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Why does Paganism scare Christians?

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by EnemyOfReason, Mar 24, 2014.

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  1. EnemyOfReason

    EnemyOfReason Well-Known Member

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    A common impression I get from many Christians concerning Paganism is that us pagans are a sex cult that loves to murder babies. Overall it is fear and confusion as it seems that so many Christians cannot handle the fact that Pagans exist and do not engage in Satanic activities, primarily because Pagans do not believe in Satan.
    What are the perceptions you have on the Neo-Paganism movement?
     
  2. elephunky

    elephunky Previously known as dgirl1986

    +184
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    AU-Greens
    People fear what they do not understand.
     
  3. awitch

    awitch @PluckyDuck3 on Twitter

    +1,610
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    There isn't any need to understand us; scripture says their god doesn't approve of what we do or believe. And if they believe their god is good, then we must be wrong at best, evil at worst.
     
  4. EnemyOfReason

    EnemyOfReason Well-Known Member

    +56
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    This sort of sets a double standard since the early church spent it's time killing pagans and professed to have a good god and now they creates lies about pagans and still call their god good. Astonishing really how double standards like these get set
     
  5. awitch

    awitch @PluckyDuck3 on Twitter

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    That's two completely different generations separated by quite a bit of time.
     
  6. EnemyOfReason

    EnemyOfReason Well-Known Member

    +56
    Pagan
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    Yet the same confusion still burns :D. What is old just gets replaced, hatred never really goes away
     
  7. WoodrowX2

    WoodrowX2 Member

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    Hatred once started becomes virtually indestructible. All it takes to get started is an allegation that a group is "The Enemy". From then on all allegations no matter how erroneous take on a sort of authority and justification for the hatred.

    From then onward self-fulfilling expectations, and misconceptions combined with stereotypical thinking will perpetuate the hatred and fear.

    It is a difficult thing to end.
     
  8. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

    +2,465
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    When did you become a pagan? What sort of pagan are you?


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  9. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

    +8,724
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    I wasn't aware that I was scared of Paganism.

    I'm also not entirely sure why I should be scared.

    Did they put a whoopee cushion on my chair again? I told them to stop doing that.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  10. EnemyOfReason

    EnemyOfReason Well-Known Member

    +56
    Pagan
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    I have been a pagan since like last year :D. I am a Wathani Pagan which is pre-Islamic paganism. I am taking back what Islam stole essentially
     
  11. pyramid33

    pyramid33 Well-Known Member

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    Christians havn't ever feared pagans.
     
  12. pyramid33

    pyramid33 Well-Known Member

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    Surely Isalm didnt steal from pagans. Maybe there is a better decription.
     
  13. Jane_the_Bane

    Jane_the_Bane Gaia's godchild

    +2,347
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    Legal Union (Other)
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    Most of the Abrahamic religions* aren't exactly inclusive or even tolerant when it comes to other religions, especially when these others aren't monotheistic.

    Less exclusive world views often try to accomodate divergent world views by stating that they're basically worshipping the same god(s) under a different name, or by believing that these others have touched upon the truth, but not to the same extent as one's own religion: the Romans did this extensively with the Interpretatio Romana, and the Baha'i do this nowadays by claiming that all major religions are simply previous revelations from the same source - even in cases where those are apatheistic (Buddhism) or polytheistic (Hinduism).

    But Christianity (and Islam, among others) do not tend to embrace such an approach: there is ONE truth, it is theirs, and everybody else worships dead idols (at best) or demons (at worst).

    "Pagan" started out as a derogatory term, and has been used in that fashion until people re-claimed it in the mid-20th century. (The same goes for the term "witch", which carried even more negative connotations.) Pre-Christian deities have been literally demonized for more than a thousand years, and in the minds of Christians, their religions often became a sinkhole for projections of spiritual depravity - everything that Christianity considered taboo (particularly sexuality and the naked human body) was attributed to these mostly extinct world views.

    The act of re-appropriation curiously enough seized upon this imagery as well - just as former colonies often re-constructed their national identity based on Western stereotypes, just turned into supposedly positive qualities.


    *Some Abrahamic religions are more inclusive than others, naturally.
     
  14. PersephonesTear

    PersephonesTear Junior Member

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    There are so many different answers to the question in the thread title, so I'll just try to cover the ones that I, having been raised Christian, have personally encountered throughout my life.

    There is a vast lack of knowledge in the Christian world about what paganism is and what it is not. This is compounded by a few different things. First off, the number of "ex-witches" who come into the Christian sphere and then proceed to make a fortune off of Christian ignorance and fear by embellishing their testimony and sensationalizing their experiences. Since Christians already believe in the spiritual and in supernatural powers, we don't seem to have much trouble believing stories about demonic practices that include cursing your neighbors or sending demons after your rivals.

