Conversations in Religion

What is Religion?

According to Ronald J. Wilkins:
Many people think of religion in terms of what they see. They equate religion with a set of dogmas (or doctrines), a form of worship, and a moral code. In reality, dogma (or doctrine) is an attempt to verbalize what is believed; worship is the externalization of human responses which seem appropriate to whatever a person believes is the Ultimate Answer to Life's Mystery; and morality is the response to whatever a person thinks is proper conduct. When these are organized, ritualized, and agreed on by a group of people, those people form a community of believers. What they do is often called a religion.

Conversations in Paganism

Name/Handle: Charis

Site URL

Your Tradition: Wiccan - eclectic with a Celtic slant

Define "Pagan": I define Paganism as something more than just not one of the "top 3 religions." It is a way that I live my life - in tune with nature and the changing of the seasons. I realize now, more than ever, that humans are not master of everything else, but as one with all living things.
Paganism is preserving nature for future generations, of which we will be a part of.
Paganism is knowing how to work with, not against, the energies present on this Earth - which is magick.
Paganism is kindness and love for everyone and everything. I thank the Lord and Lady each day that I am able to live my life as such - and marvel at the beauty I have around me.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: I believe that the God was borne of the Goddess - that they are present in everything around us. They are not sitting in huge thrones in the sky just waiting for us to mess up so they can pass judgment against us. The God and Goddess are loving and are there to help us in good and bad times.

Your Concept of Human Nature: It is genuinely inherent upon birth for us to be good people. Unfortunately, some people develop a cruel nature. In essence, we are responsible for our own actions.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: I believe that there is no one right way to enlightenment, that there are many paths. The path I chose is to treat all - people, plants, animals - with deep respect and kindness. I believe that goodness, kindness, and respect is what it really is all about.

Your Concept of an After-life: I believe in reincarnation. I also believe that we meet with our loved ones in each life. Why are we continually sent back to live another lifetime? Possibly to work out some part of our nature that we need improved upon... possibly to help someone else.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: Ahh... the purpose of life. Philosophers have struggled over this one for centuries. If I were only philosophical, I would be tempted to answer this one :)

What should everyone know about your Tradition? I would like everyone to know that those following a Wiccan path are not evil, nor do we worship the devil (or believe that the devil exists). We are everyday folks - teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses, housewives, etc. - who worship in a different manner. We feel we are kindred spirits with nature - brother or sister to every person, plant, and animal. Just don't believe the version that Hollywood tries to sell you - cause chances are, they are not painting a true picture.

Name/Handle: ComndrT

Site URL

Your Tradition: Solitary Paganism

Define "Pagan": One who keeps a foot in the old ways and another firmly planted in the new ones.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: The God and Goddess share their divinity over and with a good marriage.

Your Concept of Human Nature: We start out good, but boy watch out as we grow older!

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: With the help of the Magicks, we make our own, regardless of what truly exists.

Your Concept of an After-life: We who are good and kind people, well... we all shine on.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: We are here to learn and love and to share that learning and love. Everything else is secondary.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? The Magicks demand ACTION. In order for them to grow and strengthen... to add to themselves... we must take an active part in everything around us. The causes, the heartache, the love, the pain, the hurt, the joy... all of it. We get what we give, and that is the way it always has been... even before people began humming crystals and calling it all New Age. We have always known how to Tend and Tap the Magicks. It's just that many of us have forgotten how, or have become too complacent to dare to risk harming anyone or anything in order to get certain things done. Sometimes awareness just isn't enough. It take rolling up our collective sleeves and getting our hands dirty, whether we be pagan, Christian, Moslem or empty beer-can worshippers in Baui Baui. It takes a timeless patience that knows where to draw certain lines and how to stand by those lines. And yes, it often takes guts. It is not easy. It is the easiest thing in the world.

Name/Handle: Beltanna

Site URL

Your Tradition: Paganism, but incorporating Christian elements.

Define "Pagan": The Old Ways. The worship of the God and Goddess, in harmony with Nature and with ourselves.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: All the Gods are One God, and all the Goddesses, One Goddess, and even They two are but halves of the same Whole.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Human nature is somewhat flawed, but tends to be at least well intentioned.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: One must strive to be the best human they can be, while not brow-beating themselves for mistakes. One must try to do right always.

