Five Mistakes We Make When Criticizing Other Religions

Religion is far more than a set of propositions to which we intellectually assent or dissent. Religion is inextricably intertwined with our social networks and our cultural context. And religious behavior, including religious speech, is far more than an expression of belief; it is a performance which binds us to our religious communities. When secularists, atheists, and religious naturalists attack a religion on the basis of the demonstrable falsity of the beliefs of its adherents, we reveal our own ignorance of the complexity of this thing we call religion.

Read more

An Earthseed Solstice: Festival of the Teacher

The summer solstice coincides with the birthday of Octavia Butler, June 22.  So we celebrate Butler’s life and work, as well as the beginning of summer.  Through the ritual, we will seek to deepen our understanding of the words of the Book of the Living: “God is Teacher” and “Partnership is learning and teaching”.  The ritual will involve song, like Peter Mayer’s “God is a River”, and call-and-response. The center of the ritual will be a “meditative teaching” and the construction of an altar or “focus” to honor teachers who have inspired us.

Read more

How a Hobbit Would Celebrate the Summer Solstice

When we light our solstice fire this year, I will be thinking of shadows. I will be thinking of ruined landscapes. And I will be thinking of Hobbits. Little people who took up farm tools and kitchen implements and drove out the shadow of desolation from their homes.

Read more

How Wonder Woman Both Perpetuates and Challenges Christian Dualism

The movie Wonder Woman is a Christianization of Greek myth, with Zeus taking the role of the Christian God and Ares taking the role of Satan, making Wonder Woman a female Jesus. A certain kind of Christian dualism has worked itself so deep into our collective psyche that it seems we can’t even tell a story about pagan gods without replicating that dualism.

Read more

What American Gods Tells Us About the Need for Religious Ecstasy

American Gods possibly reflected and probably magnified a dissatisfaction among many Pagans with popular forms of Paganism. And it offered one possible alternative: literal belief in the gods and devotional forms of worship. Popular Paganism was failing to produce the kind deep religious experiences that many of Pagans craved, and devotional polytheism promised to answer that craving. There is a lesson here for Godless Pagans and other Religious Naturalists. If we want our religions to thrive, and if we want to experience the depths that spirituality has to offer, we must find ways to tap into the experience of transcendence and ecstasy.

Read more

Literal Minded Atheism

Whether the gods are objectively real is the least interesting question you can ask about a person’s religious experience. What is much more interesting is the subjective reality of their experience. What was the experience was like for them? And what does it mean to them in the context of their life? People’s religious experiences aren’t going to help us put a person on Mars or cure cancer, but they can help us understand why we want to put a person on Mars or why should try to cure cancer.

Read more

Literal Minded Atheism

Whether the gods are objectively real is the least interesting question you can ask about a person’s religious experience. What is much more interesting is the subjective reality of their experience. What was the experience was like for them? And what does it mean to them in the context of their life? People’s religious experiences aren’t going to help us put a person on Mars or cure cancer, but they can help us understand why we want to put a person on Mars or why should try to cure cancer.

Read more