Q&A: Why do people generally equate “pagan” with “bad”?

Question by Prince le0 (Celtic Latino Returns)): Why do people generally equate “pagan” with “bad”?
Especially in the manner that most mainstream monotheistic religions describe paganism and anything remotely not of Abrahamic descent, why do people generally equate anything “pagan” with bad?

Contrary to what many say, many pre-Christian cultures were not a bunch of bloodthirsty barbarians, the ancient Mayans believed everything should be in moderation, the Celts and Druids believed in tending to the earth. Plus, its not like the Abrahamic faiths didn’t have their share of violence and bloodshed in history, and sometimes the monotheistic God Yahweh/Jevovah/YHWH really wasn’t all that loving…or peaceful.

If there is a higher power that did in fact create the entire universe and earth, whose to say that power only supervised a certain section, nation, or people just because myths and legends describe others not like them as “bad” and “against God?

I’m not trying to say that everything “Abrahamic” or even monotheism is bad and I’m not trying to say everything about the pre-Christian world or even paganism is good, but I’m only asking why do people paint the “pagan world” in such a bad light?
I’ve seen it with many “fundamentalist” sects to which if there’s even anything that’s glaringly “pagan” in origin, all of a sudden its deemed evil and bad (a.k.a forbidden).
Mike G- all religions come from paganism. Judaism started off as a union of two gods and was polytheistic even after Moses spoke otherwise, many traits of Christianity and the whole Jesus story have pagan similarities…not saying there’s nothing unique but everything comes from paganism like it or not.

Best answer:

Answer by B V
they don’t – you are wrong

Add your own answer in the comments!

19 thoughts on “Q&A: Why do people generally equate “pagan” with “bad”?

  1. Because most people pass off what they don’t understand as “bad.” No one truely has an open mind anymore…that’s what the problem is.

  2. Paganism is bad because its origins begin in Babylon with Nimrod according to Yahweh. It’s refrered in the Bible as the “WhoreOfBabylon”.

  3. Because of that movie “Dragnet” with the Pagan gang. People Against Goodness And Normalcy.

    Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd. Good movie.

    Who gives classic movies a thumbs down? Honestly?

  4. because at the time it was against what the jews wanted to do..

    pagans were seen to have “no morals” because they weren’t following the dame religious laws as the jews.

  5. Because people use the word Pagan in negative connotations all the time. If Christians would study their history they would be floored at how much of ‘their’ religion comes from Pagan beliefs and rituals. Watch the movie ‘Zeitgeist’ and prepare yourself to be shocked.

  6. the catholic and christian church are to blame, they use slander to demonize everything. the mases are good at following just not thinking for themselves.

  7. Wait. The whole bible is about the evils of paganism. It all depends on what you call the ultimate good. Peace at any cost isn’t necessarily a good thing. Just ask Neville Chamberlain.

  8. The word Pagan essentially means the same as the word Heathen. The word pagan came from the bible as it was used to describe any religion that did not follow the Abrahamic God. Pagan is honestly a derogatory term for any other religion.

    The only reason I use Pagan to describe my own religion is that way people know what I’m talking about. However, if I were to be honest, I am not a pagan. I’m Tuatha De Danann.

  9. A lot of pagan imagery has been re-associated to satanism in the last 2000 years. For example the pentagram is a pagan symbol for the 5 elements.

    This lead to a lot of people in the christian world associating paganism with satan/satanism, which they consider to be evil.

  10. It seems as though you used four paragraphs to “imply” that you don’t understand how people can have an opinion different than yours.

  11. well correct me if i’m wrong but i read somewhere that Constantine, a man who was originally Pagan, changed a lot of western theology almost overnight into Christianity by simply making a decision whether to let Paganism and Christianity feud it out or not. He made the decision on the larger population being Christian so that the balance of religion would not create a complete overthrow of the larger portioned religion and therefore create less riots.
    Now, because of this decision, all pagan worship was made to look satanic. Many parts of christianity and symbols in christianity actually originated from Paganism. Over time Paganism though was made to look satanic or ungodly because it was in part a cover up to quel the masses and a decision by the church.

