Atheists Think Differently

lightbulbearthAtheists don’t believe in any god or goddess or combination of either. It’s a bold choice. Like playing without a net when it comes to your beliefs about death and what comes next. Many people ‘get religion’ when death touches their lives. They become afraid and want something to believe in. Something that has power over them, something bigger than themselves, something that can give them possibilities rather than just an end to life.

I think atheists are brave or bold or angry or young or something… to stand out on that ledge and not believe.

Atheist beliefs are more than just not believing in god or following a religion. Atheists can be religious, they can be part of an organized religion. But they have a slightly different outlook because they don’t believe in the gods of the religion. This may seem complex or as if you are not really following the religion at all.

For myself, I would call myself a Witch, however I don’t believe in any gods or goddesses. This does not mean I don’t believe in something. I do believe in reincarnation. I believe there is some law of nature (something I don’t have the knowledge or experience to understand or define) which controls what happens to us after we die. Reincarnation makes sense to me, like recycling.

In this way, I follow the Pagan ways, share most of the Pagan beliefs but I have given them my own slant as a free thinker, not quite an atheist.

This free thinking changes my outlook on everything religions connect with a god or goddess. I don’t pray. But, I don’t think prayers are something wrong. Prayers give words to your deepest thoughts, emotions and needs. I also don’t believe in Adam and Eve. I believe in evolution.

People wonder why I don’t believe in god. It started when I began feeling religions hold god, heaven, devils, hell, etc over people – as a threat and a bribe to make them conform to certain standards. I began to feel I could not respect any god who would use such methods – or any god who needed or expected to be worshipped at all. Why would a god (something all mighty) need to be fawned over? It would seem to be empty praise, remote, automatic and even forced. What would that really be worth.

I started looking at other options, other beliefs. I began to merge my thoughts, feelings and values with what I found others believing.

My strongest connections were to beliefs which gave women power (rather than thinking them the ‘weaker vessel’) and those which focused on man/ humans as being responsible for their own actions rather than letting a god or devil be held to account for everything.

Through reading more about atheism I found the Free Thinkers. That’s where I will be exploring next. I like having the option to change my mind without having to change my whole religion every time.

Humanists, atheists, agnostics, non-theists, skeptics, freethinkers and other non-religious people

This post was originally written and posted to HubPages. I’ve cut and pasted the comments in because they added to the topic.

That Grrl

No one should be quick to pass judgement on another belief system/ religion until they have an understanding of it. Of course, once you begin to understand it that well, parts of it will make good sense and become worthwhile to you.

Niteriter

I think people have a need to worship something bigger than themselves because, deep inside the psyche, they feel inadequate and fearful. I believe that, once individuals have dealt with personal inner fear as it applies to their particular circumstances, the ideas you talk about here fall into place as options for forming a personal life philosophy.

I like your gentle approach to such a potentially contentious topic. We need more people exploring this important part of life with your open and genuinely inquisitive attitude.

cheaptrick

I follow Frizbetarianism.We believe when you die your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there…

The Real question we each need to answer is;Does self awareness survive death?Without it nothing else matters…seems to me…

Dean

That Grrl

It’s always good to hear there are others who think differently. A lot of people seem to carry on with beliefs without questioning anything or really appearing to think at all.

OldWitchcraft

This is a very nice essay. I am, also, an atheistic witch. I apply the term “traditional witch” a lot, but then I have to define that term because it means so many things to so many different people. I hold that, historically, most traditional Western witches were atheists.

The only reason we have to talk about “god” is that so many other people are talking about it and these people are sometimes politicians and people who could have a negative impact on our lives.

johndnathan

Nice hub, Thatgrrl. I’m more of a Pantheist myself, which to the general masses is too close to Atheist for comfort. Oh well. I do believe that when you are not bound by the limitations of a religion that you are free to see the world in a different light.

Are You Sure You’re Pagan?

dark pentacleIs your Faith Misplaced?

One thing I seldom see in Pagan writing are posts about world news and current events from a Pagan perspective. (Unless the events actually relate directly to religion/ Paganism).

I also don’t see people talking about taking comfort in Paganism or Wicca or Witchcraft the way some other religions do. Is our religion a fair weather friend? Something we take out when we intend to, or want to, but other times it’s just not there.

These are the things I’ve been thinking about lately.

When you have a personal tragedy, do you turn to your Pagan beliefs for comfort?

I’ve seen people talk on and on about what they believe, defend it, teach it and promote it. But, is it still so personal to you that you could turn to your beliefs when you really do need something to believe in – not for a cause but for your own heart? You might perform a ritual because it’s the thing to do. But, is your heart really in it? Is this giving you real comfort? Or are you just doing what’s expected of you as a Pagan/ Wiccan/ Witch?

When did you last think of something in the news from a Pagan perspective? I don’t mean news about anything religious. When did you hear the news from the perspective of being Pagan and think to write about how this made you feel, as a Pagan?

Not all news is relevant to being a Pagan, yet, if you are a Pagan shouldn’t you see the news from the perspective of your beliefs rather than adding them in later?

Do you wear Pagan jewelry, collect Pagan tools and magical items? Does each one have real meaning to you or are they just part of your collection? Do you wear black because that’s what Witches do or because you actually like wearing black?

