DatC #044 – Why You Can’t Worship Jesus Christ and Be Pagan with Sam Webster

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044_SamWebster5.13cropped.3x3x300Tonight we meet with former Patheos.com Columnist Sam Webster (now at The Wild Hunt) to talk about his controversial Patheos article “Why You Can’t Worship Jesus Christ and Be Pagan,” and other issues such as the superiority of Pagan theology, his concerns regarding the popular notion of building interfaith relationships, religious legitimacy, and his thoughts on what we need to be doing as Pagans to insure our religious future in the years to come.

Sam is also the President and Executive Director of the Pantheon Foundation, whose mission is to provide organizational support for the practice of Pagan religion and the fostering of Pagan Ministry. To study the history, promote the culture, and advance the social welfare of Pagans and the Pagan community.

Sam Webster, M. Div., Mage, hails from the Bay Area and has taught magick publicly since 1984. He graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley in 1993. He is now a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, UK, studying Pagan history under Prof. Ronald Hutton. He is an Adept of the Golden Dawn, a cofounder of the Chthonic-Ouranian Templar order, and an initiate of Wiccan, Druidic, Buddhist, Hindu and Masonic traditions.

His work has been published in a number of journals such as Green Egg and Gnosis, and 2010 saw his first book Tantric Thelema, establishing the publishing house Concrescent Press. He authors two blogs, Arkadian Anvil and Pagan Restoration . In 2001 he founded the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn, and serves the Pagan community principally as a priest of Hermes. – SamWebsterMage.com

The songs featured in this episode were:

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  • Tchoutoye

    Sam Webster bases his claim on the Christian church being his enemy. Yet he makes the mistake of perpetuating the way the debate is framed by his enemy: that Jesus Christ is incompatible with Pagan gods (like Mithras, Osiris, Dionysus, Sol Invictus, Attis, Adonis, Tammuz, Krishna, et al), despite the fact that the Christ mythology has lifted nearly all its important elements from them. It is the same mistake that Satanists make when they merely invert the Christian dogma that they claim to despise, rather than doing away with it altogether.

    • Jin The Ninja

      totally agree. a dogmatic, fundamentalist view of christianity is not compatible with paganism for obvious reasons. but a narrow-minded, contemptuous view of the innate pagan tradition of christianity, well he should be embarassed to have written that article. i find it really anti-intellectual- and amusing- that after all those classes on comparative theology- he doesn’t see how much reconstructed traditions borrowed from catholicism, gnosticism. how much gardner and crowley borrowed from western ceremonial magick which is founded on a judeo-christian worldview. it’s also as if spiritual churches, gnostic christians, and ATR practitioners simply don’t exist. not to mention his masonic and thelemic background.

      i believe they call that narrow-minded and myopic. exclusionary. culturally western hegemony. many buddhist scholars find paganism and buddhism wholly incompatible. paganism is a reconstruction, and while it may draw elements from prior practices, one can’t pretend its epistemological origins are cemented in an unbroken, longstanding tradition or practice.

      even the descriptor of ‘priest’ which he uses, is etymologically derived from a word referring to jewish and early christian church ‘elders.’

      • Jin The Ninja

        i also want to add to what tchoutye says above re: jesus being derived from other mythological archetypes common in the classical world (and ancient world) yes, totally agree. many people have written about the parallels. hermes- in both greek and roman religion was syncretised to numerous figures, and later to jesus himself- so you could make an argument that ‘worship’ of hermes is a kind of gnostic ‘worship’ of JC. which is also kind of amusing.

      • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

        that gets two upvotes, good ninja

        • Jin The Ninja

          thank you!

          it was all the pent-up frustration reading the article the first time, when i was going through the archives on patheos, if they were going to interview someone why not rhyd wildermuth who could bring some fresh, radical, anarchist perspective to paganism? i’m not even pagan, but that column was just ridiculous.

          • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

            It’s all Euclid’s fault: he forever enabled polarization by standardizing the Dog Damned line!

            It was only a matter of time before everyone and their aunty decided they were entitled to their own line!!

            And look, the disciples of Euclid have created a system that can only be gamed with “predictable” results by providing aid and comfort to the imaginary lines!!!

            ÿ joke
            but it is no laughing matter

  • https://twitter.com/anti_euclidean ÿ

    To study the history, promote the culture, and advance the social welfare of Pagans and the Pagan community. Sam Webster, M. Div., Mage, hails from the Bay Area and has taught magick publicly since 1984. He graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley in 1993. He is now a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, UK, studying Pagan history under Prof. Ronald Hutton. He is an Adept of the Golden Dawn, a cofounder of the Chthonic-Ouranian Templar order, and an initiate of Wiccan, Druidic, Buddhist, Hindu and Masonic traditions.

    Nice resume
    …ÿ guess…
    But so much
    wasted energy
    down
    down
    duh kozmic whippet
    for ⸘this‽

    To much study
    Leads to much debt

    Stay Out Of Skool, Kids

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