Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Response to "Pagan Atheists"

Pagan Atheists: Yes, we exist, by Stifyn Emrys

Of course you do. Have existed long before Neo-Paganism started redefining words. Buddhists are (mostly) atheist pagans. 

"why I, or anyone who holds a non-Christian belief, should care about how a Christian might judge that belief"
Some Pagans have Christian friends and relatives that judge them as "godless" and treat them as bad people because of that. That's one reason. There are others. I find it interesting that you don't realize that, Stifyn.

(BTW, Stifyn Emrys... do you have strong Celtic associations, or did you adopt that name just because Celtic culture is so fab?)

"the vast majority of respondents identified the most important element in Paganism as “reverence for nature.” Given three possible responses, a whopping 87 percent chose this answer. In second place, with just 10 percent of the vote, was “worship of the gods.” (The third option, “practice of magic(k),” received a paltry 3 percent."

So your survey was flawed to begin with.

"no need to go seeking gods or goddesses to explain it."
I don't need a deity to explain the universe either. That's not why I believe in one.

"It’s not some dry, clinical and bitter philosophy"
Why would you, or any other atheist, care about how someone else might judge that belief?

"This is certainly the Christian worldview"
I don't think you have fully understood "the Christian worldview". Certainly there are Christians holding that worldview, but just as you can't put all the Pagans in one box, you can't put all the Christians in one box.

"If we believe that we are at the mercy of a deity’s emotions, it’s only human nature that we’re going to try like hell to influence those emotions."
I'm sure some people think that way. I don't.

I don't think you have understood the nature of sacrifices either.

Also "not ours to sacrifice"? That's the way the Nature does it.
When I am hungry, I eat. If I have to end another entity's life to do that, I do that.
When I am tired, I rest. Even if that results in a landslide that destroys hundreds of other lifeforms.
What I need or want, I take. The Nature way. Selfish to the tips of Her fingers.

Also, you seem to have a very interesting hierarchy...
"killed animals"... "go so far as to kill humans".
So you think humans are more important than animals, that are possibly more important than plantlife, which is probably more important than the silicone based lifeforms. It would be OK to "sacrifice" things like bread and paper or votives made of precious metals and stones, perhaps, but if you have to "kill" an animal, then you are "sacrificing things that were never ours to sacrifice"?

"we still ostracize people who don’t believe the way we do on the grounds that they’re an offensive to our patron deity or deities"
And to some atheists this patron deity is Science.

"These are the kinds of practices that the Pagan atheist finds saddening, because they do unnecessary damage to nature itself"
Well, then I have some good news to you. Your idea of what sacrifice is, is not correct.
You really should study the different sacrificial practices of different religions, people and times better, instead of reacting on your assumptions of what it was and is.

There is no "Judeo-Christian tradition". Christians have adopted their "traditions" from many, many sources, and MOST OF IT IS NOT JEWISH.

According to Judaism, God made people the caretakers of this planet. That most Europeans don't understand that concept isn't the fault of the God.

Also, you don't seem to understand why people are theists.
I don't NEED God, I don't NEED God to explain natural phenomena, I don't NEED someone who looks like me to be responsible for all, I don't NEED to "put a human face on nature" to appreciate and love it. My love or awe of nature is not in any way lesser or different from that of Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan or David Attenborough, and I think it's really pissy of you to think it is, just because you are atheists and I am not.

I do not know of any compelling (or otherwise) evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs (or matriarchs) controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point either.
But I also know of no such evidence against that theory.
Neither do you, or any other atheist prophet.
Which means, your atheism is a belief. Thinking that something is true without any evidence of it.

I don't have any evidence for any of the things I choose to believe in. No-one does.
We all have them, beliefs, you know. Even you and every other atheist. Most atheist would just vehemently deny having any beliefs :-D

But, let's take some of the fundamentals.
Do you have any compelling evidence of that you were born where you believe you were born, the day you believe you were born, to the people you believe to be your parents?
Any DNA evidence? Some proof of that you are the baby that was born? Have you compared your footprint to the prints at the hospital?
I kind of doubt that. Most people choose to believe these things without even questioning them.

"We may even use such divine names ourselves as symbol and metaphor to characterize nature itself - as a poetic homage to the wonders nature and an acknowledgement of the masculine and feminine principles that are so prevalent across our natural world"
Some people would agree and say "but that's what Pagan theism is!" :-D

Frankly, I think you like the status of atheism, just like you like the sound of the Celtic name you have adopted.

P.S. Haven't read your Requiem and won't either. I think you have shown enough misconceptions, beliefs based on prejudice and generalization and misunderstanding and faulty or lacking knowledge in this article to ensure me of that your book is just more of the same.
Someone said that "his logic is flawless"... I doubt that, but even if it was, when the data this logic builds on is faulty, what good does good logic do?

P.P.S. Closing the comments? Hmm...

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