A Druid and a Radical

Winter                                                                                      Valentine Moon

OK. I admit it. I occasionally take the quizzes that pop up on facebook. I mention this because one set of quizzes seems, well, accurate. The same quiz website offered two recently: What kind of ancient religion would you follow? What kind of philosopher are you?

Druid Harvesting Mistletoe

Though I thought I’d saved the piece about ancient religion, I didn’t. Still. The ancient religion that matched my answers? Celtic Druidism. How ’bout that? In the year leading up to my leaving the Presbyterian ministry I was in spiritual direction with John Ackerman at Westminster Presbyterian Church. When I told him I no longer believed in Jesus/God/Holy Spirit, but was more focused now on how I fit into the natural world, he said, “Well, you might be a druid.” He meant it. Not a flippant observation. Prescient.

Since then, the Great Wheel has become my liturgical calendar. I’m much more like what I would once have critiqued as a flat-earth humanist. That is, the metaphysical realms of the world religions seem like poetry to me rather than statements about ontology. I am not a new atheist, a scorner of faith and its many, many permutations. And, yes, I recognize the role religion plays in human conflicts, but I know that most of the time religions gather people of similar demographic characteristics. When conflict emerges, it often has roots in economic and political realities that align closely with religious preferences.


I did save the note about which philosopher I’m most like.* This also seemed apposite. It surprised me, in both instances, how the 29 questions they ask managed to get somewhere close to how I see myself.

*Your mind works like the philosopher: Thomas Paine

An anarchist who championed reason and free thought, Thomas Paine was never afraid to speak his mind no matter how unpopular or revolutionary his theories were. Like Paine, you see life as full of possibilities and love to shake up the status quo by thinking outside the box. You are spontaneous and communicate confidently and fluidly. Could you write a post to inspire world-transforming events like Paine’s pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ influenced the start of the American Revolution? Who knows? (But we think it might be worth a try.)