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Neopaganism ~ Liturgical Christianity


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I had a thought: many Christians attending liturgical churches are actually neopagans.

- they are following a tradition

- they are insprired by rituals, formal prayers, stories of saints, etc.

- membership is defined by joining the rituals instead of believing things

 

Any opinions?

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Paganism is any religious belief or practice other than an Abrahamic religion. Early Christianity borrowed heavily from the popular existing religions (Pagan) in order to win people over. That's why the Christian holidays mirror much older Pagan celebrations and are observed at the same times of the year as the originals. Today, some Pagan religions make use of Christian symbols and saints, so I guess that evens the score!

 

Of course one may call himself anything he wishes, but my understanding is that a Christian must believe in Christ as the deity.

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Directionless,

What you present is the dominant view among evangelical Christians. Pentecostals doubt the authenticity of groups like the Methodists. The Presbyterians are split into two groups: the D. James Kennedy / Evangelism Explosion / Vote Republican group, and the others who are a lot more like Methodists. The Wife's upbringing was Methodist, but She found the liturgical aspects to be empty and so found Her path in more the evangelical circles. We at that time met at an American Baptist Church, those are not like Southern Baptist. But we ended up going in the Pentecostal direction, which has eventually led to my atheism and her change of beliefs over the years.

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Paganism is any religious belief or practice other than an Abrahamic religion. Early Christianity borrowed heavily from the popular existing religions (Pagan) in order to win people over. That's why the Christian holidays mirror much older Pagan celebrations and are observed at the same times of the year as the originals. Today, some Pagan religions make use of Christian symbols and saints, so I guess that evens the score!

 

Of course one may call himself anything he wishes, but my understanding is that a Christian must believe in Christ as the deity.

I agree, but I think it even goes beyond borrowing symbols, rituals, and myths. IMO there is a shared way of thinking about religion.

 

I recently read "Caught in the Pulpit". Here is a quote from "Jim" an Episcopal priest who identifies as a authentic Christian believer:

The information about the Divine is contained in the medium of myth and prayer. And the engagement of that realm is the nonrational realm, where the experience of the Divine occurs, and then it's left to the brain to figure what the hell that was. That's why mythology, for me, is so important.

...

Then they ask, "Well, what am I supposed to do with the Nicene Creed? I don't know if I believe it." I talk about mythology; I tell them to sing it, consider it a poem, consider it an object of art or great literature."

("Caught in the Pulpit", Dennett, p151)

 

Doesn't that sound like a Neopagan?

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Directionless,

What you present is the dominant view among evangelical Christians. Pentecostals doubt the authenticity of groups like the Methodists. The Presbyterians are split into two groups: the D. James Kennedy / Evangelism Explosion / Vote Republican group, and the others who are a lot more like Methodists. The Wife's upbringing was Methodist, but She found the liturgical aspects to be empty and so found Her path in more the evangelical circles. We at that time met at an American Baptist Church, those are not like Southern Baptist. But we ended up going in the Pentecostal direction, which has eventually led to my atheism and her change of beliefs over the years.

Yeah, I forgot that is true. So I suppose people from that background would respond to my idea with a yawn. I grew up as an Episcopalian and I experienced some of this attitude when I went to a summer camp run by evangelicals (Youth for Christ). They managed to convince me that I was doomed to go to hell, because I couldn't make that sinner's prayer work. smile.png

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neopagans center around goddess worship, nature reverence, magic and no hell

But do you see a similarity in the way they think about religion? My main experience is in the Episcopal and Eastern Orthodox churches, but I can honestly say that I don't think anybody cares what anybody believes. If you believe in God that's o.k., if you don't believe in God that's o.k. too. Let's all sing a song.

 

Isn't it that way in neopaganism?

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neopagans center around goddess worship, nature reverence, magic and no hell

But do you see a similarity in the way they think about religion? My main experience is in the Episcopal and Eastern Orthodox churches, but I can honestly say that I don't think anybody cares what anybody believes. If you believe in God that's o.k., if you don't believe in God that's o.k. too. Let's all sing a song.

 

Isn't it that way in neopaganism?

 

Christianity stole from the pagan religions, especially some of their holidays, so they are pagan in some ways, but refuse to accept this.

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neopagans center around goddess worship, nature reverence, magic and no hell

But do you see a similarity in the way they think about religion? My main experience is in the Episcopal and Eastern Orthodox churches, but I can honestly say that I don't think anybody cares what anybody believes. If you believe in God that's o.k., if you don't believe in God that's o.k. too. Let's all sing a song.

 

Isn't it that way in neopaganism?

 

I can see what you mean because both of those churches do revolve around ritual, being not very historically removed from Catholicism. I know several ex-Catholics who are neopagan because they liked the rituals.

