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Rainx
March 17th, 2003, 04:16 PM
Q. Why do Asatruar often call themselves 'heathen' rather then 'pagan' when the terms mean essentially the same thing?

A. i) Despite that we know there is a difference, many people confuse pagan with wiccan, or consider paganism to be synonymous with neo-paganism or new age ideas. Heathen is far different from both.

ii) The root of 'pagan' is Latin, the root of 'heathen' is Germanic. Knowing the history of Romans and Germanic people it might be obvious that those interested in Asatru etc. would choose the more Germanic term.

(this has been asked here before and since I found an interesting answer I thought I'd post it)

Duhkha
March 17th, 2003, 06:03 PM
Hey! I just learned something. :D

Valnorran
March 18th, 2003, 10:38 PM
So the only difference is the root? Is Heathen essentially the Germanic term for Pagan? Forgive my ignorance. This is coming from a not-so-fluffy-bunny Wiccan (any thoughts I have of bunnies tend to revolve around what sauces go well with them).

Rainx
March 18th, 2003, 10:47 PM
Essentially, yes. Pagan meant "country dweller" if I recall correctly, and heathen "dweller of the heath".

Valnorran
March 18th, 2003, 11:02 PM
Yeah, those translations jibe with what I've read. Thanks

ShadowSwift
March 18th, 2003, 11:06 PM
Asatruar like the name heathen because it isn't a recently coined term, but one that has been used for many centuries to describe people who followed the old gods after the Christian church became a strong power in Europe. Because Asatru is a historically reconstructed religion that reveres our ancestors, many Asatruar feel the name heathen reflects that respect for the past. In the 11th century, King Cnut defined heathenism in his law code:


...And we earnestly forbid every heathenism: heathenism is that men worship idols; that is, they worship heathen gods, and the sun or the moon, fire or rivers, waterwells or stones, or forest tree of any kind; or love witchcraft, or promote deathwork in any wise; or by sacrifice, or by divination; or perform anything pertaining to such illusions. (From Tony Linsell's Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Migration, and Magick.)

Like Rainx said, the root of heathen is Germanic; it better reflects that Asatru is a religion linked to a particular culture than pagan does.

Skye
April 6th, 2003, 12:48 PM
This is an interesting subject,
as for the root of the terms, Pagan and Heathen, I agree,

but note, not all heathens follow, what you call Aratru, I for one do not and for generations my family has been considered heathen, I still use this term if someone asked me my religious preference, simply because I really do not have a religious preference.

Just my opinion, but in todays society, the term pagan in many asspects refers to some sort of faith based path, ie. Wicca. I know this is not ture for everyone, but from what I have observered, many people who call themselves pagan believe in some kind of gods/goddesses and follow a path involving these dieties.

mol
April 22nd, 2003, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by Rainx

Essentially, yes. Pagan meant "country dweller" if I recall correctly, and heathen "dweller of the heath".

I always heard 'People of the Heath' for heathen but thats basically the same thing anyway.

Azure
April 22nd, 2003, 11:50 AM
Just for a little interest and a reality boost - here in Nashville and in other parts of the Bible Belt, Fundamentalist Christians refer to everyone who isn't their brand of "born-again" Christian a "heathen," as I was informed by several over zealous chicks I used to work with.

So expect that the the uninformed will refer to everyone from Methodists to Wiccans to Buddhists with the term "heathen" if you are in particular circles.

Skye
April 24th, 2003, 07:36 PM
Originally posted by Azure

Just for a little interest and a reality boost - here in Nashville and in other parts of the Bible Belt, Fundamentalist Christians refer to everyone who isn't their brand of "born-again" Christian a "heathen," as I was informed by several over zealous chicks I used to work with.

So expect that the the uninformed will refer to everyone from Methodists to Wiccans to Buddhists with the term "heathen" if you are in particular circles.

yeah, anyone who is not in your particular religious circle is a heathen....I live in Bowling Green, Ky. at the moment, I couldn't agree with you more.