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Thread: Neo-Paganism in the Public Square and Its Relevance to Judaism

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    Arrow Neo-Paganism in the Public Square and Its Relevance to Judaism

    That seems to be a rather orthodox Jewish (or then Judaist) view on Neopaganism:
    From the
    Jewish Political Studies Review

    Volume 11:3-4 (Fall 1999)


    Neo-Paganism in the Public Square and Its Relevance to Judaism



    Manfred Gerstenfeld

    In today's fragmented society a large number of religious and secular neo-pagan expressions have emerged and are gathering strength. An increased interest in nature is a central element in many of its manifestations. Expressions of this attitude are found among neo-pagan believers, neo-Nazis and some extreme environmentalist currents.
    The ancient revulsion with regard to paganism felt by adherents of Judaism links up with the need to take stock of these contemporary phenomena. The return of paganism forces Judaism to focus on Jewish law and tradition, which proclaim that God is central in the world. Nature is not sacred and its laws represent barbarity; the Noahide laws represent civil society. There are many reasons for Jewish observers to watch attentively which direction the powerful, renewed interest in nature will take, and what consequences this may have for world Jewry

    ....
    Spiritual Elements

    The spiritual and ritual elements of today's idolatry are still evolving and are part of a widespread search for "unconventional" religion. Like so many expressions of Western society, paganism is fragmented. Partly because of this, its overall impact cannot easily be assessed. Remnants of indigenous religions have survived in the Americas and have been revived in Europe.
    Several Eastern religions which have come to the West are pagan or have pagan elements. One fashionable one is the modified teaching of Tantra, about which the Wall Street Journal wrote: "In the hands of America's New Age marketers, sex, or 'sexual healing,' is very much the point and profit is more often than not the motive. Trading on testimonials from Hollywood celebrities...and using a vocabulary borrowed from Hinduism and pop psychology, modern Tantra advocates are spinning Tantra into an eccentric market racking up perhaps tens of millions of dollars in annual sales."11
    Neo-Nazism is another semi-religious ideology. One hears more about its racism than its pagan interests in nature, but the latter are there nonetheless. Few people realize -- and contemporary German Greens prefer not to be reminded of it -- that the first major nature-protection laws were issued, of all places, in Nazi Germany, which would prove to be the cruelest Western country with regard to humans.12 There "any person engaged in such practices would be 'removed to a concentration camp.'"13
    Twenty years ago already, the Dutch historian Lea Dasberg pointed out the dangers of an exaggerated "return to nature" approach: "The 'natural' has again become normative as a counter-force to culture. So soon after Nazism, which proclaimed the same, one has again forgotten what dangers the elevation of nature as a norm brings with it for the handicapped, the sexual outsiders, the elderly and inter-racial societies. Historical reflection should teach us that it has always been the rural and agrarian communities which have produced the destructive movements based on millenary thinking."14
    The partial ideological affinity between Nazism and extreme environmentalism has been referred to by various authors, both Jewish and non-Jewish,15 including Walter Laqueur,16 Robert Pois,17 Michael Wyschogrod,18 and Luc Ferry.19 This is a field which merits substantial additional research. ...
    Religious Neo-Paganism

    Religious neo-pagans are yet another category. These are not necessarily provocative people.20 A Jewish Harvard University student told me that, when asked about their religion, several of his non-Jewish colleagues answered that they consider themselves pagans. He added: "They are dour people, no different from other students."...

    ...
    American rituals are not necessarily the same as those emerging in Eastern European countries, where the gods are Slav. The Jerusalem Post reported about a "grandly named June 20-25 World Pagan Congress" in Lithuania, a "sedate mix of ethnographers, hippies and New Age followers," with participants from Latvia, Russia, Britain, and the U.S.21
    In Germany, there is a revival of "national" (voelkische) neo-pagan groups. This nationalism is characterized by its claim that the Northern race is different from other races.....


    ...A Jewish Return to the Sources?

    The re-emergence of paganism has particular significance for Judaism. There are some indications that Jews are disproportionately active in neo-pagan groups, particularly in the U.S.58 Even more importantly, however, it admonishes us that Jews should focus again on the basic attitude of the Jewish legal and value system toward nature and those who venerate it. In recent decades some diaspora Jews, most of whom are remote from the observance of most Jewish laws, have been telling the world that some of Judaism's central values are to fight against the American involvement in Vietnam, to eliminate nuclear weapons, to foster civil rights in the United States and human rights in the world, and to protect the environment.


