I'm a scientific panthiest and skeptic. Undergrad in Cultural Anthropology from OSU. I identified as pagan for a long time. I took the 'believe in everything' stance, which meant, of course, I didn't believe in any of it. I do love the myth, storytelling, and folklore aspect of it all, though!! Looking for a group of non-believers I can hopefully relate to as humans!!
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No, just picking things apart, to figure out what you actually meant. I tend to be a bit on the pedantic side about this stuff, since I talk to a lot of theists, with whom you have to pick through the nonsense and pin them down to get a coherent statement out of them.
And of course, if you don't pin them down first, you get back an immediate response of "Well, that's not my god," to anything you say on the subject.
So, no, not trying to debate here or anything, just displaying some of the background pedantry. The label thing depends how you're using those labels. Labels can be an aid to understanding where someone is coming from, particularly after you explore the meaning of the labels, in depth. It's the idiots ... so many idiots ... who take that label and use it aggressively against you, who give the word a bad name.
For some uses of the word, possibly. Einstein probably meant it metaphorically, when he used the word. After all, he was actually targeted by the McCarthy movement, or whatever you want to call it, and during that hellish period of our history, it was somewhat wise to speak in metaphorical language, rather than coming right out and saying that you're an atheist.
I've heard pagans use the word too, though, and they're referring to the spiritual, woo-heavy version of the concept — almost theistic but not quite. Panentheistic, maybe.
This is one of the problems talking about religious things, particularly in recent times. Religious people, particularly new-agey types, have begin using useless, obfuscatory language. You need to spend the first half of the discussion trying to nail down definitions and getting them to use words that freaking mean something.
I've dealt with so many dishonest Christians who have tried to present an argument for a generic, deistic god ... and failed. Then they pull out their holy book and say, "Okay, now let me tell you about this god and what he wants you to do," as if they don't have to justify acceptance of the holy book as well, even if they hadn't failed to argue for a deistic god.
Heh, sounds familiar. A lot of people go through the pagan thing on their way out of Christianity, since it doesn't occur to most people that they can just chuck the whole concept of religious nonsense and check ‘none of the above’.
I was a little ahead of the curve, since I was a fairly certain atheist by somewhere around the age of 9 or 10, despite my Catholic upbringing, and came out as an atheist to my mother, when I was 14 or so. I hung out with a lot of pagans in my late teens, but mostly just to annoy my mother. I never believed any of the stuff.
I can relate to the appreciation of myth, folklore, and magic, too. That was probably one of the things that helped snap me out of the Christian nonsense, at such a young age. My father exposed me to a lot of Greek and Norse mythology, around kindergarten sometime. I got used to the idea of religious stuff that no one believes anymore.
Stage magic and stuff like that, too. It would be cool if stuff like that was real, too, but not so much.
What exactly do you mean by pantheism? I've heard people use the word and mean a dozen different, contradictory things by it. It's almost become as bad as the word ‘spiritual’ for being completely useless in describing what you mean.