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Tautalos
04-03-10, 22:57
In Vilnius-Lithuania there was held on 20-24th June 1998 the World Pagan Congress. A lot of traditional-religious groups were represented: France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Norwegan, Sweden, Poland, Greece, Lithuania, Estonia, Letonia, Russia, Ukrainia, India, USA... We've discussed about working together, forming a new coordinating organisation for all ethnic religions. So we founded the World Congress of Ethnic Religions. It will be the organisation that contact the Governments to drop their discriminative law and behavior towards the small ethnic religions.

We agreed on following declaration:

We, the delegates of the World Congress of Ethnic Religions, held in Vilnius, Lithuania, from 20 to 24 June 1998, have gathered to express our solidarity for the ethnic, indigenous, native and/or traditional religions of Europe and the other regions of the world.
All cultures and all native religions and faiths should be valued in the same way. Each region and each people have their distinctive local traditions (native faith, world outlook, mythology, folklore etc.) which articulate their love of their land and history, and cultivate a regard for the sacredness of all life and the divinity of Nature. Just as Nature survives through a wide variety of species, so can humanity be allowed to develop freely and without interference along a wide variety of cultural expressions.
According to our ancient traditional ethics, the Earth and all creation must be valued and protected. We as human beings must find our place within the web of all life, not outside or separate from the whole of creation.
We share a common understanding of our position in the world, based upon our common historical experience of oppression and intolerance. Ethnic and/or "Pagan" religions have suffered great injury and destruction from the other religions of exclusivity in the past. It is our sincere wish to live in peace and harmony, and to strive for cooperation with the followers of all other religions, faiths and beliefs.
We believe that the dawn of a new era of individual and intellectual freedom and global exchange of views and information gives us an opportunity to start again to return to our own native spiritual roots in order to re-claim our religious heritage. We are worshippers of Nature just as whole mankind was, for the last 96 % of its history.
True indigenous religions should give us love and respect for all that we see and feel around, to accept all forms of worship which emphasize sincere hearts, pure thoughts and noble conduct at every moment of our life, towards all that exists.
Let us be proud of our reborn ethnic religions. (...)

http://www.irminsul.org/arc/199806a.html

Maciamo
05-03-10, 14:23
I don't see much the point of going back to paganism, polytheism or even animism. We live in the age of science and rationality. Religions are outdated. If Westerners quit the traditional monotheistic faiths (Christianity, Judaism) I would expect that they just become Deists, Pantheists or Atheists - not Polytheists or Animists.

Ancient European religions do not have all the negative connotations of Christianity (prude morals, excessive sense of guilt, illusionary belief in human equality, doctrinal refutation of evolution and genetics, conviction of being the chosen people of god, aggressive proselytism...). In that sense it is better. But the direction taken is mistaken. Pagan religions are not more rational or less superstitious.

I like to picture monotheism as the adolescent belief system of humanity (aggressive, emotional, trying to understand one's place in society, looking for an authority figure as a guide). Atheism and deism are the mature, grown-up visions of the world (rational, independent-minded, responsible). Animism and polytheism, on the other hand, is just childish (naive, dreamlike, superstitious).

Neander
05-03-10, 15:04
I think, the difference between monotheism and paganism is not such vertical, as it is horizontal.

Here we have two traditions: Europeans (pagans) and Asiatics (jewish, christian, islam).

Also, christianity borrow majority of symbolics from paganism.

Cross, architecture of church, the Christmass, Easter eggs, etc. all these are from pagans.

And return to paganism doesnt mean primtivity, but in contrary it is prosperity, because we can compare the pagan Greece where science was developed and christian Europe where Human Sacrifice in the form of witch-hunting was very spread across the continent.

Mycernius
05-03-10, 19:54
Just what the world needs, more woo.:useless:

LeBrok
05-03-10, 23:17
If somebody is born with spirituality/god gen you won't change their minds, no matter how logical is the argument. By nature they have to believe in supernatural or even in UFO, they can't help it, it's like a deep calling, hard wired into the brain, it makes them feel good to pursue this.

Mycernius
06-03-10, 14:01
People aren't born with a deep spirituality/god gen. It is taught to them by their parents and society. If you are born into a deeply religious society you will be deeply religious. If that society then has controls in place to ensure that you remain a believer then you will remain a believer. Look at highly islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. both are higly religious conutries governed by religious laws. Islam is so ingrained in everyday life that breaking from it is difficult. Add to that punishments to reinforce the beliefs (death sentence for apostasy) then people will be sheep.
The same goes for the deep south in the US. religion is so much part of life that they follow like sheep. Again, show a disbelief then there is a very real threat of isolation and violence towards you.

