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(Patheos)   In other news, there are atheist Witches, believing in magic, but not God   (patheos.com) divider line 78
    More: Ironic, witches, god, Sufis, Reform Judaism, atheists, infinity, paganisms  
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1294 clicks; posted to Geek » on 01 May 2013 at 11:24 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-01 11:09:24 AM  
Please explain the ironic tag.
 
2013-05-01 11:19:12 AM  

RedPhoenix122: Please explain the ironic tag.


They don't believe they're made of wood.
 
2013-05-01 11:29:30 AM  
Does their lack of faith cause them to weigh more than a duck?
 
2013-05-01 11:31:32 AM  
pretty sure no witches believe in god... yahweh that is.
 
2013-05-01 11:39:16 AM  
Esme Weatherwax would like to have a word, Subs
 
2013-05-01 11:39:48 AM  
From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.
 
2013-05-01 11:42:52 AM  

Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.


I have known a number of atheist occultists. They don't believe in gods-as-actual-entities, but gods-as-human-generated-psychic-phenomena. A few even take the stance that gods are simply a thing you invent, as needed (but using/invoking existing gods lets you take advantage of the consensus belief behind them).

It's all very esoteric, and mostly stupid.
 
2013-05-01 11:45:53 AM  
Yeah, well God is a wizard, not a witch.
 
2013-05-01 11:46:51 AM  
An actual atheist believes in no gods of any kind.
 
2013-05-01 11:47:59 AM  
This is in the geek section why?
 
2013-05-01 11:51:32 AM  
All skeptics are atheists (without getting into that whole "agnostic vs atheist" crap, anyway). All skeptics disbelieve in magic.

Not all atheists are skeptics.

Therefore, not all atheists disbelieve in magic.
  Glad I could help you out, subby.
 
2013-05-01 11:51:33 AM  

wiseolddude: An actual atheist believes in no gods of any kind.


Well, this is where you have to be careful. Thor exists. YHWH exists. Not as physical beings that actually  do things, but as concepts that can be discussed and manipulated. If you are the sort of person who believes thoughts have mystical powers, then the fact that the idea of a deity exists means that the deity  exists in a meaningful way. This means that prayers to that entity can still have power, even though the entity itself is only a fiction.
 
2013-05-01 11:52:35 AM  

royone: This is in the geek section why?


Because there isn't a "really stupid sh*t" tab?

/well, besides Politics
 
2013-05-01 11:54:31 AM  

royone: This is in the geek section why?


Because devil worship and witchcraft is caused by D&D?
 
2013-05-01 11:54:36 AM  

t3knomanser: Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.

I have known a number of atheist occultists. They don't believe in gods-as-actual-entities, but gods-as-human-generated-psychic-phenomena. A few even take the stance that gods are simply a thing you invent, as needed (but using/invoking existing gods lets you take advantage of the consensus belief behind them).

It's all very esoteric, and mostly stupid.


Really?!  Do they not realize how hypocritical that label is?!
 
2013-05-01 11:55:16 AM  

t3knomanser: Well, this is where you have to be careful.


No you don't and your argument is silly. The fictional body of work is self-evidently distinct from any supernatural entity.

There is no Thor. Thor cannot have any impact on the world.

There are stories about a character named Thor. People can be inspired by those stories.

There is no confusion here unless, like you've chosen to do, somebody goes waaaaaay out of their way to try and create it.
 
2013-05-01 11:57:12 AM  

Rwa2play: Really?!  Do they not realize how hypocritical that label is?!


It's not really hypocritical. Unexpected, perhaps, since atheism  implies some kind of skeptical thinking and that sort of spiritualism isn't exactly the most skeptical standpoint to take.
 
2013-05-01 11:57:57 AM  

skozlaw: There is no Thor. Thor cannot have any impact on the world.


Oh, there's a Thor.
 
2013-05-01 11:58:09 AM  

t3knomanser: wiseolddude: An actual atheist believes in no gods of any kind.

Well, this is where you have to be careful. Thor exists. YHWH exists. Not as physical beings that actually  do things, but as concepts that can be discussed and manipulated. If you are the sort of person who believes thoughts have mystical powers, then the fact that the idea of a deity exists means that the deity  exists in a meaningful way. This means that prayers to that entity can still have power, even though the entity itself is only a fiction.


Also known as the placebo effect.
 
2013-05-01 11:59:18 AM  

skozlaw: There is no Thor. Thor cannot have any impact on the world.


skozlaw: There is no confusion here unless, like you've chosen to do, somebody goes waaaaaay out of their way to try and create it.


