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10 Not-So-Good Reasons to Be Pagan
Wicca is the fastest growing form of religious identification in the United States. But the label itself means something to different people — some Wiccan see themselves as witches; other witches see their practice a part of an ancient folk practice, unaffiliated with the idea of religion. Wiccans practice Witchcraft with a capital W — a distinguisher that marks it as modern faith.
A movement reflective of its times, Wicca reflects much of the counter-culture movement of the late s and s. Feminism, environmentalism, self-development and a distaste for central authority are all pillars within the faith. Both men and women can be Wicca and typically address their deities as God and Goddess. While there are no central authorities in covens, membership is typically attained via an initiation by a High Priestess or Priest. While some academics say Neo-Druidism is rooted in the seventeenth century, slowly became more noticeable in the early s, and entered into more mainstream consciousness over the next century, the actual pioneer of this religious movement is contested.
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Regardless, popularity for Neo-Druidism has been slowing building — today thousands of people still gather at Stonehenge to celebrate and renew their faith. Since Druidry has been recognized as an official religion in the United Kingdom. Many Druids believe that nature is fundamentally spiritual and that Druidism is the spiritual path allowing a connection to this cosmic force.
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The majority of Druids believe that the soul goes through a process of reincarnations and that lives alternate from existing solely in this world and existing in the Otherworld. James Lovelock, a British scientist, environmentalist and iconoclast, came up with the Gaia hypothesis while working for NASA in the s.
Steven D. Smith has therefore produced the book you need to read in order to understand how different was pagan Roman morality from our own, and why I made the decisions I did as a writer of fiction.
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Recommending it to my readers will save a lot of time going forward. Smith outlines the underlying logic of Roman paganism and emergent Catholic Christianity and draws out similarities and differences.
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Christianity and Islam, by contrast, are instances of transcendent religiosity — they place what is most sacred outside the world, in part because God made the world. In short, he argues that paganism never went away. This is particularly so when it comes to sex and sexuality. Smith thus has to explain just what it was that Roman pagans and the earliest Christians disliked about each other.
Both sides were equally culpable, albeit in different periods — it depended which lot had their hands on the levers of power. Each will try to seize the levers of power and enact laws to help their side and hinder the opposition. These are human constants — almost certainly biologically hardwired — and must be met.
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Religion facilitates the human desire to make meaning, effect control, and form regularized communities. It just has to be religion. I lack a religious orientation. Douglas Laycock, I suspect, enjoys a similar lack. This serves to explain our mystification at adherents of both immanent and transcendent religions.
It turns up everywhere, a cosmic homeopathic joke with only memories of being funny. Is it true, though? Is there really a resurgent modern variation of Roman paganism present in developed liberal democracies, including the United States? Roman paganism is too different from what we now see across the developed world, something Smith manages to convey precisely because he takes the historic religion seriously. Yes, he advances plausible claims for an orientation overlap, and his account of recent US litigation over religious symbols suggests progressivism can exhibit pagan religious qualities.
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