Thursday, June 07, 2007

Why a Return to Indo-European Polytheism is Needed

Most of you have already heard these questions and these charges, but I need to state them again: What if the entire New Testament was a construct, a forgery, a fake? What if Jesus never existed, and was instead a composite figure cobbled together from the myths of many other Gods that long pre-existed Christianity? For the sake of argument, let's say that this was the case- what would be the right course of action? For me, the answer is simple:

We would have to pick up where we left off.

If Christianity's claims are shown to be unfounded and untrue, and its gospels were shown to be the products of forgers, liars, and men charged by a certain Roman Emperor or politicians to create an orthodoxy of religion for their empire, and if it continued to grow as a well-timed and placed falsehood, widening its power and political pull until evidence of its fraudulent foundations was either forgotten or covered up, we would have to conclude something very powerful.

We would have to conclude that the religions of the pre-Christian peoples were born from organic truth, that their Gods were more than likely quite real, and that the Pagan customs forcibly stopped under Christian political power were in fact traditional and proper ways of worshipping the real Gods and celebrating life.

Westerners everywhere would have to look back to what their Pagan ancestors were doing and believing if they wished to find their way back to the truth about the Gods.

Now, I don't imagine that even if direct evidence was shown that the New Testament was a forgery and Jesus never existed, that Christians everywhere would drop what they were doing and believing. The spell has gone on too long to be broken in that way. Christians need to believe the things they believe. They have to believe in an all-good God being in charge of the world, ultimately. They need to believe that there is a glorious heaven waiting for them. They need to believe these things, and if they lost them suddenly, quite a few of them would go mad.

I don't even want to guess at the impact of such a shift in spiritual paradigm, because it will never happen- even if shown conclusive evidence, 99% of Christians would ignore it, call it false without even looking into it, and go on believing just as they do now. That's the nature of their belief. Like the transition from the Pagan world to a Christian world, the change will have to come slowly, if it comes at all for the majority.

I have recently been shown an article which gives what I consider damning evidence for the falsehood of the establishment of Christianity, and all its claims of the divinity and resurrection of Jesus. I'd like to share the link, because it had quite an impact on me. What had the most impact on me was the discussion the author had about the Sinai Bible- why do most people not know about the Sinai Bible?

It contains the oldest version we have of the oldest Gospel- Mark- and that wouldn't be a problem, except that it's missing what modern Christians might think of as a few important little bits of doctrine. The author of the article names them:


It (the version of Mark in the Sinai Bible) starts with Jesus "at about the age of thirty" (Mark 1:9), and doesn't know of Mary, a virgin birth or mass murders of baby boys by Herod. Words describing Jesus Christ as "the son of God" do not appear in the opening narrative as they do in today's editions (Mark 1:1), and the modern-day family tree tracing a "messianic bloodline" back to King David is non-existent in all ancient Bibles, as are the now-called "messianic prophecies" (51 in total). The Sinai Bible carries a conflicting version of events surrounding the "raising of Lazarus", and reveals an extraordinary omission that later became the central doctrine of the Christian faith: the resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ and his ascension into Heaven. No supernatural appearance of a resurrected Jesus Christ is recorded in any ancient Gospels of Mark, but a description of over 500 words now appears in modern Bibles (Mark 16:9-20).

Despite a multitude of long-drawn-out self-justifications by Church apologists, there is no unanimity of Christian opinion regarding the non-existence of "resurrection" appearances in ancient Gospel accounts of the story. Not only are those narratives missing in the Sinai Bible, but they are absent in the Alexandrian Bible, the Vatican Bible, the Bezae Bible and an ancient Latin manuscript of Mark, code-named "K" by analysts. They are also lacking in the oldest Armenian version of the New Testament, in sixth-century manuscripts of the Ethiopic version and ninth-century Anglo-Saxon Bibles. However, some 12th-century Gospels have the now-known resurrection verses written within asterisks, marks used by scribes to indicate spurious passages in a literary document.



