What do Christianity and paganism have in common? "Nothing, of course," is usually the first response. Paganism, the collective term for the pre-Christian folk religions of Europe were oriented toward nature, ritualism, and occult practices. Christianity replaced these religions over many centuries through the missionary efforts of monastic orders and armed conflict. Christianity is a religion with universal and exclusive claims and proclaims Christ as the sole Redeemer of all humanity. Christianity has a future orientation rooted in the historical events of the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of the man in whom God became revealed, Jesus Christ.
Yet, along the way, Christianity picked up more influences than most Christians today care to admit. Sometimes there are efforts to purge Christianity from its pagan legacy. Especially since paganism has seen a resurgence in recent decades. Such efforts are no more visible than during Christmas.
Huffington Post features an interesting article that attempts to portray these differences between Christianity and paganism (in its current form of neo-paganism) not in an antagonistic way but as an opportunity for conversation.
Two women of faith, one, Lisa Anderson, a Christian theologian, and the other, Courtney Weber, a Wiccan Priestess, friends and co-workers at New York City’s Auburn Theological Seminary, sat down together to compare their traditions and find common ground in shared rituals and practices over the Christmas season.
They discover that though both religions are very different, they actually have a lot in common. Courtney says: “I think what would be helpful perhaps for Christians to understand is that pagans are celebrating almost essentially the same holiday, but with a slightly different lens.” Theologian Lisa chimes in: “I think Christianity can have a tendency to want to appropriate all things beautiful and right unto itself and not be able to find or see beauty in any other traditions. I think paganism is beautiful.”