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Episode from the podcastNot Conformed

Episode 16: Gaggle of gods

Released Wednesday, 4th December 2019
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It's commonly believed that the cultural wars in the West reflect a conflict between Christianity (more generally, religion) and secularism. In this episode we entertain a thesis put forth by law professor Steven Smith (and previously by T.S. Eliot), which is that modern cultural conflicts might be better understood as reflecting a historical battle between Christianity and paganism. As a start to our exploration of this intriguing thesis, we spend the lion's share of this episode unpacking core themes of paganism, including pantheism, animism, and forms of pagan worship. Listeners will learn about syncretism and henotheism and even encounter chthonic goddesses which were the focus of orgiastic temple worship practices. As we discuss these topics we describe how the psychedelics seem to spawn pagan beliefs and how pagan views are making their way into current scientific and philosophical theories of consciousness (i.e., panpsychism). Most importantly, we highlight (sometimes shocking) ways that paganism is manifesting in our society today, including how pagan ideology is being blatantly conveyed in the characters and storylines of popular movies and Netflix shows for children, and by the placement of pagan statues in prominent places (even scientific institutions; e.g., CERN).
  • Arnold, C. (2001). Power and Magic: The Concept of Power in Ephesians
  • Fox, R. L. (1987). Pagans and Christians.
  • Smith, S.D. (2018). Pagans and Christians in the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac.
Research Articles:
  • Genovese, J. E., & Little, K. D. (2015). Two studies of Superbrain Yoga’s potential effect on academic performance based on the Number Facility Test. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2(4), 452.
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