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Scholastic Paganism has posted the first review of Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans. If you’re wondering whether you should purchase a copy, check out the review here. It’s not unequivocally positive, but it is laudatory and insightful. Here are some excerpts:
“… I was impressed by the book. The contributors demonstrated, in my estimation at least, that non-theists have the resources to share in the life of Paganism from a non-theistic perspective. That is to say, non-theists can sensibly and meaningfully use Pagan language, engage in Pagan practices, and incorporate Pagan values into their lives. As the authors almost unanimously attest, sharing in the life of Paganism has been enriching and important for them. … I loved hearing how good sharing in the life of Paganism has been for non-theists, and I think their testimonies should encourage and edify polytheists.”
“However, as the title also suggests, I am, ultimately, unconvinced. I think that what Godless Paganism shows is that there is a significant community of non-theists who share, and sometimes very deeply, in the life of Paganism. But, I was not convinced by the book that these folks are better characterized as Pagans than as non-theists who share in the life of Paganism.”
“Halstead indicates in the preface that the book is to foster communion, growth, hospitality and understanding; educating those with misunderstandings about non-theistic Paganism and giving the floor to those non-theists who self-identify as Pagan, but have not felt comfortable describing their views to the Pagan community. I think that by and large, the book succeeded at this.”
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That’s a great first review, and it is refreshing to see depth of engagement around non-theistic Paganism rather than outright hostility or dismissal.
However, I’m not sure what the difference is between “non-theist Pagans” and what the reviewer describes as “non-theists who share in the life of Paganism”. That they then suggest that “The question to be addressed now is whether or not this is enough to be Pagan” implies that there is some sort of entry requirement or religious test to be a real Pagan, and someone (who?) has authority to set boundaries around the term, rather than accepting non-theistic Pagans’ right to self-definition at face value.
I agree. I’m also not sure what the difference between being a Pagan and being someone “who shares in the life of Paganism” is. That last phrase is a mouthful, and I wonder what the author would call such people.
Also, the analogy to attending a Catholic mass seems out of place, since clearly most of the contributors’ involvement in Paganism is more sincere and deep than casually attending another religion’s service.
But still a good review.
John & Ryan, Agree 100%, can’t wait for the book to be on Amazon and then I will get my copy and dig in… As far as “non-theists who share in the life of Paganism”, I think words can be tricky…. to me they are the same thing, but I guess you could participate in Pagan rituals and attend gatherings / rituals and still not call yourself a Pagan… But for me, if one says they are a Pagan, they are a Pagan, there is not litmus test, IMO… But I label myself as a Humanistic Occultist or Naturalistic Occultist… But hey, the word game can be a stacked deck of cards as they say…
This might be a good time to refer back to the “Pagan Enough Project.” http://www.incitingariot.com/p/project-pagan-enough.html
Yes. I can’t help but think of those Baptist who consider Catholics not true Christians, or those Catholics who, or, or, or….. all that “Christianer than thou” stuff. Oh, and the scotsman, too.