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January 30, 2006 8:14 PM   Subscribe

I knew this post would make me sound like Cassandra, or Chicken Little, or some other made-up freak, but a thinking man ought to pay it mind. All sorts of kind, intelligent (and not crazy) folks are coming to realize pagans are the new black. Suck it, seculars.
posted by If I Had An Anus (55 comments total)

 
Another religion thread? Really?
posted by mullingitover at 8:16 PM on January 30, 2006


Actually, some of the thoughts in the comments are kinda interesting, so free yr mind and shit.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:17 PM on January 30, 2006


I dislike paganism as much as I dislike Christianity. I tend to view the reasons one becomes a pagan as more of a rebellion against Christianity than a true belief in the nature of paganism.

Atheists must never waver on their resolve that all god(s) do not exist.
posted by matkline at 8:23 PM on January 30, 2006


Same crap, different flavor.

I love how the article dismisses atheism and agnosticism as "past." I'm happy they do so - while everyone who believes in imaginary forces squabble amongst themselves, those who think rationally can continue to push forward humanity as a whole.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:24 PM on January 30, 2006


Atheists must never waver on their resolve that all god(s) do not exist.

in other words, they must 'stay the course'...
posted by quonsar at 8:25 PM on January 30, 2006


"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
posted by mullingitover at 8:29 PM on January 30, 2006


No, no, no. Pagans are hated because they're a bunch of pretentious douchebags with a persecution complex.
posted by keswick at 8:31 PM on January 30, 2006


For example, I can't say
For the rest, there is the pantheon of paganism that is called “new age” or “spiritualism” but actually most resembles old Hinduism. These are designer religions. They are like the little colored plastic covers for your cell phone – they are interchangeable and they do not affect the function of the phone. If Bob does kabbalah and Fried worships gaia, they can hang out and compare practices, just as they can play for each other the songs in their iPods. It’s fun, it makes you feel “spiritual” and it doesn’t interfere with all the other good things. Besides, both Bob and Fred can meet cute girls at the meetings of their respective doctrines. (#24)
doesn't ring a litle bit true for me, and I believe in a pagan pantheon. Sure, it displays a dismissive attitude from a cocky outsider who thinks he knows more of what he's talking about than he actually probably does. But that's an attitude which should be pretty familiar to MetaFilter, and the doesn’t interfere with all the other good things snark describes succintly a common malady of many modern lifestyles that is just as true for paganism or even atheism.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:32 PM on January 30, 2006


What do we have to suck? We haven't asserted anything.
posted by interrobang at 8:35 PM on January 30, 2006


The Great MeFi Awakening
posted by stirfry at 8:36 PM on January 30, 2006


i thought smokers were the new blacks.
posted by brandz at 8:38 PM on January 30, 2006


I thought gay was the new black?! Godammit, I never get the memos.
posted by LarryC at 8:38 PM on January 30, 2006


I believe in Ninjas. I don't see Ninjas mentioned though. Does that make me a Gnostic?
posted by freebird at 8:43 PM on January 30, 2006


ummmmm no.
posted by j-urb at 8:54 PM on January 30, 2006


I thought poor people were black.
This is confusing :(
posted by jenovus at 8:59 PM on January 30, 2006


what was the old black? or should that be "who"?
posted by stirfry at 9:07 PM on January 30, 2006


A shocking new study finds that 73 percent of American teens are experimenting with the occult!
posted by homunculus at 9:07 PM on January 30, 2006


Witches are the new black--right now. Pirates are so 2002. And the word is robots and sailors are gonna be big in 2007.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:12 PM on January 30, 2006


You mean big, sailor, love robots? Be still my heart.
posted by Oyéah at 9:14 PM on January 30, 2006


folks are coming to realize pagans are the new black. Suck it, seculars.

Lol, okay.

I think it's hard to be a pagan and be really truly sane. Much like being any other religion, only moreso.
posted by delmoi at 9:15 PM on January 30, 2006


If Bob does kabbalah and Fried worships gaia, they can hang out and compare practices, just as they can play for each other the songs in their iPods.

