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Thread: How do you personally define paganism?

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    How do you personally define paganism?

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoJesi View Post
    How do personally define Paganism?
    "Personally define"? While I understand that paganism has multiple paths and is quite malleable to one's individual spirituality, I don't believe it to have personal definitions. Can you elaborate on what you mean by "personally define"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SalixIncendium View Post
    "Personally define"? While I understand that paganism has multiple paths and is quite malleable to one's individual spirituality, I don't believe it to have personal definitions. Can you elaborate on what you mean by "personally define"?
    Yes, how the original poster sees it. What they see paganism to be, which will give one an indication of the information they desire. Paganism is really a vague term and the modern definition most give to are often very distant from the original context.
    it comes from Paganus, meaning someone who lived off of and had a close relationship with the land. I hold to that, and don't see people who don't know the difference between a mulberry and raspberry to be very pagan,
    Most on here would disagree with me and you know, to their defense they are certainly of their era. I don't see it as strictly non-Abrahamic, the term wasn't quite that exclusive historically. However, it was used as a slur or insult to many country dwellers who still held onto their per-christian folklore and beliefs
    as newer religions became trendy in more populated areas. that's generally how trends to and pagans were seen to be backwards and behind the times. The Hillbillies of the old country.
    That isn't the image most get now though when they hear Pagan and when someone says they are Pagan the first thing I ask them is what they mean by that because the word Pagan doesn't tell me much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DracoJesi View Post
    Yes, how the original poster sees it. What they see paganism to be, which will give one an indication of the information they desire. Paganism is really a vague term and the modern definition most give to are often very distant from the original context.
    From this I gather that you were looking more for the OP's desired path rather than an actual definition to the word. If this is the case, that makes sense. I don't, however, agree that the term is "vague". Paganism is an umbrella term under which many more specific (or not) paths fall. Sort of like how the terms "Abrahamic" or "Christian" have specific definitions, but are umbrella terms for numerous Abrahamic paths. To take it the definition discussion one step further, it would be like asking someone how they define "pizza". While the umbrella term pizza has one specific definition, there are many variations of pizza with different crusts and different toppings that fall under that term. Just because one doesn't like or eat pizza with sausage doesn't make a dish made typically of flattened bread dough spread with a savory mixture usually including tomatoes and cheese and often other topping and baked not a pizza.

    it comes from Paganus, meaning someone who lived off of and had a close relationship with the land. I hold to that, and don't see people who don't know the difference between a mulberry and raspberry to be very pagan,
    Agreed. Which reinforces that point that the term does have a specific definition.

    I don't see it as strictly non-Abrahamic, the term wasn't quite that exclusive historically.
    How many non-Abrahamic polytheistic religions can you name? (aside from Catholicism, which by the the definition of paganism would make it a pagan religion...lol)

    However, it was used as a slur or insult to many country dwellers who still held onto their per-christian folklore and beliefs
    as newer religions became trendy in more populated areas.
    In the pejorative meaning

    that's generally how trends to and pagans were seen to be backwards and behind the times. The Hillbillies of the old country.
    Religious intolerance at its finest.

    That isn't the image most get now though when they hear Pagan and when someone says they are Pagan the first thing I ask them is what they mean by that because the word Pagan doesn't tell me much.
    Out of sheer curiosity, do you get the same impression from someone who refers to themselves as Christian?
    Last edited by SalixIncendium; December 17th, 2016 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Broken quote coding

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    Quote Originally Posted by SalixIncendium View Post
    From this I gather that you were looking more for the OP's desired path rather than an actual definition to the word. If this is the case, that makes sense. I don't, however, agree that the term is "vague". Paganism is an umbrella term under which many more specific (or not) paths fall. Sort of like how the terms "Abrahamic" or "Christian" have specific definitions, but are umbrella terms for numerous Abrahamic paths. To take it the definition discussion one step further, it would be like asking someone how they define "pizza". While the umbrella term pizza has one specific definition, there are many variations of pizza with different crusts and different toppings that fall under that term. Just because one doesn't like or eat pizza with sausage doesn't make a dish made typically of flattened bread dough spread with a savory mixture usually including tomatoes and cheese and often other topping and baked not a pizza.
    Did you know they make pizza with Alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce and this is even considered a traditional way to make Pizza? I didn't, it blew my mind because that certainly didn't fit my definition of a pizza and i realized i had no idea what a pizza actually was. Sure you can come up with a new definition that is inclusive of both pizzas but the point is, they are fairly different and weren't of the same idea i thought of when I thought of Pizza. pagan is worse off than this because while i can adjust my definition of pizza enough to account for both pizzas, the term pagan has multiple definitions given to it thoughout time which are not so easily compatible. Even if we assume modern definition as used by most here, that doesn't tell me whether they are an alfredo pizza or a tomato pizza, deep dish or then crust and I wouldn't prescribe the same cooking instructions. but only ceremonialists care about such things right?



