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Christians and Pagans

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The Wonder Podcast द्वारा प्रदान की गई सामग्री. एपिसोड, ग्राफिक्स और पॉडकास्ट विवरण सहित सभी पॉडकास्ट सामग्री The Wonder Podcast या उनके पॉडकास्ट प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पार्टनर द्वारा सीधे अपलोड और प्रदान की जाती है। यदि आपको लगता है कि कोई आपकी अनुमति के बिना आपके कॉपीराइट किए गए कार्य का उपयोग कर रहा है, तो आप यहां बताई गई प्रक्रिया का पालन कर सकते हैं https://hi.player.fm/legal

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S4E13 TRANSCRIPT:----more----

Yucca: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-based Paganism. I'm one of your host Yucca,

Mark: And I'm the other one. Mark.

Yucca: and today we are talking about Christianity and Paganism worldviews and really kind of exploring that idea.

Mark: Yeah, because when you really drill down into a pagan. Way of understanding the world. It starts to really rub sharply up against the, the models for what's important in the universe and how we should live and all that kind of stuff that are taught to us by the mainstream culture and in the mainstream culture, in the English speaking world that is entirely suffused with Christianity.

Yucca: Right. So much so that I think we're very unaware of the extent. It really takes some deep reflection and. And exploring an investigation of other world frameworks to even be able to recognize what is coming from Christianity and what's influenced by Christianity and how what we're doing is different in some ways.

Mark: Right,

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: right. It's the water we're swimming in

Yucca: right.

Mark: and so it becomes background to us. We, we don't notice that we're swimming, you know, we don't notice that we're moving through air because air is around us all the time, right? So we don't pay very much attention to air unless it's moving at high speed or carrying water or something like that, or smoke or whatever it, it may be.

Yucca: little bit off. Yeah.

Mark: Right. So it's a. So let, let's dive in and let's, let's talk about what some of those kind of core Christian beliefs are, and not so much beliefs, but frameworks for how to live and what's important and those kinds of things. Moral frameworks.

Yucca: Well, I'm doing a lot of reflecting on this throughout the week because we, we talked about last time, oh, what, what are we gonna talk about next week? And so we had a little bit of time to do some brainstorming and what it, what kept coming back for me is the relationship and role of authority. And I think that this is something that, that in our conversation today, we are stick.

To Christianity, but I think this is something that is shared with other monotheistic religions in general, at least the ones that I've been exposed to. And the approach to there being a God or this deity who is the ultimate authority, who is something of a parent role. But parent in a very authoritative kind of way I think is really central to a lot of the other topics that we're going to get into in terms of why you do good things versus why you do bad things and how do you see what is good and what is bad and what your roles are.

I think it, a lot of it really comes down to that relationship to a.

Mark: Yeah, I really agree with that. That, I mean, we, people talk about. The father. Right. It's, it, it's this patriarchal idea of first of all, male supremacy, which is sown pretty thoroughly throughout

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: Christianity. But beyond that, it's this authority figure who hands down the law and you obey it. And if you don't obey it, then you get punished.

Yucca: Right. And they know best. They know better for you than you do for yourself, and

Mark: Right. Well, in this case, they know everyth.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: Right?

Yucca: And so don't question it.

Mark: Yeah. Cuz they know everything. They're always right. They're, they're not capable of making a mistake. All of those things are true and that is a very powerful model, but to my mind, not a very realistic one. even if you believe in and, you know, the, the medieval philosophers would get themselves all twisted in knots about this, the theologians you know, can, can God create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift.

You know, these kinds of questions because there are tons of paradoxes in the idea of something that is infinite, infinite knowledge, infinite strength, infinite power infinite presence, you know, omnipresent everywhere around us all the time watching.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: There are just, you know, kind of rational, logical problems with. But it is a very powerful, compelling set of models, particularly if it's embraced by a society that is similarly constructed. So if you've got a society that's built with an authority at the top, like a king,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: And the king is always right. The king can do whatever he wants. Everybody else is subject to the whims of the king.

Then having a religion where that's the same model works out pretty well for the king. Right, and for those that are close to the king?

Yucca: Well, and for the smaller kings underneath that king, right? You might not be the top king, but you get to be the king in your house. If. You're the guy,

Mark: right. Yes.

Yucca: the oldest son, you know?

Mark: the man as the king of his household, you know, and his home is his castle, right? It, it's not a mistake that the coronation of kings throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance was always done by a religious figure

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: it was basically saying, There is a hierarchy in the world that starts with God, and God is acknowledging that you're at this particular high point in the hierarchy.

Yucca: Right, and this is so deeply ingrained that it has, that, it really takes us a moment to step back and think that it doesn't have to be that way. There doesn't have to be that hierarchy of power, but we take it for granted because it's, even in today's world where, you know there are, there's a king in England, right?

But it's not the same way it used to be. But even today that that structure is still around. It's still in the back of our minds. It's still how we think about society, even though. That's not politically how it's working exactly anymore, but it really is at the same time. It's not one single king, but we're still basing our whole way of relating to each other with who has more power over the other person.

Mark: Sure. Think of a workplace, right? You've got either a sole proprietor who is the king or queen. Or you've got a board of directors who are basically kings or queens and they invest power in a chief executive who is like a regent of some kind and everybody else has, is down below on the authority pyramid and has to obey the directions of what edicts are handed down, or they are punished, they are fired, or they are disciplined, or whatever it is. The same happens even in very benign circumstances. Like, you know, like our education system, we assume that, you know, a kindergarten teacher is a very benign figure, but in the process of going through kindergarten and grade school and all that, children are learning to obey an authority figure that stands in front.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: That's, that's core to what they're learning about how they should relate in the world.

Yucca: Yeah. And that's, that is the system of, that is school. Right. Whether you're, whether it's a private school, whether it's a public or a religious school or whatever, that's, that's the process of school.

Mark: Right. And it's hard to break that even when you want to. When I was teaching undergrad students when I was in graduate school, you know, you, you try, you move the chairs into a circle and you try to make it more about a sharing of experience and expertise rather than an authority thing. But you still have to turn in grades. You know, you still have to take attendance. You know, these, these things are mandated. You don't have any choice about it. So, and if you just arbitrarily decide that you're going to give an a to everyone in the class, you get in trouble.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: they don't, they frown on that, right? Because the entire academic model is constructed around the validity of those as, BS, CS, deans, and f.

Yucca: Right. Well, and even when you purposely choose to, to use a different model, you're still working with, having come from that model to begin with, and you fall back on what you know and what you're comfortable with and when you're working with adult students. They have a whole, they've got their whole life of experience behind them as well.

