I sure hope so since this is how I identify myself. At the risk of getting kicked out of the Atheist club, let me elaborate.

While my attempts as a child to believe in God like a good little citizen failed, my exposure to living science, quantum physics, seeing the universe and all that is in it as a whole lot of life-in-action, stuck with me. As I grew up and began to explore my world from the angle of all things being made up of the same 'stuff,' the known and even greater unknown interconnectedness and energy within this 'stuff' and thusly the interconnectedness and common DNA between you, me, my cat, my snake, a tree, a rock, the wind, an asteroid, a star, carried with it a lot more reason and beauty than “God did it.”

At the same time, I have learned indirectly on my own and directly from other sources a fair amount of meditation and self-control-through-the-mind techniques. Dealing with chronic pain, dealing with a weird but needed-to-be-dealt-with phobia, finding my own greater strength in martial arts. All of this involves a degree of grasping control in our own selves over things we and even the scientific community have yet to fully understand or define. An athlete mentally prepares and gets in the zone before the big game; visualizes the goal line, visualizes him/herself in top physical form. Is that supernatural hoodoo?

Likewise, while quantum physics, atomic energy and Unified Field Theory make perfect sense to me, they make for boring visuals when I'm trying to 'get in the zone.' I don't know what atomic particles look like. But, the image of Halle Berry in the first X-Men, vanquishing my inner demons much like she vanquished Toad, makes for a cool visual that my brain can definitely latch onto.

This is where practices of Paganism and even methods of Witchcraft come in handy for me. E.g.; I really need to be able to go to Dad's funeral without my sister driving me to insanity. So I find some quiet time, burn some sage or incense, create my sacred space, and envision a psychic shield around myself which my sister can not penetrate with her well-meaning but insanity-provoking behavior.

Do I literally think the sage/incense have mystical powers in and of themselves? Not really. They are pleasant aromas and ones both my conscious and subconscious mind have come to associate with relaxation and getting rid of the worries of the day. Plus, they carry a historical, traditional role in getting rid of the worries of the day, a fact which stimulates other parts of the psyche. Do I literally think I have created a magical, sacred space around me that looks like a light show out of a Disney cartoon? Not really. But what I have done is found a quiet place and filled it with pleasant light and smells; an act psychologically proven to enhance focus and concentration. Do I literally think I have created a physical, psychic force field? Not so much in the literal sense but what I am doing psychologically is tapping in to parts of the brain that I and modern science have yet to fully understand in order to try and make myself less-driven-insane by my sister when the time comes.

In other words, yes – there are bona-fide crystal crunching new agers out there who have replaced 'Jesus' with 'Goddess,' but otherwise little has changed. They literally believe in fairies and tree spirits and angels and that they are Princess-whomever reincarnated into the saps they are now.

But then there are some of the practices themselves: Respect for nature. Envisioning the tree as a living organism. Picturing the planet in terms of a collective, living organism. Wrapping one's mind around the concept that both I and the rock I'm sitting on are ultimately made up of the same 'stuff' (protons, neutrons, electrons). Envisioning the Unified Field and interconnectedness of the cosmos, attempting to tap into the coolness of that interconnectedness to somehow improve my own state of mind, awareness of the space around me, or athletic performance so I can win the game today. I've met many a Pagan/Wiccan who holds this point of view; that they don't believe in most of it literally, but rather as a psychological exercise that works well for them scientifically.

So, does that get me kicked out of the Atheist club? Or can one dance naked under the Full Moon or welcome the Summer Solstice from a purely beauty-in-science point of view?

Views: 4689

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Oh, Mary!
Thank you! Thank you! I have been grappling with this for some time. While my friends are surprised I don't actually believe in magic, I still very much connect with and thrive in the natural world. And you have written so eloquently that which I struggle to put into words.
I do dance naked under the full moon. I believe whole heartedly I am putting myself in a place of joy, but without the trappings of some "other" ... it's me! It's my beautiful mind and body connected to the energies around me. We are one. This sounds mystical, but it is natural. There is no god. But there is this beautiful universe of which we are a part.
Hmmmm, maybe we need to start a Pagan-Atheist subgroup!
"Thank you! Thank you! I have been grappling with this for some time. While my friends are surprised I don't actually believe in magic"

Giggles.
yeah, well, I do have some fanciful friends!

Beautiful!

 

LOL!

Looking at it another way... It's been well established that if you separate a molecule into its various particles, take one particle to the lab in London and another to the lab in LA, you can tickle the particle in London and the one in LA reacts. Some have said this reaction is now believed to happen in realtime - transcending the speed of light. But I'd like to see more studies confirming that.

Anyway, consider that if you go back far enough, some particle in me and some particle in, say, the tree I'm hugging, were once part of the same molecule. Is it so hard to believe that on that teeny-tiny microscopic level, I can 'connect' with the tree? Or at least get really jazzed over how utterly cool the whole concept is?

I used to be a tour guide in Sedona AZ and may well have been the only one doing Vortex tours from a purely scientific, non-New-Agey POV. And yet, with my constant theme that understanding or seeking to understand something like Earth Energy scientifically need not detract from its power, mysteriousness and beauty, nor from the poetry of the Native traditions and bedtime stories surrounding it.
"We are made of star stuff." Carl Sagan
This was one of the statements that drove home the interconnectedness of ALL things. Your Paganism isn't really Paganism I would say its overwhelming awe with the cosmos and the knowledge that we are apart of it. Now I have no beef with pagans they love nature as do I , they see the connections as do I and hey they like to be naked and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh...as do I. Big surprise huh? However you classify or describe yourself Mary your one of us one of us gubble gobble. And since my family kind of lives vicariously through your awesome life we think your just great!! Now load more photos of your current locations. :-)
Laughing even louder now!

As the whirlwind of my gypsy relocation and starting the new job with tons of overtime is starting to wind down, I do hope to figure out how to personalize my A/N page and put some photos up on it. ;-)
He quoted "Freaks"! He quoted "Freaks"!

My day is made.
:-)
gravity acts over distance instantaneously (ie, faster than the speed of light). One of the key points of confusion in physics is how this can be possible.

Also look up contemporary teleportation (which may be what you're referencing). It's more accurately explained as the transfer of information over distance, but has a very close analogy to the transfer of matter of distance.
Thanks for the pointers. Sometimes hard to know just how to Google specific theories of physics. "Ummm ... keywords ... Documentary +tickle +particles +damn what do real scientists call this."

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service