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Tierney , J. C, pp , discusses the classical sources in detail. Some attention is also paid to the classical sources in Owen , A. The works of Lucian of Samosata , ed. I am very grateful to Sam Barnish for guidance in these matters. Toland gives details of the fertile crop ratios. Indeed, he suggested that each independent section of a few paragraphs would result in full-length chapters.

For an old but useful account of the ministry see Williams , Basil , Stanhope: a study in eighteenth-century war and diplomacy Oxford , , pp — Pelham fec. MS , ff 27, Versions of this paper were delivered in Belfast and London.

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Published online: 12 Dec All may be god, but all that we know, see, feel, smell and taste does not exist or, at least as the Buddhists would have it, is valueless. Consequently, purpose, advance or progress from a dharmic viewpoint is meaningless. Within the wheel of dharma, there can be no bottom-line positive movement other than that of escaping phenomenal existence itself. In contrast to the otherworldly preoccupations of Abrahamic and dharmic religions, the notion of progressive this-worldly movement is fundamentally secular or pagan.

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The chief difference between the two is that for the secularist there is no god, no creator, and the world or cosmos itself is ideally conceived of as a self-generating machine or mechanism; for the pagan, the world or nature is instead a self-generating organism — something alive and not simply inanimate and mechanical.

By contrast, for the Abrahamic religions, nature is at best a work of art that has been created by a supreme craftsman — one who claims additionally a monopoly on the sacred. Nature is the other. With the dharmic religions, nature is simply the illusory mask of the sacred.

For the secularist, there is no sacred, but, for the pagan, there are many sacreds. The Abrahamic and dharmic religions may be thought of collectively as gnostic with their affirmation of transcendental origins for the material world. Consequently, from an ideal or theological perspective, the four basic types of religion contrast markedly from one another and have different goals and aspirations.

But do these differences then preclude the possibility of bona fide interfaith — especially when the human project is severely endangered by internal and belligerent division and the very ecological future of the host planet is increasingly under question? I recognize that this is an extremely broad question and beyond the capacity of anyone — including the sociologist — to answer. I wish instead to focus on the interfaith efforts of pagans and, in particular, the dialogue between Christians and pagans.

In part, pagan interaction and dialogue are undertaken as a means of both survival and the attempt to re-establish its spiritual orientation in a world from which it has been largely excluded. Contemporary pagan thought forms have arisen in the West chiefly through the medium of the Hermetic tradition: Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Golden Dawn magic and Thelema.

The modern witchcraft revival that was fostered by Gerald B. Gardner, namely, Wicca, descends from Hermeticism but serves essentially as midwife to the contemporary pagan movement. Core to both its material understanding of spirituality and its veneration of nature is ecological concern and the restoration of the natural world as a — if not the — central value.

Each occasion has had different results with regard to interfaith dialogue. The Greek Orthodox delegation left the Chicago event because of the presence of pagans. The Cape Town venue was in my understanding a high point for pagans in outreach and conversations with others. Barcelona, by contrast, became mostly an occasion for intrafaith activity — as it seemed the case with most other faiths as well. Melbourne represents a return to the interfaith activity that was accomplished in Cape Town but with a strong balance of intrafaith activity as well.

The venue used for the occasion was The Forum, a former art deco cinema hall now run by and as an Evangelical Christian church. The administrative staff was at first most uneasy about the inclusion of astrology, but when I was able to make clear to them that the Bath Spa University College was in no way promoting astrology but instead studying it sociologically as to how people were influenced by and made decisions according to their belief in astrology, an approval was granted to use their premises.

The Last Druid - Documentary on Ben McBrady of The Old Gaelic Order

There were subsequently some difficult moments between the conference organizers and the ecclesiastical institution, but what surprised me by the conclusion of the event was the parallels that the church people made between themselves and what we were representing at the conference. The church staff member who was in charge of the lighting claimed to see similarities between the slides of Ayahuasca visions and the images of Revelations.

By the end, there was not a closed door but a dialogue and positive exchange. In the Christian concession to the ingrained pagan practices among the people, he argues that they had no recourse but to concede to the native religious celebrations by instilling or infusing them with a Christian veneer. But contrary to Robin Lane Fox, he feels that earlier Christianity and ancient traditional beliefs were more discontinuous than otherwise.

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All the same, he does recognize that there are three key areas in which pagan practices continued in the Church: the conversion of pagan feasts to Christian holidays, the conversion of pagan gods to Christian saints, and, finally, the conversion of pagan magic to Christian animism. Despite his own religious orientation, Cooper employs a sound methodological approach to his subject: an honest and rigorous participation observation, and elucidating critique from those he has studied.

It was enlightening to hear what people thought about the Christian faith expression and made me ask the question of what Christianity did to cause such a response. Cooper then injects a personal note that is particularly promising with regard to the potential for interfaith dialogue. It is a serious question that comes from a worldview where the demonic world is set against the Christian and is attempting to thwart anything connected to God.

While I readily acknowledge the spiritual realm I have found that my worldview has been challenged by my study of contemporary and ancient Druids.


Both Druids and Christians acknowledge the presence of malevolent beings who attempt to mislead people. Druids attempt to placate them while Christians bind them in order to negate their influence. From the Christian theological viewpoint, it is difficult to know whether such beings are angelic or demonic. It is only by their actions can such a determination be made. In fact, the very word demon Gr. For example, Luke used the classical Greek understanding of the word in Acts to refer to Jesus. Not to assert that the Druids are a riotous group although some might find such a moniker desirous , but the testimony about these early Christians is one that has been lost in contemporary Christianity.

After being taken prisoner by worshippers of Artemis, the Ephesian town clerk finally attempted to calm the crowd. While early Christians believed differently than the religious people they encountered, they did not speak pejoratively of those beliefs or of the various deities that were worshipped.

Dennis Rozell represents a more Fundamentalist form of Protestant Christianity. Berger private communication, Similarly, Mike Stygal personal communication He is a Pastor in Salem who is well respected by the Pagan community there.