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For growing ranks of pagans, October 31 means a lot more than Halloween
A pagan altar constructed for Samhain, the pagan new year, which is October 31.
October 31st, 2011
09:54 AM ET

For growing ranks of pagans, October 31 means a lot more than Halloween

By Susanne Gargiulo, Special to CNN

As pumpkins, witches and faux cobwebs have taken over much of North America for Halloween, Clare Slaney-Davis is preparing an October 31 feast that some would consider much spookier, with table settings for her grandparents, a great-aunt and other relatives who have passed away.

As she and her living guests eat, they'll share stories and memories of loved ones they've lost.

The Christian debate over Halloween

Slaney-Davis, who is based in London, isn't preparing the feast for Halloween. Instead, she and pagans around the world are celebrating Samhain, the beginning of the pagan new year, a night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is believed to be the thinnest of any time during the year.

That's why it's a night devoted to ancestors. "We honor them, and we recognize that we don't live in a world of people who are merely dead or alive," says Slaney-Davis, 46. "Ancestors are central to us."

Along with the Catholic holiday All Saints' Day, Samhain is considered an ancient forerunner of Halloween. Samhain began as a Celtic celebration marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter's hardship.

Today, pagans play down the Halloween-Samhain connection. But the growing popularity of the pagan new year in Europe and North America is part of what many experts say is a global revival of paganism.

Slaney-Davis, who trained as a witch and a druid, says her religion has nothing to do with ghosts and ghouls. "To me, being a pagan means being in divine balance with nature and being responsible for my actions," she says. "I understand that my behavior has an effect on people I don't even know exist. It is not a theology of perfection but one of belonging."

Over-the-top jack-o'-lanterns

But it is a theology that's gaining ground. According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, the number of members of "other religions" or "new religious movements," categories that include pagans, more than doubled between 1990 and 2008, to 2.8 million.

The survey, conducted byTrinity College in Connecticut, reported that the numbers of Wiccans and neo-pagans had also doubled in that time.

Contemporary pagan religions like Wicca and druidism are considered neo-pagan movements.

"(Paganism) is one of the fastest growing religions in the world," says Michael York, a retired religious scholar from Bath Spa University in the UK. "True numbers are impossible to come by because many people are wary to admit they are pagan, and reliable statistics just don't exist."

Movies that scare the people who scare us

While paganism covers a range of individual religious groups, including Wicca, druidism, and shamanism, they're bound by some common denominators, such as roots in ancient, pre-Christian beliefs, and their view of nature and the whole physical world as sacred.

"In traditional religions you have a conflict between God and nature," says York. "But for pagans, nature becomes the truest expression of the divine."

That, he says, is a big reason why paganism is seeing a revival: "If nothing else, because of the impending destruction of our environment, and our focus on finding a way to live in balance with nature."

Another key pagan belief is the freedom for each person to determine his or her own way to and view of the divine. "Paganism doesn't put restrictions on what you can and cannot believe," says Jason Pitzl-Waters, co-founder of the Pagan Newswire Collective and the pagan blog The Wild Hunt. "It grows out of an ethos that there isn't just one sacred way to understand the world."

But that lack of dogma has become something of a stumbling block for the movement. "Because paganism is very individual, it creates the problem of not having a unified voice, because nobody speaks for the movement as a whole," says York.

Another problem pagans face is one of image: For centuries, including during the Roman Catholic inquisition, pagans were denounced as heretics and devil-worshippers.

"One of our greatest challenges is to overcome the hostility of groups that still see us as evil," says Pitzl-Waters. "To some conservative Christian groups, we are an early warning sign of societal collapse."

Just last week, an opinion column in The Christian Post, an online newspaper, warned that the "dark festival" of Samhain is an invitation to the devil. The column said that "even though you don't consciously call upon Satan, his demons are nevertheless present any time a Wiccan goes through a spiritual door by using magic." It calls on Wiccans to ask forgiveness for their sins and to turn to Jesus.

"Part of what is scary for conservative religions is that as a pagan, I consider myself part of the divine," says Holli S. Emore, executive director at South Carolina's Cherry Hill Seminary, which has one of the world's first graduate-level programs for pagan ministry. "That means God lives in me, and that is blasphemous to some. To me, it's a big responsibility to do good and act right."

Scholars say that the neo-pagan view of God being everywhere and in everything is not a foreign idea on the global religious stage. "Much of modern paganism looks to older religions like Shinto, Hinduism and indigenous religions, which see spirit in everything," says Jenny Blain, senior lecturer in sociology at Sheffield Hallam University in England and author of several books on paganism.

