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Author Topic: Which Pagan religions are NOT nature-earth based?  (Read 19797 times)
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« Reply #60: May 06, 2008, 07:00:17 pm »

I personally think the terms "nature-based" and "earth-based" are too broad to really be useful in defining religions. Saying a religion "has festivals that follow the seasonal cycle of the northern temperate zone" tells me something. Saying the same religion is "nature-based" really doesn't say anything concrete about the religion.

Great point. And good example.
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« Reply #61: May 06, 2008, 07:20:23 pm »

Generally, though, in this thread, I just meant "nature based" as any religion that observes some special kind of reverence for nature, some connection between it and Deity beyond the simple relationship of creator and creation, even if it's not the primary focal point of the religion, necessarily.

To my mind, though, saying 'X-based' means that X is the base or foundational principle of the religion, not just a significant part.  Nature-based or Earth-based seems like it should mean that nature or Earth is the central focus of the religion.

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« Reply #62: May 06, 2008, 08:43:33 pm »

Generally, though, in this thread, I just meant "nature based" as any religion that observes some special kind of reverence for nature, some connection between it and Deity beyond the simple relationship of creator and creation, even if it's not the primary focal point of the religion, necessarily.  The Abrahamic faiths are what I would consider an example of non-nature-based religions, even if some of them appreciate the beauty of the natural world.

The problem with that is that Judaism, in particular would be considered a nature-based religion under this definition.  Many of the major festivals have an agricultural basis.  We even have a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the trees.  But I don't think most Jews would consider themselves nature based (although one of our very green Rabbis might be on the fence about that <g>).

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« Reply #63: May 06, 2008, 09:09:39 pm »

The problem with that is that Judaism, in particular would be considered a nature-based religion under this definition.  Many of the major festivals have an agricultural basis.  We even have a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the trees.  But I don't think most Jews would consider themselves nature based (although one of our very green Rabbis might be on the fence about that <g>).

I don't know any Jewish people who would consider their religion nature-based, either. And this is a good example of the problems that can arise from the multiplicity of defintions that are applied to one term.

Therefore it would be better if only a member of a certain religion applied certain terms to their own religion; ie; a Jewish person saying 'my religion is not nature-based', or a Wiccan person saying 'my religion is nature-based'.

But then you have the problem of internal disagreements within the one religion. For instance, Wiccan A says their religion is nature-based and Wiccan B argues that their religion isn't nature-based.

*sigh* Be and let be, I would say...but I think we've already come to terms with the fact that this won't happen. Too many people feel the need to tell another person what that person's religion is or isn't, if only to clarify the religion in their own head. Aggravating stuff.
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« Reply #64: May 06, 2008, 10:25:49 pm »

I don't think you have to be a psychologist to realize that mental disorders actually exist, which the scientologists vehemently deny.  Sad

Scientology is based on an old form of pop psychology. It appealed to the masses then and can still do so, I'm afraid. Especially as Scientology has some popular people speaking for it and is basically ran as a money-making business.
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« Reply #65: May 06, 2008, 10:38:29 pm »


I think one way of defining the difference between nature-based and non nature-based (though that's not what I originally set out to do here) is whether you see your God(s) as immanent with nature, or transcendent to nature.
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  And the power of Earth,
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« Reply #66: May 07, 2008, 11:00:34 am »

The problem with that is that Judaism, in particular would be considered a nature-based religion under this definition.  Many of the major festivals have an agricultural basis.  We even have a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the trees.  But I don't think most Jews would consider themselves nature based (although one of our very green Rabbis might be on the fence about that <g>).

Sperran

Right, though their festivals have an agricultural basis, the religion isn't *focused* on nature, it's focused on G_d.  The festivals are a component of the religion, but not the baseline of it.

It's like... just because Dr. Pepper is flavoured with prunes doesn't make it fruit-based.  Similarly, just because a religion *includes* ritual and such that references nature and seasonal cycles doesn't make it inherantly nature-based.
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« Reply #67: May 07, 2008, 12:16:41 pm »

The problem with that is that Judaism, in particular would be considered a nature-based religion under this definition.  Many of the major festivals have an agricultural basis.  We even have a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the trees.  But I don't think most Jews would consider themselves nature based (although one of our very green Rabbis might be on the fence about that <g>).

