Do Pagans Believe in God?

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Many Pagans honor the divine in their practice and belief. Image by swissmediavision/E+/Getty Images

Question: Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

I'm interested in Wicca, but my mom says Wiccans and Pagans don't believe in God. I feel weird not believing in a universal force of some sort. What's the deal here?

Answer

The deal is that most Pagans, including Wiccans, see “god” as more of a job title than a proper name. They don’t worship the Christian god - at least in general, but more on that in a minute - but that doesn’t mean they don’t accept the existence of deity.

Various Wiccan and Pagan traditions honor different gods. Some see all deities as one, and may refer to The God or The Goddess. Others may worship specific gods or goddesses – Cernunnos, Brighid, Isis, Apollo, etc. – from their own tradition. Because there are so many different forms of Pagan belief, there are nearly as many gods and goddesses to believe in. For more on that, you may want to go ahead and read What God and Goddess Do Pagans Worship?

Many Pagans, including but not limited to Wiccans, are willing to accept the presence of the Divine in all things. Because Wicca and other forms of Paganism place a good deal of emphasis on the idea that experiencing the divine is something for everyone, not just select members of the clergy, it's possible for a Wiccan or Pagan to find something sacred within the mundane. For example, the whisper of wind through the trees or the roar of the ocean can both be considered divine.

Not only that, many Pagans feel that the divine lives within each of us. It's rare to find a Pagan or Wiccan who sees the gods as judgmental or punishing. Instead, most view the gods as beings that are meant to be walked beside, hand in hand, and honored.

Do keep in mind that there are also a number of people who practice magic within a Christian framework - these are people who self identify as Christian witches.

Often - although not always - they continue to honor the Christian god. Some also incorporate the Virgin Mary as a goddess, or at least someone who should be venerated. Still others honor the various saints. But regardless, that's still Christianity-based, and not Paganism-based. So, by the very definition of the words, one could not be a Christian Wiccan any more than one could be a Hindu Muslim or a Jewish Mormon. For more on this, read Can I Be a Christian Wiccan?

But going back to the original question, regarding whether Wiccans and other Pagans believe in God. There are many other paths of Paganism, with Wicca being just one of them. Many of these belief systems are polytheistic. Some Pagan paths are based on a concept that all gods are one. There are also some Pagans who follow an earth- or nature-based belief system outside of the concept of deity completely. Still others accept the existence of the Christian god - because after all, we accept the existence of gods of other pantheons - but we simply choose not to honor or worship him.

So, the bottom line? Do Pagans believe in god? In general, many of us do believe in the Divine, in some way, shape, or form. Do we believe in the same god as our Christian friends and family members?

Not usually, but like all of the other questions about Paganism, you're going to encounter people who simply do what works best for them - and if that includes honoring the god of Christianity, then I'm certainly not going to tell them they can't.

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Wigington, Patti. "Do Pagans Believe in God?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/do-pagans-believe-in-god-2561833. Wigington, Patti. (2016, August 22). Do Pagans Believe in God? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/do-pagans-believe-in-god-2561833 Wigington, Patti. "Do Pagans Believe in God?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/do-pagans-believe-in-god-2561833 (accessed September 24, 2017).