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The Meaning of “Pagan”

Posted by Remy on April 7, 2009

“Pagan” comes from the Latin “Paganus” meaning: rural (adj) or countryfolk, yokel.

In Roman times it was used to indicate an incompetent soldier, or an unsophisticated person, similar to how we might use “bumpkin”. 

Since the Christianization of the cities (Christianity is a city religion) and because the church on earth is the Church Militant those unworthy soldiers, still clinging to the old backwards religion, were described by St. Augustine as the “pagani”.

2 Responses to “The Meaning of “Pagan””

  1. That is very interesting Remy. How would you deal with the idea of de-urbanizing the church. I am speaking primarily of the back to nature aspect of the modern church. I have seen this in churches like some Baptist, Mennonite and even in some aspects the Seventh Day Adventist denominations. Even more recently, I have seen this in the green movement of the church which has a big push to de-urbanize the church. The “Green Movement” or at least strongly opinionated factions of the movement, really force the re-naturing and de-concentrating of a population. There is a fad in the church to be “primitivist” and revert to nature. Furthermore, because these things are ideal like capitalism or socialism, this begs the question of when there will be a semi-violent christian primitizist faction. That, of course is a slippery slide, but nevertheless, historically is the sin pattern of the church starting with a passivist ideal which becomes a activist revolution. This all seems to be antithetical to St. Augustine’s definition of the church. Any comments?

  2. Remy said

    Some of it is misguided, some of it is unobjectionable, some of it seems healthy. Broadly speaking it’s hard to say something. I guess what I’m saying is, no, I don’t have any comments.

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