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Is paganism a religion or a group of belief systems?

I know very little about paganism, only the most general information and I'm not sure if that is even accurate. So at the risk of sounding ignorant and insenitive, I'm going to ask this.  If you were to classify paganism would you classify it as a religion, such as Christianity, with many factions; or would you call it a group of belief systems?   And how would you classify or define those systems?

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 8:09 PM on Jun. 14, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • It's both. Paganism is an umbrella term which is used to describe beliefs outside of the Abrahamic Line (Christianity, Judaism & Islam). Just like Christian is an umbrella term for many many denominations. However, it's also a "religion" in the same sense that Christian is... It's a general term which may encompass many belief systems. So, if someone were to ask a Baptist their religion and they said Christian, they would be right - in the same way if someone were a Kemitist their religion and they answered Pagan, they would be right as well...

    I for one, do not belong to any one Pagan religion, I am eclectic, meaning I pull from many faiths. So I claim Paganism as my religion, simply because I do not have a specifically titled path within it.
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 9:53 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • Both or neither, depends on which definition you're using. "group of belief systems" implies they have some commonality holding them together. The ONLY thing they have in common is that they aren't Jewish, Christian or Muslim. Aside from that, every single rule found in one can be the complete opposite of every single rule in another.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 10:13 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • Paganism is the root of Christianity. So yes it is a religion. One that many Christians hid their faith in to protect themselves from persecution.
    Imogine

    Answer by Imogine at 8:23 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • Paganism is an umbrella term covering all systems of beliefs outside Christianity, Islam and the Jewish belief systems.
    SpiritedWitch

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 8:47 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • It depends on who you ask...but realistically, both.

    Pagan religions, in all technicality are any religion outside of the big-3, and/or excluding the God of Abraham (there are some individuals that worship him, Jesus, etc within a more Pagan framework). So, in that vein, there are many different pagan (little-p) religions. Within contemporary Paganism though, there are some general themes that (if not universal) are recurrent--reconstruction, revivalism or inspiration from ancient pre-Christian pagan paths, a recognition of the plurality of divinity, an recognition of the Natural world as sacred, a rejection of salvation theology, etc.
    thalassa

    Answer by thalassa at 11:09 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • I got distracted and had some other stuff to take care of...but I wanted to add some stuff.

    Paganism is actually a bit like Christianity in regards to defining itself--no one really agrees what it takes. There is plenty of debate within the larger Pagan community over the validity of the term, over how it should be used, etc. Personally, I think its a bit silly--no one argues over whether or not Monopoly, solitaire, freeze tag and Marco Polo are all games, but when it comes down to it, they don't really have that much in common either.

    I'm a big fan the "checklist" approach--that there doesn't have to be categorical agreement of characteristics (its called a polythetic definition), and others have advocated for calling them Paganisms...but either way, it just depends on the perspective of the person you ask. In my experience, the overwhelming tendency is for strict reconstructionists to disavow the term the most.
    thalassa

    Answer by thalassa at 7:26 AM on Jun. 15, 2011

  • the overwhelming tendency is for strict reconstructionists to disavow the term the most.


    Yes, we do. This is a good explanation of why.

    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 2:21 PM on Jun. 15, 2011



  • Yes, we do. This is a good explanation of why.




     

    Answer by NotPanicking


     


     


    Oh hell's bells, NP!  I thought you were gonna post this!  ha ha


     


     


    And to answer the question...Paganism is both and neither.  Ask a dozen Pagans what Paganism is, you'll get at least 142 answers! 




    MamaK88

    Answer by MamaK88 at 6:27 PM on Jun. 15, 2011

  • Oh hell's bells, NP! I thought you were gonna post this! ha ha

    That too :P
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:49 PM on Jun. 15, 2011

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