Author Topic: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy  (Read 1127 times)

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Offline Jetavan

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Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« on: August 04, 2011, 01:47:44 PM »
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Orthodox Christians can enter into fruitful dialogue with Wiccans on a number of important levels. We accept that there are indeed “elemental spirits” (mentioned by St. Paul); the only question is whether they are to be worshipped and manipulated, or acknowledged as created and intended to serve the Creator. We agree that there should be no harm to others or even to ourselves. St. Ephrem the Syrian referred to the Earth as “our mother,” and advocated our care for her. Wiccan home altars are reminiscent of Orthodox icons and prayer-corners. Orthodox Christians do not condemn or judge others, which is important to Wiccans. Some former Wiccans in our congregation were drawn to Orthodoxy because of our deep sense of “sacred space” in the sanctuary, and the profound nature of Orthodox worship.

For these and many other reasons, an Orthodox Bible study that we conducted at a local university drew numerous Wiccans for a period of several years. Participants expressed genuine appreciation for the Orthodox perspective of God, of judgment and for our kindness towards them, when numerous so-called Christians on campus derided them and condemned them. We should keep in mind that many–perhaps most–Wiccans in America today were reared in Protestant or Catholic homes, and were hurt by their religious up-bringing.

I know that Kevin Allen is writing a sort of catechism/study-guide for Orthodox inquirers coming from a Dharmic (Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, e.g.) background. Someone out there should be writing one for inquiring Neo-Pagans.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 08:07:42 PM »
I can't read the link at work, but I must say that there seems to be a lot of truth in the statement "many–perhaps most–Wiccans in America today were reared in Protestant or Catholic homes, and were hurt by their religious up-bringing", substituing "America" for "the Anglosphere".

This may be uncharitable, but I feel that Wicca and the reconstructed pagan religions are so inauthentic and blatantly made-up-on-the-spot that only something other than truth could lead someone to them.
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Offline ilyazhito

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 10:20:57 PM »
Whoa! There may be true spirituality. Kevin Allen is doing the right thing.

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 10:52:10 PM »
I have to agree with akimori, Wicca is definitely not a religion led to by a deep longing for truth.  I am also skeptical that speaking with Wiccans will do any more good than speaking with the general population (and, consequently, focusing on Wiccans will not benefit missionary efforts).  This is especially true once they find out that the Church has a male priesthood - and is so incredibly patriarchal that we have Patriarchs.  This, and many other issues, will severely counterbalance any potential increase in the likelihood that a person will become Orthodox, if they are Wiccan, simply because we have a sacred space and care about the earth. 
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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 12:35:13 AM »
This may be uncharitable, but I feel that Wicca and the reconstructed pagan religions are so inauthentic and blatantly made-up-on-the-spot that only something other than truth could lead someone to them.

So in a sense, is it not somewhat akin to the pagan past it's trying to replicate? Because the Holy Scriptures teach us that the idols that the pagans served were distortions of truth and were really the product of their own vain imaginings paired with demonic deception. While the ancient forms of this were not "made-up-on-the-spot", they were certainly made-up gradually, and they needn't be afforded more respect simply for their antiquity. Falsehood is falsehood regardless of its age, but I intuitively agree that time brings wisdom and that even these delusions ring of far more truth. Over time, the rhythm of the cosmos beats lifeblood into what is done with sincerity.

Basically, Neo-Paganism is ridiculous. Like one of my friends put it, it's like downgrading your current computer for some beta model from the 80's. Totally lame.

Offline Andrew Crook

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 01:44:38 AM »
Comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between Orthodoxy and other paths/religions has always been fascinating to me.  I think it's also advisable to keep in mind, that many "Neo-Pagans" and/or "Wiccans" have had a disgruntling experience with Christianity in general.  This may not go true for *all*, but I would certainly say many of them have had bad experiences with Christians -- and for some reason it's usually Protestants.  Clarifying those misconceptions that were based on those experiences would definitley help.. but this could only be done on an individual basis obviously.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 02:00:22 AM »
This may be uncharitable, but I feel that Wicca and the reconstructed pagan religions are so inauthentic and blatantly made-up-on-the-spot that only something other than truth could lead someone to them.

So in a sense, is it not somewhat akin to the pagan past it's trying to replicate? Because the Holy Scriptures teach us that the idols that the pagans served were distortions of truth and were really the product of their own vain imaginings paired with demonic deception. While the ancient forms of this were not "made-up-on-the-spot", they were certainly made-up gradually, and they needn't be afforded more respect simply for their antiquity. Falsehood is falsehood regardless of its age, but I intuitively agree that time brings wisdom and that even these delusions ring of far more truth. Over time, the rhythm of the cosmos beats lifeblood into what is done with sincerity.

This is quite piercing, thank you for it.

However, I do cut the ancients a bit more slack as they at least had perceived authority and patrimony weighing upon them. Wiccans and so-called neo-pagans have no such excuse.

PS: is cutting of slack an Australianism??
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 02:01:01 AM by akimori makoto »
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Offline Irish Melkite

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 02:33:49 AM »
PS: is cutting of slack an Australianism??

akimori,

Nope. It originated as a nautical term used in the taking up of lines.

Many years,

Neil
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 02:57:58 PM »
A draft of Kevin Allen's catechism is ready.

Quote
Introduction

1) This outline is designed as a “module” to be used in conjunction with catechism

2) Not designed to be an “all-inclusive” or “stand alone” catechism outline

3) Its purpose is to cover general themes and to facilitate discussion and questions of relevance for inquirers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity from New Age and Eastern Religion backgrounds (Hinduism; Buddhism; Jainism)
a) Unpack differences between New Age/Eastern and Orthodox Christianity in basic terminology, worldview, metaphysics, cosmologies, theology
....
4) This module is suggested for use in several ways:
As the discussion leader’s guide
As a hand-out to read-review along with inquirers
As assigned reading material that would be followed up with a group discussion led by the catechist
As an introduction for any inquirer from these backgrounds

5) Not a doctrine-by-doctrine comparison; Hinduism and Buddhism are very complex and have many different traditions (especially Buddhism: Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese, etc.)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 02:59:00 PM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Offline mark thomas

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 08:24:48 PM »
*subscribe*
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 10:39:31 PM »
I can't read the link at work, but I must say that there seems to be a lot of truth in the statement "many–perhaps most–Wiccans in America today were reared in Protestant or Catholic homes, and were hurt by their religious up-bringing", substituing "America" for "the Anglosphere".

This may be uncharitable, but I feel that Wicca and the reconstructed pagan religions are so inauthentic and blatantly made-up-on-the-spot that only something other than truth could lead someone to them.

All I can say is at the end of the witches creed / wiccan creed, they recite "do what thy wilt shall be the whole of the law".   We've heard this before.... From somewhere.   - They claim to be white magic too -
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 10:39:51 PM by yeshuaisiam »
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Offline biro

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012, 10:44:12 PM »
No. The creed of Anton LaVey was, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." The Wiccan creed is, "An (if) it harm no one, do what thou wilt." If you want to learn something, read actual books, not just stuff on the Internet.

Offline Eastern Mind

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 10:52:57 PM »
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No. The creed of Anton LaVey was, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

That quote actually originated from Aliester Crowley, not LaVey. Gardner and Crowley were buddy-buddy and Gardner incorporated a lot of Golden Dawn "magic" along with misunderstanding and skewing Celtic and Norse mythology, with Strega (Itallian witchcraft) thrown in.

Basically, Gardner was a dirty little man and Crowley an attention leech.
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Offline biro

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 10:56:29 PM »
Okay, thank you. But Wiccans aren't synonymous with Satanism. That's all.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 11:10:34 PM »
No. The creed of Anton LaVey was, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." The Wiccan creed is, "An (if) it harm no one, do what thou wilt." If you want to learn something, read actual books, not just stuff on the Internet.

Crowley, correction of a correction of a correction.  LOL

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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2012, 11:12:01 PM »
Okay, thank you. But Wiccans aren't synonymous with Satanism. That's all.

Disagree.  When you do your own will, you make yourself God as Lucifer did in Isaiah 14.

Atheists
Satanists
Gnostics
Wiccans

all do their own will rather than "thy will (God's will) be done".  But you are right on your correction of my quote.  I apologize.
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Offline Eastern Mind

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2012, 11:12:31 PM »
Okay, thank you. But Wiccans aren't synonymous with Satanism. That's all.

No, they aren't lol. Every fluffy bunny within a 5 mile radius will tell you that. Oh, and also:

"WICCA IS TEH OLDEST RELIGION!!"

"NEVER AGAIN THE BURNING TIMES that are actually based upon revisionist history"

"Male witches aren't called warlocks!"

