secularism quote

aespectrum  asked:

Hello! I've been interested in becoming a witch, but I don't know what are the differences between a Wiccan and a pagan and a secular and etc. Can you please give me a basic idea of what are the differences and what is what? Thank you in advance

Hello there!

Paganism is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity for populations of the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population or because they were not milites Christi (soldiers of Christ). Alternate terms in Christian texts for the same group were “hellene” and “gentile”. “Pagan” and “paganism” were pejorative terms for the same polytheistic group, implying its inferiority. "Paganism" has broadly connoted the “religion of the peasantry”, and for much of its history was a derogatory term. Both during and after the Middle Ages, “paganism” was a pejorative term that was applied to any non-Abrahamic or unfamiliar religion, and the term presumed a belief in false god(s). There has been much scholarly debate as to the origin of the term paganism.  In the 19th century, paganism was adopted as a self-descriptor by members of various artistic groups inspired by the ancient world. In the 20th century, it came to be applied as a self-description by practitioners of Modern Paganism or neopagan movements who incorporate beliefs or practices different than those in the main world religions, such as nature worship.Contemporary knowledge of old pagan religions comes from several sources, including anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to classical antiquity. Forms of these religions, influenced by various historical pagan beliefs of premodern Europe, exist today and are known as contemporary or modern paganism, also referred to as neopaganism. While most pagan religions express a worldview that is pantheistic, polytheistic or animistic, there are some monotheistic pagans.

Then there’s Modern Paganism, also known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Although they do share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, and no single set of beliefs, practices or texts are shared by them all. Most academics studying the phenomenon have treated it as a movement of different religions, whereas a minority instead characterise it as a single religion into which different Pagan faiths fit as denominations. Not all members of faiths or beliefs regarded as Neopagan self-identify as Pagan. 

The definition of secular reads as such: signifies attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

Secular paganism is a form of Neopaganism in which pagan deities are viewed (if at all) as archetypes instead of real beings, but pagan virtues and principles are upheld.

“Secular Paganism is not a religion; it is an ethical view of the world, based on the belief that Nature is sacred and must be respected and treasured. Secular Pagans hold many of the same views about Nature that religious Pagans and many people of other religions do. Secular Pagans believe that we are a part of Nature, not her master. There are no particular religious views connected with Secular Paganism.” ~ Abby Willowroot

Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing. Back to when Wicca was being founded, again, it was believed to be the ancient religion of Witches. Once again, reputable historians and sociologists have debunked this claim. One can still be a Wiccan Witch, and traditionally Wiccans do practice The Craft (myself included). But it’s no longer a given.

Wiccan views of divinity are generally theistic, and revolve around a Goddess and a Horned God, thereby being generally dualistic. In traditional Wicca, as expressed in the writings of Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente, the emphasis is on the theme of divine gender polarity, and the God and Goddess are regarded as equal and opposite divine cosmic forces. In some newer forms of Wicca, such as feminist or Dianic Wicca, the Goddess is given primacy or even exclusivity. In some forms of Traditional Witchcraft that share a similar duotheistic theology, the Horned God is given precedence over the Goddess. Some Wiccans are polytheists, believing in many different deities taken from various ‘pagan’ pantheons, while others would believe that, in the words of Dion Fortune, “all the Goddesses are one Goddess, and all the Gods one God”. Some Wiccans are both duotheistic and polytheistic, in that they honor diverse pagan deities while reserving their worship for the Wiccan Goddess and Horned God, whom they regard as the supreme deities. (This approach is not dissimilar to ancient pagan pantheons where one divine couple, a god and goddess, were seen as the supreme deities of an entire pantheon.) Some see divinity as having a real, external existence; others see the Goddesses and Gods as archetypes or thoughtforms within the collective consciousness.

Wicca is a celebration of nature and the magic of life which surrounds us all, it’s the whispers of the wind in the trees, the fire of Autumn leaves shining brightest in their last days and the slumber of an ancient oak in the depths of winter. All those moments which take our breath away, the reflective sunrises and the nights under moonlight that fill our souls with song, we celebrate and revere. Even in our darkest moments that connection is there waiting to be found, helping us to embrace the shadows and understand that light and shadow need each other to bring balance. Each person brings to the practices something new, a change to a chant, a new method, or just their own light, forming threads that weave together into a vibrant tapestry that can bring joy to those within. 

Witchcraft broadly means the practice of, and belief in, magickal skills and abilities that are able to be exercised by individuals and certain social groups. Witchcraft is a complex concept that varies culturally and societally; therefore, it is difficult to define with precision and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft often occupies a religious, divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view. Typically, Witchcraft is the act of focusing your Will to alter the universe around you.

TL;DR

☽ Wiccans are pagans/neopagans (depending on your preference in terminology), but not all pagans are Wiccan. 

Secular paganism is a form of Neopaganism in which pagan deities are viewed (if at all) as archetypes instead of real beings, but pagan virtues and principles are upheld.

 There are many different types of Wicca but traditionally it is a religion that is a celebration of nature and the magic of life which surrounds us all. 

