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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in belief

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Existentialism Part 1: Perceived Reality

How do I know the gods are real? How do I know other people outside myself are real? How do I know I am real?

After experiencing the mysterium tremendum during my initiation and dedication to Freya in 1989, I could feel the presence of the gods. Until 1997, there was no question in my mind that the gods were as real as anyone else because I could feel them. I could feel the presence of their minds the same way I could feel the presence of the minds of other human beings. I chose to believe the evidence of my own senses. That which I perceive as having a mind that can press against mine is real: trees and the spirits of trees, animals and animal totems, humans and human ghosts, the sun and the goddess of the sun.

In today's science, it is possible to induce sensation, vision, and hearing by stimulating the brain-- and I know this because I read about it, which ultimately means I chose to believe what a news reporter wrote about a scientific study because, in the final equation, I believe that what my eye saw was in fact words written by another person and not something my brain invented because of false stimuli. I chose to believe that other people exist and that what I perceive is true.

Whether to believe in what I perceive is an existential question. I think that if I chose not to believe that the things I sense with all my senses are real, I could not function as a human being. I would just sit around disbelieving everything, until I starved to death from not eating the food I didn't believe in. I chose to believe that what I sense is real: that food is real, and I can eat it to sustain my body, which is also real. That when I see an object across the room, that object is real. That when I feel sunshine on my skin, that the sun is real, and my skin is real, and heat is real.  I chose to believe that when I sense someone's mind, what I am sensing is real, whether they are a human, animal, spirit, or god.

Where does one draw a line between "real" and "imaginary?" If one draws that line because of social pressure to disbelieve in gods, one must first believe that other people are real for their opinions to matter. If one senses the gods with one's senses, and disbelieves in them because other people do not sense them, that is putting a faith in other people ahead of one's perceived reality.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Kinds of Knowledge

Different kinds of knowing, each having their own veracity and value, are to be cultivated and used appropriately. However, there is one kind of knowing we should avoid as much as possible: belief.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Webster, Thanks for another really interesting post. That is a bit of a trick, trying to unlearn the notion of 'belief' in th

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Knowing You're Right

More drama has surfaced within wider Pagan community within recent weeks, particularly within the blogosphere between “polytheists” and “humanists”. I put those terms in quotes to blanket a lot of people under them, and because after all I’ve read regarding either camp, I’m not sure I understand what those terms really mean anymore.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    Sorry it took me so longer to reply, thank you all for your comments. I'm not sure what the path ahead looks like, but one thing s
  • aought
    aought says #
    I've always thought of myself as Heathen. Pagan works too, though I do get tired of explaining that I do not consider myself a Wit
  • aought
    aought says #
    It is sad to see the Pagan community aping the Abrahamic sects. Per the dictionary definition, Pagan or Heathen refers to those wh
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    Precisely. Asatru went through this back in the 1990's, with various camps on various issues going through paroxysms of "You're no
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    I think it's an internet effect. It acts as an echo chamber, and it's easy to forget we are such a tiny minority in terms of the m

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

It's probably no surprise that I'm a huge fan of parodies and satire, or the various "-ifications" on the net (yes, I know that's not a word, I'm using it anyway).

I really enjoy it when people get creative about their interpretations of things- the creative world is too broad and vast for us to get terribly proprietary over our ideas.  Copyright infringement and patent laws and such really bug me.  Of course, I like the reversal of such things, like Repo: the Genetic Opera, which is not even terribly tongue in cheek in its commentary on commercialism in health care.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    It's only suggested by the title of your post, but have you seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54VJWHL2K3I (I'm a gamer
  • S. Rune Emerson
    S. Rune Emerson says #
    Actually, I put that link in the post, although apparently the video is having a problem. *chuckles* But yes, I felt it was ter
  • Laine
    Laine says #
    It's nice to see that others have witnessed the interplay between story and world and spirit wherein it concerns roleplaying games
  • S. Rune Emerson
    S. Rune Emerson says #
    That's a great question! I actually do have a few answers for that, as it's been a bit of an issue for me and mine as well. *chu
  • Naya Aerodiode
    Naya Aerodiode says #
    Oh, Mage: The Ascension. What a wonderful RPG. I've spent many years playing it, and went on many awesome adventures. And I lea

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
My Pagan Theology

Yesterday was Walpurgisnacht, the night in which German witches are said to fly around on broomsticks and revel. Today is Beltane and my birthday. I was born in the early morning hours between Walpurgisnacht and Beltane, to a German mother and an Irish-German-American father  in the birth town of the Grim brothers. It makes me think that magic runs in my blood, and yet this is the first year in which I will dance the may pole.

It haven't even walked this pagan path for a full year and a day. I am still a new witchlet and yet I am practically watching my theology come together - like pieces rising from the ashes of a puzzle destroyed in the fire. When my previous Christian theology went up in flames I thought agnosticism was the best the world could offer me. The resurrection of belief has been more than an intellectual delight, it has been a breath of new life. To not only disbelieve the old things but to believe in new things. I believe again!

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

• Isa •

Old English Rune Poem
Is (Ice) is over-cold, extremely slippery;
It glistens glass-clear, most like gems;
It is a floor wrought by frost, fair to look upon

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
You

In 2013 I plan to write more than I have in 2012, which was certainly more than in 2011. There is a growing interest in what one does on a "Pagan homestead", and what makes it magickal or Pagan. Today, however, I want to steer away from that to something I think many are very guilty of, even if you don't want to admit it. I'm definitely guilty of it, and this is my public proclamation to be better, to understand my worth and limits.

There is an often overlooked component to Paganism, it’s propagation, and the fostering of a tolerant environment in which it can, in its many forms, be fostered and actively encouraged to grow and flourish. That part isn’t the expected tolerance from others, it’s not the guaranteed, yet often unrealized, equality and freedom for those who have ‘alternative’ spiritual paths. It’s something closer to home.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    I am going to keep working every minute of every day to bring Rupert's Tales and their messages to the world. I am going to keep
  • Joy
    Joy says #
    Well said. We definitely need to reach outside our own tribe, so to speak, and notice the community around us and the world we all

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