There are many persistent fallacies going around about what it means to be Pagan, but one of the most persistent it seems, is that we dis-avow, and or do not believe in the concept of The God. Granted, most of us cleave to the Mothers side of things, for most of our ethos, but we do not ignore the very real deity, that is The God.
I had a lady the other day tell me, point blank, that while she understood and believed in nearly everything we did, she couldn't BE Pagan, as she still believed in God. My jaw hit the floor a bit and I asked her, " Where on earth did you get the idea that to be Pagan meant you had to Dis-avow God ? " As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized what a silly question that was, as for 1000's of years, the church has taught that to be Pagan means, you have rejected God, as the Christen faith defines him.
Massive tomes have been written by the Church of how the Pagans, as part of their rites, rejected the Christian God and embraced Satan. I think the Witch burnings bear out what they thought of us before and for some, it has not changed. It is sheer nonsense, both then and now. As to renounce God, was not and is not, part of the initiations into the Pagan Path. It is a sad part of human nature to want to destroy, and vilify, what you don't understand.
Most Pagans that I know, and that number is considerable, all tell pretty much the same tale, in the modern day, when it comes to their having rejected the Christian church. Now mind you, I am saying we have rejected the Church, and for the most part, how the current Christian faith is practiced, but not that we have rejected The God, those two are NOT one in the same thing. Most of us have rejected the various Christian sects we may have been raised in, for a variety of reasons.
Now, does this mean that every organized church, of any faith, is a danger to society ? No, it means, that by its very nature, the flat out demand by most of them of, don't ask questions, leaves it wide open to the kinds of abuses of power, that are in our papers nearly everyday now. But, I think that the point is made, we had very good reasons to walk away from the church, as it currently stands, and seek another path.
We on the Pagan paths very much believe in and revere the God. Now, there are some, who were so abused by the church, they rejected the whole concept of the masculine God, but that generally doesn't last long. Some Pagan groups, even hold seminars, about coming to terms with The God, in a much more reasonable fashion, in that he is a loving and Kind Father, who only wants to offer us his wisdom, if we will take it.
Witchcraft and the Pagan way:
Many believe, that in order to be a Witch, you have to be Pagan. Not so, I know of Christian Witches, meaning those who practice the Craft, from within the aspect of the Christian view of the God and you know what ? There is not a thing wrong with that in our view. As to be a Witch, just means you practice the craft, it says nothing about what deity form you follow.
Now, are most Witches Pagans ? Yes, but do they have to be ? No, as the above statement proves. There are craft practitioners in many faiths around the world. So again, a common belief, that to be a Witch equals being Pagan, is also a fallacy.
Who is the God ?
The only real difference between our view of The God, and most faiths, is we do not force his visage into one and only one mold. Now to us, this is perfectly rational, as the All Father, just as the Mother, has had, as we call it, a 1000 names. All you have to do is take a peek in any history book to see that.
To many of us, the word God, is for want of any better way to say it, a job title, not a personal name. As it can, and to us does mean, any of the God forms, throughout history. To list all the God names, we as a race of human beings have used, would take up literally 1000's of pages, just to list them, much less describe them. Yet, every single one of them, are all talking about the same God form, the same deity, the same force if you will.
We are all revering the same force, the only difference is one of expression. How we show that reverence, is all that has changed. To think that there is one and only one way to do that, is not only arrogant, it's down right foolish. As before, a fast glance at any history book, will prove how foolish it is to even say it, much less think it.
If a person wishes to honor the God in the Christian way, that's perfectly ok with us. Reverence, is reverence, no matter what name you use to call on him. But that's where the problem comes in unfortunately. As the Christian way, at least from a power standpoint, has tried for over 2000 years to make everyone follow the path in only one way, their way and goes further to say, that any other way is evil or sinful. As Mark Twain himself put it " you could float battleships in the amount of blood, spilled in the name of Christianity" which is, sad to say, no more than the truth. Our history is a bloody one.
An end to the lies told of us:
It is time to end the lies, and the fallacies and embrace reality. To be Pagan does not mean your Godless, or a Satanist, it means you follow the older ways of our race, and that's all it means.
