Atheist philosophy holds that there are no Gods. It does not mean necessarily that there are no spirits, that there is no magic or that we simply cease to exist when we die, although many atheists do believe that is the case. The word comes from the Greek meaning simply, Godless.
Some atheists believe very strongly, strictly and vehemently that not only are there no Gods, nothing that can't be quantitatively measured exists at all. Some of these are activist and some even missionary; spreading the word through pamphlets and verbal assaults on "superstition" and even the occasional billboard. Most Pagans are very turned off by anything remotely evangelical and these can affect our opinion of the group as a whole. However, as with every group, the offensive minority is just that, the minority and most Atheists are perfectly friendly and intelligent people who are not interested in spreading their religion or lack thereof in the least and might even be up for an amiable and perhaps even enlightening philosophical debate.
There are atheist Pagans. These may hold a Pantheist belief that there is a unifying energy that infuses all things and is perhaps even holy and sacred, but as this energy has no independent consciousness it cannot properly be called a God in the traditional sense. In this belief there may or may not be an acceptance of the existence of spirit creatures some more or less benevolent or more or less powerful than others, but these would not be considered Gods.
Humanist Pagans take a human-centered view, recognizing the human need for ritual and community that is met through spirituality and understanding the Gods as symbols of aspects of the human mind while focusing their ethical system on the human experience and humanity's place in the larger community of the Earth, rather than on service to or the will of any God or Gods.
There are many atheist witches and other magic users who do not lay claim to any type of Paganism as well. Magick is the use of natural energies which exist independent of any religious dogma, including the belief in Gods.
Links to More Information
- Pagan Atheists, Yes We Exist at HumanisticPaganism.com
- Atheist Pagan Group at AtheistNexus
- Pagan Atheism; A Personal View
- Talking to the Gods as an Atheist Pagan
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