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Featured The Biblical definition of Paganism. (Pagan/Christians only)

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by Xavier Graham SA, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    I’m a follower of the Bible. In the Bible, there is the strong condemnation of Paganism.
    Some Christians take this as “Every other religion besides Christianity is Paganism”. As a result, religions such as Taoism and Buddhism will be labeled as Pagan religions.
    I’m a syncretist, so I tend not to think that the varying world religions are “Pagan” (sinful). I understand that the word Paganism may be used different in the Bible than it is used today.
    So here’s my dilemma; my Bible orders me to be against Paganism. Yet interacting with Pagan’s on this site, as well as my partner who identifies as one (God has a sense of humor), I am coming to the conclusion that the Biblical Paganism may be something different than some modern Paganism.
    So I would like to get to the bottom of what exactly is “Paganism” when the Bible describes it.
    From what I gather, it could mean polytheism. Also, another explanation of Biblical Paganism may be using God’s power without using God. Let’s look at Moses for example. When he went to the Pharaoh, Moses threw down his rod and it became a snake. The Pharaoh ordered his court magicians to do the same, and they did successfully. I heard in church growing up that the court magicians were hiding snakes up their sleeves (lol) but that is not what the Bible says. It says they turned their rods into snakes. I think this is Biblical Paganism.
    Anyways, I’m hopeful that I can separate some modern Pagan practices from the Paganism that is described in the Bible. When I joined this site, I had a negative opinion of Paganism across the board, but that is changing.
     
    #1 Xavier Graham SA, Jul 21, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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  2. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    Most modern Paganism is reconstructed, so your first problem is going to be finding out what are Classical Pagan practices and what are not. We don't know a great deal about historical Paganism, really.

    Another will be that not all Pagans are polytheists.

    And yet another will be even words the Bible uses - their definitions/interpretations may differ between what Jews understand it to be and what Christians understand it to be. Is idolatry worshipping an actual statue? Or is also just using the statue as an image, not actually worshipped, idolatry?

    Looking forwards to this discussion though :)
     
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  3. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    @Xavier Graham SA
    Who did you have in mind when you said pagan/Christians only?

    If pagans = all non Christians you've pretty much included everyone in your debate.
     
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  4. Viker

    Viker Filia Diaboli, in a shroud of metaphor and mystery

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    A very dark sardonic one.
     
  5. Jeremiah Ames

    Jeremiah Ames Well-Known Member

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    since the greatest message worth taking from the Bible is:

    love your neighbor as yourself

    then, I wonder why the Bible would tell us to be against anyone?
    oh, the literal dilemma

    for sure, I don’t
     
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  6. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    I meant those who self identify, but I guess that’s the thing. Some Christians would identify everyone else as Pagans, and others would not.
     
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  7. Jeremiah Ames

    Jeremiah Ames Well-Known Member

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    is it possible that there is more paganism in christian religion than there is in the bible?

    i don’t know
     
  8. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    Also, the selection of religions that were influencing the Hebrew people was limited to a small geographical area, for a while. Early on, you see mostly Sumerian and Cannan Gods being labeled as Pagan. But as for the other traditions developing at the same time, such as Hinduism, there is no mention of. Because India is far away from Israel, so early people’s had no contact.
    I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make here just a thought that occurred to me.
     
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  9. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    And that is if one believes that Judaism were influenced by these things in the first place.

    So it's a hard question no mater how one looks at it.
     
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  10. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    I agree
    That’s why I suppose that the Paganism that the Bible condemns must be some immoral practice. What is that immoral practice? I’m not sure, perhaps something akin to sorcery?
     
  11. Jeremiah Ames

    Jeremiah Ames Well-Known Member

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    can you please give me some verses?

    my mind doesn’t hold bible verses too well

    i would like to give it some thought
     
  12. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    Yea I’ll have a nice list for you within an hour or so, I oughta stick my nose into the Bible for a little bit anyways :D
     
  13. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    The Bible condemns *other gods* in the local Canaanite pantheon. What's interesting to me is the commandment "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". That says, quite literally, that there ARE *other* gods. So to the extent that a contemporary pagan worships a non-Jehovah God (as is possible with eclectic practitioners), they are breaking that commandment. But who cares if you break a rule central to someone else's religion?
     
