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Thread: Paganism and Agnostic Theism

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Paganism and Agnostic Theism

    I used to call myself a Pantheist but after starting to look seriously at occult/esotericism works and Pagan littterature I wasn't sure what I was anymore. I mean, there is so many school of thoughts, scholars who disagree with each others, various philosophical and theological viewpoints that the open-minded individual can only be in a profound state of doubt. Should I believe in a pantheon of Gods, in a non-personal pantheist divine energy or the monotheism of an Abrahamic God? Science does not provide any more answers when ti comes to the ultimate origin of existence.

    I've come to the conclusion that a form of Agnosticism is the position that makes the most sense according to my personal understanding of the meaning of it all. Because the existence or particular characteristics of God(s) are fundamental questions that cannot be answered unless you have a meaningful and crystal-clear experience of revelation. Spiritual masters cannot prove to you that their mystical experience is a universal truth that has to be to be applied to everyone. The open-minded individual who may call him/herself Pagan who is thirsty of any sort of metaphysical truths can only try to learn as much as possible from all perspectives, meditate, practice and see what kind of knowledge comes in, if any.

    In my case, I've decided to define myself as an Agnostic Theist. I do believe in a God(s?) because it makes sens to me based on the sheer complexity of the Universe and it's striking beauty, the right conditions for life to be and wonder as well as the spiritual experiences of many people and from all ages that I cannot simply dismiss. However, I can't say for sure what is the true nature of God(s). I do not subscribe to the idea that the World sprang from nothingness as many Atheists claim but who knows?

    Here's a very useful chart to put the concept into a concrete form: (I've found it on this great article: http://www.myjewishl...gnostic-theist/)

    This closely ressemble the Seeker-Agnostic, but the Agnostic Theist does sign in the idea of God(s). Here's a definition of Seeker-Agnosticism as reported by a 2013 study by researchers of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga:

    ''5. Seeker-Agnostic (SA)

    "Seeker-Agnostic typology consists of individuals attuned to the metaphysical possibilities precluding metaphysical existence, or at least recognizes the philosophical difficulties and complexities in making personal affirmations regarding ideological beliefs. They may call themselves agnostic or agnostic-atheist, as the SA simply cannot be sure of the existence of God or the divine. They keep an open mind in relation to the debate between the religious, spiritual, and antitheist elements within society. ... In some cases, Seeker-Agnostics may generally miss being a believer either from the social benefits or the emotional connection they have with others such as friends or family. At times, their intellectual disagreement with their former theology causes some cognitive dissonance and it is possible they may continue to identity as a religious or spiritual individual. However, taking those exceptions into account, the majority of Seeker-Agnostics should in no way be considered “confused.” For the Seeker-Agnostic, uncertainty is embraced."

    Source: http://www.centerfor...ut_who_are_you/

    I feel that this theological viewpoint is in perfect tuning with my pagan beliefs. To me, Agnostic Theism is an humble position assuming a non-commitment or ignorance as to the ultimate origin of the divine.

    What about you? Any other similar path here?
    Last edited by Wonder; 20 Jan 2015 at 11:08.

  2. #2
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    relational theophysis and bioregional witchery
    coastal Georgia
    *a little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika*

    Re: Paganism and Agnostic Theism

    I'm agnostic, per the dude that invented the term, T. H. Huxley:

    Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as old as the writer who said, 'Try all things, hold fast by that which is good'; it is the foundation of the Reformation, which simply illustrated the axiom that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him, it is the great principle of Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of modern science.

    Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable. That I take to be the agnostic faith, which if a man keep whole and undefiled, he shall not be ashamed to look the universe in the face, whatever the future may have in store for him.

    The results of the working out of the agnostic principle will vary according to individual knowledge and capacity, and according to the general condition of science. That which is unproved today may be proved, by the help of new discoveries, tomorrow. The only negative fixed points will be those negations which flow from the demonstrable limitation of our faculties. And the only obligation accepted is to have the mind always open to conviction.

    T. H. Huxley,"Agnosticism", 1889
    (there's not much that can be said or argued about agnosticism that wasn't answered by Huxley)
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  3. #3
    Jr. Member sea-salt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Agnostic Polytheist / Mystery Flavor Pagan
    New York
    It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not. - Andre Gide

    Re: Paganism and Agnostic Theism

    I also consider myself an agnostic theist - or agnostic polytheist, to be specific.

    I've been agnostic for almost ten years, and I too arrived at that position because I don't think that the existence of any god(s) can be objectively proven or disproved. I became a polytheist just over a year ago because I had deeply personal spiritual experiences, and I found the best explanation for those experiences in polytheistic paganism.

    I look at it this way: in my rational life I am agnostic, and in my spiritual life I am a polytheist. My polytheism doesn't interrupt my ability to think rationally or scientifically about the physical world, and my agnosticism (theoretically*) doesn't interrupt my ability to have a meaningful spiritual connection to the divine.

    * I say "theoretically" because I do still struggle to resist the urge to apply objective logic to my beliefs about the metaphysical nature of the world. On one hand, I know that it's perfectly okay to say "I don't know how or why the gods exist, I just know that they do exist." On the other hand, I still want to know how and why the gods exist, and when I try to reason it out I find that I can't, I just end up feeling like I'm a fool who talks to herself and believes in woo-woo bullshit. It's hard to be a rational person without over-analyzing your own spirituality to the point where you stop believing that it's valid and meaningful.

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