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Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
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The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
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My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
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December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
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Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
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The Cry of the Soul
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 Pagan and the Papacy
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For Love of the God
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A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
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October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
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Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
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October 6th. 2013 ...
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Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
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September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Marriage of Belief and Logic
Article ID: 15227
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 471
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Posted: November 25th. 2012
Times Viewed: 1,495
I’m going to start out this essay with a set of definitions in order to point out that often two people interpret a word or idea differently. Scientists usually follow the underlined definitions, while those of faith follow the [bracketed] definitions.
Assumption: [1. Something that is taken for granted; something that is believed to be true without proof. 2. Belief without proof; the belief that something is true without having any proof.] 3. Act of undertaking something. 4. Acceptance of responsibility for something. 5. Inclination to high expectations; the tendency to expect too much. 6. Unproved starting point; logic - something taken as a starting point of a logical proof rather than given as a premise.
Theory: 1. Rules And Techniques. 2. Speculation; abstract thought or contemplation. [3. Idea formed by speculation; an idea of or belief about something arrived at through speculation or conjecture. 4. Hypothetical circumstances.] 5. Scientific principle to explain phenomena; a set of facts, propositions, or principles analyzed in their relation to one another and use, especially in science, to explain phenomena.
Fact: 1. Something known to be true; something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened. 2.Ttruth or reality of something; the truth or actual existence of something, as opposed to the supposition of something or a belief about something. 3. A piece of information, e.g. a statistic or statement of the truth. 4. Actual course of events; law - the circumstances of an event or a state of affairs, rather than an interpretation of its significance. 5. Something based upon evidence; reproducible phenomena given a standardized set of conditions.
Belief: [1. Acceptance of truth of something; acceptance by the mind that something is true or real, often underpinned by an emotional or spiritual sense of certainty.] 2. Trust; confidence that somebody or something is good or will be effective. 3. Something that somebody believes in; a statement, principle, or doctrine that a person or group accepts as true. [4. Religious faith; faith in god or in a religion’s gods.]
Faith: [1. Belief or trust; belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof. 2. Religion or religious group; a system of religious belief, or the group of people who adhere to it. 3. Trust in god; belief in and devotion to god/s. 4. Set of beliefs; a strongly held set of beliefs or principles. 5. Loyalty; allegiance or loyalty to somebody or something.]
Logic: 1. Theory of reasoning; philosophy - the branch of philosophy that deals with the theory of deductive and inductive arguments and aims to distinguish good from bad reasoning. 2. System of instance of reasoning; any system of, or an instance of, reasoning and inference. 3. Sensible argument and thought; sensible rational thought and argument rather than ideas that are influenced by emotion or whim. 4. Reasoning of particular field; the principles of reasoning relevant to a particular field. 5. Relationship and pattern of events; the relationship between specific events, situation, or objects, and the inevitable consequences of their interaction.
Dogma: [1. Religious belief; a belief or set of beliefs that a religion holds to be true. 2. Group belief; a belief or set of beliefs that a political, philosophical, or moral group holds to be true.]
We usually begin our arguments over the definition of an idea. I think ‘this’ is true, you think ‘that’ is true. When it comes to religion and faith, those who side on science are often amazed that everyone cannot see plainly what is in front of them. Those of religious faith hold the same amazement towards the scientist. As an amateur scientist and philosopher (you don’t have to be a PhD in either to be one) , I have a strong penchant to hold to what is provable. Something that is NOT provable is a hypothesis, and should not be confused with fact or theory. As defined above, people of a certain faith often say that evolution is a theory (3.) , when a scientist is using Theory (1, 5) .
Evolution is provable. One species of horse that had been extinct for hundreds of years has even been brought back from that ‘extinction’, by selective breeding, to recapture traits lost from the genus of the horse species. We can ‘assume’ then, that if we can breed back a horse by interbreeding for those qualities of the ‘extinct’ horse, then it also follows that diversity of the genetic code brought about the current species of horses. Everyone accepts that all modern dogs sprang from wolves, which is true. Farmers and ranchers specifically breed species of plants or animals that will exhibit the traits they desire. This is also a form of evolution. Theory, in these cases, isn’t an abstract idea; it is a provable, reproducible fact.
Scientists rely on proof to formulate what is known about reality. Without fact and the knowledge of universal conditions, there is only chaos and fantasy. Scientists have worked to explain natural phenomena that control the interactions of matter and energy in the universe. This does not mean that scientists created these things, only that they have used the scientific method, and logical deductive thought, to explain those interactions. Scientists will even, albeit reluctantly, admit that a once held theory can be wrong if you are able to demonstrate, repeatedly, the actual phenomena occurring and the reason why the theory is incorrect. Science demands that checks and balances operate both ways, for only with the truth can the un-known become known.
But when we delve into the realms of paganism, and religion, logic and the scientific method take a second seat. Most of what can be experienced is subjective, and cannot be measured by any physical means. There is nothing wrong with this, in honesty, as long as we don’t force another to accept our belief as the only one true belief. Admittedly, in our larger community, there are certain things that are commonly held to be true without physical evidence. Enough experimentation has been performed by many different researchers to confirm certain things that cannot be defined inside the realm of science, although scientific methods were used.
I’ll use Astral Projection as an example:
There has been ample experimentation into these phenomena for it to be considered possible. Not that everyone has the ability to perform astral projection, just that the likelihood of achievement is possible given time and effort. There is no physical method to prove AP as fact. There are only anecdotal reports of occurrences happening at one location, which someone who was Astral Projecting declared witnessing when they were in fact sitting on a couch. There is the possibility of clairvoyance to account for knowing something you couldn’t have known, and that in itself is not provable. However, it still occurs. Not having a definite explanation does not negate the fact that it does occur.
So, where does this leave us? From my past essays, you can guess that I hold a great amount of stock in what you can prove versus what you think is happening. I am open minded enough to accept that what you think might be happening, could be happening, but I reserve my right to be skeptical until there is proof.
Perhaps it is only a matter of time before certain things that are held to be ‘beliefs’ are proven to be true. Maybe an empirical test will be developed that can prove that AP is factual for those who can develop the ability. Perhaps one day telekinesis can be understood as a physical phenomenon that can be performed given certain conditions. One day, hopefully, a Theory (1, 5) will be developed explaining how spell-craft works and can be performed by anyone who puts in the time to learn how.
I think our problem, as human beings, is that we mistakenly think we are at the top of the mountain of evolution. The reality is that we have only just oozed out of the ocean, and have barely begun to climb the foothills (as individuals and as a community) . We are only dimly aware that there are even mountains out there to climb; they are so far away and are hidden by the mists of what we think of as ‘reality’ that we think they are just imagination. For now, we think that the rolling plain we are on is all there is, and that there is no need to go looking for anywhere higher to observe reality. Once we find a hill, and climb to the top of it, we might get above what is clouding our vision to perhaps see that there is a huge mountain above it, hidden by the mists below.
There are (a lucky few) those who are a great example of ‘The Fool’. Not someone who is foolish, as we think first, but one who is not hampered by rules of what to believe. “I didn’t know I couldn’t fly, so I didn’t fail when I attempted it.” If that Fool continues to follow his/her path, he/she might eventually make it all the way to ‘The Hermit’. The Hermit is the Fool who followed the path all the way to the top of the Mountain of Reality, and stands up there shining a light down for those other Fools who look up to spot and attempt to reach.
Definitions by: Microsoft Dictionary
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