A Conversation for A Practical Definition of Pagan
Steve K. Posted Apr 11, 2003
I agree that language can be ... fuzzy. Wittgenstein said, "Language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it." But it seems to me that it is useful to have, if not one, at least a fairly small number of definitions of a specific word. If each individual decides on a different definition of a word, that word becomes meaningless, IMHO. OTOH, "Jabberwocky" is one of my favorite poems.
Maewfannwr Posted Apr 30, 2003
I have no religion, and a friend of mine (mormon) started calling me pagan. I don't take this as an insult (mainly because I am interested in some of the Pagan beliefs) but I saw it as: I am the dictionary meaning of pagan, so she was right.
(I too shall use a capital letter to describe one with beliefs)
I have come across the dubious usage of the word "pagan", and came up with this theory:
when the christians invaded the land which is now the UK (and places nearby), they saw a lot of people who were, in their opinion, primitive in that they didn't believe in god. They classed them as having no religion (and called them pagan) because they didn't know that 1. They had a religion and 2. that it was as real to them as christianity is to the christians.
The label has stuck, but there are now 2 meanings of "pagan".
1. One without religion (original christian meaning, and dictionary definition)
2. One with the beliefs of the people which the christians came across. These, by no means have no religion, but that was how the christians classed them.
In saying that, during the time when christians and Pagans were living side by side (around the time of King Arthur, which is why King Arthur can be both a christian and have a druid advisor) the christians thought rather poorly of the Pagans. They thought that they had brought enlightenment on them, and the Pagans had refused the salvation of god. They would class anyone who refused god as the same, and this would include satanists. While the satanists are (in my opinion, correct me if I'm wrong) not Pagans, in that they have entirely different beliefs to the Pagans of this time, christians would still call them pagans, because they refused god.
Hope some of this rings true! As I said, it's only something that I've formulated, but it seems right to me. Feel free to correct me at any point.
~Maewfannwr, the multicoloured elf
Maewfannwr Posted Apr 30, 2003
I forgot to P.S.
I am generalising as far as the Christians are concerned. I realise that not all of them would have been so narrow-minded, thinking of King Arthur, how could he have looked down on Pagans when he himself had a druid as an advisor. However, the main effect was as I was saying.
Steve K. Posted May 1, 2003
Interesting post. I generally agree with it, but as one "without religion" who does not consider himself a "pagan", I'm still wondering what the word means. My choice is still folks who worship nature and other non-mainstream "gods" ... but I've lost track of this long discussion ... I think we've been through all that.
Maewfannwr Posted May 2, 2003
Well the no religion bit is the dictionary meaning, and the original meaning of the word. Common usage has evolved it.
"pagan" was a way of saying primitive in religion.
Now it means the earth-gods, or whatever else you name it, being a general term for unorthodox beliefs, of course the term is very wide and hard to define. Dictionaries probably take the easy way out
Researcher 243525 Posted Sep 13, 2003
I´m not going to read everyone´s thoughts of being a pagan, because there are far too many. I, however, will give my own little opinion.
I consider myself a Pagan, an Atheist and a person who is up for the taking for a religion that I deem worthy. I will not be a Satanist, however much I respect them for making themselves their own god. I work for myself and for others. I feel the Bible is a load of BS. To me a Pagan is a person who loves nature. A pagan (note the non-capitalization) is a person who doesn´t believe in those three beliefs and others. Enjoy you day!
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