It is clear that Paul seems to know nothing about the "miraculous birth" (Virgin Birth) of Jesus; the article mentions this too. The case this author makes in a very short article for the artificial construction of the New Testament- and therefore all of Christianity- is a very good one. I would personally like to see Christian apologists explain to me, and the rest of the world, why all mentions of the resurrection, as well as many other claims to the divinity of Jesus, and miracle stories, are not in these earliest manuscripts of the Gospels. It is clear that they were added at a later date.

Here's the article:

The Forged Origins of The New Testament

As you read this article, understand something: I do not think that the sources used by the author have complete merit; my friend and polytheist colleague Erik Dutton has pointed out that the author uses "God's Book of Eskra" as one of his sources, which is certainly to my idea a spurious source. My focus on this article was not the article as a whole, but specifically the section on the Sinai Bible, which I find very interesting, and which actually has a foundation in reality.

What's written in this article may come as no news to many scholars of the Bible (and, it seems, to many Church scholars) but it would be news to the average Christian in the field who never gets around to reading Bible Scholarship that isn't first approved by their Church or their Pastor.

For me, it is another nail in the coffin in the claims of Christianity, and part and parcel of the true Resurrection- the resurrection of the Old Religions and the Old Gods. We NEED to return to the Older Way of believing, especially people in the western world and people of European ancestry.

In much the same way that Native Americans don't really re-capture their dignity and their direction as people without practicing their true and original animistic beliefs, I firmly believe that people of European descent don't re-capture their ancestral dignity, the truth about themselves, or any sense of true spiritual direction and purpose in life without worshipping the Gods of their Ancestors. I believe that a return to the Old Ways isn't just a good idea, but an imperative, without which we can't hope for a better future.

And it is possible to believe and worship as our Ancestors did- modern Pagan religious reconstructions, from Germanic to Celtic, Greek, Roman, and Slavic, have been given much attention, carefully reconstructed in the spirit of the original faiths. It's true that some people have abused the activity of reconstruction with their own political agendas, but the core of the Pagan faithful today are good people who are smart enough (generally) to see through it. The larger these Pagan religious communities become, the more quality and sincere spirit we will see. In my decade of involvement, I've already seen and experienced so much true religion.

Like it or not, the state of evidence is clear- a return to the Old Ways is the only sane and realistic option we have. No other way escapes the corruption, distortions, and political conspiracies of the past. No other way takes us back to where we belong- with one another, the Sncestors, the Gods, the land, and the sky.


When I think of the crimes committed by the arch-fiend Olaf Trygvasson, the King of Norway who murdered his own people, burned their farms, cut off their hands and blinded them, all because they refused to convert to Christianity, I remember why I do what I do- I remember the great wrongs, the monstrously and universally huge crimes committed against our Grandmothers and Grandfathers at the hands of politicians that had forged unholy alliances with Christianity. I praise the wisdom of those Pagans who resisted Christianity- they saw it for the falsehood it was.

There is no sanity without returning to the old Polytheistic ways of our ancestors. The Gods are real, and have waited for us, helped us, guided us, and even protected us in their anonymity, ever since their names were silenced on people's lips. They never left us; what came among us was a pernicious ignorance and falsehood which tainted our people, forcing us into the shadow world that we now live in. You all know that world- the world of endless spiritual paper-chases that end in nothing but spiritually dis-satisfied people, repressed people, crazy people, or worst of all, good people who lack the courage or inclination to question why they believe what they believe, and who have settled down to believe falsehoods- good people who will die expecting things to happen that are never going to happen.

There is the comfort of Truth to be found in realizing that our deaths lead us to exist as spiritual beings in the Underworld, or perhaps in another of the many worlds, and that "physical resurrection" is a nonsensical idea. It's contrary to Fate, contrary to natural reason and to the natural forces that create and destroy all things. There is comfort in coming to know the great Sky Father, Tiwaz, and the Earth Mother below us, mother of all life. There is power in knowing the Allfather, creator of all worlds, and the mighty Thunderer, and consciously knowing them and gaining their protection and favors.