"If you add all those to modern paganism, that is a considerable part of the world that does not live with traditional Abrahamic views," she says.

There are signs that paganism is gaining some acceptance in the nonpagan world. For the first time last year, the government of Britain recognized druidism, an ancient pagan belief system, as a religion.

"People either see paganism as dangerous or as a joke," says Pitzl-Waters. "But it is a serious global movement. Paganism has arrived as a world religion. It's not just a bunch of counterculture types playing witchcraft games."

That said, traditional witchcraft rituals, like gathering in circles and uttering spells, have an important place in modern paganism, which further unsettles more traditional religious believers.

"Because Christianity is more conservative, anything seen as supernatural or magic automatically becomes of the devil," says York. "Because of that dichotomy, paganism is automatically seen as satanic."

"People fear what they don't understand," says Emore. "But spells are basically prayers with props. What we call magic is the intentional use of power to achieve change, and just like with prayer, what you are doing is tapping into an inner resource. Gathering in a circle and acknowledging the four elements is nothing new this is something Native Americans and many ancient nature-based religious people did as well."

For neo-pagans, the four elements  earth, air, water and fire  are closely linked to their view of a sacred planet. "The attributes associated with each element become tools in our meditation and in practices such as spells," says Emore. "Water is associated with emotions and intuition, air with intellect and communications, earth with foundation and stability, and fire with passion and action."

To York, paganism's ancient rituals also help bring a sense of enchantment back into life.

"The ancients had a sense of the magical, but with Christianity came a diminishment," he says. "The magical was denied, everything became inanimate, and from a pagan perspective we lost our connection with the sacred. I think we are rediscovering that now."

"Pagans understand there comes a winter, which is a time to ready for rebirth," York says. "For us, the last 2000 years has been the pagan winter."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Halloween • Paganism • Uncategorized

soundoff (1,367 Responses)
  1. Holey Ghostie

    All you trickertreaters beware or be square. Big Holey Ghostie here, all three trinity of us, gonna come and rapture you all up 2night yo.

    October 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Oh good, it's you! Er....alll of you....or however that works. I have a question:

      I have to know Jesus to know God, but Jesus is God, so I have to know God to know God but I can't know God unless I know Jesus and I can't know Jesus becaus he is already God....is that correct? And where does the ghost part help in the knowing? I think the Pagan thing is easier to follow.

      October 31, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Holey Ghostie

      Yah Orifice we have to keep it confusing otherwise they'll figure us out and stop believing.
      Yah Orifice we have to keep it confusing otherwise they'll figure us out and stop believing.
      Yah Orifice we have to keep it confusing otherwise they'll figure us out and stop believing.

      But being Trinity is extra three times the fun at Halloween or-gies yo.
      But being Trinity is extra three times the fun at Halloween or-gies yo.
      But being Trinity is extra three times the fun at Halloween or-gies yo.

      Yo yo yo,
      Happy Ghostie Day
      Happy Ghostie Day
      Happy Ghostie Day

      October 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Ahhhh....I see. You are making a believer out of me....

      October 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  2. CHRIST

    OK Class, take your seats!!! Please calm down and behave!!!

    First, everything in life is based on a belief, which is a choice. What causes someone to NOT believe something? If you believe any portion of the Bible, then why are there parts you don't believe? You were not there, yet you believe. However, something says don't believe that part, and you agree. You were not there for any part of the writings, yet you choose to tell someone NOT to believe, yet there are parts you do believe, but instead of being a messenger of what you believe you choose to spread your disbelief's.

    In the life of negatives and positives, positives are labeled as the good. If God is good, then who is the negative? Actually, who are the negatives? There is one simple rule, those who serve God, must serve Him in Spirit and in truth. What is a Pagan? To define it would take all of history, only to realize, it simply describes those who serve god. If you believe in God, through Jesus Christ, you understand the difference. The deception is, believing that as long as I'm a good person that it pleases God. To know what is NOT good, we must first know what is good. You can't be good if you don't believe. If you don't believe then the truth is far from you. Therefore, the Spirit of God will not dwell within you.

    So, as unstable water and with a lukewarm heart, you'll sway from side to side, never taking solid ground on the truth about anything. Why do so many get angry when they hear the name JESUS? The truth will make you free!!! Is being angry at an innocent person a positive or negative? When you want to know the truth, you will let go, and let God. Don't follow footsteps that lead to darkness. JESUS: I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT. JESUS: I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU. JESUS: NO ONE COME UNTO THE FATHER ACCEPT THROUGH ME.

