Do Pagans Believe In God?

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Monty Python GodThe answer to this question depends upon your meaning of the word “God”. If you’re referring to the narrow definition of “god” to mean solely the Christian concept of “God”, then perhaps the answer to your question is “no”. Pagans are not Christians. However, it’s not that simple. Many Pagans, myself included, believe that there is only one god, and that all religions on Earth reach out to this god in their own way. So, using that definition, thinking of “God” in a larger sense, as a entity or force than cannot be bound by narrow human conceptions, the answer to your question would most definitely be “yes”.

Many Pagans realize that the nature of “God” or the Divine is something that cannot be described by our limited human perceptions. So we make up whatever concepts we need in an attempt to explain that which cannot be explained. This is religion. Many human beings fail to realize that The Divine is not the same thing as religion. I’ve meant many Christians whom I would contend do not worship God at all, but worship Christianity itself. As I have Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and, yes, Pagans. It is too easy for us to believe that our way is the only way. To concede that other religions might just be as valid as ours contradicts everything we believe in. So therefore, if someone belongs to another religion and they do not believe what we believe, and we are the one, true way and the only path to God, then we contend that those who follow those other religions cannot possibly believe in God.

This is not true.

To understand what Pagans believe, you must first acknowledge the concept that for a Pagan the concepts of the “Goddess” and the “God” are simply metaphors to help define and shape our understanding what the duality of The Divine, the feminine and masculine aspects that exist in all species. Few Pagans think of the Goddess and the God as literal, sentient beings, as many Christians think of their God sitting on a throne in a city in the sky where the roads are paved with gold. To us, these are metaphors which help foster our understanding of the dualistic nature of The Divine, just as that wise, benevolent being sitting on a throne is a metaphor that helps Christians conceptualize their relationship with The Divine. You see, to us, it’s entirely possible that both Pagans and Christians are correct in their basic concepts. We both reach out to the same Universal energy. Christians call in God or Jesus. Wiccans call it The Goddess and The God. Pagans call it by many names.

So, if you can accept that our concept of “God” is different from yours, and that perhaps we’re both worshiping the same thing, then one would have to concede that Pagans most definitely believe in God. We just describe it differently.

~ Claire Mulkieran

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About Claire

Claire Mulkieran is rumored to be a glorified computer programmer by trade, but you can call her a “Systems Security Designer.” She's also a teacher of Pagan-related spirituality and the unofficial patron saint of meandering misfits (or a delusional lunatic, depending upon whom you ask). If you're ready to read between the lines, consider her guiding motto; "Are you a figment of my imagination, or am I a figment or yours?"

12 Responses to Do Pagans Believe In God?

  1. concerned May 18, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    You say you believe in the same god, just in different ways. I get that. But then you say you don’t believe in them being real? I don’t get that.

    • Claire May 18, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      I have to presume that your conception of God is based upon your own religious beliefs, ie “if you’re referring to the narrow definition of ‘god’ to mean solely the Christian concept of ‘God’,” then there might seem to be a contradiction. No, I don’t know that you’re a Christian. I’m just using that as an example.

      The point of this article was to address the reality that human beings have limited perception, and so we invent religions to help us comprehend and connect with the Divine. But where many people go wrong is that they do not worship the Divine, but instead they worship their religion. If you remove a Christian from Christianity, or a Jew from Judaism, and, over time, remove all of their religious indoctrination so that they no longer identify as a Christian or a Jew, does that make God any less real? The important part is not the religion, but the “God”.

      God is real (call it what you will), but religion is dress-up. As long as you can accept that Pagans dressing up in their religious trappings are just as valid as Christians, Muslims and Jews dressing up in theirs, then yeah, Pagans believe in God. We all may wear different costumes, but we’re all going to the same party. Where human beings run into problems is in believing that their costume is the only valid costume, when the Divine, or God, could care less what costume people wear.

      There’s nothing contradictory in this article. You just have to take a moment and really think about what’s being said here. If you believe that your way is the only way, then it may be possible your perceptions assure you that Pagans do not believe in God (because they don’t believe in your conception of God). But what I was saying is your conception of God is just one of many, and that all conceptions of God describe the same thing. And since we’re all playing dress-up, one costume is as good as any other.

  2. Dee May 4, 2014 at 12:40 am #

    Just curious… why are Pagan’s linked with Wiccan’s? Do they do or believe the same things? I have found that I just don’t fit in one of those nice religious “boxes”. I think outside of most religions. Just trying to find where I fit in….

    • Wicasta May 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      I think it’s fair to say that all Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans. Kind of like saying that all Baptists are Christians, but not all Christians are Baptists. While the differences between the paths that fall under the Pagan umbrella vary much more wildly than the denominations of Christianity, it’s a decent comparison. In the end, I wouldn’t worry about the box or the categories. Go where your heart leads you. For me, that meant not joining in with any particular group (I’m practically allergic to organized religion of any kind). I think of myself as “Pagan” because it’s such a broad term, and I’m probably closer to that than any other label. But I certainly don’t think many of the people who fall under the various categories of Paganism would recognize me as one of their own. Do your thang, and don’t worry about it. Your journey is unique to you. I sometimes tell people that I don’t fit in anywhere, and just consider myself to be Wicastan. Maybe you’re a Dee-ist. ;-) Just do what feels right, and don’t fret the specifics.

  3. nomad February 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    what do I have to do to change from Christian to pagan?

    • Claire February 23, 2014 at 12:09 am #

      I don’t think you have to do anything to change from Christian to Pagan. If you’ve made the decision to do so, you’ve pretty much already done it. Go where your heart leads you.

  4. danny May 10, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    Some pagan beliefs require animal and human sacrifices. I guess that distinguishes it from the one God in the bible. Can be quite dangerous when powerful or influential people start following these things.

    power + money + supporter of blood sacrifices = devils in action.

    • Cory Miller November 7, 2013 at 12:31 am #

      We all say we believe in god. What sets us all apart is how we think we receive salvation how we enter heaven christians believe ask jesus into your hear pray for grace have faith and believe and repent

    • Xander Folmer January 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

      Early Christian beliefs require animal sacrifice as well. Read the old testament.

      To the best of my knowledge, no modern Pagan belief systems endorse human sacrifice.

      “Can be quite dangerous when powerful or influential people start following these things.”
      -No more or less than when powerful or influential people start following Christianity. Christians were not known for being peaceful or tolerant rulers, historically speaking.

    • Lora K January 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      What about the Christian God asking Abraham to kill his son Isaac to prove he has faith? What about the Christian God killing all the other babies to avoid them killing Jesus? What about the Christian God in the Old Testament asking for burnt animal sacrifices from Cain and Abel and others in the other books of the Old Testament? What about the referral of Jesus as the Lamb of God, as the ‘sacrificial lamb’ for everyone on the cross?

  5. Joy December 17, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Very, very interesting. I had no idea. Thank you for sharing. I’ve only known a few Pagans and Wiccans in my life but I have found them very similar to many Christians in that they tried to force their beliefs on others.

    Can you answer a question for me? Where do your beliefs come from? We (Christians) have the Bible. Do you have a book as well or is it more based on historical knowledge.

    Do you have meeting places like we have churches? Or is it more of a solitary belief system?

    Just curious.

    Thanks!

    • Xander Folmer January 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

      “Do you have a book as well or is it more based on historical knowledge?”

      A bit of both.
      a lot of Pagan traditions are pieced together from archaeological discoveries, folklore, and some have old texts with religious lore. The Heathen community often uses the Eddas and the Sagas as religious texts.

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