Paganism & Christianity

Paganism in the twentieth century has amalgamated itself into a diverse set of precepts that tend to converge on one fundamental concept, that all being is inter-related to each other. This is not too far from a theistic point of view where we believe all converge on God. However, as so many religious movements tend to do, paganism, in relation to nature tends to morph into aspects of fanaticism that goes beyond the measures of coherence.

This divine sacredness of nature has evolved itself from mother earth to political environmentalism. What was once “nature viewed as a manifestation of the divine and as such is sacred;”[1] is now more of a political football pitched by those aggrandizing activists, politicians, and most of all celebrities with an ax to grind. The religious aspect of paganism in relation to nature has been adopted, re-messaged, and volleyed into the forums of political debate leaving little to speak about the actual worship or recognition of religiosity in this arena.

Christianity saw this same thing happen to us in the sixties with the civil rights. What was once, and same say historically has always been, a serious topic in Christian circles was hijacked by political parties, activists, and celebrities. Most of the ongoing debate over civil rights is hardly heard from true Christian leadership (I am excluding political activist that conveniently adorn their names with Rev.).

The Christian community should realize that neo-paganism, in relation to nature and its divinity, actual share common ground. We agree that all of the earth is formed and created by God.[2] There might be differences on what form that God takes but in a truly Christian view, what God gave us should be respected. The knee-jerk emotion is that nature paganism in some satanic or sacrilegious is our sheer lack of commonality. God gave us the earth; the earth gives us plants for food and shelter. How is this that different from the pagan’s view on nature? I think it might be time to see where we can actually usher in a new dialogue where the sacredness of nature can be respected by both pagans and Christians, and just maybe we can start to drag this topic back from the showboats who have kidnapped it.

In contrast, when the paganism values nature, and its inhabitants above human life, this is where our concepts of sacred lose its standards. The worship and all things natural veers toward the fanatical understanding of what nature is here for; “it is also pluralistic in its understanding of truth and non-authoritarian in structure.”[3] For the Christian, God is the authority and nature was given to us for our benefit;

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food[4] (Ge. 1:28-30).

This is a far cry different from faithful pagans that see all nature as sacred; therefore, the killing of animals for food would be a violation of that sacredness. This schism should not be that outrageous of a point where we cannot align ourselves.

For far too long has the debate over environmentalism pushed pagans and Christians out of the forefront of this controversy. I see a great opportunity where Christian communities should be casting off their anthropocentric ideology and join the fight for conservationism. We should, along with nature neo-paganist, bring the spiritual convention and concept back into the fight for a better, cleaner, and healthier world.

Footnotes: 

[1]Terry C. Muck, Harold A. Netland, and Gerald R. McDermott, Handbook of Religion a Christian Engagement with Traditions, Teachings, and Practices (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014),537.

[2] Genesis Chapter’s one and two of the Holy Bible.

[3] Terry C. Muck, Harold A. Netland, and Gerald R. McDermott, Handbook of Religion a Christian Engagement with Traditions, Teachings, and Practices (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 537.

[4]  Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version.

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