From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

As the social bonds of Christianity weaken in the United States, both non-religiousness and new religious movements are on the rise. One of the least dangerous NRMs is neopaganism, but you wouldn't know that by talking to recently self-converted fluffbunnies--they sometimes act like members of a bizarre cult.

A fluffbunny neopagan is someone with a hyperactive interest in spells, witches, and being really rude and defensive about their superficial beliefs. Pagans hate these people because they make their religion look bad, but the origins of convert naivete are not in stupidity or maliciousness. Rather, they represent a renegotiation of how a person wants to deal with her religion; not a final stage, but a process that is bound to mature over time.

Religion is nothing if it is not an agreement and a conversation. The way to put this in atheists' terms is that it's a universal lie and a personal truth, or that many people, acting on behalf of a "falsehood", can have a real impact. To speak more ecumenically, people pursue religion because they want to impose something onto the world. Thus practitioners of Western Buddhism can be completely positivist, dropping any sort of supernatural overtones, but they are still practicing religion because they are doing more than just proposing philosophical theories. Western Buddhism more often than not means meditation practice, and the goals of that practice range from "inner peace" to "nirvana" to "mindfulness": all of these things being at least received wisdom from other Buddhists that slightly redefines one's goals in life, and at most a new understanding of universal truth.

New Buddhist converts, just like new neopagans, can stumble into fluffbunnyism. They can hoard Zen clocks, incense, and candles, confuse Buddhism for yoga, or consider the title of "Buddhist" a merit badge they have earned through their special and unique knowledge. This eagerness is no delusion and should not be disparaged, except where it interferes with other people's livelihoods. It has historical parallel: when Islam and Christianity first arrived in the Middle East and Europe, respectively, they cast a new light on many scientific and philosophical topics that engendered creativity and deep thought among new converts. Those revolutions lasted many centuries. In today's pluralist world, fluffbunnyism will not last quite so long. In the case of an organized religion, central dogma will condemn mistaken practices. In the case of an individual, in order to defend themselves from outside attack or inside self-doubt, they will eventually rid themselves of spiritual materialism and pursue the subtler truth.

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