The Ohio State University

Pagan Student Association

What is Paganism?

Paganism is a general term used to describe the many Earth-based religions that existed in Western Europe before the dawn of Christianity. A Pagan is someone who practices one of those Earth-based religions. The word "Pagan" originally referred to a peasant, a country person, or a commoner, as they were usually the last to convert to Christianity and so still practiced the old religions.
When Christianity became the dominant religion of Western Europe, people who still practiced the old religions went underground and kept the knowledge secret. In the past decades however, there has been a revival of the old religions. People have gathered the information that is left of those pre-Christian religions in Western Europe and have adopted Paganism as their religion today.
Modern Paganism consists of many religions, and is in some ways very liberal in that each person is entitled to have their own views, even if they conflict with someone else's views. One idea Paganism embraces is that there are many different religions in the world because different people need different things from a religion. Pagans do not feel the need to convert people because it is up to each individual to find the religion that is right for them.
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