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Thread: Pop Culture Paganism

  1. #41
    Bronze Member Munin-Hugin's Avatar
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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I mean if it's like 'this is real reality' then I feel like that might constitute a hard case of mental illness. I see mental illness. I've lived with it. Believing in things that are not real and not knowing the difference seriously makes you crazy in the literal medical sense.
    Put in those terms, that means that having a religion (thus believing in something that you personally see but no one else does, things you've experienced that no one else has, and following the writings from various books, stories told by various people) means that you suffer from mental illness.

    I know that it looks pretty crazy and maybe a little obsessive to some to put up little shrines to each of the Care Bears, and then to light candles and pray to them. But break it down into what it is. Each of those cartoon characters were designed to represent different emotional states and feelings of humans. So praying to Luck Bear in hopes to get get something you desire, or lighting a candle to Cheer Bear to help a friend get out of his depression is no different than doing the same to Ganesha or Bishamon respectively.

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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    You also have the tales of Moses seeing a burning bush, and of Mary's visions of an angel telling her she was going to have the child of God, etc., which all seem to be no problem for lots of people to take seriously, because "It Is Written".

    Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

  3. #43
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I have to ask. And this time I'm going to do so without judgement because I honestly canot form an opinion on this.

    Do people actually believe believe this? Like they are going to base not only this life but their very real afterlife on this?

    Or is this more of a coping mechanism to get along in the world. A sort of I'm going to put on these Disney Mickey ears for the next few hours while at Disneyland and drink the koolaid. Because that I can actually understand. I know exactly how that feels and that's an actual experience for me when I go to Disneyland.

    I mean if it's like 'this is real reality' then I feel like that might constitute a hard case of mental illness. I see mental illness. I've lived with it. Believing in things that are not real and not knowing the difference seriously makes you crazy in the literal medical sense. But believing in it but knowing waaay down under, it's not, it's just a nicer view of the world, then ok.

    I get that. Some people need this to get through the world. Some people just need Wolverine.
    Do people believe that there are literally other planets out there with Jedi warriors and Death Stars and that we just haven't discovered them yet? I'm sure that some do, but from what I've seen, in general, no. That's not what Pop Culture paganism is about. It's not usually literal belief in the actual existence of those worlds and icons.

    Usually, it's people using the imagery and created mythos to push their religious buttons. It's people using the familiar images as symbols to represent ideas and concepts. It's people who don't buy into extant or ancient existing religions, using a relatively modernly created one that resonates with their worldview better. It's people gaining more insight and enriching their lives more with the lessons of modern storytelling than with ancient storytelling.

    To me, the only time this does not make any sense whatsoever is if you are a hard polytheist who doesn't accept that there is some level of pantheistic or panentheistic Divine Force. If you're a soft polytheist then all deities are manifestations of the Divine created by human culture, so what difference does a few thousand years of them being around make? If you work with Archetypes then any known image can represent that Archetype, regardless of how popular it is, because what matters is YOUR associations of it. If you're an atheist, there is no difference whatsoever between people believing in Roman gods and people believing in Pokemon... you believe they're all fake anyway so what difference does a few thousand years make?

  4. #44
    Nihilistic Goddess Medusa's Avatar
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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    If you're an atheist, there is no difference whatsoever between people believing in Roman gods and people believing in Pokemon... you believe they're all fake anyway so what difference does a few thousand years make?
    You are right. It's all the same to me.

    I was just curious by those who do this, if it's known to be fake but useful or real. I assumed most were using it as an archetype (the way Satanists use Satan) So I get that. I just don't want to pretend to understand and accept mentally ill people who do think Jedis are real and on other planets etc. Because it's one step to cutting off my head if they trip wrong!
    Satan is my spirit animal

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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I just don't want to pretend to understand and accept mentally ill people who do think Jedis are real and on other planets etc. Because it's one step to cutting off my head if they trip wrong!
    I really should make up a cosmology that allows me to push the literal existence of Jedi somewhere just to see how many people will think I'm sincere...
    "It is not simply enough to know the light…a Jedi must feel the tension between the two sides of the Force…in himself and in the universe."
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  6. #46
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    You are right. It's all the same to me.

