pagan woman in flower wreath

The following guest sermon was submitted by ULC Minister Torre Huffines. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@ulc.org.


The last twenty years has seen a major shift in the religious landscape of the United States. Multiple studies, including the U.S Census and the PEW Research Center, have indicated a significant rise in the population of Americans who identify as Pagan, Wiccan, Or spiritual. 

Many Americans, like myself, could see personal relief from these facts as they refortify the original premise of our country’s origin; A genesis borne from the liberty of religious freedom. Many voices, However, still choose to identify paganism as Devil worship, Disparate spiritual practices or, even fantasy. We, as a society, must come to see the multitude of pagan beliefs as nature-centered faiths that coordinate spiritual purpose and the benefit of nature with cultural tradition.

Seeking Something More

Given the many historic, nation-defining events that have occurred over the last decade alone, it is no surprise that many individuals have sought a different or even deeper connection to their faith in something more. Each of us, especially in times of trouble, would like something to believe in no matter if it is a divine being, the eminence of nature, or simply, other people. In terms of wiccan and pagan faith, we can specifically see a pattern between young Americans that find acceptance and empowerment through a spiritual system that promotes individualism.

This is resoundingly true when considering members of the LGBTQIA+ community which have been historically welcome among these religious groups. Meanwhile, the total population of Christians has experienced both a shift and subtle decline throughout the country as many people have converted to other religions entirely and others now identify as non-denominational. Specifically in the numbers of certain groups such as Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian.

However, this is not without cause. The resurgence of pagan values, traditions, and teachings in our society have been largely dependent on the changes of the overall cultural landscape. This is especially true in terms of humanitarian and social aspects such as race, gender, culture, and religious expression. It may seem abstract to relay these factors into the sudden change in beliefs and values.

Yet, as these aspects have been expounded in society, so has the mindset of Americans and their corresponding values on morality, virtue, and tradition expanded to include the diversity of as many walks of life as possible. Many individuals have come to disassociate with the classic narrative of American identity, centered on Christian civil theology, in exchange for what they feel is an authentic representation of their ancestral history, traditions, culture, and additionally their right to be represented in U.S. government and society.

Faith and Values

It is vital to point out the pivotal growth of the pagan and nature-faith community because many opponents to religious diversity condemn their personal ideas of pagan values. Additionally, the growth and rise of these beliefs represent a profound shift in values. As people politically lean more towards environmental awareness, social equity, and economic freedom for all people they also seek out a spiritual system that can honor and uphold those values.

Paganism and Nature-faith religion allow these values to stay at the forefront of spiritual expression and further unite the individual with their environment, community, and a pragmatic belief system centered on the world in which they actually live. Finally, many people have come to identify some of the most critical issues in our nation stemming from the ideology of Christo-centric politicians that adhere Christian dichotomy with public policy. Some firm examples include the ethos surrounding abortion, gay marriage, education, immigration, and state’s rights which have all included rhetoric derived from extreme Christian values. More yet, many Christians themselves identify the same biases as being the cause for many turning away from the church and mainstream Christian ideology.

The rise of paganism is not a cause for concern, it is an inevitable return to the authentic traditions of the past. The change, I believe, is not wholly based on religion but, the individual who seeks something greater than the narratives they have been given in the past. As the populace becomes generally more insightful about the effects of history, they naturally come to identify Christianity and Catholicism as underpinning agents of the colonial era.

Likewise, those who turn to pagan or wiccan beliefs do so with a shared and universal intent to feel realized in the power and flow of life, to honor the natural world in which they originate, and to show equity in a world taught and directed to withhold compassion. It is my belief that this resurgence, regardless of ignorant views of Paganism, will create a universal message to spiritualist everywhere that any faith of humanity must include a reverence for nature, our ancestral past and its wisdom, and the knowledge that life in every aspect should move beyond mundanity into spiritual purpose. 

54 comments

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    Most pagans I've known are more Christian than Christians.

    1. Todd Leslie Miller's Avatar Todd Leslie Miller

      People who profess to be Christians yet condemn paganism tend to overlook the fact that in the nineteenth century Christians incorporated elements of pagan practice into their faith. It was called folk magic and my own ancestors used to do this. They were Bible believing Christians yet they nailed a horseshoe over the front door to ward off evil spirits. My grandmother was a very devout Christian yet she believed that if a bird came in through an open window and circled the room so many times it meant that someone you loved was going to die soon.

      1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

        Todd,

        Thank you for your time in reading this, and for contributing to the conversation!

