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Cinnamon1991
July 20th, 2008, 06:05 PM
This question has been lingering in my head quite some time.
Why would you reonstruct a religion? In ancient times, the people didnīt their rituals and religious things exacty the same as 500 years before, did they? Religions change over time. So why try to reconstruct, and not modernize the path?

Now donīt get me wrong, Iīm not attacking reconstructionism. Iīm leaning towards reconstructionism too but I was wondering...

bellamandu
July 20th, 2008, 06:08 PM
im sure nostalgia plays an important role..

BenSt
July 20th, 2008, 10:48 PM
I think that the question of authenticity comes into play. I mean as a stark traditionalist... I know that context is key. Context is important because inorder for a religion or religious teaching to be the most efficient, and for you to gain the most out of it... you have to understand the context from which that religion or teaching comes from.

Modernizing an ancient path in my opinion would dilute something because you would add a layer of modern standards, values, ideologies, bias and beliefs on top of the tradition you are trying to learn from. In effect you are not following a 'Tradition' you are following simply the same things you were before, but in different clothing.

You make a good point about exactly what to reconstruct, because as we know... religion evolves. Traditions are always changing and over a 1000 year time span ceremonies and beliefs do change, slightly. The ways of performing communion are different now than it was say 700 years ago.

So I see reconstructing as a way to ensure the purity of understanding the tradition, but also as a way to learn and understand the intended meanings of myths and legends, sacred texts, wisdom etc,. by learning and understanding the cultural context and reproducing it.

But then again with traditions that are so old and that have become effectively extinct, no one can fully bring back it back to life. There will always be a component of modernity in a path... but thats where the crucial step of modernizing can take place.

ThePaganMafia
July 21st, 2008, 02:37 AM
Context is important in Reconstructionism. The historical and cultural context of the Gods one of the most important aspects of Reconstructionism. We Reconstruct the traditions to learn more and become closer to the Gods. It is a deeply spiritual and fulfilling practice.

Why am I a Reconstructionist?

The answer is quite simple. To honor the Gods.

patch
July 21st, 2008, 03:55 AM
Because why change something that works for you alerady for the sake of modernizing?

Twinkle
July 21st, 2008, 06:45 AM
Well, this is from a Hellenic Reconstructionist perspective, and I make no attempt to speak for all Recons.

Reconstruction is the reconstruction of ancient beliefs and practices adapted so that it's relevant in the 21st century. This means that adaptation, innovation and modernization is done....or else there would be no living, thriving religion...which is what Hellenic Reconstruction is. Our practices are modern, but still orthopraxic, in that gnosis does not trump practice, the worldview of the Ancient Greeks is understood and tradition is still key.

For example, we give offerings, but the offerings may not be, say, an animal, but caramels, coffee, strawberries, flowers or even vanilla beans. The purpose is to give what we have, which is what the Ancients did as well. Do we necessarily make "traditional" offerings? No. But the understanding of the worldview is still there, and the worship is still in keeping with that.

I reconstruct ancient ritual and practice because I wish to honor the Gods according to how they originally and traditionally were honored. For me, at least, tradition, cultural accuracy and worldview seems the most appropriate way to honor the Gods of the Greek Pantheon.

I see no need to put ideas and practices that were not a part of the worldview and culture into Traditional worship.

It doesn't really have anything to do with nostalgia, it has to do with worldview, traditional worship, and accuracy based on history, archaeology, sociology and various other ologies to be able to understand the context of the Ancient form of worship.

It works for some, for others it doesn't.

Garm
July 21st, 2008, 07:59 AM
The gods appreciate the effort even if they do have a hard keeping a straight face

Faol-chu
July 21st, 2008, 09:53 AM
This question has been lingering in my head quite some time.
Why would you reonstruct a religion? In ancient times, the people didnīt their rituals and religious things exacty the same as 500 years before, did they? Religions change over time. So why try to reconstruct, and not modernize the path?

