22 Sep 2022


Paganism in European Religion

Format: Other

Academic level: University

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 1185

Pages: 5

Downloads: 0


In the ancient era around the fourth century, early Christians had widely spread their religion gaining a huge Christian population. Nevertheless, the Christian population never encapsulated everyone on the societies where it was dominant. As a result, paganism was formulated as a term referring to non-Christians in the society who practiced polytheism in the Roman Empire. The European religion is diverse incorporating numerous religious groups. However, there are dominant religions including Christianity that cover a considerable percentage. The research question behind this paper is, how did paganism influence Europe? Also, the paper seeks to analyze the current prevalence of paganism in Europe. 

The concept of paganism 

In the European religion, paganism has been a term used to refer to anyone outside a certain religion. Relating to the ancient religion, it has been associated with ancient Greece and Rome with different practices including worship of gods and goddesses among other religion systems associated with the same. The European religion is characterized by different groups including Christianity, Muslim, and Buddhism as the main groups in the western culture (Levitin 2012:119). Each member of the identified groups refers to anyone outside the religious groups as pagans. In most cases, paganism is associated with aspects of nature, living creatures, and earth among other natural aspects. Furthermore, defining the impact of paganism on the western religion will require a better understanding of western Christianity, western culture and the religions associated with paganism. In general, paganism has been associated with any religious practices, acts or ceremonies that are not in line with Christianity as a religion. 

It’s time to jumpstart your paper!

Delegate your assignment to our experts and they will do the rest.

Get custom essay

Paganism contribution towards secularization in Europe 

Paganism has been associated with secularization, which refers to the transformation of European society from religious values and institutions towards secular values and non-religious institutions. Christianity and Islam have been dominant in the Western Culture inducing values and norms governing society. The fact that paganism refers to other religions apart from the prominent religious groups, their existence has been subject to alteration of the Christian belief through associating pagans with non-Christian values. A considerable percent of the European pagans do not believe there is any sort of god, spirit, of life force. This supports the reason why paganism is identified to be against Christian belief (Palmer 2007: 409). 

An analysis of paganism in the Carolingian world, the pagans’ group has been associated with the migration of the ‘Holy’ as defined in Christianity. Paganism has been associated with a religious change from the ancient norms and values characterizing the early Christian religion to modern Europe religions. In the 19 th century, artistic groups adapted practices from the ancient world supporting paganism in society. In the same century, Western Christianity had the biggest percentage covered by Roman Catholicism (Crowley 1998: 176). Nevertheless, eastern Orthodox induced a division introducing evangelicalism and puritanism that spread values and religious customs in the entire society. However, different groups who were against the identified belief and norms remained steadfast in their belief in aspects of nature. 

Development of multiple religious groups in Europe 

Additionally, paganism facilitated the development of different religious groups that held different beliefs and conceptions, which were different from the Christian religion. Incidences of proving the Christian religion as the true religion that needs to dominate the society raised religious war. As a consequence, paganism induced the need for freedom of religion in the Western religion facilitating the rise of different religious groups (Levitin 2012: 134). For instance, the European Union, which had Christianity as the largest religious group got other smaller groups including Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism among other groups that had no religious base. Every group has distinct religious practices defining their identity. As a result, paganism is associated with the rise of new religious movements holding different beliefs and values hence diversifying the western religion. 

As depicted from anthropological research records, pagan religions had their religious practices attached to nature worship. On the other hand, Christianity religion associates nature with different vices such as witchcraft, ancestral spirits, bad omens, and evil spirits. For instance, the Christian belief is against witchcraft practices and usually associates it with non-Christians in society. As a result, paganism is said to harbor different vices in the society following different religious groups and practices that are against Christianity (Palmer 2007: 421). 

Paganism contribution towards freedom of religion 

Traditionally, paganism incorporated the collective non-Christian cultures practiced outside the bounds of Christianity. Nevertheless, the current generation has different religious groups under the western religion each holding significant beliefs and perceptions against other groups. As a result of paganism, there has been the emergence of new religious movements after the introduction of religious freedom in Western society. Freedom has facilitated the development of secret societies, which raise different perceptions in western society. The western Christian remain predominant with an average of 74% in European society. Research records that paganism is becoming more popular in Western society with reduced church attendance for the Christian religion (Levitin 2012: 145). This has been an impact of increased religious groups characterized by different worship practices and belief systems. Evidently, other religious movements such as Buddhism and Hinduism have gained a significant population in the western religion. Despite the freedom of religion introduced in the Western religion, Christianity still attaches different practices to pagans. For instance, practicing solitary among other religion-based rituals still is held against Christianity. 