    Second, many Christians are taught that to to even seek knowledge about these subjects will open you up to demonic attack. So it is impossible to learn good, reliable information about what other people practice and believe if we are too afraid to discuss it with them or to read up on it. The only source of information then comes from the above mentioned "ex" whatevers, because any other source is only out there to deceive us, draw us in, or to send demons after us. I'm sure you can see how this would be a self-perpetuating problem.

    Third, many Christians have a dualistic mind-set. That is to say, we believe that anything not of God is from Satan. When taken to the extreme, this can close a person into a very narrow world in which anything new or not easily understood is suspect. It also creates the unfortunate situation in which any religion that is not Christian is considered Satanic - such as paganism.

    There is a huge problem with this type of understanding, because there IS actually a religion called Satanism in the world today. Calling something Satanism that is not Satanism makes one appear to be ignorant and uninformed. The protest that I hear most often when I try to explain to another Christian that Satanism is not the same thing as Wicca, for example (any pagan practice could be included here) is something along the lines of, "Well that distinction is just splitting hairs because they all worship Satan whether they realize it or not." No, it is not "just splitting hairs." If I go to the hospital with a broken toe, I don't want the doctor to put a cast on my finger and then tell me, "Well I treated the same problem - your bone is broken, and you needed a cast."

    As you may imagine, this problem of lumping all things pagan into one basket is not at all helped by the fact that there is no (or very little) cohesion or uniformity of belief among the pagan community. That makes it very, very difficult to handle because humans are obsessed with labeling and categorizing things. That which cannot be categorized easily must be assigned a label at random or related to something else that is more easily understood.

    Fourth, as I am sure you are aware, there was this thing in the US during the 80's called the "Satanic Panic." I am pretty sure that this is where the sex-cult and murdering babies aspect of fears came in, but I was born in 1982. So I don't recall a world before the Satanic Panic, so I can't tell you what the insider view was in the Christian world before that. Though I think at this point that MOST Christian communities have moved past the height of this hysteria, there are still some lingering fears that cling to the fringes and travel inwards. Due to point number 3 - the grouping together of all things under the same label, that is why you might have encountered a Christian somewhere at some time who is afraid that you have sacrificed a baby to Satan.

    Fifth - a point that also goes back to the third point, is the fact that Christians associate paganism with occult practices. In fact, this isn't really a separate point. It is more of the same... But basically what I am trying to say is that if you do stuff like mess with a Ouija board, most Christians will not see a difference between that and paganism. Or seances or whatever... You know, the sort of stuff that become popular during the Spiritualist movement of the 1800's. I mention that specifically because I have some personal friends who are pagan, and they would NEVER mess with a Ouija board, go to a seance, or make any attempt whatsoever to contact a spirit. Also, there are some strong taboos in Christianity in regard to contacting spirits or the dead; so that adds to the perception of paganism being demonic.

    So where do modern, nature-based religions fit into all of these perceptions? GOOD QUESTION! I rarely, if ever, have seen Christians discuss paganism from that perspective.

    Hopefully I have been able to give you some insight on your question. I am Christian myself. So I do believe in Jesus, and I am not seeking spiritual enlightenment from any other religion. I am, however, very passionate about truth and accuracy; so I want to know what other people actually believe rather than what propaganda says they believe. Clearly, I don't know everything, though.
     
  15. pyramid33

    pyramid33 Well-Known Member

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    Surely Christianity isn't regarded as bad.
     
  16. pyramid33

    pyramid33 Well-Known Member

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    Surely all that are Christians understand the truth of God, considering the Holy Spirit guides his own.
    No matter how wise a human being considers itself, God is greater and protects His own.
     
  17. Jane_the_Bane

    Jane_the_Bane Gaia's godchild

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    As far as religious tolerance is concerned, it's not going to win any prices anytime soon - neither in relation to the historical perspective, nor in view of the present.

    Admittedly, Christianity has spent most of its potential for persecution on divergent Christian groups in recent centuries: Catholics persecuting protestants, protestants persecuting catholics, protestants persecuting protestants, etc.

    But that does not necessarily mean that they are embracing the presence of other religions - they've just been too minuscule in centuries past to merit too much attention. Christianity's stated goal is to convert everybody - so there's not that much room for divergent world views left, is there?
     
  18. dysert

    dysert Member

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    Fear. Confusion. Hatred. Why do adherents of a particular philosophy always think others are afraid of them or that they hate them? I've heard the same accusations from the homosexual community: "Why are you so scared of us? Why do you hate us?"

    Speaking for myself, I'm not afraid or hateful of pagans or homosexuals. It's really just a disagreement of philosophies at a fundamental level. Confusion? Maybe. But fear and hatred? Not at all.
     
  19. pyramid33

    pyramid33 Well-Known Member

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    Surely you cant blame that on true Christianity.
     
  20. pyramid33

    pyramid33 Well-Known Member

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    Hebrews 13:6

    So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
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