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Author Topic: Neo-Pagan Unity: Does it Exist, Should it Exist?  (Read 14795 times)
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« Reply #15: January 25, 2008, 08:42:49 pm »

BTW, which Pagan religions do practice animal sacrifices apart from Santeria? Not that I find it wrong, I'm just a curious newbie. How does Hellenismos deal with that for example?

For the most part it would be up to an individual or group. I suspect the only real requirements would be a swift death and a proper ritual afterwards. I do know a lot of people, though, who since that isn't a practical option have no trouble making a meat sacrifice with meat purchased for the purpose at the local butcher or market.
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« Reply #16: January 26, 2008, 04:33:15 am »

1) he does not believe that they are Pagans.

2) he believes that they only want to be part of the Pagan community because it helps to legitimize them.

3) he thinks that allowing them to be part of the Pagan community hurts the non-Satanist part of the community by association.
That's a much better reason than 'hate'. I don't think the author was fair to Bonewits in that aspect, though I see it's a difficult topic.
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« Reply #17: January 26, 2008, 06:10:27 am »


Quote from: Bonewits, see link above
“Satanism” as an organized concept (an “-ism”) was created by the Roman Catholic Church as an inverted version of itself, with a little help from leftover Gnostic heretics (see Jeffrey Burton Russell’s A History of Witchcraft, for details), in the process of justifying the European Crusades against the Albigensians and Cathars, and later the Witchhunts. It was the Roman Catholic Christians who defined the symbols and beliefs of Satanism in the first place, and who invented rituals for them to be supposedly performing, based on the ancient urban rumours mentioned earlier. Christian ceremonial magicians then elaborated these into actual rituals, mostly for the purpose of entertaining wealthy and jaded nobility with “depraved Satanic orgies,” rather like people today who run “S&M supper clubs.” The writings of modern Satanists have merely given a “blackwash” to the fundamentally Christian worldview involved — they are still allowing the most repressive forms of Christianity to define the universe of discourse!
He has good arguments to call them a part of Christianity, but I find his argumentation that they are a dualistic faith much better. Wouldn't it be easier to shun them out, as he wishes, by that category? Are there any Pagans who seperate the world into good and evil?

Just calling them Christians seems unnecessary polemic and is countered so easily as neither Christians nor Satanists would accept that. (And don't you have to believe in Jesus of Nazareth as the saviour to be a Christian???)

Or maybe Satanism is an own religion in the JCI-tradition, for which dividing the universe into god & evil is a major characteristic? If that doesn't apply to any Pagan religion, I see a good point in defining Satanists out of Paganism.
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« Reply #18: January 26, 2008, 08:13:27 am »

He has good arguments to call them a part of Christianity, but I find his argumentation that they are a dualistic faith much better.

As neither Satanists nor other Christians consider Satanism a Christian religion, it is really arrogant to classify them as such as it imposes the beliefs of the person doing the classifying on the groups being classified. This is what folklorists and anthropologists writing in the 1800s and early 1900s used to do. It is not acceptable practice today.

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Wouldn't it be easier to shun them out, as he wishes, by that category?

I have no desire to shut them out just because I disagree with their beliefs. I support freedom of religion for all, not just for those people I agree with. Trying to kick them out from under the "Pagan umbrella" because we don't like them is no different from Christian fundies trying to kick Pagan religions out from under the "religion umbrella" because they don't like our beliefs.

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Are there any Pagans who seperate the world into good and evil?

Yes. Many do in practice and many Pagan religions do see good and evil in the world even if the practices those religions assign to the good and evil columns are different from those assigned by JCI religions.

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Or maybe Satanism is an own religion in the JCI-tradition, for which dividing the universe into god & evil is a major characteristic?

Just a side note, but not even all JCI religions divide the world into good & evil to the extent the most Conservative Protestant churches. Many less vocal branches of Christianity, for example, see all of Creation as good.
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« Reply #19: January 26, 2008, 09:14:06 am »

Okay, I see the problems of this and I guess since the people who love to equal Pagans with Devil worshippers can do this without the help of any Satanists, we can let them call themselves what they want to. If parts of the media don't want to grasp that Paganism is an umbrella term for very different religions, maybe the whole Satanism-issue isn't worth loosing a part of religious tolerance and freedom in Paganism. The association just makes me feel uneasy and I can understand Bonewits' motivation, especially when the Satanists themselves seem intolerant against specific Pagan traditions. But I don't know how biased Bonewits' claims are in that respect.

I agree with Bonewits however that nobody is obligated to invite them.
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« Reply #20: January 26, 2008, 05:08:29 pm »

The association just makes me feel uneasy and I can understand Bonewits' motivation, especially when the Satanists themselves seem intolerant against specific Pagan traditions. But I don't know how biased Bonewits' claims are in that respect.

They aren't so much biased as they are based on his own dealings with Satanists -- which seem to have been mostly with the obnoxious kind by the sound of it.

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I agree with Bonewits however that nobody is obligated to invite them.

