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The answer you'd probably get is "God gave us free will", which is a concept that doesn't make sense when you consider God is supposedly omniscient.
No, I get the whole free will thing. I can even agree that imperfect free-willed beings might be considered superior to perfect robots. The part that doesn't make sense is where God gives us free will and then punishes us for having it—not even using it, necessarily, but merely having it, since its not the wrong choices we make per se that damn us, but our ability to make wrong choices, which is called Original Sin.
edited 8th Feb '11 9:27:38 AM by Karalora
I've abandoned religion for a while now so I don't know how to answer that. :/ A lot of concepts like that don't make sense to me, which is mostly why I became atheist in the first place. On a side note, I was talking about how free will in Abrahamic religions doesn't make sense to me because God can just foresee the consequences of our actions.
I'm a lapsed Catholic; I've fluctuated in the past between being devoutly Catholic, and being agnostic, and just about everything in between (but I've never been happy as an athiest, so I abandoned that after a short time.) I've come around to the idea that I need some kind of spirituality to anchor myself - but that I can't really anchor myself in Christianity, because I can't believe that the texts are the revealed Word of God, and I really can't seek out religion in a large group.
So I kind of walk a weird path between Buddhist, agnostic, and low-key Goddess follower. I believe in a deity, and I prefer to refer to Her as female (I always liked the Virgin Mary), and there's a handful of deities from various pantheons that I feel are the — I don't want to say best, but, to me, the most right deities. And incidentally, Jesus is on that list.
I don't perform much active worship, because it's enough for me to be thankful for the good things in life, and to welcome life as joyful, and to be a good person. And to be willing to offer service freely to others - though I'm not so good on that part, I'm afraid.
But point is, I think the discussions in this thread are really interesting, so I will be sticking around!
edited 8th Feb '11 11:37:06 AM by vifetoile
Glad to hear it, and nice to see another LA area person as well (that makes three at least of us here).
'S cool, man, stick around!
Though, I have to give Christianity one thing: Jesus Was Way Cool. If it wasn't for all the other shit in the bible, I'd totally be down with Christianity.
Yeah, Kara, the whole Original Sin thing never made sense to me, either. "You have the capacity to do evil, therefore you're a bastard" screws with my mind. I'd think that having the urges to do evil things and resisting them would make one a much better person than having no urge to do evil at all.
Of course, there's a decent chance that I'm batshit insane, so...
edited 8th Feb '11 6:31:55 PM by Diamonnes
I prefer Prometheus over Jesus. Much more heroic and practical.
Depends on the pagan, and the pagan religion — it's a catchall for a huge number of religions, after all, since it means "any religion other than the predominant one in the area."
edited 9th Feb '11 6:39:39 AM by BlackWolfe
Hmmm...not so much in the modern day. The dominant religion in my area is Catholicism, but that hardly makes the local Jews and Buddhists Pagan. Nowadays, "Pagan" usually refers to someone who follows a polytheistic religion. Hindus and Shintoists are Paleo-pagan, while those of us trying to get back in touch with our pre-Christian European roots (among others) are Neo-pagan.
@ Black Wolfe: If you aren't Dianic, then what are you? Also, best freaking sig quote ever.
@Black Wolfe: Ah, I thought this thread was about neo-paganism and similar things like that. My apologies.
@snailbait: it mostly is, so you weren't wrong in that.
All right then. Many of my neo-paganist friends are very welcoming and non-judgmental. I suppose that's what I based my assumption on. Then again, I am aware of various sects who are not this way, but that seems to be the minority.
The only way it would irritate us is if you used it as an actual name instead of an umbrella term. People misuse "(neo-)pagan" a lot.
Person: Oh, you're pagan? Me too! Me: Sweet, what are you? Person: I just said I was pagan. Me: No, I mean what specific kind are you? Like, I'm a modern Irish bard. Person: There are different kinds of pagans?! Me: *facepalm* ...What gods do you believe in, then?
edited 11th Feb '11 6:03:34 PM by Sharysa
Oh, I'm completely aware neo-pagan is an umbrella term.
Shary: When people ask me exactly what i believe in, depending on my mood, I either say "Let's just leave it at eclectic" or go into a massive description of the whole thing. :P
I'd prefer the massive description, myself.
Then you'd get it from me — but a lot of those that ask then get that glazed-eye expression as soon as you start giving them a reasonable answer :)
(Do you want to know mine? I give most of it in my intro post a page or two back).
If you don't mind.
Morven: Even online, I can sense the eye-glazing because there's usually a slightly-too-long silence before they start talking again.
There's usually high correlations between those people and fluffy-bunnies; has anyone noticed?
I've noticed it. Seems most people are only interested in the pagan faiths because they're 'kewl and edgy' at the moment.
Show me a fluff-bunny, and I'll show you someone who, within three to five years, will either grow out of their "I wanna be Pagan!" phase and move on to something else, or grow into it and get serious about it. Either way, the fluff-bunnies are not a big problem.
I'm interested in pagan faiths just as much as other non-Abrahamic ones (familiarity breeds contempt, as they say). I hope no one here has assumed I'm interested in it simply because it's "cool" and "edgy". It's just as fascinating to me as Buddhism or Hinduism.
edited 12th Feb '11 1:25:06 PM by snailbait
I'd say that if I was going to pick some other kind of beliefs than those I hold now, I think I'd pick neo-Paganism, specifically the reconstructionist kind. You know, a link to the past.
So I've been pondering this question.
What do you think of people who are neo-Pagan, but worship a set of gods they have no, uh, "genetic" relation to? Like, if I began to worship traditional Chinese gods. Because this way I resign from the link I mentioned above. I know many Romans adopted Egyptian Isis or Eastern Mitra, but I thought most would just add a foreign deity to their list, not swap one for another. And conversely, if your point of start is atheism or monotheism, then you're free to choose anything, but I at least would start with something native.
I hope it won't come as (too) offensive ^_^'
@Kara: the individuals move on but the nature endures through new carriers. Probably inevitable, though. It's definitely a transitional mode for most, at least.
@Gacek: I don't think there's a need to stick to what your ancestors worshipped. However, there's a degree to which having an understanding of the modern-day culture helps one's understanding of the historical one; there's also a long history of people being spectacularly clueless about the religions and cultures they're getting into, and that offends some. For instance, many Native Americans have experienced enough clueless cultural appropriators to be burned on the topic.
That said, also, many pre-Christian religions are long enough ago that the culture of the modern-day place isn't that connected.
The biggest problem, though, may come from other reconstructionists, who may be rather bigoted if not outright racist; this is especially a problem in some branches of Heathenism, and I've seen people be treated very badly in that scene if they don't look white enough. (Ironically, the person I'm particularly thinking of who's had that problem is actually three-quarters German, but all the bigots see is the one-quarter African).
edited 12th Feb '11 4:02:57 PM by Morven
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