    Agreed. Which reinforces that point that the term does have a specific definition.
    I'd like to think so but as far as people are concerned it has a few definitions.


    How many non-Abrahamic polytheistic religions can you name? (aside from Catholicism, which by the the definition of paganism would make it a pagan religion...lol
    Ah but why would I need to? Polytheism isn't part of the definition of Paganus, it is part of the modern definition people give to Pagan and how do i know they are using that definition without asking?
    I can likely safely assume but shouldn't take it for a fact.

    Do you mean Abrahamic polytheistic religions aside from Catholicism? Because Catholicism is Abrahamic it just isn't Kosher.
    It isn't polytheistic either, the saints and angels aren't gods so it isn't poly-theos.
    As for the trinity being soft poly-theism Catholicism isn't the only branch of Christianity with the trinity so i'm not sure we you have it set aside, but the trinity isn't polytheism, it is more of a modalism where one being is operating in three different ways.
    however, because the same can be aid of Hindu gods and their avatars whereby you can still have distinct personalities of being, and because most Christians are unclear of their own views of how this works and Jesus likes talking to himself (God) .. again fair enough.. there are holes in that argument... but theologically there is a difference if you study classical theology.

    In the pejorative meaning

    Religious intolerance at its finest.
    Well yeah it ended up being that way. There's some truth to country and hillfolk being "behind the times" but that isn't necessarily an insult unless you make it that way. I don't consider hillbilly in itself to be an insult it depends on where you are going with it.
    That Pejorative meaning though existed before the one pagans today use. There's power in reclaiming but you also take on the pejorative image while you are transforming it.





    Out of sheer curiosity, do you get the same impression from someone who refers to themselves as Christian?
    No, not so much unless they are a gnostic Christian or otherwise outside of lineage from the RCC (That includes Schisms). Christian is less ambiguous term, all of your branches of Christianity today come from the Catholic family tree. They are all pretty run of the mill, arguing over different points of doctrine but not too distantly apart in view. There are a few liberal Christian movements that have broken away but they've still broken away and have similar views on many things. When it comes to attitude towards other beliefs yes there are notable differences between the branches but from a theological perspective i honestly don't see much difference. From a comparative religion standpoint from within Christianity... no,I'm not left with a question mark.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SalixIncendium View Post
    While these are great books, IMO, the Cunningham books are more tailored to the solitary practices of Wicca (many traditionals would debate that path isn't Wicca) and the Starhawk book is more tailored to Goddess worship. While both are great reads, I don't consider them to be overviews of paganism in general. Both are more path specific. I haven't read the third.

    Well Gardner didn't invent the word Wicca so they don't have a trademark or copyright on it, but distinction is a good thing to point out. As i like to say there is Wicca and then there is Wica, and then there is Wyca for those stang (Y) workers who like the old word but clearly are not Gardnerian.
    Gardner used 'Wica' and there are gematria reasons for that if you want to look into it,

