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Thread: Defining "Pagan"

  1. #11
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=AzazelEblis link=topic=669.msg11241#msg11241 date=1289333269]
    Really? I have to disagree with the consensus here.
    [/quote]

    Which definition, in particular, do you disagree with?

    After rereading the thread I still don't see opposition to what your claim of the word "Pagan" means. Granted, you toss in the semantics of Neopaganism and regional mythologies which is a fair deviation, to find better accuracy in certain regards. It just seems like you've verified what everyone else has been saying, all along, here. We all define the word, ourselves, in terms of religion. The only exception is the etymology of the word and you obviously don't mean to disagree with that, do you?




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  2. #12
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=ThorsSon link=topic=669.msg10146#msg10146 date=1288947358]
    [...]technically, I would define "pagan" as a follower of the Roman gods... but, more modernly, I would define it as any follower of a non-Abrahamic religion.
    [/quote]
    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=669.msg9770#msg9770 date=1288822729]
    IMO:
    A pagan is someone that acknowledges themselves as such and follows one (or a combination of more than one) of many distinct spiritual paths (or creates their own) under the Pagan umbrella which often incorporates the practice of some form of earth-centered and/or polytheistic, religious or spiritual path(s) that generally (but not always) incorporates the use of ritual and/or magic(k) that may either be inspired by a reconstruction of, or an eclectic mix of one or multiple pre-Christian pagan faiths and other pagan religions such as Buddhism, Hindu, etc. [/quote]
    I hoped to address these posts, and to a lesser extent, the OP. We do need reasoned limits: when we get either too inclusive or exclusive, we lose out on what *this* is actually supposed to be about.

    For the record, eclectics get awkward imho, unless they follow all or mostly deities or ideas that fall under the umbrella of my aforementioned definition of "pagan". I'm not even sure how to address the atheist or lifestyle pagans, but prematurely I don't see how that's necessarily even a religion; therefore, I don't see how they can take part in a religious movement.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=Orion Guardian-Elm link=topic=669.msg9762#msg9762 date=1288820931]

    Does anyone agree with my definition of Paganism? Do you believe that a Pagan is someone who calls him/herself a Pagan?

    How do you define a Pagan?
    [/quote]

    I agree with the OP that a Pagan is someone who identifies as a Pagan. I mean, the word has changed a lot, so it's mostly just depends on who identifies that way, now.

  4. #14
    Magnificent Bastard ThorsSon's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=AzazelEblis link=topic=669.msg11679#msg11679 date=1289426178]I hoped to address these posts, and to a lesser extent, the OP. We do need reasoned limits: when we get either too inclusive or exclusive, we lose out on what *this* is actually supposed to be about.[/quote]

    So, by your definition, since you are basing it on the Wiccan movement, and the Asatru, Irminsul and Odinist movements came about independent of Wicca, while the Theodish Heathens DID spring from the Wiccan movement; you would classify Theods as Pagans, but not other Heathens?

    It seems to be a very odd place to draw the line, to me... not all that problematic to me, since I feel much more comfortable with the word Heathen than Pagan... but I don't think that you can get very far with the argument that Heathenry isn't a form of Paganism.
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=ThorsSon link=topic=669.msg11839#msg11839 date=1289460602]
    So, by your definition, since you are basing it on the Wiccan movement, and the Asatru, Irminsul and Odinist movements came about independent of Wicca, while the Theodish Heathens DID spring from the Wiccan movement; you would classify Theods as Pagans, but not other Heathens?

    It seems to be a very odd place to draw the line, to me... not all that problematic to me, since I feel much more comfortable with the word Heathen than Pagan... but I don't think that you can get very far with the argument that Heathenry isn't a form of Paganism.
    [/quote]The thing is, much of the reconstructionist movement within paganism came about as a direct reaction to the "anything goes" attitude about Paganism that many cite in Margot Alder's book, Drawing Down the Moon. While more accurate and authentic, they seem to have began with that in mind to directly counter the heavy eclecticism and overuse of Unverified Personal Gnosis found in the Pagan community before such groups emphasis on authenticity.

    While this does not leave these groups as true "descendants" of the Wiccan ideology, they do form a counterbalance to it within the Neopagan Movement. Thus, they must be included. I would actually argue that they need emphasis, since Neopaganism's emphasis is on the faiths of the European's Pre-Christian ancestors, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the extinct faiths of the rest of the Middle East. Even Wicca initially wrapped itself in this emphasis.

    ThorsSon, you more than almost anyone else in this conversation are a textbook example of what I consider Paganism. So too is someone who worships predominately or exclusively the old gods of Europe, Mesopotamia, Egypt,etc. Whether they do so in the most authentically reconstructed methods possible, or in a more eclectic manner (mostly because of Wicca's influence) almost becomes immaterial since we must include all that has become of Wicca.


    So, if you worship a wide collection of Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, and Taoist deities, but happen to throw in Hermes too... well, I happen to think you're just eclectic, but not necessarily a "Pagan" eclectic. There has to be a base of something from pre-Christian Europe, or something Wiccan that isn't just as easily attributed to the "New Age" community or some other source.


    The occasional Hindu might decide to say they're "Pagan", because you include Hinduism in a definition based on Polytheism. But for every one of those you find, I can guarantee there are at least a thousand Hindus that say that the whole world is Hindu, regardless of their faith. This frustrated Christian Missionaries in India to no end, when they saw their Christ interpreted often as an avatar of Vishnu or Shiva, and their bible placed right alongside Vedic scriptures.
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  6. #16
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    So...

    Okay, that's just a more verbose way of saying that you have your own personal definition of the word "Pagan". And you use that definition, to personally categorize religions of the world.

    Same as everyone else has been saying. They just said it with fewer words.




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=ChainLightning link=topic=669.msg11848#msg11848 date=1289464396]
    So...

    Okay, that's just a more verbose way of saying that you have your own personal definition of the word "Pagan". And you use that definition, to personally categorize religions of the world.

    Same as everyone else has been saying. They just said it with fewer words.
    [/quote]Yes, to an extent. But that neglects a fundamental distinction between their definitions and mine. Buddhism remains simply Buddhist. Hinduism remains Hindu. In my view, Paganism is distinct from even Polytheistic religions which were established independent of our Neopagan movement.


    Is that simple enough? I'm just used to this sort of thing starting a debate where I have to support my position, so... why not back it up from the start?
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  8. #18
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    LOL Az. I just went MAJOR simplified, with my starting reply. "Yeah, within reason."

    Means I don't have to agree that a Catholic-Wiccan is represented by the "Pagan" moniker. Without actually attacking or pointing a finger at any specific Catholic-Wiccans, running around.




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    [quote author=ChainLightning link=topic=669.msg11856#msg11856 date=1289465444]
    LOL Az. I just went MAJOR simplified, with my starting reply. "Yeah, within reason."

    Means I don't have to agree that a Catholic-Wiccan is represented by the "Pagan" moniker. Without actually attacking or pointing a finger at any specific Catholic-Wiccans, running around.
    [/quote]LOL!

    Remember to gimme some leeway with the TLDRs - I'm stuck in a world where nothing but solid facts can exist without logical support from... logic, solid facts, or maybe even broader rhetoric. Its starting to get a bit dehumanizing
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  10. #20
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Defining "Pagan"

    See...when I define something, I do this thing where I base it on the bulk of what I observe is actually thought and practiced, and what established accepted definitions already exist...not on what I *think* it should be defined by.

    And...well, I know as many people that *don't* practice some knock off of a European Indigenous Tradition to ever define what they call themselves in that light.
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