I'm not the one going out of their way- I'm recounting the intellectual acrobatics that others have done. They do not believe Thor is a physical entity that can have any impact on the world. They do believe that the idea of Thor has mystical power and can have an impact on the world.

Thor, as an idea, clearly exists. An atheistic occultist can invoke Thor in a magical spell to control the weather, not because they believe that Thor actually exists, but because they believe that the belief in Thor, the idea of Thor, has power to control the weather.
 
2013-05-01 12:03:12 PM  
Ha!

I've only been using that label for ten years now.
 
2013-05-01 12:03:36 PM  

t3knomanser: Rwa2play: Really?!  Do they not realize how hypocritical that label is?!

It's not really hypocritical. Unexpected, perhaps, since atheism  implies some kind of skeptical thinking and that sort of spiritualism isn't exactly the most skeptical standpoint to take.


Uh, sorry but from what I understand someone who believes in atheism shouldn't be an occultist.  That's like being someone who believes in gravity but then doesn't believe that objects fall.
 
2013-05-01 12:04:49 PM  

Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.


I've had a lot of friends in pagan circles and my takeaway is that there are as many strains and variations in pagan belief as there are pagans. Are some of them polytheists? Yup? How about monotheists? Sure thing! Agnostics? Gotcha. Atheists? Why not!

I'd be more surprised if there was some basic theological position that pagans haven't staked out.
 
2013-05-01 12:05:05 PM  

t3knomanser: Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.

I have known a number of atheist occultists. They don't believe in gods-as-actual-entities, but gods-as-human-generated-psychic-phenomena. A few even take the stance that gods are simply a thing you invent, as needed (but using/invoking existing gods lets you take advantage of the consensus belief behind them).

It's all very esoteric, and mostly stupid.


Works for Discworld...
 
2013-05-01 12:06:50 PM  

RedPhoenix122: Please explain the ironic tag.


simply disavowing god gives you all the cognizant logic of Richard Feynman.
 
2013-05-01 12:07:42 PM  

Rwa2play: t3knomanser: Rwa2play: Really?!  Do they not realize how hypocritical that label is?!

It's not really hypocritical. Unexpected, perhaps, since atheism  implies some kind of skeptical thinking and that sort of spiritualism isn't exactly the most skeptical standpoint to take.

Uh, sorry but from what I understand someone who believes in atheism shouldn't be an occultist.  That's like being someone who believes in gravity but then doesn't believe that objects fall.


No, all atheism means is believing there is no god.
Occultists can believe in other things that are mystical but NOT relating to a god. For instance ghosts can exist without a God. It might even make more sense since without some kind of god/heaven/hell the souls of the departed wouldn't have anywhere to go.
 
2013-05-01 12:08:31 PM  

t3knomanser: An atheistic occultist can invoke Thor in a magical spell to control the weather, not because they believe that Thor actually exists, but because they believe that the belief in Thor, the idea of Thor, has power to control the weather.


You're messing that up a bit.

Belief in Thor and associated ritual will give you the mental fortitude to deal with the weather. If you're an atheist and occultist, then the magic is psychological, not external. That doesn't make it less effective for most purposes.

A Buddhist monk can go for nine days without sleep or water in a certain Japanese ritual. It's happened many times and normal people can't do it. You need the iron hard mind over body power only trance state can provide. But it's all internal power. So, entering a trance state to call upon the power of Thor, a mental construct, will give you the courage to deal with any inclement weather you might encounter.

It's not really mental gymnastics so much as a love of pageantry and rube goldberg solutions. Magical rituals are more fun than regular old psych up sessions.
 
2013-05-01 12:09:22 PM  
i.imgur.com
 
2013-05-01 12:10:08 PM  

Some 'Splainin' To Do: Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.

I've had a lot of friends in pagan circles and my takeaway is that there are as many strains and variations in pagan belief as there are pagans. Are some of them polytheists? Yup? How about monotheists? Sure thing! Agnostics? Gotcha. Atheists? Why not!

I'd be more surprised if there was some basic theological position that pagans haven't staked out.


Then I guess you could say I'm weird in the fact that, as a spiritual Agnostic, not only do I believe that there is a supreme being in reality itself, but there are deities just below that that affect everyday life in one form or another.
 
2013-05-01 12:11:49 PM  
In before a bunch of condescending blowhards get pedantic about precise definitions of various made up bullshi---

I am wayyy too late.
 
2013-05-01 12:12:59 PM  

Rwa2play: from what I understand someone who believes in atheism shouldn't be an occultist.


Understand more.
 
2013-05-01 12:13:33 PM  

Rwa2play: Some 'Splainin' To Do: Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.

