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Order of Pagan Skeptics

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24th July 2007

karlthepagan10:19am: Jungian personality types - skepticism / "gen-Y astrology"
Someone linked me yet another Jungian personality type page and since I'm in a puppy-kicking mood I formulated the postulate that the usual criticisms of astrology (all signs could be tweaked to apply to anyone, waste of time, only obscure true self-knowledge) should be applied to the Jungian types.

I've done a few of these tests without the psychology background to fully understand them (i.e. Jung's methodology and the general science of psychology), so approaching the Jungian types from that position here's a partial argument:

I'm an INTP (hey look at that! I could have just said "I'm a Scorpio!") and it quite conveniently matches my software engineering profession - I'm supposed to be creative, inventive, and strive towards some ideal. Not that I wouldn't be satisfied with INFP, INFP, INTJ, ISFP, ISTP, ESTP, ISFJ, ISTJ.

It helps a lot that these letters came up as a score derived from my own answers, as it's emotionally difficult to argue with a complex crafted quiz when you are driving the answer. The individual types are rather meaningless: "introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving" and their opposites are just adjectives more or less relating to the answers you gave.

The meaning derived from this adjective soup is what's hard to swallow. How can there be actual predictive value in conclusions made from these types? Please, let's have some case studies, analysis, statistics, and facts which support these conclusions!

The "famous people of your type" only further adds to the confidence game. Out of a list of famous people surely you will be able to find someone you self-identify with! The fact that the "sensing" half of the type chart's population distribution is in the majority (I'm popular/normal), while the "intuitive" half is a minority (I'm special/superior) might also play on the test taker's confidence.

Personality types, like astrological signs, let you classify individuals you interact with and color your perceptions of them. It actually allows you to minimize or trash actual observations and any care an attention you have for the actual person and replace it with a wrote response tailored to their personality type.

People actually have personality consultations "career coaching" or "life coaching" quite readily employ personality type "analysis" - could that possibly be any more useful than a tarot card reading? Someone queue up a Pen & Teller episode please.

---

xpost to a few specialized communities

22nd May 2007

giftchild5:55am: a question -
i tried to e-mail the address listed on the group profile page but it boutnced, so i will ask it here.

not trying to start anything dramatic, just curious and a bit of a language geek, perhaps even skeptical enough to even be skeptical of your skeptisism. ; ^ )

reguardless, the subject is this -


"We don't buy into the assumption that paganism = nature-oriented religion."


then what is it? to my admittedly language-geek mind the following appear:


- pagan, from the latin pagus, meaning 'country district', tilled land, place of nature with some influence of man.

- heathen, from the germanic heath, un-tilled land, place of nature, man-influence-free.


both have to do with nature.

how do you see pagan as _not_ nature related? or are you just using the word
'pagan' instead of 'polytheistic' ? (though most all polytheistic religions
have pagan aspects to them as well, related but separate topic.)


interested to hear your views.

29th August 2006

shamanwest1:37pm: Because we wanted a topic...
Pluto.

Recently this tiny little icy world has been recategorized from Planet to Dwarf Planet, a downgrading that has many railing at the Astronomers "How could you?", "How do you expect us to memorize 8 planets when it was hard enough for us to memorize 9?" and "Man, you a hater!"

But seriously, there has been some discussion across the net it seems (I was kind of amazed when someone told me, so I had to look it up for myself) of what this will do to Astrology.

...

....

.....


Here is my problem with this discussion. IS something like the influence of Heavenly bodies on a person/generation's life actually affected one way or another by what we call it. Shakespear himself once said "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" or something like that. I'm only an English major, not a shakespear-loving Savant. If Pluto's effect on the Astrological charts is genuine, then is this something that would really be altered because Scientists decided to call it something besides a planet?

I suppose that if you follow the idea that man truly does shape the universe with his will, then maybe. Though I don't think that there are many people who beleive that idea on this scale.

So, since this has been pretty dead and it got brought up, I thought I'd start discussion.

Hey, it is something to do.
symwyse12:51pm: Attention Skeptic Pagans and their ilk...
Is anyone on this thing anymore??

17th May 2006

haroeris_astrum1:22pm: Rosslyn Chapel Tarot Readings (X-Posted)
Anyone interested in the Da Vinci Code, Gnosticism, Tarot, and the Old Ones might want to check this out: http://www.hex-me.co.uk/hex-me/base/webitem-show.aspx?item=Home

28th April 2006

dragonmaster3234:45pm: This ought to be interesting...
Lately, I have come across lots of people that say Wicca is a religion. I honestly thought of it as a religion, Because of some of the main thoughts behind it. However, I know of some people who swear by the fact that it is indeed a religion, Like one of my friends at school. There is a web comic that i used to read (until it got stupid) called Oh My Gods!
There was a comic that the author made that stated 'Wicca - Pretending to be an ancient religion since 1957'
That was on my wallpaper on my computer which he started to use. He read that and told me that it offended him.

