is a Pagan??~~
It often seems that many people have a complete misunderstanding of
Paganism. Meaning they have misconceptions far enough from the truth
that they basically still have no idea what you're talking about,
they just think that they do, and these misconceptions are usually
bad. This leads to persecution,
attempts at conversion for the pagan's "own good," and
widespread belief in negative stereotypes.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all people have a negative
reaction to pagans, there are many people who are accepting and
nonprejudicial, but there are those who aren't.
One common negative stereotype is a tendency to equate pagan with
satanic. Satanism is technically a pagan religion, because of how
most dictionaries define pagan, but very few pagans even believe
Satan exists, much less worship him. So what is pagan if it isn't satanic?
1. n. Anyone not a Christian, Muslim,or Jew: heathen 2. adj. of pagans
Doesn't tell you much does it? It's never made sense to me to define
something by what it isn't. It's true that a pagan isn't Christian,
Moslem, or Jewish, but that doesn't give you any idea of what it
actually is. Pagan is a catch-all word that describes basically any
other religion that you can think of. Most, but not all of these
religions are earth, or nature, based. What that means is that
practicers of these religions have a high respect for the Earth and
all that comes from her (plants, animals, etc.). Wicca, shamanism, Druidism,
Taoism, Buddhism, Odinism, and Discordianism are
all considered pagan religions, kind of like Methodists, Baptists,
Episcopalians, and Christian Scientists are all considered Christian.
The main shortcoming of that analogy is that while different
Christian religions all follow the Heavenly Father, different pagan
religions almost never follow the same god(dess). Almost any
mythology, be it Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic, is/was a pagan religion.
I've also found pagan defined as "a person who has no
religion," which is not really accurate. People without religion
are either atheist (do not believe there is a God) or agnostic (don't
claim to know if there is a God or not). The closest truth to the
idea that some pagans have no religion, are Eclectics, who follow no
one specific religion. They follow a kind of "mix and match"
path, rather than any specific set of teachings, Gods, or beliefs.
Each has a religion, but it is uniquely their own.
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