    I was just curious by those who do this, if it's known to be fake but useful or real. I assumed most were using it as an archetype (the way Satanists use Satan) So I get that. I just don't want to pretend to understand and accept mentally ill people who do think Jedis are real and on other planets etc. Because it's one step to cutting off my head if they trip wrong!
    It's the same knee jerk reaction I think we all have when we're first exposed to the idea of Pop Culture paganism... "but it's not REAL". But when you think about it more, and when you start talking to people who actually do this, you start to see that it's not really that different to most pagan's belief patterns.

    Having said that, I think there absolutely are people out there who actually believe in the literal existence of these entities. Some accept the 'egregore' explanation, but I'm sure there are those who think they were pre-existing entities completely separate to human construction. That I struggle with myself... I can't reconcile the literal, actual existence of Pokemon or Sailor Moon. But I get that maybe someone's archetype wears Sailor Moon's face, or that the Divine manifests that way because that's the image that helps the person understand that energy more deeply. I even sort of get people using fictional creatures like Pokemon as 'animal guides'... kind of... this one I struggle with a bit more, but I do get why they might.

    But then, I'm a hard polytheist shamanist, so by your definition, I'm crazy. But I'm okay with that. If you boil me right down to my core, I'm agnostic and I completely accept the possibility that I'm crazy. I just believe in my beliefs anyway because they enrich my life. I figure, who am I to denigrate anyone else for doing the same with their beliefs?

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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Also, just to clarify... I didn't mean that comment snarkily at all... I was just trying to illustrate the point as succinctly as possibly. You know I'm no good at 'succinct'. Usually when I try I just end up feeling blunt and bitchy!

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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    It's all good. In actual real life I think most people tend to be a nice middle ground. They use the imagery and they don't try to sacrifice me to their god. I guess I'm slanted because I've been around quite a few of the crazies. Once you see mentally ill people (like my mother and brother (who is schizophrenic)) you tend to be weary of people with imaginary anything.
    Satan is my spirit animal

  9. #49
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Speaking to the choir sister..been there,done that..
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  10. #50
    Newbie Azimuth's Avatar
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    Re: Pop Culture Paganism

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    This depends largely on how you worship, though. If you're a hard polytheist who believes that deities are literal entities who are actually interacting with you on a level that is external to yourself, I agree that Pop Culture paganism could make your practice harder.


    BUT... if you were a soft polytheist who believes that deities are manifestations of some overruling Divine Force, and that said Divine Force manifests in all things... well then working with someone like from the Elder Scrolls mythos could potentially be just as 'easy' and effective as working with Nyx of Roman mythos. If you're a chaote, then Pop Culture icons are completely legitimate identities to work with, and in many cases are preferred over existing deities specifically because they are more flexible and tractable than existing deities. There is also the fact that many people don't just work with the Pop Culture icons, but actually resonate with the surrounding religious ideas behind them.

    There are a lot of Pop Culture icons which have very complex and detailed lore, mythology and religion. I'll come back to Elder Scrolls, because that's what I'm most familiar with... but there are not only a number of deities in the Elder Scrolls lore, but they each have relationships to each other; the different races have different names for the same deities, which can be explored through books you pick up in your travels; the Daedric Princes have realms within Oblivion (the Otherworlds) which can be visited; you interact with many of the deities and Daedric Princes through the games; you are submersed in the culture and beliefs of the races who's lands you are in; and if you care to read all the lore you can construct a workable religious or spiritual path with relative ease. As someone who spends a lot of my spare time in the Elder Scrolls universe, I can absolutely see how it would seem an attractive thing to do to construct my spiritual and religious practices around some of the deities... and if you weren't a hard polytheist, it would be just as easy (if not easier!) to do that then it would be to read a bunch of authors and academic texts about any existing Thisworld mythology or path.
    I appreciate the response, and I do get what you're saying. I guess a better point that I could have made is that people should carefully consider which deities/symbols/archetypes/lore are actually the best for attaining a higher form of conversation (above the ego level), and which just seem personally appealing. Of course, if someone finds that x fits whatever function they originally intended, it's their own business. On the other hand, I think it's easy for people to mistake something as more important or genuine within their own work than it actually is, especially if it's emotionally satisfying... I've had a few realizations like this. And obviously there's nothing wrong with drawing some very general inspiration from fiction. I'm pretty sure everyone does that.

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