I hear religion is the new bukkake. And this sounds like my kinda party!
posted by eatitlive at 9:17 PM on January 30, 2006


You bet. Queer Eye for the Robot Sailor Guy, baby! C-3PO in a sailor suit will melt your heart into a big puddle of lurve. Evil spells and hexes? Step off, Witch Hazel.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:19 PM on January 30, 2006


(reads link)

Oh, black as in trendy, not black as in african american (who are always trendy, but also often opressed)

Anyway.
posted by delmoi at 9:19 PM on January 30, 2006


>>The experiences and testimony were the same: the day of the atheist and agnostic is (mostly) dead

Right. Religious people get together to announce what's dead. Poster is babystitting the thread and saying stuff like "so free yr mind and shit" and generalizes about cocky attitudes on metafilter.

Single link post to a paragraph and a loud mouth agenda driven poster. Now this is the best of the web!
posted by skallas at 9:28 PM on January 30, 2006


Suck it, seculars?

Whatever. This post is terrible.
posted by chasing at 9:39 PM on January 30, 2006


Flagged as the suck that it is.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:44 PM on January 30, 2006


Someone makes, based on his impression of a single conference he attended, the following unsupported assertions:Someone else links to it MetaFilter, commenting that seculars should "suck it."

Hilarity ensues.
posted by moonbiter at 10:03 PM on January 30, 2006


Suck it, suckers!
(Self lick!)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:10 PM on January 30, 2006


I admit that I laughed, loudly, at "Suck it, seculars." Is that wrong?
posted by onegreeneye at 10:18 PM on January 30, 2006



Clearly, these people are DARK SIDED!!!.

Yes YES!
posted by malphigian at 10:20 PM on January 30, 2006


I have on several occasions been the defender of Christianity amongst my friends, some of whom are well-educated artists and musicians -- you would think that it would be impossible for an educated person who claims to be a compassionate individual to really be able to assert that Christianity has no redeeming value of any type.

Yet it seems inevitable to me that as people become more sophisticated there will be an inevitable move away from religions like Christianity and Islam that require very specific beliefs and toward less specific belief systems, personal sets of stories with unique value for one specific individual.

It is unfortunate that many people who think of themselves as moral and sensitive perceive the world today to be in a state of of spiritual and ethical decay. They see a world at war under the banner of religion; they see the forests of the world dying, the world warming, the ice-caps melting, our fuel running out; they fear the huge corporations that they see as soulless organizations, and the huge governments they see as corrupt war machines; they see destruction, fear, suspicion and terror stalk the land. And they see the culprits as being the Christian rulers of America, and the Christian business owners of America, and Christianity is tarnished for them as a result.

Christianity is no set of stories to be picked through and discarded as needed. In order to be a Christian, you must believe in the literal truth of many things that are at first blush impossible to believe (credo quia absurdum).

And the same is true of Islam, and to a lesser extent of Judaism. To believe part is to believe all and to believe in the whole is to believe a whole set of things that to an uninitiated individual might appear to be absurd.

Mytho-ethical systems like Hindu and Buddhism are not religions in the same sense. The educated Hindu doesn't believe in the literal truth of his myths but understands them to be guiding stories of his society and his ethos that illuminate important aspects of the world. Buddhism goes even further, denying the role of the Buddha entirely in many cases -- the school named Zen, the most extreme example, has many stories involving famous figures mocking authority and the Buddha himself. A Buddhist is quite literally not required to believe in anything at all.

These modern spiritual travelers look at Christianity and say, "I am required to believe something that is absurd. And worse, the people who believe these absurd things are also starting all these wars -- in fact, their Holy Book says that their God will destroy the world." And they leave.

It's no wonder that many of them end up worshipping the Earth and Nature, because they feel it is the most marvellous thing they have ever seen; that, and because they feel compelled to protect and nurture that very Earth that they see being inexorably destroyed by the ever-accelerating machine of the corporations, a machine that is consuming the planet itself to create ever-increasing wealth for an ever-smaller group of people.

[I also posted this on the site itself...]
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:29 PM on January 30, 2006


The anti-secularists can go here, here, and here and then come back and tell us how badly we can suck it. Something tells me they'll be hugging the TSA agents at O'Hare, that is if they come back with either of their hands. The protections of secularism are taken for granted it seems.


posted by skallas at 10:39 PM on January 30, 2006


lupus_yonderboy: The educated Hindu doesn't believe in the literal truth of his myths but understands them to be guiding stories of his society and his ethos that illuminate important aspects of the world.

