I have read the definition that this forum gives and I have gone through the various topics and I am left with a question of what connects us when we call ourselves pagan. I understand the need for acceptance and diversity but why even use the word pagan if it has no identifiable characteristics? Are there no aspects of the world that pagans have in common? Is there no way to identify unifying beliefs without being too exclusive?
These questions came to me after reading one of Hutton’s earlier books ‘ The Triumph of the Moon’. Hutton makes a convincing argument that Pagan faiths had disappeared in Western Europe dispelling the notion of that an underground pagan cults remained and how the witch trials were not proof of any organized pagan religion. Thus he concludes that modern paganism is in a sense a new religion with references to pre-Christian religions of Europe based of minimal set of dependable information.
In his last chapter he first gives the pagan federation solution to giving some definition to the pagan religion while trying to accommodate the many variations.
The Pagan Federation in 1989 came up with three characteristic that help form some understanding
1. Acceptance of the inherent divinity of the natural world. Which is the rejection of the creation of the world by a power outside itself.
2. The rejection of any concept of a divinely prescribed law for human behavior, and therefor of the concepts of sin and salvation. Instead it is a search for personal growth and happiness with only one major limitation – avoid harming others in the process.
3. The third is the acceptance that divinity can be both male and female. This ranges from a dual sexual Great Spirit to genuine polytheism. The point here is that women represent the same religious power as men.
He also suggested there is an unspoken definition that pagans of today hold on to those tenets, symbolism, kinship and inspiration to pre-Christian religions. This was followed by his own conclusion about modern further characteristics that he believes are associated but first I am first interested in why the three characteristics suggested by the Pagan Federation in 1989 would not be reasonable characteristics that with variation are shared by Pagans?
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