Historically, Did Paganism Really Lose to Christianity?
So in the scheme of history, Christians may seem like the winners. After all, it is currently the world’s most prominent religion, 33% of people in the world call themselves Christians. Check here for more information about religious demographics. Also, the number of people who call themselves pagans is still very low. .2% of the U.S Population.
Yet if paganism included Hinduism and other non Judeo-Christian, Ethno based religions around the world, it would account for 40% of people around the world.
And then I must further ask, what counts, the label or people’s practices?
If you examine the pre-christian holidays people celebrated in Europe, we actually still celebrate these holidays today, 2,000 years after the birth of Christianity.
Halloween or Dia De Los Muertos is the pre-christian day of the dead.
It is said that Jesus was born in the summer, and yet we celebrate his birthday “Christmas” on December 25th, around the Pagan feast days of Saturnalia and Yule.
Easter is supposedly the day Jesus rose from the dead, and yet the day keeps the name and traditions of the Anglo Saxxon Goddess of birth, Eostre. Bunnies and Eggs are two of her symbols, since they represent fertility.
The days of the week are named after the Norse Gods: Thursday, Thor’s Day.
The months of the year and the planets in the sky keep the names of Roman Gods and Goddesses.
Many Catholic saints are merely appropriated pre-christian Gods and Goddesses. Saint Bridget is one of the most famous examples. She was such a popular Celtic deity, that the church couldn’t eliminate her tradition. Eventually they threw their hands in the air and made her a saint. Many of her sacred fires and temples are still around today.
Also, much Pagan lore is alive and breathing in modern day stories. Everything from fairies, elves, gnomes, dwarfs, wizards and dragons are based on Pre-Christian mythos.
When you look at Christianity itself, so much of it has been changed to appropriate pagan traditions, that it’s more Pagan in practice than Christian.
How many Christians follow the 600 laws of Leviticus? How many Christians follow the ancient Germanic tradition of setting up a “Christmas” tree?
Not saying that nothing has changed over the 2,000 years of the world’s forced conversation to Christianity. Certainly much of the original wisdom has been lost.
Yet to me it seems that people may be Christians in name, but Pagan by blood.