Paganism Rising -- By: Kristen Davis
BSpade 28:1 (Winter 2015) p. 25
America is known as a melting pot. We have people from all over the world, from every culture, nation and religious system. We are a haven for the persecuted and a delight for the imaginative, who need only an opportunity in order to do great things. We are a land of opportunity because we believe that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” As of late, however, we’ve watched as many of these rights appear to be slipping away. We’ve watched our country go from a respected world-influencer to one of extreme debt that is mocked by foreign nations. What has changed? What has caused this cultural shift? While, to be sure, there are a multitude of factors, I believe one of the key reasons is that we have lost the worldview of our founders.
I am an avid lover of archaeology, because it gives us a snapshot of the past. In the world of archaeology the culture is static and frozen. The people have long since passed. The places and cultural ideas are no longer shifting and changing. They are the perfect subjects of study because they stay put and do not talk back. Yet, as I’ve delved deeper into archaeological study, I’ve found that it is also a source of great insight into modern culture. Because the subject of study is static and frozen, one can view the whole picture from beginning to end, as one views a painting or the storyline of a book. The plot has already unfolded and one can see how the changes affected the culture at large, and ultimately brought about the end of a particular way of life. In this way archaeology gives insight into apologetics, because we are able to see the end results of a particular worldview as it has already played out in another culture.
One such worldview is paganism. Earlier this year I was asked to give a presentation on neopaganism at a conference. Knowing very little about neopaganism, I decided to discuss it through the lens of archaeology. Paganism is not a new worldview; it is arguably the oldest and most prominent one found in ancient cultures. Neopaganism is merely the resurfacing of that system in our day. I would like to share a summary of my findings on the pagan worldview, because I think it is the key to answering questions about the cultural shift we see in America.
Questions About Reality
As in any worldview, paganism ultimately answers six key questions about reality. Though not a formal religious system, complete with religious texts and formalized doctrine, it nevertheless results in a worldview that shapes the way its adherents view life and the circumstances around them. It provides the filter through which they process circumstances and ultimately formulate a response or reaction.
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