    NOTE: ...the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    October 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Jesus Fscking Christ

      Don't forget all those thousands of other gods that you don't believe in. One more is peanuts.

      October 31, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Wow, I thought you would be a better teacher than this!

      Lord Jesus Christ, I renounce you! You are not the one God and I care not that you dwelleth not in my heart because you do not exist!

      What a thing huh?

      In addition, you are the very worst sort of person. An evangelical, a missionary. Do not preach your falsehoods to me! You are not but a thief!

      October 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  3. Reality

    Mocking Wicca and Paganism?

    Spells, curses, covens, black magic, witches, voodooing dolls, hoodooing the results, shadow books, maypoles,
    horned god(s) and triple goddess(es), Gerald Gardner et al??

    Never!!!!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    October 31, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  4. Morrigan

    "Worship the Father in a meadow of lilies, for there is where you will truly be close to Him"

    Was Jesus a pagan?

    October 31, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Yes he was a Pagan Jewish Rabbi

      October 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Liz the First

      Actually, Jesus was the greatest witch who ever lived. he totally understood the power of the Divine and used it to better the lives of everyone he touched, the same as Pagans strive to do today. Christians say God is everywhere, but they really don't believe it if they don't see God's presence in everything. they fear anything different and accuse anyone who doesn't have the same perception of God as they do of being 'of the Devil.' that' s a hoot because most Pagans don't believe in Satan, he's a Christian myth. if you are a Satanist, first you have to be a Christian! God doesn't really care how you pray or what you call Him/Her/It. what's important is that you strive to recognize the divinity within all of us.

      October 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Stan

      Liz, it's also important that you sacrifice and burn animals frequently to please god. That's what the bible says. So shall we see you at the pig burning tonight? You can have some of the blood to drink.

      October 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @stan
      Can I get in on the Carnitas? Flour tortillas please! Thanks!

      October 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  5. rosethornne

    No no, you've all missed the point.
    The Flying Spaghetti Monster rises out of the pumpkin patch to bring Occam's Razor to cut up all the bad little xtian girls and boys.

    October 31, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      There will be office ladies in slu-tty costumes though right?

      October 31, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Bob

      Yep. They'll be stri-ppers, Alien O. I'll see you at the par-ty.

      Harr

      October 31, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  6. Einstürzende Neubauten

    It is not weed, it is sage for purifcation or something....$1.00

    October 31, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Yup

      Correct you burn it to ward off evil spirits.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Yup
      Well I wanted to buy it for Hippy Poet but I think he will notice it it not the chronic.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  7. Malakh

    Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree... makes perfect sense! LOL

    October 31, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  8. Alien Orifice

    I think I finally figured out why so many Christians on these blogs never reply or answer questions. To them, it is like praying. They don't expect a reply and don't know what to do with one when the get it. We are just supposed to telepathically understand I suppose, the way God does.

    October 31, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Ed

      I think its because so many of the replys they get are disrespectful to say the least they just get tired of being told they belong in an a ayslum becasue the disagree with the atheist.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Ed
      I disagree, I think to them, it is like praying. They don't expect a reply and don't know what to do with one when the get it. We are just supposed to telepathically understand I suppose, the way God does. Also they are stupid.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Father O'blivion

      Have to agree here, don't think they are educated enough to have a real discussion with someone, unless it is someone who believes the same nonsense they do.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Ed

      or maybe which just get tired of the insults not responding any more tonight don't want to be told I have lastworditis again

      October 31, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Ed
      I disagree, I think to them, it is like praying. They don't expect a reply and don't know what to do with one when they get it. We are just supposed to telepathically understand I suppose, the way God does. Also they are stupid.

      You sound like your little feelings are hurt boo boo

      October 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Rick

      Ed: Perhaps athiests are just weary of empty proxy threats coming from those who wish to warn us about "hell". Apparently, such folks don't understand that people cannot fear retaliation ("judgment" for the pious crowd) from a being in which we don't believe

      October 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Ed

      @Rick, I never said Atheist were going to Hell please don't hold me responsible for something I did not say

      November 1, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  9. eyeson

    Atheists would swear Jesus was real if he taught atheism.

    October 31, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Yo

      Ok re-read what you just wrote dude – talk about an oxymoron.... LOL!

      October 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @eyeson
      Athiests would understand Jesus is dead. What in the world are talking about?

      October 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • eyeson

      How do you know I'm a dude?

      October 31, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Yo

      "How do you know I'm a dude?"

      I call everyone dude -it's slang.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • eyeson

      Jesus claimed he was the son of God. Many atheists say he was a fake character. If Jesus, instead, had been known only for claiming there is no God I'm sure many atheists would claim he was a person that actually lived.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @eyeson
      He might have lived. Don't really know, that was a long time ago. What is your point?

