This may be down to semantic niggling, but I've always thought of the word heathen as a Xtian word, as in "not us", whereas pagan strikes me as a more secular descriptor.
We see it as the other way around, and considering the church spoke Latin, and "Pagan" is Romano/Latin, then...(See lower down).
Grumpy wrote:Are the Norse Heathens (as the given example) more common over the pond? I don't get out much, but I've never met any non-Xtians of any faiths who call themselves "Heathens" here in NE U.S.
There are twenty four web sites in Germany/Austrian/Switzerland, all of them "Norse Heathen", or "Germanisches Heidentum", the German name for us. Holland has fifteen to twenty by it's self all "Germanisches Heidentum", Britain has ONE. All of them have actual meetings. So thats 50 seperate groups that are active in 5 countrys. An average of 30 active members per group.
THEN there are around 200 groups who are "non internet" groups. Ie, do not have a web site. But are equally as active. With the same average numbers.
THEN there is Sweden/Norway/Denmark, with officialy registered as religious groups
(You can do that in Scandinavia), numbering around 400. (Finland is part of this group, but does not have an "official register".
, there is Iceland with one group of 600 active members!!
EVERY one of these people would defend to the death the name "Heathen", and would like wise fight to the death, any one labeling them as "Pagan.
Now we have the Keltic groups. More in U.K, France, Belgium etc. They are about 70% "Heathen", 30% "Pagan".
How do I know this? "Woddenserben, Forum des Germanischen Heidentums" ran a survey of all groups it could find, this was ONE of about 50 different questions. These mentioned above are the ones that answered. There are also people who are members of no group, but describe themselves as the same. It seems to be the "racial name of choice".
Also note, that this more or less fully equates with the furthest line of the Roman advance accross Europe, which went home in body bags, defeated by the Germanen and Scots around 500C.E.
So HEATHEN for us has allways been a symbol of resistance against Rome.
Grumpy wrote:Which one is not derived from judeo-Xtian vocabulary? That's what I wanna be called.
Both. Heathen comes from Old, and modern German/old Norse/old Saxon/AngloSaxon. "Heide" (heath), "Heidenisch" (of the heath), "Heidnen" (heath dwellers.) I.E "Country dwellers, Forest etc etc. Out side of the town or city walls.
Pagan is Latin for virtualy the same ideas. But because of geography, "Pagan" is more likely to be the christian one. Remember the official language of the church of Rome was allways and STILL is Latin.
As "christianisation" started in citys, then those that were called Heathen/Pagan, as a description of where/how they lived, by the native inhabitants, and even a description of themselves, would be the last ones to be "christianised" after the church had completed it's evil work in the city. So they would become synomonous, to the church, with "non christian" and all that went into "converting the Heathen". I.e "Heathen became a label to seperate christians and non christians. In effect the church tried to make it into a religion. What they failed to apprieciate is, that it never WAS "one religion". That, to some degree has enabled us to survive.
The church attacked our geography and mistook it for religion.
To us, to be called "Pagan" makes us grit our teeth. It is like I imagine Africans feel when some one shouts "Hey you, the coloured gentelman". It is, in our opinion, the christians trying to be all "P.C", and "Oh, arn't we jolly modern?", about it, whilst spitting behind your back, and building piles of wood around poles.