No one can deny there is an increase of both in the past twenty-five years. The medical community is looking for the cause so that they can treat it. Not to advocate one religion over another.
I won’t write the dictionary definition of the world occult because for once it is not correct.
Some think using science to verify their righteousness, belittle others or speak condescending to others exempt them from the occult practice. No, it doesn’t. You are neck deep into the sociopathic and psychopathic fundamentals of the occult.
The latest demographic trends tell an incontrovertible story: The American church is in decline. In 2018 and 2019, 65 percent of Americans identified as Christians—down 12 percent from the previous decade. While Christianity’s numbers and influence are waning, other demographics such as the occults and paganism are gaining ground; by 2051, if current trends continue, religiously unaffiliated Americans, so-called religious nones, could constitute as large a percentage of the population as Protestants.
There is no doubt occultism is also on the rise. It is at the highest level since the 1960s and 70’s.
In 2014, the Pew Research Center found that 0.4 percent of Americans, or about 1 million to 1.5 million people, identify themselves as Wicca or Pagan—potentially outnumbering the 1.4 million mainline members of the Presbyterian Church. By 2050, the number of practicing pagans in America is projected to triple to 6.6 million, or 1.5 percent of the population.
To tell the story of the dramatic rise of neo-paganism in America, though, you quickly run into a roadblock because no two pagans seem to agree on the same definition of paganism.
Iqbal Ahmed, who spent two years researching a large community of pagans in Southern California for his short documentary Pagans, told me. Because of this confusion, Ahmed said, “it’s no wonder that relatively informed laypeople might have still have misconceptions about paganism.”
In fact, Ahmed came to the world of paganism with his own set of preconceived notions. “Paganism conjured images of ’80s films about satanic cults,” he said. “I envisioned blood rituals, pentagrams, and hedonism.” Pagans, which is featured on The Atlantic today, aims to dispel some of this haze. By focusing on an intimate community of pagans who live within 200 miles of one another and often worship together, Ahmed’s film showcases paganism’s diversity of people and beliefs. “I found pagans of every ilk,” Ahmed said. Among his film’s subjects are teachers, social workers, and PTA members who engage in various pre-Christian practices steeped in ceremony and superstition.
Paganism is an umbrella term. It comes from the Latin paganus, which refers to those who lived in rural areas. As Christianity spread within the Roman empire, it was mostly practiced in the cities; in the country, people who believed in the “old ways” came to be known as pagans. Paganism, the catchall term, came to encompass many different cultures, including Greco-Roman, Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic tribes.
[No, he is incorrect. Christianity was mostly practice in rural areas and the preachers were sent to the city and were often killed while there. During the time he is speaking of Christianity was viewed as pagan religion by just about every one. ]
According to the Pagan Federation, modern pagans can be defined as followers of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion. While many meaningful distinctions can be drawn between its sub-sects, such as Wicca, witchcraft, Druidry, and Christo-Paganism, many pagans share core religious tenets. The most important principles are the responsibility for one’s own beliefs and the freedom to choose one’s own deity (and relationship to it). This is often expressed as “Do what you will, as long as it harms none.” Most pagans also revere nature, which they view as a manifestation of the divine—not as the fallen creation, as is the view of dualism.
“Paganism, by its very nature, is free and often somewhat amorphous,” said Ahmed. [Again, he is wrong. Not all of it. It’s just illegal to do many of the things the practice originally required. ]
“There was never any judgment within the community. It was very much live-and-let-live.” Although Ahmed never met a “typical” pagan, he did notice some commonalities among the people he encountered in the pagan community. For one, many members of the community were disillusioned by institutionalized Judeo-Christian belief systems. “They found formal religion restrictive and had negative experiences with the Christian church in their past,” Ahmed said. All of the pagans that Ahmed met valued an à la carte version of spirituality. “They picked and followed specific aspects that worked for them,” he said. “The real breakdown of beliefs was really unlimited.”
Ahmed quickly realized that the freedom and multiplicity of belief systems did not undermine the serious nature of these alternative spiritual practices. “All of the pagans I met came very seriously to paganism itself,” he said. “No one casually appropriated these beliefs. Most became pagans due to a deep and underlying need to find a value system that more closely approximated their own previously unarticulated beliefs.”
“There was a sweet sincerity to what I saw,” he added. “There was a genuine spiritual connection throughout.”
Of the eight major holidays that most pagans observe, Ahmed was able to attend ceremonies for four: Yule (winter solstice), Beltane (festival of the fire), Litha (summer solstice), and Samhain (the witch’s new year). “Each holiday celebration that I saw had very specific rituals, whether through chanting, singing, processions, or other actions,” Ahmed said. “Most people who identify as pagans participate in some combination of these events, though many likely perform them privately.”
Pagans is a mesmerizing portrait of a little-known subculture. Ahmed’s respect and fascination for the subject are evident in the film’s cinematic imagery and attention to deep personal detail—an aspect of the film that was hard-won as Ahmed worked to gain the trust of wary participants over the course of years.
“Everything surprised me about this world—the people, the ceremonies, the humor, the authenticity, the search for personal ‘truth,’” Ahmed said.
Before any one mentioned how Christianity burnt people at stake in defending this picture.
Christianity, after gaining such huge popularity those in power took it as they do everything else and used it as a vehicle to control and accumulate wealth. Real Christians were being executed and burn at stake too for preaching against what those in power were doing.
What you need to look at is how and why Christianity become so popularity to begin with? Why did millions risk their lives to follow a religion that was illegal by Roman law? In the early days of Christendom there was no crusaders, no men with swords killing and executing people for heresy. That came along much later. So, why did so many give up paganism to begin with? There was no one forcing them. For three hundreds years after the death of the founder of Christian it was illegal. Constantine legalized it because of the number of followers not because he cared about his family members who had been came Christians.
One of the main things, many of the pagans faith were hard to follow and demanded blood to honor the deity.
Millions of true Christians have lost their lives standing up against those simply using Christendom as a vehicle to peddle their brand of whatever they are selling.
The message in this post is to think before you join or follow anything dealing with a way of thinking.
If it is causing a change in your personality that resulting into depression, constant moodiness, bad attitude all the time, or the need to harm others then it is not a good thing to be following. Leave it alone.
I don’t agree with all of what Mr. Ahmed said. He obviously didn’t bother to do deeper research in the subject he spent two years studying.
Studying is not the same as researching. Studying is analyzing that which is placed before you by the person being observed. Researching is going out independently and gathering information about a topic. Looking at the background and history if it is available.