The issue of paganism depended on which religious group is referring to the other. The Jews under Jewish religion considered Christianity to be another form of paganism. The Jewish culture had ethnocultural standards that governed their beliefs and religious practices. In return, Christianity inherited Jewish terminology integrating them to their values and norms governing their mode of conducting religious practices. Paganism has been closely associated with the issue of polytheism. Before Christianity began to distinguish its religion from other members of the society, a considerable percentage of pagans had no religion at all (Palmer 2007: 411). However, some of them had a belief in some supernatural powers associated with nature under different minority groups. The current state of Western religion is characterized by multiple religions with each religion holding a different perception against each other as being pagan. In general, anyone outside the bounds of a certain religion is classified under paganism by the members of the respective religious group. 

Paganism prevalence in Europe today 

Modern paganism is characterized by new religious movements influenced by ancient religious movements. In return, the modern revival movements have assumed a dynamic culture, art, philosophy, which has contributed to religion division and emergence of a society's religious dynamic culture. The religious movements have been supported by the freedom of religion as it has been facilitated by paganism. Reflecting on the ancient religion, the Christian Church induced the notion of paganism with the aim of raising a rebel against other religions. Since other small groups have practices and beliefs governing their faith, they also have different values and norms that tend to be different from Christian practices. 

Also, the freedom of religion has paganism outnumbering Christianity, which was a dominant religion in the ancient era. As a result, it has influenced Christian beliefs and practices as evidenced by the low population attending churches. Additionally, paganism has brought into light different ethnic groups in Europe that have been practicing paganism. Therefore, paganism has manipulated European society to inducing a different culture than what was established in the ancient era. 

In conclusion, the freedom of religion introduced in the Western religion has facilitated a decrease in religiousness with a huge population being attracted to secular practices. Therefore, paganism has manifested in the European culture through different religious groups that hold differing perceptions against each other. Each religious group has its bounds regarding any other religion outside its bound as paganism. European societies have, therefore, developed beliefs and philosophies that govern their religious faith. 

References Cited 

Crowley Vivianne 

1998  Wicca as Nature Religion'in Pearson, J.; Roberts, RH; and Samuel, G.(eds.), 

Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World  (pp. 170-179). 

Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 

Levitin Dmitri 

2012. From sacred history to the history of religion: Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity 

in European historiography from Reformation to ‘Enlightenment’.  The Historical 

Journal 55 (4), 1117-1160. 

Palmer James 

2007 Defining paganism in the Carolingian world.  Early Medieval Europe 15 (4), 402- 


Cite this page

Select style:


StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Paganism in European Religion.


Related essays

We post free essay examples for college on a regular basis. Stay in the know!

Tracing Nationalist Ideology across the Decades

Nationalism and national identity in Japan assert that Japan is a united nation and promotes the maintenance of Japanese culture and history by citizens. It is a set of ideas that the Japanese people hold, drawn from...

Words: 899

Pages: 3

Views: 373

Pectoral of Princess Sithathoryunet and Gold Bracteate

Introduction Jewelry has been in use for many years, and this can be proven from existing ancient objects and artifacts. The first piece to be analyzed is the Gold Bracteate which has its origins in the culture...

Words: 1986

Pages: 7

Views: 354

Plato and Pericles

Plato and Pericles Ancient Greece forms the basis of many civilizations in the world today. Greece influenced art, literature, mathematics, and democracy among other things. Through philosophy and leadership,...

Words: 513

Pages: 2

Views: 364

The Yalta Conference: What Happened and Why It Matters

Churchill and Roosevelt got into a gentle disagreement during the Yalta conference in opposition to Soviet plans to maintain Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia (Baltic states), and a vast eastern Poland section reinstating...

Words: 289

Pages: 1

Views: 95

The Louisiana Purchase: One of the Most Significant Achievements of President Thomas Jefferson

The Louisiana Purchase is among the most significant achievements of a presidency in the US. Executed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, the project encompassed the acquisition of approximately 830 million square...

Words: 1253

Pages: 4

Views: 125

The Civil Right Movement

Civil rights are a crucial section of democracy. There are five types of civil rights. The right to vote allows everyone to participate openly in the voting procedure and decide who is fit for a political position...

Words: 1048

Pages: 4

Views: 93


Running out of time?

Entrust your assignment to proficient writers and receive TOP-quality paper before the deadline is over.