Do Pagans Need Salvation? – A look into the philosophy of Paganism and the Christian Church

Every morning and most afternoons, I find myself listening to the radio as I drive my kids to their school in Medford. The drive is some distance, so I try to find programs that I can focus on and learn from in the process. Now it might sound strange that a Pagan woman of 20+ years listens to a lot of Christian radio, however, I find it most entertaining. I find the various philosophies of Christianity most interesting and I enjoy having mental debates with the various presenters on WVCY and the Catholic Relevant Radio. As a Pagan priestess, I think it’s my duty to educate myself as much as possible on different viewpoints and maintain an open-mind set. While listening to a show on WVCY, I caught an interesting discussion on the topic of Salvation. I wanted to challenge the Pagan community and ask, “As Pagans, do we need Salvation?”

Do we as Pagans really need Salvation? Are we waiting for our personal Savior?

First, we need to look at the word Salvation and what it really means. According to dictionary.com, the word Salvation is from the Old French, “sauvacion, from Late Latin salvātiō, from Latin salvātus saved, from salvāre to save.” It’s English meaning shows us the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc. In theology, we see it as a redemption or rescue from Sin. Ah, now that’s it! Do we as Pagans fall under the category of what is called “Original Sin?” That could be an entirely different debate, however, keeping with our theme we recognize that we are not subject to any sort of sin. Our actions are our own. As Pagans, we may not all work with the same Gods, nonetheless, we do recognize the natural laws. In nature, all actions have a consequence. They are neither good nor bad, they just ARE. Sin is a mostly human construct trying to explain why bad things happen to good people. In reality, there is neither bad nor good people in the world. There are just folks who are more successful in one thing or another, some folks who are deeply hurt, and some folks who talk a lot and don’t do very much with it.

There are neither good nor bad people. They just are . . .

Pagans are measured by their actions, not their mistakes. And that means we’re free of Sin. If you’ve ever read the great Oberon Zell’s “We are the Other People” it expertly illustrates why we do not subscribe nor fall into the category of Sin and are subject to the penalty of eternal damnation for refusing to believe in Yahweh or accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. It’s not meant to bash Christianity, yet it does accurately state in the most descriptive manner the juxtaposition between Christian faith and Paganism. So if we’re not subject to Sin, where does Salvation come into play?

Salvation implies that we need to be rescued from ourselves. It demands that we must wait for some kind of Savior to pull us out of the quicksand before it’s too late. For example, let’s say you’re walking down a dark street in New York City, minding your own business and carrying a large sum of money in your purse or wallet. A mugger jumps out and robs you. In the process, you are beaten up and left for dead. According to the philosophy of Salvation, some one will come and rescue you! Well, there are situations where Good Samaritans come out of nowhere and assist us, and there’s a lot more examples of when that doesn’t happen.

Do we fight for ourselves or wait for the Good Samaritan to save us?

As Pagans, whether or not we practice Magick, we understand the concept of Will. As part of our own free Will, we make the decisions to walk away from churches that we had no connection to or to tell ministers that we didn’t agree with their rhetoric. Our free Will can get us in a lot of trouble and it can also be our own personal Savior. It’s something real and tangible that we have the ability to use to manipulate our reality. In that same circumstance, you’re walking in the dark in New York City, knowing full well that people can be desperate and mug people. Your free Will helped educate you. Your Will dictated to you that you should learn martial arts, carry a legal weapon on your being for protection, or perhaps pick another time or direction to travel in. As Pagans, we’re not helpless children. We are guided by our Wills and should consider for a moment the power of that force of humanity.

The force of our will can accomplish amazing things.

So does Salvation really fit into our lifestyle? What do we need to be saved from? We are capable of helping not only each other yet also ourselves. We’re alive and in the present moment. We’re not waiting for a God to come on down and clean up the mess that we’ve created. I think if Salvation was to be applied to Paganism, it could be used as thus. We can be the Saviors of ourselves and this Earth. We can use the incredible force of our Will to change this planet in ways inconceivable right now. It won’t be overnight, yet it is possible.

Thank you for reading along! If you have any questions or comments, please go ahead and submit them to me here, on Face Book, or in a direct message. Blessed Be! – Shining Quill the Unicorn.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

2 Comments

  1. I loved it and want to thank you for posting I got an lot out of it and would like to know more

  2. I’ve also thought about the concept of Pagan soteriology, and I think it’s uncontroversial to say that we are “free from sin” as you put it. I don’t think, however, that we are free from obligation. As Pagan is orthopraxic, focusing more on what we do rather than what we believe, it follows naturally that the merit or iniquity of a particular action stems from the moors and taboos of the society in which we live. So while we don’t necessarily have a received law or prescriptive moral code, morality and ethics are emergent out of our social conditioning (alongside the truly universal morals such as not killing or stealing except in such dire circumstances where one’s life is dependent on such actions). I actually find the Jewish concept of /tikkun olam/ to be a better comparison than focusing on the distinction against Christian salvation narratives. Jews have an obligation to “improve the world”. The divine isn’t going to come and do it. Similarly, I don’t think most Pagans earnestly believe the gods have a grand plan and are eager to materially interfere with the world. So the gods gave us the earth and it is up to us to make it a place we want to live in. Paganism has an emergent obligation to steward the earth, and it is that obligation against which our actions are more or less judged. Salvific narratives are completely moot. I guess that’s just a whole lot of words to say I agree with you. 🙂

Leave a Reply