Paganism

Paganism is a broad group of religions, including modern pagan religions, indigenous religions and historical polytheistic religions. It is often taken to exclude monotheism, and to express a worldview that is pantheistic,polytheistic, or animistic. In a wider sense, paganism has also been understood to include any non-Abrahamic, folk, or ethnic religion. However, not all pagans were strictly polytheist. Throughout history, many of them believed in a class of subordinate gods/daimons which included some kind of supreme deity.[1] Once monotheistic religions such as Christianity started to become more prominent, names to encompass polytheistic worshipers started to develop; some of these include Hellene, pagan, and heathen. These names came to be used as slurs.

Modern knowledge of old pagan religions comes from several sources, including: anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to the classical world. Before the rise of monotheistic religions, most people practiced some type of polytheism. Eventually monotheism began to increase in popularity causing these religions to lose followers. As a result, some polytheistic religions began to advocate for some type of main deity. Unfortunately, this was not enough to completely regain their popularity and many of these religions started to die out and eventually became extinct. Paganism would later on be studied during the Renaissance and Romantic era; it would even go on to inspire folklore. Forms of these religions, influenced by various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, exist today and are known as contemporary or modern paganism, also referred to as Neopaganism.[2][3]


Notes

  1. Jump up to:a b Cameron 2011, pp. 28, 30.
  2. Jump up^ Lewis, James R. (2004). The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements. Oxford University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-19-514986-6.
  3. Jump up^ Hanegraff, Wouter J. (1006). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 84. ISBN 90-04-10696-0.

The following video presentation by Dr, Peter Jones describes the current revival of paganism within Western culture.

Rising Paganism


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