Pagans. Evil or Saints
When people hear the word Pagan, the first thing that usually pops in to their heads are Devil worshiping heathens dancing nude in the dead of night to sacrifice some blond bimbo they found on a deserted highway. Thanks to bad horror flicks, and the radical Christian groups, Pagans have gotten a character assassination, and in the following article, I hope to shed light on this very confused subject for people.
Since many people reading this article, may not even know what Paganism is, I will begin with a basic explanation. The definition of Paganism in a dictionary may state that Pagan means "one without gods" or even "a heathen," but the meaning of the word Pagan actually derives from the Latin word "Paganus" meaning a country dweller(peasant) and Paganus derives from the word Pagus meaning Village, villager, or simply a person who lives in the country away from everyone. Paganism is the oldest known religion, outdating even Christianity. Cave drawings have depicted a pregnant goddess and a horned god of hunting, even before written language had been developed. Paganism is nature based and focuses on positive healing of the earth, and spiritual growth as a person.
Paganism is a polytheistic religious belief system, meaning they believe in more than one god, and just like in nature, Pagans find duality in everything ( Masculine and Feminine), therefore find equal worship between the Goddess and the God. Some covens however only focus on Goddess worship, giving her precedence over the God. Pagans practice magic ( not TV magic, where they wiggle their nose and make things appear) but actual magic, the manipulation of energy to create change. They do not believe in the devil, or any other negative being, and only use their powers to help themselves, others and the earth. They believe that if they do harm to others, it will come back to them worse than they originally did. ( kind of like Karma)
"And ye harm none, do as ye will." ( known as the Wiccan rede)
You would never see a Pagan picketing with signs that say stuff like "god hates(gays, abortions...)A true Christian would remember that God loves everyone, regardless of anything they do. While Christians are busy condemning people to death, and wishing a fate of hell upon them, Pagans are healing the earth and trying to strengthen their connection to spirit.
Which raises the next question. Are Pagans evil, or are they really Saints? Pagans often keep to themselves, and do not advertise their religion to others. They practice in their houses, or in the forests and mountains, and celebrate 8 major holidays known as Sabbats. Because of the witch hunt, many of these religious celebrations were celebrated in the dead of night, or at midnight. (the witches hour) Pagans also celebrate month rituals that deal with the cycles of the moon, some of these are called Esbats. Because Paganism is still so secretive, many people have become fearful of their practices.
Bookstores have begun selling more and more books on Paganism and Wicca.( which is sort of a branch of Wicca) and each year the rise of people converting to Pagans are rising at an alarming rate. Since the fifties the religion has even gained legal rights, making it legal for them to have churches, clergy members, and you can even have Pagan weddings ( known as Hand-fastings) and Pagan Funerals.
A funeral you may be wondering, but where do Pagans go when they die? Pagans believe in reincarnation, believing that when people die, they go to a place of learning and reflection, before continuing on to another life, in another body. Pagan funerals are full of laughter, as the Pagans know that even though the physical body has now passed, their soul will always live on.
So how is it then, that a nature based people, who focus on healing others could somehow be made in to an evil clan sacrificing virgins to the horned devil? The answer is the mis-conception, during the rise of Christianity. Christians believe that any person who does not practice Christianity or has not been baptized in the name of the father the son, and the only ghost, is doomed to an eternity of burning in hell. With this belief system, it makes sense they desperately try to covert or "save" as many people as possible, but is this really an accurate way of thinking?
Paganism is mentioned several times in the bible. Jesus, even noted the faith of a Pagan roman centurion, and he proclaimed.
"Assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:10-12)
If Christians believe that the bible is the word of god, and therefore must believe what it says, then its clear from this gospel, that heaven will contain many people who are not Christian, and hell will contain many people who are a Christian. In the bible, Jesus Christ clearly states the criteria for entering the pearly gates called heaven. Love, kindness and forgiveness and a refusal to judge others.
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)
Many Christians believe though that Pagans do not believe in god, therefore that is why they will be going to hell. However if you read any description of Paganism, the people are clearly devoted to God, and have a deep a spiritual connection. The God the Pagans worship, though he is known by many names, actually does not have a name, and the bible even mentions this.
"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:22-23)
Pagans worship this unknown god, and if they aren't aware that this is the case, then most Christians, especially who claim to know the bible from cover to cover should know this.
In conclusion, no matter if you are a Christian or a Pagan, both religions speak of love, understanding and the worship of God above everything. If people could close their mouths and open their hearts, just long enough to realize that we are all gods children, and how and when we worship him is not relevant, only that we focus on being the best people we can be, and spread the love that many people need right now. In this troubled time of economic chaos, distant war and the crimes that even happen in our backyards, one thing for sure is that God will never collapse, and we just have to have a little faith.
So God Bless, Brightest Blessings, Blessed Be,Shalom.