I've had a lot of friends in pagan circles and my takeaway is that there are as many strains and variations in pagan belief as there are pagans. Are some of them polytheists? Yup? How about monotheists? Sure thing! Agnostics? Gotcha. Atheists? Why not!

I'd be more surprised if there was some basic theological position that pagans haven't staked out.

Then I guess you could say I'm weird in the fact that, as a spiritual Agnostic, not only do I believe that there is a supreme being in reality itself, but there are deities just below that that affect everyday life in one form or another.


That's not particularly different than Christianity, you realize that right?  God, Angels, Guardian Angels...
 
2013-05-01 12:20:42 PM  

Telos: Rwa2play: Some 'Splainin' To Do: Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.

I've had a lot of friends in pagan circles and my takeaway is that there are as many strains and variations in pagan belief as there are pagans. Are some of them polytheists? Yup? How about monotheists? Sure thing! Agnostics? Gotcha. Atheists? Why not!

I'd be more surprised if there was some basic theological position that pagans haven't staked out.

Then I guess you could say I'm weird in the fact that, as a spiritual Agnostic, not only do I believe that there is a supreme being in reality itself, but there are deities just below that that affect everyday life in one form or another.

That's not particularly different than Christianity, you realize that right?  God, Angels, Guardian Angels...


Except I rejected Christianity as a whole for being full of shiat and hypocritical, or at least how a Christian interprets what a supreme being wants.  Who are we to know what that being wants.  I also accept the fact that there are other religions with their own sets of deities and demons and that they may exist in the same ethereal plane.
 
2013-05-01 12:23:45 PM  
Every occultist (pagan/wiccan/druid, etc.) I've ever met has been batshiat insane. This article is not surprising. I like the idea of celebrating the seasons since they are what actually make life sustainable on this planet. However, the people that follow this ideal, not so much.

Akin to "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
 
2013-05-01 12:28:06 PM  
I am an agnostic who doesn't believe in atheists.
 
2013-05-01 12:29:33 PM  
If there is no god, explain how jesus was able to tap dance on a cracker.
 
2013-05-01 12:32:21 PM  

Rwa2play: t3knomanser: Rwa2play: Really?!  Do they not realize how hypocritical that label is?!

It's not really hypocritical. Unexpected, perhaps, since atheism  implies some kind of skeptical thinking and that sort of spiritualism isn't exactly the most skeptical standpoint to take.

Uh, sorry but from what I understand someone who believes in atheism shouldn't be an occultist.  That's like being someone who believes in gravity but then doesn't believe that objects fall.


Your can not believe in gods but still but still believe in supernatural phenomena. All atheists are not straw vulcans.
 
2013-05-01 12:33:05 PM  

Rwa2play: Telos: Rwa2play: Some 'Splainin' To Do: Rwa2play: From what I got, it seems that witches don't believe in one, omniscient supreme being in the universe, but rather many of them.

I've had a lot of friends in pagan circles and my takeaway is that there are as many strains and variations in pagan belief as there are pagans. Are some of them polytheists? Yup? How about monotheists? Sure thing! Agnostics? Gotcha. Atheists? Why not!

I'd be more surprised if there was some basic theological position that pagans haven't staked out.

Then I guess you could say I'm weird in the fact that, as a spiritual Agnostic, not only do I believe that there is a supreme being in reality itself, but there are deities just below that that affect everyday life in one form or another.

That's not particularly different than Christianity, you realize that right?  God, Angels, Guardian Angels...

Except I rejected Christianity as a whole for being full of shiat and hypocritical, or at least how a Christian interprets what a supreme being wants.  Who are we to know what that being wants.  I also accept the fact that there are other religions with their own sets of deities and demons and that they may exist in the same ethereal plane.


They meet in Sigil.
 
2013-05-01 12:41:18 PM  
Umm, obvious?
 
2013-05-01 12:49:05 PM  

SpdrJay: I am an agnostic who doesn't believe in atheists.


I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac who stays up late wondering if there is a dog.
 
2013-05-01 12:53:53 PM  

PanicAttack: Every occultist (pagan/wiccan/druid, etc.) I've ever met has been batshiat insane. This article is not surprising. I like the idea of celebrating the seasons since they are what actually make life sustainable on this planet. However, the people that follow this ideal, not so much.

Akin to "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."


Gandhi had it spot on.
 
2013-05-01 12:53:57 PM  
Witchcraft isn't always about worship, and magick is not always about manipulating the world around you.

I guess you could say I'm agnostic when it comes to gods, but open-minded enough to allow for the unknown should it ever occur. I "worship" the sun and the universe as a whole if I worship anything, because if we come from anywhere it's those two sources, and we're entirely dependent on the sun for our existence. I don't anthropomorphize the sun or pray to the universe, though.

