Why and how would someone decide to be “Pagan”?

Question by David M: Why and how would someone decide to be “Pagan”?
I understand there are many variants of so called “paganism” etc but speaking in general terms what would draw somone to decide for example “Well gosh this idea of drawing down the moon to invoke the triple goddess makes perfect sense?”

I fully confess to being dismissive of Paganism but I’m trying to ask a sincere question here. We know the history with Gardner and all that. We know the origins where much of the ritual etc were grafted from earlier faiths. So how would anyone say yep that’s it – this guy collected all the true bits of earlier faiths, came up with some true new stuff and accurately described the real immanent deities of the God and the Goddess?

Again – an example – I know not all Pagans cleave to the traditional British variant. Feel free to mentally edit. The question remains though that Christians are made mostly via indoctrination and social norming, but Pagans almost to a one have chosen it from all available options, even knowing everything above. Why?
Couple updates.

No I don’t think Christianity or older religions make more sense. I think NONE of them do. However the older faiths have established large followings over centuries, and people are indoctrinated into them so it makes more sense that people would adopt them. The religion makes no more sense – just the adoption of it.

Wicca is an example of Paganism. I used it as one example and made it clear I knew there were others.

I’m still not seeing though a rational reason to decide that yes this particular view of divinity is any more sensible, true or meaningful than any other. The “as above so below” answer is the closest so far, but still not seeing why anyone would be likely to accept such beliefs as true when we can trace their origin. What’s the difference between Gardner and Hubbard as far as validity of belief goes – their relative intent or morality being not relevant – just the beliefs themselves?
No no trees for me.

And even if I had one out of social norms or for kids, that would not make me accept the belief that spawned the idea any more than taking Easter off makes me believe that one. The important question for me is why anyone would accept the beliefs, not the trappings.
AGAIN – I KNOW Wicca is not all of Paganism. It’s in there in the question. How much clearer could I have made it?

Atheism takes no faith. Atheism is absence of belief not belief in absence.

Still nobody is addressing why they would choose something as true. I was hoping someone would point to some evidence or inductive arguments that establish some of the tenets of whatever brand of paganism they espouse. Where is the Pagan Thomas Quinas with their five proofs – even if they are not valid, but at least reasoned?

Best answer:

Answer by monky_bizzness_2
Cuz you can smoke pot and have sex and still be Pagan and claim to have a relationship with god(s).

So, those who like smoking pot and having sex and want to remove the guilt, cannot be Christian so they become Pagan.

Give your answer to this question below!

19 thoughts on “Why and how would someone decide to be “Pagan”?

  1. Umm…I guess people would become pagan if they wanted to revel all day long and get high. Are you talking about wikka?

  2. Well, for one, the influence of nature on humans can be seen, measured, and proven. Invoking earth gods and goddesses is much more appealing than praising a sadistic, bloodthirsty God who drowned, plagued, and slaughtered more people than Hitler.

  3. If in your mind, you find “God” or at least spiritual energy in nature, then paganism might make sense to you. If you feel the gods are probably as varied as the humans down here (The ancient Greek code: As Above, So Below) then you may be a pagan. If you feel there is some sort of divinity and purpose, but that it’s probably not derived from a book so much as your own experience and your mind, then you may feel the draw of one of the many pagan religions.

  4. Wait, so a religion being OLDER than the ’50s makes it MORE relevant and real? You have to be kidding me…

    Anyway, while I’m not Wiccan, I was drawn to paganism because it teaches self-empowerment and personal growth. It’ doesn’t focus on what you SHOULDN’T do or be. It tells you how to find your own path.

    I’m making my own religion, really. That makes perfect sense to me.

    Edit: I don’t see how we can be more explicit. 😀 We believe because we have had experiences that give us insight into a view of the universe that makes sense to us. We don’t deny scientific fact (usually), but neither do we feel the need to deny philosophy, idealism, personal gnosis and the unknown.

    Belief is a matter of many things, not just socialization. It’s also about life experiences and education and culture and choices and maybe even kismet. We ALL have different beliefs. Any individual will base theirs on any combination of the above things.

  5. Why? Because it makes more sense than anything the other religions spout. How? Because we have something called ‘education’ that led us to make that choice.

  6. simply because it is their choice and their human right to do so! What other reason could there be?

  7. It is my opinion that those including myself who have a spiritual path that is of a pagan nature, have reached that decision by considerable study and evaluation.

