Some Language I’m Not Going to Use Any More: An Apology

This post is an apology.

It has now been more than two years since I waded into the broader online Pagan conversation on behalf first of myself, and then of what has turned out to be the many Pagans who do not believe in literal gods. In those early days, the posts of myself and others like John Halstead and John Cleland Host were received in some quarters with bitter hostility.

As a result, I became defensive. And when I’m defensive, I’m often acerbic.

“Hard theists” and I aren’t going to agree cosmologically. We have fundamental disputes over the nature of the Universe itself, and those cannot be reconciled. However, we can treat one another with respect, and I have sometimes fallen down in this regard.

It isn’t helpful to describe someone’s “god experiences” as “delusions”. While I do, firmly, believe that such experiences are products of the brain, that’s not connotatively the same as the d-word.

So I’m not going to use that word in relation to the beliefs of theists any longer.

I’m going to forego “superstition”, too, although my understanding of that word is that it means “supernatural beliefs in which I do not share”, so it may technically be correct. Again, connotative meaning matters, so it’s off the list.

Things have changed in those two years. There aren’t very many voices any longer who are insisting that we don’t belong in the Pagan community, or that we are “blind” or “deaf to the gods”. We have a book out now, we’ve been recognized as a part of the community in the program of Pantheacon, and our conversation is now a part of the broader Pagan conversation.

I don’t feel as defensive these days. And as a result, I’m able to step back a bit and, therefore, to feel badly about times when I was sharper and more pointed than really was necessary.

To any I have offended, I am sorry. I ask your pardon.


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