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Author Topic: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?  (Read 1862 times)

Hariti

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2017, 03:12:33 pm »
Quote from: Louisvillian;205624
Used in that sense, 'pagan' is an antiquated term. It is has been essentially replaced in the social sciences

 
I don't want to make assumptions, but have you had much experience with conservation Christian groups? It really seems like you have not, or you would know that the term Pagan is still widely used by Christians, protestant and Catholic, to refer to people who are not Jewish, Muslim, or Christian. It is still an official catholic church term. It is still used widely in church sermons and casual speech, at least in the American South, to refer to the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and occasionally other groups. Heathen is used as a derogatory insult in Kentucky (where I live) and Appalachia generally.

Just because the scholarly community has abandoned the term (although, I have heard history professors use it!) does not mean the laity and clergy of Christianity have!
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2017, 12:16:26 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;205644
I don't want to make assumptions, but have you had much experience with conservation Christian groups? It really seems like you have not, or you would know that the term Pagan is still widely used by Christians, protestant and Catholic, to refer to people who are not Jewish, Muslim, or Christian. It is still an official catholic church term. It is still used widely in church sermons and casual speech, at least in the American South, to refer to the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and occasionally other groups. Heathen is used as a derogatory insult in Kentucky (where I live) and Appalachia generally.

Just because the scholarly community has abandoned the term (although, I have heard history professors use it!) does not mean the laity and clergy of Christianity have!

 
So they do, but what of it? There's no reason why someone who isn't a conservative Christian should take that as an authoritative use. Many of the same people use 'feminist' as a pejorative, too, but their notions of what feminism is are no more accurate or authoritative than their notions of what paganism or heathenism are.

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Hariti

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2017, 01:14:14 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;205669
Many of the same people use 'feminist' as a pejorative, too, but their notions of what feminism is are no more accurate or authoritative than their notions of what paganism or heathenism are.

 
Well, they did invent the term, or at least use it for well over 1,000 years to classify people. Feminist has an actual definition which differs from its derogatory usage. The term pagan really doesn't, at least not historically. I would personally never use it to apply to anyone who does not want to be called pagan, but the Church still does. So I accept that, in one sense of the word, Hindus and other indigenous non-western systems of belief are pagan. I consider myself pagan because I live among Christians who see me as pagan, and because I feel solidarity with other non-christian groups who have been given (or adopted) that label.

I understand that this forum is primarily meant for modern, neo-pagan groups, and that the most common definition of pagan is not going to be the traditional Christian usage of the term. So I suppose my question has been answered. I personally see myself as fitting both definitions of Pagan, but most Hindus only fit the dictionary, Christian, non voluntary definition of the word.

It is worth noting that many other Hindus also feel solidarity with the Pagan movement and identify to some degree with Paganism, at least in America. There was a Hindu panel at PantheaCon in 2012 hosted by the well respected Hindu American Foundation.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2012/03/pagans-and-hindus-together-one-billion-strong.html
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Redfaery

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2017, 01:43:09 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;205671
Well, they did invent the term

No, the Romans did. Before Christianity was a thing

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SunflowerP

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2017, 02:38:19 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;205671
I personally see myself as fitting both definitions of Pagan, but most Hindus only fit the dictionary, Christian, non voluntary definition of the word.

It is worth noting that many other Hindus also feel solidarity with the Pagan movement and identify to some degree with Paganism, at least in America. There was a Hindu panel at PantheaCon in 2012 hosted by the well respected Hindu American Foundation.

And that is exactly what the '... and self-identifies as...' part of TC's definition means.

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« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 02:39:06 pm by SunflowerP »
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Hariti

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2017, 04:37:33 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;205672
No, the Romans did. Before Christianity was a thing

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I am curious where you read that, all the etymologies I have read attribute pagan to Christian Latin, while classical Latin used the term "paganus."

Regardless, I commented acknowledged that they may not have invented the term, but simply used it for over 1,000 years. The practical implications are the same; the term is a Christian term, used by exclusively  by Christians for many centuries to describe people that met the criterion of "not Jewish, Christian, or Muslim," and is still used that way today by Christians.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Hariti

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2017, 04:41:38 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;205676
And that is exactly what the '... and self-identifies as...' part of TC's definition means.

Sunflower

 
Indeed! As I said "I understand that this forum is primarily meant for modern, neo-pagan groups, and that the most common definition of pagan is not going to be the traditional Christian usage of the term. So I suppose my question has been answered."

I will be sure to use TC's definition of Pagan while on TC in the future! I will continue to use the Christian definition of Pagan when discussing religion in more Christian dominated settings, but I will respect the voluntary understanding of the pagan label while browsing this site. I was really not aware there was any debate about the term before starting this thread, and the responses have been quite enlightening!
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Louisvillian

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2017, 12:03:35 am »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;205644
Heathen is used as a derogatory insult in Kentucky (where I live) and Appalachia generally.