Your Concept of an After-life: "Heaven" is a place where our spirits rest, sometimes retire. There is rebirth, reincarnation. If Hell exists, it's probably not scary, but boring!

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To learn as much as we can learn. To share all that we know.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? I'm what some call a Christo-Pagan. I believe in the teachings of Christ. I also believe in Buddha, Mohammet, Zeus, and Isis.
"Religion" is a political tool, used to control, manipulate, and oppress it's adherents. The belief in a God or a Goddess, however, while called religion, is really just the reaching out of the human heart and mind to That which nurtures us all. When you try to organize it, make rules for it, say that one may do this or that, but not this or that, set your frail human self up to tell me how to live my life, then you completely destroy the purpose and intent of religion: to draw nearer to one's Creator.
As Paganism attempts to do none of these things, not even to tell me whom or what I may worship, I have chosen its basic belief system as my own.
I worship the Mother, the Father, the Human Child They have sent to us so many times.
I worship nature and learning, and knowledge for its own sake. I cannot tell you Paganism's beliefs, for there are not many, but only one.
"An' it harm none, do what thou will."

Name/Handle: Agstorm

Site URL

Your Tradition: Clan Based Witta

Define "Pagan": Latin for "country dweller (man)"

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: God is the male aspect of that sweet energy it took to create the heavens and the earth.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Human nature is an evolutionary process that we all endure guided by a need to survive.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Enlightenment is knowing that you are an integral part of the collective energy in nature. Everything I do has an impact on everything else.

Your Concept of an After-life: Once I pass on, I will be reunited with the Mother (energy) of the universe. I will be able to dance in the wind upon the tree tops or become the energy to sustain the life of another living being.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To serve nature so she will provide for me and to guide those entrusted to my care (children).

What should everyone know about your Tradition? My 'tradition' which is my life, is a very happy existence for me. I worship with the sky, tree tops, and stars as my ceiling. There are no walls between me and my Lady and Lord. I see no miracles except those provided for in nature (magick). I was brought up in a household where religion was governed by tradition and ancestral influence. My father came from Ireland when he was fourteen and, having lived off the land for his first fourteen years, knew the value and importance of respecting nature and paying homage.
I walk a path in life that demands I speak ill of no man, judge no one, and respect all. The Golden Rule is the same for me as it is for the Christians (only worded a bit different). I do not preach or teach outside of my clan in respect to my ancestors. This is a very personal religion. I was also taught that all religions are to be appreciated since they are all geared at keeping the spirit (energy) pure.
My respect for nature allows me to walk on a sunny day by a stream and appreciate every nuance of the flow of the water and the breezes sent to greet me. This same respect allows me to enjoy a stormy night in all its glory. There is no greater gift in the universe that I have found that even rivals the nature of Earth.

Name/Handle: Jennie

Site URL

Your Tradition: the belief that we (humans) should never run out of questions without running out of our existence

Define "Pagan": a follower of an earth based religion

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: I truly wish I knew my concept but new ideas keep swirling up in my mind

Your Concept of Human Nature: as humans we are selfish which does not mean we are all evil it simply means every one of our actions good or bad has some benefit to us.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: pure innocence (which I will never be able to define)

Your Concept of an After-life: I think that time might not really exist, its only purpose to make our lives more structured and suitable for our minds(which would mean an afterlife would have no meaning)

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: to ask questions

What should everyone know about your Tradition? well I believe people need to stress the ability to accept more than the ability to agree.

Name/Handle: Laren

Site URL

Your Tradition: Wiccan

Define "Pagan": Follower of Earth centered spiritual tradition.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: I see the various deities as archetypes for human character or behavior. Whether or not they are omniscient beings who actually control my destiny is something I haven't really decided yet. When calling on a deity, I am calling on the power or aspect that they most represent to me.

Your Concept of Human Nature: no response

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: I personally don't really have a concept of salvation. It really isn't a Pagan concept. Neither is enlightenment. To me Paganism is more about living a balanced life. Action is more important than belief.

Your Concept of an After-life: Well, a common Wiccan belief is of a place called the Summerland. A place that the soul goes after death. Sort of like the Elusyian Fields of Greek myth. Reincarnation is also another popular afterlife belief.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To live. To experience life, to love, to hate, to overcome the bad. I don't know if there is a more ultimate purpose.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? Well, as soon as people hear the word Pagan or Witch, they immediately think Satanist, with its overtones of blood, death and child sacrifice. That is not what Paganism is about. Paganism is about living a balanced life, balancing our light sides with the dark. About living in harmony with nature as much as possible. It is about respect for yourself and for other people. And acting in ways that will make the world a good place to live in.