        Great point! We can see a major disassociation with in Abrahamic religion that brings a denial to the idea of folk magic within Christian traditions and Christian mysticism ( more specifically kabbalah, Enochian, and even some versions on the teachings of Christ's otherworldly abilities.) Those who have looked at the historic record of events in Christian history are well aware, I think anyway, of the connections of Pagan culture its transmutation into an increasingly Christianized world. it took a long time for the majority of population to ween the folk magic and ancient traditions out of the norm. of course, this was achieved through major inquisitions, occupations, and legal strategies to establish religious majority in most western lands.

        1. Todd Leslie Miller's Avatar Todd Leslie Miller

          Part of the issue is organized Christianity. The Christian faith practiced by the early Appalachians was nothing more than gathering around daddy in the evening who would then read from the Bible followed by prayer. As for day to day spirituality that came through farmers almanacs as well as various books on folk practice. It was when denominations came into the region and began telling the people how to worship that pagan/folk traditions became taboo.

    2. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Rev. Mark,

      I agree! It can be the same within the pagan community, in rare occasion, many people of other faiths groups have a better grasp on the concepts of spiritualistic and/or pagan traditions.

  1. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

    Minister Torre Huffines ; thank you for a well thought out and refreshing perspective. I agree with your comments, and hope others can see past their bias to completely read your on point views. Best wishes 2024

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Rev. "D",

      Thank you for your feedback and I am grateful it resonated with you and others! Thank you for your time and audience!

      Best Wishes back to you!

      Rev. Torre Huffines

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    I, myself, am pagan. Rather than a single, monotheistic, "God", I believe in multiple Gods and Goddesses. I am polytheistic. What bothers me, is when I state that I am pagan, Shamanic Tradition to be precise, a bunch of people immediately assume "I hate God" That is, their version of "god". Or that I've "never read the bible".

    Of course, when they say "Well you must hate God", first thing I ask is "Which God?" And admit that I hate none of them. And when they go "Well you never read the bible that's why!" I always ask "Which bible?" There are so MANY out there.

    I also ask questions like "If Adam and Eve were the very first two people on the planet, and there were no one else than them, then how is it that Caine "settled with the people" in another area? If there are only Adam, Eve, and their two sons, later three sons with Seth, how can there be entire other tribes of people? Where'd all the other people come from?

    And I'm assuming their God came from another universe because all bibles say "There was nothing but darkness and then he declared let there be light".... well how do we know it was a He? Maybe a She? Maybe they're genderless? How do we know? Because the bible says so? But who says it's true when many things have been proven untrue and it was humans that wrote it?

    I ask a lot of logical questions, and, usually, I get really angry answers, told I'm godless, I'm going to hell, threatened with violence, or they simply walk away, or if online, block me after a bunch of nasty epithets and personal insults.

    In truth, Just because a person is pagan does not mean "They hate god". It does not mean they "hate" any one religion. In fact, the monotheistic religious followers seem to be the ones that tend to spread hate against other religions, no matter what religion it is, more heavily than polytheistic religions.

    It's just another religion that needs to be accepted as any other should be. It's not "wrong", it's just another belief system.

  1. Dennis M. Williams's Avatar Dennis M. Williams

    I was raised "Christian", (please note that I put that in quotes). Raised in an Episcopalian church, on to the Church of Christ,on to a Presbyterian Church where I was asked to be an Elder. I was an Acolyte in the Episcopal church, a Deacon in the Church of Christ, not only did I sing in the choir in the Presbyterian church, but I led the children's choir. I've taught in many churches, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Bible School; yes, I was raised "Christian". I had the audacity to believe that the minister at the Presbyterian was a "sister" to me in Christ, but when I asked her to marry my current wife and I, she told me that she couldn't because her superiors wouldn't condone it. You see, my bride to be was/is Wiccan. Christian? ".......Let those of you without sin cast the first stone." To make a long story short, the day my "minister"/ sister-in-Christ, refused to marry me was the day I quit being a "Christian". I call myself Wiccan now, trying to find my way in this vast Universe. Oh, I still believe that there is something out there larger than I, but as far as it being "God", well, to me now, there are many, as well as the ONE that dwells in me.

    1. Dennis M. Williams's Avatar Dennis M. Williams

      ....as a PS, I became Ordained myself.

      1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

        Acknowledging love, especially in a marriage is something that we should all do without question or challenge. I am sorry to hear about your experience and I hope you move past it into the happiness your love and your marriage brings. Best to you and your wife.

