... is an oxymoron. That combination of terms gets used regularly and is just accepted without question. It's wrong. Heathen are pagans, typically Nordic. They are not "godless" and they are not "atheist". They are a hotch-potch of religious traditions that can easily rival any of the Abrahamic ones for sheer stupidity.

From google define:heathen -

Wikipedia:
In its broadest definition, pagan [heathen] denotes all non-Abrahamic religions, that is to say it denotes all religions other than Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Wiktionary:
1. not adhering to an Abrahamic religion; pagan.
2. (by extension) uncultured; uncivilized; savage, philistine.
3. pertaining to currents of Germanic neo-paganism known as Heathenry.

Mind-n-Magick:
(1) Literally means "heath-dweller", and refers to practitioners of the Norse pagan faith.
(2) One who does not acknowledge the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam.

TranslationDirectory:
Originally people of the heath or moor. Originally, it was a Christian term to denigrate followers of the old, pre-Christian Religion. Followers of Asatru and other ancient reconstructed aboriginal religions have embraced the term.

StarLark:
Another name for Pagan. Many contemporary practitioners of Teutonic Nature religions prefer this term for themselves and their spirituality.

Tags: atheist, get it right, heathen, pagan, pedantic

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Damn, and here I've been calling myself a godless heathen as a term of endearment. Oh well.
"Pagan" is from the Latin 'paganus' meaning "country dwelller' or "rustic".What we might call a 'yokel',meaning an unsophisticated person from the sticks.


This made more sense in Roman times and indeed right up to the industrial revolution, where people seldom traveled more than a few miles from their birth place. Such people were insular,ignorant and led fixed lives,compared with city dwellers.

"Heathen " is different word entirely with a different etymology; Old English via Norse. Specifically 'not Jewish OR Christian.' (Non Muslims are called 'infidels' 'or 'kafirs')

The two words have gradually become synonymous.
The meanings have varied over time, but they have never designated people with a complete absence of supernatural belief - that's the crux of the matter.

As a bit of side trivia - the spate of church burnings in Europe over the last 20 or so years by Black Metal enthusiasts. They are almost always accused of being Satanists by the media and politicians. They are not - they are in fact self-described heathens. While I don't agree with their methods, their logic is that they are only doing back what was done to the original heathen shrines.
"The meanings have varied over time, but they have never designated people with a complete absence of supernatural belief - that's the crux of the matter."

Just so

Tangent: I actually know only one person who identifies as a pagan. (not a Wiccan) She enthralled me with accounts of traveling through Ireland on moped, visiting ancient sites sacred to the Earth Mother, now mostly usurped by the Marian cult.
The term more properly would be "Neo-Pagan", because nothing that any of these people practice has pre-Christian roots. In Ireland, people converted willingly. More than likely, people identified the local goddesses with Mary, rather than the Marian cult usurping local sites. Also, the Irish, at least by the time the Christians came along, weren't worshipping some nebulous "Earth Mother".

In the past, I have found that what I knew was wrong, so if I am on this, I will be glad to be corrected.
Heh. As if they have any direct connection to those original heathen shrines.
Thanks for pointing this out, felch. I'd love to see a moratorium on groups with the name, unless, of course, it's a group for ex-Heathens.

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