Yet dispite this a logical argument can break the cycle of belief. There are ex-evangelical ministers, ex-muslims clerics, I even know a few ex-YECs. Reasoned debate and facts can bring people out of this, hardly a case of it being hard wired.

Gwyllgi
06-03-10, 14:09
God did not create man, man created God.

People would do well to remember this.

LeBrok
06-03-10, 21:49
People aren't born with a deep spirituality/god gen. It is taught to them by their parents and society. If you are born into a deeply religious society you will be deeply religious. If that society then has controls in place to ensure that you remain a believer then you will remain a believer. Look at highly islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. both are higly religious conutries governed by religious laws. Islam is so ingrained in everyday life that breaking from it is difficult. Add to that punishments to reinforce the beliefs (death sentence for apostasy) then people will be sheep.
The same goes for the deep south in the US. religion is so much part of life that they follow like sheep. Again, show a disbelief then there is a very real threat of isolation and violence towards you.

Yet dispite this a logical argument can break the cycle of belief. There are ex-evangelical ministers, ex-muslims clerics, I even know a few ex-YECs. Reasoned debate and facts can bring people out of this, hardly a case of it being hard wired.
Sounds like you're a proponent of us being born as clean slate.
Obviously group beliefs has an effect on what people think and believe, but mostly because we are hardwired to follow the crowed, like fashion in clothes and music, and what kind of religion people “choose”. In 99% of cases one is mostly influenced by family and close friends group. Sheep instinct has deep evolutionary ruts, and is hard wired in our brain. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what fashion, music or religion is popular in your group. It matters that most people will fallow what is popular.
Same with spirituality, it doesn't matter what you believe, it matters that one believes in supernatural. It's so much easier for spiritual people to believe in something else, be superstitious, change religion, than to become none believer.
How can you explain that after 100 year of indoctrination in atheism in Soviet Union, still about 70% believe in god today? On other hand in Scandinavia, without indoctrination/helping, 50% do.
It was rather easy to change native religions of African slaves in America to Christianity. But this cultural shift wasn't 100% identical. Let's take music for instance. The typical white church music didn't transplant very well. Black people seam to put great emphasis to the rhythm; they clap and dance in churches, even though it was and is inappropriate in white churches. Far cry from white traditions of gregorian chorus or modern church songs, where emphasis is on melody.
The most popular black music is rap and hip hop, again overwhelmed by rhythm. What is most popular instrument in Sub Saharan Africa? Drums!
Again, 200 years of indoctrination of Africans in America in white culture didn't do a dent in what kind of music they should play. Genes, genes, genes.
Cultures are very much of what we genetically are. Strongly in open societies, and influenced somewhat in controlled ones. Genes won't tell you what religion you will be, but they are determinative how it's expressed, or if it's expressed at all.
I understand and experienced most of it. I was born and raised Catholic in Poland, now I'm preaching natural selection and atheism here now. The biggest step for me was to be brave enough to question the dogma. Most big religions have built a trap, making it a cardinal sin to question doctrine or god, and off course you don't want to offend your god by your unfaithful thoughts. What if you made a mistake and you have to go back and apologies. Once traitor always a traitorr? It was like a vicious circle for me. It took me 10 year to get over it. But I did. Lot's of friends of mine in similar situation, they lost faith in church, but they can't shake this constant feeling that there is something bigger out there. And this is where arguments won't help any more. We are finely against the hard wired spirituality. Spirituality, that makes them say over and over: "Yes, I understand all of this, but there has to be something out there...."

Interesting example of strong spirituality are interviews of fighters after boxing match. Most black boxers will thank god after the fight, regardless if they lost or won, and in first sentence. Most white fighters will never mention god at all. I’m not saying is good or bad, it’s just strongly contrasting. Is it cultural, genetic, or both?
One would need to make a strong case that it’s cultural only, because if it’s both, then we have another proof for spirituality gene or genes.

Tautalos
01-04-10, 15:51
God did not create man, man created God.

People would do well to remember this.

No, people would not do well to «remember» that, for it is not true.

Tautalos
01-04-10, 15:54
I don't see much the point of going back to paganism, polytheism or even animism. We live in the age of science and rationality.

Rationality is not incompatible with religion, at least not with Paganism. Actually, one of the most if not the most important philosopher of the West, Plato, was deeply religious.

Maciamo
01-04-10, 19:03
Rationality is not incompatible with religion, at least not with Paganism. Actually, one of the most if not the most important philosopher of the West, Plato, was deeply religious.

