The HPedia: “All paths are valid”

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This common Neopagan saying affirms the validity and value of a vast variety of spiritual approaches.  It suggests a pluralism with no One True Way.

Naturalism would seem to be in perfect agreement.  Without any kind of supernatural agency to grant privileged authority to this or that tradition, virtually all approaches become capable of value.

However, some seem to interpret the phrase to mean all paths are equally truthful, which is a different concept from validity.  A statement is valid if and only if its conclusion is logically entailed by its premises, but its premises may still be false.  Thus, the assertion that all paths are valid cannot justify ideas without reference to evidence.

See also “Naturalism.”

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One Comment on “The HPedia: “All paths are valid”

  1. I would agree that there are many valid ways, many effective paths, but I definitely would not agree that “all” ways are valid or effective. I’ve seen people go off on paths that are just plain bad and they suffered bad spiritual and material consequences as a result of their choice.

    I don’t really see the cogency of the statement “Without any kind of supernatural agency to grant privileged authority to this or that tradition, virtually all approaches become capable of value.” It is psychological result, not spiritual authority, that privileges a tradition.

    There is a wonderful sentence at the end of Chapter 16 of the Tao Te Ching (Mitchell translation). It reads: “Immersed in the wonder of the Tao, you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready.”

    This kind of facility with life and death is among the values that an authentic spiritual life offers. I might suggest it as a standard for the authenticity of a path.

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