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Author Topic: Neo-Pagan Unity: Does it Exist, Should it Exist?  (Read 14664 times)
ShadowScape
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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(Note: I haven't talked to Isaac about this is ages, so this could be out of date.)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.

Quote
    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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