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Thread: Christian paganism?

  1. #1
    pragon
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    Christian paganism?

    I know its weird, and even I find it to be quite odd. What is up with Christian paganism/Wicca? What does it exactly mean? How in the world can someone be a Christian, and a pagan at the same time? It says in the bible that Paganism was a term to describe non-Christians. What!?

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    God in the baking Sean R. R.'s Avatar
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    Re: Christian paganism?

    To be completely honest with you, I ask myself the same question. The problem is not the pagan side of the story, but the Christian one. Christopaganism kind of forces the practitioner to entirely disregard entire sections of the Bible.

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    Silver Member Bartmanhomer's Avatar
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    Re: Christian paganism?

    Well I've heard of a Christian Witch. Even I don't understand the whole term of a Christopagan.

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    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Christian paganism?

    It defies my personal logic,but what do I know?
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    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: Christian paganism?

    It's a syncretic religion, hardly anything new nor especially unique. There's even some ways of interpreting the scriptures which allow for it. The exacts will differ based on the specific person but, in my opinion it can be examined archetypally. Essentially, Christ is a dying god figure and can be seen as the similar or the same as other dying gods. Similarly, Mary is a mother goddess figure and can be seen as manifesting in various female goddesses. One could examine different pagan deities as being aspects of the godhead, or mistaken for other divinities while being God.

    The biggest hurdle while still attempting to maintain scriptural integrity is the polytheism aspect. It can be avoided by with the above, viewing these figures as aspects of God, and therefore there is only one being actually being worshipped or revered, or it can be done by rationalizing your pagan gods as not being truly divinities. In this way pagan gods would be akin to saints, enlightened beings which one can work with to better understand God. Reverence of saints is rather polytheistic and an argument could easily be made (and was made by Protestants) that Catholics reverie idols and worship saints. By viewing deity outside of a theological context, it's possible to rationalize their inclusion in Christian practice- though not without some leaps- given they're not really related there can be some hole filling to make it work, even if I think it's sorta cheating. There's also people who think various gods are actually just angels or demons, the latter of which is well attested but, the former is .. well weird but, I have heard it.

    As an aside, witchcraft is a practice which needn't be theologically motivated and there's some... debate over the use of Christian sorcery provided there is no actual worship or adoration. This was the argument made by many 15-16th century sorcerers who engaged in the summoning of angels and demons for the use of magic. They would recite scripture and use "biblical magic" for this and argued that it was therefore done with the consent of God and through His power. It was quite popular with court magicians and many kings had their own personal astrologers. More mainstream church officials were insistent that there were no angels who would serve man and that contact with demons for any reason resulted in an implicit demonic pact which was equivalent to witchcraft. Basically they decried this practice as heresy, which is pretty much is but, so is everything else I'll be typing here.

    There's also just ignoring sections of scripture or tradition. Most lay christians don't hold the bible is especially high esteem. Really how many people still espouse that it is divinely inspired? Anything wrought with human hands is subject to human folly and from there it could be expected that scripture is flawed, which opens up many creative possibilities. Making allowances on both sides is then possible. While Christianity was still being adopted throughout the Roman empire, it wasn't uncommon to see offerings to Christ alongside those to Jupiter. For the Roman pagans who were not highly educated on Christianity, for what aspects of it were solidified at the time, Christ was yet another strange and powerful foreign god who should be appeased- you know, just in case. In more modern times, Christ may be worshipped in a patchwork pantheon of divinities- his everlasting love and compassion being valued above the fires of justice and punishment. Religion is ever evolving and fluid; Our acts of worship and theology have changed within every decade, let alone the centuries since the birth of Christ.

    I have a Christian witch friend. She's a Christians but, she's also part of our regular group that observes the sabbaths and full moon. She believes Jesus is good and in his eternal love for all people, she also thinks Hades is cool and that Persephone is a badass, even if she doesn't really worship them by herself. She doesn't think Jesus in his compassion would deny someone salvation for finding fulfillment, no matter the source, so long as they're not actively against him. She'll pray with us when we give offerings to the gods, and sometimes she'll also pray to Jesus. It's her belief these beings we call gods exist and help people, but she's not willing to ascribe diabolism to them because she believes that they, and pagans that work with them, can do good. She questions what the difference is when the goal for a christian and a pagan is both to create good in the world. I think she's pretty similar to many other Christians with pagan tendencies.

    Technically everything she does with us is heresy, but we've never been discussing any mainstream Christian group here. Heretical orders have existed since the death of Christ, many syncretizing in various degrees with native pagan religions; the conversion of old temples to new churches, saints with new names and familiar faces, and sacred festivals with new window wrappings have all been used to convert the natives in the past. Among them some undoubtedly had faith in the Cross, and surly there were many who failed to abandon the magic and tradition of their ancestors. For how many centuries did worship of pagan gods in the guise of christian idols persist? This is little different except in reverse. We are at a time where the worship of the old gods has returned, different and evolved, but returned nonetheless, and in it's readoption there are those who hold onto their original Christianity creating new syncretic forms of worship.
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    Re: Christian paganism?

    That was a good explanation, Corvus. I totally get it. I was raised Catholic and there's an awful lot of incorporation, as we all know. Some of us just take it further. My off the boat Italian grandmother had such a mish-mash of Strega and Catholic going on, she didn't even know it herself!

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    Re: Christian paganism?

    Thank you, Corvus. That's really interesting. History shows that Christianity and pagan religions lived side by side and were mixed together.

    In high school I had a friend who was Christian and she became very interested in paganism. She said that she missed the feminine part in her religion that paganism does offer. She liked how male and female roles both played an equal important part. Christians have Maria, but that's about it. It's mainly the males in the Bible who are in the spotlights. I can imagine that especially for women, for that reason, it can be interesting to mix up Christianity with paganism. My friend had a very strict Christian mother who accused me of putting the devil in her daughter, so in the end we had to break up our friendship But I think to this day she still mixes both religions, if only a little.

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Christian paganism?

    We have several Christo-pagans here at Paganforum, and others who identify as some blend of pagan and Judeo-Christian faiths. We even have a subforum specifically dedicated to Abrahamic faiths, of which 'Christian paganism' and all it's variations can be included. The subforum can be found here and it has some very interesting posts. It doesn't get as much traffic as other boards, but there are questions, answers and articles by people who have successfully married Judeo-Christian faiths with paganism and pagan practices.

    Jesus and YHVH are deities, just like any others (or aspects, or Archetypes, or whichever view of deity you subscribe to). Sure, YHVH has some fairly strong ideas about loyalty and prefers His worshippers to be monotheistic, but if you read the actual Bible (or the Torah), there is room for henotheism. And if you go back far enough, Judaism was polytheistic and has a rich pantheon of both male and female deities.

    The problem is that people equate 'Christian' with 'crazy fundamental bigots' and assume that all Judeo-Christian paths have the same narrow mindedness. But the reason there are so many versions of Christianity, Catholicism and Judaism (not to mention all the Catholic blended faiths like the African diaspora) is that there is NOT one single correct way to worship YHVH and/or follow the teachings of Jesus or any other messiah. Christo-paganism and it's flavours are just another way to worship and revere that particular set of deities and spirits. Individual sects may exclude Christo-paganism, but ironically enough, the holy book(s) itself does not.

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