    2. Christine Gladhill's Avatar Christine Gladhill

      I was raised in the Catholic Church. My great aunt was a nun and President of an all girls Catholic college in Iowa. I did catechism right on through confirmation but left the church when they refused to baptize my two children until I annulled my marriage. I was divorced but they didn't recognize my marriage anyway since he had been married previously and they wouldn't marry us. So in order to baptize my two very innocent children, I had to turn them into bastards which made no sense to me. The nun refused to even discuss baptism until I had my marriage annulled. I walked out and never went back. I have since come to the belief that the teachings of Jesus are one thing but the nonsense concocted around his life in the Bible is a control mechanism. He was teaching a very empowering message and it was very metaphysical in nature. The powers that be had him taken out and concocted the story that it was our fault because he had to die for our sins which is nonsense! I am now a metaphysical follower of Christ but I am not what anybody would call a Christian in today's version. Be blessed in your journey!

    3. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Dennis M. Williams,

      First, Thank you for sharing some of your story. I think each of us adds to that bigger truth by sharing the journey and those moments which, in the ultimate sense, help us define the path ahead.

      The access to ceremony, tradition, and virtue in spiritual practice are the types of components the autocracy of mainstream religion seek to control and gate-keep from the surrounding community. The Catholic church sought to control the Pagan, and later Pagan-descended, populace by stripping personal power out of their aboriginal traditions, they then convinced the populace they had to turn to the church if they required any special form of spiritual intervention ( e.g. purification, cleansing, protection, communion, and marriage ceremony). These aspects were once controlled by the local spiritual leaders or spiritual keepers in our family tribes didn't require much more than the training or graduation by the standards of the same traditions or of our family/cultural elders.

      In your case, I would say this came full circle for you, and I am glad to hear of the outcome. it sounds like you have found that personal power those in that congregation sought to control by the same tactics mentioned above. There is no permission needed from faith leaders, only guidance.

      Thank you again for sharing your story and best to you on the rest of the journey!

      Rev. Torre Huffines

  1. Parson Golden's Avatar Parson Golden

    Those who ignorantly align Paganism with Satanism have no idea what Paganism is. Their perception of Christianity is flawed as well for many of the rituals, ceremonies within Christianity are based upon, stolen from, or evolved from Paganistic beliefs and practices. Catholic Saints are a rebranding of Pagan Gods from various regions.

  1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

    People should feel free to believe that they want. HOWEVER… - Religious beliefs shouldn’t even be MENTIONED during the course of the operation/functioning of the government. - If you decide to exercise free speech to voice your religious beliefs remember that others can exercise their own rights to voice a rebuttal of such nonsense. Don’t fart in an elevator or pee in the pool.

  1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

    Hello Friends!

    It is puzzling to me when I think about my relationship with God that the all-powerful, all knowing, omnipotent being that made all things including me provided me with the freedom to choose my own path. While many believe that God knows everything and has a plan, I tend to think it is far more complex than those folks believe. If God is Love and he who abides in Love abides in God and God in him, how does that work? Are we forced to love God then no matter what? Has God made it impossible to choose to hate him, or to hate what he stands for in our lives? So many ask the question, "How could God let all those people die like that?" We think that if we are bad God punishes us and if we are good that we get a reward. We don't set God up as our daddy so much as a traffic cop, judge, jury, and executioner. This kind of thinking seems to resemble superstition more than the revelation from a divine creator.

    I don't claim to understand what God has in mind, but I can feel the freedom he has gifted me to live life, to choose life, to find glory, to see beauty all around me and to marvel and wonder at creation. This can only happen if I am free to choose and to then freely Love a God that has truly given me a gift of life and not a prison sentence to do as has been dictated.

    Freedom is one of the most precious gifts we have been granted, and extending freedom to all so they may peacefully live their lives seems to be the only honorable and Loving way to return God's gift to us. Freedom means free to choose, to make a huge mistake, or to create something new and beautiful. If you believe in an all-powerful God, he likely doesn't need our help to force others to do his will and obey. It seems far more likely that God has given us a free will to Love one another and the freedom to Love God if we choose to do so. Extending freedom that God has already granted seems to be the only real choice to promote God and share his Love. May Peace and Love be with you all!

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    There is a natural inclination for people that leave their indoctrinated religion, which is now going at a rapid pace, and rightly so, to gravitate towards Paganism when they start seeing the light that man-made religions are exactly that, man made. The reasons are due to the fact that they enjoyed the euphoria of those “spiritual feelings” of religion, whatever that really is. Paganism is often the stepping stone towards leaving all forms of man-made formal religion/spirituality. I’m speaking from experience because I’ve been there, and done that.

