We are Pagan and Christian at Once

It is my belief that history and the reality of the modern situation does not permit any Westerner to be either wholly Christian or wholly pagan.

That is, morally we cannot be (purely speaking) either one or the other, even while we think we are. Values seem to evolve naturally, somewhat outside the written edicts of religious law, following some invisible organic course. There are of course eternal human values, and nature-laws, and these are certainly in many cases more pagan that Christian (Christianity somewhat places man outside nature). But there are truths which span both religions. And all religions.

Yet there are true human values that are Christian-derived that no modern pagan can reject. There are pagan practices that strike us now as quite alien, which get excused away and forgotten. There are undoubtedly pagan life-attitudes which have passed, and are part of a world which has changed irrevocably – but we are what we are.

And as such we are as God has intended.

That the honest route is to admit, first and foremost to YOURSELF, that you are in many ways both of these faiths at once. That is not to say anyone who strongly considers themselves one or the other (which almost all of you do) that you should abandon this identity. It is to say, that a way must be made, a path cleared, which makes room for both faith concepts to exist without being at war. Now as unlikely as that sounds, keep in mind that despite the online verbal battles, this is more or less the state of things as we speak. The only thing that is lacking is the free-thinking speculation on where to take it, or how to reconcile the history, or how to provide a ritual or mass, indistinguishable from a latin mass, but with virtually no reference to the old testament or Levantine geography. A ritual that one might find deatailed in the Odes of Horace, or see performed in Ptolemaic Alexandria.

In my view the path between these supposed opposites lies in Platonism, being an undercurrent philosophy at the core of both worldviews, and the inherently Western foundation which ties morality, art, and mathematics to numinous experience. This is a project which has been around for a very long time, from Pseudo-Dionyssus to the Jeffersonian bible to the psychedelic spirituality of Terrence McKenna.

For a third way to become anything of a material reality, Christians would require a loosening of their chosenite exclusivity, in the belief that all other faiths represent the purest evil (which they do for other ‘established faiths’, no problem). And pagans must be open to including Jesus in their pantheon, and not denying outright the structure of their modern culture, or the beliefs of our near-ancestors for the last 1500 years. And even if most are not open to this concession, ‘third wayists’ can find their own way, and be free to studying, with open minds, the common wisdom and myths of both faith histories. Without prejudice.

Now I realise this will annoy a lot of people, but who cares? And if what I’m saying is true, then it does not matter much what we do, as it is simply a fact of our history and current identity and the evolution of faith and culture, that we are neither burning witches in feudal town squares, nor leaving babies exposed on Aegean hillsides.

And if we are what we are, there remains only to see what happens next.

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