  12. Judgment due to the lack of education. To those who hold Christianity as their basic religion, they see paganism as less.
    Some uninformed people even consider it satanic.
    Abram’s parents were pagan. As a New age type of Christian, I have studied pagan religions of the world. I try not to judge them as bad or good. I see them as another form of belief. The exception I take because of my bias belief is that pagans tend to worship the creation rather than the creator.
    Rev. TomCat

  13. Judaism doesn’t condemn pagans to any firey underworld hell ruled by a demon deity. We don’t have that concept..those are pagan concepts. LOL..ok..well see how we compare and contrast?
    this isn’t going to be an easy q to answer because so many people have a view OF Judaism that is foreign TO Judaism (the New Testament’s depiction of Judaism )

    Torah means law/teaching, it is the eternal covenant between God and the covenant nation people, Israel. It began as a covenant made with one man, Abraham, and promised to his decendents forever as an eternal covenant. Moses at Sinai with receiving the Torah, was a reaffirmation for the Hebrews, the covenant nation, Israel, of this promise and their acceptance, their “choice” of adherence to the contract of this relationship included setting themselves APART from the other nations. The other forms of worship were collectively later referred to as “pagan”. It does not necessarily imply that everything pagan was EVIL, just that Israel took on an obligation to separate themselves from doing or practicing the customs and ways and beliefs of those surrounding them to set themselves as a “light unto the nations” dedicated to serving the God of Israel alone.

    Many people try to claim that Judaism was polytheistic..No. While there were and continue to be Jews that try to insist that some form of polytheism ( man/god worship included) can be compatible with Judaism, it has never been acceptable to the laws of the Torah and the commandments believed by Jews to be direct from God. The Torah shows all these lapses into idolatry and polytheism and the “pagan” ways because unlike many peoples, Israel did not try to hide or erase the failures and flaws of it’s people, but used them as examples of what NOT to do and to show what bad things befell Israel any time they were led astray. It is like this..if you make a promise or an obligation to be true to something and you’re not..you’re most likely going to bring harm to yourself and those you love in the process of deception..and you can lose sight of your original obligation. Torah teaches how to repent and return if we fail. Jews aren’t expected to be perfect, but we are expected to strive to justice, mercy and compassion for all humans.

    SOME aspects of the pagan world were most ASSUREDLY viewed as evil from the Torah..human sacrifice was a practice that was indeed almost as universal as slavery in the ancient world. Human cultures overall have indeed also been rather “bloodthirsty”..the ancient Hebrews no exception. What WAS the exception..and what was so earth shattering and groundbreaking and set the Hebrews apart from others was the fact that from Abraham onward, the notion of human sacrifice to placate a deity was an abomination. That is the practice that metes out the very worst punishment in the Torah..that’s the only people God is said to condemn to a firety pit of Gehennom..those who sacrifice their sons or daughters. Slavery wasn’t condemned outright, but a RADICAL thing of prohibition of cruelty to one’s slave was instigated, no other people had such prohibitions and also one was obligated to release most slaves after 7 years of working off whatever obligation they’d incurred to be in debt to the person. These ideas progressed to then lead the Israelites to be the first peoples to eschew slavery altogether! Torah has and continues to be a path of life, of honoring and working to make this life better for all of us, Jew and non Jew alike. It isn’t about obsessing with the afterlife nor of spending our lives condeming those who do not believe as we do.

    Yes, we all come from paganism..from goddess worship from nature worship, from man/god worship..but the practices involved in those things were the things that Judaism was separating themselves from doing to be a “holy nation”. Ironically, the two newer religions that claim to be “Abrahamic” both include concepts that are contradictory to the covenant OF Abraham

    Something forbidden for the Hebrews did not necessarily mean it was evil..but it did mean that it was forbidden for the covenant nation people who were dedicated to serving God alone.

    God is not exclusive to the Jew. God commands the Jew to be exclusive to God.

    Restating Torah precept, both Isaiah and Jeremiah affirm that the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come. Micah sums it up well, “What Does the Lord Require of You? To act Justly and to Love Mercy and to Walk Humbly With Your God”

    edit: I know my answer was already long, but I had other things I wanted to say..I was cut short earlier with a phone call. I wanted to explain that it is very easy to go from ” this is not right for us to do” because it means we have abandoned our purpose and path to, this is not right period..to this is evil. Because the distinction between what is evil and good sometimes isn’t always so clearly defined black/white is why there were so many laws and why Torah demands that courts and a system of justice were to be set up. Israel was first ruled by judges, after all.
    Justice without mercy is no justice at all and mercy without justice leads to cruelty from the unjust.
    The Pharisees were demonized because they wished to keep separate the pagan influences from Judiasm, originally from the Hellenists and later from both Hellenized Jews and Romans. So, while the groups that identify themselves as separate from pagans still often mistakenly equate “pagan” as evil, they’re not doing it from a place of understanding their OWN place in the world in relation to the paths of others.

    Remember, the Tanakh did not demonize all who did not believe in God at all..otherwise it would not have called the non-Jewish, and polytheistic King Cyrus of Persia a messiah for his righteous rule of all his subjects if that were the case.

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