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neopagans center around goddess worship, nature reverence, magic and no hell

But do you see a similarity in the way they think about religion? My main experience is in the Episcopal and Eastern Orthodox churches, but I can honestly say that I don't think anybody cares what anybody believes. If you believe in God that's o.k., if you don't believe in God that's o.k. too. Let's all sing a song.

 

Isn't it that way in neopaganism?

 

I can see what you mean because both of those churches do revolve around ritual, being not very historically removed from Catholicism. I know several ex-Catholics who are neopagan because they liked the rituals.

 

That's interesting that your ex-Catholics friends switched to neopaganism.

 

It is difficult for me to value religion when it is simply myth, psychological archetype, etc. But the explanations from neopagans and liberal liturgical Christians sound very similar to me.

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I had a thought: many Christians attending liturgical churches are actually neopagans.

- they are following a tradition

- they are insprired by rituals, formal prayers, stories of saints, etc.

- membership is defined by joining the rituals instead of believing things

 

Any opinions?

Actually I'd observe that membership-by-belief is peculiar to Christianity and Islam. Most other religions I can name have no requirement of belief. Buddhism accepts a spectrum of beliefs including atheism. Judaism probably consists of more atheists than not (in my experience anyway). And my wife and mother-in-law, who are extremely orthodox Hindus, are well aware of my skepticism of supernatural beliefs and have never tried to force me to intellectual assent, caring only that I practice all of our traditions. So Jesus really pulled this belief requirement out of his ass, if you ask me.

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directionless,

 

This is a very interesting topic.

 

In post # 7, you wrote:

 

"But do you see a similarity in the way they think about religion? My main experience is in the Episcopal and Eastern Orthodox churches, but I can honestly say that I don't think anybody cares what anybody believes. If you believe in God that's o.k., if you don't believe in God that's o.k. too. Let's all sing a song.

 

Isn't it that way in neopaganism? "

 

Those are "high church" types of Christianity, heavily based in liturgy, for identity and meaning. Many "low church" types, including the majority (probably) of evangelical congregations and nearly all fundamentalists -- and there is a lot of overlap among evangelicals and fundamentalists, depending on which aspects are being emphasized -- in many of these types of Christian churches, people do indeed care what everybody believes. Rather than being so much form-based (e.g. liturgy), they are more content- or message-based (i.e., doctrine). The litmus test for authenticity among them is shared "confession" (testimony) or statement of faith. Of course, the statement of faith is important in high churches, in helping to define them.

 

But in low church Christianity, esp. evangelicals and fundamentalists, doctrine and confessed beliefs are essential to their identity. This would include charismatics and some Catholics, some of whom are evangelical and/or charismatic.

 

In Latin American congregations, Catholics are often Pentecostal and/or charismatic. Among charismatics and Pentecostals, whether Protestant, Catholic, or other, "experience" is as important as doctrine. Therefore, among Catholic charismatics and Pentecostals, all these elements are essential: liturgy, doctrine, and experience.

 

+ Human

I was completely unaware of the prevalence of Pentecostal Catholics in Latin America. I knew some Catholics combined Pentecostal/Charistmatic beliefs, but I thought it was somewhat rare.

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I had a thought: many Christians attending liturgical churches are actually neopagans.

- they are following a tradition

- they are insprired by rituals, formal prayers, stories of saints, etc.

- membership is defined by joining the rituals instead of believing things

 

Any opinions?

Actually I'd observe that membership-by-belief is peculiar to Christianity and Islam. Most other religions I can name have no requirement of belief. Buddhism accepts a spectrum of beliefs including atheism. Judaism probably consists of more atheists than not (in my experience anyway). And my wife and mother-in-law, who are extremely orthodox Hindus, are well aware of my skepticism of supernatural beliefs and have never tried to force me to intellectual assent, caring only that I practice all of our traditions. So Jesus really pulled this belief requirement out of his ass, if you ask me.

 

I agree with your observation, but I suspect the centrality of belief didn't happen until the Protestant reformation. Originally most people were illiterate and being a good Christian meant good behavior, obedience to the priest, participating in the liturgy and sacraments, etc. Then Luther invented his beliefs and the Catholics had to defend their own beliefs. Up until that time, belief wasn't the litmus test for being a Christian. Of course there were schisms before Luther, but I suspect they were more top-down and politically motivated. The Protestant denominations were probably more bottom-up and driven by the social changes in Western Europe (printing press, industrialisation, growing merchant class, ...)

 

That's just my suspicion. I'm sure others here know the history better than me. smile.png

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Christianity as practiced by the various churches is a spectrum of belief. Fundamentalists are on one end, and the loosest high-churches are on the other. Then there are fringes on either end that may want to identify as Christian, but be clearly outside the orthodox (not Orthodox) faith. If Jesus is your spirit-guide for energy-healing, then you probably aren't a Christian even if you like to identify yourself that way. If the cross of Jesus is not seen as necessary for salvation, but only serves as a parable of the cycle of death and life, then you are probably not a Christian, etc.

