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Pendragon343
November 7th, 2004, 01:58 PM
Hi, buckaroos. Just a question:

I believe in the Goddess and the God; I believe in Magick, and I practice it.

I do NOT believe in the Loch Ness Monster; aura photography; alien abductions; channeling (how can a 20,000-year-old warrior speak perfect English but no Sumerian, Greek, Latin, or Persian?); therapeutic touch; James Van Praag (he "talks to the dead").

Can one be both a Pagan and a skeptic? If we believe in our own religion, but don't believe in some other religion, aren't we in fact "skeptics" with regard to the other religion?

-Ember
November 7th, 2004, 03:06 PM
Of course one can be a skeptic. After a certain point it even gets easier in some ways. I'm often willing to assume someone is misinterpreting something else (I can believe that it is possible Nessie is a fae being interpreted as a dinosaur, for example), but I've adopted a lot of my "odd" beliefs for pretty solid reasons. If I can find lots of ways that something still fits my beliefs and not much reason to accept for face value the new belief, I tend not to. I might still accept that something is going on, and that there are sincere people involved, but not accept their explination.

Ailinea
November 7th, 2004, 04:18 PM
<stands up>

Hello, my name is Ailinea, and I am a skeptic.

<sits down>

I think having a good dose of skepticism is a good thing. It keeps us grounded in reality. I worked with a woman who pretty much believed everything she was told, and somehow worked it into one no-quite-coherant reality. I think it went something like this: "The aliens from the fifth dimension came to earth thousands of years ago, and set up a base in the center of the earth. The dinosaurs were wiped out when one of their ships crashed. They get to the center of the earth through tunnels at the various pyramids around the world. But they're really not aliens, they're angels, and everyone has their own guardian angel. You can talk to them in places of power like along ley lines, at Stonehenge, and Sedona, Arizona." Gosh, I know there was so much more...we got into this discussion when I mentioned I saw Lord of the Rings, and when she wondered what it was about, I got as far as, "It's a fictional story set in the land of Middle Earth...." and she launched into this explanation I just gave by interrupting with, "Oh, that's all real, you know." :whatgives

When you asked her about one thing she believed that contradicted another thing she believed, she couldn't explain it. For example, I wanted to see her response so I asked, "So...what's the fifth dimension?" She said, "Oh...it has something to do with time." "No...time's the fourth dimension. What's the fifth?" "Well...I don't really remember, but it was also the name of a band." :ahhhh:

So yeah...a bit of skepticism never hurts...unless you're dealing with someone who believes EVERYTHING, then it hurts your brain. <chuckle>

Mab
November 7th, 2004, 04:44 PM
Sure. I'm not a pagan, but I'm a witch & a total skeptic. I'm always redefining what I believe in, and there's an awful lot I don't believe in. I believe in some things you don't, but I don't believe in other things....like dragons (existing now) or blood vampires or "walk-ins" or John Edwards....

MorningDove030202
November 7th, 2004, 05:17 PM
I'm a Wiccan and a Skeptic too!

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one!

I think my bigest pet peve is when people claim they are part fey or dragon, or wolf! I'm sure their DNA is 100% human.

Dove

Phoenix Blue
November 7th, 2004, 05:39 PM
Can one be both a Pagan and a skeptic?
Absolutely. It's why we're born with brains in the first place.

Bix
November 8th, 2004, 01:53 AM
I think Pagan and skeptic go hand in hand. There is a lot of misinformation floating about various internet sites and even books. Being skeptical about certain information that just doesn't seem or feel right, to me, is very valid and very helpful.

So all hail the Skeptics!

equinox2
November 8th, 2004, 02:04 PM
Certainly you can be both skeptic and Pagan. Iím one. My best guess about what is real does not include dragons, the fey, auras, or any of that. That approach is called ďNaturalistic PaganismĒ (see the link in my .sig).

We can all be together, even worshipping together as people with different views because we donít believe in Hell. Hell makes it impossible to accept people with different views, because it makes those other views a terrible threat to you and your loved ones. I donít think Hell exists, so I celebrate our doctrinal diversity, and like talking with people who see the gods, reincarnation, magic or dragons differently than I do.

As has been mentioned, Pagans of often the best skeptics because we have to be. Itís a balance, like the balance between the light and the dark on the wheel of the year.

To balance belief and skepticism, we need to test our ideas, while enjoying this life.
We need to be reasonably skeptical, but not fearful.
We need to be open minded, but not so open minded that our brains fall out.
We need to be happy with our spirituality, while being open to other ideas and testing both the other ideas and our own against the evidence.
Like the light and the dark balance in March and September, so too do these approaches balance in a healthy person.


May your mind soar like the eagle-

Ben Trismegistus
November 8th, 2004, 02:07 PM
You're not alone, dude.

Dark Phoenix
November 8th, 2004, 02:38 PM
I think thats a big misconception that just because your a pagan you have to belive all those other thing with out fail which of course is not true but I think as a whole we tend to be more open about them.

Ben Gruagach
November 8th, 2004, 02:46 PM
I like to say I keep an open mind, but not so wide open my brains fall out.

Seriously, I think that blind acceptance of any claim is an affront to the Divine's gift of intelligence we have been blessed with. We weren't given our ability to think in order to ignore it.

