Could Earth Religions Make a Come Back?

If religion is a product of contemporary society and circumstances, and not from some sovereign source, it’s fun to speculate on what social values might emerge later and what religious views might result.

Something I see for our entire global community is a realization the forces of nature are finite entities.  That is, a realization man’s activities affect the global environment and the globe’s ability to support humans is not infinite.

While environment is a concept from science, I think there will be always people who are drawn to the ceremony and mysticism of the spiritual world.  When the focus of ordinary people goes from thunder and lightening in the sky to the ability of dirt to produce enough food, why would we not see the spiritual world moving from the sky, where is has resided in some cultures, to the earth?

The religion that preceded Judaism and Christianity, was about the earth.  Pagans must have been originally hunters and gathers that preceded domestication of animals and crops.

Wicca, the modern version of Paganism, has an earth focus.  While Wicca is not popular now, I could see it, or something becoming popular.

It would start to grow from a population of nonspiritual people, such as the group growing today.  Popular culture’s focus on a precarious environment would catch this group’s interest and Wicca would provide the spiritual dimension.

If religions were traded on the stock market, I’d buy Wicca.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/witches-by-mallozzi/

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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17 Responses to Could Earth Religions Make a Come Back?

  1. entech says:

    Exodus 22:18: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

    Surprised some good literalists have not stoned them by now. But perhaps they are being saved for better things.
    There are, it seems, not too many witches at the moment, and no influence. But imagine as they grow in size and visibility and as the gay people grow in respectability – well we have a natural replacement for the focus of preachers and other bigots. (To be fair to preachers not all are bigots while others would put your everyday bigot to shame, make them seem like tolerant liberals).

    Something is needed by many in order to take attention away from some of the foolishness that they have to believe, and this something is some form of sin.

  2. Bret Armstrong says:

    I moved here from Durango Colorado. It was amazing how many people there identified as Wicca and practiced openly. No one really cared and I recall very little religious tension between different faiths. Then it was quite the shock to move from there to here in 99. :)

  3. Michael Ross says:

    Modern Wicca shares many similarities with the ancient fertility religions of Canaan, religions condemned by God in the Bible. Specifically Baal and Moloch which required child sacrifice.
    “You shall not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18) had nothing to do with bigotry against those practicing the religion of witchcraft. God had warned Israel not to intermingle with the Canaanite tribes – worshippers of Baal, Molech because they were practitioners of child sacrifice.

    Today’s witches are invariably hardcore feminist and pro-abortion. “Nothing new under the sun.”

    • entech says:

      Speaking of sacrifice, from the same Exodus 22:
      29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
      30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.

      Can’t be bothered looking it up but it also says somewhere you can buy your first born son back from the sacrifice if you give an ass, or heifer or something similar instead.

      What is the difference between a hard core feminist and a hard core male chauvinist supremacist, I don’t know, but it will be something in the acceptance as a valuable human being that would attract more females to the Wicca movement and the occasional resurgence of gnostic sects. I can never understand why the anti-abortion thing comes in so strongly when if you believe in the great flood your God killed every child, infant, babe both in arms and unborn. I would agree that it would be good to see an end to abortion but your vehemence often comes across as a little hypocritical (as do most of the claims for morals from the Bible).

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      Are you sure she was a witch? She might have just be reacting to your misogyny. Or is your experience limited to second-hand accounts of witch behavior.

  4. Brad says:

    “Today’s witches are invariably hardcore feminist and pro-abortion.”

    Wow, Mike, you have a way of making some pretty outrageous statements. I wonder how many women would agree with that?

  5. dan says:

    Chrislam will be the next major religion. Chrislam is where verses are read from both the Bible and the Qur’an. I believe that governments will pressure their people, who happen to be religious, to practice Chrislam. The intent of pushing Chrislam is that it will be viewed as a way of appeasing both the Islamic and Christian communities. An illusion that world peace will be achieved with help fuel the push.

  6. Wanna B Sure says:

    Re. “Could earth religions make a comeback?” I think there are some flavors and indications that they already have, albeit in slightly different, and subtle forms,(plural). The New atheism, Neo Gnosticism, New Age are just a few umbrella terms that contain key elements. I’m cautious to include the old “Mystery Babylon”, but there are whisps of that too. There are yet new contexts and vocabularies to explore. How they eventually settle out into various “denominations” of the whole is yet to be seen. Sadly, (but not for some), I’m too old to see how it all shakes out. It would/ will be interesting.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      PS; Could also include some of the elements of the “Prosperity, “healings” of today’s crop of TV preachers into the mix of earth religions.

