Belief in gods?

“Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.” 
— Terry Pratchett,
Witches Abroad,
“I don't hold with paddlin' with the occult," said Granny firmly. "Once you start paddlin' with the occult you start believing in spirits, and when you start believing in spirits you start believing in demons, and then before you know where you are you're believing in gods. And then you're in trouble."
"But all them things exist," said Nanny Ogg.
"That's no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages 'em.” 
— Terry Pratchett,
Lords and Ladies,

An interesting pair of quotes from Terry Pratchett. Check out the discussion on the second quote at @marget.inglis_witchcraft page on Instagram.

In the 1990s, many Pagans would say that we don’t believe, we know by experience. I think that is what is being said here.

I think Terry Pratchett’s attitude to deities and magic changed in his later books. In the Tiffany Aching series, magic comes a distant second to Headology (Granny Weatherwax’s word for psychology). In the earlier books, it is the other way around.

I’m a relational polytheist: I’m in relationship with the gods. I’m not a devotional polytheist (one definition of which is putting the gods front and centre of everything you do). I work with the gods, not for the gods. I work for All That Is: the whole of existence.

What’s your view of the relationship between your spirituality/religion, your gods, and magic/occult/prayer etc?

If you don’t believe in gods, please refrain from saying how “irrational” theism is. This is an inclusive space.

You can find more about relational polytheism, and reflections on the work of Terry Pratchett linked below.

6 thoughts on “Belief in gods?

  1. I fall somewhere in between both. I am very devotional, but only because I am relational first. I love them like family. And I serve them because I believe they are good. But serving an entity because it has power isn’t a good enough reason.

    Every Dictator out there has power. But how many would serve a good person even if they didn’t have a single coin in their purse? The problem is we live in a world where too many follow the powerful. And not enough follow their own hearts.

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  2. I’ve very much devotional – most definitely a worshipper. I’d say I serve, work for and with my Gods both in my writing and running meditations and rituals. There is of a course a relational aspect but it’s very much God and devotee.

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  3. I’d have to say I’ve gone the other way: from being a full believer in gods, spirits and the like into simply seeing as the Divine flowing through all things. I do feel that different lands, places, people have their own spirits; as do systems such as the Ogham and the runes. As for gods, my belief in them has waned as I see the divine as life itself, gods are a part of this not the definition. But like all beings I come across: all deserve respect, certainly.

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  4. I can agree that the gods are to be known, not believed in. At the same time I know them as aspects of my own mind, as well as aspects of nature. It’s life and the uiverse that concerns me most, not any supernatural entities or forces that cannot be observed. I consider my gods as friends, and they comfort me in times of need. If I believe in anything, it’s that life could be so much better if people would concern themselves with reality and not the solipsistic ideas in their own skulls.


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