Modern Paganism: A 12th Grade Oral Presentation

1044 words - 4 pages

Modern Paganism is a rich and diverse religious movement drawing the attention of the media, lawmakers, and spiritual seekers. This oral is an attempt to answer some of the questions frequently asked about modern Pagan beliefs and practices.Firstly, I will start by defining the term "paganism". The term "Pagan" comes from a Latin word for "country dweller", and was first used in early Christian times to refer to those not yet converted to Christianity."Pagan" was a name give to those who were not seen as "true believers." Today, it refers more generally to the faith of those whose spiritual centre is drawn to native and natural religions, usually pantheistic or polytheistic, and almost always earth-centred.But what then is "Modern Paganism"? Modern Paganism, or Neo-Paganism, is a modern, Earth-centred religious perspective, which borrows and adapts from pre-Christian paganism, as well as from contemporary religious thought. While reconnecting with ancient wisdom, it speaks eloquently to the needs and concerns of the present."The Old Religion" is a term that describes the pre-Christian religion of much of western and northern Europe, which was based on the agricultural cycles and other natural rhythms of the Earth. It coexisted with Christianity for centuries, from the so-called "Dark Ages" up until the Inquisition and the "Burning Times" of the lateMiddle Ages. It also can refer more generally to other native and tribal religions of the world.Some contemporary Pagans call themselves Witches. The term has many meanings, some carrying rather heavy negative baggage. "Witchcraft" or "The Craft" is most properly applied to three broad categories: Descendants of the European witches of the Middle Ages, practitioners of the "reconstructed" Witchcraft of the 20th century, and "feminist Witches" whose religion and politics centre in the contemporary women's spirituality movement.It can generally be said that all modern Witches are Pagans, but not all modern Pagans are Witches. At least one writer, Aidan Kelly, has begun to use the term "Neo-Pagan Witchcraft" to describe the largest portion of the contemporary Pagan community.Often used as a synonym for Witchcraft, "Wicca" is thought to derive from an Anglo-Saxon root meaning to bend or to turn. It is more properly applied only to those Witchcraft traditions, which originated in or derive from practices in the British Isles.The central beliefs of modern Pagans differ in specifics, yet share many fundamentals. Deity is seen as immanent rather than transcendent. Experience is preferred over doctrine. It is believed that there are and should be multiple paths to the Divine. There is no prescribed creed, but there are a number of beliefs shared by most contemporary Pagans, which I will explain to you at the end of this oral.Like religious Humanists, modern Pagans have a love and reverence for this world and the physical plane generally. The rational is seen as important. Great emphasis is also placed on the...

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