    It isn’t a matter of reading one book, taking on one person’s point of view or listening to one lecture but a matter of taking in as much as possible, from all points of view and eliminating the one that you find flawed.

    As with any spiritual condition, it is a personal private belief, which in the end is bridged by faith between understanding and reality. There is no proof absolutely for spiritual natures of any kind until you pass from life to death. And none of them are talking.

  8. As IF the beliefs of paganism are more far-fetched than Christianity. What are you even talking about? The triple goddess is the origin of the trinity. Goddess religions predate Christianity and in many cases are the archetypes of Christianity that existed prior to the patriarchal paradigm shift. We have the archaeological evidence. Better to follow the original than an ugly, corrupted new version of a religion.

    Edit: you miss the point. Pagans don’t have a Thomas Quinas, because history is written by the winners. The followers of Yaweh and Jesus won the religious culture war, but that doesn’t mean that Pagans can’t piece together what’s left of their shattered history. I’m not a Pagan, though the tenets are infinitely more beautiful than those of the Abrahamic faith. I don’t know what you’re trying to understand. Why people believe in an ancient religion? Why not? It makes sense to them.

    You’re not making a case as to why there should be legitimate confusion.

  9. Forget Gardner and forget ritual. Just focus on the more basic aspects of Paganism (I AM Wiccan, and I DO practice ritual, but that’s not what brought me to Paganism in general and Wicca in particular). Focus on the natural cycles, and the balance between male God and female Goddess, on the creative energy of that dichotomy, on the emphasis on personal responsibility rather than seeking forgiveness from God.

    I left Catholicism when I got old enough to start asking questions that couldn’t be satisfactorily answered (and for which I was often punished in the Church). I was an agnostic for many, many years. I was also a seeker of the nature of the divine, and while it took me a long time to come to it, I finally decided that the divine must have both a female and a male side, and that helped direct me on my path.

    Now, I must confess to being rather dismissive of atheism. It seems to me that it takes every bit as much blind faith to be an atheist as it does a Catholic or a Pagan. Agnostics may be fence sitters, but if they don’t feel a strong connection, theirs is the most rational and intellectually defensible of stances regarding the divine. I choose to accept that there’s no proof in any Gods or Goddesses. They are comforting to me, and a way of remembering that the universe needs balance, or at least mine does.

    Interesting question. Snide, but not overly insulting. Thanks.

  10. The same as a Christian or Muslim do.

    Its what they believe is their life path. Paganism is a very interesting religion, its one of the oldest religions if not the oldest. It has nothing to do with smoking Pot or sex lol but it helps. I’m not a pagan but have great respect for them.

  11. Not all Pagans have the beliefs of “Oh gosh let’s draw down the moon…” A lot of the more current beliefs come from Wicca and not all Pagans are Wiccan. Wicca, I am sorry to say has became quite cliche and the cool thing to do and that is a shame for the people that actually follow true to that path. You can’t really sit back and say how do you just decide one day to believe in that. Just like every other religion there are people that are raised with those beliefs and there are people that feel that certain beliefs are what is right for them. There are plenty of things in Christian beliefs that I could sit here and say how or why do you belive that, but that is why it is called faith. You believe in what YOU believe in. End of story.
    The other two people… yeah drugs and sex…. idiots.

  12. “Why and how would someone decide to be “Pagan”?”

    They do it because, like Christians, they choose which ever religion appeals to them the most. Even knowing that there are all the other religions in the world, why have Christians picked Christianity? Indoctrination is indoctrination, does the source, whither it is parents, a book or a website, really matter? Social norms vary from place to place and as they say, “The world is becoming smaller every day.” For people who spend alot of time visiting online pagan forums, what is consider socially acceptable is going to be very different, from what someone from a small town with no net access considers social acceptable.

  13. Just as Christians don’t need other’s approval to believe their faith is right, the same goes for Pagans.
    Paganism is right for me. Not for everyone. Why does it bother you that some folks are Pagan?
    And it sounds like you’re referencing Wicca mostly, which is not the same as Paganism. Gerald Gardner is the “founder” of Wicca, not Ancient Paganism.
    Do a little research, and maybe you’ll understand. Almost everything in Christianity comes from the Ancient Pagans.
    So, what makes you so sure that’s correct??
    Oh, that’s right. Social norm. Psh.

