A Post-Modern Religion

Neo-Paganism draws upon ancient religious symbols largely from pagan traditions and employs these symbols in a new way for modern needs. Dennis Carpenter describes Neo-Paganism as a “synthesis of historical inspiration and present-day creativity”. As Paul Chase writes in his thesis, “Neopaganism: A Twenty-First Century Synthesis of Spirituality and Nature” (2003), “Neo-Pagans invent significance to fit their own interpretations and theological needs, claiming that the value of a symbol is not so much its historical reality as its usefulness as a spiritual tool in the present”.

According to Howard Eilberg-Schwartz,

“Neopaganism represents an attempt to create a religious form for a post-modern world. … They experiment with life forms that science has decried as primitive and nonsensical. They suggest that metaphors are truth and that science fiction can be the basis for religious life. Like post-modernism, they have only one form of intolerance: other forms of life that are intolerant and authoritarian.”

Neo-Paganism is a non-exclusivist religion which makes no absolute truth claims and does not proselytize. Neo-Pagans feel that people should believe and do whatever works for them, i.e., whatever helps them to live wisely and well, so long as it minimizes harm to others — including non-human beings and the earth. Neo-Pagan theology is eclectic, non-credal, perspectivist, and pragmatic. It places a high value on imagination and creativity. Religious authority is based in the individual’s experiences and the shared experiences of others. For these reasons, Neo-Paganism may be considered an example of what David Ray Griffin calls “constructive postmodernism”.

External links:

“Neo-Paganism in the Post-Modern Age” by Amber Laine Fisher

Revised 5/13/14

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One thought on “A Post-Modern Religion

  1. “so long as it minimizes harm others”
    perhaps “harm to others” ?

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