Whether the gods are objectively real is the least interesting question you can ask about a person’s religious experience. What is much more interesting is the subjective reality of their experience. What was the experience was like for them? And what does it mean to them in the context of their life? People’s religious experiences aren’t going to help us put a person on Mars or cure cancer, but they can help us understand why we want to put a person on Mars or why should try to cure cancer.
The disenchantment of the world happened, not when we stopped seeing gods and spirits in nature, but when we stopped seeing our essential connection to nature. Personifying rivers and trees with dryads is not going to accomplish this. Rather, we need to realize our essential oneness, the manifold ways in which we are connected to the rivers and the trees–whether or not we find gods in them.Read More
In spite of the uncritical attitudes and superstitious ideas that haunt a lot of Paganism, I still call myself a Pagan. I am still a Pagan because I believe Paganism has the potential to bring together the wisdom of our animistic forebearers and the discoveries of contemporary science in a way that has the power to reenchant the world.Read More
PART 2: AN ALTERNATIVE CONCEPTION OF DIVINE RECIPROCITY In Part 1 of this essay (published last month), I critiqued a popular understanding of divine reciprocity. But there is another conception of divine reciprocity. It is rooted in the notion of…Read More