NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — At a time when participation in traditional religions is declining among Americans, the practice of witchcraft is said to be on the rise.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman went inside the secret world of modern-day witches to explore why so many say they’re falling under its spell.
“I am the high priestess,” Lisa Stewart said.
“To be a witch is incredibly relevant in today’s society,” Anton Stewart explained. More.
Although they were not materialists, our ancestors do appear to have been naturalists. They believed in gods, but gods were merely beings with considerable powers over nature. They were usually placated. But they could be promoted or demoted, flogged or booted from the community, if they failed to bring rain, for example. The same fate could befall rulers, who were often thought to have semi-divine powers.
No necessary distinction existed between gods, ghosts, rulers, magicians, plain folks, animals, plants, and inanimate objects. Gods could die like anyone else. A sense of a transcendent God who created and sympathizes with man and nature — but is not a creature like them — came later, perhaps much later. Meanwhile, men could be gods and gods could be men, the hierarchy sometimes inverted. Either men or god could become any animate or inanimate entity as well. Though, strictly speaking, there were no inanimate entities; anything might have a soul. More.
Or nothing could have a soul. Nature was everything and everything was nature.
The science bureaucrats who worry a lot about what theists believe ignore the growth of more naturalism-friendly beliefs. Could there be a pattern there?
See also: Can science survive long in a post-modern world? It’s not clear.
And you thought they were kidding?: First Church of AI
Imagine a world of religions that naturalism might indeed be able to explain