Mind you, It was a joke because the author himself Is a Wiccan.

Let me know how you feel/what you think about this.
Don't get me wrong - I know a lot about it. I have been studying it and learning many things about it since about 2001.

But this is somehting I have been noticing just lately. I know a lot of people that still refer to it as a faith, or a belief.

I think it's a belief, not a religion, But how about you?

Just curious...
Current Mood: curious

25th January 2006

saint_of_me2:26pm: Who are you? What are you?
I've met and/or heard of several people in real life (not on Otherkin communities) who claim to be supernatural beings, at least in spirit.

Well, I have seen some evidence that these claims may not be entirely false.

The main problem I have is that certain people take the attitude that to be an occult practitioner and have any access to real power, one must have some kind of backstory. Either it's genetic, or because of a past incarnation, or one is not entirely human. Something sets this person apart, other than his or her study of occult and mystical practices.

The ExamplesCollapse )

Who else out there believes themselves to be not entirely human? Why do you think this? Does this affect your magickal workings and is it possible for some one without this inhuman aspect (or powerful past life experience) to be a serious occult practitioner?

Any resemblence to people you actually know is probably purely coincidental. Chances are good that you DON'T know these people.

Go ahead and post what you want! My opinions on this matter are pretty much already set.
X-POSTED ALL TO HECK.
Current Mood: curious

27th November 2005

leodios6:10pm: Hello everyone,

I just posted this in my LJ as the second part of an essay on religion and thought that some people here might find it of interest. It deals with my attitudes toward the negotiation of multiple cognitive frameworks: in this case, science and religion. Enjoy.

longwinded...Collapse )

13th November 2005

ladynina1:08am: My first rant - why can't we all just get along...
Paganism. It's got so confused. Is it viewed as a bunch of religions sheltering under one umbrella, a set of philosophies, an area for academic study, a *great* marketing tool or something to annoy the Christian right with? It's all of the above depending on who you're communicating with at the time. And what a range of people there are out there.

But what ever happened to politeness? Is it really necessary (as seems to be the case with so many on and off line discussions) to castigate those who don't fit in with some arbitary view of what paganism means? And why is it done with such vitriolic passion?

Is it naive to want a little bit more peace and harmony and a little less mud slinging in the community of those who identify as pagan of what ever flavour?

Thumper's parent's had the idea 'If you can't say something nice...'

11th November 2005

thegrimoire3:14pm: stupid question
I'm a little confused about something. Please refrain from chucking rotten fruit my way, because I honestly need people's opinions and explanations. It doesn't help that I'm running on zero sleep right now, but I'm having a hard time with this.

For those of you who worship Lilith in particular, did you always acknowledge Christianity? Do you now? If you do not believe in the Christian god, the devil, that the world was created in seven days, that Adam and Eve were the first humans, etc. - how do you believe that Lilith exists? Do you believe that she existed pre-Christianity, and that Christianity adopted her? Or perhaps you in fact believe that Adam and Eve existed and the whole shebang - how do you view the Christian god who would have created them all? Is it simply that the Christian god is another guise of "the God," or do you believe he is one of many individual gods and goddesses, but isn't in fact the ultimate creator of the entire universe?

Although I'm sure most of the posters here don't fall in the "I'm pagan now because I had a horribly strict religious family and I needed to rebel" camp, I haven't heard much about views on the Christian god, their creation story, and Jesus. How does (or doesn't) it fit into your beliefs?

(x-posted)
Current Mood: tired

24th October 2005

ques_nova7:39pm: An intro and a question for the group.
Hi, I'm Cassandra and I found this community through a friend's journal and thought it looked interesting so I joined. There was something else that caught my interest though than just the general content of the community. It was quite stressed in the profile that pagan does not mean earth-based religion for your group. I'm not arguing that point, mind you, but it brought to mind a question I've asked in some other pagan communities (ussually resulting in my leaving said community after having sufficiently pissed off the majority of the members) and I thought, Sure, why not give it a shot here?
The question is this: How do you define pagan? Going from dictionary defintions, nine out of ten times the defintion is something to the effect of someone who is neither Christian, Jew or Muslim. While this defintion includes most of those who identify as pagan (with exception of those who practice both Christianity/Judaism/Islam and a pagan religion), it also includes many who generally wouldn't identify as pagan (such as atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, etc...) Some, using a rather "pc" approach, would say anyone who identifies as pagan is. Personally, I lean more towards the dictionary definition, though I recognize that neither definition is terribley useful when trying to explain paganism and for most it comes down to a definition of their personal form of paganism, but if we had to come up with a large scale definition, what do you think it is?

