March 22, 2004

Theism

Posted at March 22, 2004 03:33 PM in .

Theism is a question that I ponder off and on.

I'm not really much of a theist. This seems to be relatively rare within the pagan community. So many people seem to be oriented on union and worship of a deity or sets of deities. I've had a number of mystical experiences but very few that were theistic in a personal way. No "Howdy, how's it going?" from a deity in my head, etc. Perhaps I suffer overly from literalism at times like this but when one speaks to many pagans, you get the impression that many of them are either carrying on regular "conversations" with deities or are schizophrenic (or both).

One of the things that I've liked about both Neoplatonism (including its theurgy) and Buddhism is that while both leave room for entities or powers beyond us, neither require them to be there, per se. One can work on magical, mystical or meditative techniques without a priori requiring an objective "something" to be there as we would think of it. You can't do a lot of pagan ritual work, in my experience, without a willful suspension of disbelief or an active connection to deities. Unless a lot of people are playing "let's pretend," that means quite a few have had experiences that I lack.

All of this gets into a longer argument or discussion about how I can have spent 14 or so years involved actively with paganism and magic and not be a theist. My fundamental viewpoint or early indoctrination pushes me away from such points of view though. This is almost as difficult of a "push me, pull you" exercise as my involvement with both Tantric Buddhism and Western Mystery Traditions (which do conflict in places).

 I expect that many Thelemites will consider this kind of conversation a "well, duh" sort of thing as I've noticed that theism seems to be quite a mixed bag with them.

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