PAGANS and INFIDELSFIRST DRAFT, JUNE 23, 2005, PALIMPSEST TO FOLLOW
From the Latin, paganus, a country dweller. American Heritage defines this as one who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. A seemingly inadequate definition, at first sight.
Jim: Huck? What's a Muslim?
Huck: (after thinking a while) A Muslims someone who ain't a Presbyterian.
True, on the surface, but inadequate. This is another word we use that is akin to some vaguely familiar object found at a yard sale, rusted and dusty, yet for all that servicable if one takes the time to dust it off and give it a pit of polish. Connecting with the old gods may have its uses if authenticity plays into the adventure. Overweight dental hygenists leaping barefoot around the maypole to the tunes of Lilith Fair may not be exactly what the genuine pagans had in mind. There's something to be said for the dedication of the pagan who cares enough about their faith to work a curse on their enemy. Anyway, the word is not to be confused with infidel, one who doesn't believe at all in anything, or apostate, one who abandons the faith of their fathers for an alien belief (like the editors of the Gospels).
Sadly, we live in a world which demonstates Lenny Bruce's observation that there are no hicks in America anymore. Most of cutting-edge Christianity is prosperity-obsessed paganry celebrating getting and spending; under grace is now a koan one iterates after some financial felony. One might as well be pagan as this type of Christain, connecting to Thor, or Mercury, or Chalchiuhtlicue.
I will amend this later....the thrid cup of coffee has not kicked in yet.