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Paganism on Wikkipedia

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  • Dylan
    Paganism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Pagan and Heathen redirect here. For other usages, see Pagan (disambiguation) and Heathen (disambiguation)
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 2, 2008
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      Paganism
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      "Pagan" and "Heathen" redirect here. For other usages, see Pagan (disambiguation) and
      Heathen (disambiguation)


      Mayan priests dancing around fire at a ceremony
      Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller, rustic") is a term which, from a
      Western perspective, has modern connotations of spiritualist practices or beliefs of any
      folk religion, and of historical and contemporary polytheistic religions in particular.
      The term can be defined broadly, to encompass the faith traditions outside the Abrahamic
      monotheistic group of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The group so defined includes
      many of the Eastern religions, Native American religions and mythologies, as well as non-
      Abrahamic ethnic religions in general. More narrow definitions will not include any of the
      world religions and restrict the term to local or rural currents not organized as civil
      religions. Characteristic of pagan traditions is the absence of proselytism and the presence
      of a living mythology which explains religious practice.[1]
      The term "pagan" is a Christian adaptation of the "gentile" of Judaism, and as such has an
      inherent Christian or Abrahamic bias, and pejorative connotations among Westerners,[2]
      comparable to heathen, and infidel, mushrik and kafir (????) in Islam. For this reason,
      ethnologists avoid the term "paganism," with its uncertain and varied meanings, in
      referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring more precise categories such as
      polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism; however others criticise the use of these
      terms, claiming that these are only aspects that different faiths may share and do not
      denote the religions themselves.
      Since the later 20th century, "Pagan" or "Paganism" has become widely used as a self-
      designation by adherents of Neopaganism.[3]
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