    I agree that they are rather path specific (Well Cunningham presented things in a rather generic way I think) which is why I tried to book books that mentioned a bit of this and that, but as the Cheshire cat says if you don't know where you want to do the direction really doesn't matter.
    Last edited by Humming Bird; December 31st, 2016 at 01:28 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DracoJesi View Post
    Did you know they make pizza with Alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce and this is even considered a traditional way to make Pizza? I didn't, it blew my mind because that certainly didn't fit my definition of a pizza and i realized i had no idea what a pizza actually was. Sure you can come up with a new definition that is inclusive of both pizzas but the point is, they are fairly different and weren't of the same idea i thought of when I thought of Pizza. pagan is worse off than this because while i can adjust my definition of pizza enough to account for both pizzas, the term pagan has multiple definitions given to it thoughout time which are not so easily compatible. Even if we assume modern definition as used by most here, that doesn't tell me whether they are an alfredo pizza or a tomato pizza, deep dish or then crust and I wouldn't prescribe the same cooking instructions. but only ceremonialists care about such things right?
    Yet you still call the Alfredo sauce version "pizza". If one states they want a pizza, we ask what kind of pizza they would like, not what their definition of pizza is, further reinforcing my point.


    I'd like to think so but as far as people are concerned it has a few definitions.
    The definition is consistent with people knowledgeable with the path. Ignorance does not excuse false definitions.


    Ah but why would I need to? Polytheism isn't part of the definition of Paganus, it is part of the modern definition people give to Pagan and how do i know they are using that definition without asking?
    I can likely safely assume but shouldn't take it for a fact.
    Just because a term is derived from a word doesn't necessarily mean it adopts that word's definition verbatim. MW (Merriam-Webster, not to be confused with MysticWicks) defines a pagan as a follower polytheistic religion. One cannot simply change the definition of a word to fit one's own agenda, otherwise that would pretty much eliminate the purpose of words.

    Do you mean Abrahamic polytheistic religions aside from Catholicism? Because Catholicism is Abrahamic it just isn't Kosher.
    An Abrahamic religion is defined as a religion that recognizes Abraham as the first prophet, therefore Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (and thereby Catholicism) are Abrahamic religions.

    It isn't polytheistic either, the saints and angels aren't gods so it isn't poly-theos.
    As for the trinity being soft poly-theism Catholicism isn't the only branch of Christianity with the trinity so i'm not sure we you have it set aside, but the trinity isn't polytheism, it is more of a modalism where one being is operating in three different ways.
    My comment about Catholicism being polytheistic was tongue-in-cheek, but there are those that would argue that since all of the Trinity is prayed to and worshipped, they are divine.

    however, because the same can be aid of Hindu gods and their avatars whereby you can still have distinct personalities of being.
    There is still debate among theologists on whether Hinduism is a pagan religion. I see it as such as it encompasses many of the ideals of paganism and is a polythiestic religion.

    Well yeah it ended up being that way. There's some truth to country and hillfolk being "behind the times" but that isn't necessarily an insult unless you make it that way. I don't consider hillbilly in itself to be an insult it depends on where you are going with it.
    That Pejorative meaning though existed before the one pagans today use. There's power in reclaiming but you also take on the pejorative image while you are transforming it.
    While the pejorative meaning still exists in many definitions (the word "bitch" being a perfect example, being used more frequently than the actual definition), I seriously doubt the OP was seeking books on how to dwell in the hills...

    No, not so much unless they are a gnostic Christian or otherwise outside of lineage from the RCC (That includes Schisms). Christian is less ambiguous term, all of your branches of Christianity today come from the Catholic family tree. They are all pretty run of the mill, arguing over different points of doctrine but not too distantly apart in view. There are a few liberal Christian movements that have broken away but they've still broken away and have similar views on many things. When it comes to attitude towards other beliefs yes there are notable differences between the branches but from a theological perspective i honestly don't see much difference. From a comparative religion standpoint from within Christianity... no,I'm not left with a question mark.
    I find this rather astounding given the parallels between the two. In most of your statement above, I can comfortable replace the word "Christian" with "Pagan". Given the number of Christian traditions and the variations among these traditions, I find it astounding that you don't see much difference. Either you are choosing to ignore the differences or you're less versed in Christian beliefs than you think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DracoJesi View Post
    Well garner didn't invent the word Wicca so they don't have a trademark or copyright on it, but distinction is a good thing to point out. As i like to say there is Wicca and then there is Wica, and then there is Wyca for those stang (Y) workers who like the old word but clearly are not Gardnerian.
    Gardner used 'Wica' and there are gematria reasons for that if you want to look into it,

    I agree that they are rather path specific (Well Cunningham presented things in a rather generic way I think) which is why I tried to book books that mentioned a bit of this and that, but as the Cheshire cat says if you don't know where you want to do the direction really doesn't matter.
    There is a great deal of debate on when and where Wicca originated. Regardless, it is the general consensus that Wicca in it's current form is derived from Gardnerian Wicca, which was inspired by Margaret Murray's witch-cult (not referred to as Wicca in any text). Therefore, it can be concluded that the word "Wicca" (capitalized with 2 c's) was coined by Gerald Gardner, regardless of previously used alternate spellings.