So you spend a lot of the time working on the system and the process instead of the content for that. yeah, and that's something, you know, as a, in our family we don't use, even though I am a teacher and, you know, working on my doctorate in this and all of that, but we don't use that, the schooling as our framework for education.

Very, very consciously, but we find ourselves slipping back sometimes into that. Well, yeah, but I'm the parent and I said so right And have to go, wait a second. Is that I, is that really what we want? I mean, sometimes I do have to like swoop in and be like, Nope. Can't touch the fire. But, but outside of that, it really takes a lot of dedicated thought and self-awareness to step out of that and, and try to, Different because it's, it's how we were raised, right?

Mark: And we're not encouraged to be different.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that is in, in the broadest sense, we are not encouraged to be diverse because a part of what's necessary in order to get everybody marching in the same direction in order to fulfill the desires of some hierarchy, is that they need to submerge their diversity in their conform. And conformity becomes a very important value. And this is true. It's not only true in in Christianized countries by any means. I mean,

Yucca: We're

Mark: conformity is a big

Yucca: it's our experience, right?

Mark: Exactly, but conformity is a big value in much of Asia as well. The, so when we ask ourselves, And, and we'll get to what we're talking about with Paganism in a minute.

But you know, what, what would it mean to be a person with agency rather than a person who's framed in the world as a servant of some higher authority?

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: You know, what, what kinds of choices could we make? What kinds of responsibilities would we have? What sorts of freedoms would we have? think that those are some of the deep questions that becoming a Pagan really asks, being a pagan isn't just about, well, I'm now, I'm doing this groovy stuff with all this, you know, witchy aesthetic or you know, you know, old cultures like, you know, the Norse culture that died out, or the Greek culture that died out kind of, you know, reconstructing that.

It really, it's much deeper than that. It's, it's really more about how can I see the world through eyes that are less informed anyway, by that authoritarian model.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: So the, the relationship to authority is a big one. The idea of relationships as possessory is another big one.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: The, you know, the idea that children are possessions of their parents, that spouses are possessions of their spouses and that then ties into the whole bodily shaming. Contempt for the material world with the idea that there's this other sort of spirit world that is higher, more elevated.

And that's not just in Christianity.

Yucca: Yeah. You hear that. Oh, some higher power or lowly and you know, and the things that are, that are earth earthy are the things that are, that are bad. Right. That are given that

Mark: Those are the things that are dirty, right? Because they're associated with dirt, which is a bad thing.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So, and then, then you start pulling on that thread and you get into all the body shame and all of the the sexual shame and the just all the many, many, many ways that self-hatred gets sewn into.

The idea of being unique and individual and fulfilling your desires rather than running away from them

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: suppressing them. All of this stuff is, is the, is the operating system for our, for our culture folks. Even though our culture is rapidly de christianizing, those same paradigms are still very much up and.

Yucca: And even for those of us who were not raised Christian, right, even those of us who were raised pagan or were raised in any other religion, it's still. All around us. It's still, I mean, I loved how you called it the operating system, right? That's what it is,

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. It's it's in the ways that we have to. Edit ourselves when we talk about our lives to keep the stuff that's gonna freak out ordinary people out.

Yucca: mm-hmm.

Mark: Right? It's in the, it's in the ways we have to tell our kids, well, it's fine for you to do this at home, but don't do it out there

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: people aren't gonna understand that they're going to disapprove. There are, there are countless little moments in every day when we ask ourselves, how is this gonna fly with the others

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: in a way that is deeply informed with that authoritarian shame-based earth denying kind of modality. Taken to its extreme, which it is in our modern times, that modality leads to the kind of exploitation of the planet that is causing us such existential crises, right?

If, if you denigrate the material to the point that it's nothing but a pile of resources to be mined, which the Bible very clearly spells out, it is according to. Framework how can you hold a pile of resources as sacred instead of, instead of understanding it as a a, a living fabric, an interconnected set of relationships of which we are a part and have both benefits and responsibilities.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: It's just such a different way of looking at the world, and it's not the one that drives our economic system, our political system, or our culture.

Yucca: Right. Now there's definitely places in Paganism because we have to remember Paganism is a, is huge. It's a big umbrella. Right. And there's definitely places where some of the things we've been talking about have been brought in and are. Are shared, right? There are some traditions in which the, the hierarchy and that structure is very important.

And there are other traditions that, that are purposefully breaking away from that and not embracing that kind of framework or trying not to. So certainly when we talk about paganism and we. We as always, cannot speak for every pagan and every form of paganism, but are talking about the our experiences and our particular flavor of Paganism.

Mark: Right, right. Well, and I think that to some degree, that's a generational thing. I think that when. When modern neo paganism really kind of started up again which was in the fifties and sixties, I don't think any many could really imagine a fully non-hierarchical way of organizing anything. You know? And I'm sure that there are some, you know, communes and intentional communities and so forth that we're trying to do something else, but.

By and large, an average person, much less an a retired English civil servant, would probably think, well, this is the way things should be organized. You should have things in tier. And people go from one to another tier and they get higher and higher in status and power.

Yucca: Because that's just how society works, right?

Mark: Yeah. Yeah.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So, but here we are, you know, almost a third of the way through the 21st century, amazingly enough, and we are able to imagine now alternatives for one thing, our ability to have conversations about something other than Christianity in a religious context. O other than Abrahamic religions, generally in a.

Other than in, in that context, has jumped markedly just in the last 20 or 30 years.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. And you're speaking about the, the broader community, not just Paganism in this case,

Mark: Yes, yes. I, I, I think you know, more ideas about how we can relate with one another, relate to the world, relate to the cosmos are being bandied about now than were before. I mean, Bertrand Russell caused an absolute outrage when he published why I Am Not a. Which I believe was in the 1940s, maybe a little earlier than that.

Not sure. That kind of thing just sort of disappears without a ripple these days. There's plenty of people writing stuff like that.

Yucca: Right. Yeah. Just it gets a shrug. Yeah. And

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: what other percentage of the

Mark: Yeah, you and a lot of other people. And so my big question to those folks is, well, what are you then, what are you gonna do? Which is what Athe, paganism was a stab at answering.

You know, I'm not just an atheist and I'm not just an an earth revere. How am I gonna, how am I gonna implement that?

Yucca: Right,

Mark: So,

Yucca: and I, I think it's kind of like accents. Everybody's got something. You just don't notice it when everyone around you has the same as you. You only start to notice it when it's different than what you're hearing.

Mark: right, right. And I mean, these things continue to be a challenge as. Time rolls forward, even though the level of credulity in authority generally seems to be falling, there haven't been very many alternatives presented to that framework. And so people just tend to drop back into it because it's what they know.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: So let's talk a little bit more about what. What aspects of Paganism really fly in the face of that conventional paradigm? I mean, certainly the whole relationship to the body and sexuality are very, very different.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that doesn't mean we're in about a f, you know, a free love, free for all. But we're, we're about responsible relationships, however they work for you.

Yucca: Right. Well, and just the idea that pleasure is not bad, right? That just because something's pleasurable doesn't mean that it's a negative thing. I think that's huge because that is a big. Underlying assumption that if it, if it feels good, it must be bad for you somehow. And we don't have that assumption, or we try not to have that assumption.

Mark: Yes. Yes. That, that's better said, I think because the truth is, you know, we, the, the two of us and you know, the, the people in, in the English speaking world who are practicing pagans, You know, we were still raised in our society and we're still gonna be, it's like soaking in tea. Even after you get out of the teacup, you're still kind of tea colored, right?

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: There's, there's just not a lot that you can do about it, and you can spend time over time, you know, washing that off and can become, Stronger, less shame filled more, more about your own agency and decision making, more courageous, all those things. But it takes time and it is a process, and I don't think anybody ever completely gets there.

Yucca: Right, and you're continuously exposed.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: not like you decide, okay, now I'm, you know, I'm a pagan now and now none of those things are going to continue to influence me. It's just everything in the past that I'm healing from. I was like, well, no, you, you read the newspaper, you talk with your friends, you read a book, you listen to podcasts, you watch like all of these things, those are still influencing you every day.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, especially. It's one thing if you've kind of carved out a little economy for yourself where you work for yourself and you, you don't have to plug into big hierarchical structures very much. That's one thing. But most of us have a job and jobs are organized tend, you know, they tend to be organized hierarchically.

Yucca: Well, and even those of us who are self-employed, we still are dealing with clients and we're still dealing with banks and you know, that whole, that that's all still there. It may not be quite as in your face as, you know, going and clocking in and having your supervisor who was their supervisor and their bo, you know, but it's still around us.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm. Yeah. And because it's still around us, I think some people, especially folks who have escaped very authoritarian religious contexts, they often unconsciously drag a lot of this framework along with them into paganism

Yucca: I think that certainly happened with the idea of faith. Faith being such a big deal. Belief, yeah. The, the literal belief and in deity and the, the faith in your, in your faith. Right. With a capital F,

Mark: Yeah. The, the faith in magic, the yeah. All, all of those things and, and the idea of sort of, you know, driving out the heretics. Kind of goes along with that. It's like, well, if you don't believe the way we believe, then you're not one of us.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Whereas you know, to my mind there are few enough pagans as it is.

I mean, I think the estimate is a million and a half in the, in North America, something like that. There's few enough of us as it is that we don't need to be splitting with one another. I'm reminded of the. The scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian, where the Judea and people's front and the people's front of Judea are yelling at one another.

Yucca: Yeah. Yeah. So I think that's one of the things that, that definitely got. Pulled in, and that's something we've talked about before on the podcast

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: of how on some levels, some of that is very new, but it's also been around for a long time as well. So,

Mark: Yeah. But there was definitely a cultural shift that happened with, with the big influx there. There was a big influx into paganism in my experience in the 1990s and A lot of those folks were fleeing patriarchal, authoritarian, kind of punishment oriented religions, various flavors of Christianity, almost exclusively.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: And it was only a few years later that this idea about having to have faith and believe literally in Gods as, as actual beings rather than ideas. All that stuff really came to the fore. And, you know, maybe that wasn't a bad thing. Maybe it was, maybe it was okay. You know, for those of us that don't follow that way to get a little bit more organized and, you know, explore the ideas that underpin our way of looking at the world, you know, which is, you know, part of the result of that. That expectation.

Yucca: Yeah, it's certainly something that I don't remember from my childhood. Now, some of that might be simply because of the particular style of my family and who were the people that we would, that we would spend time with and celebrate with. But it, I didn't start really encountering that until. Late teenage years, early adult years, finding people who literally believed that way, or at least were vocal about the literal belief, were vocal enough to tell me I was wrong.

Be like, you can't be a pagan you. That's not what Pagan is. That's just a philosophy. I'm like, okay, whatever you do, do you.

Mark: Yeah. I've heard that one too. That's just a philosophy or I've heard it's it's secular humanism with LARPing or You know, a lot of really kind of insulting stuff. And before, before that arose, we never even talked about theology. We just got toge, you know, it was a doing thing. We got together and we did our seasonal rituals and we celebrated and had our events and all that kind of stuff.

But

Yucca: I, I do

Mark: have their beliefs.

Yucca: God talk about goddess, but I don't remember like the goddess being. Like, I don't remember the goddess being the way like my Christian friends would talk about God.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: it didn't seem like, like, I mean, this is, this might feel a little bit offensive for somebody from a theistic perspective, but my child understanding was that like God was your like imaginary friend that you could talk to, that you could use as your justification to do whatever you wanted.

It had never, like when I heard people talk about the Goddess, it wasn't really like, Person that was like your imaginary friend that you like prayed to and stuff. It was, I always kind of understood it as more, they were talking about like the force of nature and life itself, and it was very more of like this kind of metaphorical thing.

But again, that might have just been

Mark: and the power of femininity, I mean, the whole sacred feminine piece too. And you know, I know a lot of folks are still doing, you know, that that kind of wicked god and goddess thing, but it seems to me that some of that, when it really arose in the 1980s, it was really kind of a product of its time.

Third wave feminism was just starting to break and. You know, and with it, the, the sort of hiding off from hardcore secular Marxism of some, you know, earlier generations and there was just a lot of exploring going on. And one of the things that women, especially were realizing is we're not in any of these stories

Yucca: Yeah, well, not in the way that, that is very good for us.

Mark: Yeah, yeah, that's right. Yeah. Your, your

Yucca: We're littlest.

Mark: cautionary tales and you know, object lessons and stuff like that rather than people in charge and heroes and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah. I don't know. I just, it still feels very strange to. When I encounter somebody that is just burning with rage over the fact that I call myself a pagan and I don't believe in literal deity, where is the harm to them? I mean,

Yucca: Well, it'd be, it's an identity issue, I think, right.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: That they've built their, their identity around this. I am a pagan and this is what it means to be a pagan, and there's this kind of strength in the gatekeeping and there's like, it feels empowering and in like a very, in that, that righteous kind of anger way.

So I understand the, I don't. I don't think it's very constructive in the long run, but I, I can understand where they're coming from with it, but I think it causes a lot of pain in the long run.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, it seems like it would make a whole lot more sense if we could put all that aside and sit down and have a beer and, you know, enjoy one another in a, in a pagan context. And I've seen that a lot. I mean, I see that at, AT conferences and so forth where you know, we're able. I, when I go to a conference, I don't see the devotional Polytheists huddling in one corner.

You know, while the non theist pagans huddle in another corner and the Wickens are in another corner. That's not how it works. You know, we, we do, we do big rituals together. We socialize, we go to parties. It's a, it's a generally a very amicable kind of environment. And, you know, bringing that, that burning rage into it, I guess is what I really don't understand.

You know, it's a hard enough world out there as it is, and I find pagan spaces to be so much generally, so much kinder and more open and more tolerant. That's what I want to foster.

Yucca: Yeah. I mean, I find myself just being delighted to be around other pagans and, you know, just enjoying that. Wow. You're pretty interesting. This is fun. Oh yeah. That's a nice chant. I like that. That feels good. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, I agree.

Yucca: Hmm. Well, we had, we had talked about this. Doing this topic this week because it's Easter. And that's one of those, Easter is one of the two big Christian holidays. There certainly are lots of other ones, but those are like the big, Christmas and Easter are like the big ones that even the kind of mostly Christian just by name folks will celebrate.

But it is one of those ones that's interesting because it does have a lot of overlap with what many Pagans are doing this time of year with the Equinox. Right. And so it's one of those interesting ones where there's kind of. That Like, Hmm. What is, what's, what part of it is Pagan? What part of it is Christian?

It's always very funny to hear the complaints from some of the real Christian folks about, oh, this is just so pagan like, like it's a bad

It's like, yeah, yeah. Say it is pretty pagan. You're talking about like, Fertility and Yeah. Yeah. And celebrating fertility and you know, and the springtime and all of that, you know.

Ah, terrible. But it is, I do get a

Mark: but that said, but that said, I mean, Easter is celebrated by many, many Christians as a, a celebration of sort of the redemptive quality that Spring has, right? The, the renewal of the world,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: That comes in the spring, which is lovely. It's. Human sacrifice to, to pay off the debt of sins that we didn't even commit.

Things that, it just baffles me. I, I just,

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: I mean,

Yucca: It was Women's fault,

Mark: I don't know why anybody would buy into it. What was that? I'm

Yucca: It was

Mark: Although it was women's fault, of course. Of course it was.

Yucca: Yeah, I mean the, the, the mythology behind all of it is very interesting and, and tracking and learning about that is, I find that all fascinating, right? And the, how some of those stories are, you know, far older than

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: Judaism itself.

And I was learning about Noah recently actually, about how the story of Noah, there's. The, the great flood and the, the hero saving people from the great, like that's way, way older than Judaism is really interesting. So, and there's a lot of, of those in there.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, I can't say that I put a whole lot of effort into sort of, you know, biblical history study. It's just never been something that's appealed to me very much.

Yucca: It wasn't for me either, but my kids are really interested in mythology right now.

Mark: Uhhuh

Yucca: Right? They're,

Mark: and I'm sure they're curious about these stories that are driving the society they're in.

Yucca: Absolutely. Yeah. And they're very clear. You know, my, my oldest, who you've met several times is, you know, regularly likes to remind me that we don't believe in them. That they're just stories, but they're important stories. That's what she says. They're stories, but they're important stories. And so, you know, they're just Just reading up all the mythology books that we can get right now.

It's very, and it's really interesting cuz they'll notice connections between, well this story we're reading about in the Norris mythology, that's kind of like the story that, sort of like the one in the Egyptian or the Greek mythology and the, that's really interesting to see their, them tying together.

And I wish that we would, could know, we can't really, but know what relationship there is between those stories. Did

Mark: For

Yucca: somebody a version that got passed on word of mouth for, you know, hundreds of years? Or is it just coincidence or, you know, all of that is,

Mark: Well in sailing trade, you know, overland caravans and sailing trade, you know, for as long as there have been people living in communities, they've been trading with one another. And when you know, you don't just trade resources, you trade culture because you know, there you are after a long day. You know, selling your barley for leather hides or whatever it is.

And now you're, you know, sitting around, seated around, abrasion, having a drink with whoever you did the trading with, and you're gonna share stories from your culture and that that means they're on the move.

Yucca: Well, and marriages between different groups. Right. Your mom's from one place, your dad's from another. You grow up with both. You know, you grow up with both stories. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah, so I, I guess to sort of sum up all this, I mean, maybe there was a time when it actually was an improvement in the lot of humanity for this authoritarian, patriarchal kind of model to come into place. I. Necessarily think that's, so, I think it may just have been what happens when suddenly you've got an economic surplus and people are fighting over it and somebody wins which, you know, came with agriculture.

Yucca: Came with end of the ice age.

Mark: Right, right. But if there was a time when that served us well, it's well,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: serve us well anymore. And so, you know, a part of what I have been about in my paganism has been wanting to increase the agency and the liberation and the justice for people and for the earth throughout the world. I. It's time for us to start unpacking all these assumptions and making other choices about how we organize our societies, about what life is worth living for. Is it worth is, is life really about the accumulation of stuff?

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: I mean, honestly, it's a big question because. There's an awful lot of people out there whose identity is deeply tied up in what kind of car they drive.

Yucca: Right. So it's a, it's an ongoing journey, right?

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: I'm glad that we're doing it. I'm glad that we're thinking about it and, you know, working on it every day and getting to have conversations like this on the podcast.

Mark: Yeah, me too. Because as I said, I do think that it's generational and I think this is a moment, right. And things will continue to evolve from here. I mean, I don't, I don't expect that we've got all the answers or that we've figured everything out, but We're working on part of the big puzzle, and if we can do our our part and kind of figure that bit out, then we will have done our work for the larger whole.

Yucca: Yeah,

most of

Mark: you for a great conversation, Yucca. This was cool.

Yucca: yeah, likewise. That saves a good, good talk and enjoyed it. I've got more to think about than I did coming into the conversation, so that's always fun.

Mark: a great thing about, that's a great thing about inquiry. It always leads to more questions than you had when you started.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: Wanted to remind people real quick. We are doing an online Zoom conference of the atheopagan community, which is called the atheopagan web Weaving. That's gonna be on June 3rd and fourth, which is a weekend, and you can register for that at the link that we'll put in the show notes.

Yucca: That's

Mark: They're on the atheopagan Society website, which is v ap society.org. So, hope that we'll see you there. And in the meantime, have a great week and we will see you next week.

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S4E13 TRANSCRIPT:----more----

Yucca: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-based Paganism. I'm one of your host Yucca,

Mark: And I'm the other one. Mark.

Yucca: and today we are talking about Christianity and Paganism worldviews and really kind of exploring that idea.

Mark: Yeah, because when you really drill down into a pagan. Way of understanding the world. It starts to really rub sharply up against the, the models for what's important in the universe and how we should live and all that kind of stuff that are taught to us by the mainstream culture and in the mainstream culture, in the English speaking world that is entirely suffused with Christianity.

Yucca: Right. So much so that I think we're very unaware of the extent. It really takes some deep reflection and. And exploring an investigation of other world frameworks to even be able to recognize what is coming from Christianity and what's influenced by Christianity and how what we're doing is different in some ways.

Mark: Right,

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: right. It's the water we're swimming in

Yucca: right.

Mark: and so it becomes background to us. We, we don't notice that we're swimming, you know, we don't notice that we're moving through air because air is around us all the time, right? So we don't pay very much attention to air unless it's moving at high speed or carrying water or something like that, or smoke or whatever it, it may be.

Yucca: little bit off. Yeah.

Mark: Right. So it's a. So let, let's dive in and let's, let's talk about what some of those kind of core Christian beliefs are, and not so much beliefs, but frameworks for how to live and what's important and those kinds of things. Moral frameworks.

Yucca: Well, I'm doing a lot of reflecting on this throughout the week because we, we talked about last time, oh, what, what are we gonna talk about next week? And so we had a little bit of time to do some brainstorming and what it, what kept coming back for me is the relationship and role of authority. And I think that this is something that, that in our conversation today, we are stick.

To Christianity, but I think this is something that is shared with other monotheistic religions in general, at least the ones that I've been exposed to. And the approach to there being a God or this deity who is the ultimate authority, who is something of a parent role. But parent in a very authoritative kind of way I think is really central to a lot of the other topics that we're going to get into in terms of why you do good things versus why you do bad things and how do you see what is good and what is bad and what your roles are.

I think it, a lot of it really comes down to that relationship to a.

Mark: Yeah, I really agree with that. That, I mean, we, people talk about. The father. Right. It's, it, it's this patriarchal idea of first of all, male supremacy, which is sown pretty thoroughly throughout

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: Christianity. But beyond that, it's this authority figure who hands down the law and you obey it. And if you don't obey it, then you get punished.

Yucca: Right. And they know best. They know better for you than you do for yourself, and

Mark: Right. Well, in this case, they know everyth.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: Right?

Yucca: And so don't question it.

Mark: Yeah. Cuz they know everything. They're always right. They're, they're not capable of making a mistake. All of those things are true and that is a very powerful model, but to my mind, not a very realistic one. even if you believe in and, you know, the, the medieval philosophers would get themselves all twisted in knots about this, the theologians you know, can, can God create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift.

You know, these kinds of questions because there are tons of paradoxes in the idea of something that is infinite, infinite knowledge, infinite strength, infinite power infinite presence, you know, omnipresent everywhere around us all the time watching.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: There are just, you know, kind of rational, logical problems with. But it is a very powerful, compelling set of models, particularly if it's embraced by a society that is similarly constructed. So if you've got a society that's built with an authority at the top, like a king,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: And the king is always right. The king can do whatever he wants. Everybody else is subject to the whims of the king.

Then having a religion where that's the same model works out pretty well for the king. Right, and for those that are close to the king?

Yucca: Well, and for the smaller kings underneath that king, right? You might not be the top king, but you get to be the king in your house. If. You're the guy,

Mark: right. Yes.

Yucca: the oldest son, you know?

Mark: the man as the king of his household, you know, and his home is his castle, right? It, it's not a mistake that the coronation of kings throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance was always done by a religious figure

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: it was basically saying, There is a hierarchy in the world that starts with God, and God is acknowledging that you're at this particular high point in the hierarchy.

Yucca: Right, and this is so deeply ingrained that it has, that, it really takes us a moment to step back and think that it doesn't have to be that way. There doesn't have to be that hierarchy of power, but we take it for granted because it's, even in today's world where, you know there are, there's a king in England, right?

But it's not the same way it used to be. But even today that that structure is still around. It's still in the back of our minds. It's still how we think about society, even though. That's not politically how it's working exactly anymore, but it really is at the same time. It's not one single king, but we're still basing our whole way of relating to each other with who has more power over the other person.

Mark: Sure. Think of a workplace, right? You've got either a sole proprietor who is the king or queen. Or you've got a board of directors who are basically kings or queens and they invest power in a chief executive who is like a regent of some kind and everybody else has, is down below on the authority pyramid and has to obey the directions of what edicts are handed down, or they are punished, they are fired, or they are disciplined, or whatever it is. The same happens even in very benign circumstances. Like, you know, like our education system, we assume that, you know, a kindergarten teacher is a very benign figure, but in the process of going through kindergarten and grade school and all that, children are learning to obey an authority figure that stands in front.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: That's, that's core to what they're learning about how they should relate in the world.

Yucca: Yeah. And that's, that is the system of, that is school. Right. Whether you're, whether it's a private school, whether it's a public or a religious school or whatever, that's, that's the process of school.

Mark: Right. And it's hard to break that even when you want to. When I was teaching undergrad students when I was in graduate school, you know, you, you try, you move the chairs into a circle and you try to make it more about a sharing of experience and expertise rather than an authority thing. But you still have to turn in grades. You know, you still have to take attendance. You know, these, these things are mandated. You don't have any choice about it. So, and if you just arbitrarily decide that you're going to give an a to everyone in the class, you get in trouble.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: they don't, they frown on that, right? Because the entire academic model is constructed around the validity of those as, BS, CS, deans, and f.

Yucca: Right. Well, and even when you purposely choose to, to use a different model, you're still working with, having come from that model to begin with, and you fall back on what you know and what you're comfortable with and when you're working with adult students. They have a whole, they've got their whole life of experience behind them as well.

So you spend a lot of the time working on the system and the process instead of the content for that. yeah, and that's something, you know, as a, in our family we don't use, even though I am a teacher and, you know, working on my doctorate in this and all of that, but we don't use that, the schooling as our framework for education.

Very, very consciously, but we find ourselves slipping back sometimes into that. Well, yeah, but I'm the parent and I said so right And have to go, wait a second. Is that I, is that really what we want? I mean, sometimes I do have to like swoop in and be like, Nope. Can't touch the fire. But, but outside of that, it really takes a lot of dedicated thought and self-awareness to step out of that and, and try to, Different because it's, it's how we were raised, right?

Mark: And we're not encouraged to be different.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that is in, in the broadest sense, we are not encouraged to be diverse because a part of what's necessary in order to get everybody marching in the same direction in order to fulfill the desires of some hierarchy, is that they need to submerge their diversity in their conform. And conformity becomes a very important value. And this is true. It's not only true in in Christianized countries by any means. I mean,

Yucca: We're

Mark: conformity is a big

Yucca: it's our experience, right?

Mark: Exactly, but conformity is a big value in much of Asia as well. The, so when we ask ourselves, And, and we'll get to what we're talking about with Paganism in a minute.

But you know, what, what would it mean to be a person with agency rather than a person who's framed in the world as a servant of some higher authority?

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: You know, what, what kinds of choices could we make? What kinds of responsibilities would we have? What sorts of freedoms would we have? think that those are some of the deep questions that becoming a Pagan really asks, being a pagan isn't just about, well, I'm now, I'm doing this groovy stuff with all this, you know, witchy aesthetic or you know, you know, old cultures like, you know, the Norse culture that died out, or the Greek culture that died out kind of, you know, reconstructing that.

It really, it's much deeper than that. It's, it's really more about how can I see the world through eyes that are less informed anyway, by that authoritarian model.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: So the, the relationship to authority is a big one. The idea of relationships as possessory is another big one.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: The, you know, the idea that children are possessions of their parents, that spouses are possessions of their spouses and that then ties into the whole bodily shaming. Contempt for the material world with the idea that there's this other sort of spirit world that is higher, more elevated.

And that's not just in Christianity.

Yucca: Yeah. You hear that. Oh, some higher power or lowly and you know, and the things that are, that are earth earthy are the things that are, that are bad. Right. That are given that

Mark: Those are the things that are dirty, right? Because they're associated with dirt, which is a bad thing.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So, and then, then you start pulling on that thread and you get into all the body shame and all of the the sexual shame and the just all the many, many, many ways that self-hatred gets sewn into.

The idea of being unique and individual and fulfilling your desires rather than running away from them

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: suppressing them. All of this stuff is, is the, is the operating system for our, for our culture folks. Even though our culture is rapidly de christianizing, those same paradigms are still very much up and.

Yucca: And even for those of us who were not raised Christian, right, even those of us who were raised pagan or were raised in any other religion, it's still. All around us. It's still, I mean, I loved how you called it the operating system, right? That's what it is,

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. It's it's in the ways that we have to. Edit ourselves when we talk about our lives to keep the stuff that's gonna freak out ordinary people out.

Yucca: mm-hmm.

Mark: Right? It's in the, it's in the ways we have to tell our kids, well, it's fine for you to do this at home, but don't do it out there

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: people aren't gonna understand that they're going to disapprove. There are, there are countless little moments in every day when we ask ourselves, how is this gonna fly with the others

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: in a way that is deeply informed with that authoritarian shame-based earth denying kind of modality. Taken to its extreme, which it is in our modern times, that modality leads to the kind of exploitation of the planet that is causing us such existential crises, right?

If, if you denigrate the material to the point that it's nothing but a pile of resources to be mined, which the Bible very clearly spells out, it is according to. Framework how can you hold a pile of resources as sacred instead of, instead of understanding it as a a, a living fabric, an interconnected set of relationships of which we are a part and have both benefits and responsibilities.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: It's just such a different way of looking at the world, and it's not the one that drives our economic system, our political system, or our culture.

Yucca: Right. Now there's definitely places in Paganism because we have to remember Paganism is a, is huge. It's a big umbrella. Right. And there's definitely places where some of the things we've been talking about have been brought in and are. Are shared, right? There are some traditions in which the, the hierarchy and that structure is very important.

And there are other traditions that, that are purposefully breaking away from that and not embracing that kind of framework or trying not to. So certainly when we talk about paganism and we. We as always, cannot speak for every pagan and every form of paganism, but are talking about the our experiences and our particular flavor of Paganism.

Mark: Right, right. Well, and I think that to some degree, that's a generational thing. I think that when. When modern neo paganism really kind of started up again which was in the fifties and sixties, I don't think any many could really imagine a fully non-hierarchical way of organizing anything. You know? And I'm sure that there are some, you know, communes and intentional communities and so forth that we're trying to do something else, but.

By and large, an average person, much less an a retired English civil servant, would probably think, well, this is the way things should be organized. You should have things in tier. And people go from one to another tier and they get higher and higher in status and power.

Yucca: Because that's just how society works, right?

Mark: Yeah. Yeah.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So, but here we are, you know, almost a third of the way through the 21st century, amazingly enough, and we are able to imagine now alternatives for one thing, our ability to have conversations about something other than Christianity in a religious context. O other than Abrahamic religions, generally in a.

Other than in, in that context, has jumped markedly just in the last 20 or 30 years.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. And you're speaking about the, the broader community, not just Paganism in this case,

Mark: Yes, yes. I, I, I think you know, more ideas about how we can relate with one another, relate to the world, relate to the cosmos are being bandied about now than were before. I mean, Bertrand Russell caused an absolute outrage when he published why I Am Not a. Which I believe was in the 1940s, maybe a little earlier than that.

Not sure. That kind of thing just sort of disappears without a ripple these days. There's plenty of people writing stuff like that.

Yucca: Right. Yeah. Just it gets a shrug. Yeah. And

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: what other percentage of the

Mark: Yeah, you and a lot of other people. And so my big question to those folks is, well, what are you then, what are you gonna do? Which is what Athe, paganism was a stab at answering.

You know, I'm not just an atheist and I'm not just an an earth revere. How am I gonna, how am I gonna implement that?

Yucca: Right,

Mark: So,

Yucca: and I, I think it's kind of like accents. Everybody's got something. You just don't notice it when everyone around you has the same as you. You only start to notice it when it's different than what you're hearing.

Mark: right, right. And I mean, these things continue to be a challenge as. Time rolls forward, even though the level of credulity in authority generally seems to be falling, there haven't been very many alternatives presented to that framework. And so people just tend to drop back into it because it's what they know.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: So let's talk a little bit more about what. What aspects of Paganism really fly in the face of that conventional paradigm? I mean, certainly the whole relationship to the body and sexuality are very, very different.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And that doesn't mean we're in about a f, you know, a free love, free for all. But we're, we're about responsible relationships, however they work for you.

