Gorham Melvin - The Pagan Bible


Author : Gorham Melvin
Title : The Pagan Bible
Year : 1962

Link download : Gorham_Melvin_-_The_Pagan_Bible.zip

Orientation. Definition of Religion. A religion is a concept of the cause, reality, and purpose of the universe, and a conscious attempt to attain harmony with that reality and aid that purpose. There are as many definitions of religion as there are commentaries on the subject, and we are exercising the usual prerogative of redefining the word. By this broad definition we place all concepts of the universe, including those offered by Western science and Western philosophy, as well as those based on beliefs in godcreatures, in one category. This enables us to look at all men's purposes from the same perspective. Locating a real point for that perspective is one of our major concerns. The Emotional Color of Paganism. This is a book of religion. It recognizes the major institutional religions of the world, but its purpose is not simply to give condensed information about them in such broad generalities as to be acceptable to all. Nor is its purpose to ride the tide of current religious thought by deftly mixing and turning about the beliefs of various religions, throwing on them facets of colored light, like a kaleidoscope, in the hope of bringing a feeling of "ecstatic radiance" to the devoutly confused. Its purpose is to examine the validity of concepts, the direction and efficacy of men's purpose, and, finally, to set forth a systematic concept of the universe, together with a morality derived from that concept, as the basis for a living religion. This religion is called Pagan. It is not consciously evolved from the fragmentary remains of what was once called paganism, and what is now neatly entombed under headings of Greek, Roman, German, Scandinavian, Chinese, Japanese, and early Indian "mythology." It takes the name Pagan not because its concepts are obviously those of the pagan era, but in acknowledgement of its spiritual heritage. The concepts contained in religions that were once dynamic enough to act as evolutionary catalysts in the development of Indo-European man, have been mutilated and distorted by writers with dogmatically fixed perspectives, until their remains are placed alongside Mother Goose Tales without offending the general sense of propriety. We could perhaps reconstruct something of great significance from these mutilated conceptual fragments, that children now keep in their toy boxes, as a paleontologist reconstructs pre-historic animals from two teeth and a splinter of jawbone found among the assortment of ornaments on the necklace of a savage. But we are content to let the portions of the past that are dead remain dead. This is a book about living religion, not dead mythology. Pagan is often defined as a religion other than Judaism, Christianity, or Mohammedanism. By that definition the religion set forth here is unquestionably pagan. But its claim to the title is not because it simply contains ideas other than those contained in these three religions, but because it is based on something living that has survived in the being of man. Physical evolution is slower to be affected by the influence of new dogmas than is the religious literature of a people, and so, despite inquisitions and social pressure, the dogmas that have triumphed over paganism have not yet fully triumphed over the pagan. There is a heritage of spirit in certain living beings that can be recognized as pagan without an reference to, or claim heritage from, the well-known pagan mythologies. In the popular concept, pagans are often associated with bloody deeds, but it is not the bloody deeds that identify the pagan spirit. The Mohammedans frankly spread their religion with a sword. The path of Judaism is a path of blood, spilt in lust and treachery. And Christianity, despite the teachings of its founder, came to flower through a blood path of such magnitude as to show that his followers placed little reliance on the few pints of blood spilt by Jesus to purify the world. Recent wars also have shown little reluctance on the part of Christians to break their sixth commandment. So, clearly, it is not a readiness to spill blood that distinguishes a pagan. In the historical behavior of the pagan, there was a freedom from inhibitions, and a robust love of life, whether expressed in eating, drinking, fighting, loving, singing, dancing, or perceiving god, that was unique and characteristic. This spirit was born of a special concept of the cause and purpose of the universe with is unfathomable to those who create gods that are either vengeful, or sad-eyed and mournful. It is this spirit that we seek to recognize in calling our religion Pagan. Those who wish to do so can trace the conceptual antecedents of the religion set forth here, through the desecrated fragments of mythology, to the Indo-European man of prehistory, but the point will not be emphasized. This work wishes to claim no authority from the antiquity of its concepts. The authority for its concepts rests solely on the ring of validity in the consciousness of he who perceives them. ...

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