Why paganism?

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Why paganism?

Postby Gnaeus Arminius Maro on Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:18 pm

Why do many people that adhere to the Ancient Roman Gods (or the Gallo-Roman ones, or whatever) call themselves "pagans" in the end?

Is that derogatory term invented by christians to describe the "dumb peasants" that do not listen to the one abstract not-part-of-nature-but-being-nature true god how believers in religion centuries older than christianity wish to describe themselves with?

The Greek association that wants to see the old customs legalized again, don't speak of "Greek Paganism" because of that.
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Postby Q Valerius on Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:40 pm

Actually, the Christians didn't invent the word. It's original context meant "rustic" or "pertaining to a rural village". Paganus became associated with the religious sense with the adoption of Christianity by the urbani, or city-dwellers. The pagani didn't adopt Christianity right away, and thus paganus was seen as being not-Christian.

It may not be accurate for a city-dweller to call thmselves a pagan, but it's certainly not originally a slur.
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Names for Things

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:00 am

Salvete Romani...

I will call a practitioner of any religion there is anything s/he wants me to. Me, I'm a Christo-Pagan, if labels must be applied (go 'head, look it up; I've posted a little on it too), and I manage to frighten and confuzzle both parties. >({|;-)

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:09 am

Salve Gnae Armini

I have no idea why some would use pagan to label themselves, unless it is to distinguish themselves to Christians that they are not.

Growing up, my family never refered to itself as being pagan. We didn't even call ourselves paisani as other Italian Americans did, since that term referred to country folk, where my family considered itself something different. And we didn't really have any name for the family's tradition. If anything we referred to it as la cosa nostra, "our thing," which tended to confuse people about what we meant. Really we didn't think about it much. We had our shrines, our Gods, the little rites we'd perform. All just part of what the family did. It all seemed natural to us. It didn't need any name.

Today, talking with others, "pagan" seems confused with "wiccan," which I am definitely not. So to better identify myself I will sometimes say gentilis Romanus to designate that I practice a form of Roman ancestor worship, and I will use cultor Deorum to distinguish that I practice Roman rites of worship to the Gods. Put together as a cultor Deorum, gentilis Romanus, others may not exactly understand what I mean, but I have told them up front what I am and they at least know that I am not a wiccan, that I don't believe in Atlantis rising again, or in Cat people of Antaries, or worship little green men in UFO's hiding in the tail of a comet, or just about anything else that passes as pagan these days.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:48 am

Salve Gnae Armini

I don't call myself a pagan either, although at times I do call myself a Hellenic pagan, but general speaking, I use the term Hellenic polytheist to distinguish myself from the other polytheists and from Wicca.
Even in Hellenic polytheistic circles, the usage of the term "pagan" to describe oneself is almost nonexistant because of the confusion between paganism and Wicca. I worship the Gods of ancient Greece. Not everything the ancient Greeks did is being assimilated into our practice by modern day Hellenic polytheists as there are things that are just wrong.
Basicly, we assimilate the religion of the Greeks into our daily lives, but adapt it more or less to modern standards. Ritual killing of a animal is useless in my opinion, because it serves no purpose. We can easily substitute it with meat that we can buy in stores than to have to kill a live animal. Maybe a good topic to discuss on?
It is shame though that Wicca is almost synonemous with paganism. Not that Wicca is a bad religion or anything, it is just a shame that so many people confuse it with paganism. You have what we call fluffy pagans who spout all kind of nonsense like Wicca is thousands of years old, etc... These people can be annoying, but seem to be in decline, although they still exist. Basicly these people have read something in some book and claim it to be like their bible and do stuff at a whim. I have met people thinking that the Norse and Greek gods were benevolent aliens and God and his angels are malevolent aliens, but haven't met anyone who actually worships them.
vale

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Postby Cleopatra Aelia on Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:41 pm

Well, I got used to the fact to call myself in English Pagan, which would be in German "Heide" as a term of non-Christian. If I want to define it more closely in my case it would be Asatru although that is actually a new word and the Germanic people or Vikings back then didn't call themselves Asatru. It is a reconstruction of course and I'm very well aware of that. But for me it just feels natural that I worship the Gods who were here in this part of the world before Christianity came.
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Postby Gnaeus Arminius Maro on Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:34 am

Gratias ago for your answers.
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Postby Aulus Flavius on Sun Nov 05, 2006 5:49 am

Having studied semiotics in uni I can tell you words and the meanings people associate with them are more then capable of changing over time. People in antiquity wouldn't have thought of themselves as pagan, and as has been pointed out the definition of pagan has changed over time.