If you don't believe in the truth of the myths, why are they any better than any other fiction? It would make as much sense to take your morality from them as to take it from the Lord of the Rings, or the Final Fantasy game series.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:49 PM on January 30, 2006


Also, mind the source. This is the World Magazine's blog. From about us:
WORLD Mission Statement: To report, interpret, and illustrate the news in a timely, accurate, enjoyable, and arresting fashion from a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.
posted by skallas at 10:53 PM on January 30, 2006


Lupus, I would also think it impossible for an educated person to believe in the impossible, but apparently all it takes is Latin phrase of obscure origin to overcome that impossibility. There are many people, theologians among them, who don't believe in the literal truth of the Bible and proudly consider themselves Christian. They're called not fundamentalists. And they're wrong too.
posted by mikelly at 11:00 PM on January 30, 2006


I'm confused. A lot of people in this thread make it sound like this article is cheering this "development". It seemed fairly clear to me that this blog entry was about how Christianity needs to change targets and see paganism as its #1 Most Hated Enemy.
Are you atheists in the crowd actually upset that you're no longer seen as the threat you were? What exactly is bothering you about this? Shouldn't you just dismiss it as one group of quacks deciding to hate another group of quacks, rather than you, and be happy about it?
posted by nightchrome at 11:38 PM on January 30, 2006


It's the presence of all of the quacks that's bothersome.
posted by chasing at 11:53 PM on January 30, 2006


Agreed. Especially the atheist quacks...
posted by nightchrome at 11:54 PM on January 30, 2006


umm. was that an article?
posted by washburn at 12:38 AM on January 31, 2006


Peripherally, there was a really interesting piece on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday about Jewish vs. Christian interpretations of the bible(long Window Media stream). The guest was a Jewish scholar who has a new book out called "How to Read the Bible" and he has fascinating. In this context, the "bible" being considered is just the Old Testament of the Christian bible.

In a climate in which Biblical inerrancy is flogged so heavily, it was really refreshing to hear someone of learning say that the Bible is open to different valid interpretations by anyone who reads it. Of course, the fundamentalists would decry that as chaos and heresy. Biblical inerrancy used to seem kooky to me, but now its starting to feel dangerous. The new inquisition runs through Lynchburg, VA.

There is a really clear thread of authoritarianism that runs through fundamentalist Christianity in America today that I find very troubling. Some of the replies here seem to take offense at the notion of anyone having religion, but I'd be a lot more afraid of this bunch right now, because they seem to have a real agenda and have managed to acquire the political wherewithal to do something about it.

Also, for another discussion about the tension between liberal and fundamentalist Christianity in America today, there is a good review by Garry Wills of Jimmy Carter's new book at the New York Review of Books this week.
posted by hwestiii at 4:47 AM on January 31, 2006


the day of the atheist and agnostic is (mostly) past

What the fuck is this guy on?
posted by JoshTeeters at 7:18 AM on January 31, 2006


This article and discussion bring up a good point: secularism must never be tampered with in order to assure that a person has the right to believe, or not believe, whatever they wish. While Skallas' militant atheism gets under my skin at times, he does point out that non-secular societies squash whatever debates or whatever options we could entertain. As America drifts ever-closer to awoved theocratic tendencies, a terrible risk is posed to those of (any) faith or none-at-all.

I think it's awesome that we can have intelligent debates about this- the alternative is far from pleasant.
posted by moonbird at 7:27 AM on January 31, 2006


Mitrovarr:
If you don't believe in the truth of the myths, why are they any better than any other fiction? It would make as much sense to take your morality from them as to take it from the Lord of the Rings, or the Final Fantasy game series.

Perhaps you're closer to the mark than you realize...

Today, due to the revolutionary effects of the printing press and mass communications technology, we can take all sorts of stories and legends for granted. We're practically drowning in all sorts of media. And not just "junk" media; much of it quite, quite sophisticated.

However, one of my little pet theories is that all the great myths and legends of history gained such clout due to the fact that, well, back then the "memetic landscape" wasn't so gosh-darn crowded. The Bible, Quaran, Bhagavad Gita, etc etc, were fine pieces of literature that were also lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of humanity's intellectual development.

