This thread is an offshoot of the Would you date someone who has different religious beliefs?
The question is: how much do the notions of morality endorsed by Christianity and by the many forms of Paganism differ?
As we have both Christians and Pagans in this forum, I think that this might be an interesting issue to discuss.
Some relevant quotes from the other thread:
Many Pagans I've met consider christian notions on right and wrong outright contemptible.
Judging from my own limited experience, and from what I have read of classical Pagan texts, the difference is far less than you expect. Especially for certain forms of Paganism — Plotinus was a Pagan, you know, but the morals that he discusses are admirable (although I think that he goes more than a little overboard with his "the spirit is more important than the flesh" shtick).
Same with Seneca, just to mention another famous Pagan moral philosopher.
The idea that Paganism means "woo orgies orgies orgies" is bizarre and, I think, more than a little insulting towards it. If anything, the great Pagans of old placed more emphasis on self-discipline and restraint than Christians ever did.
Sexual purity is considered hardly relevant if at all among many pagan circles. Christians make an absurdly big deal out of it.
Many pagan religions place their emphasis on basic fairness, trustworthiness and don't be a jerk. Being honorable is what matters, purity being a non-issue. There's the whole love affair christianity has with guilt and submission (the whole begging for forgiveness shtick), which is considered outright harmful in mainstream pagan thinking.
There's overlap, (neither set of ethics condones, say, mass murder or swindling) but the ethics taught by Christian parents and those taught by Pagan parents are wildly different.
Your understanding of Christian morality is, I think, rather limited. I won't go into the details (we'd be getting offtopic, but perhaps we can make another thread for that), but that's not how it works at all.
Also, sexual purity is certainly not unknown of in Paganism. Ever heard of the Vestal virgins?
Yup: That's a particular Etruscan priestly tradition... There were certain religious offices in a few pagan religions that had sexual abstinence as part of the job description... At any rate, it was a small priestly college at one particular religion, without parallel through most of the pagan world.
But chastity was rarely (if ever) expected of secular folks. The whole abstinence until marriage, monogamy afterwards obsession Christian sects have is not at all common among pagan traditions.
My reply to Savage's last post: "monogamy afterwards" is actually something that many modern Pagans are OK with — the ones who are monogamous, I guess. And you won't tell me that Pagans do not believe that oaths should be respected: that's the one
thing that all Pagan traditions I know of are extremely definite about.
As for "abstinence before", I can admit that many modern Pagans do not give it that much importance. I think that it is an ideal, but I don't think it to be a particularly huge deal. It's a small detail, really.
edited 8th Dec '11 6:09:13 AM by Carciofus