      October 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Gerald

      No one denies Jesus lived you silly butt. There are enough Roman historical records to say he did live. Atheists and people from other faiths do argue that: He was the son of God the way you and me are, not any higher; that you should not believe that he's you savior in order for anyone to go to heaven; that his mother was not a virgin as mine surely is; that he did not raise from among the dead...not alive anyways; and that accounts of his miracles are bogus. But nobody in his right mind would argue he existed. In other words, he was just a DUDE who preached the old testament in the way he understood it, and then his disciples and the church edited his words to instill fear and force people to believe.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • eyeson

      All this intense partisanship found in these posts are silly given that we are discussing topics that hard to prove or disprove. Btw,I agree, it was a long time ago and we don't know what happened.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • eyeson

      What's with the insults? Why can't we be respectful in our comments.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @eyeson
      Say somehting that makes some freaking sense and you will get respect.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Gerald
      Whose butt are you talking about mister? True, most critical historians agree that Jesus existed but there is no physical evidence and there are still those who think he may have been fictional. Makes no difference to me. If he lived, he is dead now.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  10. Einstürzende Neubauten

    NO! Anything but the corn. I need the corn. Don't ask why.

    October 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Please disregard. EN got lost.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  11. msadr

    There is a giant difference between viewing all things as having a spirit and viewing yourself as "part of the divine". My great grandmother was a pagan (OK, a witch) from germany and taught me that God is apart, different, other, not part of this realm, not a power we can attain... ever. God is the Creator, not the creation. New paganism is telling a dangerous lie when they tell you that you are part of God. It's a form of atheism in a mystical disguise. And yes, I do fear anyone who believes themselves to be God. I have no problem with witches. I have a problem with people who think they are, in any part, God, or think they could somehow become God. That's messed up.

    October 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I am part of God. We are all part of one enourmous, infinate organism. We are all, each of us living and inanimate things, part of the make-up of God. All the atoms in the universe (or multiverse) intimately connected together to form a single being from which a singularity can occur and re-occur. Even in death, we contribute to one whole. Call it what you will. The great oneness of all things. I am part of God.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @AlienOrifice

      Did you mean to write "one enormous, infinite orgasm?"

      October 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Einstürzende Neubauten

      @HotAirAce
      Dang it! I hate when I make silly typo-s like that! Yes of course that is what I meant.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      Pagans don't worship themselves. You're jumping to an uninformed conclusion.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Gerald

      I am part of God, because I believe God is nothing, I am nothing. I die, then I rot, then I fertilize plants. We are nothing but atoms clumped together. No intelligent design, just chaos theory arranged in a pretty design.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Gerald
      What about the enourmous, infinate orgasm? That sounds more fun to me. You are bumming me out man.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  12. bill

    Dayster, I agree the number of pagans is increasing.in fact, this year you will have your very own presidential candidate in george Romney. mormons are the cream of the pagan pyramid.

    October 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Josh

      ....Mormons are a off-shoot christian faith, (they believe that Jesus is their savoir, one true god...Yada yada)..None of the pagan beliefs concern this Jesus man-god, or his "divinity"...Please..do some research, hey even glancing at Wikipedia might help (not a great source but, better than nothing). Also Mormons are among the most hateful towards pagans.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Gerald

      Another idiot who does not understand the meaning of Pagan. Pagan means that it is not mainstream. Christianity was pagan when they drew a fish on top of caves because they were being persecuted for being what? Yes Pagan, but now you should be called Elitist and brainwashed.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  13. DD

    I've never seen the divide on the issue of god within. All forms of religion share it. Even satanism. Maybe it's just my point of view. We are all gods in someone's eyes.

    October 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I know I am, Check me out!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  14. Michael

    While most people view Halloween, and most other fiction movies, books and entertainment has just mere fun, the truth of the matter is that most if not all of what is laughed at and overlooked happens in real life. Witchcraft is not some fiction movie, it happens in real life and there are real people who practice witchcraft, wicca and pagan rituals.

    The popular movement is to make it appear as not a big deal, as light-hearted, and as even, in some cases, good. The problem is that it is deceptive. The devil is not a creator. He doesn't create things, he only perverts what God has created. God created the earth, fire, water, and air, yet the devil has deceived people to worship the creation instead of the creator.

