Atheopaganism is a naturalistic Pagan religious path (for explanations of these terms, see the FAQ). Founded in 2009 with the publication of an essay by me, Mark Green*, it has grown to have thousands of practitioners who embrace its Four Sacred Pillars and 13 Principles, and its science-consistent understanding of the psychological and social value of rituals, holiday observances and rites of passage.
I am a lifelong atheist, and have never had reason to doubt that point of view, but I find that most outspoken atheists err seriously in their understanding of the function and value of religious and ritual practice in building community, inculcating values and gratitude, and otherwise enriching a human life.
For many years, I was active in celebrating the turning of the seasons with members of the Pagan community, the values of which resonated with my own. However, there came a point where I could no longer remain silent in the face of the credulity with which many in those circles approached their religion, believing their gods to exist in a literal sense rather than as meaningful metaphors. Even to the point of using “the will of the gods” to excuse dysfunctional and unethical behavior, in some cases.
So I left. But within a very short time, I found that my life was impoverished. Without the rituals, seasonal celebrations and observances, I felt disconnected from Nature, uninspired and dejected.
As a result, after a gap of some years in which I explored further how religious behavior serves the imperatives of various parts of the human brain, I began to develop a supernatural-free, godless tradition of celebrations, observances, meditations and other meaningful practices, the goals of which are to increase happiness both individually and in society, and to foster the development of a more sustainable, just and kind world.
Atheopaganism is a non-hierarchical religious path: we have no Pope, no guru, no layers of leadership with ascending status and power. Each practitioner tailors their practice to meet what works best for them. Even our clergy, the Atheopagan clerics, are self-selected and adopt this role in service to their communities, not as a status enhancement. Anyone can be a cleric: you can ordain yourself for free at the website of the nonprofit Atheopagan Society, where you will find much more information about the path, resources in support of it, and opportunities to connect in community.
Details on my journey to creating Atheopaganism, the science behind it and its principles are available here (somewhat outdated) or in the book Atheopaganism: an Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science. Those interested in learning more can also request to join the Atheopagan Facebook group, where thousands of us discuss and develop Atheopagan ideas, rituals, liturgy and culture, as well as announce events. We also have a growing community on Discord.
Posts to this blog are about not only the development, but the practice of this modern religious path. Here you will find resources for starting a practice, essays on each of the 13 Principles, and a lot more.
If Atheopaganism is not your thing, it’s a big Internet–keep searching and I hope you will find something that works for you. Ours is not a proselytizing path: if you don’t want to, no one is saying you should follow it.
We ask that visitors here extend to us the same courtesy. Please do not argue for the existence of your gods or the supernatural here. We don’t believe in them; until scientifically credible evidence for them appears, our position on that isn’t likely to change.
*Though I am by no means the first to wed naturalistic atheism with Neopagan ideas and practices. See, for example, the Naturalistic Paganism blog in the links.
All of the writing on this website except where otherwise noted is copyright Mark Green, and unauthorized publication of it constitutes theft of intellectual property. Note that I do not claim ownership of most of the images shown on this website. If you do, notify me and I will take the picture down immediately or credit the copyright holder, whichever the holder prefers. This is a non-commercial website for religious purposes.