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The term 'pagan' is used as a lazy method of describing many things non-christian. What do you think?

Geoffrey51 8 July 13

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Can’t say I’ve come across it being used here instead of atheist. Paganism is a form of worship as far as I believe so it wouldn’t be an accurate description.


Is Christo-centric a word? You know, looking at the world through the Christian perspective. And 'infidel' must mean 'unfaithful' or maybe 'not faithful' to Islam. I'm not sure what 'heathen' means. I really like the way English has so many ways of expressing ideas that are close but not the same. And I think we always have been too lazy to use them properly.

I think you are absolutely right there

If Christ-centric isn't a word, it should be. Lets add it to the lexicon!

Heathen's one of my favorites! Heath referred to the rural countryside, heathens were the country folk not fortunate enough to live in the city, closer to the church's love, but never too far to escape its attention! As such, it became a derisive term to suggest unclean, uneducated, and unsophisticated. Funny how much things have changed since remote areas got religion.


I don’t use it, and have considered it a method of demeaning atheists. Sounds like a religion unto itself..

Varn Level 8 July 14, 2018

"Lazy"??? Pagans were around for millennia before jeezus showed up.......multiple gods were the norm! How is it "lazy" to describe their myriad manifestations?

Because there are many cultures that have all manner of ideologies that are both complementary and in conflict. Pagan, in popular culture refers to specific earth religions, as I understand, and in broader terms anything not christian with deities. This is not a true adaptation of the term.

The worship of deities does not define pagans in religious or sociological terms.The term has been corrupted to present a pejorative rhetoric.


I think current usage is hazy, if not lazy. But @Matias provides, as usual, the historical perspective. Self-described modern pagans in my experience are Wiccans or animists of some stripe or other. Worshippers of nature, basically. The term doesn't carry a negative connotation to me.


Less "lazy" than polemical.

"pagan": late 14c., from Late Latin paganus "pagan," in classical Latin "villager, rustic; civilian, non-combatant" noun use of adjective meaning "of the country, of a village," from pagus "country people; province, rural district," originally "district limited by markers"

Religious sense is often said to derive from conservative rural adherence to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities; but the word in this sense predates that period in Church history, and it is more likely derived from the use of paganus in Roman military jargon for "civilian, incompetent soldier," which Christians (Tertullian, c.202; Augustine) picked up with the military imagery of the early Church (such as milites "soldier of Christ," etc.). Applied to modern pantheists and nature-worshippers from 1908.

Pagan and heathen are primarily the same in meaning; but pagan is sometimes distinctively applied to those nations that, although worshiping false gods, are more cultivated, as the Greeks and Romans, and heathen to uncivilized idolaters, as the tribes of Africa. A Mohammedan is not counted a pagan much less a heathen

Matias Level 8 July 14, 2018

Getting a tad racist there, pal......

I agree there. Certainly pagan was a term used by the Romans to define the citizens who lived in the country. It only seems to have become a pejorative word in contrast to Christian.

Not really, as pagan applied to worship and heathen, originally, was more a snide commentary on where the person lived. Roman's were pagans, but not heathens.


Certainly, there are lots of beliefs which could be called pagan which are all quite distinct. Old European pagan is different from North American Indian beliefs. I certainly prefer it when people are specific about what they mean.

Denker Level 7 July 14, 2018

Agreed. With such a wealth of culture and wisdom within all manner of ideologies that are both complementary and in conflict we have an important and insightful laboratory before us and available to study to ascertain why people do what they do. Not possible to object to 'pagan practices' unless you know what those practices are

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