[2.9] Religion Prerequisites

[2.9] Religion Prerequisites

Hey, viewers! My name’s Cara. I’m your host
for Tuesdays on The Pagan Perspective, and this week we’re talking about Paganism without
religion and without Deity. I’m gonna try to make this short and sweet
because it might have to be a mobile upload due to my schedule this week; we’ve started
rehearsals for the show I’m stage managing. So just going right into it, trying to be
concise… We have two topics today, really, that kind
of go together. The first one is from dikka who asks us about whether you can be Pagan
and not take it as a religion, and they talked about having read that sometimes Wiccans talk
about having a symbolic view of Deity rather than a literal view of Deity, and that’s the
only place where they’ve really seen this kind of topic discussed. And then the second
question is from whoseeswho. Their question is, they’re an Atheist who is extremely interested
in Paganism, but since Atheism means believing in no deities, how do we explain this? So. These are ideas that are very near and
dear to my heart. I very strongly believe in these things for my own path and for my
view of how other people can formulate their paths. So, that said, I may be a little impassioned
about this. I- we’ve done a topic in the past about “religion” versus “spirituality”, as
terms. There are a lot of people who will readily identify as spiritual, but who, I
feel, are hesitant to or afraid of identifying as religious, because–I THINK because–so
many people say the word “religion” and they only are referring to very certain mainstream
religions and what they are like. Granted, there are some people, especially
some really aggressive anti-religionists that I’ve seen online who, when THEY say “religion,”
they really do mean ANY form of religion [laughs]. Good for them for being inclusive in that
way! But a lot of people who use the term only
mean certain religions and totally leave out everyone else. So I’ve done a video before
about how I identify as religious AND spiritual, and I don’t think we should be afraid to use
the term “religion” and we should just remind people that there are other religions, those
are not the only ones out there. So I’ll put a link to that in the description. Um. But there’s also lots of different definitions
of the word “religion,” and we’ve talked about this in the past in videos before. I will
put a link in the description to a page from ReligiousTolerance.org about multiple definitions
of “religion.” Suffice it to say, not all definitions of “religion” require it to have
any belief in Deity. And as dikka was mentioning, talking about some Wiccans having symbolic
view of Deity rather than a literal view of Deity, that’s what my view is and that’s what
a lot of people’s views are… That doesn’t make it not a religion. So then bringing that into the second topic,
what whoseeswho is asking: They’re atheist so they don’t believe in any deities but they’re
interested in Paganism, how do we answer that? Paganism does not require belief in DEITY.
It depends on the tradition and the branch. Some traditions of Paganism, some branches
of Paganism, some groups within Paganism, do have belief in Deity. It may be literal,
it may be symbolic. But some of them do have those. But Paganism as a whole does not require
belief in Deity. And for the two of these questioners and anyone else looking into this
kind of thing, some key words that you might want to look for when you’re searching online
or in books or however, would be: soft polytheism, which is sometimes used as
a term for the symbolic view of Deity–when you recognize multiple Deities such as a polytheist
but don’t view them as literal–this is opposed to “hard polytheism” and we’ll be talking
about those terms more in specific, I think next month, so I don’t want to go too much
into that ’cause we will have more opportunity to expand on those things in the coming months… So soft polytheism, symbolic views of Deity,
symbolic theism, non-theism, and even atheistic paganism. These are all terms that you may come across.
And searching for those things may help you find some things that are along these lines
that you’re looking for. So, yeah. My basic opinion on this is that
religion can mean many, many things. One of my favorite definitions, um, I’ve used in
the past before in videos, says something like that religion is “a personal set or institutionalized
system of beliefs and ideas,” that it doesn’t have to just be the institutionalized system
as in the Church Of ____ Fill-In-The-Blank. It’s also your personal set of beliefs and
ideals and that can be a religion, as well. So, a commonly cited example is the Unitarian
Universalist Church, because UUs don’t have any specific beliefs that you must uphold
in order to be UU, they’re more like ideas that we have in common about the world and
humanity. Things like that. Um, sometimes people call those things, like
Buddhism and other religious-like systems that don’t have views of Deity, sometimes
people prefer to call those philosophies. I think in some cases that word applies, too.
But sometimes it is also religion. And when it comes to things like Wicca and Witchcraft,
Witchcraft is also religion for some people and may have nothing to do with Deity. But that’s going off on another tangent! I
just wanted to mention that briefly before I go! And, yeah! So religion does not necessitate
belief in Deity, Paganism does not necessitate belief in Deity, and I will let some of the
other hosts this week talk more about that, because everyone on the channel has a different
concept of Deity. So you’ll be hearing from a range this week. Thank you very much for watching! And until
next week, Don’t Forget To Be Awesome, Blessed Be, and goodbye!

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  1. I 100% agree with you!!! So many people never want to acknowledge that what they believe is a 'religion.' People argue forever over what religion is. To me, religion ways always the outward manifestation of spirituality. To me that means that a pagan denying that they are religious is tantamount to saying that they do not celebrate the Sabbats or Esbats, or saying that they never perform any ritual at all. Religion can be wonderful thing if people would just be open minded about it. Instead, they tend to let those who abuse others with it ruin their image of religion and what it is and can be. Too many just cower away from the term when they should want to reclaim it.

  2. In my view it also can cook down in basic human psychology. Do you have a need for deities or can you manifest what you are looking for without feeling of higher being guiding you? And is the deity just an reflection of your subconscious mind?

  3. You explained this very well! Thank you! I still feel strange using the term religion so hopefully I can grow past it. 🙂

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