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.

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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.

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Literal Gods Are for the Literal Minded: Re-Enchanting Polytheism

The disenchantment of the world happened, not when we stopped seeing gods and spirits in nature, but when we stopped seeing our essential connection to nature. Personifying rivers and trees with dryads is not going to accomplish this. Rather, we need to realize our essential oneness, the manifold ways in which we are connected to the rivers and the trees–whether or not we find gods in them.

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The Problem and the Promise of Paganism, and Why One Looks a Lot Like the Other

In spite of the tendency of many Pagans to confuse the pre-rational with the trans-rational, in spite of the uncritical attitudes and superstitious ideas that haunt a lot of Paganism, I still call myself a Pagan. I am still a Pagan because I believe that Paganism is a door to the trans-rational. I believe that Paganism has the potential to bring together the wisdom of our animistic forebearers and the discoveries of contemporary science in a way that has the power to reenchant the world.

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