We hold The God in high regard and very much believe him to be a real deity, just as we believe the Mother to be a real deity whom we honor. At one point in time, all peoples of the world, believed in both the Goddess and the God. Was the entire human race wrong for literally 1000's of years ?
The oldest recorded figures of Goddess worship, are counted to be over 30,000 years old. When you start thinking of that amount of time, vs the mere 2000 or so years that Christianity has been practiced on the planet, who has more history of belief ? A child could do the math here, as to which one has been practiced longer.
And it's provable fact, not just personal belief that says so. Over and over, we have ample proof of this, yet we are told to reject this evidence. We do not, and because we do not, we are lied about and slandered from pulpits all over the world, for believing in and loving the Gods, as our ancestors did.
The Christ and other prophets:
Was the Christ a real man ? I would say, without hesitation, that yes, he was. Just as Buddha was a real man, or Mohamed, and so many more who were the prophets of their times. I can say it simply because, again, you can look at recorded history and find them, that yes they did really exist. But what makes anyone of them more powerful than the rest ?
Answer, they are not, they are one in the same, they were messengers of the God force on earth, and they spoke to the peoples of their own time and place, in a form that would be understood. Now, were they perfect ? Not very likely, as they were men, and by that very nature of being human were not perfect.
Did they mean what they said ? One hopes they did, they left us a large legacy of words to ponder, but only the individual can read them all and come to their own conclusions.
Note, I say, read them all. I say that with great emphasis, as most Pagans that I know, have read just about every religions tome, they can lay their hands on and study, for the simple reason, each and everyone of them, has something to tell us, some benefit we would gain as spiritual beings.
So we embrace them all, and use the very good, rational mind we were born with, to make sense of sometimes confusing information. We are not, as a group, ones to take just one persons word, on anything. We study it, we mediate on it, in short, we question things and go out and find answers that make sense to us. Not for us is the passive, sit back and listen to a priest or preacher, interpret for us, the words of the God force. No, we are our own Priest, and make up our own minds on the matter.
Now, of course, there are many of those who oppose us, who are aghast at the very notion that anyone would even try to do such a thing as be their own Priest.
The closest we come to a spiritual leader, is perhaps, if we belong to a coven, our High Priest or Priestess, but even they are human and their knowledge is limited. Most of them will tell us, if you want to know a thing, go out and find the answer for yourself. It is what I tell my own coven mates. I will teach them, but what I teach is not lore, it's how to know the self and more importantly, how to learn.
Now, this is in reality, what anyone does, no matter what faith they follow, in that each person has a slightly different view on what they believe. They have to have, they are human.
It's like the old story of the brown horse, when three men were asked to describe it, each described it a different way. Ask any police officer this same question, regarding witnesses at a crime scene and they will tell you they will get as many different versions of it, as there are people they talk to.
Each and everyone of us, approaches the altar of the divine, in our own way, and to say any differently is not only foolish, it defies reality. We are human, and it's human nature to have a personal view.
Trying to jam us all into one cookie mold and have us all come out exactly the same in our approach to the God force is quite literally, an impossibility. It will never happen, ever, as we all are one of kind human beings, and will see things in our own way, period.
We, on the Pagan paths, know this, which is why we accept and even encourage individuality, even within a coven. We know that each Pagan we meet, is going to know different things and practice their faith a bit differently than we do, and that's all right with us. We enjoy exploring the differences and learning from each other, but each and everyone one of us, is one of a kind, who honors the Mother and the Father, in our own way, just like everyone else on the planet.
The main difference between our view of the God and many others, is perhaps that we don't try to force the God power into any one mold, anymore than we try and force our people into one and only one way of honoring the Divine.
So do Pagans demand that to be Pagan means you have to reject The God ? No, not even close, we embrace him in all his forms and faces and honor him for our Father, who is the loving being who cares for us.
That we may use the old names to call on him... well I do believe I can say, without much fear of being contradicted that he doesn't care what name we use. He is our Father, the Goddess is our Mother, and they love us, no matter what forms we use to come to them, as long as we honor them, does it really matter what name forms or rites we use to do it ? And it harm none, is our first and only real law, and our way, harms no one.