    Speaking as a Christian, there are a few things in this article that I disagree with. The first being that they said christians call anything that has to do with the supernatural demonic or satanic. This is a false statement, I believe in the supernatural and believe that God can do miracles, signs and wonders in our midst. However, the purpose of this is to show His amazing love. There are christians who are seeing the dead raised back to life. What makes the supernatural demonic is when you start playing with, experimenting with the supernatural outside of God. Either by intentionally calling on demonic forces, evil spirits, or the devil to do your magic or supernatural things or by unintentionally doing this by trying to go through nature or yourself to try to gain power.

    Also I disagree with the statement that "In traditional religions you have a conflict between God and nature". I guess I can't answer for all religions, but as for Christianity it is not a battle between God and nature. It is a conflict between God, who is Love, and evil, but Love triumphs in the end! Thank you Jesus!

    While I agree with the statement "People fear what they don't understand", I think the point is pointless, this can be said about many things, but just because someone understands something doesn't mean they agree with it or that they somehow become ok with it. This is basically trying to make a point that if people understood paganism, then we wouldn't fear it and then would be okay with it. I disagree compeletely.

    "Part of what is scary for conservative religions is that as a pagan, I consider myself part of the divine," - you are correct this is scary. Anytime a person, human being, determines that they are god or that they have arrived is scary....many cults were started with people just like that.

    "That means God lives in me, and that is blasphemous to some. To me, it's a big responsibility to do good and act right." - God living in you does not make you god or divine and yes it is a big responsibility. The problem is you don't automatically have God living in you the day you are born or just because you are "one" with nature. You have God living in you, in the form of the Holy Spirit, after receiving forgiveness of sins, through the blood of Jesus Christ. None of us, myself included are without sin, so we need the love of holy God to forgive us of those sins. This salvation (meaning saved from your sins) is available to all who will receive.

    October 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • ummmm

      "Thank you Jesus!"

      No, that should be Thank you Mirtha!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • NIck

      Well articulated!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Yo

      "No, that should be Thank you Mirtha!"

      That is thank you No, that should be Thank you Mithra! ;-)

      October 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Michael

      Michael said, "Speaking as a Christian, there are a few things in this article that I disagree with."

      This is our party mister, now put on your costume and go get some GOD-DAM candy like everyone else. And don't write so much. JESUS CHRIST.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Ummm

      "but Love triumphs in the end! "

      No it doesn't according to your book if a nice loving person who has lived their life selfishly giving to others but chooses not to believe in your god is condemn in hell for eternity. Sorry to burst your bubble but that is not love triumphing in the end, that is tyranny in the end. True love would see the beauty and love in the person regardless if they loved you back. Only a tyrant punishes those that don't believe in them.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Amanda

      I must point out a few things, Michael. We don’t believe in the devil. The devil/Satan is a creation of Christianity. Therefore, we do not call upon the devil in any shape or form. We believe in a higher power, but one that appears in many forms, including in nature.

      We do not call on spirits or devils or demonic forces to work magic. The most basic definition of magic is personal energy focused towards a certain intent. Another name for this is prayer.

      We do not say that we ARE gods. We believe that we are part of the divine energy that is god. We are part of nature, and nature is part of us. God is everywhere, in everything. That makes every human being, every living thing, divine.

      Understand that I do not speak for the pagan community as a whole, only for myself. I would wish you the best, and hope that you find your peace in your god. I ask only that you leave me to find peace in mine.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Wholly Mary

      HA HA HA! Thanks for the laughs.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • mr universe

      imagine a world without sin

      October 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jacs

      Michael please listen to Amanda. Also remember that some of us don't need to put a name to a singular power. Does that mean I'm going to burn in your hell? Well so be it. I'll be in good company–think of the BAND!!

      October 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Mr. Universe
      Ok, but first kindly define "sin" so I know what to imagine...

      October 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Universe dude.....you there? Remebmer, the sin thing........*sigh*

      October 31, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • River Tam

      Alien Orifice
      @Mr. Universe
      Ok, but first kindly define "sin" so I know what to imagine...

      That is a reference to a wonderful movie called "Serenity" which came after a fantastic show called "Firefly" Go, rent them. Then go bring religiousity to the fuzzy wuzzies.... and don't be put off by the witch

      October 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Ed

      @Michael, Speaking as another Christian yu should respect their right to beleive as they wish or at least learn about what they beleive before you judge them. Better yet leave the judging to God he'll get right we humans based on past performance proably won't get it right.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Michael
      Listen to Ed. He is REALLY smart.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • LadyLina

      Thank you, Amanda, for your very well articulated response. I always find it amusing and sad that as Pagans, we adhere to the 10 Commandments more than the Christians. I think one of the things I love the most about being Pagan is we don't evangelize. Blessed be!

