Modern Paganism, also known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for religious movements influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern peoples. Although they share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, and do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts. Most academics who study the phenomenon treat it as a movement that is divided into different religions; others characterize it as a single religion of which different Pagan faiths are denominations.

Adherents rely on pre-Christian, folkloric, and ethnographic sources to a variety of degrees; many follow a spirituality that they accept as entirely modern, while others claim prehistoric beliefs, or else attempt to revive indigenous, ethnic religions as accurately as possible. Academic research has placed the Pagan movement along a spectrum, with eclecticism on one end and polytheistic reconstructionism on the other. Polytheism, animism, and pantheism are common features of Pagan theology.

Contemporary Paganism has sometimes been associated with the New Age movement, with scholars highlighting both their similarities and differences. The academic field of Pagan studies began to coalesce in the 1990s, emerging from disparate scholarship in the preceding two decades.

There are also cases in which the Christian faith is found contaminated with a new form of paganism, even though some religious sense and some faith in a Supreme Being persist. A religious disposition can exist far from the influence of the word of God and from the practice of the sacraments, but be nourished by the practice of superstition and magic; moral life can fall back into pre-Christian ethics. Sometimes elements of nature worship, animism, and divination are introduced into the Christian religion, and thus in some places a lapse into syncretism can occur. Moreover, religious sects are being propagated which mingle together the Christian mysteries and elements of fables from antiquity. (Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, General Cathechetical Directory, 1971).
Narrower Problems:
Related Problems:
Practicing paganism
Theology Religious observance
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST