Serious question, not trying to ":slam": or anything. It seems like Wiccans and other NeoPagans are very serious and devout in their relationship with their gods and goddesses, but it also seems like you are very much in agreement with most of the atheists and agnostics on the list regarding the existence of gods generally. On the surface this seems almost self-contradictory, but my sense is that for you it is part of a greater truth which incorporates both of these ideas in some cohesive way. Is this close? If so (or if not), can you explain briefly what your relationship with your gods is, and how that relates to atheism and agnosticism?
answer: you’ll find pagans and Wiccans sticking up for Jews, atheists and others on the forum. They respect everyone’s beliefs and they are the VERY last people on earth who would ever try to convince an atheist that the beliefs of the atheist are wrong (or lack of beliefs). They also don’t try to convert anyone and appreciate it when they get the same respect.
That’s why it appears at times that pagans side against Christians because SOME Christians are constantly trying to convert non-Christians or ":prove": non-Christians wrong.
The majority of pagans I’ve known since 1982 are very sincere and devoted to their deities and religions. The religions are a part of every day life and the celebrations throughout the year are joyful and solemn at the same time.
Pagans admit there is no proof in any religion of any deity. They admit that there is very little logic in religion so they don’t try and convince an atheist that there is.
Wiccans are one type of NeoPagan. You cannot generalize all NeoPagans. Wiccans and most NeoPagans are theists. ":NeoPagan": is such a broadly defined term that is does end up including some atheists…but the majority are clearly theists: we honor, worship and work with gods (often multiples) who have unique names and stories.
We also generally accept scientific theories of the universe, but that has nothing to do with being atheist.
Being an atheist means you do not believe in any gods. If you have any dealings with the gods at all, you clearly are not an atheist. I do not understand why you have gotten the impression we are atheists.
Excellent question, let’s see if I can give you an answer worthy of it.
Okay, so, for example, think of Diana as the Moon. She is the goddess of the hunt (as opposed to agriculture and husbandry), and so is the anthropomorphization of hunting and wildcrafting generally, as a means of sustenance. She is also the goddess of virgins and maidens (the two are different in Wicca) generally, and so is also the embodiment of all of these. She is also the moon, literally and figuratively. As an astronomer, I recognize that the moon is a smallish lifeless planetoid in orbit around the earth, and that a small number of men (only, ironically) have actually been there. I can explain to you in some detail the parameters of the moon’s orbit, and I can demonstrate Kepler’s first and second laws of orbital motion using the moon and a small sextant. And, when I look up at the moon at night, I honor Her as the goddess Diana, and also as the Celtic goddess Cerridwen. To me, they are all one and the same. It’s not so much about being a theist or an atheist, as it is recognizing that the world is both physical and spiritual, and that neither can define the other.
I don’t know a single Pagan (Wicca is one of many Pagan religions so I’ll speak of all of them together for the purpose of this question even though honoring the gods is a core tenet of Wicca and you really can’t be an atheist Wiccan) who is both an atheist and a theist.
However, there are atheists who are Paagans and there are theists who are Pagans. Some Pagan religions require a belief in deity(ies) and some do not. Some paths are highly individual and one can be theistic or not.
Regardless of theistic beliefs, a good number of Pagans get on quite well with atheists and share many of their philosophies about things like keeping beliefs to ourselves and looking to science to handle things science is best able to deal with.
Our relationship with the gods are all different.
I think we just more closely relate to atheists and agnostics regarding the Abrahamic god – many pagans acknowledge that he may exist (obviously most would believe they have not had a personal relationship with that god, or they would probably not be pagan), but also do not think he is 1. almighty 2. omnipresent 3. the only god. SO pagans agree with many viewpoints of atheists and agnostics, though pagans may or may not think that the Abrahamic god exists altogether.
As far as the gods that pagans worship go – atheists and agnostics often do not take issue with us or our gods because we do not force our gods upon them, and do not demand that they believe in what we believe. I know that many atheists and agnostics think pagans are silly, silly people for believing what we believe, but since pagans are generally tolerant of other people’s beliefs, atheists and agnostics that think we’re nuts are generally tolerant of our beliefs in return.
Atheism is too strong a claim. I cannot claim that I believe Zeus, Hecate, FSM, or any other Deity exist apart from the Deities I honour. I take an agnostic view on the other Gods. They may exist, they may not, but their possible existence does not concern me.
I am part of PHAA (Pagans, Heathens, and Atheists Association), because a lot of Atheists are cool and I like backing them up. I don’t mind mingling with people and groups whose religion differs from mine so long as they are respectful.
Atheism means no belief in any God.
I can’t speak for all Pagans, but I’ll see what I can do.
While many Pagans to not have the same definition of ":God": as Christians and other monotheists (though some really do, and many *are* monotheistic) most of us still believe in Gods. It’s just a different belief.
On one hand *most of us* don’t believe that there’s this all-powerful dude out there somewhere that created us (apparently for his own amusement) and demands our devotion or he’s going to burn us in hell for eternity. Most of us believe that we came to be through a complex evolutionary process.
However, it does stand to reason that if material life evolved, energetic life must’ve as well. So perhaps some of these are Gods.
And anything that has an effect on the world is real, even if it’s not. Like ":race":. There’s really no such thing as races of humans: but there it is.
That all being said, most Pagans believe myth to be metaphor rather thank literal truth as some Christians believe. This doesn’t mean that it’s not real. Some things of spiritual nature cannot be described using any human language and so the truth must be gotten at through metaphor and allegory. This includes the Gods, the nature of the spirit world and the greater truths. No one (well, most people) really believes that Zeus came down from Olympus and had sex with all those women in physical form. And likewise I don’t believe that Jesus raised the dead. The first story firmly places Zeus at the head of powerful families and establishes his place as father or husband to all the powerful Gods in the region. The second story establishes Jesus as a worker of miracles. Neither of these things actually *had* to happen for the truth behind them to be real. They are metaphors
I personally believe that every God is real. But I don’t know where they all came from. I believe that energy can be given consciousness by directing it to a purpose and in that way Gods could theoretically be created by man’s strong belief. I’m not willing to say that the Gods were created that way, but I am willing to entertain the possibility. Does that make me an atheist? No. It means that I see Gods differently from the way some others do. Perhaps it is agnostic according to the modern definition, but I prefer to say that it is gnostic because I have come to it through deep study and meditation.
My Gods are very personal to me and I maintain a very close relationship with them. It is a reciprocal relationship. I talk to them often, ask for their advice and sometimes it is given to me in dreams or flashes of inspiration or instances of synchronicity. In return I give them offerings and throw them parties on occasion.
My husband is atheist. He does not believe in Gods at all. However, he is willing to give my Gods their due- he just doesn’t believe they are Gods. He has felt their presence. I don’t know what he thinks they are, but, he is certain, they are surely not Gods. He calls them Gods though to please me.
Ok unlike most religions Wiccans and like religions search for the greater truth. They believe in gaining knowledge: however they are not really like Atheists at all: the reason why it seems like it is they don’t believe in the Christian God and so some of them seem to fight against the Christians just like the Atheists do. But again it doesn’t mean they are alike, because the Wiccans for the most part believe in a higher power (whether is 1 goddess or multiple Gods).
Now most Wiccans will not fight against Christians or any other religion, but some do.
Keep in mind alot of Christians try to fight anybody who is not Christian, just like the athiests.
Again just because they don’t believe in the Christian God doesn’t mean they don’t have Gods of thier own.
I can’t speak for all but I believe in a God , so I can not be an Atheist . As do most Pagans . We are just more accepting of others beliefs and Gods . Most of us have our own Version of Heaven and a afterlife or a New Life after this one ends .