After I posted this on the main comments wall I realized I should have made it a discussion! so, here we go... sorry if you already posted to the wall. I am reading those responses but will probably add any new thoughts here :)

Hey folks :) need some input from our special subset of atheists! I've
finally started writing about my deconversion from paganism. I've
written about 5 pages, a basic sketch of events that led to me
questioning paganism. I'm thinking about publishing this eventually and I
would like to keep my few remaining pagan friends. I'm afraid this is
really going to hurt them :( My end goal is to tell my story, make
people aware of ex-pagans as atheists and the special perspective we
have, and to also speak out about the problems with paganism as an
alternative religion. I'm not sure if it will change anyone's mind but
if it at least makes a few pagans think about what they do and why...
that would be great. So, my question is... what do you think would be
more effective? A book that focuses on my personal story only without
using a heavy hand to draw any conclusions or a book that is more
focused on ideas and arguments, using occasional references to my
personal story to illustrate larger points? I'd love any input... also
you can email me personally: ajr51594@aol.com

Thanks :)
Allison



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Replies to This Discussion

Hey everyone, thanks to those who responded to this today... gonna try to hit a few points while they are fresh. A few people brought up the difference between those that practice wicca as metaphor and those who are true believers (for example, fred mentioned his ex-girlfriend who "meet" fairy folk or some such in the wood and his disbelief broke them up.)
I think I was at times in both of these groups in in relationship to different things. For example, I truly believed there was a goddess force, a divine feminine. But I viewed the mythos associated with the change of the seasons as metaphor. I also saw certain goddesses as being metaphorical but I kinda thought devotion to them could make them real...? not sure how that works! ;) I too had "real" experiences that I felt were proof that these beings existed. Now I know that my mind was just creating justification for my beliefs. Of my two remaining pagan friends, one is a devout true believer in a god and goddess and the other I think is more metaphorical BUT, she actually has a stronger belief in other phenomena that is really only peripherally related to paganism. So, for me, it is not just the belief in the god/desses that is at issue but also the beliefs about how the mind works and how the world works. I professed to my metaphorical friend that I did not believe in psychic powers, journeys to other worlds through meditation or ghosts and she became very upset with me. So, for those things she is a "true believer". So, that makes it hard to put people in categories.
Still, if I want to represent myself in my book as a typical pagan, it might not be wholly accurate. Perhaps we who are now atheists are so because we wanted to truly believe that it was all real. Maybe they current happy pagans all know it's just metaphor! ;) I still don't see the point in being a witch if I can't have any real magick powers, heheheh!
more later,
allison
I looked up "pagan fundamentalist" and one person was claiming that a pagan fundamentalist is one who literally believes that the god and goddess are real, instead of believing them in a poetic or metaphorical sense. I just might post my deconversion story which is on another website. It is difficult to find anything related to ex-pagans other than ones who converted to Christianity. That means it is more difficult to write the book, but it will be more unique!
I agree, I find it really weird that someone would go from paganism to Christianity at all! but that's just me I guess ;) I'm not sure if I agree with the definition of fundamentalist here. I tend to see it as accepting all dogma as fact, especially what is written in the bible. but pagans don't have dogma really... at least not one that's universally agreed upon. so, using this definition, that would mean that ALL Christians of any stripe or sect are fundamentalists if they believe god is real....
interesting...
more later,
allison
A few things I found when typing "pagan fundamentalist":

http://johnwmorehead.blogspot.com/2008/09/witchvox-challenge-of-pag...

I like how this person bemoaned the putting down of others, but was basically putting down others the entire time. Instead of a pagan saying how stupid Christians are, this person was just saying how stupid other pagans are.

http://www.churchofasphodel.org/articles/fundementalist.html

This is the person who described pagan fundamentalist as believing all the gods and goddesses are real--along with saying "this is a way of life, not just something fun to do on weekends". (Which makes me think again that people want to party and hang out with the ones they think are cool, or want to feel special, so they convince themselves that they believe in the gods and goddesses as an archetypal thing or energy or whatever.)

Actually you're right, why would someone go to Christianity from paganism? I think some famous pagans have had children that became born-again Christians though. Other than that, I think it's people who were raised Christian and went through a rebellion/questioning thing and then went back to Christianity--I have a friend like that.
Very interesting! The second one is infuriating for me ;) hehehe! It really pushed some of my buttons by using key phrases like "learning lessons" and the idea that "everyone's on their own special path" blah blah blah.... I'm sorry, when someone's spiritual path guides them to drive planes into sky scrapers, it's time for me to be (gasp) intolerant and say that that is unacceptable. I hate that the author seems to think this life is just some sort of pit stop, a courtyard in a mall, where we people watch for a little while and them move on. That is the root of all this "tolerance". These people think that whatever comes after this is so much better than we should just accept what stupid stuff people do to mess it up for all of us in the name of their beliefs! AAAARRRRRGGG!!! okay, I'm sorry. deep breath. Once I actually realized that all the evidence points to one trip on this merry-go-round of life, I became unwilling to sit back and let everyone learn their lessons all over me. Ug. so, it does appear from some of this author's definition that I was striving to be a pagan fundamentalist and failed. I saw the man behind the curtain pulling the levers! heh :) So yeah, I don't mind that I failed to be something that is impossible. I'm also a rotten unicorn and a totally failed leprechaun.
later,
allison

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