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Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller, rustic") is the blanket term given to describe religions and spiritual practices of pre-Christian Europe, and by extension a term for polytheistic traditions or folk religion worldwide seen from a Western or Christian viewpoint. The term has various different meanings, though, from a Western perspective, it has modern connotations of a faith that has polytheistic, spiritualist, animistic or shamanic practices, such as a folk religion, historical polytheistic or neopagan religion.
The term has been defined broadly, to encompass all of the religions outside the Abrahamic monotheistic group of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The group so defined includes most of the Eastern religions, Native American religions and mythologies, as well as non-Abrahamic ethnic religions in general. More narrow definitions will not include any of the world religions and restrict the term to local or rural currents not organized as civil religions. Characteristic of pagan traditions is the absence of proselytism and the presence of a living mythology which explains religious practice.
The term "pagan" is a Christian adaptation of the "gentile" of Judaism, and as such has an inherent Abrahamic bias, and pejorative connotations among Western monotheists, comparable to heathen, and infidel, mushrik and kafir (كافر) in Islam. For this reason, ethnologists avoid the term "paganism," with its uncertain and varied meanings, in referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring more precise categories such as polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism; however others criticise the use of these terms, claiming that these are only aspects that different faiths may share and do not denote the religions themselves.
Since the later 20th century, "Pagan" or "Paganism" has become widely used as a self-designation by adherents of Neopaganism. As such, various modern scholars have begun to apply the term to three separate groups of faiths: Historical Polytheism (such as Celtic polytheism and Norse paganism), Folk/ethnic/Indigenous religions (such as Chinese folk religion and African traditional religion), and Neo-paganism (such as Wicca and Germanic Neopaganism).
Originally posted by iWork4NWO
You be a good poor hindu/buddhist and don't rebel. You're poor because you did something bad in your last life. Be good and in your next life you'll be rich.
You be a good christian/jew/muslim/mormon and do as we say (it's what God wants), othewise you end up in hell.
Are the any organized religions out there that aren't like this?
[edit on 7-3-2009 by iWork4NWO]
Originally posted by Oceanborn
Lovely question but before anything i have a question for you: Why you need any kind of religion?
Originally posted by its bologna
Actually, Buddhism teaches that suffering is because of our attachment to desires and wants. The true path to end suffering and to gain enlightenment is to not want or desire anything. So it actually teaches the opposite of what you say..
Originally posted by iWork4NWO
AFAIK Buddhism comes with reincarnation..