Thursday, July 31, 2008

New article by Michael York

As editor of the Pagan Theologies wiki, I am delighted to announce that Professor Michael York has kindly contributed a specially-written article to the site.

It is entitled A Pagan defence of theism and is very interesting:
we are not talking about monotheism. Paganism is either bitheistic in comprehending divine reality as ‘The God’ and ‘The Goddess’ or, more traditionally, polytheistic – entertaining the possibility of many gods and goddesses. But ‘theism’ here is the substitute term for ‘supernatural’. Personally, I do not like this last and tend to avoid using it as much as is feasible. The supernatural as we know it is largely a Christian-derived expression from the idea that its ‘God’ is over and ‘above’ nature – material/empirical reality. It is this notion that is the target of secular and naturalistic animosity alike. Instead, rather than ‘supernatural’, I turn instead to the ‘preternatural’ that expresses the non-causal otherness of nature – one that comprehends the magical, miraculous, numinous, mysterious yet non-empirical quality of the sublime. Most important, however, the preternatural does not demand belief or faith but instead encounter and experience – whether through contemplation, metaphor, spontaneous insight, ecstasy, trance, synchronicity or ritual or any combination of these. As Margot Adler expressed it, paganism is not about belief but what we do.
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