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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

NeoNote — Religion & morality

A couple of things.

Religion covers more things than Jews, Christianity, and a tiny smidgeon of Buddhism. There are different rules, different customs, many which you might not consider religious.

Faith is between you and the Divine.

The problem with making morality a part of religion is that some priests forget that they are measured by the lives around them. They think that their calling places them beyond "man's law."

As someone who has seen a lot of "pagan garb," standing out is not necessarily a good thing. It can be more of a "look at me" than standing apart.

Part I - Okay, let's start with the elephant that everyone tiptoes around.

Which religion?

I've been told repeatedly that the Decalogue is a good basis for law and morality. But Number One on that list (or numbers one and two depending on the translation) puts Yahweh first. Fine and dandy if that is the religion you have chosen. But what if it isn't? If the Decalogue is central to your faith but not your neighbor's, is it moral to insist that they abide by it?

Faith imposed is no faith at all. The only faiths and beliefs worthy of freedom are those freely chosen.

And that brings us to another point. Morality can't be imposed and still remain morality.

There have been times that neither Christianity nor Judaism have been particularly moral, especially towards other faiths. From this we can deduce that it is not really a specific religion that is the cornerstone of morality.

This follows because no matter how divinely inspired, religions are not created by the Divine. Religions are created by people claiming to speak for the Divine. Questioning a religion is not the same as questioning the Divine and someone's place in it.

No matter how much some priests insist otherwise.

Part II - Here's where I offend some of you. I'm sorry about that.

“An experienced faith differs from a revealed faith. It’s the Journey compared to the Story.

The Story is told while the Journey is lived.

I am not saying that one is superior. But one is active and the other passive. The Story is not the Journey and the Journey is not the Story.

A revealed faith always depends on what someone else says. The marvelous thing is that a Story can become a Journey if you just go a little beyond the nice polished gate and the carefully maintained path.

In an experienced faith, you will have to go out and do. That’s why so many pagan books never go deeper than cookbooks or the 101 level. Experience requires taking that first and seventh step into the unknown.

At some point in a Journey, it's going to be you and the Divine. No masks and no untruths allowed.

With a revealed faith, the answers could be in the very next book you read. A Story could become a Journey, but it takes hard work and stepping beyond the safe space.

How do you explain a Journey without moving into a Story? I am not sure you can.”

the Journey versus the Story from NeoWayland's lexicon

Way too many people are content to live the Story and not the Journey. That's okay, as long as they don't impose that on someone else.

It's why when someone tells me there is a Biblical basis for law, I point out that there are huge portions of Biblical law that they routinely ignore.

The point is that just as you don't have the power to define another's faith, you don't have the power to define another's morality.

Your beliefs don't shape the actions of others, especially without their consent.

Part III - At the same time, there are religious rites which you find uncomfortable. Some neopagans (neopagans are pagans but not all pagans are neopagans) practice some rituals nude or skyclad. There are some neopagan rites which have definite sexual connotations, acts, or ingredients. For some faiths such as vodun, blood sacrifice is an element. And that isn't even getting into things like curses.

If you wonder why I bring up curses in the context of religion, I suggest reading "War Prayer" by Mark Twain.

If you didn't choose it, it's not your faith or your morality. And that brings up a core aspect of morality, consent.

Just because I don't drink alcohol doesn't mean I should forbid others from drinking. At the same time, if I like sardines with my peanut butter, no one should have the power to tell me no.

So long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

At that brings us to to keystone of Western Civilization and the thing that sets us apart. Christians call it the Golden Rule, but the Ethic of Reciprocity isn't uniquely Christian. Basically, don't do it if you don't want it done to you. Do what you want so long as you don't inflict harm on another or damage another's property.

Part IV - So without a specific religious writing and without invoking a specific aspect of Deity, we have a moral basis.

Most importantly it has to be chosen. And if someone chooses not to follow it, then those who do are under no obligation to respect the ones who don't.

It's not "God's will," it's human law. No one benefits without following the law.

At the same time, it leaves a lot unresolved. Vice law doesn't fit this model. Nor do blue laws. I'd argue that those laws can't be realistically enforced, but I freely admit my libertarian bias.

There is nothing that prevents people from following religious law. But there is nothing that demands others follow those same religious laws.

People should be free to speak and act as they choose, so long as they accept the consequences. "Free love" means greater risks both medically and emotionally. The world doesn't owe you diddly, although people may choose to help you out. You don't get to be shielded from the words and thoughts of others.

Before you object that this gives religion second shift, answer me this.

If you choose one religion among all others and honor it's precepts, doesn't that make your choice worth more?

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.


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Innocent faith

The age of innocent faith in science and technology may be over.
— Barry Commoner
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Ro3 № 27

A living faith draws from three sources. There's what others have done before you. There's who you are and what you've done. And finally there's the link you make to the Divine. The dynamic tension shapes your faith.
— NeoWayland, Faith Triad, see also Rules of Three
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Left alone with our faith and our Journey

As for the rest, our situation and our answers are not mainstream. What we see under the light of the full moon or in the moment before the breaking dawn isn't what they see. For the most part, what they expect from religion isn't what we experience. They won't understand, any more than a virgin can understand sex or someone who has never touched silk can understand the sensation.