Plato was a nutcase. His philosophy is not worth a cent nowadays. He is a good example of people who waste their time torturing their mind by imagining completely unlikely scenarios that only end up being proven wrong by science. He is no better than your average theologian. Descartes does not rank high in my opinion either. If you want to read some decent philosophers I'd suggest Bertrand Russell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell). You will see the difference of level with Plato.

You can try to convince me that rationality can be compatible with some form of religion, but I doubt you will succeed. I have many years (decades ?) of experience refuting such arguments. If you still believe in god(s), pagan or not, after reading The God Delusion (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/055277331X?ie=UTF8&tag=eupedia-21&link_code=as3&camp=2506&creative=9298&creativeASIN=055277331X) by Richard Dawkins it's that you didn't read it attentively.

Mycernius
01-04-10, 19:08
No, people would not do well to «remember» that, for it is not true.
Got any evidence to back up that statement, apart from your opinion?

Sprinkles
02-04-10, 18:09
Plato was a nutcase. His philosophy is not worth a cent nowadays. He is a good example of people who waste their time torturing their mind by imagining completely unlikely scenarios that only end up being proven wrong by science. He is no better than your average theologian. Descartes does not rank high in my opinion either. If you want to read some decent philosophers I'd suggest Bertrand Russell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell). You will see the difference of level with Plato.
You can try to convince me that rationality can be compatible with some form of religion, but I doubt you will succeed. I have many years (decades ?) of experience refuting such arguments. If you still believe in god(s), pagan or not, after reading The God Delusion (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/055277331X?ie=UTF8&tag=eupedia-21&link_code=as3&camp=2506&creative=9298&creativeASIN=055277331X) by Richard Dawkins it's that you didn't read it attentively.
I think you have it backwards or science has become your philosophy. Science will always be a slave to philosophy because it only falsifies, philosophy creates anew. The enclosed cave a science is a form of cognitive desolace. Without philosophy, there is no science.

Plato was a genius. Dawkins is a moron. I don't know how anyone can argue against that.

Michael Folkesson
03-04-10, 12:30
Pertaining the OP.

All religions are created by humans into a lore to explain Life, the Universe, and Everything basically. It's important to know where one comes from. Culture with customs and tradition is fundamental to us. We shouldn't underestimate the human need of rituals. If we take away the rituals at present we will make up new ones.

We also have a deep need of explaining and ordering the world around us for our survival. It seems obvious to me that religion is a by-product of that, and as such is a part of our genetic behavior.

But religious belief only serves those needs if there are no rational explanation that explains the world better. Paganism and the Abrahamic religions served those purposes but hopefully they are to fade away from modern life. The future should have no need of religion. It is a primitive notion to believe in gods, spirits and souls.

But the emotional needs of people have to be cared for as well. Being a part of something bigger and the meditative state and channeling of thoughts and feelings are common all over the world, and we will always need it. This does not need a religion though, but as religion has always been a part of our societies it is easy to find support for those needs in religion.

Art is another important way of expressing ourselves. Most of the things we do every single day is communicating. Rituals in life and religion, sexual behavior, customs, art, language, the functions of our faces and the sclera emphasizing the human eye movements are all part of the same fundamental human need of networking. It's the difference between our survival or not. As long as we can get a sense of belonging and cater to our "spiritual" needs in society we have no need of a church. If society fails we revert. Bad times and loss of direction always see a rise in religiosity.

But yes. We should be proud of our past cultures. To be aware of where one comes from is important. It doesn't mean one should adhere to it. Paganism as religious reenactments are cultural expressions. They are no philosophical lakes to gather ones water from.

The crown of immortality on our European flag is a European symbol, as it has a history in both pagan religion and Christianity and as such it is a great symbol for Europe. Even if Christianity started as a Jewish sect, it became a religion in Europe and as such is as European as the pagan ones. It seems that the greek pantheon has Armenian roots - - which later was adopted by the Romans. Pagan religions that influenced Christianity.

The Norse religion was influence from the south and the east. It might have some Turkic origins, the east, or Asia if you will. Even though the Ynglinga Saga is of low historic credibility it holds that the Asa (Oden, Thor et al) came from the region around and beyond the Black Sea, as did the Van gods in war with the Asa(Freyr, Njörðr and others). It would be interesting to go deeper into that and learn if the Van has a connection to the Van culture of Armenia. It might not, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Culture and history connects us all in Europe, and religion is a part of that. But a rebirth of pagan religions is not something to celebrate.