Now donīt get me wrong, Iīm not attacking reconstructionism. Iīm leaning towards reconstructionism too but I was wondering...
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Which path is "the path"?-
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I think the problem with what most people call "modernization" is that it ends up being based upon a very bland, generalized (pan-cultural, though still specific to our particular 'Western' viewpoint) take on the function of a god, or gods, its (their) purpose, and why people did what they did. -
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A close study of history better informs us. -
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I think that most reconstructionists inevitably 'modernize' to a large degree, just because the surrounding society has changed so much. (The dropping of the human and/or animal sacrifice jumps into my mind here, as well as the non-state orientedness of it.) -
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What it comes down to is context, I think.

YoungSoulRebel
July 21st, 2008, 10:56 AM
One of the most persistent misconceptions I see about reconstructionism is that it's everything out of books or nothing at all (granted, some self-proclaimed Recons help perpetuate this just a little bit, themselves), but the purpose of religious reconstuction is to "make up for lost time".

The reason the religion is being reconstructed or re-established (as some Hellenic people prefer) is because there is no clear line of unbroken open worship to the Gods of that Pantheon, so one must study how those Gods were worshipped pre-Christianisation, and relate that to modern realities. Nova Roma, for example, is a Roman-based group that seeks to reconstruct Roman culture as well as religion (the Religio Romana), but on their website, they even state that there are a few aspects of Roman culture which they feel unworthy of re-establishment, such as slavery and denial of full citizenship to women, and that even if those aspects of Roman society prevailed in this one, they would do what they felt "the progressive Roman thing to do" and be against those aspects of society based on logic and fact.

The goal of reconstruction is to bring things up to speed -- ask ourselves "OK, how would this practise look today and still keep with the tradition established by the ancients?" Just making it up wholecloth is akin to saying that tradition, in and of itself, is completely meaningless. This is a fallacy, an appeal to novelty. Tradition practised for the sake of tradition alone -- *that's* meaningless; but tradition re-established to connect with the past and connect with the Gods, honour the Gods, and honour ourselves by re-establishing a line of tradition that honours our spiritual past, identifies us with a clear cultural past, and honours those spiritual and cultural ancestors by connecting us to them can be a very beautiful and meaningful experience.

One last thing:
I think that reconstructionism appeals to Europeans and Amerikans for different reasons. In Europe, it seems to be a rejection of a forced cultural and spiritual conversion and an effort to stand up to centuries of perceived cultural and spiritual tyranny. In the $tates, on the other hand, I think it's largely a desire to be a part of something that *is* an established tradition of culture and spirit because in the $tates, a sense of established cultural identity is lacking, and the typical spiritual identity is so hodge-podge, even when it's seemingly simple, like being "just Christian".

Of course, that's largely opinion.

Cinnamon1991
July 21st, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Which path is "the path"?-

With ītheī path, I meant the path you are reconstructing..

ThePaganMafia
July 21st, 2008, 12:37 PM
Why can every one say it better than I can? :lol:

*~Amora~*
September 24th, 2008, 12:26 AM
"The goal of reconstruction is to bring things up to speed -- ask ourselves "OK, how would this practise look today and still keep with the tradition established by the ancients?"

Well said. The trouble is finding the balance between tradition and "bringing it up to speed", and relying on an (shall I say) intuitive sense of what is in accordance with where the religion would have gone.

Haerfest Leah
September 24th, 2008, 01:38 AM
Niccolo Machiavelli once said "For this is one of the ancientest laws among them; that no man shall be blamed for reasoning in the maintenance of his own religion."

windblown
October 3rd, 2008, 10:19 PM
The gods appreciate the effort even if they do have a hard keeping a straight face

The Gods eat anchovy pizza and jump on the trampoline.

YoungSoulRebel
October 15th, 2008, 10:40 PM
"The goal of reconstruction is to bring things up to speed -- ask ourselves "OK, how would this practise look today and still keep with the tradition established by the ancients?"

Well said. The trouble is finding the balance between tradition and "bringing it up to speed", and relying on an (shall I say) intuitive sense of what is in accordance with where the religion would have gone.

Oh, no doubt that the method of religious reconstructionism is an imperfect one. I don't personally feel that there's any "one way" that the ancients would have "brought it up to speed", if there was an unbroken tradition -- hell, the fact of the sometimes big, sometimes small differences between the practises of ancient Athens, Sparta, Boeotia, Thrace, etc..., is all the evidence I need for that conclusion! :lol: