Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Pagan Side Comes Out

Monday my latest column, Assembly of a Lesser God, appeared on the UU World web site. It's about the intentional construction of god-forms, which comes from my pagan/magickal background. That's a side I haven't shown in UU World before, and I'll be interested to see (1) if anybody notices, and (2) what kind of reactions it draws.

I intentionally did the column with a light touch, starting out by talking about Rita the goddess of urban parking. That will allow people to laugh the whole thing off if they need to. But there's a serious idea in there, sort of a post-humanist approach to worship.

The conclusion I've drawn over the years is that evolution, for whatever reason, has made us a believing, worshiping species. And whether we approve of that decision or not, we're stuck working with the mind we have. Belief and worship are powerful tools for organizing thought and behavior. If others get control of those tools, they can make us dance like puppets. But if we're careful, we can learn to pull our own strings.
It's not like I invented this idea. (It's pretty orthodox chaos magick, actually.) But it's not nearly as well-known in UU circles as I think it ought to be. And I suppose it's controversial that there could be a "post-humanist" approach to anything -- an approach that reclaims religion not by ignoring humanist thought, but by using it.

Anyway, I post this here as an attempt to get some more direct, immediate feedback than I can get through UU World. React away.