    The next step from Paganism is of course moving towards having a secular understanding, much like all the other animal kingdom has, and that is, we are all on our own, so do the best you can and just love everyone, without any religious threat that if you don’t you are all going to an eternity of a burning Hell. Do it because you want to ❤️

    🦁❤️

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    Minister Torre Huffines, Your thoughts are well laid out and made for a pleasant read. I do not know enough about pagan or wiccan beliefs to speak as to the values of one or the other, only that I believe pagan outdates christianity by many years. You have given some logical points as to the decline of christianity, but you avoided a couple of other reasons. Christianity has taught fear and hate and even bigotry for hundreds of years, even to this day. Its' violence is apparent even in its' own literature. The same could be said for other main beliefs and many times through out history they have clashed causing terrible wars and death, something which is happening even today. While I am not personally found of organized beliefs for the reasons above, can you explain how pagan or wiccan beliefs differ from the hate and fear filled ones that are more common? Again, thank you for your sermon. I hope this message finds you well. Peace✌

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Brien,

      Thank you for your comment and time taken to read this piece! It means a lot to me!

      I totally agree with you regarding those extra points. I would also reiterate them in discussing the differences among Pagan, Wiccan, Aboriginal, and Nature-based faith, and mainstream religions.

      First, I would point out that in terms of human violence, Ancient Pagan traditions ( around the world) were still very much a feudal , tribal, or regional kind of civilization. We know that Pagans often went to war on a tribal level and did engage in much of the old-world human savagery we might expect from this time. There is a difference, though, when we look at the actual teachings, traditions, and practices of Pagan/Aboriginal groups in ancient times. With few exceptions, they never left their regional territory to colonialize lesser groups, they had rules of engagement and cultural policies for handling adversaries, their social and cultural policies included the sick, women, and non-binary populations, and they often kept to themselves in terms of expanding their dichotomy.

      Spiritually speaking, pagan teachings of the ancient world ( Druidism, Shinto, ACT, Judaism, Dahomey Voudon, Vedic teachings, Etc.) focused on individualistic aspects of faith which allowed for all people to have access to the spiritual amenities of their people, in contrast of Abrahamic faith that typically restricted access to spiritual practices without loyalty.

      Lastly, I would add that Abrahamic faith waged a marketing campaign to turn populations away from their indigenous traditions and practices in favor of the church. while many of these exchanges do come down to nuance in humanitarianism and other factors, Abrahamic faith chose to enforce its messaging throughout the world whereas Pagan and Aboriginal practices have been a more self-evident and community based act of coming to faith ( elders, community traditions, etc,) and their teachings focus on the quality of life through a lens of nature and self oriented being (Mind, Body, And Spirit)

      Hope this helps and finds you well!

      Rev. Torre Huffines

  1. Donna K Fransen's Avatar Donna K Fransen

    As a "reformed" Christian, this article really hits home. I formally left the Catholic church when I got divorced almost 30 years ago. The church told me that even though my then-husband was whoring around on me and neglecting our children, I must suck it up and the be good dutiful wife the Bible told me to be. I had always been fascinated by paganism and the more I read, the more I realized that there is where I needed to be. I felt the freedom of praying in nature, not needing a church laden with gold statues and priests who wouldn't follow their own vows. I felt the joy in connecting to a world where people were taught to accept other religions and not tell those who don't believe the same way are going be damned and burn in hell. I felt power as a woman, not being told I must submit to a man who didn't respect me. I am content with my life and where I stand with the Divine Creator. Yes, some of my family has disowned me, but they judge others by their own standards anyways. I respect other faiths, and I only ask that you respect mine. I minister to veteran now, especially the older ones who do not belong to an organized faith. Down here in the South, many times if you don't belong to a congregation and faithfully pay your tithes, the ministers will not conduct a funeral service for you. So I fill the spot, and since I am a veteran myself, I can share that person's story and make his family be proud. I might be Pagan/Wiccan but I am more tolerant than some other faiths are. Merry Meet and Merry Part.

    1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

      @Donna K Fransen

      Also a veteran. I've experienced and seen what you described. Though I don't practice anything anymore, what you do is admirable. Thank you, on behalf of those who don't have a voice here or elsewhere to say so.

  1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

    I was born into a family that is Roman Catholic with a deep abiding love and respect for the Old Ways. I find comfort in the fact that there is a rise in Earth-Based Religions. I am 80 years old, and throughout my life I tried to offer kindness, generosity, compassion, a helping hand, and my time to my fellow man wherever it was needed. Love one another. Blessed be.