 

My best friend went from banzai Charismaniac to a mental breakdown, then found his way to Catholicism which gives him the same belief framework, but without the pressures of fundamentalism.

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When I was briefly a member of an Eastern Orthodox church the priest set-up an adult education bible study class. Sometimes I think this priest was a secret atheist, but other times I wonder if he truly considered himself to be a Christian.

 

He taught us things that would not go over well in most churches:

- the OT is myth and should not be taken as history

- the gospels are also myth

- there are hidden symbolic meaning in the OT and gospels that provide the real value

 

I could never decide if he seriously believed this or if he was an atheist just jerking all us gullible people around for fun.

 

So I understand that most neopagans don't actually believe in magic or deities or believe in them as psychological or cultural truths. So sometimes I've wondered if that's how the Eastern Orthodox think too.

 

(Sorry if I offend any neopagans or Orthodox by oversimplifying or misunderstanding.)

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Christianity as practiced by the various churches is a spectrum of belief. Fundamentalists are on one end, and the loosest high-churches are on the other. Then there are fringes on either end that may want to identify as Christian, but be clearly outside the orthodox (not Orthodox) faith. If Jesus is your spirit-guide for energy-healing, then you probably aren't a Christian even if you like to identify yourself that way. If the cross of Jesus is not seen as necessary for salvation, but only serves as a parable of the cycle of death and life, then you are probably not a Christian, etc.

 

My best friend went from banzai Charismaniac to a mental breakdown, then found his way to Catholicism which gives him the same belief framework, but without the pressures of fundamentalism.

That's a good summary. I just don't understand "spirituality" where people believe whatever they want and nobody is concerned that everybody believes contradictory things. They view it more like reading literature to inspire and provide insights in real life.

 

For me it's atheist or literal believer in some deity - nothing in between. smile.png

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I had a thought: many Christians attending liturgical churches are actually neopagans.

- they are following a tradition

- they are insprired by rituals, formal prayers, stories of saints, etc.

- membership is defined by joining the rituals instead of believing things

 

Any opinions?

Actually I'd observe that membership-by-belief is peculiar to Christianity and Islam. Most other religions I can name have no requirement of belief. Buddhism accepts a spectrum of beliefs including atheism. Judaism probably consists of more atheists than not (in my experience anyway). And my wife and mother-in-law, who are extremely orthodox Hindus, are well aware of my skepticism of supernatural beliefs and have never tried to force me to intellectual assent, caring only that I practice all of our traditions. So Jesus really pulled this belief requirement out of his ass, if you ask me.

 

 

I'm curious about Hinduism (not for myself but out of interest).  Do orthodox Hindus believe in gods, like literally, and can a person be a Hindu without believing in gods? (I guess they can, from what you are saying).  

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I had a thought: many Christians attending liturgical churches are actually neopagans.

- they are following a tradition

- they are insprired by rituals, formal prayers, stories of saints, etc.

- membership is defined by joining the rituals instead of believing things

 

Any opinions?

Actually I'd observe that membership-by-belief is peculiar to Christianity and Islam. Most other religions I can name have no requirement of belief. Buddhism accepts a spectrum of beliefs including atheism. Judaism probably consists of more atheists than not (in my experience anyway). And my wife and mother-in-law, who are extremely orthodox Hindus, are well aware of my skepticism of supernatural beliefs and have never tried to force me to intellectual assent, caring only that I practice all of our traditions. So Jesus really pulled this belief requirement out of his ass, if you ask me.

I'm curious about Hinduism (not for myself but out of interest). Do orthodox Hindus believe in gods, like literally, and can a person be a Hindu without believing in gods? (I guess they can, from what you are saying).

Good questions. I know of very few Hindus who literally believe in multiple Gods. Most will say they believe in a single God, or at least in Brahman, an impersonal force that can loosely be thought of as 'absolute reality.' There are several schools of thought described in the Vedas which are given credence; the nastika school of thought is similar to atheism.

 

Having said that, I should also state that the "approved" atheism of Hinduism must be a spiritual one, and arrived at after much intellectual exploration. An atheism born out of a lack of information, as in my case, would likely not qualify. Fortunately Hinduism has no governing body, so there's no one to tell me that I'm blaspheming or sinning. And in an age where so many young Indians convert to Christianity, I doubt anyone is going to tell me I can't qualify as a Hindu. Guess you could say I can fly under the radar in this regard.

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There are celebrated cases from antiquity in which the Athenian state prosecuted someone for "atheism" - Protagoras is one. In Plato's Apology of Socrates, the prosecutor Meletus is portrayed as accusing Socrates of denying the existence of gods.  But it seems that in these cases, you cannot show that the grievances don't amount to refusal to observe the city's cults.  I don't think anyone who regularly participated in the city's religious activities would have been prosecuted for "atheism." 

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I had a thought: many Christians attending liturgical churches are actually neopagans.

- they are following a tradition

- they are insprired by rituals, formal prayers, stories of saints, etc.

- membership is defined by joining the rituals instead of believing things

 

Any opinions?

Actually I'd observe that membership-by-belief is peculiar to Christianity and Islam. Most other religions I can name have no requirement of belief. Buddhism accepts a spectrum of beliefs including atheism. Judaism probably consists of more atheists than not (in my experience anyway). And my wife and mother-in-law, who are extremely orthodox Hindus, are well aware of my skepticism of supernatural beliefs and have never tried to force me to intellectual assent, caring only that I practice all of our traditions. So Jesus really pulled this belief requirement out of his ass, if you ask me.

I'm curious about Hinduism (not for myself but out of interest). Do orthodox Hindus believe in gods, like literally, and can a person be a Hindu without believing in gods? (I guess they can, from what you are saying).

Good questions. I know of very few Hindus who literally believe in multiple Gods. Most will say they believe in a single God, or at least in Brahman, an impersonal force that can loosely be thought of as 'absolute reality.' There are several schools of thought described in the Vedas which are given credence; the nastika school of thought is similar to atheism.

 

Having said that, I should also state that the "approved" atheism of Hinduism must be a spiritual one, and arrived at after much intellectual exploration. An atheism born out of a lack of information, as in my case, would likely not qualify. Fortunately Hinduism has no governing body, so there's no one to tell me that I'm blaspheming or sinning. And in an age where so many young Indians convert to Christianity, I doubt anyone is going to tell me I can't qualify as a Hindu. Guess you could say I can fly under the radar in this regard.

 

Thanks.  So do people pick one of the gods to worship?  Why are so many young Indians converting to xianity?

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Hindus see all the gods as manifestations of the one, universal brahman--they aren't really separate gods.

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Hindus see all the gods as manifestations of the one, universal brahman--they aren't really separate gods.

Same with my religion, wicca.

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I had a thought: many Christians attending liturgical churches are actually neopagans.

- they are following a tradition

- they are insprired by rituals, formal prayers, stories of saints, etc.

- membership is defined by joining the rituals instead of believing things

 

Any opinions?

Actually I'd observe that membership-by-belief is peculiar to Christianity and Islam. Most other religions I can name have no requirement of belief. Buddhism accepts a spectrum of beliefs including atheism. Judaism probably consists of more atheists than not (in my experience anyway). And my wife and mother-in-law, who are extremely orthodox Hindus, are well aware of my skepticism of supernatural beliefs and have never tried to force me to intellectual assent, caring only that I practice all of our traditions. So Jesus really pulled this belief requirement out of his ass, if you ask me.

I'm curious about Hinduism (not for myself but out of interest). Do orthodox Hindus believe in gods, like literally, and can a person be a Hindu without believing in gods? (I guess they can, from what you are saying).

Good questions. I know of very few Hindus who literally believe in multiple Gods. Most will say they believe in a single God, or at least in Brahman, an impersonal force that can loosely be thought of as 'absolute reality.' There are several schools of thought described in the Vedas which are given credence; the nastika school of thought is similar to atheism.

 

Having said that, I should also state that the "approved" atheism of Hinduism must be a spiritual one, and arrived at after much intellectual exploration. An atheism born out of a lack of information, as in my case, would likely not qualify. Fortunately Hinduism has no governing body, so there's no one to tell me that I'm blaspheming or sinning. And in an age where so many young Indians convert to Christianity, I doubt anyone is going to tell me I can't qualify as a Hindu. Guess you could say I can fly under the radar in this regard.

 

Thanks.  So do people pick one of the gods to worship?  Why are so many young Indians converting to xianity?

 

Many of the pantheism religions believe that there is only one source, and all gods are this source, and they pick which

ever part of the source that feels needed for them, an example, if a person 

is having trouble with beauty or romance, they work with Aphrodite. (Like a rainbow, and you pick whichever color you like) I do not

know why many Hindus join Christianity, probably because of the hell doctrine, I was scared out of witchcraft

for sometime because of the eternal damnation thing, but I now see it as total bull

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neopagans center around goddess worship, nature reverence, magic and no hell

Not necessarily.. some neo-pagans are shamanistic, others are Asatru or Druids.. and some, like myself, are fam-trad. Magick is not necessary for paganism though it is used by quite a few groups, especially Wiccans, Seax-Wica, and Gardnerians.. as well as the Order of the Golden Dawn, Rosicrucians, The Temple of Set, Egyptian and Celtic Recontructionism, Ceremonial Magicians, Qabbalism, and Stregheria.

 

There are some beliefs in other planes of existence, some can be somewhat hellish - though they are not considered a 'punishment'.. or permanent.

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