"OUR super special happy pentacle is pointed upwards, unlike those evil satanists who put it upside down..."

and other various baloney. Truthfully, most "wiccans" are just angsty teenagers. Wicca is an oathbound mystery tradition. No one really knows what they believe, because no one is allowed to say. Traditional, Gardnerian Wiccans, according to the 161 laws (I know, I know, Gardner said they are irrelevant, but many covens follow them) not only are not allowed to tell you that they are Wiccan...they are supposed to preach against it and teach that witchcraft is wrong. But what's the fun in that? Then you won't be able to wear your plate sized pentacle in public and get angry at someone who dares to glance at it.

/endrant
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 11:21:28 PM by Eastern Mind »
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Offline Schultz

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2012, 11:20:04 PM »
Both biro and yeshuaisiam are correct, depending on one's point of view.  If one views Satanism as an organized religion dedicated to literally worshiping Lucifer aka the Devil aka Satan in a blatant and conscious attempt to take glory away from the One True God, then Wiccans are not Satanists.  They are, at best, post-Christian polytheists who are very much searching for the Truth but because of their own insecurities, oftentimes (at least in the US) founded upon some sort of spiritual disappointment in Christianity, refuse to look at Christ as THE Truth.  I've known many Wiccans in my time and have yet to meet one who is actively trying to do evil in service of the Devil.  I have also met Satanists of both the LaVeyan crowd and people who truly believe they are in league with the Devil and he speaks to them.  The latter are very strange and I don't associate with them at all if I can help it.  The former are just atheists with an attitude problem.

However, if one views Satanism as yeshuaisiam does, as any sort of refusal to give God His due glory, then Wiccans are Satanists.

But I would add, so are most Christians, myself included.  And that's not some pretentious "I am chief among sinners" self-righteous drivel.  I might as well be sacrificing a goat to the Horned One the way I've been carrying on lately.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 11:21:48 PM by Schultz »
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2012, 11:43:25 PM »
I haven't had a chance to read it, but the fact that it apparently considers 'New Age and Eastern religions to be essentially the same thing signals to me that it will be less than thrilling to read.  Frankly, if I were an adherent of an Eastern religion, and someone were to compare me to a New Ager, I would be quite offended.
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Offline William

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2012, 12:19:22 AM »
I admire that people are trying to reconnect with the faith of their forefathers, but I resent the fact that their Christian patrimony is shoved aside and their primitive shamanism and superstitious paganism is seen as more authentic.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2012, 01:28:53 AM »
Quote
No. The creed of Anton LaVey was, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

That quote actually originated from Aliester Crowley, not LaVey.
And Crowley could have easily gotten it from St. Augustine ("Dilige et quod vis fac", "Love and do what thou will").
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2012, 06:46:03 AM »
I admire that people are trying to reconnect with the faith of their forefathers, but I resent the fact that their Christian patrimony is shoved aside and their primitive shamanism and superstitious paganism is seen as more authentic.

Lawl at "authentic".
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2012, 06:46:47 AM »
Okay, thank you. But Wiccans aren't synonymous with Satanism. That's all.

No, they aren't lol. Every fluffy bunny within a 5 mile radius will tell you that. Oh, and also:

"WICCA IS TEH OLDEST RELIGION!!"

"NEVER AGAIN THE BURNING TIMES that are actually based upon revisionist history"

"Male witches aren't called warlocks!"

"OUR super special happy pentacle is pointed upwards, unlike those evil satanists who put it upside down..."

and other various baloney. Truthfully, most "wiccans" are just angsty teenagers. Wicca is an oathbound mystery tradition. No one really knows what they believe, because no one is allowed to say. Traditional, Gardnerian Wiccans, according to the 161 laws (I know, I know, Gardner said they are irrelevant, but many covens follow them) not only are not allowed to tell you that they are Wiccan...they are supposed to preach against it and teach that witchcraft is wrong. But what's the fun in that? Then you won't be able to wear your plate sized pentacle in public and get angry at someone who dares to glance at it.

/endrant

I like you.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline Eastern Mind

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Re: Neo-Pagans and Orthodoxy
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2012, 09:07:16 AM »
 
Quote
And Crowley could have easily gotten it from St. Augustine ("Dilige et quod vis fac", "Love and do what thou will").

That is possible. Crowley was about as original as a toenail.

Quote
I like you.

Heh. I like me too  :laugh:
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