#mypagantheology–condensed soup version

NYC - MoMA: Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans
NYC – MoMA: Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans (Photo credit: wallyg)

Teo Bishop has started a project to crowdsource Pagan theology. Along with asking people to tweet it or comment about it on the Wild Hunt, he has asked those of us who blog to create posts also explaining our own theology.

So here goes my interpretation:

The way I see it, Pagan itself is NOT a theology. It is an expansive category term for a whole BUNCH of theologies. Those who identify as “generically Pagan” rather than as Wiccan, Druid, Hellenic, etc. have, from what I have gathered, a sort of universalist God/Godess view. That was popular in the 1990s with more explicit gravitation towards defined traditions with defined theologies happening at the turn of the 21st century.

I am American Eclectic Wiccan. I am also Gnostic.

So … we’re all right, and wrong, and won’t know until we die, and can talk to God about not knowing God right now. Also, there are lots of them. And God is also female … and male… and genderless… fat and thin, ugly and pretty, gay,straight, bi, asexual, in me, in you, in the closet, under our beds… all of it.

The popular word for that conception among Wiccans is “immanent.” For those of us who pray, it’s praying forward rather than up or down.

There is no way I can condense the whole of any theology, let alone a specifically non-dogmatic theology into a single blog post. So the best I can do is give a series of sentences that exist on my internal theological map.

  • There is no separation between God and nature. God IS nature.
  • God is male and female.
  • Women have the same inherent holiness, divinity ((this is not the same as holy)), intelligence, capacity for evil and capacity for good as men.
  • Gender is a social construct and participation is voluntary. There is no “naturally, as men” or “naturally, as women.”
  • There are also multiple beings called gods, that are part of the universe. The following are theories about them, not conclusions:
  • That these are beings that were once human that ascended to godhood
  • That they have always been gods, beings separate from humanity
  • That they are manifestations of the immanent divinity, not really separate but separated for the sake of humanity’s ability to perceive
  • That they are unique, separate entities and have really been around since the dawn of our known time; all that immanence stuff is to make ourselves feel better
  • Holy books may have wisdom, but also have a lot of manipulations and outright lies in them. Just as we view books written by our own with critical thought and skepticism, we also view books from other faiths with the same critical thought and skepticism.
  • The discoveries of science takes precedence over religious beliefs.
  • There is life after death. Details are undetermined. Some like the idea of Summerlands, but for those of us that don’t subscribe to the Celtic mythos, this is still up on the air.
  • Reincarnation happens. Details – animal or human, plant or mineral, are also undetermined.
  • There is energy inherent in all things – even the synthesized material we use came from nature.
  • Animism is acceptable, especially from an immanent deity perspective.
  • Faith may well be a neurological truth, much like sexual orientation.
  • Other religions exist for a reason, and speak to people that need them. As long as the religion makes someone’s life better, it is worth supporting that person in his/her own faith.
  • Religion is not a competition – those who try to win by converting to their faiths are sinning against themselves. Attempts at conversion are immoral.
  • “Harm” is used in place of sin. It is defined as doing active damage to others. “Sin” focuses on sex; non-harmful (100% consensual legal/of age) sex is sacred with our without marriage in Wicca.
  • Practice of magic and divination is not required but is acceptable. It is viewed as a natural adjunct to taking responsibility for the life you have been given (your own.)
  • Of course it’s all much more complicated than that – and that’s just what lives in my own head and heart. But as a starter list, it’s a place to work from.