    ADD: Ok, the reason I chose Paganism as “true” is because it brings me inner peace. Isn’t that the point? And honestly, I don’t claim that my beliefs are any more correct than anyone else’s. We all gotta find what brings us peace and happiness. Be it Paganism, Christianity, Atheism, Satanism. Whatever. I’ve “tried” many other religions, and none felt as right as Paganism. Does that answer the question?

  14. Well the things you’re trying to describe relate to Wicca…I’m not Wiccan.

    But to answer your very first question, I was drawn to paganism for a number of reasons. It relates to my heritage (part Irish, part Scottish, part a number of other things). I had been researching Celtic history, culture and mythology for years previously. And it made sense to me in a way Christianity didn’t.

    Add: Ok I think the problem here is you asked people why they followed paganism, and now what you want is people to prove to you the religion(s)’ validity. If this is a topic you’re interested in, why don’t you do some research into it.

  15. I write to a lot of Wiccans/pagans. There are several things….

    Knowledge of Christendom’s origins. They know the teachings and holidays were stolen from pagans and that those are the older religions. Even older (most) than Judaism and the Law of Moses.

    Egyptians for example, already worshipped trinities or triads when Moses and the Hebrews left. They also used the cross, etc. (brand of a pagan god, not a torture device)…..Plato took trinity from Egypt as did Athanasius the Bishop of Alexandria Egypt where the Ptolemaic library had been……Athanasian Creed brought trinity into Christendom from the Bishop of Egypt (RC).

    Pagans are against war (Christendom tends to always be killing or preparing to kill, appropriating funds, inventing better bombs/missiles/planes), they are against destroying the environment and animals (Rev. 11:15, 18, Matthew 5:5, Ps 37, Isaiah 35, 11:6-9)….

    They tend to be willing to discuss religion, church goers usually aren’t and most stay out of R&S.

    There are many different pagans/wiccans and a bulk are merely solitary not connected with a group.

    They tend to find paganism more truthful and reasonable, honest than Christendom.


  16. The pagans that I have spoken with have mostly chosen their path for two basic reasons 1) they are fed up with organized religion and they seen a religion that will be more accepting, something that they feel at peace with and 2) Someone they know and love introduces it to them and they realize that it is really what they have been looking for all along. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make it any less real or important, if not to you than to someone else.

  17. First, I am not Wiccan, I am Maa Kheru. Its Egyptian, older than all but one extant religion.

    Drawing down the moon is no different than intercessory prayer.(having someone pray for you).The only difference is form and function. I find it curious that people bemoan that Wicca drew from here and there and made up a religion, when the Christian church did exactly the same thing. I dare to say that all major religions did… Its easy to find evidence of Hittite, Caananite, Sumerian, Greek and Persian influences in the Ancient Egyptian beliefs.

    The difference is that I choose to follow a spiritual path outside of any doctrine. Why? Because it fits me and that is where I make my spiritual connection to deity. To me its not the final destination of the path, its the journey.

    Edited to add:

    “Where is the Pagan Thomas Quinas with their five proofs – even if they are not valid, but at least reasoned?”

    Because I blaze my own path, I don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone. I don’t seek people to join me in my journey, some do but we are not proselytes. The only one that has to believe is me.

    I sought my proof (and truthes) and found them in the Triad of Memphis, with Ptah and my beloved Sekhmet. If you need proof, then you go seek it. I am not on my path to throw things at people, so they can shoot them down and feel better about themselves because they think they have won an argument. I can teach you nothing, its up to you to learn.

  18. I myself am not a Pagan but I find your post very interesting.

    I’m Jewish but have long had an interest in some of the Pagan paths – specifically, Wicca.

    And if I wasn’t Jewish, and was going to choose a religion/belief system/tradition to be part of, I would almost certainly choose Wicca.

    If you ask me to explain why, I would answer that it’s because, having read up on it, I agree with many of their beliefs, I respect the values represented, and because it seems to attract people who are open minded, intelligent, compassionate, and who have a sense of humour!

    Now clearly this is very different to what many Pagans say about hearing the call of their gods – I asked about this the other day and got some wonderful and intriguing responses. I suggest you click on my avatar and find that post – you’ll find it helpful, perhaps, in resolving this question.

    You might also like to remember that, while maybe not Wicca, other Pagan traditions are OLDER than both Judaism and Christianity.

    Hope this has helped a little bit – I’ve starred your post so that my Pagan contacts will hopefully come along and answer, as of course I can only offer a few thoughts as a non Pagan, while they can speak from experience 🙂

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