There is comfort in knowing the spirits of your Ancestors are always with you, living in your flesh, blood, and even able to know you from across the divide of time and the other worlds. There is comfort in knowing that Destiny or Fate is the supreme decider of what must come to pass, not some "all-good God" who still somehow allows horrors off the scale to occur, even to his faithful, and whose so-called "love" includes an eternal roasting if you dared to question the church, have the wrong political and social views, or if you ended up just attending the wrong church.

There is comfort in knowing that there is a natural, organic, and right way to live that doesn't include the ridiculous alien moral codes that are found in the so-called "scriptures" which were lies the first day they were written. Our Indo-European Ancestors had deep and powerful moral and ethical codes, religious beliefs, and myths that were and are appropriate to them and their descendants- we do not need Middle-Eastern and Oriental religious beliefs, which are spiritual invaders to our old homelands, and which do not speak to our spirits truly. These spiritual invaders also deny the truth of the Many Gods and Goddesses, and thus, deny life itself- for there is no life or peace without the Truth. Native Indo-European religiosity is a long-standing, historically attested-to reality; it is distinct from Semitic or Oriental religiosity, and we must reclaim it, forsaking all alien creeds.

Someone actually tried to comment to this article asking me the question why Indo-European polytheism? They actually asked me why Semitic polytheism or Asian polytheism wasn't "good enough" for me. They tried to be a bit insulting, and tried to insinuate that I was some sort of racist, while they were at it. I expected ignorant people to try such a thing. Why Indo-European polytheism? Because I and my family and friends are the descendants of Indo-Europeans, and Indo-European polytheism is part of our heritage. We ARE those same Ancestors who lived then, alive today in these bodies. There is an ancestral connection here that most outsiders cannot understand, as clearly the person who asked me this question does not understand.

The question that was asked to me is as nonsensical as asking a Native American "Why Native American animistic beliefs?" I never said that IE Polytheism was ontologically better than others; but it is better for me and for people who are descendants of European people.

I don't think we can trust last names or skin color to prove who is a descendant of "Old Europe" in the modern day, so we have no choice but to allow all who would worship the Gods with honesty in their hearts, into our religious communities. But for those of us who do clearly come from European ancestors, I think nothing short of a re-embracing of the Old Ways is a requirement for true happiness.

If we would be truly free people, we have to consider the scenario in our heads, really consider it: there our ancestors were, believing as their people had believed since time immemorial, knowing the Gods and one another in Troth, in the bonds of ancient ritual and worship, and then, Christian missionaries came, peddling lies that were written so long ago that even the missionaries didn't realize that they were peddling nonsense. They converted kings with promises of political favor, and with absurd promises of physical immortality, and they used their influence to have laws passed BANNING the ancient and traditional faiths which were part and parcel of our spiritual identities. Murder enters into this- death was used as a penalty for those who refused conversion or who backslid into Pagan practices.

This was one of history's greatest outrages; the theft of our spiritual identities and our destines as the sons and daughters of Old Europe. This was the downfall of the West. We don't know who we are and never will until we re-embrace what our Ancestors believed and come to know their Gods once more.

15 comments:

Erik said...

Robin,
While I agree in substance with your prescription, I have to take issue with a couple of points in the diagnosis.

First, you said:
If Christianity's claims are shown to be unfounded and untrue ... We would have to conclude that the religions of the pre-Christian peoples were born from organic truth, that their Gods were more than likely quite real, and that the Pagan customs forcibly stopped under Christian political power were in fact traditional and proper ways of worshipping the real Gods and celebrating life.

That's a heck of a jump! As a European-descended pagan polytheist I obviously think that the Gods *are* real and worthy of worship, but you can't really get there from where you start in that paragraph - from that starting point Buddhism could just as easily be true, or Islam; or they could *all* be wrong. This sort of either/or dichotomy is much more typical of monotheistic thinking than I usually see in this blog.

