist and evolutionist is that both labels are accurate. But 'creationist' comes with baggage, which may or may not be an issue for a given individual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha View Post
    I'm sure I'm not the only one having these thoughts. Among hard polytheists throughout all of history, for instance, there are many who could be considered "creationists."
    There are soft polytheists who can be considered creationists too. It's not just a hard polytheist thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orecha View Post
    So I put it to you guys: Do you consider yourself a creationist? Why or why not? Do you support scientific explanations of cosmogony? Can pagans be creationists? Can creationists support evolution and the big bang? How old is the earth, based on your religious tradition's beliefs?
    No. As above. Yes. Yes. Yes. I don't know... my tradition doesn't have a timeline for that sort of thing and even if they did, I would still support the common scientific theory regarding the age of the earth.

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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    I have to ask this to clarify. Are we using 'Creationist' as one who believes in Creation through the bible? Or like Native Americans are Creationists as well. Are we using that anyone who has a belief system that is based on a deity creating, to be a creationist? Because then aren't people who follow Roman or Greek mythology also creationists? Just want to know what we mean by it.
    Satan is my spirit animal

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Creationism and Paganism: Cosmogonic Inconsistency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I have to ask this to clarify. Are we using 'Creationist' as one who believes in Creation through the bible? Or like Native Americans are Creationists as well. Are we using that anyone who has a belief system that is based on a deity creating, to be a creationist? Because then aren't people who follow Roman or Greek mythology also creationists? Just want to know what we mean by it.
    Yes.














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    “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.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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