Originally posted by
Correct me if I'm wrong but Pagans and Taoists believe in various 'deities' - atheists believe there are no gods. So how can you be both?
With great difficulty
Jen has the nub of it, but I'll expand on it a little.
Basically, I agree with the tenets that are most prevalent in the different pagan faiths (which, in actuality, don't differ all that much from mainstream religions, depending on where you look), and in that sense I am a pagan. The atheism bit comes in to play when I have a look at the mythology of it all. I live in Britain so I deal mainly with the Druidic and Heathen (Saxon and Norse) branches - However, that's a regional thing. If I were in Italy, it'd be Jupiter and his gods. In Greece, Zeus etc. In Mexico, Alom. In America, McDonalds - so I'll reference the Druidic and Heathen cultures. I look at the 'ancient' religions as ones that were influenced by what people saw around them, and then attempted to explain. Rainbows, in Norse religion, was Bifrost - the bridge from this world to the next. It is, today, known as a refraction of the sun's rays.
I am a logically minded person, so I go with the scientific explanation first - but note that that doesn't discount the possibility of it being a bridge, either. Another example - Yggdrasil, the tree of life (The world, to put it simply), and Nidhog is a wyrm (dragon type thing) that gnaws at its roots. Well, that, to me, is simply an interpretation, a guess. So I look on Yggdrasil as a metaphor for earth and our standing in it, and not as the physical, literal interpretation the ancients believed it to be.
These are just two examples, but I believe I've made my point: That some things in mythology (as a sidenote, I use the term 'mythology' when talking about mainstream religions, too) I just can't take seriously. That I feel it was merely a group of people trying to explain the world without all the facts. Or, as my girl once eruditely said, 'they made shit up as they went along'.
So let's move on to the other part that you brought up. That atheists believe there are no gods. I believe that there is a higher power, but that it's not a god as we know it. I believe that it's something that connects everything to, well, everything else. But I don't believe it has sentience, nor facets - or gods, as religion calls it -, personalisations, the Force, or whatever else people call it. Indeed, for us puny humans to try to put a face on such a thing, I feel, is quite arrogant! And, conversely, quite touching. We must feel a great loneliness, as a race, we humans, to feel so alone in this world, and in this universe, and awed by it, to want, perhaps to need, a creature, a deity, of eminence to care for us. Proof, if you will, that humanity is a sub!
Pretty sure I answered you there, but I do have a tendency to ramble, so if you need more clarification, just let me know and I'll have another attempt