The other point that is bothering me is in the article you link to, that seems to be the source for much of your thinking here. For many of the most egregious or damning items in that article, the author cites something called God's Book of Eskra as his authority; this is part of a larger work called Oahspe, which can be found on Sacred-Texts.com, where it is described as follows: "Oahspe, the product of automatic writing by a 19th century dentist named John Ballou Newbrough, is a hallucinogenic reworking of cosmology and ancient history."

Now, I suppose it's not impossible that John Ballou Newbrough was an inspired prophet, but having dipped a bit into the rest of Oahspe, I'm really inclined to put it into the same New Age bucket as The Urantia Book or the "Seth" material.

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Maybe it's because my own Pagan training is in Wicca, however resonant the myths of earlier Pagan cultures are... and because Wicca, of course, is a modern construct which has its own fraudulent details in its great origin myth. But I really do not see evidence of factual errors or even deliberate fraud in Christian history as particularly problematic. I see Christianity as a mythology among many mythologies in the world, and for me, the measure of its worth is not its factuality--I don't necessarily believe, for instance, that Hercules ever really lived, or that the royal family of Japan are descended from Shinto gods--but in its power in the lives of practitioners.

Nor do I believe that the absence of wrongdoing in the name of a religion is an absolute measure of its worth. I do not believe that the human sacrifice that appears to have been archeologically verified as having been practiced (at least in extraordinary circumstances) among the Celts of Britain means that Celtic gods are unworthy of worship or that their worshippers today are unethical or uninspired. And I don't believe that the forcible conversion of Pagan peoples by Christians a thousand years ago means that modern Christianity is without worth.

On the other hand, maybe its because I am a Quaker, and not only do Quaker Christians, by and large seem to use the vocabulary of Christianity it ways that fundamentalist and media Christians certainly don't, but Quaker Christians also have in common with Pagans a reliance upon direct experience of their deity/ies. I've sat in worship with too many Quaker Christians, and felt something powerful, warm, and good in their midst, to say that Christianity, at least in that form, is somehow a fake or a cheat.

It works for some people. Not for me--I just don't get the whole Jesus of Nazareth thing, and whether Jesus ever historically walked where he is said to have walked, said what he is said to have said, risen from the dead or turned into holy compost, is a matter of real indifference to me. But I need to acknowledge that his mythology is valid for at least some of his worshippers... as my own Pagan myths are valid for me, and for many others, too.

I agree with you that the pre-Christian religions of the Western world merit respect and, for many of us, careful examination as spiritual paths. There is power and holiness there.

But I don't see the factuality of either Pagan or Christian mythology as central to understanding them. To use the Biblical jargon, by our fruits we'll know one another, we people who are walking our talks. And I've seen Christians, as well as Pagans, who clearly are. Which seems to me to be the bottom line, and not the history of a work of human literature...

Just my thoughts, Robin

Ali said...

Hi there, Robin. You wrote:

"I would personally like to see Christian apologists explain to me, and the rest of the world, why all mentions of the resurrection, as well as many other claims to the divinity of Jesus, and miracle stories, are not in these earliest manuscripts of the Gospels."


I am happy to oblige.

What We Know & How We Know It
Texts, Truths and Traditions:
A Study in Three Parts

Part I: Introduction & The Historical Person of Jesus


(Parts II & III coming soon. :)

Ule said...

Mr Dutton:

You said:


That's a heck of a jump! As a European-descended pagan polytheist I obviously think that the Gods *are* real and worthy of worship, but you can't really get there from where you start in that paragraph - from that starting point Buddhism could just as easily be true, or Islam; or they could *all* be wrong. This sort of either/or dichotomy is much more typical of monotheistic thinking than I usually see in this blog.



First off, I never said that Buddhism wasn't true- I think it has a great amount of Truth in it, considering it recognizes the existence of many Gods, and it is not a montheistic faith. I think that monotheism is falsehood, and yes, I think that, since there are Many Gods, that polytheists that were around before Xianity had a share of the truth that Xianity did NOT have, by simple virtue of their polar opposite beliefs from the earlier, wiser people.

