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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ethics

Most of my friends are Pagan. If I were a member of a majority religion, this would be quite average. I go out of my way to find such friends, and this has served me well. Pagans don't judge me for what would be odd and quirky in average American culture: talking to land spirits, a fondness for discussing theology, and a willingness to embrace difference. All of these have been instrumental in my growth and healing, and in becoming a better person. I love my community and am deeply grateful.

And yet, I often find myself feeling frustrated when talk turns to politics.* This is not shocking I’m sure. And it would be easy to do what we so often do with our relatives, and just not talk about that particular subject. What is hard for me about this is that within the Pagan community, I have felt safe enough to allow my deepest wounds and secret places to be seen, and yet I may still be lambasted for holding an opinion that runs contrary to the majority. Should I do what I do with my family and set aside that part of myself? That would be hard. As with my spiritual path, my understanding of human behavior and history continues to grow. These are insights and understandings that I want to share and mull over with others, especially people who might not agree with my position. If my ideas will fall under the first challenge then they are not worth maintaining. But I don’t usually get to do that.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

"Only the gods are without flaw. All one can ask of a man

is that he do more good than ill, and no ill willingly."

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_justice.jpgWhile ethics is one of my favorite subjects, Pagans don’t have a set that we all agree upon. (duh) Some follow the Charge of the Star Goddess, or the Three-fold Law, and some work to cultivate virtues as opposed to following laws. But if we’re all working to be good people, why can’t we mange to get along a little better? In his TED talk, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, says that if you’ve ever been confused about why people just can’t get along, he might have an answer for you.

Haidt researches human morals and started by asking the question of why do human morals around the world have more to do with just how people treat each other? The norm in all cultures but Western, is that morals have to do with all sort of things that we often mock. For example, what you can and cannot do during menstruation, what you eat and with whom, and what you wear. For most Americans – let alone the small subset that is our religion – such questions are weird and alien. That’s because we live in a WEIRD culture. The term WEIRD stands for Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic, and was created by psychology researchers Joe Henrich, Steve Heine, and Ara Norenzayan. As Pagans in an industrialized culture, we cannot escape this.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks for posting! I appreciated your insights and the insights presented in the Ted talk you linked.
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    I've really found Haidt's work to be transformative and will be writing more about him in the future.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Marketing Pagan spiritual services

There has been some excellent online dialog recently around the question, "Should I charge for Pagan spiritual services?"  Most of the posts I've seen have been in support of money changing hands, but the comments usually show strong feelings on both sides.  Answering her question of, "Money is Bad, Right?" Shauna Aura Knight posited that the reason for this division is that, "Pagans (and people, for that matter) have a really unhealthy relationship with money."

As tantalizing that quote is to me, I have to lay it down for now.  Observant readers will already be wondering who the woman in the picture is, because it is clearly not Ms. Knight.

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Recently, I read a blog post by Star Foster, whom I admire as a person and writer and whose blog will survive any culling of my blog reader for a long time to come. In this blog post, titled 'Being Human', she questions basic life lessons, including ethical living. From that blog post:
 
"I’ve been thinking a lot about the Precepts of Solon. So many of these maxims are subjective. What is good character? What is good? What is bad?"

Although the original blog post is in no way limited to this question, this is the part of the post that stuck with me and has been a thorn in my side for the last two days. Why? Because my first reaction was 'you just know', and that is never a satisfactory answer for me. So I have spent the last two days trying to figure out how 'I just know' when I am not displaying a good character, when I am not good, and when I do something bad. Because I do 'just know'.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Bruce Walton
    Bruce Walton says #
    Fantastic article. This has really made me think about my actions and words, and also how much we allow ourselves to get away with
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    I am happy to hear my article made you think. You are right about online communities and fading ethics. It is easy to lash out aga
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Temperance, I know what's right. I've read a number of philiosophical treastises about ethics, and I embrace many of the anci
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Khaire Jamie, I am happy to hear the post rang true for you. I think you have a very healthy way of looking at your shortcomings,

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The knife edge of the equinox

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely reminders, thank you.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    Joseph seems to use a typical bully attack, attack person first off. Shirl got my respect the moment she admitted doing it herse
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you, sir.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I think part of the reason for internet bullying in anonymity. Bullying and trolling both often come from fake names. Also there i
  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    We all know bullying when we see it, whatever the bully might claim. But it is not so much a religious problem as it is a human pr
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    I have seen it on the internet - the bullying. I wonder if the old bugaboos of Paganism - orthodoxy and or UPG have something to d

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