  14. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:39:

    And you shall know this day and consider it in your heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth below; there is none else.


    Seems to be at odds with the notion of other Gods, however.

    But I don't think this is the place for that debate!
     
  15. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    NRSV version
    Deuteronomy 18
    9 When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations. 10 No one shall be found among you who makes a son or daughter pass through fire, or who practices divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts spells, or who consults ghosts or spirits, or who seeks oracles from the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord; it is because of such abhorrent practices that the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You must remain completely loyal to the Lord your God. 14 Although these nations that you are about to dispossess do give heed to soothsayers and diviners, as for you, the Lordyour God does not permit you to do so.

    Leviticus 19
    31 Do not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.

    2 Chronicles 30 (here Israel is returning from so called Pagan practices)
    1 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover to the Lord the God of Israel.
    6 So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his officials, as the king had commanded, saying, “O people of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your ancestors and your kindred, who were faithless to the Lord God of their ancestors, so that he made them a desolation, as you see.
    14 They set to work and removed the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for offering incense they took away and threw into the Wadi Kidron.
    31
    1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke down the pillars, hewed down the sacred poles, and pulled down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, all to their individual properties.

    Hezekiah’s son, who was king after, brought back Pagan practices
    2 Chronicles 33
    1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign; he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had pulled down, and erected altars to the Baals, made sacred poles, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4 He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.” 5 He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 He made his son pass through fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom, practiced soothsaying and augury and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 7 The carved image of the idol that he had made he set in the house of God, of which God said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever; 8 I will never again remove the feet of Israel from the land that I appointed for your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, all the law, the statutes, and the ordinances given through Moses.” 9 Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that they did more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the people of Israel.
     
  16. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Grēne Mann
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    Have you looked into the academic understanding of the Greek word "pharmekeia?" All the sources you can read online define it as "witchcraft" and the like, but they all come from a modern American Christian interpretation (with modern American Christian biases) of an old Greek concept... I think an academic approach to the verses mentioning the subject might be helpful in getting closer to the core of the truth on the matter in this particular case.
     
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  17. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    But also with the practicing of divination. There is numerous examples of people in the Bible casting lots to discern God’s will, and thematically it seems approved. The apostles used lots to decide who would replace Judas
     
  18. The Kilted Heathen

    The Kilted Heathen Torolf Brucesson

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    Paganism is a very modern group of reconstructionist religions. The ancient faiths would not have used such a word.

    The word itself is relatively new; around 11,400 HE. It is derived from the Latin pagus, meaning "country people; province, rural district" or the military paganus, meaning "civilian". It did not become a pejorative until 11,840, and was applied to modern pantheists and nature worshipers in 11,900.

    Not really, no. Unless you're using a King James Version bible, and that alteration is only because King James irrationally hated witches. Your bible commands you to worship no gods before Yahweh (if you hold to old laws), and to love your neighbor. So far as the bible is considered, there is parts that seem to speak out against practices of the people in neighboring nations. These were laws for the Israelites, no one else. This is also a period in history where literature is used significantly to slander other deities in stories (e.g. the challenge of Ba'al and Yahweh, or the slandering of Ba'al Zebub).

    Frankly, there's really nothing to separate. There is no "good versus evil", and actions of both have undoubtedly been done by both and all sides. The best way to cross this chasm is to drop Monotheism. The Ten Commandments only speak against (at most extreme) worshiping other gods; it doesn't say anything about not believing in them, or waring against those of other faiths. A better practice to those who wish to adhere to Moses' Laws is Monolatry, or the exclusive worship of a single deity while not denying the existence of others. This mindset allows for Christians (and other Abrahamists) to remain faithful and singularly loyal to their god, while living in peace next to those who worship other gods.
     
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  19. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    Please show the scripture from the Bible.

    Also, I think being against an idea is not the same as being against people.
     
  20. Jeremiah Ames

    Jeremiah Ames Well-Known Member

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    that was great Xavier

    thanks for providing those

    in one verse speaking about passover, made me wonder about something

    the Lord dictated precisely which festivals/celebrations/holidays that were to be celebrated. since the vast majority, if not all of the christian church does not recognize those, is it fair to say that all of their celebrations are pagan? or is this a different concept?
     
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