      November 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  15. Alien Orifice

    Jesus is dead mmkay? He's really old and dead now mmkay?

    October 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • XtianNation

      Jesus is the One True Living God!!! He died for you 2000 years ago in extreme pain but He came back on the third day to prove to the world that He was Truly God!!!!! He gave you the free gift of salvation from your sinful nature and all you have to do is accept Him into your heart!!! It's that easy!!!!!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Lord Jesus, I reject you. You are not the one true God. Jesus, please go crawl back in your grave. Your pal, Orifice.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • XtianNation

      Then you are TRULY a lost soul!!!!!! To reject the free gift Jesus gave you from His own suffering and mock His suffering is just incomprehensibly evil!!!!! Enjoy going to hell where it's so hot your skin will boil off and the devil will pour salt and sulfuric acid on your exposed flesh!!!!!!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @XtianNation

      No, I just enjoy breaking your balls moron. You are the worst kind of person, a missionary. I HATE missionaries. I could give a r-ats ass what you believe and I really don't mind hearing about it, but you cross the line when you start telling ME what I should do and believe. Now you are just being a dik and you can fuk yourself. Otherwise, I am typically a very nice person and easy to get along with. Some of my best friends are Christians. But they are not jerks like you.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Oh by the way X-man. Do you believe the Devil is red with a pointy tail and horns too? Histerical.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @XtianNation: Wowzers...just a little brainwashed and delusional. You have got this wrong...the bible was written 2000 years ago...jesus would be approximately 2012 years old...not at all believable, except in your minute brain of course. Now here is where this falls apart...the bible was written over the course of 400 years by 40 men who never met one another. The New Testament was written approximately 50 years after the death of the supposed jesus character, of course he apparently arose from the dead (not scientifically possible), so to most christians he is not dead or at least they stupidly believe he will descend from the fairy tale place heaven. You use he.ll as a threat as if it works on anyone who doesn't believe. You fail to recognize the contradictions in the book itself pertaining to said jesus...
      MT 1:20-23, LK 1:26-33 An angel announces to Joseph and/or Mary that the child (Jesus) will be "great," the "son of the Most High," etc., and ....
      MT 3:13-17, MK 1:9-11 The baptism of Jesus is accompanied by the most extraordinary happenings, yet ....
      MK 3:21 Jesus' own relatives (or friends) attempt to constrain him, thinking that he might be out of his mind, and ....
      MK 6:4-6 Jesus says that a prophet is without honor in his own house (which certainly should not have been the case considering the Annunciation and the Baptism).

      Your argument falls short of reality...sorry but until you can provide solid factual evidence of said jesus or said god, you're words look like the writings of some fiction author but then again we know they are just that...fiction-nothing more...nothing less!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Rick

      XtianNation: Wow....fantastic tales you tell.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Rick

      XtianNation: You do know that it is impossible for people to fear retaliation from a being in which they don't believe, don't you?

      October 31, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • msadr

      Prove it.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • mr universe

      the bible is broken

      October 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Mithra

      "the bible is broken"

      The bible is full of lies and stolen from others, it's time to rule ourselves, without fear, without oppression, through love that shows the needy and hungry we as human beings can take care of our own.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Entil'za

      Like what?

      October 31, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  16. Josie Behnkeer

    Tonight is a night of celebration. A group of us are gathering tonight because it is the easiest time for us to do so. Honoring your ancestors can be done in many ways. In our case we will each take time to quietly think of them, place an item on an alter, and light a candle for them. After which is food, drinking, and actually telling stories about those who pass. I have done this for years and it feels right.

    Pagans (or Neo-Pagans) do cover a large branch of different beliefs, we will have a few different ones here tonight, and for the most part we are all open to new ideas, new ways of thinking and learning. We accept all faiths and traditions and wish all would do the same for us. We live in a small town, and even here there is more of a following then people realize and no not everyone is open about their beliefs. Most Pagans don't start till they are at least 18, unless they have their parents permission to learn. Or they study on their own and practice on their own. Most groups don't take the chance with minors, because we are many times miss understood. In my own imidiate family me and my brother are both Pagan, and it took years for my own parents and even extended family to understand, and some don't.

    Christians don't want to celebrate Halloween, that's fine. Then don't. Don't tell me I can't either though. To all Pagans out there Have a Blessed Samhain, to everyone else...Happy Halloween.

