Horrible Misconceptions About Paganism
Misconceptions about paganism are easy to fall into if you don't know much about paganism. I never knew much about pagans, but some of these common misconceptions seem sillier than others. This article includes thoughts on how these misconceptions can be overcome including education and sensitivity in discussing religions that one is not familiar with.
Misconceptions about Paganism: Pagans are Devil Worshippers
I never specifically thought about this misconception before, but apparently there are a lot of people who think pagans are devil worshippers. The pagan replies to this misconception make sense to me. To overcome this misconception, people should remember that the devil is associated with Christianity, and does not have anything to do with paganism. Therefore, another point related to overcoming this misconception, is to be careful in any discussion of a religion that you are unfamiliar with and to try to learn about it rather than to make assumptions.
Misconceptions about Paganism: Pagans Have Orgies
Granted, most of the pagans I know are people who eventually became Buddhists but none of them every mentioned anything about any orgies so I never suspected this. However, this is a common misconception about pagans that could be overcome with more education about what pagans really do at their rituals. Some of the confusion may also arise from people equating nudity with sexual activity so to overcome this misconception it may also be helpful to examine different cultural norms concerning nudity.
Misconceptions about Paganism: Pagans are Using Harry Potter to Lure Little Kids
I don't read much sensationalistic news stories but I have seen accusations that Harry Potter books are promoting magic and paganism to lead children astray. Again, the pagan response makes a lot of sense to me. To overcome this misconception, pagans can continue to point out that paganism is not a proselytizing religion so they're not recruiting anybody. An additional way to overcome this misconception is for pagans to continue to point out that many pagan groups do not teach minors at all. A third way to overcome this misconception is for pagans to remind people that Harry Potter books are written by J. K. Rowling who is a Christian.
Misconceptions about Paganism: All Pagan Religions are Ancient
This area of misconception did surprise me. I always vaguely thought of Wicca as some ancient system of belief. It actually claims to have started evolving as a natural religion in the 19th Century and was popularized by Gerald Gardner during the 1950s. In case there are more people who didn't know this it might help in overcoming this misconception if pagans realized that there are people who don't know the distinctions between ancient pagan and neo-pagan religions. In this way, education could help to overcome this and many misconceptions about paganism.