I understand why this offends you- many modern Pagans are addicted to being as "liberal" and "politically correct" as possible in their thinking and talking, to avoid "falling into the same traps" as the evil monotheists- such as your statement that I am using "either/or" thinking. But some things in life are that clear cut, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's not many things, but there are some things. We have to have the courage to make strong statements, when they must be made. Have a good day, Erik!

Erik said...

Robin,
I wasn't being PC, I was pointing out a logical fallacy in your argument. I think I must not have made my point quite clear enough; let me try again.

If Jesus is not a god, that still tells us nothing about OUR gods. That is the argument you made (IF not-A THEN B), and as formulated it just doesn't work; there are too many other variables not accounted for.

Ule said...

Mr. Dutton:

So, what might those other "variables" be? You claim to believe in the Gods, so are you going to sit here and suggest that maybe our ancestors before the coming of Christianity were also deceived and foolish to be worshipping their Gods?

My comment about "PC" in your statement wasn't really directed, in spirit, at your idea that my words were too extremist. It was directed at the fact that you feel the need to point out "logical fallacies" that MAY mean that the Gods of our people are also fake, or are not necessarily real, even though you simultaneously claim to believe in them yourself. There's no need for that here; I know the Gods are real, and I know that Jesus is a nonsensical story. People who have experienced the Gods in real life know these things. To have to say, on top of your own knowledge of the Gods "But the Gods might not be real" is PC. It is bowing to the skeptical nonsense that informs most of the people in our culture, implanted into it by the materialistic scientists who are, in their own way, just as bad and foolish as Christians.

Ule said...

Mr. Dutton:

I edited my original post to reflect the information you told me about the weirdo sources this guy was using, and I clarified what I liked about the article- you are correct to say that some of his sources are quackery.

Ule said...

Cat said:


And I don't believe that the forcible conversion of Pagan peoples by Christians a thousand years ago means that modern Christianity is without worth.


This is the heart of you and I's disagreement. I absolutely think that this makes it without worth- this, and the fact that it isn't True. Truth counts for something; religion isn't *just* about the "impact" it has on people's lives. I would never dishonor religion by reducing it to a human self-help module. Religion is about the Truth it teaches and helps people to find. Period.

Erik said...

You claim to believe in the Gods, so are you going to sit here and suggest that maybe our ancestors before the coming of Christianity were also deceived and foolish to be worshipping their Gods?

No, I am not. My purpose in my original comment was to point out that your logic, as presented, was not complete. I was looking at your post as an apologetics tool, a means to convince non-pagans of the truth and value of polytheism. I have in the past pointed people to some of your previous posts, where you argue powerfully and persuasively for the beauty, depth and truth of our theology, for this very reason; that's why the logic issues in this one jumped out at me.

So, what might those other "variables" be?
Here are a couple of possible options that I see, that are not addressed by your original argument. Note that I am NOT arguing that they are True, or even necessarily equally valid - just that if you want to present a complete argument, they need to be addressed. I'm sure there are a number of ways to formulate the argument you are trying to make that either work around these or explicitly exclude them, but to flatly state as you did that if Christianity is false then traditional polytheism is true does not account for them.

1. Of course he's not a god, there is/are no god(s). (atheism)
There is not an argument FOR the existence of our gods, just the NON-existence of Jesus.
2. What does it matter, the gods are still trapped in samsara just like us, and no more worthy of worship than anything else. (Buddhism)
The question of the need for and value of traditional worship is not positively addressed.


My comment about "PC" in your statement wasn't really directed, in spirit, at your idea that my words were too extremist. It was directed at the fact that you feel the need to point out "logical fallacies" that MAY mean that the Gods of our people are also fake, or are not necessarily real, even though you simultaneously claim to believe in them yourself.
...
To have to say, on top of your own knowledge of the Gods "But the Gods might not be real" is PC. It is bowing to the skeptical nonsense that informs most of the people in our culture, implanted into it by the materialistic scientists who are, in their own way, just as bad and foolish as Christians.


I think I've addressed this adequately now.

Erik said...

