I was called a “Pagan” — and then a “Heathen” — the other day by someone who doesn’t know me. Heathen was added, I’m guessing now, because my facial expression must have conveyed a confused look for the definition of “Pagan” since I’d never been referred to as one before.
Before the name calling started, I thought we were having a pleasant conversation about faith tenets and indoctrinate belief systems when the intentional, but not understood, slur was sent flying my way. I can’t even remember exactly what I said to fire the fit at me other than something generic about purposefully misleading children to serve the greater machinations of adults.
“Not believing” — as those around you do. can be taken as an insult even though that open-mindedness isn’t intended to disrupt any existing loyalties or quantum schemes of protection — but the hooding and the coloring of those who are unlike you makes the Pagans and the Heathens more easy to identify and conquer and make sure anything they say is undermined by extreme prejudice and pointing fingers.
It seems anyone who does not believe as you can easily be labeled a Pagan and a Heathen — by logical default that are many more Pagans and Heathens than there are true believers. I don’t understand the gumption to label and identify your perceived enemies — because that identification just makes them more powerful in numbers and assumptions than your minority — unless, of course, you have a death wish and a persecution complex where you prefer to suffer aloud in public pain.
The Pagan mind, the “Heathen Thought Train,” if you will, appears to me to be the more open vessel in the midst of many closed heads. If a Pagan is a free thinker, if a Heathen is someone who isn’t tied to a single doctrine, then I would prefer to be marked a Pagan and pocked a Heathen if that means continued freedom of thought and independence of purpose.