Name/Handle: Cadifor ap Colwen (Jagannath Prakash)

Site URL

Your Tradition: Welsh Traditionalist Wiccacrafte

Define "Pagan": One who intentionally lives in harmony with nature and whose spiritual constructs are based on that balance and flow.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: The Lord and Lady (God and Goddess) are That-Which-Is when conceived of in a personalized or idealized state. All of existence is the Divine Nature manifested in countless ways.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Human life is merely one aspect of That-Which-Is and hence contains all the potentiality of That. How we use this opportunity is up to each individual.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: There is no concept of salvation or enlightenment within Welsh Traditionalism as there is nothing to be saved from nor enlightened to. The closest would be for one to become Wicci or Wicca. A "Wiccan" is a male who has attained Wisdom (ie harmony with That-Which-Is), an attained female is called a "Wiccin." Each of these titles derive from the word "Witta" or "wisdom" and from "Witta" come the English bastardization "Witch" (which should always be spelled with a capital "W" even as "Christian" is capitalized) and refers to female or male elders of the Pagan Community. The Wiccans and/or Wiccins are the "priesthood" or "Holders of the Power" for the Pagans, in this Tradition. Elsewhere they are known as stregi etc. Such a wise one however is no closer to the Divine Couple, i.e. harmony and/or balance, by virtue of this designation than the rest of the Pagan communities.

Your Concept of an After-life: All of existence is but an individualized manifestation of That-Which-Is. Nothing is ever really born nor does it die. After physical "death" we pass gently into another aspect of That-Which-Is. It may be as a bird, a tree, a human etc. It may be into the Realms of Summer Land (Avalon, Anwiffn, Hades...), or into any number of outward appearances of That-Which-Is. It matters not as it is all part an eternal Dance of the Lady and Lord (yinanyang, lingam-yoni, female-male etc.) around the Old Black Stone of Be-ing.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To live fully consciously.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? All of us, regardless of our race, religion etc. are descended from the Pagans and within our veins flow Pagan blood. The Goddess is now awakening and reclaiming Her rightful seat beside the God. The God is throwing off the shackles imposed on Him by pious religionists and together They are raising the Torch of Wisdom by which we may all enter into the New Age. Paganism is a Path which helps us share in this blessed harmony and replace the patriarchy with a new and better age of peace and justice.

Name/Handle: Paul_LeCorde

Site URL

Your Tradition: Numinism

Define "Pagan": A practitioner of any religion not affiliated with Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: Numinists acknowledge the underlying Unity of all creation and the web of life.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Numinists affirm the inherent worth of each member of the human family.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Enlightenment is achieving the individual's destiny, fulfilling ones unique purpose.

Your Concept of an After-life: We teach reincarnation.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To learn and grow in order to achieve destiny.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? Numinism is about spiritual growth and community! Numinism is a universalist tradition, which, although derived from the religion of the Romans, is compatible with other Pagan traditions, including Shinto, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. Numinists believe that everything and every activity has a spiritual power(a part of the One), called Numen by the Romans, Kami by the Japanese, Mana by the Polynesians,etc, and that each person is connected to the Divine through the Inner Light. Therefore, Numinism has no need for clergy. Numinists are united by a Common Official Religious Expression (CORE) Statement, which establishes fellowships, called FAMILIAS, that honor the Numina (plural of numen) of daily life, including Vesta, the Spirit of Flame and Hospitality, Janus, the Spirit Guardian of Doorway, the Lar, Spirit of the House, the Penates, Guardian Spirits of the Household, and others. Numinists accept the name Pomona for Mother Nature and Vertumnus for Father Time and all creation as their siblings. Numinists also pursue knowledge of and develop relationships with the archetypes of the unconscious, which the Romans called the Gods. Each fellowship is ruled by democratic processes and is an autonomous unit within the Numinist family network. Numinism is about community, brotherly love, wisdom, and spiritual growth... ...with a Roman accent.

