Re: Wiccans v. Pagans
By: WhiteRav3n / Knowledgeable May 30, 2014
Post # 2
Seriously? Wicca is a single religion among all others considered Earth/Nature based religions. Some even consider Buddhists and Hindus as pagan because it is not the most common of the world (Judaism, Christianity, Islamic/Muslim). It's pretty much an insult that became an authentic classification. Some pagans are monotheistic, although most are polytheistic. And, although it is disputed, even those belonging to the Church of Satan (Lavey Satanism) are considered within the "pagan" community. I believe they should be under atheism, but oh well.
Re: Wiccans v. Pagans
By: Lark Moderator / Knowledgeable May 31, 2014
Post # 6
Penitent is correct.
The term Pagan is an umbrella term which refers to a number of different religions including Asatru, Druidry, Celtic Reconstructionists, Heathenry, Hellenic Reconstructionists, Kemetic Reconstructionists, Wicca, and some forms of Witchcraft.
Wicca is but one of the many Pagan religions, having its own specific beliefs and practices.
Actually, a "pagan" is just anybody who believes other than the state endorsed religion. In Britain or the the USA for example, a Jew, Hindu or Muslim would be a pagan.
To see why this is, consider Britain circa 1100 AD. At that time, Christianity was the official religion, but there were still many and varied belief systems still commonly practised. Britain has a history of conquest (both conquering and being conquered), so we have a very eclectic history and culture. The Vikings brought in their Norse beliefs, the Saxons brought their beliefs, the Normans brought theirs, all different. Although Christianity was already here by the time the Normans won in 1066, having been brought much earlier by the Romans, it was not prominent. The Normans really pressed it. At that point, the belief systems of the original Britons, as well as those of all the other influences, were branded Pagan.
To be called pagan is not in any way an insult, any more than being accused of asking questions is an insult. If we ask questions, and are satisfied with the answers, then fine. If that makes us Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, or the blanket term Pagan, then fine. No shame or insult in that. If we are not satisfied with answers, or we have more questions, then still fine, so again no insult.
Re: Wiccans v. Pagans
By: WhiteRav3n / Knowledgeable Jun 01, 2014
Post # 9
Although many people erroneously believe that the United States "God" is the Christian god, it is still a mistake. The American forefathers were mostly Deists, not Christians, and Jesus is not mentioned at all in any formal government documents. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence was not Christian. Christianity is "Christ" or Jesus centered. So if it were Christian, there wouldn't be so many pagan symbols on our money. Our public schools are prohibited to include religion entirely. If a teacher in a public school tries to include religion in their teaching they can lose their job. That's far from a Christian country.
The military for some odd reason is more in line with Christianity, but US citizens can choose not to join or just to ignore the religious side of it. I think that is just a part of the fact that Christianity is the most popular religion, albeit nowadays you find more people making fun of the religion than preaching. Closet atheism or agnostic belief is on the rise that are only Christians on Sundays or enjoy the commercialized side of holidays.
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State ... "
President Thomas Jefferson
It is not an insult to call a Wiccan a Pagan, because the word 'pagan' is not a derogatory or insulting term. I'd suggest that anyone who considers the word pagan to be insulting to Wiccan people or anyone else, is themselves misguided as to the basic principles of Wicca.
Wicca, itself, is not an old religion. In fact it is very, very new as far as religions go. However it is formed from a set of much older ideas, many pre-dating any of the 'major' religions. One of the key principles of Wicca, is that a practitioner does not judge others, and does not insist that they are right while others are wrong, but instead accepts that any path is valid provided that it harms nobody else.
As Wicca is a brand new religion, there is no hard and fast set of rules as there is with the more established religions, so nobody can claim to be an authority on the subject, even if the basic principle allowed that. However it is not a matter of opinion or ideas, but rather fact, that a Wiccan is, according to the definition of the word, a Pagan, but a pagan is not necessarily Wiccan.
But I am inclined to wonder about the OP's reason for asking? And their idea of what a pagan is? This is important because throughout history, a certain propaganda engine has effectively brainwashed many to believe incorrectly that 'pagan' is a derogatory term, often associated with evil or at the very least, that pagans are going to the Christian's hell when they die for failing to conform to the strict rules imposed by the church (not by the religion, which teaches tolerance and acceptance, just the church which teaches anything but). If the OP's idea of the meaning of 'pagan' is more in line with the church's ideas, then I respectfully suggest that some independent study of the world's many and varied belief systems would be of interest. Such a path of study may also lead to a much fuller answer of the original question than can be provided on any internet forum.