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Christianity vs. Paganism: Which is Better?

March 5, 2009

I want to state up front that I am an atheist of the kind that feels comfortable affirmatively stating that there is no god. I do not believe in spirits, souls, angels, demons, or any of that crap. Same deal with magic and “magick,” which contrary to popular opinion in some circles is not made more potent or impressive by the addition of a “k” at the end. Any sentence relating to the healing powers of crystals makes me skip right over the article.

But if I had to choose a religion, and we’re talking gun-t0-the-head pressure here,  my two real options would be Christianity or Paganism. The first is a viable option because Christianity has been drilled into my head since I was an infant, so it’s a more comfortable set of meaningless superstitions for me to adhere to than say, Judaism or Hindu. And the second is an option because, as religious symbols go, it doesn’t get much more bitchin’ than a pentagram. 

Christianity, as best I understand it, can be generally summarized as:

There is a god. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent. He created the Universe and everything in it, for a purpose that he refuses to explain. Perhaps doing so would spoil the surprise. This god, in his omnibenevolence, decided to create a race of people who rape and murder each other on a regular basis. He does not tell us why he allows this to continue, but assures us that it is all part of his plan and he loves all of us. Even the murderous rapists. Or something.  This god sent his son, who was also himself, but not really, down to earth to become a political dissident and get executed by the Roman Empire, and this somehow sets the stage for our redemption. This redemption is needed, because any failure to request it through the proper channel (accepting Jesus Christ as your lord and savior) is grounds for being sentenced to an eternity of torment by the omnibonevolent and infinitely forgiving god who rules over us.  A desire to stand and be judged on our own merits and our own faults, without the thumb of Jesus on the scale is, depending on who in the faith you ask, misguided, foolhardy, arrogant, brave, or exactly what is required. In some denominations, people born before Jesus’ arrival are SOL, as are people born in parts of the world where Christianity does not have enough freedom of operation to explain the contract to everyone involved. In other denominations, it doesn’t really matter one way or the other, because Heaven’s guest list is already finalized and we’re all living out a meaningless farce. And common among many, many denominations is the implicit understanding that Thou Shalt Not Kill does not apply to your behavior if your government issues you a waiver. 

Paganism, as best I understand it, can be generally summarized as:

Nature is a powerful force that shapes our world. Sometimes nature is friendly, sometimes nature is cruel. We need nature, but nature does not need us. For these reasons and more, we must respect nature, and afford it a place of honor and worship. It is acceptable and encouraged to value our own lives and joy, but we must never assign a human life an infinitely higher value than any other life, as all living things are holy. There are many variations and subbranches of modern paganism, but in general, they tend to agree with the above statements.

 

Maybe I’m mistaken about the positions of these two religions, and if I am, feel free to correct me. But as far as I can tell, Pagans beat the snot out of Christians as far as internal consistency and correlation to observable reality is concerned. So victory: Pagans! It’s not even close.

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8 comments

  1. Spot on. As a fellow atheist, I can comfortably say that most pagan beliefs still fit in to my worldview anyway.

    Hell, given the apparent psychological benefits of having a religion(besides the ideas of reference and delusions of persecution present in some religious systems I could name but won’t) I’d even consider becoming a Pagan. All in all, good company anyway.


  2. Actually the reason in Christianity why god created humanity, according to him/her/it, is for people to love one another. Cheesy yes but rather basic. He did explain his reason btw, It’s very strange and bewildering that you’re not familiar with this concept despite it being so well known and despite the aformentioned Christian drilling you claim to have gone through.

    If love and goodness was all there was what would you compare the lack of love to? One wouldn’t RECOGNIZE love and goodness if one didn’t KNOW the opposite of love and goodness. This is a very basic philosophical concept that is in itself independent of any particular religion.

    God made humans to have a free will. That many humans choose to act upon their thirst for power and supremacy by using violence is not an act of god but an extreme abuse of their unique human traits.

    If there was no freedom, I’m sure atheists like yourself would be endlessly complaining about lack of mental freedom but then again, you wouldn’t have the freedom of mind to do so…

    Anyway, what’s interesting to see is how atheists fall time and time again into extreme simplistic emotionalism when explaining why they’re atheists: ‘why does god allow suffering? humans suffer therefor there must be no god! arrrgh’ And it’s also interesting to see how they base much if not all of their atheism on their hatred of religions that they arrogantly think they know about but in reality many atheists haven’t even scratched the surface of any theological philosophical view.


    • No, I hadn’t heard that God allegedly created us to love each other. Then why does he demand worship of us? Just wondering, because worshiping him seems tangential, if not outright detrimental, to the task of loving each other. After all, we’ve fought entire wars over how to worship him. And this gets me to thinking; why did he create us as technology-developing predators? If we were herbivores who didn’t develop an infrastructure to kill with, it would be harder for us to murder mass numbers of each other, which would make the loving so much easier.

      And I like how you imply that I was being deceitful because I hadn’t heard your sect’s interpretation of the Bible. Classy.

      Now as for needing evil to understand love: what about the Garden of Eden? Didn’t Adam and Eve love each other before the Fall? Sure, they didn’t understand good and evil, but there wasn’t anything mentioned about them not liking each other. Hell, she was able to talk him into disobeying God, wasn’t she? Since Adam knew God personally, I imagine she must have had quite a hold on him to pull that off.

      And I won’t even get into how petty and childish it is to punish all of humanity for all time because of a couple of errant bites of fruit…that He left there, without a guard, and with the foreknowledge of omniscience to warn him what would happen.

      And finally, you misunderstand the atheist position. It’s not “suffering exists, therefore there is no God.” It’s “You theists have failed to provide any substantial evidence that any divine beings exist, despite thousands of years of scrutiny. In the absence of such evidence, we do not believe it reasonable to agree with your unsubstantiated claims.” The fact that suffering exists is incidental to the existence or non-existence of God. However, the prevalence of suffering does provide plenty of evidence that various religious codes are self-contradicting, and further, that if god did exist, he would undoubtedly worthy of scorn.


  3. All I will say, is research the prohecy of Israel’s rebirth, which is precise to the day, even minute and hour of may 15 1948 at one minute past twelve they were reborn as a nation/state just as predicted in the bible.

    Check it out if you dare and be amazed, or continue in what you want to believe. I was atheist until this year, im now 21.

    Love to all, jesus our savior is coming again!


  4. he made us… why would we not want a relationship and to worship him?

    youd rather worship the devil of disobedience unwittingly and unknowingly?


  5. for everything made..there is a creator..For nature(trees,mountains,oceans).. there is a creator…GOD..


  6. @ Sam

    Proof to us that a God actually did make us… You do not expect us to just blindly follow a God without proof do you? And you say we worship the devil? Well, we do not believe in it, like previously stated.

    And Sandy, you believe that God actually made the nature, so what If I would plant a tree would that make me a God?

    If I had to make a choice between the two religions, I would go with Asatru (falls under Pagan).


    • @ MrGitface, You ask if you would be a God if you planted a tree? Anyone can “grow” a tree, but who can “create” one? Go ahead create us a tree but you have to get your own seeds and not use Gods!

      Fulfilled prophecies are a great example of proof but if you want real proof it can only be found through The Holy Spirit. As a previous Atheist myself you will not understand this blessing of which I speak as you will never receive it until you seek him with ALL of your heart.

      Ironically I found your article searching the hypocrisy around Pagan and Christian origins of the holidays. When your time comes, you will all be forgiven if you desire to be. God Bless.



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