Yucca: Right. Well, and just the idea that pleasure is not bad, right? That just because something's pleasurable doesn't mean that it's a negative thing. I think that's huge because that is a big. Underlying assumption that if it, if it feels good, it must be bad for you somehow. And we don't have that assumption, or we try not to have that assumption.

Mark: Yes. Yes. That, that's better said, I think because the truth is, you know, we, the, the two of us and you know, the, the people in, in the English speaking world who are practicing pagans, You know, we were still raised in our society and we're still gonna be, it's like soaking in tea. Even after you get out of the teacup, you're still kind of tea colored, right?

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: There's, there's just not a lot that you can do about it, and you can spend time over time, you know, washing that off and can become, Stronger, less shame filled more, more about your own agency and decision making, more courageous, all those things. But it takes time and it is a process, and I don't think anybody ever completely gets there.

Yucca: Right, and you're continuously exposed.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: not like you decide, okay, now I'm, you know, I'm a pagan now and now none of those things are going to continue to influence me. It's just everything in the past that I'm healing from. I was like, well, no, you, you read the newspaper, you talk with your friends, you read a book, you listen to podcasts, you watch like all of these things, those are still influencing you every day.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, especially. It's one thing if you've kind of carved out a little economy for yourself where you work for yourself and you, you don't have to plug into big hierarchical structures very much. That's one thing. But most of us have a job and jobs are organized tend, you know, they tend to be organized hierarchically.

Yucca: Well, and even those of us who are self-employed, we still are dealing with clients and we're still dealing with banks and you know, that whole, that that's all still there. It may not be quite as in your face as, you know, going and clocking in and having your supervisor who was their supervisor and their bo, you know, but it's still around us.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm. Yeah. And because it's still around us, I think some people, especially folks who have escaped very authoritarian religious contexts, they often unconsciously drag a lot of this framework along with them into paganism

Yucca: I think that certainly happened with the idea of faith. Faith being such a big deal. Belief, yeah. The, the literal belief and in deity and the, the faith in your, in your faith. Right. With a capital F,

Mark: Yeah. The, the faith in magic, the yeah. All, all of those things and, and the idea of sort of, you know, driving out the heretics. Kind of goes along with that. It's like, well, if you don't believe the way we believe, then you're not one of us.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Whereas you know, to my mind there are few enough pagans as it is.

I mean, I think the estimate is a million and a half in the, in North America, something like that. There's few enough of us as it is that we don't need to be splitting with one another. I'm reminded of the. The scene from Monty Python's Life of Brian, where the Judea and people's front and the people's front of Judea are yelling at one another.

Yucca: Yeah. Yeah. So I think that's one of the things that, that definitely got. Pulled in, and that's something we've talked about before on the podcast

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: of how on some levels, some of that is very new, but it's also been around for a long time as well. So,

Mark: Yeah. But there was definitely a cultural shift that happened with, with the big influx there. There was a big influx into paganism in my experience in the 1990s and A lot of those folks were fleeing patriarchal, authoritarian, kind of punishment oriented religions, various flavors of Christianity, almost exclusively.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: And it was only a few years later that this idea about having to have faith and believe literally in Gods as, as actual beings rather than ideas. All that stuff really came to the fore. And, you know, maybe that wasn't a bad thing. Maybe it was, maybe it was okay. You know, for those of us that don't follow that way to get a little bit more organized and, you know, explore the ideas that underpin our way of looking at the world, you know, which is, you know, part of the result of that. That expectation.

Yucca: Yeah, it's certainly something that I don't remember from my childhood. Now, some of that might be simply because of the particular style of my family and who were the people that we would, that we would spend time with and celebrate with. But it, I didn't start really encountering that until. Late teenage years, early adult years, finding people who literally believed that way, or at least were vocal about the literal belief, were vocal enough to tell me I was wrong.

Be like, you can't be a pagan you. That's not what Pagan is. That's just a philosophy. I'm like, okay, whatever you do, do you.

Mark: Yeah. I've heard that one too. That's just a philosophy or I've heard it's it's secular humanism with LARPing or You know, a lot of really kind of insulting stuff. And before, before that arose, we never even talked about theology. We just got toge, you know, it was a doing thing. We got together and we did our seasonal rituals and we celebrated and had our events and all that kind of stuff.

But

Yucca: I, I do

Mark: have their beliefs.

Yucca: God talk about goddess, but I don't remember like the goddess being. Like, I don't remember the goddess being the way like my Christian friends would talk about God.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: it didn't seem like, like, I mean, this is, this might feel a little bit offensive for somebody from a theistic perspective, but my child understanding was that like God was your like imaginary friend that you could talk to, that you could use as your justification to do whatever you wanted.

It had never, like when I heard people talk about the Goddess, it wasn't really like, Person that was like your imaginary friend that you like prayed to and stuff. It was, I always kind of understood it as more, they were talking about like the force of nature and life itself, and it was very more of like this kind of metaphorical thing.

But again, that might have just been

Mark: and the power of femininity, I mean, the whole sacred feminine piece too. And you know, I know a lot of folks are still doing, you know, that that kind of wicked god and goddess thing, but it seems to me that some of that, when it really arose in the 1980s, it was really kind of a product of its time.

Third wave feminism was just starting to break and. You know, and with it, the, the sort of hiding off from hardcore secular Marxism of some, you know, earlier generations and there was just a lot of exploring going on. And one of the things that women, especially were realizing is we're not in any of these stories

Yucca: Yeah, well, not in the way that, that is very good for us.

Mark: Yeah, yeah, that's right. Yeah. Your, your

Yucca: We're littlest.

Mark: cautionary tales and you know, object lessons and stuff like that rather than people in charge and heroes and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah. I don't know. I just, it still feels very strange to. When I encounter somebody that is just burning with rage over the fact that I call myself a pagan and I don't believe in literal deity, where is the harm to them? I mean,

Yucca: Well, it'd be, it's an identity issue, I think, right.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: That they've built their, their identity around this. I am a pagan and this is what it means to be a pagan, and there's this kind of strength in the gatekeeping and there's like, it feels empowering and in like a very, in that, that righteous kind of anger way.

