Saturday, May 25, 2013

Definitions

Hi! I've been away from blogging on these subjects for a little while now, but yesterday's posting brought me back a little. To ease myself back in, I'll start with a few definitions.

Atheist - For the purposes of this blog, an atheist is a person who denies the gods of other people. This is a slightly different definition than the one used by many self-professed atheists. For one thing, it includes the sort of monotheists who have created so many problems in the world today by declaring that only their own god is worthy of worship (and therefore is the only god, as such). It does not include those people who think of themselves as "atheists" (or, more frequently, as "agnostics") who have no experience of the gods themselves, but remain open to the idea that such experiences might not necessarily be delusions.

God - An entity worthy of worship. This means that an entity who is a god to one person may not be so to another. See also Un-god.

Sacred - Something devoted to the benefit of the gods or un-gods rather than human society.

Sacrifice - To make something sacred.

Un-god - An entity whose interests are not naturally in line with humans', but who might be convinced to work on the behalf of humans.

Werewolf - The big definition. A werewolf is a participant in a "secret" society (it does not have to be secret in the mundane sense of the term; it only needs to be explicitly initiatory and exclusive of non-initiates) focused on the boundaries between life and death. These initiations can be formal or informal (one such ceremony recorded involved a werewolf breathing into a glass of beer, saying a few words, and the prospect drinking from the glass; at the other extreme, initiations can involve kidnapping and week-long ordeals), but are absolute. Not all such societies use the symbol of the wolf, but that is an extremely common symbol related to the societies in Europe (as well as parts of North America). Those werewolf societies that do use the symbol of the wolf, which again is the majority, will always identify with wolves in some sense, whether that is as literal wolves or as embodiments of the cultural image of the wolf (such as "outlawry" or "ravager"; more recently, this would include "in-group loyalty" and "subcultural outsider", rather than necessarily outlawry as such - the image of the "outlaw biker" is particularly powerful here!). They might express that identity through wolfish costume, hairstyle, or vocalizations such as battle cries that resemble wolfish howls. Even those societies that do not use the symbol of the wolf almost always identify with these same cultural associations. Most of the societies also make use of cannibalistic symbolism (and there is disputed evidence indicating that at times the symbols become literalized in some places). In many (but not all) cases, the societies also involve violent activities, whether as bandit-outlaws or as warriors of society - or, more frequently, as both!

Worship - Devotion and adoration. This is frequently expressed through sacred ritual and sacrificial giving, but tends to expand into other aspects of the worshiper's life.

4 comments:

  1. Welcome back, I look forward to future posts. I especially like how you sum up "werewolf."

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    1. Thanks! A fallow period of doing things and not writing about them - saving them up, I guess - is always helpful.

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  2. I really like the definition you are using for atheist. Very nice. Opens up some pondering space. Thanks.
    ~k

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