    Establishing a Watch

    Searching for the central values of Judaism, we cannot invent or re-invent them: they have been defined by classical Judaism. Trying continually to twist them to fit the passing fashions of the surrounding world not only means distorting them, it is also politically and strategically unwise.
    So what does the return of paganism mean for Judaism? It forces us to focus on the importance of Jewish law and tradition, which proclaims that nature is not the dominant force in the world, nor is it sacred. There is a unique divine force above nature. Nature's laws represent the world of the savage and barbarian; the Noahide laws represent civil society. Civilization must be intolerant toward barbarity. No compromise is possible between the monotheist God and the polytheist deities.
    The Jewish agenda is a very long one. Many things assimilated Jews consider important should be pushed down the Jewish agenda. The new outside reality should help us understand that propagating the Noahide commandments to humanity should have had a higher place on this agenda a long time ago.
    It is not very clear where we are going. We live in a rapidly changing world where we must continuously catch weak signals and watch whether they get stronger. Nothing good for the Jews -- nor for society at large -- can come out of a worldwide strengthening of paganism. The same goes for a distorted emphasis on the importance of nature.
    One popular mode of civic action today is the establishment of "watches." If a certain phenomenon is worrying, one develops ongoing documentation on what is happening so that, if threats arise, one is mentally prepared and can react. If, indeed, protecting nature is a key issue of the next century, there seem to be enough reasons for Jewish observers to watch which direction this powerful, renewed interest in nature will take, and what consequences this may have for world Jewry. This refers to both the religious focus on nature of neo-paganism and the ideological one of extreme environmentalist currents.


    http://www.jcpa.org/jpsr/gersten-s99.htm
    I copied some excerpts from the text. But read the rest as well.

    I'd rather be worried by Jews demanding the establishment of watches.
    "And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring;..." Plato Politeia

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    While many people still think Paganism were a minority thing, "World Jewry" (sic!) feels threatened.

    Can we therefore assume that it is long beyond a minority thing? That there is a significant number of people adhering in one form or another to Paganism? Yes, we can

    Indeed, we should create watches to observe World Jewry and their renewed plans to destroy our folkish faith. We will have a close eye on their lies and expose them as what they are: lies.
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
    Aller Sturm nimmt nichts, weil dein Wurzelgriff zu stark ist
    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
    Gefürchtet von der Zeit, mein Baum, mein Stamm in Ewigkeit

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    There are some indications that Jews are disproportionately active in neo-pagan groups, particularly in the U.S.
    This is probably due to Judeo-Paganism. At the very least, "Jewitchery" would bolster these supposed disproportionate numbers.

    Not that the author seems at all aware that distinctions between different forms of paganism need be drawn. In its entirety, paganism cannot be "fragmented", as he calls it, because it isn't a collection of pieces that ought to fit together in the first place.

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    What I've noticed is that if I go into a book store and look at new age and pagan (basically all wiccan) books they are just different forms of the same old christian garbage. People get sick of Christianity so they put it in a different package and try to push it on them again. Its like the old coke and pepsi, republican and democrat false appearance of choice thing.

    Then they have begun infiltrating Asatru. Folkish Asatru books typically aren't even carried in bookstores. Even the liberal ones are taken off the shelves half the time. Then I also notice that most of the authors of these pagan books are Jews. And then a lot of it is based on Judaism and Kabbalah teachings. But like Christianity there are some key differences. Where Judaism teaches them to be a "people apart" Wicca teaches to accept everybody. Where Judaism says be a leader, be a lion Wicca says to follow and be female like. They teach not to actively go after your goals. Sit there and cast a spell and feel good about yourself rather than work hard for goals.

    We're all valuable and special and we need to work hard to prop up the failures in life and should obey authority and do what we are told etc.

    Wicca is an ok religion but its not for leaders or people that take charge of their life and its riddled with judaic influence. The form of Asatru they push is basically Wicca with some norse gods and rituals thrown in.

    The Wiccan rede "and if it harm none do what thou wilt" comes from the philosopher John Stuart Mills who argues for classical liberalism "people should be free to do whatever they want in society so long as it doesn't harm anyone else". The Wiccan concept of picking and choosing gods, rituals etc. from various cultures again is nothing but multiculturalism.

    I ask people to be very weary about the sources of their Asatru books or who is speaking because they try to worm their way into other groups, pretend they are one of us and change us from the inside out. I don't see any legitimate reason a multiculturalist would be an Asatruar. Why not just be a Wiccan? I see no reason why someone with Jewish rituals and beliefs would join the religion either- why not just be a Jew. The only reason I can think of is that they are trying to change us and eliminate choice in society so that they have a monopoly on ideals.

    Pick up these books and where do they tell you to honor your family- or to empower yourself with real knowledge rather than making pretend demons do your bidding? If I wanted to empower my children I'd give them math problems, I'd teach them about business and law, train them in martial arts and only secondarily teach them to make positive affirmations and visualize their intent. I wouldn't tell them to go out and do a rain dance and think positive thoughts while engaging in drug use, loose sexual morals and other degeneracy. The goal here is a weak herd capable of being subjegated.

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