Religion is far more than a set of propositions to which we intellectually assent or dissent. Religion is inextricably intertwined with our social networks and our cultural context. And religious behavior, including religious speech, is far more than an expression of belief; it is a performance which binds us to our religious communities. When secularists, atheists, and religious naturalists attack a religion on the basis of the demonstrable falsity of the beliefs of its adherents, we reveal our own ignorance of the complexity of this thing we call religion.
All of this is to say that I find the question of the gods being “real,” and indeed discussions of their ontological nature in general, somewhat silly. It doesn’t matter if they’re “real” if they’re meaningful. So, yes, I am an atheist because I don’t believe in the existence of a deity. I’m also, however, a Pagan, because I have a personal relationship to the same things that Pagans have relationships to. Once you get past the word games of ontology, being an atheist Pagan isn’t so silly after all.Read More