When you ‘Go Green’, do you stop and think about how you are helping the Earth or do you just recycle because that’s the right/ popular thing to do?

If you work with spells are you really taking into account “Harm’s none”? Or do you just like creating a spell because it makes you Pagan and special. Are you a Witch because spellcraft makes you feel special and important?

When someone talks about Pagans in a negative way do you need to spring up and rush to counter them? Why? It’s not for us to convert anyone and you are more likely to change their mind from your actions, not your words.

Do your Pagan beliefs reach right down to your soul? Are you satisfied with what you believe will happen when you die? Not about being gone and death itself, few would be satisfied to leave life. But, do you get comfort from the beliefs you have about what happens to your soul after your body dies?

Is being Pagan a fair weather friend for you or is it in everything you do and feel and believe? There’s no rule that says it has to be. Being Pagan is about making your own choices and decisions, finding your own values and ideals. Have you taken that to heart or are you following the popular path without really accepting it on that deep, personal level?

After reading this are you going to leave me a comment to prove how Pagan, Wiccan or Witch you are? Are you already listing your Pagan credentials, ready to type them all out? Stop and think about why you need to prove how Pagan you are.

Could you be Pagan and not tell anyone, ever? Could you be Pagan and not need to prove it to anyone?

Being Pagan, Wiccan or a Witch is a choice of religion, spirituality, beliefs and faith. Do you have faith in your choice?

Have you looked at enough of the other options? There are endless choices inside of Paganism itself. Find the one that really speaks to you, the one that reaches your heart and soul, the one you want to live and grow with. Don’t settle too easily for what looks shiny and new or popular.

Where the Wild Things Are: Talking About Being Pagan

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, January, 16, 2003.

Staying safe, in your own safe little world. Is that where you are? Many of us choose our adventures, how far we will go depends on where we have our safety nets.

For instance, have you told anyone you’re Pagan? Have you told your family, friends, co-workers, boss? I’m not suggesting you rush out and do it. I’m certainly not daring you to tell them either. It’s a personal thing. Being Pagan is a personal thing in itself. A personal choice and something just for you.

It should not, however, be some dark secret. Something deep, dangerous and naughty. That’s not what Paganism should be. It’s not something you should have to hide from your family. Being Pagan is about caring for life, the Earth and old traditions. How can they really object to that? Still, you can find the safety zone. You can let them know you’re into nature, environmental issues and historical traditions. You can be Pagan without saying the word Pagan to them.

People don’t always get that. They think they have to hide being Pagan because others won’t like it or will be shocked by it. They turn it into a deep, dark secret. By doing that they make it become something dark, secret. No wonder so many people still think of Pagans as devil worshippers.

You have the power to find where your safe world is, set the boundaries and set the record straight if you choose to. Let people know you’re Pagan, if you can or if you choose to. But, don’t make it some dark mystery. Don’t let them find an altar, a book or a pentacle in your room without explanation. If you make being Pagan something to be ashamed of or fear you hurt all of us.

Instead be proud of who you are and be as honest about it as you can. For me, the only person I couldn’t talk to about being Pagan was my Grandmother. It scared her. She couldn’t think of it as anything but dangerous for me. She didn’t understand that it’s not something dark, but something light. She didn’t know what I made of being Pagan, for me. She only knew the stereotypes she had heard all her life.

Maple Leaves in the Rain

I found this on a wallpaper site, in Russian. I’m assuming they were free to use – at least for personal use. I’m linking back to the site because there were a lot of great images there. This is one which I love. How can you not like maple leaves in the rain, especially with colours slightly more vibrant than they would be on the typical rainy day here in Ontario.  I’m adding it in a smaller size. Hopefully you can click on it and get the full size image. Full size was even better.

mapleleaves

Where the Wild Things Are: Can you Be Yourself and Be Pagan?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, August, 24, 2003.

Being Pagan isn’t about putting on a show. It’s really a very personal thing, a choice you might keep to yourself forever or reveal to your family or friends. They call it coming out of the broom closet cause that’s kind of cute. But, you were never in a closet. Being Pagan is about being free, living with the Earth and respecting our history/ traditions. How can those be bad? Why would you have to keep that under wraps?

I think people think they have to prove a point or show off when they yabble on about how Pagan they are. In the case of craft names especially, those were meant to be secret, from everyone! But here and there you can find Pagans using their craft names more than the name on their birth certificate. Some rationalize it and say that’s their public craft name and they keep a secret one, privately. So, why the show?

Can you be yourself and be Pagan too? I think that’s what it really comes down to.

If you have to dress a certain way, display certain objects around you and change your name to fit in, where do you really fit in? Being Pagan should be comfortable, part of who you already were. It should add to you, not reprogram you.

Think about your own Pagan or Wiccan lifestyle. Are you putting on a show or are you just being Pagan cause that’s part of who you are? If you have all the toys and gadgets chances are you’re really missing something. If you’ve copied tons of spells from the web but never written any of your own, chances are you’re missing the point. Reorganize, rethink and stop to breathe, find out what part of yourself is Pagan and relearn. Get back to the essentials, rediscover being Wiccan and have fun again. You can’t be having fun if you’re always trying to catch up to some ideal of what being Pagan should be. You are Pagan, you made that choice, so just go ahead and be Pagan. No song and dance required.