LeBrok
04-04-10, 02:38
Well, religion is an organized form of our believes in supernatural. It's probably as ancient as first graves found with everyday items buried to help deceased in their afterlife, about 50 thousand years or so. Probably at first it was nothing more than social aspect just helping people to validate their beliefs. It’s easier to believe in anything if everyone believes in same thing.
Later it turned to be quite a force uniting people. One of the strongest socio-political forces in existance. History shows that almost all biggest powers were united under on country and one religion, more so at the time of expansion and height of power. Yet, the trick was one religion in one country. More than one dominant religion and we have a war.
Understanding the world via Darwinism it would mean that religion was a positive force making the tribes and countries stronger. Otherwise it would vanish or evolve in something else. Nature is very efficient.

Tautalos
11-05-10, 17:52
Got any evidence to back up that statement, apart from your opinion?


Got any evidence to back up your first statement, apart from your opinion?

Mycernius
11-05-10, 18:51
Typical theistic response. I'm not the one making claims of supernatural beings, you are. The burden of evidence is on you. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Where is it?

Gwyllgi
12-05-10, 07:50
Got any evidence to back up your first statement, apart from your opinion?

Yes.

There is no need for a “god”.

Any “god”.

“God” serves no useful purpose beyond as a means used by some men to control others.

When I was young my father taught me to "fear God".



Later in life I realised that there was no god, and why I should fear ‘him’ even more than my father had convinced me that I should.

Aristander
19-09-10, 19:17
I'm not wanting to get into a deep discussion about religion but I have to agree somewhat with LeBrok and this only comes from my personal experiences. I believe that some people are wired for a belief in God and others are not. I was raised by very religious parents and exposed to religion from the time of my birth. By the time I was 12 or 13, I decided that maybe some sort of supreme power might exist but I didn't believe that this power had any interest in human affairs and my lack of personal devotion to this supreme being did not matter in the least.
On the other hand my wife raised in a likewise religious environment is deeply religious. She is a very intelligent, logical and reasonable woman about everything else in life but she has a deep conviction and belief that God deeply involved in everything we do.
I have seen this same sort of thing with other people and the only thing I can attribute it to is that something is different about the way their brains are wired.

American Idiot
18-11-13, 15:24
from a historical perspective I dont see what any modern pagan religion has to do with the actual native religious practices of pre-Christian Europe. Unless modern pagans are going around making human or animal sacrifices & dumping finely made ritual objects in lakes or bogs, etc..... then how can they claim to be practicing any native European religion?
As for any detailed knowledge of the beliefs and practices of pre-christian Europe most historians and experts are more or less clueless and have only a very basic idea of what they would have been like overall. Western Christianity has more authentic European pagan beliefs/practices than most neo-pagans, IMO.

American Idiot
18-11-13, 15:31
And return to paganism doesnt mean primtivity, but in contrary it is prosperity, because we can compare the pagan Greece where science was developed and christian Europe where Human Sacrifice in the form of witch-hunting was very spread across the continent.
if I am not mistaken, human sacrifice was generally a huge part in the belief system of pre-christian europe also. You do know what a bog body is, don't you?

Aberdeen
21-11-13, 02:38
if I am not mistaken, human sacrifice was generally a huge part in the belief system of pre-christian europe also. You do know what a bog body is, don't you?

We are not our ancestors, and most of us would not want to be. But some of us have an instinctive drive to experience altered states of reality, and to create a mystical connection with natural energies in the world around us, so we try to understand what might have motivated our Pagan ancestors, without necessarily doing what they did. I think that motivation is different from the motivation of people who want there to be a god that will protect them from poverty, violence and death. Such people want to hear that when they die it won't really be death because they can go live in a paradise full of perpetual flowers, sunshine and rainbows. So I think there are two main motivations for religious belief. IMO, the desire to experience the mysteries of the intangible in the world around us can be a good thing, provided one isn't too gullible. IMO, it's the desire to be "saved" from the difficult things in life that turn some religious people into the kind of sheeple who can be exploited by sociopaths in clergy collars.

American Idiot
21-11-13, 10:56
We are not our ancestors, and most of us would not want to be. But some of us have an instinctive drive to experience altered states of reality, and to create a mystical connection with natural energies in the world around us, so we try to understand what might have motivated our Pagan ancestors, without necessarily doing what they did. I think that motivation is different from the motivation of people who want there to be a god that will protect them from poverty, violence and death. Such people want to hear that when they die it won't really be death because they can go live in a paradise full of perpetual flowers, sunshine and rainbows. So I think there are two main motivations for religious belief. IMO, the desire to experience the mysteries of the intangible in the world around us can be a good thing, provided one isn't too gullible. IMO, it's the desire to be "saved" from the difficult things in life that turn some religious people into the kind of sheeple who can be exploited by sociopaths in clergy collars.
well said. thanks