    In retrospect, I should have specified "Gardnerian Wicca" when referencing "traditionals".

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    Quote Originally Posted by SalixIncendium View Post
    There is a great deal of debate on when and where Wicca originated. Regardless, it is the general consensus that Wicca in it's current form is derived from Gardnerian Wicca, which was inspired by Margaret Murray's witch-cult (not referred to as Wicca in any text). Therefore, it can be concluded that the word "Wicca" (capitalized with 2 c's) was coined by Gerald Gardner, regardless of previously used alternate spellings.

    In retrospect, I should have specified "Gardnerian Wicca" when referencing "traditionals".
    I'm not talking about Wicca as a recognizable religion when i say the word Wicca predates Gardner. He didn't invent/coin it, he brought it back into use. It is an older form of the word witch. Etymologically that is what it means, and meant prior to associations with Gardner. if somebody wants to go back and use it in that context they can as Gardner had no copyright over the word nor was it his creation. it is public domain. if we are talking about the qualities of the Wicca that we think of today, yes Gardner was the father of that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SalixIncendium View Post
    Yet you still call the Alfredo sauce version "pizza". If one states they want a pizza, we ask what kind of pizza they would like, not what their definition of pizza is, further reinforcing my point.
    No you missed the point entirely. I said we could easily enough call both a pizza but in order do do so we have understand that a pizza made with alfredo sauce can be considered a pizza in the first place, which requires us to be on the same page on our definitions.
    If i describe and communicate to a person this alfredo pizza, it would not be understood by most in the states for example that i am talking about a pizza. I think that is changing now, Papa Johns has a pizza with a BBQ sauce base. Regardless of what we are talking about the point
    is of conflicting definitions which inhibit the communication of ideas and statements. in the given example we can easily change our definition of a pizza in order for both pizzas to be considered pizzas... and we can all use that definition without issue.

    However when you have a word like pagan were not all of the definitions can be blended or otherwise worked out to include one another, especially since they may have nothing to do with one another, it is important to be on the same page asking what the other person means by pagan.
    That was the whole point all along.



    The definition is consistent with people knowledgeable with the path. Ignorance does not excuse false definitions.
    No that statement is ignorant because I haven't given a false or wrong definition. Paganus exist before the modern form of the word let alone the definition people use now so academically is is the more correct word based on the very etymology thereof while the definition of popular use is really specific to the paganism movement and that's fine. Talk about ignorant though i can't tell you how many pagans i run into who aren't aware of the word originally meaning country dweller. That's the thing, if one one is going to the definition that the modern pagan community uses thats fine but it is important to understand the other uses of the word. If somebody who lived off the land but were Christian used the the word to refer to themselves they would be correct in doing so because that fits the original definition. it may not fit your definition but they aren't using your definition and their definition is actually more correct technically. So ignorance etymology does not mean that your path designates the only definition of Pagan.I don't care what definition you use for pagan either, that's not even my point. My point is that while you are making assumptions based on your own interpretations instead of taking into account of how to converse with various individuals .

    -and you know most people who refer to themselves as a witch don't fit my definition of a witch either but iI subscribe to a traditional definition there and that is fine, because I don't expect people to use that definition nor do i tell them whether or not they can identify as a witch, nor is it elitest because i'm not saying they cant become one by either definition. the difference in definition comes from two different worlds and that's alright. I choose my words very carefully, and my personal use of words is going to differ with others based on what we both know or do not know about those words and if i am to effectively communicate i need to ascertain the meaning they put behind their words.