I'll sometimes use the term pagan for the sake of simplicity, or Roman Recon, or Roman polytheist. Horatius summed in up best. You are what you are, regardless of the name associated with it. His family grew up not calling themselves Roman Pagans, but they certainly honoured Rome's Gods. Roman Pagan is just one term that could be pinned to them, although I'm not too sure how much they'd appreciate it :)
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Re: Why paganism?

Postby UrsusofUNRV on Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:25 pm

I call myself a classical polytheist and that usually gets the message across.

The fact that "pagan" may have been used as a slur by Christians doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that "pagan" in the modern era is a shorthand for a wide array of modern mystical and occult movements with which I have very little in common.
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Re: Why paganism?

Postby Caeia Julia Regilia on Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:23 am

UrsusofUNRV wrote:I call myself a classical polytheist and that usually gets the message across.

The fact that "pagan" may have been used as a slur by Christians doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that "pagan" in the modern era is a shorthand for a wide array of modern mystical and occult movements with which I have very little in common.


I like classical polytheist, though I think I'd call myself a Roman Revivalist -- the reason that I call myself Roman is pretty obvious -- I'm a hard polytheist who follows the greco-roman gods. The revivalist is sort of to explain my method a bit better. I'm not trying to turn back the clock to 200BC, as it's impossible, nor am I trying to cosplay as a Roman doing rituals in Togae. I want to bring the worship of these gods -- the Imortals responsible for the existance of Western Civilization into the modern world. But the world itself has changed.

Some things are just rejiggering the dates -- holidays are celebrated on the nearest weekend. I read the epics (Illiad, Oddessy and Aeneid) and the myths (Ovid mostly) as legends that are accurate and reflect how the gods act in the world. Hesiod and the Delphic Maxims are more or less the baseline ethics I use. I'm not sure how my understandings match up to the ancients, but Via Deorum will return.
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Re: Why paganism?

Postby C.AeliusEricius on Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:40 pm

Language is to communicate. I may periphrase along various lines but I try to use the best words fro the situation at hand. I sue the word Pagan at times. Or Roman Pagan to be more specific. I say my relgion is Religio Romana. I am what I am and my Deities know it too.

In some ways "Pagan" is like the word "Queer". There is a very militant group that calls themselves "Queer Nation". In your face and live with it. Mostly it is only in [trying] to communicate with "Christians" that I think of using the word. Though as the word for non-Abrahamic relgionists, well, what other is there taht describes all of us, including the dear Wiccans as well as the Santerians?

Yes, Pagan is a slur word, especially from Evangelical Christians (whom Marius once dubbed "Fundumbs"). To them, everybody but them are Pagans. Including the western Catholic Pope, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and all. (I woner how far outside their own parish their own circle extends.)

[p.s. I really am very tolerant. I'm even in a mixed marriage.]

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Re: Why paganism?

Postby C.AeliusEricius on Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:47 pm

also ...

While my Italian family did and do refer to themselves as Paisani on their mountainside in Toscania, a thing about the Roman religion is that it was Urban, not Pagan. On the few occaisions I have to speak with people who know what I'm talking about, I reply to the question, "Are you a Pagan?" with, "No, I'm a city kid."
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Re: Why paganism?

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:18 am

Honest and appropriate response!
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Re: Why paganism?

Postby Caeia Julia Regilia on Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:45 am

C.AeliusEricius wrote:Language is to communicate. I may periphrase along various lines but I try to use the best words fro the situation at hand. I sue the word Pagan at times. Or Roman Pagan to be more specific. I say my relgion is Religio Romana. I am what I am and my Deities know it too.

In some ways "Pagan" is like the word "Queer". There is a very militant group that calls themselves "Queer Nation". In your face and live with it. Mostly it is only in [trying] to communicate with "Christians" that I think of using the word. Though as the word for non-Abrahamic relgionists, well, what other is there taht describes all of us, including the dear Wiccans as well as the Santerians?

Yes, Pagan is a slur word, especially from Evangelical Christians (whom Marius once dubbed "Fundumbs"). To them, everybody but them are Pagans. Including the western Catholic Pope, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and all. (I woner how far outside their own parish their own circle extends.)

[p.s. I really am very tolerant. I'm even in a mixed marriage.]

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I agree. I don't really get my shorts in abunch for people saying I'm pagan -- In the modern sense of the word, I am pagan. I'll call myself pagan in some cases as well, I just don't want to use "pagan" as my only discriptor (mostly because of the confusion with Wicca, which has nothing to do with what I believe) Of late, I've become more of a Near Eastern Roman with some Babylonian dieties in my person al pantheon, but I still believe in the Holy 12 and in the Via Deorum.
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