Today Shawn spoke to us about Principles of Paganism. Paganism is a catch-all phrase that describes a broad group of religious structures. It is often referred to as a collection of world-views that are pantheistic i.e. exclude monotheism, but even that is a misnomer. The word Pagan to the Romans really just meant the people of the back-country, what we today would call hill-billies.
That said, there is a commonality among the the Earth-Religions. Many of them today are modern expressions of the ancient beliefs and practices of our ancestors, at least as nearly as we can discover what those practices were. There are, however, three things that all seem to have in common:
1) The religions are, at their core, earth-centered hearth cultures. Humans are connected to the natural world. The earth does not need improving or subduing.
2) Humans are not "fallen." We do not need to be saved. We are blessed.
3) Humans have personal responsibility to nurture creation. There is no dogma to adhere to. There are no easy answers and there is no easy rescue of the spirit by a leader who will pronounce that only good things will befall you.
Paganism is not for the feint of heart.
There are many religions that are called neo-pagan because they are trying to decipher the religious beliefs of ancient peoples who were assimilated by either the Romans or the Greeks or the Christians. This is difficult because these people often did not write anything down. Nevertheless, here are what Pagans believe:
-Everyone chooses their own religious path
-You are responsible for your growth. Most congregations don't have professionally trained leaders.
-We dont have one truth.
-Everything is sacred. You are part of the Universe.
-We have a responsibility to interact with the world.
All of these believes fit nicely into the religious practices of the Unitarian Universalist church. Come visit us some Sunday.