Divinity vs. the Sacred
“Well, you’re a pantheist, then.”
I get this now and then, after describing my cosmology and Atheopagan path to other Pagans.
And there’s nothing wrong with it. Pantheism is a perfectly fine way of looking at the Cosmos: to see Divinity in everything. Many pantheists don’t believe in deities as individual, communicative entities with agency and personalities, and I don’t, either, so I can understand why some might mistake Atheopaganism with pantheism. But it IS a mistake; I’m really not a pantheist.
In some ways, I am the utter antithesis of a pantheist, because I don’t see Divinity in anything.
Divinity is described as a quality, something with which a thing or a process or an entity is imbued. Like being magnetic, or radioactive, or orange: it is a trait which pantheists and theists alike ascribe to whatever they think is divine. In the case of the former, it’s everything; in the case of the latter, what is considered Divine may be limited to their conceptions of gods, spirits or other disembodied powers.
But I don’t think that quality exists. A rock doesn’t “have Divinity”, nor does a tree, nor a lion. There is no means by which a special “field of Divinity” in or around such a thing could be detected. In my opinion, such a quality is simply imaginary.
What those things do have, in my opinion, is Sacredness. And that is an entirely different matter.
What is Sacred is, at root, an opinion. It’s not a claim about a characteristic of a given subject; it is an ascribed description with which one chooses to categorize—or not—those objects, symbols, phenomena, processes and/or creatures which one has decided are or are not Sacred.
Here’s an example from my essay, “How I Became an Atheopagan”, for instance: the cross.
You can take two pieces of 4×4 lumber and fasten them at right angles, and to Christians, you suddenly have a symbol which is Sacred, while to me, the arrangement of that wood is not particularly significant in any way.
You see? An opinion. Not a magical fluid or aura or attribute. Just an opinion.
I happen to believe that pretty much everything is Sacred. Only a small number of things are not, and it is because they are blasphemous. The tools of war or genocide are not sacred. Chemical pesticides and nerve gas are not sacred. Instruments of torture are not sacred.
In my opinion.
I wish all good fortune to pantheists and theists alike, but I am neither. I look out at the insensate but magnificent Universe, and I see no divinity.
Only the Sacred, off nearly to infinity.