As long as we are left alone with our faith and our Journey, I think that's enough.
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NeoNote — Taking a stand against politics in paganism

Seriously though, there are some issues that only touch on politics indirectly that we as pagans should be concerned about. Free speech is a big one. There are some who are convinced that if someone offends them, that person should removed from living memory and never allowed to speak again. There are some that believe that anyone designated a victim should have priority to speak and judge if others have a right to speak.
— NeoWayland
Read More...
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Redux: Christians & Pagan Tolerance

My comments on a list I belong to

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An impractical

A not so smart technical advance

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Myth ruminations

Looking for Pagan fiction? I may not be the guy to give it to you.

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The Word is Not the Thing

Sometimes we forget that language isn't reality

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NeoNote — #MeToo has hit modern neopaganism hard

Lately sex has also been one thing that drags politics into paganism. Politics corrupts, and I've no desire to see my faith or sex reduced to politics.
— NeoWayland
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So the paganism bothers you too.

Do you really expect to make this about your religious beliefs versus mine?

I don't need to justify mine before you, but you need to make mine subordinate to yours.

That doesn't say much about your faith.

Or your beliefs.

It's not your Deity who demands my submission. You're doing this because you can't think of a way to "put me in my place."
— NeoWayland
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Attention

If you are Pagan because you need attention, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. You can't be Pagan just to be weird or to make people nervous. Faith isn't a costume, it lives and flows inside of you.
— NeoWayland, faith
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Personal

Faith is a personal choice. It has to be, or it has no meaning.
— NeoWayland
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Journal 23Mar2018

Thinking by blogging

They want to know why they should even consider your faith when their faith is absolutest.

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Vital & fresh

I think it's vital to have friends outside your faith and outside your work. It helps you to balance. We need people we don't agree with but still trust to keep us out of the ego traps. We need other outlets for our passion just to keep ourselves fresh.
— NeoWayland
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Giving away your power

If you give your passion to them, then they win. You'll always be reacting and you'll always be unhappy.
— NeoWayland
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Difference between the Story and the Journey

It is the difference between the Story and the Journey. One is told while the other is lived. The only two purposes of the story are to honor the memory of those who have gone before and to teach you to recognize where the path begins for your own journey. The rituals are not the faith. The map is not the territory. The words are not the thing. You can only be responsible for your journey alone because it is your journey and no one else's.
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Tainted frisson

Politics has tainted paganism in my mind and I am working to re-establish the separation.

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NeoNotes — A long hard look

If it works for you and challenges you to be a better person, more power to you. It is not my place to question that, it's between you and the Divine.

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Threats

If you had faith, you wouldn't need threats.
— NeoWayland
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Next step

The next step depends on the focus of your faith and your choices. It's not enough to be just pagan.
— NeoWayland, Blessed Journeys
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Defined

My faith isn't defined by my politics.
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Choice

Faith is a personal choice. So are politics. One does not define the other.
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Syncretism happens even if it offends

Faith and religion don't stay in the nice neat boxes and cabinets we make for them. Syncretism happens, even if it offends the True Believer™.
— NeoWayland
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Concede the war

The question is not which religion or belief set is mainstream, authentic, or even legitimate. Define your faith in those terms and you concede the war.
— NeoWayland, Faith worthy of freedom
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Celebrate

Celebrate your beliefs and cherish your faith. All I ask is the same. Just don't demand that my beliefs and actions are bound by yours. Live and let live.

What you believe isn't important to me. Your freedom to choose what to believe, that is vital. That is what I will defend
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In the moment

Part of a IM conversation I had with Juliaki.

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This week's thinkum

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C1982366546/E20060324050200

Do you live your faith or does your faith live you?

I've been thinking about that a lot this week.

Posted: Thu - March 23, 2006 at 05:02 PM

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Dreams seem small

If our dreams seem small, it's up to us to make them greater. We need to make our own, not reach for the dreams of another. We can make it our Journey, or we can live the Story of another. A simple choice but the price is high. Just your faith and trust.
     — NeoWayland, Quick notes to a new seeker
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❝No American judge should have the power to decide matters of faith…❞ 

No American judge should have the power to decide matters of faith, anymore than they have the power to decide the color of your bedsheets. Faith is solely a matter between you and the Divine. In the words of the late Peter McWilliams, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do.
     — NeoWayland, Faith worthy of freedom
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NeoNotes — A strong woman

Let me tell you about who is the ultimate model of strong women in my family.
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Must be chosen

Faith cannot be given. Faith cannot be taken. To mean anything at all, faith must be chosen freely.
— NeoWayland
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Inspiring space

Outdoor ritual area

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Faith Triad

No matter what the inspiration, you still have to come down off the mountain. Living in the Here & Now helps make you human.

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A dangerous pagan

I think that a Greater Pagan Community™ for the sake of the institution is a extraordinarily Bad Idea®.
— NeoWayland
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Religion

I think too many people are into religion for the politics.

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Praxis

It’s not your faith that matters, it’s how you live it.

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Beyond the details

“”The

Thoughts and feelings

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On Pagan Leadership

Build them up

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War Chant

My answer to certain Christian fundys who just happen to be blood relations. Things have gotten better since then. We even talk most of the time.

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Systematically

The roles of faith and rationality

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Reflections in a laptop screen

Contemplating modern paganism and my own faith

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Sunfell Tech Mage Rede Nine Words Serve The Tech Mage Best Keep What Works Fix What’s Broke Ditch The Rest

A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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