  7. Avatar of realist realist says:

    My money is on world pantheism. Based on worship of Gaia, this movement doesn’t have the negative connotations of wicca. You don’t hear much about it anymore, but they are still there, mostly in places like Oregon and California. Not much Gaia worship in the upper Midwest.

  8. Wolfy32 says:

    I can’t remember the term off hand and I’m too lazy to google it, but, there’s another form of paganism that I’ve heard of having some growth in it. That’s the “belief” system. That what we think and believe in, shapes reality. Sort of a mind over matter.

    But, that could offer some explanation of why some people are healed, or why the bible says something similar “believe and you shall see.” or “seek and you shall receive.” Something to that affect.

    However, it’s more on a global scale, that the things people believe in the most as group etc, shape / twist reality. Meaning that reality is in a constant state of fluxuation based on peoples more or less “will power” to shape reality.

    I had read a fictional book series based on this concept too. That even the animals and creatures of the world were influenced by the fears and thoughts of the people.

    We obviously don’t know the influence our thoughts have, if any. Another style of “Religion” if you will. I could see opposing groups growing to impose their wills on all of humanity, could be interesting… Instead of religious wars, we have “thought wars”. Whos the most powerful thinker of the age! :)

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wolfy 4;37 “Instead of religious wars, we have ‘thought wars’.”

      Wasn’t (isn’t) that what the prayer in school battle is about, getting the correct thoughts into kid’s heads?

    • entech says:

      There are a few of those, Deepak Chopra comes to mind amongst others, I think it is actually 2 words one begins with B and I think the other is S.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        I’m not saying I believe it, but, I do believe there’s more evidence of thought based influences than we give credence to. Whether it’s simply coincidences or circumstance. I have no clue, but even the American Intelligence Agencies have invest money into thought projection to determine the locations of POWs by using telepathic research. I believe there’s an influence beyond our understanding. Kinda like an animal that doesn’t know it’s own strength..

        Reminds me of a Big Siberian husky male dog I had. He loved to play with other animals that were smaller than him. He was definately being playful, runing around, being chased, then chasing, and just having fun.. Until he accidently snapped the neck of the dog he was playing with.. Oops.

        Maybe prayer and religion allow us to fulfill that thought expression…..

        I saw a documentary on dragons once, how every single (researchable) culture across the globe had signs, drawings, or some type of “dragon” creature in their culture, in time periods when most of the cultures were isolated, and travel was quite limited in intermingling of cultures. That each culture independently had “thought” of the concept of the dragon.

        Each concept of the Dragon had different capabilities. The classical fire breathing dragon was just one of many. Some were more large lizard based, representing their cultures greatest fears.

        Just saying, thought has a large influence on our societies.. To the extent of inspiring societies to build defenses against mythical entities. :)

        • entech says:

          Interesting speculations, I guess the CIA and apparently the KGB had to check out the possibility. Or perhaps a few people that were believers thought that it would be good for the cause if they managed to get enough people the believe that is what happened, then enough people would believe it was true but kept hidden, a CIA secret – objectively though it hasn’t done much good; how long did it take to find Bin Laden?

          Following such things to a logical conclusion can lead to some very illogical results and speculations. True Dragons seem to be a widespread item of fear and legend, welsh and English dragons are not much different from Chinese dragons. Does this mean they are creatures that once were, racial memory of the time dinosaurs and man walked together :roll: . Do the widespread flood stories actually validate Noah, if you really feel the need and want to interpret, well of course they do :lol: . Now following through we have the widespread creation mythologies, different gods and divines doing different things at different times, natural conclusion must then be that polytheism is true and monotheism just one tine off shoot with no life of its own. Maybe it is all different aspects of a common underlying theme and the the creator and creation are an integral whole pantheism, or perhaps the creator is so much more outside of all of this, all is enclosed in the divine like some Hindu thought would have it. :idea: .

          Personally I find it hard to take any of it seriously, getting close to bedtime I better go and prepare my wire frame pyramid and make sure it is accurately aligned with the force field of Gaia, try and meditate before my Chrystal enclosed candles burns out. ;)

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wolfy32 1:19 “..dragons..how every … culture across the globe..has some type of dragon..”

          When I took anthrology courses, I remember professors talked about the search for art images that had appeal across cultures. As I recall, there are others as well as dragon. Could it be the snake is the Christian substitute for the dragon?

          As you say, “thought has a large influence on our societies.” Joeseph Campbell wrote a lot about the universal characteristics of religious thought. Certain kinds of religious thought are frequently found. One is the hero marytr who is murdered and comes back to life. Some of us use this to conclude the hero marytr has to be a myth. Others conclude it has to be true because it “happens so often”. That millions believe the myth there was a Jesus who died for their sins is a powerful and influential idea I would agree.

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