No they aren't, but I get tired of Pagans who arbitrarily declare them all "not Pagans" based on their personal dislike of Satanist religions.  I don't particularly like Satanist religions, but whether I like them or not has nothing to do with rather a particular Satanist religion is or is not a Pagan religion.
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« Reply #21: January 26, 2008, 05:23:58 pm »

No they aren't, but I get tired of Pagans who arbitrarily declare them all "not Pagans" based on their personal dislike of Satanist religions.  I don't particularly like Satanist religions, but whether I like them or not has nothing to do with rather a particular Satanist religion is or is not a Pagan religion.
I see your point. They have the right to call themselves Pagans if they like. I would just go out of their way if I met them somewhere.

I've never been at a gathering or ritual. Are there sometimes problems in interfaith gatherings with different Pagan groups who don't get along with each other?

I guess 'Pagan unity' goes more in the direction of Pagan cooperation?
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« Reply #22: January 26, 2008, 05:52:09 pm »

I've never been at a gathering or ritual. Are there sometimes problems in interfaith gatherings with different Pagan groups who don't get along with each other?

Sometimes there are, yes. And over things much less controversial than Satanism.
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« Reply #23: January 26, 2008, 07:31:02 pm »

Sometimes there are, yes. And over things much less controversial than Satanism.

Yeah Ive see different pagan groups get togther and then fall out over completely trivial things.  I do get tired over the assumption that pagan equals tolerant.

In regards to Satanism I think the generel pagan population is a bit hyper sensitive over the issue.  Its a bit hypocritical to ask for religious freedom and freedome then deny it to some one else (people are free to belive what they want).  I think pagans (yes im tarring every one with a great big brush) in general need to stop pandering for christain acceptance just by parroting one argument.  Pagans arent all sweetness and light.  The nazis proved that.
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« Reply #24: January 26, 2008, 07:52:35 pm »

I think pagans (yes im tarring every one with a great big brush) in general need to stop pandering for christain acceptance just by parroting one argument.

Most Christians in the Western world are quite willing to accept the right of Pagans to worship their gods -- even if they think we are wrong.  It's generally only the loud conservative/fundie Christians who have real problems with Pagans and NOTHING we can do other than convert to fundie Christianity would ever satisfy them, so it is almost pointless to try.

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Pagans arent all sweetness and light.  The nazis proved that.

Actually, very few Nazis were pagan.  Of course, the ancient world proves Paganism does not equal "sweetness and light."
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« Reply #25: January 26, 2008, 08:04:31 pm »

Most Christians in the Western world are quite willing to accept the right of Pagans to worship their gods -- even if they think we are wrong.  It's generally only the loud conservative/fundie Christians who have real problems with Pagans and NOTHING we can do other than convert to fundie Christianity would ever satisfy them, so it is almost pointless to try.

Actually, very few Nazis were pagan.  Of course, the ancient world proves Paganism does not equal "sweetness and light."

Oh Ive tried appealing to some fundamentalists usually I end up tearing my hair up in frustration.  Some groups are a bit hypocritical in saying that Satan is the evil one yet justify say the murdering of children by there version of deity. But Ive moved on from justifying myself to some people so bent on hating me "I have patience with stupidity but not those who are proud of it". 

I know that very few nazis were pagans its just a classic example of selective memory in pagan history (since Nazis and religion was a bit complex.  Just typing nazis makes me cringe, 3 years of studying it at school.  Bleugh).
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« Reply #26: January 26, 2008, 09:26:43 pm »

I know that very few nazis were pagans its just a classic example of selective memory in pagan history (since Nazis and religion was a bit complex.  Just typing nazis makes me cringe, 3 years of studying it at school.  Bleugh).

I've always been interested in the history of Nazi Germany, especially the Nazi's road to power in the 1920s and early 1930s and their rapid consolidation of power circa 1933-37. Had I majored in history and then gone to grad school, that would have definitely been what I was most interested in focusing my research on.
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« Reply #27: January 26, 2008, 10:38:25 pm »

(Note: I haven't talked to Isaac about this is ages, so this could be out of date.)  As I recall from discussions with Isaac, it's not that he hates Satanists, just that:

1) he does not believe that they are Pagans.

2) he believes that they only want to be part of the Pagan community because it helps to legitimize them.

3) he thinks that allowing them to be part of the Pagan community hurts the non-Satanist part of the community by association.

In my opinion this article is not very good at all.  I read the opening part and though "Excellent" topic and one dear to my heart. I am so disappointed.

While I agree with the authors intent - we are not all one religion, we do not all share the same beliefs and I really HATE it when I tell someone I am a Pagan and they assume I have beliefs similar to Wicca - I don't think Faerie K has addressed these issues properly.