    Just because a term is derived from a word doesn't necessarily mean it adopts that word's definition verbatim. MW (Merriam-Webster, not to be confused with MysticWicks) defines a pagan as a follower polytheistic religion. One cannot simply change the definition of a word to fit one's own agenda, otherwise that would pretty much eliminate the purpose of words.
    I agree, and I am not changing the word to fit an agenda. We aren't talking about deriving a new term from an existing root, Paganus is merely the Latin form of the English word. It is the same word. i make a distinction often because it points to an era and the how the word was understood in said era because it isnt a language readily spoken today. So if i use a Latin form of a word that does imply some cultural context of the times in which it was used. because the syntax and expression of a language mirrors the culture that surrounded its birth. However i could use the word pagan to mean someone who lives of the land and be both technically and historically correct. i haven't changed the definition or the word, in fact I could easily point out that the definition you are using is derived from people changing a word to fit their agenda. As it was important from the Latin, and did not originate in the English with its own subtleties of that language the Latin definitions can be given as valid.

    Merriam-Webster is also one of the worst dictionaries you can use to be frank, not all dictionaries are created equal. There's a bit of a logical fallacy of yielding to authority here but what makes Webster's an authority? I'm being serious, it isn't the most scholarly of dictionaries and I've certainly been frustrated with it at times. While we are on the subject i am of the mind that one a word goes so far beyond its etymology that it is in no way related it is time to choose a new word for the new definition. otherwise we degrade the syntax and patterns inherent within our linguistic and that if bad for our ability to think and communicate. Like i said, though if people want to identify as Pagan that is their business. All i have said is that if you tell be you are pagan that is such a big umbrella now that you haven't really told me anything about your actual path.

    If i assume you are polytheistic, non-Abrahamic and like nature, that really doesn't narrow it down much.



    An Abrahamic religion is defined as a religion that recognizes Abraham as the first prophet, therefore Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (and thereby Catholicism) are Abrahamic religions.
    We agree here as well, we are on the same page on this one. i asked for clarification because the way you had worded your post was excluding Catholicism and while it was likely a miscommunication I wanted clarification.


    My comment about Catholicism being polytheistic was tongue-in-cheek, but there are those that would argue that since all of the Trinity is prayed to and worshipped, they are divine.
    They are divine, the question is are they 'they' and if not or if so what does that mean. Optimus is both a firetruck and a humanoid robot but still one being.
    Again though I can say fair enough on that one. The angels and saints aren't gods though. The angels as emanations are arguable divine by extension but aren't seen in Catholicism as gods.
    I wanted to point that out as i wasn't sure why you were using Catholicism as an outlier as most forms of Christianity are Trinitarian.



    There is still debate among theologists on whether Hinduism is a pagan religion. I see it as such as it encompasses many of the ideals of paganism and is a polytheistic religion.
    I would very much disagree here for a few reasons. I know that many in the pagan community do consider it a form of paganism based on their definition of paganism of which it fits, and depending on your brand of paganism there are many similarities.
    Most Hindus would not identify as such though, and as such there is a cultural element to the word pagan. They just don't tend to identify that way. on the one hand if the shoe fits why take offense to because called x word, on the other hand reluctance
    to adopt the word says something about Hindu identity and philosophy and this is taken into account of theologians

    if we are talking about theologists are we talking about anyone who has studied a bit of theology and has an opinion or are we talking of individuals well versed in theology, especially in the classics?
    It isn't just that a group or sect is polytheistic vs monotheistic or any either or attribute, theology gets very complex looking at how they view these things and whether or not the thought process regarding the nature of the divine fit with other cultural and religious identities.
    There are reasons why certain terms just don't fit and aren't adopted by certain people. The way in which Hindus are polytheistic and pagans are polytheistic often differs great.On the most practical level of day to day worship and 'getting things done' you see more of a hard poly relationship in most cultures i would say. The more mystical or focused soley on spiritual matters you get that's when hard and fast distinctions start to become blurred due to the nature of spiritual experience (read the psychology thereof) and while those distinctions become blurred it is here were subtle yet very important distinctions in theology tend to arise. Some forms of paganism are going to be closer to the concepts found in Hinduism than others, generally speaking though Hinduism has a lot of very complex subtleties regarding its teachings on the reality of things and the phenomena of perception on such a level that paganism at large doesn't really touch on.. not like that. This isn't always the case but should be taken into account because the question often isn't hard poly vs soft poly or poly vs mono anymore, those distinctions become secondary or redundant and it really doesn't matter what ones individual views are there regarding. it isn't so much a concern, though the closer you are to the culture of it the more likely you are to have some literal belief in those gods. Point being, there's just generally a completely different way of thing which influences identity, expression and therefore whether or not forign terms such as pagan would be adopted. it may seem to fit but then again the points a pagan may see as pertainent to pagan identity may be of of little to no consequence to a Hindu whom may not not see the term pagan as an apt vessel to carry the meaning of what they do.