  1. Najah P Tamargo's Avatar Najah P Tamargo

    Najah Tamargo - USA

    I Totally agree with everything that was said. I was raised in a cult. No, not like Jim Jones or the Spaceship folks.....but a cult none the less. As I got older, and smarter and more aware of the world around me, I walked away and went on my own search for a "religion" that matched my belief system. From reading ALL the Bibles, to the teachings of Buddah,, the Book of Mormon to the Quran, I read it all. And none of it hit me as "real". Years later I was involved with a Native American Civil Rights Group. I had the honor of learning about their Nature based beliefs, and low and be hold I found it! Things made sense. Cherish Mother Earth and Father Sky, and you respect everything that walks, talks, swims, crawls or flies. Treat everybody as you would treat yourself. I became a ULC Minister because I have always respected other people's belief systems, but also to respect the Ancient ways and nature based faiths. I am SO grateful that I found the ULC because THEY believe in respect for all religions and beliefs.

  1. Adam Kahn's Avatar Adam Kahn

    Good news! I like to see more diversity.

    Also, Paganism is the oldest faith on Earth, and it is much more natural than so-called "three mainstream religions" (all being derived from only one, Judaism).

    Also, Paganism is not only about Wicca. Ideologically, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Shinto are also polytheistic ancient Pagan traditions.

    I believe that they represent The Divine much better than historically more recent monotheistic beliefs. The Divine is too great to be comprehended through just one religion with only one G-d being exclusively male.

    So, I applaud to these changes, and to the growth of Paganism in America! Good!

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Adam Kahn,

      I completely agree. It is an interesting addition to the information I try to present here. The fact is that while paganism is still a minority identity in the U.S. , when we actually consider those faith groups who share ideological values, the idea of Nature-based spirituality and other values of aboriginal culture, the majority of spiritual groups outside of mainstream religion fit into this category. Pagan beliefs and values are already a majority and norm by that standard.

      Thank you for taking time to read and for adding some wonderful after-thoughts!

      Rev. Torre Huffines

  1. David George Promis's Avatar David George Promis

    Alas…I tire of the narcissistic ideology that one size should fit all in terms of human spirituality/religion, and especially that vain and idiotic lie that “This Country was founded upon Christianity”, and therefore It should be the dominating religion that rules our lives. The belief in any type of “afterlife” is an individual’s subjective responsibility.

  1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

    I think the need to credit a higher power with what over-or-under-whelms us is a reach for personal growth, however that might manifest. Relinquishing that in lieu of leaning on a person, place, or thing, is what keeps an individual always reaching for what is missing, toward individuating.

    I think it's important for each of us, no matter faith or belief, to recognize personal responsibility and accountability for our actions and thoughtfully choose how to move through life.

    I think moving away from religions that prefer we sacrifice individuality for co-dependency is healthy inner and outer growth.

    I think the author nailed it.

    1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

      One size fits all? Hmmm! Sounds like the army doesn't it? That sort of levels out the personal responsibility argument when it gets down to brass tacks.

      1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

        @Robert E. Polston

        Did you respond to someone else's post here?

        If not, primarily the 'big' organized religions most resemble attempts toward "one size fits all". Simultaneously, each wants us to be dependent on them while requiring us to increase their bank accounts at our individual and spiritual expense. Ultimately, each perceives their goals to be what we should all aspire to, with as little effort as possible on their part. Why else have holy empires needed armies?

        Also telling, is why holy empires fizzled out. They did not have the support they thought they deserved because they de-served those they want to rule. And continue to! Same applies to any organized religion that can afford to pay D.C. lobbyists. Their behavior is definitionally pathological, narcissistic, and sociopathic.

        1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

          One size fits all is a non-starter; But so is prejudice and lumping all of any kind of a set of people or organizations into one closed idea. I would call your view to be one fit sizes all.

  1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

    Pagan is considered non-Christian. It reminds me how the Holy Roman Catholic Church considered anyone who would question or have different perspectives as being heretical and most was condemned to death. Apparently some of this remains. Differences are not tolerated.

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Merlin,

      Good point, I always found irony with this insight as well. The church would have anyone outside the bounds of their control deemed a heretic yet, it further proved the argument that the church wasn't a synthesized faith or natural flow of change from one form of faith to another but instead, a mechanism of religion that rounded up everyone deemed unworthy or unholy and put them into the same category. additionally, what it points to is the universal similarities among the many nature-based faiths leading up to cultural differences. a fact, that underpins why the church prefers a control tactic as it contends with an overwhelming populace of opposing thinkers much like we find with pagan and aboriginal faith groups.

  1. Rev. Miche'al Yosef Dixon's Avatar Rev. Miche'al Yosef Dixon

    As a child I was raised going to Jewish Synagogue, Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Church, United Methodist Church & Pentecostal Church; and also going to Chactaw Reservation learning my Native American heritage although they were Mostly Catholic in religion. When I was 12 years old I got my first taste of a world beyond the Judeo-Christian raising I was already questioning pissing off My Jewish Rabbi, Catholic Priest and Protestant preachers. None wanted to and/or could answer basic fundamental errors in practices vs Holy Scriptures. As a result I went on a mission to prove the Holy Jewish Scriptures wrong. It drove me to study as many non-Jewish "Religions" (term used for convenance of the ignorant) as I could. The one thing I did learn was most pagans and socalled Atheist actually are more "Christian" than the christians. That is except for denying Jesus as a savior for sins they managed to follow most the Ten Commandments without trying. They follow the "moral" codes Jesus laid down to follow. Society as a whole are catching up to being tired of the Hatred most Christians project. Oh, There are certain other butt hurt "Religion" groups but like Christians they are not following the text they claim is inspired by their God(s). Hell, even Adolf Hitler had to get permission from The Pope for his genocide program. The United States did the same thing to the Japanese Americans without pope's permission and nobody bats an eye. In my studies over a mere 50 years reading text in their original languages and comparing notes. Many "Pagan" "Religions" have prophecies that point to the Jewish person named Jesus of Nazareth as a Messianic figure. Examples; Oracle of Delphi (same one that prophecy "ides of March" warning for Julius Caesar), Buddha prophized a king of Hebrews, one of the three named "wise men" Gasper left a record of fulfillment in temple in India. On the other side of the planet, Native American shaman, Goldleaf, prophized the coming of the Messiah, the native mistaken Cortez as that Messiah and boy were they wrong. Then along comes DNA testing and we learn the Native Americans are actually Hebrews as the Book of Mormon says. Before the butt hurt people start throwing stones, (and proving my point) I did a study on my native American ancestors cultures and 6 out of 10 villages throughout all tribes/nations had/have a Holy Hut that matches the floor plans of the Solomon Temple exactly. If YHWH is the God of ALL than how can us ("Jews")"Hebrews" claim the corner market on Him. The pagan-Christians already do that. They even joke about it; in the movie "A Knights Tale" character exclaimed "Jesus was English". Then again King Arthur was Saxon/French and they claim him also. Point is the shift In Americans flocking to pagan beliefs is because they fed up with all the violence and scandals of Christianity. then the politicians are stirring up hatred with race again. A fight that was pretty much won, proven fact they using it to control the people because they lost the control through Christianity fear of fire and brimstone.

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Miche'al,

      Thank you for sharing and you made some wonderful points. I was raised Christian and found Paganism at a rather young age. Throughout my journey as a speaker and teacher, I have encountered many people who value the spiritual promise of Christian values yet see themselves as nondenominational and tend to have no real interaction with faith outside of their values. I have also seen a large number of Christians move away from any form of orthodox teachings of Christianity and move more into a folk religious practice of it alongside more Pagan attributes.

    2. Bond Wright's Avatar Bond Wright

      Right on.

  1. Minister Thomas's Avatar Minister Thomas

    Wow! The response to this has been such a good read not to mention the subject! Lovely truly lovely. Thank you for such a well written article as well as the comments. At times when we all feel unaccepted in our faith a voice or more are heard and we realize we are not alone after all. Love to you all.

  1. J. Barron's Avatar J. Barron

    Projection is real.

  1. Guru Dave's Avatar Guru Dave

    Christine, I see that we are on the same page. I left the title of Christian out of my belief system because I love Jesus too much to subscribe to a judgemental, power derived form of "Christinanity". I believe as do many Hindus, that any system whose basis is Love, is worthy of credit and not judgement. Our former President referred to disloyal Republicans, as RINOs, Republicans in name only. I have coined a term for Christians who proclaim the name but do not follow Jesus' example. I call them CHRINOs.... Christians in name only. And that makes me sad. Blessings to you and all. Even the CHRINOs.

  1. Daniel Todd Kamm's Avatar Daniel Todd Kamm

    To each their own because it's all the same anyway. Anyone who can't make the connection deserves themselves and whatever comes with it.

    People are so narrow.

