Mudcat Café message #220910 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20846   Message #220910
Posted By: SDShad
01-May-00 - 02:30 PM
Thread Name: BS: More pagan stuff
Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
Of course, there's an adage on Usenet that once Hitler or the Nazis are mentioned in a thread, the thread is effectively over in terms of meaningful discussion. This rule doesn't apply to alt.revisionism, obviously.

But we at the Mudcat can probably prove that Usenet adages don't apply here. Funny thing about the Nazis (now that's not a sentence you hear much). The pagan elements of Nazi mythology are obviously there. But because of the Christian language that certain Nazis sometimes used, the Nazi phenomenon is used as a brush with which to paint all Christians as often as it is used against pagans. The Nazis are a sort of Rorschach: they always seem to resemble the people we disagree with.

And I hesitate to venture into territory where it sounds like I'm trying to speak for the 'Bird, but from his (do I have your gender right?) writings in this thread, his historical skepticism about paganism seems to be tied to his personal Christian faith. I think maybe my skepticism is a bit more secular--I think I'd hold to most of the same suspicions about claims of historicity by any religion, Christian, pagan, or inbetween, if I were in fact an atheist. Not a value judgement between the two approaches, mind you, but a reminder that objection to the historical claims of pagans does not equal knee-jerk Christian apologetics, either on Okie's part or on mine.

So as far as your question, kat, of "What harm if someone publicly declares their belief in a certain spiritual background," I agree completely. Spiritual background and spirtual grounding are entirely a matter of individual conscience.

Claims of historical fact, though, aren't (IMHO, since that's pretty unequivocally worded). The spiritual power of belief in the Great Mother doesn't hinge on whether or not the idyllic Great-Mother-cult claims about human prehistory are true. Conversely, neither does the historical validity of the claims hinge on the sincerity of someone's belief in either the historical claims or in the mythology and spirituality behind them. We'll probably never know for sure which way prehistory was, but the archaeological record as we currently understand it tends not to support claims about prehistory that are made by contemporary pagans.

Unfortunately, there is a vocal minority among pagans who demand that these claims be taught in the academy as fact regardless, and who tar anyone who dissents with the brushes of "antifeminist," "patriarchal," "misogynist," or what have you. And I think it's that that the Bird objects to. And pagan-friendly as I am, I object to it too.

As for science. Yes, science has often been proven wrong, or at least incomplete in its earlier findings. But I don't know of a single case where that error wasn't corrected by further scientific inquiry, rather than by metaphysical speculation. To grossly paraphrase Al Smith, the cure for the ills of science is more science. That said, I do find the work of someone like Sir John Templeton to seek unity between spirituality and scientific inquiry to be encouraging and inspiring. I'd not heard of him before your mention, kat, and quite like what I found at his website as a result. Thanks!