I am from there as well, but mostly the Louisville area. Nevertheless, I am not altogether unfamiliar with conservative Christians.

Quote
Just because the scholarly community has abandoned the term

Well, I was specifically referring to its use in academia. The social sciences are, at least in mind, at the forefront of studying the history of religion and comparative religion.

Quote
(although, I have heard history professors use it!)

History sometimes is not in the social sciences, but rather the humanities, depending on your educational institution. Sometimes the history department isn't the best place to go for current social science.

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does not mean the laity and clergy of Christianity have!

Well, of course they're going to, they developed the pejorative use in the first place. But elsewhere, terminology marches on.

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2017, 01:06:18 am »
Quote from: Louisvillian;205747
Well, of course they're going to, they developed the pejorative use in the first place. But elsewhere, terminology marches on.

 
Well, it has been more than 35 years since my last ancient history class, but I did have some interest in it...I consistently placed in the top three in the state in Roman History competitions during my high school years. And I do seem to remember that "pagan" was in common Roman usage as an epithet during the latter years of the Roman Republic, predating Christianity. It was used by the cosmopolitan and worldly upper crust of the Roman citizenry as they looked down upon the country bumpkins who still clung to the traditional Roman religious practices and, in many cases, actually believed in those deities. Christianity did no more than adopt the existing epithet...again, If I Recall Correctly.
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Hariti

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2017, 06:24:14 pm »
Quote from: Louisvillian;205747
I am from there as well, but mostly the Louisville area. Nevertheless, I am not altogether unfamiliar with conservative Christians.


Well, I was specifically referring to its use in academia. The social sciences are, at least in mind, at the forefront of studying the history of religion and comparative religion.


History sometimes is not in the social sciences, but rather the humanities, depending on your educational institution. Sometimes the history department isn't the best place to go for current social science.


Well, of course they're going to, they developed the pejorative use in the first place. But elsewhere, terminology marches on.

 
Oh. Somehow I missed the fact you were from Louisville! I guess I just assumed there would not be many Kentuckians on this site.

The institution I studied at was Eastern Kentucky university (I majored in history and minored in anthropology), and I have taken many upper division history and anthropology classes. Pagan is definitely more common in History than in anthropology, but I have heard it used in anthropology as well, in reference to the pre-Christian religions of Greece and Rome. That said, it could simply be that my professors were using outdated terminology.

As for my comment about the Christian usage of the term, I think their usage is significant simply because they are the world's largest organized region, and by far the largest religion in the English speaking world. They have enough of a majority for their usage of a term to be the dominant usage within American culture. If 80%* of the population of the USA understands pagan to mean "not Abrahamic," then that is going to be my default definition in everyday conversation.

*I am just guessing with that figure, based upon the approximate percentage of the USA that identifies as Christian. There may be Christians who use a different definition of pagan, so don't take my guess as authoritative.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Hariti

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2017, 06:28:19 pm »
Quote from: ehbowen;205749
I do seem to remember that "pagan" was in common Roman usage as an epithet during the latter years of the Roman Republic, predating Christianity. It was used by the cosmopolitan and worldly upper crust of the Roman citizenry as they looked down upon the country bumpkins who still clung to the traditional Roman religious practices and, in many cases, actually believed in those deities.

 
So, what religion were these upper crust Romans? If it was before Christianity, are we talking about atheists, or members of mystery cults? I was under the impression most Romans, regardless of social status, worshiped the Roman Gods. There were certainly many well funded temples in Rome, even after the advent of Christianity.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2017, 07:13:23 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;205754
So, what religion were these upper crust Romans? If it was before Christianity, are we talking about atheists, or members of mystery cults? I was under the impression most Romans, regardless of social status, worshiped the Roman Gods. There were certainly many well funded temples in Rome, even after the advent of Christianity.

 
If I'm remembering correctly they would be what we might call "nominally" practicing Romans...i.e., they paid lip service to the Roman deities and might show up at a temple now and then, but from a practical standpoint were nonbelievers for all intents and purposes (I was going to use the term "atheists", but at least in present connotation atheism implies an active belief that there is no deity). If my 35 years past memory is accurate, which I can't guarantee, these were people who basically didn't care.
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Hariti

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Re: So what is the definition of Paganism used on this site?
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2017, 07:59:15 pm »
Quote from: ehbowen;205759
I was going to use the term "atheists", but at least in present connotation atheism implies an active belief that there is no deity

 
That depends on the cultural context. I would generally have to agree with you that is often the case in modern American political discourse. However, my understanding is that in more theological contexts, the term also includes agnostic atheists who lack any sort of conviction related to theism.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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