Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 17,290,724


October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

A Microcosmic View of Ma'at


October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots


September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple


September 20th. 2014 ...

GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)


September 7th. 2014 ...

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

Web Oh-oh

The All


August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

Faith

A Strange Waking Dream


August 24th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation

The Pagan Cleric

A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)


August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows

The Darkness


August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

The Power of the Gorgon


August 3rd. 2014 ...

Are You a Natural Witch?

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...


July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle

The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys


July 20th. 2014 ...

Being an Underage Wiccan

Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition

Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches

Thoughts on Ghost Hunting


July 13th. 2014 ...

A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...

From Christian to Pagan (Part III)

Being Wiccan

My Wiccan Ways...


July 6th. 2014 ...

Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love


June 29th. 2014 ...

What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?

Are You My Familiar ?

Invocations of the God and Goddess

Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene

Results Magic and the Moral Compass


June 22nd. 2014 ...

Witchcraft vs. Religion

Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?

Norse Mythology


June 15th. 2014 ...

Becoming Your Own Wise One

Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha


June 8th. 2014 ...

Moral Relativism and Wicca

Paganism in Cebu, Philippines

Color Infusion

Soul Strings


June 1st. 2014 ...

Rediscovering My Pagan Faith

13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah


May 25th. 2014 ...

Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials

Awakening to our Celestial Nature (A Free 8-Day Course)

How to Work With Your Muse

10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch


May 18th. 2014 ...

Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)

The Medea Within Us All

Visits from the Departed


May 11th. 2014 ...

Breaking the Law of Return

Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!

Karma and Sin

The Sin Concept


May 4th. 2014 ...

When to Let Go...When to Hold On

Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty

Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance


April 27th. 2014 ...

Mental Illness in the Pagan Community

Being Pagan, Being Bipolar

World Crisis: Awaken Witches and Take Action

"Earth Day" Is A Pagan Conspiracy!


April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


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: 2,033

Times Read: 2,604

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

Author: Earth Father
Posted: March 29th. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,604

‘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).