Thanks for your time and letting me join your community.

18th October 2005

c_korone9:06am: confrontation
Ok pagan skeptics, what is the most productive way to deal with fluffiness in your own religious community?
a) Point and laugh to their face
b) Give up and ignore them
c) Say nothing to them, but blow off steam about it on LJ
d) Confront the person personally
e) Form a committee

What about if you see something more than just 'fluffiness' in your own religious community - such as warning signs of abuse, corruption, or other issues that either twist or outright oppose the ethics of your religion?

I find this is a particularly touchy issue with pagans, as it is so ingrained in us to be "tolerant" - often to the point of self-censorship, or an inability to resolve conflicts. I find that many pagans just don't know how to act, or what to do if they find something going on in their 'backyard' (whether it's your religion, tradition, coven, grove, temple, group of friends, etc.) that they really feel is over the line and repugnant, ethically speaking. Then any attempt to confront the issue is likely to be met with total indignation and anger rather than calm reasoning. Pagans are so obsessed with having the 'rights' to do anything we want, that sometimes I find people forget that other 'r' word, 'responsibilities' - as in being responsible for upholding what you supposedly signed up for when you converted to said religion.

It seems to be a fairly universal concern within paganism that there are often a few - usually outspoken and highly visible - 'bad apples' that can give the rest of us a bad name. This is something we probably all have to struggle with to some extent. But when it comes to how we respond to that, people get so scared of 'stepping on toes' or looking like 'fundies' that they often shut themselves up rather than speak out.

In your opinion, what is the best way to confront these issues without creating an even larger disaster?

N.B. - Obviously this is all rather a moot point if you are not a part of any particular religion, community, group, etc.
Current Mood: hungry

8th October 2005

tsarren10:14pm: *headdesk*
Flawed reasoning at its finest:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/wolfbrotherjoe/201901.html
"Why do I know God exists?"

Of note to me because the guy was a college friend of mine. Perhaps on-topic as an example of messed-up reasoning that might be encountered in any belief system. Warning: this guy will respond to posters he doesn't know, so if you want to engage him in debate, he will oblige-- if so, be prepared to experience cranial impact with hard horizontal work surface.

25th September 2005

c_korone11:34am: patron gods
Per special request in the last post, I thought I'd bring this topic up for discussion: Patron Gods. As in, 'My patron is Aphrodite. What's yours?'

Perhaps this is something that comes up more often in Recon communities, but perhaps not - I find that a great number of people, especially the new folks, seem to think that they're not 'proper' until they've established a 'patron relationship' with a particular deity.

Personally, I don't deny at all that this can and does happen. But the notion that it can and should happen for everyone, in this 'choose your own adventure' sort of way, I don't buy at all. Read more...Collapse )

EDITED to add emphasis on my point, which a couple may have missed. I am not making a sweeping statement that patron gods = bad/wrong/etc. This is not a black & white issue IMO.
Current Mood: curious

23rd September 2005

tsarren5:12pm: Short Totem Rant (you've probably seen something like this before...)
I am just this side of the borderline of post/not post. Having had anger management issues recently, I will take the opportunity to vent in a contextually relevant forum and risk boring people rather than keep it bottled up.

For the nth time recently, I saw another "I saw this animal, so it must be one of my totems now, and I looked up its significance/meaning."

*head-desk*

Someone I know recently posted in their journal that they saw a hawk, and had read somewhere that hawks were messengers, and wrote a few paragraphs on what message is is that the Universe/whatever was trying to send them. I commented, "well, someone must be trynig to get ahold of me pretty badly, because I see hawks every day." Relevant because this person and I live in the same metroplex. I just happen to be more observent.

I suppose my patience is worn thin because here in Austin TX, 180-some-odd miles from the coast, there are STILL people crowding the grocery stores buying up all the bread and water. All for what will amount to a nasty thunderstorm. And to bring this on topic, I saw another message from someone saying that their daughter had contributed a measurable percentage to Rita veering off Houston. I'm teetering on the brink of telling her, "great, if that's the case, which of course isn't provable, how do you think the people who are going to get hit because of her feel?"

18th September 2005

owl_clan3:34am: A Reason to Believe: A letter to Frank and to Pagan Skeptics




Back in July, a member of this community named Frank wrote this letter:



"I'm in a bit of an unusual predicament here.

See, I believe that there are personality types for whom theism is the best option, regardless of its factual basis; some people just plain need a religion of some kind. There are also personality types for whom atheism is the best option,, regardless of whether or not a deity of any kind exists; i.e., some people don't need religion, or are harmed by religion.