    Do you get what i'm saying? i know it can be hard to see the point i'm trying to convey. If it fits it fits right? Well it may not fit even though it seems to because a a cultural barrier. Theologians, if they are not actually apologists, are apt to look at these philosophical differences in comparative theology.
    to a Hindu terms like ploytheist and monotheist may very well be rather ambiguous to them at the end of the day. Nature may be discussed on a more philosophical level than an erthy one and they may not see why they need to point out they are not Abrahamic as they aren't such a counter culture.
    so why then would they be considered with embracing those points along as does the neo-pagan movement... because we are talking about neo-paganism which in many ways did arise and is defined as a counter-culture.

    While the pejorative meaning still exists in many definitions (the word "bitch" being a perfect example, being used more frequently than the actual definition), I seriously doubt the OP was seeking books on how to dwell in the hills...
    Well clearly, and hopefully this will due them well until they can pick up a few books. We can really help them much without some idea of what they are looking for, and speaking about disagreements on how things are defined should give some insight on the diversity of Pagans.


    I find this rather astounding given the parallels between the two. In most of your statement above, I can comfortable replace the word "Christian" with "Pagan". Given the number of Christian traditions and the variations among these traditions, I find it astounding that you don't see much difference. Either you are choosing to ignore the differences or you're less versed in Christian beliefs than you think.
    From the point of blanket statements and a measure of fairness at first glance yes you could.
    so let me put it another way as to explain what I mean.

    Comparing two forms of Christianity is like comparing to species within the same genus.
    Comparing two forms of Paganism is like comparing two Genera within a family.

    Meaning whether I am looking at two different species of Morus (Mulberry) or two Species of Quercus (Oak) I still know what to expect with an oak or a mulberry.
    There are differences between a red and black oak but for all intents and purposes they are pretty much the same.
    And mulberries hybridize and you cant really tell the difference.

    But paganism is like comparing to members of the Solanaceae.family.
    Solanum - genus for tomato
    Atropa - genus for Belladonna

    one is harmless, the other can very well kill you.

    This is a rather extreme comparison as you're not likely going to eat a pagan die nit a Norse re-constructionist is very different from a Greek recon. from an eclectic Wiccan.
    So again if you tell be you are Pagan that gives me very little information for what information it does give me.
    if you tell me you are a Christian well I know a few things from that statement right. I know at the very least Jesus is part of the picture. If you tell me you are pagan you work with who exactly?
    Last edited by Humming Bird; December 17th, 2016 at 11:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DracoJesi View Post
    No you missed the point entirely. I said we could easily enough call both a pizza but in order do do so we have understand that a pizza made with alfredo sauce can be considered a pizza in the first place, which requires us to be on the same page on our definitions.
    Which we are, if we are defining pizza as a dish of italian origin with flattened bread and sauce with toppings. I didn't miss your point. You are simply ignoring mine.

    If i describe and communicate to a person this alfredo pizza, it would not be understood by most in the states for example that i am talking about a pizza. I think that is changing now, Papa Johns has a pizza with a BBQ sauce base. Regardless of what we are talking about the point
    is of conflicting definitions which inhibit the communication of ideas and statements. in the given example we can easily change our definition of a pizza in order for both pizzas to be considered pizzas... and we can all use that definition without issue.
    The definition does not change. It's not even modified. What was originally pizza is still pizza. The pies with modified toppings are also pizza. This is why words like "usually" and "often" instead of words like "always" are used in this example.

    However when you have a word like pagan were not all of the definitions can be blended or otherwise worked out to include one another, especially since they may have nothing to do with one another, it is important to be on the same page asking what the other person means by pagan.
    That was the whole point all along.
    You didn't ask what a person meant by pagan ITT. You asked for a definition. Not the same thing. If you ask me for a pizza and I ask you what kind, I'm not asking for your definition of pizza. I'm asking what kind an already defined item that you want.