I don't believe in demons, devils, angels, or even spirits. I do believe in electromagnetic leftovers from traumatic events, echoes across multiple dimensions, and other "supernatural" things that seem plausible (though maybe improbable) via scientific/logical ideas.

There aren't ghosts; There are probably other dimensions. Sometimes we hear or see what's happening on an Earth that's on another dimensional plane, just for a moment, and then it goes away. It's not dead people communicating with us. It's a glimpse of live people on a world just like ours, and the irony is that they probably see us as "ghosts" too, on occasion.

Or maybe not. Who knows? Who cares? What does it matter?

They say that there are two kinds of people: "Glass half-full" people, and "Glass half-empty" people. I'm neither of those. I'm a "Glass is   always  full" kind of person, because if you're in Earth's atmosphere, the glass IS always full: It contains half liquid, and half oxygen. There are probably billions of microscopic creatures in there, too. And that's not even considering the subatomic level, the quantum level, etc.

The glass is always full.

That's where my philosophy lies right now.

Christianity is screwed not because of their beliefs, but because of their doctrines and accepted behavior. I'd be fine with them believing anything they want to believe. My problem with Christianity is that they're so damned aggressive about their beliefs. It's not enough that THEY believe: They need to force everyone else to believe what they do, or at least abide by their beliefs. They are offended by the very existence of non-believers or people who interpret the beliefs differently, and that's what makes them dangerous and unpleasant.

The same applies to Muslims and, to a lesser degree, Jews. All Abrahamic religions are aggressive, pushy, and intolerant of outsiders.

Cults are just as bad. Scientologist, Mormons, Satanists, over-the-top Wiccans, UFO cultists, and others tend to replace reality with fantasy on a regular basis, and cannot stand the idea that their belief system is not accepted for the "facts" it preaches. While they tend not to be as pushy with the recruiting (seeing themselves as elite clubs that "enlightened" folks join at a cost) they still seek to control members and replace what they previously knew with groupthink.

Organized religion is the problem. Religion on its own is fine. People left to worship privately, quietly, and without actively recruiting others into a group are usually okay. It's when they're being led by a personality of some sort that they end up becoming a societal problem. People who lead religions are only in it for power, money, or control. Even the peaceful eastern philosophies are led by men who have a lot of power and influence over their followers.

When religion becomes organized, it ceases to be introspection or peaceful philosophical thinking, and becomes mob mentality and tribal paranoia.

The fact is that humans are horrible when you get too many of them together, and when you tell them the god(s) are on their side (and everyone else is a LIAR!) you end up with dead, imprisoned, tortured, and degraded humans.

Organized religion sucks the humanity right out of us. It always has. It always will.
 
2013-05-01 12:58:14 PM  

t3knomanser: It's all very esoteric, and mostly stupid.


Yes, but no more or less stupid than deistic systems.  Just different.
 
2013-05-01 01:11:12 PM  
The academic pagans in my acquaintance know full well what they're doing is grown-up make believe, and likewise regard all other religions as social constructs. I think Pratchett actually cottoned on extremely well to Wicca with his witches books (while still providing a fantastical version).

It's very much a case of the now cliché Q: "is this all in my head?" A: "Does it matter?" TV dialogue.
 
2013-05-01 01:14:29 PM  

ZeroCorpse: Witchcraft isn't always about worship, and magick is not always about manipulating the world around you.


This.

Christianity is screwed not because of their beliefs, but because of their doctrines and accepted behavior. I'd be fine with them believing anything they want to believe. My problem with Christianity is that they're so damned aggressive about their beliefs. It's not enough that THEY believe: They need to force everyone else to believe what they do, or at least abide by their beliefs. They are offended by the very existence of non-believers or people who interpret the beliefs differently, and that's what makes them dangerous and unpleasant.

The same applies to Muslims and, to a lesser degree, Jews. All Abrahamic religions are aggressive, pushy, and intolerant of outsiders.


Again, this.  This is why I rejected Christianity, it's one thing to have those beliefs for yourself.  It's the whole "forcing the square peg into the round hole" axiom done writ large that's the problem.  When you start imposing your beliefs on anyone else, regardless of what their wishes/desires are, regardless of where they come from, what they do and who they are, and them judging them from a P.O.V. that's entirely yours and not universally accepted, that's when you're wrong.  It's like Christians desiring to be more like Christ but act more like those that judged him.  You try to be so much like Christ that you lose the perspective of why Jesus was like that.