I am in the rather awkward position of being an atheist with a theistic personality. I'm one of those guys who needs a religion of some sort, yet I'm completely and utterly skeptical of the existence of the supernatural (which, to my mind, is sort of a prerequisite for theism). I have an extremely hard time accepting any claims of supernatural encounters, the arguments all seem weak, and I have never had what I could call a "religious experience." In short, I have no reason to believe in the supernatural or paranormal, or to adopt a religious system of any kind.

And yet, I want to.

I'm looking for a reason to believe; and since this is a community for pagans who are also skeptics, I thought this would be a good place to start. If you have any compelling reasons for holding to a theistic belief of any kind, I'm all ears.

Yours,
Frank"




I wrote a long letter to respond to Frank, and to any other pagan skeptics that care to hear my take on this very good letter that he wrote. Here is my take on Skepticism versus Faith in Pagan Gods, or any other religion.


Here it is:


Can a frog in a bog in Ireland dream of a desert on a planet light years away?Collapse )

16th September 2005

ashesinblood10:27pm: I think I should introduce myself. I joined this group a while ago, and purged out a lot of confusion in me. I just came to think now that it was kinda rude not to properly introduce myself.
I'm 25, have been living for (too long) in Florida. I go to school to (maybe) become a teacher one day (languages?, still debating).
Religion has always been a difficult thing for me, I never really knew what to believe. I was taught paganism by my mom and grandma was always saying stuff about sins, hell and Jesus.It was always:believe as I tell you (well, not so much from my mom)
Trying to define myself has become a little more difficult since I learned how to speak English (the problem being: translating words, finding out that there is a word I don't know-never thought I wouldn't realize that rightaway!)
But I think it comes down to this:eclectic paganism with a lot of pantheism in it.Tasty cocktail...
good thing about good old USA: seperation of church and state!
how y'all?

4th September 2005

ashesinblood9:30pm: let's open this door...
I could look all this up in books, but I would rather hear from people. I speak english very well, but I have trouble defining things/me. Is it a wiccan belief that a murderer for exapmle will be reborn and then be murdered b/c of karma or is this a general pagan belief? Is it "wrong" of me to think that spelling the word magic with a k is rubbish? in my native country my belief had no name, it goes basically like this: nature is a spirit, nature can talk to us, have respect for it, we are energy that needs to better ourselves from life to life,there are gods but they don't really care too much, except they want you to belief in them, all these gods are one god, but remain divided. So am I simply a pagan?
Current Mood: curious

18th July 2005

devourtheliving10:04pm: A reason to believe
I'm in a bit of an unusual predicament here.

See, I believe that there are personality types for whom theism is the best option, regardless of its factual basis; some people just plain need a religion of some kind. There are also personality types for whom atheism is the best option,, regardless of whether or not a deity of any kind exists; i.e., some people don't need religion, or are harmed by religion.

I am in the rather awkward position of being an atheist with a theistic personality. I'm one of those guys who needs a religion of some sort, yet I'm completely and utterly skeptical of the existence of the supernatural (which, to my mind, is sort of a prerequisite for theism). I have an extremely hard time accepting any claims of supernatural encounters, the arguments all seem weak, and I have never had what I could call a "religious experience." In short, I have no reason to believe in the supernatural or paranormal, or to adopt a religious system of any kind.

And yet, I want to.

I'm looking for a reason to believe; and since this is a community for pagans who are also skeptics, I thought this would be a good place to start. If you have any compelling reasons for holding to a theistic belief of any kind, I'm all ears.

Yours,
Frank

16th July 2005

minteckers6:53pm: For the 4th of July we went and celebrated with a coven of witchy type people. While we were there, this annoying comic store guy type of person wearing a robe (and not a bath robe mind you) said something to the effect of "I haven't had this much fun since I was in the Marines."

Jake and I were so entertained by the thought of that character in the Marine Corps that we made a bumper sticker:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
kiwitayro4:40pm: tarot help! (thoth-specific)
ok, i need advice/input from anyone who uses this spread:


to give me some input into what that bottom left segment is all about, and subsequently the bottom right.

i just did a reading where my usual interpretation seems really odd. maybe it's just shit i don't want to hear. if that's the case, fine. but i'd like some other opinions.
Current Mood: confused

13th July 2005

rescuejumper10:15am: Hello
Just a quick post to say hello from the UK, this is a really good community I look forward to future postings
Current Mood: chipper

9th July 2005

shamanwest12:36am: Greetings. shamanwest here. Um, short-time viewer, first time poster. I found this via a friend's link in a rant and people here seemed intelligent and I thought "hey, I might learn something" which is all good.

I read back a few posts and there had been a discussion of good and evil. There was a response favoring a philosophy of Wise and Unwise over good and bad/evil. I was wondering, because I am very curious, if the idea could be expounded on. If it has been, could you please respond with a link to it?

Thank you very much.
Current Mood: curious
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