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Pre-Christian Religion's Resurgence

Hoplite

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At dinner last night, this topic came up and I've been turning it over ever since. I'm a little curious to pass it around to a less Pagan audience (my housemates and fiancée are almost all Pagan).

In the last 30-40 years, there has been a very big resurgence of pre-Christian religious ideas that have taken shape in new belief systems built on these old ideas. The vast majority of them fall under what most people call the Neo-Pagan (I HATE that word) umbrella of belief systems, but what I'm curious about is the future of the resurgence.

Christianity is starting to slide from the position of largest religion in the world and the US in particular is becoming less and less homogeneous in terms of religion. Organized religion in general seems to be suffering a bit of a downturn over the last several decades.

So where do you think this new resurgence of pre-Christian religious ideas will go? Is it going to stay a sort of underground set of ideas? Go mainstream?

Personally, as much as I would love to see global recognition of such beliefs, I dont think it's in the cards. Many of the belief paths that have these ideas are not organized and have no central leadership, they have no known spokespersons or well-known organizations or foundations to represent them, and they aren't a hot-topic in the media now on top of there being no real foreseeable event to push them to the fore of global consciousness. Everyone seems to have Islam on the brain now.

What do you think?
 

Guy Incognito

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So where do you think this new resurgence of pre-Christian religious ideas will go? Is it going to stay a sort of underground set of ideas? Go mainstream?

What happened to all the hermetic orders of a century ago? They're extinct now. I imagine the same thing will happen with the Neo-Pagans of our day. I just don't think there is much of a market for beliefs so radically out of sync with society. Paganism served the needs of a much more ancient era. The future probably lies in more philosophical, transcendental religions like Buddhism, or in one of the larger new religious movements like Scientology.
 

cpwill

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It's a fad, and will go the way of other such movements.
 

MKULTRABOY

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I almost agree with the 'fad' idea.

Why cant we just move forward in the evolution of religious thought?
 

Hoplite

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What happened to all the hermetic orders of a century ago? They're extinct now. I imagine the same thing will happen with the Neo-Pagans of our day. I just don't think there is much of a market for beliefs so radically out of sync with society. Paganism served the needs of a much more ancient era. The future probably lies in more philosophical, transcendental religions like Buddhism, or in one of the larger new religious movements like Scientology.
Then why are we seeing the kind of growth that we do within these pre-Christian ideal religions? When does that growth start to plateau?

Even in the last five years or so, I've seen the Pagan community expand exponentially and it doesnt seem limited by anything except a person's access to information.
 

cpwill

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Its been around since the Hippy movement I guess there's a minor uptick.

it's been around since the 20's; i guess i'm working with a longer horizon, here.
 

MKULTRABOY

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Even in the last five years or so, I've seen the Pagan community expand exponentially and it doesnt seem limited by anything except a person's access to information.

:scratches head:

Information on pagan gods?
 

Catz Part Deux

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In the last 30-40 years, there has been a very big resurgence of pre-Christian religious ideas that have taken shape in new belief systems built on these old ideas. The vast majority of them fall under what most people call the Neo-Pagan (I HATE that word) umbrella of belief systems, but what I'm curious about is the future of the resurgence.

What do you think?

I think a lot of them are made-up hippy b.s., and have very little to do with the actual historic beliefs. Wicca, for one.
 

Hoplite

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I think a lot of them are made-up hippy b.s., and have very little to do with the actual historic beliefs. Wicca, for one.
The vast majority of these belief systems are BASED on older ideas, true. Individuals who claim their religion is ancient or can be traced directly back to pre-Christian times are unfortunately mistaken. However I dont think that diminishes the fact that many of the core concepts of these belief systems DO date back to pre-Christian times.
 

Hoplite

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Uhhh... Why?
A great deal of what there is to know about many of these traditions is passed around by word-of-mouth and it's left up to individual adherents to decide what they want to incorporate into their practices. These traditions almost never have any sort of holy scripture or guidebook on worship, so learning about them is a constant process of information assimilation and processing.
 

Catz Part Deux

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The vast majority of these belief systems are BASED on older ideas, true. Individuals who claim their religion is ancient or can be traced directly back to pre-Christian times are unfortunately mistaken. However I dont think that diminishes the fact that many of the core concepts of these belief systems DO date back to pre-Christian times.

You mean like The Ten Commandments was loosely based on the Bible? Yeah. I stand by what I said. First, we don't have a lot of religious documentation from pre-Christian eras, so neo-pagans tend to get all loosy-goosey with filling in the blanks. Secondly, I don't see many fluffy neo-pagan twits using entrails, offering sacrifices, etc. It's silly dress up time, for the most part.

Give me an example of a group of reconstructionists that are using actual ancient practices.
 

Catz Part Deux

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A great deal of what there is to know about many of these traditions is passed around by word-of-mouth and it's left up to individual adherents to decide what they want to incorporate into their practices.

i.e. "We make **** up as we go."
 

Hoplite

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You mean like The Ten Commandments was loosely based on the Bible? Yeah. I stand by what I said. First, we don't have a lot of religious documentation from pre-Christian eras, so neo-pagans tend to get all loosy-goosey with filling in the blanks.
Yes, that is true.

Secondly, I don't see many fluffy neo-pagan twits using entrails, offering sacrifices, etc. It's silly dress up time, for the most part.
Because these beliefs are more than entrails and burning sacrifices. We sacrifice through other ways and we dont need to root through entrails anymore.

Give me an example of a group of reconstructionists that are using actual ancient practices.
I think you can find at least a grain of historical basis in most modern practices. For instance, the symbolism of the chalice and it's uses in Wicca. I may be over-extending myself a little bit here, I'm not Wiccan, but the chalice is used as a symbol for female and female sexuality during rituals and as a stand-in for these ideas.