Now, I'm not saying that such works are devoid of any spiritual value. They probably wouldn't have lasted the tests of time and revision if they were worthless. But on the same note, I can't help but wonder how much of their much-touted importance is due to nothing more than a staggering case of "seniority bias". That they are so valuable simply because we've spent thousands of years building our societies around the belief that they are valuable.

If I had a time machine and more meddlesome curiousity than moral restraint, I'd take a nice piece of fat fiction, translate it into ancient Hebrew or whatever, shoot it back in time a few thousand years and then see if a Church of the Worlds of Amber eventually pops up down the line.

/ a bit of a twist on the old saw that "God is everywhere and in everything".
posted by PsychoKick at 7:50 AM on January 31, 2006


I was going to comment about why I turned to paganism, and continued to follow it for well over ten years now. But then I remembered how shitty all these religious/spiritual threads turn out and I'm going to instead go have a meaningful dialogue with a wall. Ta.
posted by FunkyHelix at 7:51 AM on January 31, 2006


PsychoKick: When I was a kid I used to wonder what would happen if, 2000 years from now, somebody dug up a bunch of Stephen King novels and decided to make a religion out of them. Even then I saw the Bible as just a bunch of made-up stories.

In response to Mitrovarr I was going to say those old myths have value because they form complete story-systems, refined over milennia, that are darn-near comprehensive in terms of ethics, archetypal characters, and spiritual guidance.

I hadn't considered the possibility of "seniority bias." Good point.

As for The Lord of the Rings, I would argue that many people do take some of their spiritual values from it. The same goes for Star Wars, The Matrix, etc. However, due to these entertainments' status as fiction, people may not be fully conscious of how much they are influenced by them, which arguably makes them more powerful than some religious texts.
posted by spacewaitress at 8:31 AM on January 31, 2006


lupus_yonderboy, I totally agree with everything in your post, except the value in swallowing whole as literal truth all the tenets of Christianity. I agree that it's sad that thinking, sensitive people are turned off from Christianity due to the fucked-up shit being done by so-called "Christians." But I don't see how anything in your post gives good support for literal belief. (Which, admittedly, isn't really in the scope of one comment on Metafilter).

I also don't understand the problem some "Christians" have with "worshipping Nature." Creation is a gift from God (that is, if you believe in an anthropomorphised God, which is a whole 'nother story). Why should people not love Creation and want to let it flourish? But anyway, doesn't it say in John 3:16 that God so loved the world? What world do they think it's talking about, if not the one we all live in?
posted by spacewaitress at 8:38 AM on January 31, 2006


I think it's hard impossible to be a pagan human and be really truly sane.
posted by brevator at 8:56 AM on January 31, 2006


Following some of the links in the linked post, it appears that the "promotion" of homosexuality is a matter of some concern to these folks. So it's ironic that the Mefi poster is promoting a homosexual act. (Suck what?)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:25 AM on January 31, 2006


Faith isn't necessarily about stories; I think that's something that fundies and atheists alike tend not to grasp. Few religions expect their mythology to be taken literally; rather the myths are supposed to have truthiness, and be symbolic and metaphorical.

And in fact, I do see the divine in works of fiction as well, sometimes. Perhaps that's imagination at work, the human tendency to make semiotic connections between things.

I don't think religion necessarily contradicts science, which is why creationists piss me off so.
posted by Foosnark at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2006


Metafilter: chrisofascist idea of theocracy
posted by Smedleyman at 10:58 AM on January 31, 2006


This post... and the article it contains.... suck.
You're going to have to do better than that.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:43 AM on January 31, 2006


...in fact, their Holy Book says that their God will destroy the world.

He made it, why shouldn't He destroy it?
posted by quonsar at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2006


posted by quonsar He made it, why shouldn't He destroy it?

He prefers to create tsunamis, babies without brains, and AIDS, and then laugh at our suffering.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:11 PM on January 31, 2006


Hello, moon.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 1:20 PM on January 31, 2006


How is Paganism different from any other retreat into superstition? Because it happens to be hip for the moment? Because Glastonbury is full of hempy babes who dig faux-celtic marriage rituals? Sorry, all religion is on my watch list. Even the hippy-dippy variety. Even been to a pagan festival? Check out the rubbish they leave behind and tell me how much they "worship nature".
posted by slatternus at 10:24 PM on January 31, 2006


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