Sperran

You didn't quite understand how I meant it, and I didn't communicate it very efficaciously.
 
I would never consider any of the Abrahamic faiths as nature based. I only worded it that way to avoid too strict a definition, as I didn't want to set too hard of a line.  Such things are often fuzzy or gradual. For example, Wiccas are considered nature based because the Goddess and God are (usually) considered manifestations of nature, mother earth, the forest, etc...  but not all witches are wiccans.   I'm also not sure that all Wiccans view the Goddess as a manifestation of mother earth, for that matter (personally I do, but..)  I think it goes back to that immanent vs. transcendent thing.
 
So, though I said, "even if it's not the primary focal point", I should've added in "so long as it's the secondary" or "in the top three".
Same as Randall pointed out with Greek Mythology.  The mere story of Persephony alone (or Demeter) does not make Hellenism a nature religion, when Ares, Athena, Hermes, Zeus, Dionysus, Hera, et al.. have basically nothing to do with "nature".

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« Reply #68: May 07, 2008, 12:48:21 pm »

You didn't quite understand how I meant it, and I didn't communicate it very efficaciously.
 
I would never consider any of the Abrahamic faiths as nature based. I only worded it that way to avoid too strict a definition, as I didn't want to set too hard of a line.  Such things are often fuzzy or gradual. For example, Wiccas are considered nature based because the Goddess and God are (usually) considered manifestations of nature, mother earth, the forest, etc...  but not all witches are wiccans.   I'm also not sure that all Wiccans view the Goddess as a manifestation of mother earth, for that matter (personally I do, but..)  I think it goes back to that immanent vs. transcendent thing.
 
So, though I said, "even if it's not the primary focal point", I should've added in "so long as it's the secondary" or "in the top three".
Same as Randall pointed out with Greek Mythology.  The mere story of Persephony alone (or Demeter) does not make Hellenism a nature religion, when Ares, Athena, Hermes, Zeus, Dionysus, Hera, et al.. have basically nothing to do with "nature".

In fairness, I think that Judaism is a complicated case, because I suspect the early religion of the Hebrew people was much more nature based than the modern faith.  Thus, we have the complications of transitioning a predominantly nomadic, rural faith into predominantly urban faith. 

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« Reply #69: May 07, 2008, 07:06:39 pm »

In fairness, I think that Judaism is a complicated case, because I suspect the early religion of the Hebrew people was much more nature based than the modern faith.  Thus, we have the complications of transitioning a predominantly nomadic, rural faith into predominantly urban faith. 

Sperran

yeah, b/c Judaism is very much alive, even after many thousands of years. So even though it doesn't look anything like the religion of the nomadic tribes it sprang from anymore, there are vestigial bits of that more nature-based, agrarian religion present. And some of them have evolved into concepts of earth stewardship, like Tikkun Olam.
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  The power of Fire,
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  And the power of Earth,
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« Reply #70: May 14, 2008, 10:26:57 pm »


So, nature-based would include Wicca (BTW and neo-), many indigenous tribal religions (esp. non-nomadic ones), and I'd also put Druidry in there.  Non-nature-based would include Reconstructionsms whose overall focus and structural logic isn't nature (Hellenic, Religio Romana, Asatru).  I am willing to buy, though, that there are ways to do Reconstructionism in a more nature-based way -- maybe people who are following more of a "farmer" or "hunter" path (as opposed to, say, "warrior" or "scholar" or whatever), or those whose personal practice revolves around, say, Demeter or Artemis.             

One problem that I've seen in places where non-nature-based Recons and Recon-influenced types are dominant is the equation of "nature-based" with "fluffy":  I have seen many snorts of "I worship the GODS, not NATURE!11!"  Which completely misses the point of what "nature-based" means:  the gods in nature-based religions are *about* nature (and sometimes, not always, nature itself), and most things in the religion are intimately connected to nature.       

