Vol.VII No.VIII Pg.5
October 1970

This Pagan Nation

Robert F. Turner

Pagan is from a word meaning heathen. It brings to mind uncivilized savages, perhaps head-hunters, dancing about a crudely carved, leering statue. We shrink in horror, at the human skulls or blood-stained mystic symbols upon their altar. We would scoff at the suggestion of paganism in our country, or pagan religions among our close associates.

But pagan and heathen are relative terms. Gentiles were heathens to the Jews, and for centuries anyone not Christian was considered heathen. Now, so says the dictionary, anyone neither Christian, Mohammedan, nor a Jew, is a pagan; and the same book says heathen suggests adherence to polytheism or the practice of idolatry, especially among rude or uncivilized peoples. (It was the so-called civilized people who wrote that line.) When we call pagans irreligious we mean they have not our kind of religion. From a strictly N. T. Christian viewpoint, pagans seek God some way other than through Jesus Christ.

Pagan religions are systems whereby men probe the mysteries of Deity with human philosophy, mystic symbolism, speculations concerning heavenly bodies, Cabalism (occult or mystical interpretation of Scriptures, with special emphasis given to numbers and geometric figures), and the like. The error is not that they reject God in some form or kind, but that they know not the true God. Pagans were not, and need not be, atheists. Today they seek light even as did the pagans of ancient Egypt and Babylon — and in some of the secret orders of our day they use the same symbols as did the ancient ones — the triangle, green branches, etc., — and proudly acknowledge the source. (See Morals and Dogma, Bishop Pike.)

Our generation is so unacquainted with Jehovah God, as manifested in Jesus Christ, and set forth in the Bible, that many will swallow the pagan philosophies of the Rosicrucian's, the Bahai Faith, etc., because they believe in God, And by the same childish imperceptivity many class as Christian such cults as Christian (?) Science, Unitarianism, Jehovahs (?) Witnesses (?) whose use of the Bible is highly allegorical, or devoid of faith in Jesus as the Son of God in a Biblical sense. We are surrounded by paganism and do not seem to recognize it.

Paul wrote, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him.. . Do we really believe that? It is difficult to understand how Christians who grasp the meaning of Col. 2:6 -10, can approve, much less be part of any system for seeking light or serving The Great Architect other than that revealed in Jesus Christ and His way.

The men of Athens were religious but knew not the true God in Christ. (Acts 17:22-f) Nor will a thin veneer of traditional Christianity, polluted with sectarianism and the social gospel, keep paganism from stalking and dominating our land.