I edited my original post

Looks good; I definitely agree that the Sinai Bible information is significant. I'd just hate to see somebody write off the whole argument because they perceived it as based on the crackpot-dentist part.

Ule said...

Thank you, Mr. Dutton, for a fine exercise in friendly debate. I understand what you are trying to do; I don't quite know where we've gotten in our talk, but its been a good one.

I might point out that even in Buddhist thinking, the Gods being trapped in Samsara is a dim reflection of our own ancestor's notion that the Gods were also under the power of Fate or Destiny. Even in Buddhist thinking, the Gods are still quite powerful, and can intervene on behalf of mortals in many situations. Buddhist monks, however, are sworn not to pray to Samsaric Gods, and that's that. Buddhist laypeople, from what I understand, still do, in many countries.

I think my original point was that people tend to assume that Paganism was abandoned because it was untrue or flawed, and Xianity presented a "more complete" or "more true" picture for the people of Europe. If we realize that Xianity is based on essential falsehoods, the previous illusion fades; people are forced to re-appraise the spiritual value of Polytheism. That's all.

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Ule,

Thanks for continuing to engage in a thought-provoking thread. Your blog has long been a favorite of mine...it's rare that I find myself in disagreement with you (as I seem to be, at least superficially, here).

In response to my view that Christianity's sad history of misconduct in centuries past does not necessarily show that the religion is an invalid spiritual path, you wrote, " I absolutely think that this makes [Christianity] without worth." And yet we know that our Pagan forebears, at least in some verifiable instances, did engage in some practices we moderns would not condone--things like human sacrifice. Now, I'd maintain that those practices were not exactly common, and that they related to a particular era in Pagan practice, which I very much suspect we would have outgrown entirely and left behind in time (as there is some evidence Abramic religions did). I'd also deny that they make our modern Pagan practice either immoral or invalid in any way--present religion should be judged on present practice, at least in my view.

You tell me you disagree with me, but you don't tell me where your disagreement lies. Are Christian atrocities to be weighted more heavily than Pagan ones? Are you refusing to acknowledge that historical Pagans engaged in religious acts that might be considered atrocities today? Do you not believe human sacrifice to be wrong? Or are we merely doing a body count--how high the stacks of the dead are on this side vs that one? (I think that's a pretty poor way of keeping score, myself--imagine if we accepted a defense, in cases of murder, that someone only murdered 3 people, not 3,000! There's something odd in measuring humanity by numbers, I think--though you may, of course, disagree.)

In any case, I'm not understanding the logic of your distinction between our unsavory past practices and those of Christian religious groups. How is it that our Paganism is valid, but their Christianity is not?

I'm not trying to get up your nose, friend--I just didn't see you addressing the point. I'm interested in your position.

Your other objection to Christianity, as a valid religious path, is "the fact that it isn't True. Truth counts for something; religion isn't *just* about the "impact" it has on people's lives."

Well, integrity certainly counts for a great deal in the world of religious practice. I think we would agree that anyone who willingly perpetuates a fraud against history is showing signs of spiritual weakness in terms of their integrity--whether they are claiming to have had an ancestral initiation into a non-existent tradition of Wicca, or padding the resume of a prophet, like Jesus. I'm pretty sure we're on the same page there.

But what exactly do you mean by Truth with a capital T, Ule? You seem to be using it here to mean historicity or fact... and, while integrity is quite clearly an important component of the validity of a religion, I'm not so sure that religious truths are really a product of truth-as-facts as much as truth-as-metaphor, truth-as-myth, and truth-as-experience.

Jesus may or may not have done what the Christian's Bible says he did. I dunno. Nor do I care, as I said before... because his myth, his truth, has never resonated in my soul. Whatever metaphorical, eternal verities there may be to be glimpsed through that particular story, they've never found their way to _my_ heart.

