Meaning of Paganism

What is Paganism:

By paganism is understood the practice of polytheistic religions that are not accepted by Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Originally, the term pagan comes from the Latin "paganus" which means "inhabitant of the field or village".

The application of the term "paganism" to polytheistic religious practices is related to the officialization of Christianity, a religion that was formally established in the 4th century with the proclamation of the Edict of Thessalonica by Emperor Theodosius.

When Christianity became official, it was quickly incorporated into the urban centers of the empire. However, their expansion to the more remote areas of the countryside took longer, so they practiced polytheism in parallel with what happened in the political centers.

Thus, little by little the term "pagan" (peasant) was identified with the religious option, until, finally, "paganism" came to mean the practice of almost always polytheistic religions, considered false. In the event that a monotheistic religion was considered pagan, this was due to the fact that it did not respond to any of the books of the Abrahamic religions.

In the context of the history and development of Christianity, the term paganism has also served to identify those tendencies within the same religion that incorporate syncretic elements of other religions or that only resemble them.

This type of derivation generated not a few conflicts within the Church. For example, the most conservative sectors of Christianity in Byzantium considered the cult of images typical of the pagans, which literally happened in the iconoclastic war.


Since the 19th century, various spiritualities have been awakened that have tried to retake some beliefs and practices typical of ancient paganism. These tendencies derive from enlightened occultism and are considered neo-paganism.

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