    October 31, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      And to all the single ladies, don't forget to where your slu-tty costumes today!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Josie: My 17 year old daughter was raised by her pagan father and myself-an Atheist. I am fine with her defining herself as pagan. She attends most pagan ceremonies and is a great kid. I myself have attended numerous pagan ceremonies and find the more joyful and enlightening than any christian ceremony I have attended. Being with her father is what opened my eyes and mind to the possibility of other beliefs and really what started to make me question my then christian beliefs. While I don't believe in any god's or goddesses, I respect where my daughter stands...she really only follows and respects the five elements and wears her pentacle with honor.
      Have a safe and happy Samhain...blessed be!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  17. XtianNation

    We are TRULY in the final days now!!!! People are starting to worship demons again!!!! Absolutely dreadful!!!! And worst of all they are following a religion that has historically done nothing but persecute Jews and Christians!!!! God said there would be a false religion that would be used to persecute the True believers and I see it is now coming to pass!!!! But I am not afraid!!!! No, I go into this coming phase of extreme persecution thrilled!!!! I know that God is on my side and while others can physically harm me and even kill me they cannot destroy my soul which belongs to Jesus!!!!

    October 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Einstürzende Neubauten

      YOUR SOUL BELONGS TO ME! TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Just keep smiling while I drag you to HELL. Then we can talk over our dinner plans. Sushi?

      October 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      PAGANS DO NOT WORSHIP DEMONS YOU MORON!! They worship the five elements and have more respect for this earth than you delusional a$$es do!!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Jroberts.mvi

      please tell me when exactly we (pagans) have persecuted you. Last i checked it was you, who persecuted us, blindly, without bothering to check the facts. Our faith and beliefs have been around since long before yours ever were. We have always practiced within our own community without passing judgement. Actually do you know about the inquisition? yeah that thing that happened where my brothers and sisters were burned at the stake for holding fast in their faith that YOUR GOD claimed to be evil. How can you claim to walk the path of righteousness when you condemn and judge all around you that don't believe exactly what you do?

      October 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Einstürzende Neubauten

      @X-dude
      You haven't told me what you want for dinner after I drag your stupid a-ss to hell. I am flexible but not big on Chinese food.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Amanda

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is not the pagan peoples that have done the persecuting. Christians have done far, FAR worse to pagans in the name of their God. Inquisition and witch hunts ring any bells?

      Pagans have always been accepting of your faith. It is YOU who refused to allow us to practice as we believed, even though we did you and have never done you any harm. We respect your beliefs and your god, but we do not share them. We ask that you do us the same courtesy.

      Please check your facts before responding with such hysteria.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Rick

      Wow, little fella, you sure are a delusional cuss.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Rhea

      Dang, Xtian Nation, switch to decaf. And try reading some real history.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Gaia Ivorywitch

      I hope your God gives you comfort when you realize how much of your own religion has been invented specifically to control the base impulses for which you as a Christian are not thought capable of being responsible. The early Church had to control and dictate to keep their precious order and keep people afraid. The DEVIL is an INVENTION, CHRISTIANITY, as you are espousing it is a LIE. There is NO HEAVEN and there is NO HELL. It's all a lie invented to control you and make you easy to manipulate into being 'good'...because they don't think you can be good boy or girl all by yourself.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • msadr

      Don't be ridiculous. They're not worshipping demons. They're worshipping themselves.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      Your OCD is freaking me out a little. There are exactly four!!!! exclamation points!!!! after each!!!! sentence!!!!

      October 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Wicked

      XtianNation... quick! The rapture is upon you!!! Go to this site to make sure your pets are cared for!!! http://eternal-earthbound-pets.com/Home_Page.html

      Then make sure all your possessions and assets are given to me when you are taken by the alien pod people... oh yeah, wrong delusion.....

      October 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I doubt X-Nation would have anything I want, but I would like to take a look under his bed!!

      October 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  18. John

    I see many comments starting with "I believe......"

    As if what you believe makes it true. I can believe there is no such thing as gravity but see how close that gets you to the moon (BTW, I am a rocket scientist :)

    Starting around 4,000 years ago a bunch of weird guys in the middle east started predicting that a guy would come and tell us the truth. Some of them turned sticks into snakes, turned water to blood, raised people from the dead, and called down fire from the sky (Moses is still considered one of the greatest magicians in the occult). All of them had the same story, a guy would come and tell us the truth and willing-ly die for it.

    Around 2000 years ago that guy came. He was born a nobody in a family of nobodies but fulfilled all of those predictions, even to the way he was tortured an died. Then a large number of people said they saw him walking around aferwards. Some of the stories are even in the best history books of the time (see Josephus).

    If that guy (Jesus Christ) said it, then even if I don't understand it, I'm inclined to believe it.

    What you believe, or what you even understand means very little.