But I would not say that the historicity of Jesus has a lot to do with that for me, or much impact on the liklihood his story allows contact with the world of the sacred for others... any more than I would take an accusation that there is no physical group of red-eyed, red-eared hounds running overhead at midwinter, as shown on Doppler radar, to be any meaningful dismissal of my own encounters with the god of the Wild Hunt. _My_ god is more than a collection of historical details and physical facts... _my_ god is an animal scent, a chill at the bone, and a heat in the loins of the planet itself. Doggies in the sky are a mythological truth... not a collection of unusual UFOs! I would find literalism of that sort limiting to me as a worshipper.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I suspect that you would also. (I judge this by the tenor of your past writings, which seem at times to almost smell of lived-experience of our gods, not of a dry, notional reconstruction of the idea of them.)

You write, "I would never dishonor religion by reducing it to a human self-help module. Religion is about the Truth it teaches and helps people to find. Period."

I'm not so sure I can agree with you on the "period," with which you ended your remark--I'm forever surprised by all the different things religion seems to be; like the gods themselves, it's not simple or simplistic. But I don't think you're really saying it is... and I do agree with you that religion is far more than a self-help module.

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear when I tried to say so: when I wrote "I've sat in worship with too many Quaker Christians, and felt something powerful, warm, and good in their midst, to say that Christianity, at least in that form, is somehow a fake or a cheat," that was what I meant. It is precisely because I believe that the primary worth of religion is direct contact with and experience of deep truth--specifically, in the form of the gods experienced directly--that I cannot dismiss the validity of Christianity. Though I am not Christian, and though I don't understand how they come by nourishment from what looks to me to be a rather thin gruel, I am too honest to deny that I see a kind of light in the eyes of some of my Quaker Christian friends... and that, in some of my most powerful moments of the experience of direct spiritual presence, I've found them right there next to me.

Anyone who finds their way into that shining place, by whatever path, is on to something. Those moments when I've "been to the mountaintop," have been Pagan for me... but sitting right beside me on that peak have been Christians.

Not claiming I understand it, Ule... but I really do think there are forms of validity that are so much deeper than accurate recital of fact, that I'm inclined not to put too much weight on the particular mythological language that helps a seeker, of whatever path, find their way to _that_ kind of Truth.

I think maybe I just wasn't cut out to be a fundamentalist... of any religion.

Ule said...

Cat wrote:

Are Christian atrocities to be weighted more heavily than Pagan ones?


Yes, they are. Christians don't accept the truth of the Gods; their violence is based on lies, on emptiness. That makes their atrocities TEN times worse, at least. But let's back up. What "pagan atrocities" are you talking about? Would you care to show me where Indo-European Pagans murdered and persecuted other people because they refused to worship the right Gods?


Are you refusing to acknowledge that historical Pagans engaged in religious acts that might be considered atrocities today?


Would you mind giving some examples? Because I'm not refusing to acknowledge anything- I am acknowledging what is real. The era of religious atrocity in Europe did not begin until the birth of Monotheism. This is a well known fact.


Do you not believe human sacrifice to be wrong?


When done in ancient times, with the needed religious system and social paradigm to back it up, no, I don't think it was "wrong". Now, I certainly think it is wrong. And didn't you just sit there saying how even the Monotheists might have once done human sacrifice, but stopped, and that it didn't invalidate their faith? So why should it invalidate ours? At any rate, you won't find any reliable evidence for it among IE people after a point. They all evolved away from it at a very early date, and some may not have done it at all.


In any case, I'm not understanding the logic of your distinction between our unsavory past practices and those of Christian religious groups. How is it that our Paganism is valid, but their Christianity is not?


Because Pagans believe in the Gods who are real, and Christianity is made up. There is no "God" in heaven that made everything in seven days; there is no jesus who came and died for everyone's sins; none of it. Truth matters, remember? It makes all the difference in the world.



But what exactly do you mean by Truth with a capital T, Ule? You seem to be using it here to mean historicity or fact... and, while integrity is quite clearly an important component of the validity of a religion, I'm not so sure that religious truths are really a product of truth-as-facts as much as truth-as-metaphor, truth-as-myth, and truth-as-experience.



