Tags: morality

Animal use.

I’ve noticed an increase in animal products, for example skulls and skins for the use of ritual, and ritual items.
This is a increase in both online shops, and local esoteric shops.

I wondered if anyone else had noticed this increase.

And what do people think about the ethical and spiritual use of animal parts.

I would be interested to hear all sides.

Thanks in advance.



Injustice is Inevitable.

The world is not a fair place, it gives us no guarantees of fairness, but it is part of our social contract to try to be fair with each other. We say that we want what is fair, but that isn't true.  We want what is best for us, but we will settle for what is fair.  Fairness is a social virtue.

In his book, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, George Lakoff gives this definition of fairness. "Fairness is about the equitable distribution of objects of value (either positive of negative value) according to some accepted standard."

In short, moral action is fair distribution.

He lists ten models of fairness:

"Equality of distribution (one child one cookie)"

"Equality of opportunity (one person, one raffle ticket)"

"Procedural distribution (playing by the rules determines what you get)"

"Rights based fairness (you get what you have a right to)"

"Need-based fairness (the more you need the more you have a right to)"

"Scalar distribution (the more you work, the more you get)"

"Contractual distribution (you get what you agree to)"

"Equal distribution of responsibility (we share the burden equally)"

"Scalar distribution of responsibility (the greater your abilities, the greater your responsibilities)"

"Equal distribution of power (one person, one vote)"

For the most part I agree with him.  But I would describe the models slightly diferently:

"Equality of distribution" (everyone receives an "object" of equal value)

Equal distribution of opportunity (one person, one chance)

Equal distribution of responsibility (one person, one task)

Equal distribution of resources (one person, one cookie)

"Scalar distribution" (the greater the qualification, the greater the compensation) (you get what you deserve)(distribution as compensation)

Scalar distribution by need (the more you need, the more you get)(those with greater need deserve greater compensation)

Scalar distribution by ability (the more you have, the more you get)(those with more skills deserve more compensation)

Scalar distribution by virtue (the more you give, the more you get back)(the good deserve more compensation than the bad)

"Procedural distribution" (the rules determine what you get)

Procedural distribution by right (you get what the culture has decide you are entitled to)(because of who you are)

Procedural distribution by contract (you get what you have agreed to get)

Procedural distribution by might (you get what others can't stop you from taking) (you get what you can take)

One thing that is obvious from this is that it is possible for something to be fair in one model and unfair in a different model.  While it is possible for different models to produce the same results it is likely that they will produce different results.  When people using different models come to different conclusions as to what is fair it is unlikely that the issue will be resolved to the satisfaction of both.  When we do not feel that we have been treated fairly we call that injustice.

Because conflicting models of fairness exist it is not possible for everyone to feel fairly treated all the time, injustice is unavoidable.  It is inevitable that someone will feel that they were not treated fairly.  As long as there is more than one model of fairness this will never change.

goddess and god

Witches, Witch hunts, Interfaith Discussion,

Witches come out to play
By Mara Pattison-Sowden, Star News Group, Australia, 19th January 2010
"Mrs Yeoman is part of the western suburbs’ largest pagan group, which has been running for five years.

People travel from all over Melbourne to attend the monthly meetings in Werribee. Mrs Yeoman said growing up as an army brat she was exposed to, and fascinated by, many different cultures and religions from Christianity to Hinduism and Buddhism.

She said her own understanding began with how science and belief could work together.

“It’s about working out where you sit in the world. I never quantified my beliefs until I was nearly 30,” she said.

The 43-year-old said regardless of what she believes, “it’s about connecting with the energy of nature.”"
Witch hunters are still with us
Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance, January 15, 2010
"There have always been two kinds of witches.

The first are the people who perform folk magic in virtually every pre-modern society in recorded history. In England, right up into the 19th century, they were most often known as cunning men or wise women. They usually combined a number of duties, starting with having some rudimentary medical knowledge. They would also likely tell fortunes, sell love spells, and possibly offer curses on the side. They were an accepted part of daily village life.

Then there were the witches as imagined by the Inquisition and various witch-finders in the 16th and 17th centuries. These were far more exciting than a village herbalist with a pack of tarot cards.
But of course, the witch hunters never went away. It was apparently George Orwell who first used the phrase "witch hunt" to describe a search for scapegoats. He was talking about the Spanish Civil War, during which all sides murdered their opponents, and sometimes their allies.
Unfortunately, it seems it isn't a matter of putting witch hunts behind us. It's about trying to predict who will be the next target of the hunters."
Interfaith arts event aims to bring forth ‘Winter’s Light’
by Rick Hellman, The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, 15 January 2010 12:00
"Winter’s Light Jan. 23
The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council presents “Winter’s Light,” a multi-faith evening of storytelling, music, dance and the arts.
The event takes place Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Goppert Theater at Avila University, 11901 Wornall Road. There is a $10-per-person suggested donation. Youth are welcome free of charge.
The schedule is as follows:
6:30 p.m. — Doors open, art displays, refreshments
7:15 p.m. — Children’s story on the stage
7:30 p.m. — Program begins
Reception to follow
For more information, call (913) 548-2973, or visit www.kcinterfaith.org.
In addition to Galex, the other artists featured here Jan. 23 will include storytellers Caroline Baughman, a practitioner of Paganism; Rev. Cara Hawkins, American Indian spirituality; and Karta Purkh Khalsa, Sikhism. Sonnenschein said there will also be some Sufi dance, Hindu music and more."
Series to explore tough questions
Stuart Armstrong, Martlet.ca, The University of Victoria's Independent Newspaper, Jan 20, 2010
""Several diverse faiths will come together over the next month to debate where religion fits into some of the most contentious issues in our society.