    October 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • John

      Quick correction.

      What you believe means very little to the truth. What you believe means a whole lot to what that truth means to you!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I believe sushi is very good, but I am also quite fond of Pho. (BTW, I AM an Alien:)

      October 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Al

      That that guy actually fulfilled those predictions is only a matter of opinion as there are several messianic predictions that Jesus failed to fulfill. Besides, all that we know of Jesus is written in a book designed to get people to believe that he was divine. If you place all your trust in such things you may want to protect yourself with some research on common scams and cons as it appears you are rather gullible.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Gaia Ivorywitch

      That guy? One of many...Jesus was not the first or only sacrificial king. If it wasn't such a sin to 'ask questions' for you guys, you might have been able to avail yourself of REAL history instead of what the Church wants you to believe so they can control your every waking thought or deed. I personally take exception to the concept of 'original sin' and that women are the reason for the 'fall of man from grace' because some idiot in a garden couldn't do what he was told....or is it that he decided to think for himself? Hmmm.....it all goes downhill from there.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  19. hippypoet

    just another idea of how to live. Hey, at least they aren't telling you that because you don't adhere to our beliefs you are going to hell! THATS A GOOD THING RIGHT?

    October 31, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Only if they are dancing naked under the light of the SUN and are completely slathered with SPF 50!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • XtianNation

      WRONG!!!! This is a horrible thing!!! Yes the reality of hell isn't a pleasant one but wouldn't you rather know the Truth than live in a lie?!? What if you were on the street with a car coming straight at you?!? Should I leave you there because it might "annoy" you to hear that there's a car coming at you and it might slightly hurt for me to push you out of the way?!? Or should I save you if I can and teach you not to stand in the middle of the street?!? Anyone who thinks Christians warning them of hell are "annoying" simply don't realize that their very soul is in severe danger and don't realize that we are only there to help them not get run over!!!!

      October 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      Hey Hippy,
      I don't believe in the god or goddesses mumble but I do respect them for their belief that the earth is sacred. They're not going to tell us we're wrong for not believing, they have more respect and tolerance that that...I wuv my pagan friends..they're an absolute blast to be around, unlike my christian friends who are dry and boring.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Yo

      "but wouldn't you rather know the Truth than live in a lie?"

      Dude you're the one living the lie, the bible is a fake, the stories come from other stories in history. They wrote it to keep people in line and humble, easier to control. Seriously – it's all based on other religions of that time, including the holidays you celebrate today.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Truthprevails
      You left out delusional and insane.

      October 31, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Father O'blivion

      @XtianNation
      My dear son, you don't have to shout now. It's just not polite. It seems you be lacking just a wee bit in yer education. Why don't ya get some rest and then do some research about the religioun you be so fond of. You might just learn some real truth, and loose the silly fictionalized version that you seem to have forced into yer brain. God Bless ya then.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @XtianNation

      Saving someone, even a believer, from actual, real, imminent physical danger is the right thing to do.

      Dragging someone into your delusion is not the right thing to do, and will be met with a hearty "Fuck Off!" (regardless of the sex or age of the offender) if I am the target of the annoyance.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Rick

      Xtian: Tell us all how you know of the "reality of hell"

      October 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Rick

      "Anyone who thinks Christians warning them of hell are "annoying" simply don't realize that their very soul is in severe danger and don't realize that we are only there to help them not get run over!!!!" – XtianNation

      "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" – Chicken Little

      Notice the similarities?

      October 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Why does it hurt when I pee?
      Frank Zappa

      October 31, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      @Xtian – the basic difference is that we have copious amounts of physical and visual evidence of what happens when someone is hit by a moving vehicle. Hell is a matter of faith. The two seem equally obvious conclusions to you, but they're not. You have got to try another metaphor.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "Yes the reality of hell isn't a pleasant one but wouldn't you rather know the Truth than live in a lie?!?"

      Until you KNOW the truth, you shouldnt be telling people they are living a lie.

      November 1, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  20. Einstürzende Neubauten

    Re: Garage Sale

    Ok, the bell.....50 cents. The skull....let's see....$2.00. The basket my turnips are in is also two dollars. What's that? The pictures? Well you can't have the photos of my dead grand-parents, but I will sell the frames for five bucks.....

    The economy is hard on the pagans too. :(

    October 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Father O'blivion

      Might that cob of corn be fer sale then?

      October 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Einstürzende Neubauten

      NO! Anything but the corn. I need the corn. Don't ask why...

      October 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Hey, how much for that chronic in the bowl there? I want to buy it for Hippy Poet....

      October 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.