WHY Do Atheists Do This?

I have no problem with atheism. Do your thing. I have a huge problem when atheists come into religious spaces (especially when it’s our religious spaces), and aren’t there as respectful guests but attempt to take on leadership positions. It’s polluting to the tradition and disrespectful to the Holy Powers and community both. It also twists the tradition out of true alignment with the Holy. 

I cannot count how many Heathen kindreds I have heard of or personally encountered that allow atheists to take on leadership roles, including that of Goði or even spaekona. Obviously, these groups don’t give a flying fuck about the Gods or simple common respect. 

Today, a friend sent me this article. 

Apparently this isn’t just a Heathen, Polytheistic, or Pagan problem. This is a problem across traditions. Harvard has just appointed their new “chaplain” and guess what? The fucker is an atheist. Like what even is the point? This is modernism, secularism, and the woke in action and it’s just revolting. I’d long ago written Harvard off as a serious school but this just proves it to me. 

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on August 28, 2021, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. If they don’t believe in the Gods they have no right to be involved imo. This came up decades ago from me with a friend that married a woman that didn’t believe in the core basics of the belief system he put in a position of authority & when brought up then all of the sudden she did a 180 from what she had been saying but it wasn’t there & I could feel it. It makes things weaker & distorted & brings in energies that don’t belong

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  2. Hmm. From the wording, it seems more like an administrative position, “president of chaplains’/religious student organizations” rather than a chaplain himself. They were probably going by his professional qualifications & past relationships with people of various faiths. They also say it’s because of the increasing secularism of college-age students. But really, to people of my generation or younger, being non-religious is about as remarkable as being vegetarian or deciding to not have children. Those choices are so normal & mainstream, that we don’t need special communities & clubs for them the way Boomers might feel a need. However, putting him in that position seems to be placing atheism as equivalent to or better than religion. And there’s already an atmosphere especially in elite institutions like Harvard that is condescending or even hostile to religious piety. I suspect this would be especially alienating to many international students, who are not accustomed to “interfaith” atheists. The whole think sounds more like something a school in say, France or Sweden would do. I’ll also note that Harvard was historically strongly linked to Unitarianism BUT at the time, Unitarians were most certainly theists & saw themselves as liberal Christians. So if they had a UU minister who was an atheist/humanist as a chaplain or head of this organization, I wouldn’t be surprised.

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  3. The reason I’m sounding somewhat neutral on the subject is that I’m not familiar enough with the purpose & duties of this position & how much religion actually factors into it. I went to a much smaller school that was Lutheran affiliated & they had a of course, Lutheran chaplain & assistant chaplain that performed chapel services, prayed with students/faculty/staff etc. The chaplain there is now a Muslim, reflecting the changing demographics of the school. If I were going there now, and I wanted to talk with a chaplain, I’d rather have a Lutheran than a Muslim. Mostly because I’m more used to talking about my religion to mainline Protestants, as that’s the background I’m coming from. An atheist/humanist chaplain is an oxymoron though. Just be a psychologist!

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  4. So many Pagan/Heathens consider being told “no, that’s wrong” completely unthinkable or a sign of bigotry. Maybe it’s the dregs of trauma from their previous religion. Maybe it’s that lingering Wiccan “no one is wrong so do what you want” ideology they just can’t manage to shake. Maybe they really are just LARPers playing at being religious. Regardless of the cause, it’s a problem that needs resolved.

    I would happily welcome an Atheist (or Monotheist, or Henotheist, or Pantheist, anyone else really) as a respectful guest at a rite I was leading. One of my very dear friends is an Atheist and I would be delighted to have him express a genuine academic interest in my religion. I would not, however, allow them to become an actual member of the kindred and certainly not allow them to take up any kind of leadership position. Not because I hate Atheists, but because I respect and revere the Gods.

    Sometimes I’m envious of the African Traditional Religions. They have competent clergy, devoted laypeople, teach their children about their religion, aren’t afraid to tell people when they’re doing it wrong, and still have so much vibrant diversity of practice. In my opinion, we should be looking to the ATR as role models for how Heathenry and other Polytheistic religions should function. If I were a less devoted man, I would ditch Heathenry completely and seek initiation into Palo Mayombe. Paleros don’t put up with nonsense.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      “I would happily welcome an Atheist (or Monotheist, or Henotheist, or Pantheist, anyone else really) as a respectful guest at a rite I was leading. One of my very dear friends is an Atheist and I would be delighted to have him express a genuine academic interest in my religion. I would not, however, allow them to become an actual member of the kindred and certainly not allow them to take up any kind of leadership position. Not because I hate Atheists, but because I respect and revere the Gods.”

      THIS ^ is beautifully put. This, precisely.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      The ATR have their issues too, but not like this.

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      • They certainly do have their issues! I’m not implying that they don’t. All religious communities have problems. But not anything like Heathenry and Paganism. I doubt you would ever find an “Atheist Tata Nganga” or the like because any such person wouldn’t get initiated or accepted into the religion in the first place. And that alone puts the ATR leaps and bounds ahead of Heathenry and Paganism in my humble opinion.

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  5. Arrogant uneducated people who thought they are Gods ruled one country some time ago and destroyed it completely. There are many lessons can be found in history.

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  6. Learn this lesson well. Everyone has their beliefs/opinions. But if you believe & honor the Deity/Deities, don’t put someone who has no faith or doesn’t believe in any Deity/Deities in a leadership role, especially to appear/look inclusive.
    Harvard has lost its way, and does a disservice to its students.

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