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Doublestandards

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:03 am

I am half Cree and the rest is a mix of French, Irish and Dutch. I question why it's okay for me to practice my traditional Native American religion, but not okay to practice Religio Romana. It seems like there's a bit of an implied racism here. Like it seems to suggest that anything indigenous that is European/Semitic is primitive and therefore contributed nothing spiritually. It could also imply that it's okay for Native Americans to be "primitive," but Europeans and Semites are beyond such things. It's a bit messed up and I really don't get it. You'd think they'd atleast be aware that the Greco-Romans had a similar view of the divine that Natives had.
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Re: Doublestandards

Post  DavidMcCann on Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:05 pm

No-one here will tell you that you can't practice Hellenism!

Languages like Classical Greek and Chinese don't have a simple translation for the English "religion", because if your society still has its primary religion, questions like "what's your religion" are meaningless. You only get "religions" with secondary religions like Christianity or Islam because they are incompatible with each other. Primary religions are not incompatible. Ancient Greeks in India, Egypt, or Britain worshiped the local gods as well as their own. Some they recognised as familiar figures under a different name, some were new. Some, like nymphs, were obviously going to be local. But no Egyptian would say to a Greek "You can't come in the temple of Isis: she's only for Egyptians."

Professor Jordan Paper practiced both Chinese and Algonquian religions. He adopted Shenjiao when he married a Chinese woman, and was introduced to Native American practices by an apprentice shaman who came up to him after a lecture in his comparative religion course and said she couldn't sit there listening to him getting it all wrong!

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Re: Doublestandards

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:45 pm

What I am saying is that people in Canada will say Native American faiths, Hinduism and Shenism/Shinto are perfectly valid and yet Religio Romana, Asatru, Hellenismos, Natib Quadish etc. are not. I am not saying I can only be one.
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Re: Doublestandards

Post  Erodius on Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:02 pm

There is racism and xenophobia everywhere. Always have been, and I imagine always shall be, although their manifestations change. 


Like it seems to suggest that anything indigenous that is European/Semitic is primitive and therefore contributed nothing spiritually. It could also imply that it's okay for Native Americans to be "primitive," but Europeans and Semites are beyond such things. 

I would have to guess that, albeit subconsciously, that is a fairly common belief . 



You'd think they'd atleast be aware that the Greco-Romans had a similar view of the divine that Natives had.

Very few people even realize that Classical mythology was ever even connected to a religion at all. A good many people, from my personal experience as a teacher, genuinely do seem to think that, essentially, everyone in Europe sort of waited around in a nebulous uncertainly and agnosticism until Christianity came and suddenly everyone realized it was the true religion and all of Europe converted willingly and en-masse. The slightly more educated seem to generally dismiss Classical religion as a kind of rote-ritualism and superstition empty of any real religious substance. 


You only get "religions" with secondary religions like Christianity or Islam because they are incompatible with each other.

Religion in the modern sense comes with, more generally, the growth of specific 'elective cults' as I would call them – by which I mean religious movements (originally within the matrices of their parent/frame religions) which one had to join, rather than be born into, whose beliefs and practices could diverge to varying degrees from those of their parent religions. What made Christianity unusual was that it totally forbade participation in anything outside itself. Although other 'religions' in this sense (Mithraism, Isidianism, Orphism etc.) would have, sometimes, quite divergent practices from the mainstream in terms of cult and lifestyle, and forbade certain aspects of cult outside themselves – the prohibitions were not to the extent of those in Christianity.

Christianity also differed markedly in its unical monotheism – that not only was there only one true god (which was not all that unusual a belief in Later Antiquity), but that the Christian god is the only true manifestation thereof (which was, however, a very atypical belief).


What I am saying is that people in Canada will say Native American faiths, Hinduism and Shenism/Shinto are perfectly valid and yet Religio Romana, Asatru, Hellenismos, Natib Quadish etc. are not.

Part of the blame here falls on the observers, and part on those involved in the above. Native American religions, Hinduism, Shinto (and Hellenism have) extant roots, lines and foundations (though Hellenism has only very few living lines, it also has a very large extant corpus, and so, as with Hinduism, Shinto and Native American religions, it can be learned with some dedication). Most other indigenous Western religions are pure reconstructions/revivals, without any living tradition to learn whatsoever, and often with very, very little textual corpus to even begin from. As a result, many of these movements are, to a large extent, 'improvised' for lack of a better word. In other words, they lack ethos backing or respectability because they're largely the brainchildren of those practicing them. 

It also doesn't help that aspiring to respectability is a dying drive in popular culture, or that, unfortunately, a good many people are drawn to these 'alternative' religions (a term which drives me crazy) largely because of their 'alternativity' and 'edgyness'. 

It's, in short, a complicated thing.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Doublestandards

Post  DavidMcCann on Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:45 pm

Erodius wrote:Very few people even realize that Classical mythology was ever even connected to a religion at all. A good many people, from my personal experience as a teacher, genuinely do seem to think that, essentially, everyone in Europe sort of waited around in a nebulous uncertainly and agnosticism until Christianity came and suddenly everyone realized it was the true religion and all of Europe converted willingly and en-masse. The slightly more educated seem to generally dismiss Classical religion as a kind of rote-ritualism and superstition empty of any real religious substance. 
In the past there was a problem in that everyone idolised Greek art and literature and the upper class learned Greek at school, but as Christians (with the occasional atheist like Nietzsche) they couldn't bring themselves to admit that these people they admired had a different religion. The result was that the mythology was re-packaged as folklore and the philosophers were treated as precursors of Christianity. I've just read a book (Greek philosophers as theologians) which states "Plato prepared the ground for Christianity" —  Mad

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Re: Doublestandards

Post  Erodius on Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:43 pm

"Plato prepared the ground for Christianity"

Definitely a bit of a misunderstanding. On one hand, the Platonic circles were the most vocal and potent opponents of the Christian church, and the last to pose a really tangible threat to the rise of the Christian church to power. Second, although it is true that there is now some considerable philosophical and metaphysical overlap between Platonism and Christianity, this is largely because the western church (the eastern churches having always maintained a more cautious and suspicious view of Platonism and Classical philosophy) essentially grafted itself onto Platonism to form a kind of chimaeric composite religion that would have been quite odd to the earlier generations of Platonists and unsettling to the early Christians – although it is likewise arguably true that Nicene Christianity is itself a hybrid of some pieces of Platonic theology that Paul of Tarsus probably knew, given his background, and the original Jesus-movement (which probably had no 'trinitarian' theology whatsoever, and probably did not consider Jesus to be a deity). 

I can see how someone might arrive at the conclusion that Plato 'paved the way for Christianity' – but it's certainly not quite so direct as that.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Doublestandards

Post  TheSeekingDisciple on Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:13 am

To me, Platonism seems to antithetical to Christianity. Christianity seems to have this view of God being separate from nature, whereas in Platonism sees God as immanent. Christianity seems rather closed and rigid whereas Platonism seems to be a lot more open and flexible. Platonism seems like a sort of "Western Dharma." A part of me would like to think that many of these people cannot grasp the idea of Plato being a "pagan" and so label him a "Christian" or atheist. This kind of goes into the idea of European folk religions being primitive and out-dated.

I can certainly see Platonism influencing Gnostic and Esoteric Christianity on the other hand.
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