Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 16,484,730


April 20th. 2014 ...

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

The Oak King's Domain (A Story)

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

Being a Worrisome Witch

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah


March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective


March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!


March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness


March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright


March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects


February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are


February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?


February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings


February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)


January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected


January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence


January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression


January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild


December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed


December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)


December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots


December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward


December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?


November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy


November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?


November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 13187

VoxAcct: 332549

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,849

Times Read: 2,479

RSS Views: 37,472
Drinking the Third Glass: A Pagan Looks at Atheism – and Love

Author: Earth Father
Posted: March 29th. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,479

‘After the first glass of absinthe, you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.’ --Oscar Wilde

Atheism has made a spectacular comeback in recent years, with several heavyweight authors dominating the bestseller lists for months at a time. As a committed Pagan, I decided to accept the challenge and picked up Christopher Hitchens’s “God is not Great” and Richard Dawkins’s “The God Delusion.” The more I read of both books, the more I found myself agreeing with almost every line their authors had written.

Dawkins and Hitchens effortlessly unmask the pernicious looniness of much religious belief, such as the Immaculate Conception, the cruelties of Sharia law and all the other usual suspects, and pretty much bury the ethical and spiritual presumptions of the mainline churches. Very satisfying! Nevertheless, I set both books aside feeling they had missed a basic point.

The first thing I noticed about the authors was the depth of their knowledge and the sharpness of their wit. This immediately sets them apart from the bulk of “Christian” writers. Hitchens (an essayist and pundit) and Dawkins (one of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists) move serenely from science to philosophy to literature without any need to resort to “belief in things unseen” to explain our existence.

Now, it’s fine to think this way if you are as brilliant and successful as our two authors are. In fact, for people of this degree of sophistication an atheist is probably the only reasonable thing to be. Still, I couldn’t help but feel that both Dawkins and Hitchens had failed to understand the nature of religious feeling. For most of us, life is often painful, generally confusing, disappointing, and all too short. If you’re not a scientist or philosopher, what you are left with is what one might call “disbelief in things unseen, ” and that’s pretty thin gruel to those of us who have poor epistemological vision to begin with.

I kept wishing I could point out to Hitchens and Dawkins that most of us don’t always see much point to our existence and we are terribly unsettled whenever disasters, disease, recessions, failure and death shatter the supposed “order” that scientists, politicians, and economists pretend they can provide. Added to that are the perennial questions that science fails to address, let alone explain: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Why should I continue to soldier on, even if my life appears to be a failure?” Or, as Hamlet asked in a particularly dark hour: “To be or not to be?” Without the consolation of religion, things very quickly start to look as they really are, and it isn’t always pretty.

Perhaps scientists and philosophers do indeed have an easier time facing such questions. At one point in his book, Dawkins asks Jim Watson, the scientist behind the Human Genome Project, what we are here for, to which Watson glibly replies: “Well, I don’t think we’re here for anything. We’re just products of evolution. You can say, ‘Gee, your life must be pretty bleak if you don’t think there’s a purpose.’ But I’m anticipating having a good lunch.”

What both authors lack is a sensitivity for the primary message religions contain for us: that we matter. That our existence, our efforts, our suffering, our inevitable death are not just random events but have something to do with the whole. That whatever happens, some entity out there sees “that it is good”. Christian baptism and the mystery of communion make people feel as if they are close to God. Jewish circumcision and the bar mitzvah ceremony reassure Jews that they are indeed God’s chosen people.

In the same way, the eight seasonal festivals observed by many Pagans remind us of our place in the eternal cycle. And while it takes a finely tuned mind to grasp scientific complexities and philosophical nuances, religious stories and practices are as easy to absorb as Mother Goose.

But let’s assume for a moment that our two authors are right and that religious beliefs and rituals are piffle. Instead, let’s look at religion on a more basic, personal level – in fact, on the most personal level of all: love.

Dawkins makes a passing reference to the possibility that religion might in fact be an accidental by-product of the phenomenon of love. After all, once love goes beyond the mere reproductive urge, it is arguably a random and irrational emotion, a sort of personality disorder. While it may well be needed in order to bond couples together until their joint progeny can feed itself, love goes far beyond this function and can have some spectacular side-effects – including, perhaps, its transmogrification into religious experiences.

This certainly resonated with me. For many years, I was desperately infatuated with a beautiful and inspiring young woman (we’ll call her Susan) who made me feel – for lack of a better expression – “born again.” Our affair was brief but tumultuous. Egocentric and capricious as she was, with unresolved family and emotional issues I could only guess at, Susan’s subsequent feelings for me oscillated between moderate affection and complete indifference as she proceeded to bounce along from one abortive relationship to the next. No matter: the less she gave me, the more I worshipped her.

Although there are over three billion women in the world, nothing could dissuade me from my conviction that this particular specimen was the only one for me as long as I lived. That we were “made for each other.” Yes, common sense told me I was being toyed with, as a cat torments a mouse and then leaves it to die. No matter: I was convinced that some day we would be together. When that day came, magic would happen and all questions would find an answer.

After observing this cruel game for a couple of years, a friend of mine took an agnostic position and urged me to realize that my image of Susan was a mirage and that I should just give her up. I responded, with utter sincerity, that while my rational mind realized our “relationship” was a destructive illusion based on nothing but wishful thinking, I would nevertheless go on believing because I preferred to live in a world where someone like Susan theoretically could exist than in one where she couldn’t.

Today, after a decade of yearning and hoping, my feelings for this woman have finally withered away to nothing. Aside from frequent “acid flashbacks, ” she has lost her hold on me. But at the same time I have also lost the capacity for that kind of love. Yes, I am delighted to be free of her spell. I am endlessly grateful that we are NOT together, and I am delighted with my new down-to-earth and supportive girlfriend. And yet, the world has lost its magic.

Women are no longer angels, they’re just women. The future, which once glowed like the rising sun, is just a dark corridor. Today I live in a world where someone like Susan could never exist. In fact, nowadays things look as they really are.

It’s clear to me now that what I experienced with this woman was in fact true religion. She was my savior, my own personal Jesus, whose every word I hung on and interpreted like Holy Writ, who imbued my life and all the suffering I went through with sacred meaning. From a Pagan perspective, I was touched by the Goddess. She was Freya and Venus and Astarte. As long as I had faith in her – even if it was just in the idea of her – I could count myself among the chosen.

Now it’s easy enough to call what I experienced a particularly bad case of self-delusion and co-dependency. It’s just as easy to call Jesus a fraud and the God and Goddess an obsolete fairy tale. But the fact remains that without the consolations of love and religion, our lives lack magic. Many of us still prefer a world where our existence has some sort of transcendent meaning than one where we are entirely on our own.

Despite my admiration for Dawkins’s and Hitchens’s intellects, I doubt that science and philosophy will ever provide a substitute for the pangs of love most of us go on feeling for another human being – or for “the divine spark” within all of us.





Copyright: Copyright 2009 by A. Wallis Lloyd



ABOUT...

Earth Father


Location: Berlin, Germany

Author's Profile: To learn more about Earth Father - Click HERE




Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Earth Father... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Earth Father ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).