The UUA offers a series of pamphlets that provide a condensed summary of common UU perspectives on various faith issues. These summaries are intended to provide a quick reference for newcomers as they begin their own exploration of what it is to be in fellowship with UU's. They can also serve as a starting point for a discussion between members within the UU community, to broaden and possibly deepen our understanding of the many ways UU's think about issues of spiritual practice and faith.

This blog has been created to support a monthly discussion group based around these pamphlets. Each month one topic will be selected to discuss. A link will be provided on this site to the contents of the pamphlet, which is made publicly available on the UUA Bookstore site, so it is not necessary to purchase anything to be able to read the information contained in the pamphlet. I have printed copies, so see me if you want one to read the old fashioned way - on paper!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Late Notice Cancellation

I am sorry for the short notice, but I need to cancel the meeting for Friday, Feb. 20.  I have been called away to attend to some urgent family matters.  I will be back shortly.

I have loved the research I've been doing on Paganism, and I really want to have this discussion.  It is likely that I will re-arrange the topics so we do Paganism next, in March.  Check back here for Calendar Updates!

Des

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What is it to be Pagan - Additional Info and Resources

Pagan:  a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.

This is one definition you can find for Pagan.  In fact, it is one of many.  How many can you find?  What is common in their definitions, and how do they differ?

The branches of Paganism are many, and it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with as many as you can ahead of our meeting on Feb. 20.  To start, here are some web resources to check out:

 Pagan Federation with straightforward descriptions of pagan beliefs.

 An academic discussion of the basics of paganism, with historical references.

 A British perspective on Paganism.

I'd suggest using Wikipedia to look up the following terms, and at least skim the information you will find there.  (There is a lot of writing on these topics, and the Wiki Editors have flagged much of it as "not being up to the Quality Standards of Wikipedia."  What does that mean?)

Paganism
Polytheism
Pantheism
Animism
Idolatry
Nordic religions
Germanic Paganism
Neopaganism
Wicca

As you read through these try and pick up on a couple of key elements:
1.  When did this particular religion start?  What are the earliest records of it?  (Hint: several started quite recently.)
2.  Are any of these compatible with modern Christian beliefs?
3.  When did the word "idolatry" first show up in the lexicon?  What was it intended to mean?  Who used it, and why?  Are idols a part of paganism?  If yes, what to they represent?
4.  Is any pantheistic religion pagan?  How about polytheistic?  
5.  Would a person from the ancient world who saw gods in everything around them call themselves pagan?

Were the Greeks pagan, with the gods living on Mount Olympus, and Zeus as their leader?  How about the Romans, with Jupiter and his panoply of minions?  

Is the phrase Pagan just a big bucket into which we can dump a lot of religions that don't fit into modern Christian thinking?