Ceallach
November 8th, 2004, 04:52 PM
Seriously, I think that blind acceptance of any claim is an affront to the Divine's gift of intelligence we have been blessed with. We weren't given our ability to think in order to ignore it.

Yeah, what he said. I think its expected of us to be skeptics. Otherwise, we'd all just be the proverbial Stepford Wiccans, right? hehe _happydanc

Aidron
November 8th, 2004, 06:59 PM
I am a severe skeptic, yet I believe in many things most of you might even scoff at-not that it concerns me, mind you.

Rowan Darkmoon
November 9th, 2004, 02:14 AM
I think it's definitely very possible to be a skeptic and a pagan at the same time. Not to speak for everyone, but I base my beliefs on my experiences and what I have found to be true. Being open-minded and respectful doesn't mean you have to believe everything, you just have to listen. And then it's up to you to decide what to believe to not. So, skepticism away! :)

Rowan

Pandoras
November 9th, 2004, 03:47 AM
I'm Pagan and both highly skeptical and cynical.

elfmage
November 9th, 2004, 05:49 AM
I'm pretty skeptical about people who claim to be trained in traditions of Witchcraft that have been passed down, completely unchanged, since before Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man.....

I think skepticism is often a defense mechanism so that we don't get conned, or made into completely gullible fools.....

WingedTigerChild
November 9th, 2004, 05:59 AM
I'm an open-minded skeptic.

MorningDove030202
November 9th, 2004, 06:48 AM
I have a friend who is realy into The Fey, and she says that many of the people who are experienceing an alien abduction are realy being abducted by The Fey. LOL I'm not sure which makes more sence! LOL

Dove

Dove
November 9th, 2004, 07:13 AM
I do NOT believe in the Loch Ness Monster; aura photography; alien abductions; channeling (how can a 20,000-year-old warrior speak perfect English but no Sumerian, Greek, Latin, or Persian?); therapeutic touch; James Van Praag (he "talks to the dead") You don't believe in Nessie???:collapse:

*worrying*

evie_mun
November 9th, 2004, 05:57 PM
I'm an open-minded skeptic.

Oh, I totally agree. I'm pretty skeptical, but I won't completely discount anything I'm told until I get a chance to go and explore it.

Cielamara
November 9th, 2004, 07:52 PM
I'm skeptical about a number of things.
I don't believe people can be genetically part Fey or dragon or wolf or whatever. I do believe people occasionally spend lifetimes or start out on the karmic path as non-human beings...though I think far fewer people are connected to the Fey than they want to think. I also don't believe in walk-ins. I don't believe in the idea that your soul was "misplaced" somehow and you're supposed to be Fey or a dragon or something. I've felt that loneliness and alienation before, but I believe the Universe doesn't make mistakes...it knows precisely what it's doing.
I don't believe in most televised psychics...but I believe in Sylvia Browne, for some reason. She just gives off certain vibes.
I don't believe in aliens as people think of them. I think most other lifeforms would have better things to do than bother us, and if they do exist, they're not in this solar system. I do believe in the Fey, but I don't believe they really show up on this plane anymore. The more industrialized we get, the less there would be that would appeal to them.
I believe in what I know to be true. Show me the proof, and we'll talk about believing in it. And it had better be damn good proof.
And for the record, I'm Pagan and a witch. And an eclectic and independent one at that.

morrigen
November 9th, 2004, 10:02 PM
I like to say I keep an open mind, but not so wide open my brains fall out.

Seriously, I think that blind acceptance of any claim is an affront to the Divine's gift of intelligence we have been blessed with. We weren't given our ability to think in order to ignore it.

Bingo.

I totally agree with Ben.*nods*

Ben Gruagach
November 10th, 2004, 02:04 PM
I thought I'd add that for me skepticism is inherent in the way I practice my eclectic Wiccan religion. As a witch, as a person who does magick, I feel that it is vital that I maintain a skeptical (and that often means critical) outlook on paranormal and even everyday things.

As a witch, my magick is about getting results. Being critical and skeptical allows me to examine things and decide if they are objectively doing what I expect them to do. If a particular magickal practice, say, turns out to not really be effective or doing what I think it's supposed to be doing then I can decide if it's worth my time and effort to keep trying that method. Being critical in this way helps me to eliminate the things that aren't working for me (although I realize they might work for others) and lets me build on those things that do work for me and do make sense to me. It makes my own magickal work more efficient and more effective.

Being critical also helps me to work out my own individual way of looking at the world. It's got to make sense to me, convince me, if I'm going to accept that it might be true. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt on things but when the evidence starts to mount to contradict an idea it gets harder and harder for me to accept that the idea is valid. (That's why I don't believe people like Sylvia Browne or John Edwards are really doing what they say they are doing --- I've seen too much evidence into how their act can be done through trickery to believe that they are the Real Thing.)

http://www.skepdic.com/ is a good place to go to check up on the "debunking" side of paranormal and supernatural claims. They are not perfect of course, but to have an open mind in my opinion means being equally open to looking at discrediting information about a topic before making up your mind. And even then, new information can always force us to change our opinions on things. That's another key element to having an open mind -- you don't allow your opinions to become fossilized dogma as life has a tendency to smack us upside the head with a big fish when we get too used to our comfortable opinions.