6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermon Illustrations

Most Neo-Pagans have the following factors in common:

• Their religion was almost or completely wiped out in the past and has since then been reconstructed from ancient information sources

• They are either duo-theistic or poly-theistic in nature (recognizing a goddess and god or many gods.)

• Most followers are solitary practitioners

• Others are involved in small groups called circles, covens, garths, hearths, groves, kindreds, etc.

• They celebrate four main seasonal days or celebrations each year, associated with the equinoxes and solstices.

• They also celebrate four additional days, spaced between a solstice and equinox.

• They prefer to conduct their religious rituals outdoors where practical

• Many do not conduct their religion publicly for fear of abuse or ridicule.

• They have minimal or no hierarchical structure.

• They have a primary concern for the environment and feel close to nature and its cycles.

• They claim to follow a code that requires them to avoid hurting themselves or others following the ethical statement, “Do what thou wilt, but harm none.”

Pagans believe that no one belief system is correct, and that each person should have the freedom to choose the path that is right for them. Most pagan groups do not possess a strict set of dogma allowing members to follow what ever set of beliefs they wish (apart from strongly-held Biblical beliefs, of course.) They stress love for and kinship with nature with a reverence for the life force and the ever renewing cycles of life and death (like the Theme for Disney’s Lion King, and the theme song, “The circle of life.”) They have a strong leaning towards the concept of Goddess and God as the expression of divine reality. (Like most Old Testament pagan religions did)

Why is there a resurgence of these kinds of religions today? Charlotte Hardman, in a book she wrote on paganism says, “The interest in Paganism today in the UK and USA may be interpreted as a response to an increased dissatisfaction with the way the world is going ecologically, spiritually, and materially; people are disillusioned by mainstream religion and realization that materialism leaves an eternal emptiness.” (Hardman, Paganism Today, Page IX)

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