I often hear evangelical Christians refer to everyday non-believers as "pagans." This designation is, of course, quite wrong. Pagans actually practice real religion, just not those most closely identified with Christianity or the more traditional religions of the world. Pagans build altars in their homes, they use religious symbols and icons, and they clearly promote ancient liturgies. Pagans are very religious folk. And they probably live right in your neighborhood.
Pagans employ "magick" (spelled with a "k" to differentiate it from the illusions and tricks performed by so-called magicians in shows) as central to faith. They hang certian kinds of flowers in their homes, use colors for various religious reasons, promote creativity in numerous ways, and they most definitely now live in the suburbs.
Modern pagans are most likely practitioners of Wicca, an earth religion steeped in ideas like energy and harmony. Pagans are monists, believing that all is one and one is all. And local "meet-up groups" for pagans abound across America. Such groups typically gather around a potluck meal, dancing and different types of rituals.
Not surprisingly pagans see their practice as loving and respecting the earth. And since they make no moral demands on adherents, many same-sex partners are often drawn to paganism, if they are spiritually hungry people.
How do we deal with paganism? The same way the early Church dealt with it. We live our faith in practical ways, showing the superior quality of our love for all men and women, and we resolutely teach the great biblical truths of creation, fall and redemption. Christians will increasingly face challenges to their faith in coming years. We had better get ready to deal with real paganism. It is clearly on the rise and you will most likely enounter it very soon in your community if you haven’t already.
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John, why do you restrict the definition of pagan to those who ascribe to ostensibly religious activity? Do not all people practice in some way, shape or form certain rituals as an attempt to give life absolute meaning, whatever their definition of the Absolute or religion?
I do agree, however, that we need to be aware of the growing spiritualism and spiritual thirst in our communities; it is as much an opportunity as it is a challenge.