The Interfaith office is holding a series of public discussions with representatives from the Christian, Jewish, Baha’I, Wiccan, Muslim, Hindu and Buddist faiths, as well as different First Nations faiths. The representatives will debate the religious issues implicated within freedom of speech, environmental policy and people’s sex lives.

Reverend Lucy Reid, UVic’s Anglican Chaplain and priest at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Saanich, says that one of the aims of the series will be to dispel stereotypes about theological debate.

“Whenever we have these seminars there are … people who are surprised that all priests aren’t all conservative, and that a number of them express progressive views on faith – that we are not at all dogmatic and moralizing,” she said.
Moral dilemma: what will replace the church as our compass?
January 19, 2010 , Jason Walsh and Lenny Antonelli of the The Irish Times ask five academics:
"If, following church scandals, the public is looking for common moral ground, where might they find it?"
goddess and god

More on Why I'm Not a Christian: “Sacred Circles” and Wiccan Values

A Weekend of the “Feminine Divine” at National Cathedral
Rebekah M. Sharpe, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, February 20, 2009
"New Age themes of self-deification animated the biennial “Sacred Circles” conference on women’s spirituality at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on February 13-14.  Rather than the masculine “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” of Christian creeds women sought out the “the Feminine Divine” within themselves.

But this time, ecclesiastical support was not limited to Protestant denominations. The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, offered continuing education credits through its Center for Spirituality and Social Work to intrepid women journeying towards the Feminine Divine.

In contrast to its supporters, the event never purported to be Christian. Instead, the conference was possibly “the largest interfaith women’s spirituality gathering in the world.”  Church sponsors included the Episcopal –run National Cathedral, which devoted a paid staffer as the “Sacred Circles” convener, the Episcopal Church Office of Women’s Ministries, which offered scholarships, and Catholic University’s Center for Spirituality and Social Work, which offered academic credit for attendance.  A partnership between the Lilly Endowment and Millsaps College’s Center for Ministry also provided conference scholarships, despite Lily’s supposed mission to “deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians.”

While well-known sponsors supported the event, representatives of the Institute on Religion and Democracy were banned from covering the “Sacred Circles” workshops, most of which concerned various types of meditation, yoga, learning to “ignite” one’s inner “Divine Spark,” or “encounter the Feminine Divine,” the inner goddess participants were told they “embod[ied].”"

I kept waiting for some stinging condemnation of the event. But the author, and her readers, seemed to feel that an accurate description was condemnation enough. Which is pretty much why I'm a Wiccan and not a Christian. I just don't share their beliefs about what is right and true.

The article was reposted on "Virtue Online: The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism". Their site allows reader to leave comments, which is how I deduced what readers thought of the article. One commenter brought up an interesting criticism of Wicca.
Sagamore Posted On: 2009/3/7 0:32  Updated: 2009/3/7 0:32
 Re: A Weekend of the "Feminine Divine" at Natio...
RevDarrenS wrote:
"Heck! Why don't they simply subscribe to the Wiccan credo, "Do what thou wilt and to none be the harm..."
I once asked a group of Wiccans it was OK to sleep with your brothers wife if you were sure he would never find out and therefore not be "harmed".
They couldn't form a cogent answer.

Well, it was a trick question. It's interesting that he chose that subject though because the Biblical answer to the question "Is it ever Ok to have sex with your brother's wife?" is not just "Yes" but under some circumstances it is required that you have sex with your brother's wife. I'm thinking of the famous story of Onan. He is usually sited as why you should not masturbate. People forget that he was condemned because he "wasted his seed on the ground" instead of getting his brother's widow pregnant.
New American Standard Bible, Genesis 38:9 Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother.

Then there is the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. Genesis 16:2-3 Sarah was barren so she told Abraham to have sex with her maid so he could have children, and he did.

Of course Wiccan's don't use the Bible to guide our behavior, but many Wiccan's practice polyamory so it is possible for a woman to be sleeping with two brothers, and there are other situations too. I know a woman who can not bare children herself so she and her husband made an arrangement with a lesbian couple (married legally in Massachusetts) that he should impregnate one of them and he and his wife would adopt the child. I don't see anything immoral about that either.

In places where same sex marriage and adoption are illegal lesbian couples have been known to enlist the aid of a brother to impregnate the woman he was not related to so his sister would still have some legal relationship to the child (aunt).

The trick is when people tell themselves that they are not doing any harm when they are having an affair, but that never really works. Lying is harming the relationship and the liers themselves. "What he doesn't know won't hurt him", really doesn't work. Which is the trick the man who asked the question was trying to pull.