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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in conflict

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A while back, I read a book by a contemporary theologian whose initial premise was: The story of the struggle between Good and Evil is a human universal.

And that's quite simply not true.

One certainly seems to see this story everywhere. Go to a Hollywood movie, pick up a popular novel: good guys vs. bad guys. Worse: we see it in our own heads. Matriarchy good, patriarchy bad. Abrahamics bad, paganisms good.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    David, my heart beats faster when I hear words like "teleological" and "deontological." (How pathetic is *that*?) I surely do love
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    I often do the same thing! None the less, it's a good conversation to have and thinking about how we view our ethics is very impo
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks David: you're absolutely right about the overstated conclusion. One of my besetting flaws as a writer is a tendency to get
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    I agree that non-dualistic thinking is preferred to dualistic thought. We certainly live in a dualistic culture here in the USA.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Better than Belief

In our culture belief is the sine qua non of religion. We talk of ‘beliefs’, and ‘believers’, and ‘other beliefs’, as synonyms for religious doctrines, adherents and other religions. The problem with this is that only one religion on the planet actually cares about what you believe: Christianity. Most other religions relate to their doctrines or practices in very different and sometimes contradictory ways, such as having several unresolved and conflicting opinions in one person. For them, this is not a problem, but for Christianity it is. The history of Christianity is mostly about disagreements in doctrine and who had to flee, hide, fight, be killed, or submit to whom, about it. It is true that across human history religion has been an excuse for war or plunder, but that was usually about resources or dominance and not about technical points of theology. Christianity is different.

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  • Henry Buchy
    Henry Buchy says #
    heh, the old 'faith vs works' debate...
  • Peggy Andreas
    Peggy Andreas says #
    That was a very interesting read, thanks. My own take on this is something I've understood since reading Starhawk's "Spiral Dance
  • T. Thorn Coyle
    T. Thorn Coyle says #
    Sam, this was nicely written. Thank you. There are two quotes that I return to again and again on this matter: Joseph Campbell's:
  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    First of all, the problem with Christians isn't that they tend to disagree with one another. The problem is that they have a tende
  • ericjdev
    ericjdev says #
    My experience with Goddess is entirely faith based and I place no value in the experiential. Furthermore, I could care less if how

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In the essay Photo of boy in public housing with an iPad prompts debate over what the poor should have, blogger Jarvis DeBerry describes the moral outrage expressed by some readers over a little boy occupying himself with an iPad in a poor neighborhood. Further outrage, as well as outrage over this outrage, was expressed in the comments section and reflects the ongoing dilemma of what to do about the poor and our understanding of what is fair.

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  • Angela 	Gamblin
    Angela Gamblin says #
    After having read some of the posts in reply to that image over on DeBerry's blog, I was truly struck by those comments of people
  • Carol Maltby
    Carol Maltby says #
    "Fair" probably starts with knowing the context of the photo, and knowing what assumptions we are making that may or may not have
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Questions of redistributive (I prefer the term "restorative") justice vs. meritocracy actually *do* come back to religion. If you

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A cross-post this week, if I may - between here at my first blog 'home', and the wonderfully eclectic 'Witches & Pagans' site (because if you can't 'moonlight' as a Pagan, then who can?).

I am very aware that I haven't written anything at either location for a couple of weeks. I could give excuses - ultimately, the days have flown past and life has been more important. I'm sure we all know how that goes. Instead, take a wander with me, if you will.

Regular readers know that one of my favourite places for inspiration is as I walk the dog across the hilltop where I live. This evening I wandered the streets, looking out at the fierce clouds parting after an intense rain and thunder-storm just a few hours ago, the remnants of a rainbow, and the slightly 'stunned' feeling of a normal, modern, country village after a violent and unavoidable incident of Nature. The grass is rich and green, the snails appear to have made a small bypass across the path outside one particular row of houses, and the occasional early bat is swooping overhead.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, “you are not the boss of me” was muttered any time two or more of us were gathered together. Wicca had erupted into a new tradition every few days, Druids were behind every oak tree and the rise of the Recons made everyone proud and bristly with new knowledge of old matters. We ate the prolific casseroles of endless potluck feasts and we went to each other’s rituals when that was allowed.  Afterwards we’d gather with folks of our own trads and we’d compare circle castings and elemental pairings, and gossip about the size of the high priestess’s crown.

The same thing goes on still, of course. We each choose the path that is laid for us and we seek out a tradition—old or new—that seems to fit what we believe, really believe, down deep inside. We go through the Seeker stage to the Neophyte stage. We read all those simple 101 books and go to workshops and public rituals. We buy or make flowing gowns and tunics and sport a big pentacle from Spencer’s gifts. We learn to pronounce “Samhain” correctly and at some point we choose a tradition that really fits or we proudly declare ourselves Solitaries. If we are very lucky, we have a succession of good teachers. There may be a circle or coven or grove in which we learn the arts of leadership and we begin to teach the next generation of Earth-loving, opinionated folk who are not going to be bossed around.

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I could not help laughing as I read this, thinking that anyone who tries to convert you probably doesn't try moe than once! Good p
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    You'd be surprised. :>)
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Wonderful post, Byron!
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thank you, Janet. Glad it's resonating with some folks.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks to both of you for your comments. I am all about freedom these days and get disgruntled when the people in my interfaith g

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In today's world, humans have become the major factor affecting our own environment - and I don't just mean ecology. Of course we are affecting the environment, causing creeping climate change and dramatic variations in weather. But we also have a huge effect on what's around us in the most mundane sense, the things that we work with and use on an everyday basis, what might be called our technological environment. One of the new things we've introduced to that technological environment is certain types of guns, and they're poisoning us from the inside out.

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  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    I agree that violence has no place in a civil society. I would certainly not like to live in a place where I had to worry daily ab
  • Literata
    Literata says #
    Knowing those things or having those abilities doesn't make you evil. It does make you a different person. I'm not saying that yo
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    @Elani: regarding "why own a gun?" It's a conundrum that better people than I have trouble explaining, so I'll stick with a person
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I doubt I will ever understand the (largely American) desire to own guns. If you live in a rural area and you keep livestock, I un
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I am a second-amendment rights defender, and owner of a large variety of weapons, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns. But am

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

• Fehu •

Old English Rune Poem
Feoh (Money) is a comfort to humans all;
But each one should deal it out abundantly,
If he wants before the Lord to chance judgement.

Old Icelandic Rune Poem
Fe (Money) is kinsman’s quarrel
And flood-tide’s token
And necromancy’s road.

Old Norse Rune Poem
Fe (Money) causes kinsmen’s quarrel;
The wolf is reared in the forest.

~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright

Money tends to be bound up with intense feeling – particularly anxiety. It is essentially a symbol after all, onto which we are free to project a vast array of significances. Its spectral touch can thread throughout lives, throughout history itself. It is the justification for an infinity of injustices, absurdities, and cowardice.

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