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How I feel about this topic is that however some folk want a term or word to mean, the reality is different. Most folk when they speak of Paganism they ARE speaking about a specific religion. NOT an umbrella term. More often than not I hear talk of the Pagan Religion, and The Pagan Community. When I have met those who call themselves “Pagan” they have a different world-view than I do. A different set of values. That’s fine of course, but my point is there IS an essential difference in communities and views. I’ve spent most of my life Asatru and I have always thought of that as MY community. This past couple of years I’ve adopted a second (yet very similar) religion of Hellenismos and now that is my second “home”.
I have never felt the need to say “well, these two communities share a lot of similarities so why don’t we all just call ourselves (insert umbrella term appropriate)” and Hellenismos and Asatru are A LOT more similar than say Alexandrian Wicca and Asatru are. So why should I feel such an important need to adopt the words “Pagan” and “Paganism” and defend them as so important to anything? I don’t feel a remote kinship with the Wiccan religion so why should it be of dire importance that we have some kind of bond of being under an umbrella word like “Paganism”? Self-labeling as “Pagan” isn’t going to make me want to defend some other religion’s freedom’s any more than otherwise. I don’t feel we need to “be a united front” to do so either. I would feel as strongly as defending say a Ba’hai’s right to religious freedom than getting behind a Neo-Pagan’s.
Different religions, different values, different world-views should be appreciated as just that.
Matthew N. Hunt
Admin of the Polytheism Fan Page on Facebook