    Peace, Rebtk

  1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

    Back in the days of yore, when Socrates, Plato, and the sophists debated this and that, Plato (via Aristotle) directed their supporters towards supernaturalism; while Democritus et al, guided their followers towards materialism. The supernaturalists won; and the materialism (pagans, for the most part) lost — because the Greek leaders knew that it’s far easier to control supernaturalists, than it is to control materialists. The Catholic Church used Aristotle inspired supernaturalism to stop the teaching of philosophy with a materialistic base, la de la de da, until Spinoza demonstrated that God and nature were differing aspects of the same thing, Pagans, became a prerogative term, for anyone not self-identifying as a Christian,

    Had the materialists won (because all the relevant facts were on their side) instead of the supernaturalists (who had no facts on theirs) one thing’s for certain, we wouldn’t be having this discussion now. Pantheism (secular) can unite everyone with explanations for everything— without the divisiveness of the tens of thousands of various religions interfering. “Imagine no religion— it’s eas I you try — no more gods above us — below us only sky.”

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      William,

      This is such an important aspect of the changes that led to the history of paganism in Europe and then through Anatolia. I'd like to add though, given the common understanding regarding materialism ( in the philosophical, not modern ideological sense) that animism, probably as you know, underpinned much of the motive for the materialistic basis in Pagan beliefs. For example, Vitalism ,though rejected, was also trying to pinpoint some underlying supernatural form of origin behind the essence of matter. I would speculate that pagans in those times often held that matter was one in the same with the powerful forces of life as they chose to reject Vitalism as a counterpart to Materialism.

      I would also add that the connotation of Pagan values being centered on Materialism, while true for the reasons you've laid out, is typically one of the pitches of the opponents to expanding Pagan practices in the U.S. - Not to say you or your ideas are the problem- rather that those who already oppose it will twist the basis of Materialism and its relationship to Pagan values to imply a superficial quality to its traditions.

      Whereas, in adjunct to your point, there's a disregard for the philosophical basis of Materialism and its relationship to other common values of paganism such as Dualism, ancestry, and so on.

      Lastly, I would like to mention that I am interested in seeing where the Pagan community takes this sort of conversation. I would wager that we could see a cultural shift in religion to focus more on the animistic qualities of Materialism once more. We'll just have to see how the newcomers to faith (at large) come to define these dynamics down the road!

  1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

    @Robert E. Polston

    How does your comment respond to the article?

    1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

      Actually, I would say my response puts a finger right on the real moving parts of all this fluff and hair pulling. Freedom is what we are given by our maker. Freedom from our maker, with our maker, and even away from our maker is the real point in looking at the "followers" of a loving faith.

      Sometimes people are so disconnected from the reality of a given situation or event that they don't seem to recognize the most fundamental elements. In this situation, it would be someone who would not see freedom being the primary element in any argument about letting people have the freedom to explore their own mind, their own faith, and practice their own peaceful lifestyle.

      Ignorance and judgment are a wicked cocktail no matter how subtle or indirect they are applied. I don't suppose this answer will help you, but then that is not my job.

      1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

        @Robert E. Polston

        When I posted the comment above, only two comments appeared on this page, so I was referring to your initial comment at the top right after the article ended.

        At the core of the "real moving parts of all this fluff and hair pulling", as you describe, are organized religions with government representatives vying for the upperhand in this country. What about any of those preserve natural born freedoms?

        The maker you refer to is a self-serving man-made concoction. BeLIEve what you want. Expecting others to is a growing exercise in futility. Especially so because most young people I've crossed paths with this past decade or so, are more alert to the fraud organized religions are about.

        And don't mistake me for an atheist or being entirely anti-religion. Despite lack of appreciation for organized religions, I think anyone should be able to work through their life's journey as they see fit as long as they are not interfering with the journeys of other individuals; which organized religions are notoriously famous for doing.

        Definitionally, inasmuch as Earth might be called a religion, where "action or conduct indicating a belief in a divine power and reverence for and desire to please it", that best describes me.

        https://www.etymonline.com/word/religion

        Most life forms adapt to survive. Humans, however, expect the world to adapt to them... childish silliness.

        Nature in all its forms provides me calm and peace. Making up a God or gods and goddesses to say they created nature that provides what I need, is an inordinate waste of time and energy.

        Without a deity involved, I always feel a power within and around me that anyone can experience with nature. I think the God or gods and goddesses most of us relate to, exist within each individual Self. That government-represented religions aim to cripple our personal growth to make and keep us unable to manifest our calling in life, in order to serve their greed and powermongering. Name them as you please, that is what they do.

        1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

          Life is what we make it, expressions of life are the same, the fact remains we are free to choose our path. My view is expressed, I stand by it, it is not well interupretted by you or your design, but you of course are free to believe what you want just as I and everyone else on the planet is free to do.

