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Showing posts with the label #Pagans

Theists and deists: The ways people believe in God.

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Most pagans do believe in God, y’know.THEIST'θi.ɪstadjective. Believes in the existence of God or gods.2. Believes in one God, a personal being, the universe’s creator, who interacts with its creation.[Theistic θi'ɪst.ɪkadjective, theism 'θi.ɪz.əmnoun]DEIST'di.ɪstadjective, noun. Believes God exists, specifically as a creator who doesn’t supernaturally intervene in his universe.[Deistic 'di.ɪs.tɪkadj., deism 'di.ɪz.əmn.]If you believe in gods, you’re a theist. People tend to bunch theists into different classifications, depending on how many gods they believe in, and how. Both religious and irreligious people (and the Christian term for the non-religious is “pagan”) alike fall into these slots:MONOTHEIST: Just the One God, thanks.POLYTHEIST: Multiple gods. Sometimes two, a good and bad god, in a dualistic system. Sometimes three, among heretic Christians who really misunderstand the trinity. Sometimes a whole pantheon.HENOTHEIST: Multiple gods, but they only de…

Nontheism: When pagans don’t believe in God.

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Most people believe in God. Now let’s discuss the tiny minority who don’t.Nontheist /'nɑn.θi.ɪst/ adj., n. Believes no such thing as God, gods, a universal spirit, a universal intelligence, nor a supernatural higher power, exists. (A catchall term for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and others who are skeptical of God and religion.)[Nontheism /'nɑn.θi.ɪz.əm/ n.]Y’know, for the first couple centuries of Christianity, we Christians were called atheist.See, the Greco-Roman pagans believed in gods. Lots of gods. Not just the all the gods, titans, demigods, and demons in the Greco-Roman pantheon: They accepted the gods of other pantheons too. They didn’t presume they knew them all, so whenever they encountered an unfamiliar god, they’d accept it. Sometimes they added it to their pantheon, as we can tell by the fact they had multiple gods of war (Ares, Athena, Enyo, Polemos), the sun (Apollo, Helios, Hyperion), and the moon (Achelois, Artemis, Selene, Phoebe). Other times they fi…

Isn’t God gonna save everybody?

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God definitely wants to. Therefore some Christians insist in the end, he will.UNIVERSALIST /ju.nə'vər.səl.əst/ adj. Believing all humanity will (eventually) be saved.I’ve mentioned before how pagans believe good people go to heaven, and bad people to hell. I should mention there’s a minority among them who believe there is no hell. Nope, not even for genocidal maniacs. Everybody goes to the same afterlife, and if you’re a westerner that’d be heaven. There might be some karmic consequences; you might find yourself in the suckier part of heaven. But considering it’s heaven, it’s not bad.Y’see, these folks figure God is love. Don’t we Christians teach that? Why yes we do. 1Jn 4.8 And God loves everyone—“for God so loved the world” Jn 3.16 and all that. So why would a loving God throw people in hell? Especially for something as minor as not believing in him?—which most of the time is really an honest mistake. Doesn’t sound very loving of God to toss someone into hell just because they…

Betting on God.

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PASCAL’S WAGERpə'skælz 'weɪ.dʒərnoun. Argument that it’s best to presume God exists: The possibility of hell outweighs any advantage of believing otherwise.My first exposure to Pascal was actually PASCAL. (I lived in San Jose in the late 1970s, so as you can guess, my middle school had the best computers.) I knew PASCAL was named after Blaise Pascal (1623–62), a French mathematician and statistician. I didn’t know he was also a Catholic philosopher who came up with a popular apologetic argument. Goes like yea:Let us then examine this point, and say, “God is, or he is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.Do not, then, reprove for error those who…

When pagans believe they’re Christian.

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’Cause they like Jesus. So doesn’t that make ’em Christian?In the United States, roughly seven out of 10 people believe they’re Christian. I live in California, where it’s six out of 10. (I’m not just pulling these numbers out of my bum; the national stats and state stats from a 2014 Pew Forum study.)Which matches my experience. When I share Jesus with strangers, about two out of three tell me they’re Christian already. They don’t necessarily go to church; that’s another issue. But they do figure they’re Christian. For all sorts of reasons:Actual individual experience with Jesus.Said the sinner’s prayer once.They’re a regular at their church. (How regular varies. Twice a year, they figure, counts.)Got baptized.Raised Christian, or their family’s Christian.They consider themselves spiritual. And when they contemplate spiritual matters, Jesus is in the mix somewhere.Now, let’s explode that last definition: They’re “spiritual,” by which they nearly always mean they believe in the superna…