So I understand the, I don't. I don't think it's very constructive in the long run, but I, I can understand where they're coming from with it, but I think it causes a lot of pain in the long run.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, it seems like it would make a whole lot more sense if we could put all that aside and sit down and have a beer and, you know, enjoy one another in a, in a pagan context. And I've seen that a lot. I mean, I see that at, AT conferences and so forth where you know, we're able. I, when I go to a conference, I don't see the devotional Polytheists huddling in one corner.

You know, while the non theist pagans huddle in another corner and the Wickens are in another corner. That's not how it works. You know, we, we do, we do big rituals together. We socialize, we go to parties. It's a, it's a generally a very amicable kind of environment. And, you know, bringing that, that burning rage into it, I guess is what I really don't understand.

You know, it's a hard enough world out there as it is, and I find pagan spaces to be so much generally, so much kinder and more open and more tolerant. That's what I want to foster.

Yucca: Yeah. I mean, I find myself just being delighted to be around other pagans and, you know, just enjoying that. Wow. You're pretty interesting. This is fun. Oh yeah. That's a nice chant. I like that. That feels good. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, I agree.

Yucca: Hmm. Well, we had, we had talked about this. Doing this topic this week because it's Easter. And that's one of those, Easter is one of the two big Christian holidays. There certainly are lots of other ones, but those are like the big, Christmas and Easter are like the big ones that even the kind of mostly Christian just by name folks will celebrate.

But it is one of those ones that's interesting because it does have a lot of overlap with what many Pagans are doing this time of year with the Equinox. Right. And so it's one of those interesting ones where there's kind of. That Like, Hmm. What is, what's, what part of it is Pagan? What part of it is Christian?

It's always very funny to hear the complaints from some of the real Christian folks about, oh, this is just so pagan like, like it's a bad

It's like, yeah, yeah. Say it is pretty pagan. You're talking about like, Fertility and Yeah. Yeah. And celebrating fertility and you know, and the springtime and all of that, you know.

Ah, terrible. But it is, I do get a

Mark: but that said, but that said, I mean, Easter is celebrated by many, many Christians as a, a celebration of sort of the redemptive quality that Spring has, right? The, the renewal of the world,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: That comes in the spring, which is lovely. It's. Human sacrifice to, to pay off the debt of sins that we didn't even commit.

Things that, it just baffles me. I, I just,

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: I mean,

Yucca: It was Women's fault,

Mark: I don't know why anybody would buy into it. What was that? I'm

Yucca: It was

Mark: Although it was women's fault, of course. Of course it was.

Yucca: Yeah, I mean the, the, the mythology behind all of it is very interesting and, and tracking and learning about that is, I find that all fascinating, right? And the, how some of those stories are, you know, far older than

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: Judaism itself.

And I was learning about Noah recently actually, about how the story of Noah, there's. The, the great flood and the, the hero saving people from the great, like that's way, way older than Judaism is really interesting. So, and there's a lot of, of those in there.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, I can't say that I put a whole lot of effort into sort of, you know, biblical history study. It's just never been something that's appealed to me very much.

Yucca: It wasn't for me either, but my kids are really interested in mythology right now.

Mark: Uhhuh

Yucca: Right? They're,

Mark: and I'm sure they're curious about these stories that are driving the society they're in.

Yucca: Absolutely. Yeah. And they're very clear. You know, my, my oldest, who you've met several times is, you know, regularly likes to remind me that we don't believe in them. That they're just stories, but they're important stories. That's what she says. They're stories, but they're important stories. And so, you know, they're just Just reading up all the mythology books that we can get right now.

It's very, and it's really interesting cuz they'll notice connections between, well this story we're reading about in the Norris mythology, that's kind of like the story that, sort of like the one in the Egyptian or the Greek mythology and the, that's really interesting to see their, them tying together.

And I wish that we would, could know, we can't really, but know what relationship there is between those stories. Did

Mark: For

Yucca: somebody a version that got passed on word of mouth for, you know, hundreds of years? Or is it just coincidence or, you know, all of that is,

Mark: Well in sailing trade, you know, overland caravans and sailing trade, you know, for as long as there have been people living in communities, they've been trading with one another. And when you know, you don't just trade resources, you trade culture because you know, there you are after a long day. You know, selling your barley for leather hides or whatever it is.

And now you're, you know, sitting around, seated around, abrasion, having a drink with whoever you did the trading with, and you're gonna share stories from your culture and that that means they're on the move.

Yucca: Well, and marriages between different groups. Right. Your mom's from one place, your dad's from another. You grow up with both. You know, you grow up with both stories. Yeah.

Mark: Yeah, so I, I guess to sort of sum up all this, I mean, maybe there was a time when it actually was an improvement in the lot of humanity for this authoritarian, patriarchal kind of model to come into place. I. Necessarily think that's, so, I think it may just have been what happens when suddenly you've got an economic surplus and people are fighting over it and somebody wins which, you know, came with agriculture.

Yucca: Came with end of the ice age.

Mark: Right, right. But if there was a time when that served us well, it's well,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: serve us well anymore. And so, you know, a part of what I have been about in my paganism has been wanting to increase the agency and the liberation and the justice for people and for the earth throughout the world. I. It's time for us to start unpacking all these assumptions and making other choices about how we organize our societies, about what life is worth living for. Is it worth is, is life really about the accumulation of stuff?

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: I mean, honestly, it's a big question because. There's an awful lot of people out there whose identity is deeply tied up in what kind of car they drive.

Yucca: Right. So it's a, it's an ongoing journey, right?

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: I'm glad that we're doing it. I'm glad that we're thinking about it and, you know, working on it every day and getting to have conversations like this on the podcast.

Mark: Yeah, me too. Because as I said, I do think that it's generational and I think this is a moment, right. And things will continue to evolve from here. I mean, I don't, I don't expect that we've got all the answers or that we've figured everything out, but We're working on part of the big puzzle, and if we can do our our part and kind of figure that bit out, then we will have done our work for the larger whole.

Yucca: Yeah,

most of

Mark: you for a great conversation, Yucca. This was cool.

Yucca: yeah, likewise. That saves a good, good talk and enjoyed it. I've got more to think about than I did coming into the conversation, so that's always fun.

Mark: a great thing about, that's a great thing about inquiry. It always leads to more questions than you had when you started.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: Wanted to remind people real quick. We are doing an online Zoom conference of the atheopagan community, which is called the atheopagan web Weaving. That's gonna be on June 3rd and fourth, which is a weekend, and you can register for that at the link that we'll put in the show notes.

Yucca: That's

Mark: They're on the atheopagan Society website, which is v ap society.org. So, hope that we'll see you there. And in the meantime, have a great week and we will see you next week.

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