Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller, rustic") is a term which, from a Western perspective, has come to connote a broad set of spiritual or cultic practices or beliefs of any folk religion, and of historical and contemporary polytheistic religions in particular.
- He offers a handshake, crooked five fingers
They form a pattern yet to be matched
On the surface simplicity
But the darkest pit in me is pagan poetry
- The inference to be drawn from all this is, that the made-up and dogmatic Christianity of the Constantinian period is simply an offspring of the numerous conflicting sects, half-castes themselves, born of Pagan parents. Each of these could claim representatives converted to the so-called orthodox body of Christians. And, as every newly-born dogma had to be carried out by the majority of votes, every sect colored the main substance with its own hue, till the moment when the emperor enforced this revealed olla-podrida, of which he evidently did not himself understand a word, upon an unwilling world as the religion of Christ. Wearied in the vain attempt to sound this fathomless bog of international speculations, unable to appreciate a religion based on the pure spirituality of an ideal conception, Christendom gave itself up to the adoration of brutal force as represented by a Church backed up by Constantine. Since then, among the thousand rites, dogmas, and ceremonies copied from Paganism, the Church can claim but one invention as thoroughly original with her -- namely, the doctrine of eternal damnation, and one custom, that of the anathema.
- The heroes in paganism correspond exactly to the saints in popery, and holy dervises in MAHOMETANISM. The place of, HERCULES, THESEUS, HECTOR, ROMULUS, is now supplied by DOMINIC, FRANCIS, ANTHONY, and BENEDICT. Instead of the destruction of monsters, the subduing of tyrants, the defence of our native country; whippings and fastings, cowardice and humility, abject submission and slavish obedience, are become the means of obtaining celestial honours among mankind.
- David Hume, The Natural History of Religion (1757), Part X - "With regard to courage r abasement".
- This fact, that the opposite of sin is by no means virtue, has been overlooked. The latter is partly a pagan view, which is content with a merely human standard, and which for that very reason does not know what sin is, that all sin is before God. No, the opposite of sin is faith.
- Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death (1849), Part Two: Despair Is Sin, pp. 114 - 115.
- What a dangerous objection it would be against Christianity, therefore, if paganism had a definition of sin which Christianity had to acknowledge was correct.
- Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death (1849), Part Two: Despair Is Sin, p. 122.
- Hesiod, the oldest author to have written on theogony, asserted that the gods and men are created by unknown natural forces. We can therefore consider paganism as a superstitious form of atheism.
- Pierre-Simon Laplace, "On Causality" (manuscript), in Roger Hahn, Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749–1827: A Determined Scientist. Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 232.
- I have always considered myself, when I learned what the word meant, I've always considered myself a Pagan.
- We saw ourselves as anthropologists from the twenty-first century inhabiting a time module set somewhere in the dark ages of the 1960s. On this space colony we were attempting to create a new paganism and a new dedication to life as art.
- All my life I have been attracted by Catholicism. But what attracted me was not its Christianity, but its paganism. The Scholastic Philosophers entertained me not because they were apologists for Jesus but because they were refinements of Aristotle. The liturgical life of the Church moved me because it echoes the most ancient responses to the turning of the year and the changing seasons, and the rhythms of animal and human life. For me the Sacraments transfigured the rites of passage, the physical facts of the human condition — birth, adolescence, sexual intercourse, vocation, sickness and death, communion, penance. Catholicism still provides a structure of acts, individual and at the same time communal, physical responses to life.
- Notwithstanding, the disciples of Jesus, excepting John the Revelator, suffered ignominious deaths, they sowed the seed of the Gospel among, and conferred the Priesthood upon men, which remained for several generations upon the earth, but the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans. And subsequently the Priesthood was taken from among men, this authority was re-called into the heavens, and the world was left without the Priesthood-without the power of God-without the Church and Kingdom of God.
- That men who find Christianity too hard of belief should come to believe in Paganism, sounds, I know, like an absurdity. But nothing is so incalculable as the credulity of incredulity.
- Francis Thompson, "Paganism: Old and New", A Renegade Poet and Other Essays (Boston: The Ball Publishing Co., 1910), p. 48.
- Our patriotism comes straight from the Romans. … It is a pagan virtue, if these two words are compatible. The word pagan, when applied to Rome, early possesses the significance charged with horror which the early Christian controversialists gave it. The Romans really were an atheistic and idolatrous people; not idolatrous with regard to images made of stone or bronze, but idolatrous with regard to themselves. It is this idolatry of self which they have bequeathed to us in the form of patriotism.
- Simone Weil, Prelude to Politics (1943), p. 220.