  1. Evone Payton Banks (Minister non denominational)'s Avatar Evone Payton Banks (Minister non denominational)

    Well said. I have faced hatred from many different sources. And many different ways of life. I strive to be upright for the principles and boundaries I set for myself. The more people come to grips that we are all different... The more they'll see themselves in others. To be hate filled or project ones beliefs onto another person because of one way of life, is the reason why, in some cases; people turn away or end up harmed. Thank you for this article. I accept the different in people's energy... Just don't force yours on me.

  1. Tom Herman's Avatar Tom Herman

    What a nice perspective. To be spiritual doesn't mean that you proselytize in order to convert others. In my experience, pagans tend to be much more tolerant of another's beliefs in religion. History is full of examples of forcing religion on others. The Catholic inquisition is just one example. Values are a learned behavior. I've had young couples who want to be joined together who do not adhere to a particular faith. When I ask why not just go to a Magistrate or Justice of the Peace to be married their responses are varied but all say they need more than just a legal tie. My counseling focuses on their shared commitment to each other that building a life together is a process. While I've read much that says the rise in paganism is a rebellion against old fashioned traditions, those same people tend to be much more tolerant of others views. The belief that there is something bigger than ourselves goes back to the beginning of time. Who's to say it's wrong?

  1. Joan Marilyn Sanchez's Avatar Joan Marilyn Sanchez

    This was a very interesting and refreshing article. I too was brought up in a Christian background and turned Wiccan back in my twenties. I was always drawn to Paganism due to my anger towards some of the laws that the Pope put in effect. My way of looking at it came from this: A woman walks up to the Pope and says, "You no play the game, you no make up the rules." I firmly believe a woman has a right to her own body and I got tired of the man-made laws. After all my years (45 to be exact), I've studied many religions and still believe that I chose the right path for me.

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Joan,

      Thank for taking the time to read and I am pleased to hear your thoughts!

      Your point is an underpinning message of the kind of thing that many believe have brought us to this point. Just like with the Lutheran movement that led to the understanding of clergy's abuse of power, I believe we're seeing another turning point in these groups where people denounce the ethos and controlling beliefs that the church has used to moderate social life around the globe. It is an age old belief held over the majority of people that access to divine anything comes through the loyalty shown to the church. instead people are finding that part of self which has a birthright to that which is divine for them which grants a new understanding of authority and morality over the life we live.

  1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

    Comment removed by user.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    Blessed be y’all!!

  1. William McMillian's Avatar William McMillian

    We all should remember that Jesus was not white and a white organization, I. E. The Roman Empire, put him to death. Also, he’s was not a Christian but an Essene. We also should remember our nation was founded on freedom of religion. If there were to be a Christian state, who would be its leader a Catholic, Protestant, evangelical, Mormon, Episcopalian, or ???? Making this a “Christian “ nation would violate the Constitution. Some current Christians are recommending an Islamic state where the religious texts are the law. No voting just making a religious work, the Bible, be the law. One just needs to look at the history of Christianity filled with different Christian groups have been for warring against each other. Sect against sect, nation against nation, the Crusades, Inquisition, nation states, ad iniinitum I believe Jesus is appalled at what we call Christian. If America is to survive we need to keep from being a Totalitarian state. Like the Middle Ages, people were killed for being non-believers. Jesus’ mother was Jewish which under OT rules makes Him Jewish. We have in many ways destroyed “and the greatest of these is love,”

  1. Timothy Paul Grant's Avatar Timothy Paul Grant

    What are your thoughts about Christian Witches

    1. Torre Huffines's Avatar Torre Huffines

      Timothy,

      I think Christian Witches are just as valid as any other form of witchcraft. we have to remember that ALL traditions come with an alternative, often mystic-focused form. additionally, regardless of the major religion at given points in ancient history, most people practiced or exhibited some form of folk traditions. Even Christians.

      I have seen amalgamations of of Pagan Christianity and Christian wicca. notwithstanding other groups like Regla De Osha, Santeria, or even Candoble. these, very pagan, traditions are still related and united with forms of Catholicism.

      I recommend people seeking to synthesize their Christian and pagan beliefs to focus on ceremony, ritual, and the spiritual force of the courts of the heavens of Yewah. the angelic pantheon still allows for flexibility in practice yet, maintains your beliefs in practices under the same creed.

      Hope this helps!

      rev. Torre

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
Don't have an account yet? Create Account
Have a question? Ask us now!
Welcome. If you have any questions, I'm happy to help.