Editorial: Douthat’s post-Christian future, a response

Yesterday, columnist Ross Douthat wrote The Return of Paganism for the New York Times. As the essay’s subtitle commented, “Maybe there actually is a genuinely post-Christian future for America.”

As I read the article, what I find myself focused on is the incredible disservice this essay did to the – writ large – Pagan community around the world. Mr. Douthat reduces “Paganism” to a series of disconnected beliefs in spiritual and supernatural forces that focuses skeptically on moral standards, although he correctly points out that Paganism generally centers on immanent reality as a manifestation of the spiritual. At the same time, Mr. Douthat becomes trapped by the philosophical perspectives of pantheism of Nietzsche, Spinoza, and even Walt Whitman. He plays with the cultic aspects of a Pagan world, and finally does his greatest disservice by engaging in an ever-present, and frankly ignorant, need to link together “New Agers and neo-pagans [sic].” He exposes his ignorance of the Pagan and polytheist community by noting that he has “in mind the countless New Age practices that promise health and well-being and good fortune, the psychics and mediums who promise communication with the spirit world, and also the world of explicit neo-paganism, Wiccan and otherwise.” He ultimately laments that “there may soon be more witches in the United States than members of the United Church of Christ.”

What Is The Pagan Blogosphere? What Role Does It Serve?

Today, at the Patheos Pagan Channel, Christine Kraemer interviews Anne Newkirk Niven, editor and publisher of Witches & Pagans Magazine, about the current state of Pagan media (among other things). During the interview, Niven expounds on blogs within the umbrella of Pagan media, and the role they serve. Today, blogs fill a specific niche: real-time, fast-paced information. No print media can keep up with the blogosphere; on the other hoof, even the most super-heated debate in the legendary Green Egg forum (letters to the editor) never got as crazily divisive as what happens in the comment-rich, disinhibited atmosphere of the Web. Pagans are an information-hungry group of people; reading led many, if not most, of us onto our paths.