term for a polytheist, non-monotheist or non-Christian

Heathen or pagan


  • HEATHEN, n. A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • If I had been a Heathen,
    I'd have crowned Neaera's curls,
    And filled my life with love affairs,
    My house with dancing girls.
  • O father, father
    Gone from us, lost to us,
    The church lies bereft,
    Desecrated, desolated.
    And the heathen shall build
    On the ruins
    Their world without God.
    I see it.
    I see it.
  • Though every prospect pleases
    And only man is vile.
    In vain with lavish kindness
    The gifts of God are strewn,
    The heathen in his blindness
    Bows down to wood and stone.
  • The editor perhaps may consider himself justified by numerous precedents among the several partisans of different Christian sects in applying the name of heathen to one who takes the Precepts of Jesus as his principal guide in matters of religious and civic duties; as Roman Catholics bestow the appellation of heretics or infidels on all classes of Protestants; and the Protestants do not spare the title idolater to Roman Catholics; Trinitarians deny the name Christian to Unitarians, while the latter retort by stigmatising the worshippers of the son of man as Pagans who adore a created and dependent being.
    • Ram Mohan Roy (founder of the Brahma Sabha) His reply after being called a heathen by John Marshman. Quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 8 ISBN 9788185990354
  • When the Christian Sunday schools teach the children that ‘the heathens cannot enjoy the blessings of salvation’ they foster an attitude in the impressionable child mind that all heathens or non-Christians must be had, ignoble, or inferior and there must be something fundamentally wrong in them. This attitude grows; and only a few, in their maturity after great efforts, succeed to free themselves from this prejudice based upon ignorance and false teachings.
    • Dr. Taraknath Das, Ph.D., in the “Modern Review” for April 1931. in The Modern Review, vol 49 Ramananda Chatterjee Prabasi Press Private, Limited, 1931
  • Very many Americans have an offensive habit of referring to natives as `heathen.' Mahommedans and Hindus are heathen alike in their eyes.
    • R Kipling, (From Sea to Sea vol. 2, p. 61): quoted in Ibn, W. (2009). Defending the West: A critique of Edward Said's Orientalism. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books.
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