I know of several groups that I've been invited to that participate in ritual hunts, something we have found in dozens of pre-Christian belief systems almost everywhere in the world

i.e. "We make **** up as we go."
Is there a specific reason for the hostility or has it just been a bad day?

This is a common criticism and one I can only address for myself. I believe that my soul has been through this world before and it's picked up and learned things through those various trips. If I feel drawn to or if I find meaning in a particular set of religious ideas, perhaps it's because I haven't had a chance to experience that yet, even if the ideas come from differing religions, time periods, or places. I see nothing inherently wrong with mixing religious ideas.
 

Catz Part Deux

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Because these beliefs are more than entrails and burning sacrifices. We sacrifice through other ways and we dont need to root through entrails anymore.

Yeah. You can say that, but the ancients clearly felt these sacrifices were important to the gods. Who told you that these practices were no longer important? Oh, wait, you made this part up, right?

I think you can find at least a grain of historical basis in most modern practices. For instance, the symbolism of the chalice and it's uses in Wicca. I may be over-extending myself a little bit here, I'm not Wiccan, but the chalice is used as a symbol for female and female sexuality during rituals and as a stand-in for these ideas.

Wicca was made up by Gerald Gardner and has zero connection to the grail mythology. I'd stay away from subjects that you don't have a touching familiarity with.

I know of several groups that I've been invited to that participate in ritual hunts, something we have found in dozens of pre-Christian belief systems almost everywhere in the world

That's only a piece of these belief systems. You're taking 10 pieces of a puzzle and attempting to re-draw the rest of the picture.

Is there a specific reason for the hostility or has it just been a bad day?

Don't mistake bluntness for hostility.

This is a common criticism and one I can only address for myself. I believe that my soul has been through this world before and it's picked up and learned things through those various trips. If I feel drawn to or if I find meaning in a particular set of religious ideas, perhaps it's because I haven't had a chance to experience that yet, even if the ideas come from differing religions, time periods, or places. I see nothing inherently wrong with mixing religious ideas.

I think it's fine to have cafeteria faith, just don't pretend you're using ancient recipes. You aren't.

Here's the thing...a lot of fluffyheaded neo-pagans try to pick one thing from this faith and another from another faith, and they fill their shopping cart full of whatever looks tasty, without realizing that their practices aren't very respectful to those ancient beliefs, that they are taking things out of context, that these aren't their historical traditions to pillage, and their hodgepodge of made-up combinations bears zero resemblance to ancient faiths.

Stop trying to give yourself legitimacy by pretending you're resurrecting ancient faiths. Just own the fact that you're making it up as you go, based on what speaks to you. ALL religious people do this, even the ones who claim to be fundamentalists (they're still picking the parts they like to focus on and ignoring the rest).
 
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Hoplite

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Yeah. You can say that, but the ancients clearly felt these sacrifices were important to the gods. Who told you that these practices were no longer important? Oh, wait, you made this part up, right?
I dont do them and I worship the gods. If the gods felt these practices were important, they'd have a way to ensure they were still done and they'd probably be exceptionally angry with people who discontinued them.

Wicca was made up by Gerald Gardner and has zero connection to the grail mythology. I'd stay away from subjects that you don't have a touching familiarity with.
I'm aware of Wicca's roots and Gardner's claims at "ancient-ness". Wicca has within it symbolism and practices that can find roots in older practices.

That's only a piece of these belief systems. You're taking 10 pieces of a puzzle and attempting to re-draw the rest of the picture.
That's one example, which you asked for.

Don't mistake bluntness for hostility.
Then I'd ask you not to communicate in such a way as to enable that mistake to be so easily made.

I think it's fine to have cafeteria faith, just don't pretend you're using ancient recipes. You aren't.
I never said I was, you did.

Here's the thing...a lot of fluffyheaded neo-pagans try to pick one thing from this faith and another from another faith, and they fill their shopping cart full of whatever looks tasty, without realizing that their practices aren't very respectful to those ancient beliefs, that they are taking things out of context, that these aren't their historical traditions to pillage, and their hodgepodge of made-up combinations bears zero resemblance to ancient faiths.
I do so hate the term "NEO-Pagan", it makes it sound like an art market.

How is it disrespectful to take meaning from differing places? Why does faith have to be like buying a car; you get all the parts or you dont get the car.

Stop trying to give yourself legitimacy by pretending you're resurrecting ancient faiths. Just own the fact that you're making it up as you go, based on what speaks to you. ALL religious people do this, even the ones who claim to be fundamentalists (they're still picking the parts they like to focus on and ignoring the rest).
Again, I never claimed I was "resurrecting ancient faiths" and I specifically denounced that kind of thinking several times.
 
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MKULTRABOY

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A great deal of what there is to know about many of these traditions is passed around by word-of-mouth and it's left up to individual adherents to decide what they want to incorporate into their practices. These traditions almost never have any sort of holy scripture or guidebook on worship, so learning about them is a constant process of information assimilation and processing.

I dont need the religion of some neolithic village! Pshaw!
 

Moot

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I think people just like rituals and symbolism.
 
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MKULTRABOY

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I dont really recognize too much legitimacy in 'neo-paganism' seeing as the 'rituals' are newly made whereas the ancient ones were the product of native societies' development over eons.
 

Catz Part Deux

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I dont really recognize too much legitimacy in 'neo-paganism' seeing as the 'rituals' are newly made whereas the ancient ones were the product of native societies' development over eons.

That's exactly the point. Those rituals CAME FROM SOMETHING that the society experienced. They grew up within that society's experience of the world. You can't pick and choose from them like you're at the frigging Piggly Wiggly.
 

Black Dog

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:inandout:

Not even. :lol:
 
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