☽ Not all Wiccans refer to themselves as “Witches.” Most often the term is used for those who practice Witchcraft (and only if the individual practicing chooses to be called a Witch). 

☽ Not all Wiccans practice Witchcraft. You can be Wiccan without practicing the Craft. 

☽ You can be a Witch and practice Witchcraft without being a Wiccan. 

Typically, Witchcraft is the act of focusing your Will to alter the Universe around you.

I hope I could be of some help!

“Having illumined the whole world with spiritual splendors, ye were shown to be light-giving suns, reaching all the ends of the earth with God’s commandments, as with rays; and ye enlighten the hearts of the faithful, O thrice-blessed God-bearers, dispelling the darkness of heresies by the power of Him Who shone for from the Virgin.”
Tone 4 Stichera from Lord I have Cried
Great Vespers for the Synaxis of the Hierarchs of Moscow and Wonderworkers of All Russia

Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: ‘May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.’ But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.
—  Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

sunmoonandmyrtle  asked:

Hey J, I know the Bible contains God's instructions for us, but in this modern time, I wonder if it's ok to also look at "secular advice" on topics like developing your career (especially as a young person), money management and general life stuff (e.g. being organised and good mental health). I don't refer to anything against God, but what if the source of the advice is still someone non-Christian? I hope you know what I mean. What do you think?

Hey dear friend, I absolutely believe that “all knowledge is God’s knowledge,” and that anything useful to you is divinely anointed. 

While we might not see eye-to-eye on this, I don’t believe there’s a “sacred/secular” divide. It’s a strangely false dichotomy. As a Christian, to reject “non-Christian sources” is no better than when the evangelical church boycotts a movie or a department store. If we had to boycott the things we disagree with, we’d have nothing left. Even our Christian-labeled books, music, and movies all navigate within secularized companies and channels that might endorse things we dislike. I wonder if Christians recognize the irony of “taking a stand” on culture wars when the very venues they use—church buildings, social media, news stations—are unavoidably non-religious.

In fact, the Bible itself cites secular and non-Christian sources to support itself. Here is a list of non-canonical citations in the Bible. The Book of Joshua mentions the most obvious one, called the Book of Jasher, and Apostle Paul makes an argument in Acts 17 that quotes secular sources as well as acknowledging Epicureanism and Stoicism. 

Even more, how much are we missing out on if we segregate from all secular sources? My favorite authors include Oliver Sacks, Andrew Solomon, and Yuval Noah Harari, who are all gay men that would be despised by the typical evangelical congregation. C.S. Lewis was classically trained in medieval literature and ancient mythology; Apostle Paul was trained under the famous Jewish teacher Gamaliel; Jesus himself was Jewish. I cannot imagine a privatized little world where I only hear from those who call themselves a Christian—especially when so much “Christian art” is bland and mediocre.

I have to add that yes, we must discern wisely and think carefully (1 John 4, Acts 17:11). I believe very strongly that Christianity teaches to think for yourself. I also think we need to be even harder on Christian-sounding teaching, because so much of it is “hollow and deceptive” (Colossians 2). And we must learn to pick the meat from the bones, or as Aristotle once reportedly said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

— J.S.

christmas is avoidable. take it from a jew who’s had “put the christ in christmas” shoved down my throat since i was a child.

i’m not gonna pretend some jews don’t celebrate xmas, not all jewish experiences are the same, but if you’re a gentile you shouldn’t be erasing the jewish experience and jewish voices.

this goes for any non-christian religion.

and saying it’s a secular holiday is bullshit because we live in a christian society. it’s considered non-secular because christianity is assumed the default religion.

ID #16201

Name: Dimitris

Age: 17

Country: Greece

Hello world :D

I’m Dimitris and I’m looking for a pen pal to write mails too because I think letters are a beautiful way to convey your thoughts and feelings.

Interests: books (of any kind but I have a special place in my heart for Classic Literature), writing, journalism, volleyball (although I don’t play as much lately), video-games <3, board games.

Favorite movies/shows: It would be too difficult to narrow it down to few so I’m just gonna say that I love the genres of Fantasy, Sci-fi, Adventure, Action, Mystery, Thriller, Horror and History.

Favorite artists/bands: Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Sia, Adele, 3 Doors Down, ABBA, Black Eyed Peas, Bonnie Tyler, The Cure, In Flames etc. The list could go on forever. :P

Political views: Liberal Socialism

Religious views: Secular Humanism

Favorite quote (one of many): “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best. ” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Preferences: Older than 17.

The sages of the Talmud insist upon the necessity of cheshbon hanefesh, self-reckoning. The Jewish ethical treatises of medieval times recommend that one regularly withdraw from society to engage in such self-reckoning. Chassidim, and most particularly the followers of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, daily engage in periods of hitbodedut, solitary contemplation. The secular writers quoted above are helpful in that they make it clear that solitude need not entail mystical practices or spiritual techniques. Rather, solitude provides an opportunity for thinking on one’s own and for concentrating deeply without the undue influences of one’s social surround. I personally am convinced that occasional solitude would be a healthy antidote to the blind conformity which is imposed upon all of us by our contemporary world. 
—  Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb