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To: alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc,alt.atheism,sci.philosophy.meta,alt.religion.wicca
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: MScratch: Religion without Gods?
Date: 23 Dec 1996 15:10:00 -0800

[from alt.satanism: "Mr. Scratch" ]

On 19 Dec 1996 wrote:

>    From my old fundie days as a Nazarine, I still find it hard to believe
> that people can have a "religion" that does not believe in a divine
> presence.  Atheism, and Humanism are not religions, from what I learned as
> an adolescence, as they do not have room for a "god" in their belief
> system.  Hence, they are more "ethical" groups, non-religious.  Hence, I
> would also put any "pagan" group into same category, if it did not have a
> god/dess higher power.  But, that's just the way I was taught, and think
> it still has some validity.

This seems like an obvious conclusion, but the more and more I learn 
about people and the way they believe, the more less I have become to 
agree with such statements.

Ever hear the old Hindu tale of the atheist who swore there was no divine
godhood?  Everyone condemned him, claiming he would never be united with
the godhood, because he spent so much time attacking the idea of godhood
itself.  When he died, however, he stood alongside the holy men in first
meeting the divine, because in life, he had devoted  more time just
/thinking/ about the divine in order to denounce it than most had given 
in seeking it. 

Additionally, one of the things that interested me in Buddhism was that 
in its original Hinayana form, it was almost atheistic in its approach to 
the existence of gods, in the afterlife, in the very notion of the 
existence of divinity.  Yet you would probably consider Buddhism a 

As time goes on, I find that religion is less and less about whether or
not you believe in gods, and more and more about if you believe in
/anything/.  Certain ideas attempt to encompass the essence of the
universe and the nature of mankind whether there is happens to be some
disembodied ghostie or sprite present or not.  I have met godless
communists that sought their salvation in "speaking up" for the
downtrodden prolotariat.  I would say that they were "religious" about
their beliefs, and indeed Marx and Lenin considered conventional religion
to be in competition with their own doctrine (thus highlighting the

I have met atheist physicists and astronomers whose scientific theories on
the nature of matter, time and energy were as mind-boggling as anything
the hash-smoking Saddhus were able to cough up (no pun intended).  In
fact, I have come to consider the Big Bang (what most people mistakenly
consider "factual" and "secular") to be nothing more than our own 20th
century creation myth, on par with Genesis 1:1 or any other creation myth
that we now consider "quaint"  -- an attempt to tease out a possible
source of it all from our limited evidence. (As a side note, a couple of
years ago I wrote an account of the Big Bang in retro, mythical terms in
order to illustrate this point to others).  I consider this religion. 

I have an interest in the sociological phenomenon surrounding UFO
"abductees" and "witnesses":  in the world of science, most of us know and
accept that the world is not teeming with angels and devils.  Yet we still
have the impulse to express our hopes and fears in this externalized
manner, so we now have the old lights in the sky and tormenting monster
story retold: these spirits have been stripped of their wings and
halos/horns, and refitted in a suit of super-duper technological hardware
to make it more compatible with our accepted "scientific" cosmology.  I
can discern no difference between this and religion. 

Besides, if you ask many pagans, you will find that a great many of them 
/don't/ believe in a literal god/dess either.  They might not say it as 
such, but they take a weird kind of pseudoagnostic attitude toward the 
literal existence of beings that would have been shocking to the ancient 
pagans.  Many of them will tell you that man collectively creates and 
sustains the gods.  On a more subtle level, look to their attitude toward 
the Christian YHWH or the Christian version of Satan; "those aren't our 
gods, we don't believe in them".  As if, if someone believed that gods were 
real at all, they would get to pick and choose which was real or not.

Are atheist/agnostic Satanists "religious"?  I think the answer is yes, 
in a very real manner of speaking.

> Dave

Mr. Scratch
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