What is paganism? Pagan is simply a word which means anything other than Christian. It only has meaning the same way that Gentile has meaning. Everyone who is not a Jew is a Gentile. Everyone who is not a Christian is a pagan. Heathens and blasphemers are people who, although educated and initiated into Christianity do not agree with or believe every one of the teachings – or the practices. In many cases, blasphemers are people who disagree on one philosophical point, or who believe the church is corrupt and has practices so unChristian that they object.
There are many religions in the world other than Christianity and Judaism. Technically, Christianity still is, or at least started out as a Jewish sect. However, in The Bible Jesus makes it clear that he is willing to welcome anyone who will bother to listen to his spiritual teachings and who can make good use of his wisdom. He makes it clear that any spiritual truth he imparts has come from God, his spiritual father. In the Jewish tradition, people are not to even write “God” and so, even that, is a change from their traditions.
The main doctrine is that there is one true God who has created the world and has the spiritual power to control material reality and can impart spiritual teachings, wisdom and skills to those who follow Him. A major feature of this is that humans have not created this deity, just as humans have not created the planet Earth or the nature of the human body itself.
Over the 2 thousand years since Jesus Christ’s life, the Catholics and others have tried to spread Christianity. All too often this has been done with a great deal of aggression but that is not exactly in accordance with Christ’s teaching of non-killing of other humans – especially not murder. Christianity has often attempted to progress peacefully and much of the strange nature of the Catholic Church is the result of what happened when they met with a different religion and culture. There are pagan goddesses who have been adopted and embraced as Catholic Saints. This means, that instead of hating them for having been goddess worshipping pagans; they went into it deeply enough that those goddesses who were gentle enough or otherwise sufficiently lived in ways that do not offend Christian sensibilities have been embraced as spiritually powerful saints, subdominant to and under the authority of the same one and only real God.
In the contemporary world, in Europe and North America if people say ‘pagan’ they usually mean Wiccans or Druids or Asatru – because those are the religious traditions native to the region. They all include goddesses and gods. They are all polytheistic. They all have rites which could be viewed as magic.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, any ‘supernatural effects or results’ which have not come from the one and only true God through Jesus Christ [His only son to have incarnated on Earth as a living deity] are magic, and to be considered bad or suspect. If such effects are achieved by the grace of God and in direct accordance with His will and power then the same church views that as entirely acceptable. They don’t describe it as magick, but as a consequence of God’s miraculous powers.