I've never really thought about it. As a Druid I respect nature and believe that there is a bit of the gods in all living things. I didn't see it so much as worshiping nature though. I do believe we aren't the only planet with living things out there, but it makes sense for people to worship our nature since that's all they know. Is Druidism considered nature-worship? I'm relatively new to the religion. I've been reading up on it for a little over 7 years, but I never really read in any of the books that it was necessarily nature worship. I know there are nature gods, but I  too believe the gods to be a universal and much larger entity, not just localized. Druids also have war gods, and non nature orientated gods, so I find it hard to think of us as exclusively nature orientated.
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« Reply #71: May 15, 2008, 11:51:45 am »

I've never really thought about it. As a Druid I respect nature and believe that there is a bit of the gods in all living things. I didn't see it so much as worshiping nature though. I do believe we aren't the only planet with living things out there, but it makes sense for people to worship our nature since that's all they know. Is Druidism considered nature-worship? I'm relatively new to the religion. I've been reading up on it for a little over 7 years, but I never really read in any of the books that it was necessarily nature worship. I know there are nature gods, but I  too believe the gods to be a universal and much larger entity, not just localized. Druids also have war gods, and non nature orientated gods, so I find it hard to think of us as exclusively nature orientated.

I can't answer the Druid question, but had a thought about not being the only planet, etc..

I have no doubt there is life on other planets,  in fact,  I used to think so far forward (as a Sci-Fi fan) that I didn't see Earth as a steward and guardian, but as little more than a nursery and launching point for mankind.
However,  with NASA feverishly working on sending men to Mars, they (and we) have become more critically aware of the numerous ways in which the Earth protects us, and just how darn good we have it here.

Not just air, water, and food, of course, but the magnetic field that prevents solar and cosmic radiation from making pincushions out of us, or stripping away the atmosphere as happened to Mars, to the very way we evolved due to being in a 1 gravity environment. We are tied to this planet in many ways, many of which we won't realize until we attempt to leave.  It's coded in our DNA.
Couple all this with the immense distance and time that other planets are from us, and at this stage, they become nearly moot, from a purely human standpoint.
Perhaps, there are separate sets of God for each solar system, planet, or region. It could be that we give them life, each planet it's own little tidal pool "community" and unique Gods. 
But then, maybe not, too. Maybe we are simply as algae to our little tidal pool, and the Gods are as humans are to the algae, free to move about from pool to pool and vastly beyond.  The only problem with that analogy is, humans don't listen to, nor give a crap about the algae in tidal pools, except for the few select scientists who study them dispassionately.  Wink

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« Reply #72: May 15, 2008, 07:34:13 pm »

Not just air, water, and food, of course, but the magnetic field that prevents solar and cosmic radiation from making pincushions out of us, or stripping away the atmosphere as happened to Mars, to the very way we evolved due to being in a 1 gravity environment. We are tied to this planet in many ways, many of which we won't realize until we attempt to leave.  It's coded in our DNA.

And see, this is why, for me, the earth is my mother and father, my beginning and ending, my point of departure and return in body mind and spirit. So I consider myself to be a person who worships the earth, yes.
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  The power of Fire,
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  The power of Air,
  for the ability and wisdom to know the difference.

  And the power of Earth,
  for the strength to continue my path.

http://rosejayadal.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #73: May 15, 2008, 08:33:07 pm »

And see, this is why, for me, the earth is my mother and father, my beginning and ending, my point of departure and return in body mind and spirit. So I consider myself to be a person who worships the earth, yes.

If you don't mind me asking: you said the earth is your mother and father, does that mean you view the Goddess and the God as the earth itself? Or do you worship the Gods separate to the earth? Or do you not in fact worship Gods at all?
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« Reply #74: May 15, 2008, 10:35:04 pm »

I've never really thought about it. As a Druid I respect nature and believe that there is a bit of the gods in all living things. I didn't see it so much as worshiping nature though. I do believe we aren't the only planet with living things out there, but it makes sense for people to worship our nature since that's all they know. Is Druidism considered nature-worship? I'm relatively new to the religion. I've been reading up on it for a little over 7 years, but I never really read in any of the books that it was necessarily nature worship. I know there are nature gods, but I  too believe the gods to be a universal and much larger entity, not just localized. Druids also have war gods, and non nature orientated gods, so I find it hard to think of us as exclusively nature orientated.
IME, it's usually considered a nature-based religion (though there are several different Druidic organizations that may have different takes on that, and lots of folks who identify as Druidic who aren't connected to any of the groups) - but OTOH, I don't think I've ever seen it characterized as being exclusively nature-oriented.

That actually seems a bit odd to me; I'm not sure why something would have to be exclusively nature-based for it to count.

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