Name/Handle: Flavius Vedius Germanicus

Site URL

Your Tradition: Religio Romana

Define "Pagan": One of the various European-originating pre-Christian religious traditions.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: Widely varies between anthropomorphic beings with a deep interest in human affairs, and abstract Numina that embody concepts of life such as "love", "war", etc.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Widely varies (see Roman philosophy)

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: None. Mankind is not in need of Salvation from anything.

Your Concept of an After-life: Widely varies. Some see death as an eternal sleep, some see the quality of the afterlife as dependent on the conduct during corporeal existence.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: Essentially based in the material world. Worldly success, however that is personally defined each person sets their own purpose of life.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? Most practitioners of the Religio Romana go far beyond mere Roman paganism we embody all facets of classical Roman culture and society. Roman paganism was unique in that it readily accepted and encompassed other foreign religious traditions hence the ready grafting of Greek anthropomorphic mythology onto what were essentially very abstract "Numina" (the original Roman conception of the nature of the Gods). There's a lot more to Roman paganism than just Greek Gods with Roman names.

Name/Handle: Druecilla

Site URL

Your Tradition: Pagan Witch

Define "Pagan": The belief in the Goddess and the worship of the forces of nature

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: the force that causes things to happen and creates the powers no one can explain, such as life

Your Concept of Human Nature: i don't understand the question

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: the ability to feel love and toleration for all living things, even those that are intolerant

Your Concept of an After-life: I believe that the afterlife is a place of pure consciousness full of spirits and other entities who interact and have problems just like we do in life. I also believe very strongly in reincarnation.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: I believe that we have lives because we need to learn something and the purpose of each life is to learn as much as we possibly can about everything

What should everyone know about your Tradition? Well, my tradition is one very much centered around life and love. I worship the Goddess who is the mother of us all. I recognize the importance of the God in my Path, but I do not do as much in worship of him. I do not believe in sin, the devil, or Hell. I believe that we all have a morale obligation to be respectful of life and other people. "An it harm non do as thou wilt" is the main rule of thumb to follow in all things that I do. I read on a webpage recently that witchcraft was a lust to control and manipulate the flesh.. I just want to tell that person that they are way off. It is a crime to use magic to control the will of any person, for any reason. Everyone has a purpose and it is in no way magic's intent to steer them from their intended path. Magic is a power that comes from the forces of life and should only be used for the purposes of protecting and healing, NEVER for the purpose of control the will of others!

Name/Handle: Kat

Site URL

Your Tradition: Left Hand Path Eclectic/Chaos Magician

Define "Pagan": My definition of this varies every time I answer it, as it's a word with rather wide usage. How about: One who is involved in the practice of magick (religious or otherwise), or in a more traditional western dictionary type definition, someone who follows a belief system that is either pantheistic or otherwise not Judeo-Christian.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: I have no belief in any creative intellect, but hold the opinion that there is a universal energy of sorts in all things. I'm also of the opinion that entities (e.g. "gods", "angels", "demons") are reasonably likely to be external intelligences, although it is possible that they are manifestations of an individual or group subconscious. Or they could be something else entirely.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Highly irritating, for the most part.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Either non-existant or undesirable. The common theory of "enlightenment" being the achievement of union with the universe and destruction of the individual ego per se does not sound remotely appealing to me.

Your Concept of an After-life: Possibly other dimensions or planes, possibly eternal reincarnation, possibly nothing. And possibly lots of other things too.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To live, to enjoy, to love. Pure hedonism from here, I'm afraid. -)

What should everyone know about your Tradition? I'm not one for proselytizing, but if someone wants to know something, I will freely pass on what I can. The greater variety of opinions, knowledge and experience that are available to people in general, the better.

Go on a Sacred Quest!

Are you ready to begin a Quest for Truth? Here's your chance!
The Absolute Truth is contained within one of the following links.
Only the Wise will discover It!

Let the Quest begin!

Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link
Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link
Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link
Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link Pagan Link
Pagan Link Pagan Link

These links have been submitted by the participants in this Conversation.
Therefore, neither I, ACT, Geocities nor anyone else can take responsibility for what might be hidden here! That makes it even more fun!
I have attempted to avoid replication of these links, but a few were recommended by several of our participants, so if you find the same one twice, read it again!
Of course, should you find something here which is offensive please notify me as soon as possible and I will delete it.

Thanks, and enjoy your quest!

Next Month:

Christianity From All Sides.