I’ll be talking about Paganism in this post. It’s a tricky subject for me to navigate because I don’t self-identify as a pagan, but many of my core beliefs are tied to paganism. I also happen to practice magic and happily label myself as a witch. To pagans, I’d likely be considered an outsider, but to many non-pagans I’d probably be considered pagan. I don’t label myself as pagan because I’m still trudging through the vast oceans of information surrounding their many traditions and paths.
Kristen Davis has a MA in Christian Apologetics and a great personal interest in archeology. She posted this video called Paganism vs. Christian Worldview. This video is definitely worth watching. In it, she is giving a course to a room of Christians and starts off really strong telling her audience that she is going to use her study of Ancient Paganism to “illuminate other world views.” She also cautions her audience to “remain open minded” as many of the pagan beliefs may seem strange to them at first.
Even though I knew that Davis wasn’t going to stand up there and say, this is what Pagans believe, this is what Christians believe, thank you, the end,” I have to admit she still kind of blindsided me at the end of her presentation. The beginning of her lecture was dedicated to ancient Paganism seemed pretty factual. I’ve never studied it, so I couldn’t say if it was accurate, but it was delivered in what appeared to be in an unbiased way. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Davis HAS to unbiased in her lecture. Fundamentally, she believes that Paganism is wrong so she is perfectly within her right to stand up and say so. My grievance comes with the subtlety in which she injects certain fallacies and/or manipulates the truth through excluding important information.
How Is Paganism Resurfacing?
She spends some time discussing the pagan views on the physical/material world eventually building an argument that the things most wrong with our current American culture directly mirror the beliefs and values Pagans hold dear. She shows a series of slides entitled, How Is Paganism Resurfacing? as she says the following:
“One need only walk through the check-out line of any store in America to see that our culture views humanity as insignificant. Pop culture praises appearance and material worth above all else. A person is considered only as valuable as their contribution to society which is why we are ok with abortion and terminating the life of a terminally ill or permanently disabled child (infanticide) or adult (euthanasia). If material is ultimate and mankind is merely a higher evolution of mammals then mankind is not special and can only be measured based upon one’s contribution to the whole.
Our culture does not consider anything to be ultimately wrong, for “this is just the way it is” and so our solution to the suffering and pain of this world is to make the best of life, like ancient pagans. We do so by personal attempts to manipulate our surroundings.”
⇑ Queued For Your Convenience
She states that these are pagan beliefs.
She spends a lot of time talking about ancient paganism with a very nice, informative delivery and then right at the end says that paganism is returning and by the way there is all this horrible stuff wrong with our society so one must deduce they are related. She doesn’t talk about the religion of modern paganism. I argue, she is trying to paint modern pagans as a bunch of money-grubbing, nip-tucking, baby killers who will sacrifice their own mother for personal gain (literally). The words were benign enough, “Pop culture praises appearance and material worth above all else.” Yes, of course. Many people believe that and are exhausted by the rampant materialism present in our culture, but why draw the conclusion that Pop Culture is Pagan Culture? It’s like the woman never bothered to stop and ask a pagan for their views on materialism, morality or ethics. It seems that’s pretty important when speaking on behalf of another’s beliefs.
How Did the Early Church Respond to Pagans?
The last part, which caused a bit of an eye roll was the slide entitled: How Did the Early Church Respond?
Her bullet points included,
- Through Education
- By Teaching the Lower Classes How to Read and Write
- Through Grass Roots
- By Taking Care of the Less Fortunate including the widows, the poor and orphans (always the orphans)
Strangely absent were 1. Through Brutalization and 2. Murder. She did say “Early Church” so perhaps the 4th C. AD was not early enough and she just forgot the 1400+ years of religious persecution (or chose to leave it out as it didn’t support the image she was trying to maintain.)
⇑ Queued For Your Convenience
The thing about this video that really gets me is how it starts off as one thing. I’m educated, I’m trustworthy. Let’s all work together. Then it gets all slippery at the end with subtle messages and innuendos. Davis knows sure well the take away message is that our cruel, materialistic society is pagan. All pagans are pro-choice, pro-infantcide (I didn’t even know that was a thing), pro-euthanasia, spiritually empty with no regard for humanity.
I think there is a lot more to this than what we take at face value. I think we can delve into the topic of fear and ego and how these affect our actions. What motivated Kristen Davis to put out this video? What motivated me to respond? ∞
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. And please, my Pagan friends, if I misrepresented the pagan community in any way, please correct me. That is not my intention. Actually, same goes for my Christian friends. Please comment.
The Huston Baptist University has a great page that shares the whole video, along with a cleaned up transcript. It’s a great resource.