No, I don't feel the need to confuse myself with all this nonsense, nor do I need to jump through hoops to make "truth" mean whatever I want it to mean. All you are doing with this is trying to find a way to ensure to yourself that all religions can claim to be "True" somehow. I don't feel the need to do that, because I know that all religions aren't true.

Also, I don't feel the need to draw spurious distinctions between "Truth as fact" and "truth as metaphor". It's all one reality. The Mythical Truth is the Whole Truth. It's modern people, befuddled by untruths, that feel the need to come up with categories of Truth to soothe themselves. The Gods are not just metaphors. They are not just feelings or aspects of nature; they are Gods.



Jesus may or may not have done what the Christian's Bible says he did. I dunno. Nor do I care, as I said before... because his myth, his truth, has never resonated in my soul. Whatever metaphorical, eternal verities there may be to be glimpsed through that particular story, they've never found their way to _my_ heart.



This isn't about you or your beliefs. This is about the fact that Christianity is based on lies and jesus never existed.



But I would not say that the historicity of Jesus has a lot to do with that for me, or much impact on the liklihood his story allows contact with the world of the sacred for others...



That's because you aren't christian, and you are a liberal who thinks that all religions are equally valid. I don't agree with you. I don't think that just any myth can give people "contact with the world of the sacred". It's not that easy. Some myths wrap people in stupidity, paranoia, and fear, and they stop there. And a myth has to be based on something more than made-up crap before it can give access to the world of the sacred.



any more than I would take an accusation that there is no physical group of red-eyed, red-eared hounds running overhead at midwinter, as shown on Doppler radar, to be any meaningful dismissal of my own encounters with the god of the Wild Hunt. _My_ god is more than a collection of historical details and physical facts... _my_ god is an animal scent, a chill at the bone, and a heat in the loins of the planet itself. Doggies in the sky are a mythological truth... not a collection of unusual UFOs! I would find literalism of that sort limiting to me as a worshipper.



I disagree vehemenantly with your modernist need to banish the mythical away from the world of "everyday life". This distinction is only in your head. The hounds of hell are quite real things, trust me- and the Gods are more than feelings, emotions, and ideas. They are Gods. They are beings like us, who live in different continuum of reality, but it's still this reality. There's only one reality; it just so happens to have many, many regions of experience.



I'm sorry if I wasn't clear when I tried to say so: when I wrote "I've sat in worship with too many Quaker Christians, and felt something powerful, warm, and good in their midst, to say that Christianity, at least in that form, is somehow a fake or a cheat,



Feeling good about being around good people doesn't mean that the religion they believe is true. Good people are good people often despite the nonsense they believe.



Anyone who finds their way into that shining place, by whatever path, is on to something.


Sorry. I don't think that every path leads people to the "shining place". That's what liberals and most christians today want us to believe, so that they can continue to justify their pernicious beliefs.


RA

Erik said...

If we realize that Xianity is based on essential falsehoods, the previous illusion fades; people are forced to re-appraise the spiritual value of Polytheism. That's all.

And that's where I see the over-assumption (C. S. Lewis did that too, so you're in good company...); I'm afraid that there are just too many other options (Buddhism, Wicca, New Age, atheism, etc) for a former monotheist, particularly in our culture, for us to assume that they will automatically turn to Reconstructionist paganism. (I would love to see you address the various options and why you find traditional polytheism to be a better choice, actually!)

Thank you, Mr. Dutton, for a fine exercise in friendly debate.

It's been a pleasure! This sort of conversation is exactly why I tagged you as a "thinking blogger". But I don't see the last long post I wrote?

I understand what you are trying to do; I don't quite know where we've gotten in our talk, but its been a good one.

And that's fine; I don't know that we have to get anywhere in particular. :)

Rachael Byrnes said...

Some really interesting discussion here. Ule, how do you know, absolutely know, that Gods are real? Cat, I think your comments are thoughtful and legitimate. Ule, your response is fair but you seem very frustrated/ angry even, when people challenge you. It seems as if people are asking intellegent questions as they try to seek the truth for themselves so I'm not sure why it boils your blood!

I hope your received my email. I'd love to hear from you in response to it.