Faerie K says
Quote
However, it is quite a different thing to oppose setting boundaries because of principled "nobody should be left outside" kind of resistance and to oppose definitions due to the quality of the definitions offered. Bonewits does not seem to note that difference.
but Faerie Ks criticisms of Bonewits points are, in the main, of the "this  doesn't include all Pagans" type. (and fair enough, I don't see how it can be avoided given the subject matter but don't imply you are not going to do that if you are going to do it) Some of those that do not fall into that category are of the type that elicit (from me anyway) a "and your point is?" type response. Some of the criticisms are, in fact, in reference to "the quality of the definitions offered".

I think it is safe to conclude that Bonewits is addressing people who don't know anything about Paganism. Faerie K seems to lose sight if this.

 Of course Bonewits is going to mention and repeat that Neo-Pagans are not Satanists. There are a lot of people out there who think that Pagans of ARE Satanists. I actually saw a TV show where the evil Satanists where summoning Cernunnos.

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    Within that overall polytheism, much of Neopaganism is "duotheistic" (with female deities seen as aspects of a single Goddess, and male deities as aspects of a single God).

From a polytheist's point of view duotheism is duotheism, not polytheism... In addition, the number of duotheistic Pagans may be relatively large due to the popularity of Wicca, but there are too few duotheistic religions for this concept of deity to be considered an integral definition of Neo-Pagan beliefs
This comment starts of really well but then does exactly what Bonewits is being criticised for "but there are too few duotheistic religions for this concept of deity to be considered an integral definition of Neo-Pagan beliefs" ie it excludes a lot of Pagans

This is a perfectly reasonable statement with regard to Bonewits idea of Neo_Paganism.
Quote
    A Neopagan may be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgendered or undecided; may have wildly unusual sexual practices (including celibacy!) or be "plain vanilla" in their tastes. A Neopagan may be in a monogamous relationship, in one or more polyamorous ones, or have no romantic relationships at all. A Neopagan may live in an Industrial Age nuclear family or a traditional or untraditional extended one. As long as all parties involved are happy and healthy, Neopagans will generally approve (or at least not actively disapprove).

This (Faerie Ks response)
Quote
Bonewits calls this having assertively pro-sexual attitudes. Plenty of Neo-Pagans, in turn, would call it having a natural view of sexuality. This point seems to be included only to emphasise that Neo-Pagans do not have overall rules regarding sexuality -- unlike "some other religions".
It isn't a valid criticism - it doesn't address the Neo-Pagan Religion problem at all nor does it say anything to the effect that the the statement is incorrect in any way. The first 2 sentences nit pick about terminology. What exactly is the point of the 3rd sentence? Why wouldn't information about the Neo-Pagan view of sexualty be included?


Quote
Neo-Pagans Are Like This -- But So Are Almost Everybody Else!
and the later "Exactly. Like any other religion"

You don't leave something out just because it should be obvious. Is it obvious to everyone?  If I am explaining  what a cat is to someone who has no knowledge of cats and/or has been badly mislead about them and I start with "cats have fur" is it a valid criticism to say "Sure, just like almost every other mammal."

How many fundamentalist Christians do you think are aware that the timing their major festivals is based on Pagan Solar festivals? 

Quote
    Neopagans almost all believe that monolithic religious organizations and would-be messiahs are a hinderance to spiritual growth.

Bonewits is quite likely using "monolithic" to mean "monotheistic" religions here. Quite a large number of Neo-Pagans consider monotheistic non-Pagan religions to be best suited for some people as well as a valid way of gaining spiritual growth for the followers of those religions.

I think Bonewits (based on context) is most likely using "monolithic religious organizations" to mean hierarchical  religious organisations with a single 'leader' at the top who dictates what is to be believed and what is to be practiced (dogma). Farie K seem to agree later in the piece "Bonewits speaks against monolithic religiosity, but still appears to want Neo-Paganism to develop towards a more unified whole. That is, a new monolith."

these are only a few example of the problems with this article but this reply is long enough already.

I agree the sentiments expressed "Well, is there Neo-Pagan unity? Should there be?" section and I, too, love the closing line.


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« Reply #28: January 26, 2008, 11:11:10 pm »

I get tired of Pagans who arbitrarily declare them all "not Pagans" based on their personal dislike of Satanist religions.
I'm particularly irked by those who, all too evidently, have no idea what Satanists believe and practice.  That includes not only those who get their notions from Hollywood, sensationalist news, and superstition, but the ones who get their notions from Bonewits' essays and Pagandom rumor.

Bonewits' implacable hostility (I think that's more precise than "hatred") toward Satanism is undertandable in light of his experiences, but those experiences are with only one sort of philosophic Satanism, at a particular place and time - it's not really an accurate picture of all LaVeyist-derived philosophic Satanism, much less of any other sorts of philosophic Satanism, and doesn't touch on theistic Satanism at all.

That's for all, not just for you, Randall; I know you know all that already.

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« Reply #29: January 27, 2008, 03:52:18 am »

I'm particularly irked by those who, all too evidently, have no idea what Satanists believe and practice.  That includes not only those who get their notions from Hollywood, sensationalist news, and superstition, but the ones who get their notions from Bonewits' essays and Pagandom rumor.
Where do you best get unbiased information about them then?
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