Organized religion is the problem. Religion on its own is fine. People left to worship privately, quietly, and without actively recruiting others into a group are usually okay. It's when they're being led by a personality of some sort that they end up becoming a societal problem. People who lead religions are only in it for power, money, or control. Even the peaceful eastern philosophies are led by men who have a lot of power and influence over their followers.

When religion becomes organized, it ceases to be introspection or peaceful philosophical thinking, and becomes mob mentality and tribal paranoia.

The fact is that humans are horrible when you get too many of them together, and when you tell them the god(s) are on their side (and everyone else is a LIAR!) you end up with dead, imprisoned, tortured, and degraded humans.

Organized religion sucks the humanity right out of us. It always has. It always will.


Chris Rock in "Dogma" said it best: He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shiat that gets carried out in His name - wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.

It's great to have the "idea" on how one should lead their life, but when you make it absolute and inflexible, that's when things go bad.
 
2013-05-01 01:35:09 PM  
The vast majority of NDE experiencers always express God/Divine/afterlife as a type of pure overpowering love that words fail at doing justice to, and they usually dont see a religious figure per se. If they are right, being spiritual but "atheist" in the way the word is usually used would make sense.
 
2013-05-01 01:51:37 PM  
ZeroCorpse and Rwa2play seem to have said a lot of things I hold dear to myself after going through a religious phase where I drank the kool-aid and found Christianity. One day I saw the Westburo Baptist Church and became so disgusted with people who were so-called Christians, but weren't anything like what a good Christian was supposed to be. I spent weeks struggling with the idea that as a Christian, these were also supposedly my people. Slightly outside of my denomination, but still on the same team. Like the WNBA of Sports, if Basketball is Christianity.

After months of searching and looking into different religions, I turned against Christianity in favor for the beliefs of Wicca, but as I continued to follow that path, I discovered that I didn't want to practice in a coven and I wanted to "feel" my own religion without other input. Now, instead of saying I'm Wiccan, I just tell people I'm Pagan, and there's no real reason to discuss religion. Because its MY religion, and it can't really belong to anyone else. I see the higher power as a myriad of beings, having both male and female counterparts. Sometimes they are both and neither. They have different "powers/aspects/foci" that allows me to direct my thoughts at certain things. Magick is simply a powerful version of prayer, like  t3knomanser described, that uses the ideas of a god/goddess in order to direct your thoughts in a more meaningful way, the more refined the better. The ritual was a show for those around you, or used to bring the covens together to focus on one task. And, since Hollywood magic doesn't actually exist, the strongest part of any magick or ritual performed was always the effort you physically put behind it.

But, it still doesn't matter what I am, as long as I try to uphold my own moral code and be a good person in my own mind. I went through a phase where I was embarrassed to say that I was Wiccan or Pagan, because there are a lot of people who have seemed completely off kilter and "crazy." I didn't want to associate with them either. A girl in highschool used to identify as Wiccan, claimed to be bisexual, had a long term relationship with a female, hated men, but "chose" a select few she wanted to either have sex with or mutilate their penis, depending on the day. She claimed that wicca gave her the authority to use men as her slaves and they willingly offered themselves as participants in her aforementioned sexual plans. Personally, I think she was an ugly, fat girl who created a fantasy in her mind and attempted to impress people by fabricating stories and rationalizing her thoughts via twisted views of a simple belief structure. Either way, she is not me, and I am not her, and while we both identified as "Wiccan" my version was much more palatable (to me) than hers. Maybe I could technically be a good Christian kid if I didn't directly tell you I wasn't, but it became so much easier once I stopped caring what other people thought and allowed myself to see my faith as something personal between me and the higher.
 
2013-05-01 01:56:43 PM  

Fano: They meet in Sigil.


The Lady of Pain would not allow YHWH into Sigil.

ReverendJasen: Yes, but no more or less stupid than deistic systems.  Just different.


Not commenting on the relative stupidity.
 
2013-05-01 01:59:53 PM  

Fano: Rwa2play: Except I rejected Christianity as a whole for being full of shiat and hypocritical, or at least how a Christian interprets what a supreme being wants.  Who are we to know what that being wants.  I also accept the fact that there are other religions with their own sets of deities and demons and that they may exist in the same ethereal plane.

They meet in Sigil.



'Ey, berk. Quit rattlin yer bone-box or it's the mazes for you!
 
2013-05-01 02:07:32 PM  
I flirted briefly with Wicca while I was still in my spiritual searching phase. At least until my natural empiricist side showed itself. Some guy claimed that his 'spirit guide' or whatever made him immune to fire and gave him the ability to levitate. So I set his coat on fire and pushed him over a balcony. Not a high balcony, but enough to prove that his abilities were not available on demand. I was not a good Wiccan.
 
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