    No that statement is ignorant because I haven't given a false or wrong definition.
    Please show me where I accused you of giving a wrong definition.

    Paganus exist before the modern form of the word let alone the definition people use now so academically is is the more correct word based on the very etymology thereof while the definition of popular use is really specific to the paganism movement and that's fine. Talk about ignorant though i can't tell you how many pagans i run into who aren't aware of the word originally meaning country dweller. That's the thing, if one one is going to the definition that the modern pagan community uses thats fine but it is important to understand the other uses of the word. If somebody who lived off the land but were Christian used the the word to refer to themselves they would be correct in doing so because that fits the original definition. it may not fit your definition but they aren't using your definition and their definition is actually more correct technically. So ignorance etymology does not mean that your path designates the only definition of Pagan.I don't care what definition you use for pagan either, that's not even my point. My point is that while you are making assumptions based on your own interpretations instead of taking into account of how to converse with various individuals .
    You continue to argue the point that words have different definitions for different people. This is not the case. If it was, none of us would have any idea what the other is talking about. Just because there are different versions of things doesn't change the definition of that thing. An apple is an apple, whether it be Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, etc. That's why God gave us adjectives.

    -and you know most people who refer to themselves as a witch don't fit my definition of a witch either but iI subscribe to a traditional definition there and that is fine, because I don't expect people to use that definition nor do i tell them whether or not they can identify as a witch, nor is it elitest because i'm not saying they cant become one by either definition. the difference in definition comes from two different worlds and that's alright. I choose my words very carefully, and my personal use of words is going to differ with others based on what we both know or do not know about those words and if i am to effectively communicate i need to ascertain the meaning they put behind their words.
    My point is whether it's a traditional definition or a modern definition, it's still not a personal definition. One cannot make up their own definition to a word and expect others to understand what s/he is talking about.

    I agree, and I am not changing the word to fit an agenda. We aren't talking about deriving a new term from an existing root, Paganus is merely the Latin form of the English word. It is the same word. i make a distinction often because it points to an era and the how the word was understood in said era because it isnt a language readily spoken today. So if i use a Latin form of a word that does imply some cultural context of the times in which it was used. because the syntax and expression of a language mirrors the culture that surrounded its birth. However i could use the word pagan to mean someone who lives of the land and be both technically and historically correct. i haven't changed the definition or the word, in fact I could easily point out that the definition you are using is derived from people changing a word to fit their agenda. As it was important from the Latin, and did not originate in the English with its own subtleties of that language the Latin definitions can be given as valid.
    I never said that you were changing the definition of a word to fit you agenda, but asking someone else their definition invites this. However, if you came up to me and told me you're pagan, I'm not going to interpret that as you are a hill or country dweller. I'm going to conclude that you follow an earth-based path and work with multiple deities.

    Merriam-Webster is also one of the worst dictionaries you can use to be frank, not all dictionaries are created equal. There's a bit of a logical fallacy of yielding to authority here but what makes Webster's an authority? I'm being serious, it isn't the most scholarly of dictionaries and I've certainly been frustrated with it at times. While we are on the subject i am of the mind that one a word goes so far beyond its etymology that it is in no way related it is time to choose a new word for the new definition. otherwise we degrade the syntax and patterns inherent within our linguistic and that if bad for our ability to think and communicate.
    Oh? And from what authority do you use to seek word definitions? Are we to ignore dictionaries altogether and just define words by what DracoJesi extrapolates from etymology?

    Like i said, though if people want to identify as Pagan that is their business. All i have said is that if you tell be you are pagan that is such a big umbrella now that you haven't really told me anything about your actual path.<br>

    If i assume you are polytheistic, non-Abrahamic and like nature, that really doesn't narrow it down much.
    This is not the reason we are having this discussion. This discussion began with you asking the OP for his/her definition of paganism rather than asking how they viewed paganism. We've both spend a great deal of time debating etymology and word definitions because you simply refuse to admit that you many have misworded your query and asked for a definition rather than a personal view. A bit silly, no?

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