Is Paganism the Fastest Growing Religion in the United States?   13 comments

Yet another great post from MG, and ’tis something you should really think about, especially the coming out bit.

Metal Gaia

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Picture Source Fuck Yeah Paganism (Great site title too!)

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS

Don’t bust out the mead yet! Pagans are still a very small minority in comparison to both U.S Religions and World Religions at large. If you read the 2008 “United States Census Bureau Abstract on Self Identified Religious Populations”, the number of Pagans and Wiccans combined still only results to 0.3% of the population (which means that 3 out of every 1,000 people you meet will be Pagan). However, that number doesn’t account for people who classify as spiritualists, Unitarian Universalists or non-classified.

I do often bump into people at Pagan meets or New Age shops who do not like to call themselves “Pagans,” but rather “Animists,” “Druids,” “Asatruar,” “Heathens,” “Shamans,” etc. The war over what gets lumped into the pagan category and what doesn’t wages on, but I bet many of these folk filled in…

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Posted May 23, 2013 by davescallon in Uncategorized

13 responses to “Is Paganism the Fastest Growing Religion in the United States?

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  1. Good to see you back!

    I went ahead and braved the charts, from which I gathered:

    1. I am an Unclassified Other.
    2. That’s a lot of Quakers for a phone survey. And they still had to be severely under-represented.
    3. How do you “randomly” dial only home phone numbers? What about homes with no landline?
    4. More people responded with “Kiss my ass” than identified as an “other” religion. Quite a few more.
    5. Lumping Agnostic and Atheist together was dumb. Separating them is something they got right.
    6. Next they need to separate Evangelical and Born Again. There is an Evangelical denomination (also Evangelical Lutherans and Methodists — how were they classified?), and not everyone who identifies as Born Again is a member of any of those.
    7. Screw you, Alaska and Hawaii.

    You know, if there’s one thing a little journalism school will do, it’s make you very skeptical about surveys. 🙂

    Gypsy Lizardkilt
    • Surveys, you got to love them. We asked 100 people in Richmond, London about their income, from this we worked out that 98% of the UK population earns over £50,000 p.a. :O

      It is such a minefield with just the different Christian sects, let alone all of the different “Pagan” Paths and Faiths or Groups, no way you can list every Path in a survey, that is why both of us would be Unclassified Other, In the West anyway.

  2. I didn’t expect Taoists to show up on any U.S. survey that doesn’t list everything individually because there are even by our own best estimates very few of us here (20-25K). But I suspect we were still not well represented in this survey because of one thing: Hawaii was excluded, and there is a sizable Asian community there.

    What I can’t figure out is why they stopped asking this on the census. You didn’t have to answer it, and the sample would still be much larger and more representative, but it was gone from the last form.

    Gypsy Lizardkilt
  3. More than likely the Christian Right had some say in it, because while yes there are more people in the world, the Christian Sects are losing bums on seats when the old ones die and the new ones watch Charmed, Buffy, et. al. Sad to say but Witchcraft and more importantly Wicca is the newest Fad of the 12 – 18 female, according to other conversations I have had a few years ago on another site.

    But unless Alaska and Hawaii are getting independence, like Scotland is, I do find it odd that neither were added to the survey, but then you think about the main people of those two States, which is, unless I am (usually) mistaken, Native rather than WASP’s. And then it all ties in, well, it does for me anyway.

  4. I remember that fad getting started; I was hanging around some Pagan forums then, and saw a lot of young teen girls (and it was almost all girls) come in wanting to learn how to cast love spells. It was because of some movie (I blank about which one right now, this would have been in the early ’90s) about teenage “witches.” The “But I KNOW it’s that way, I saw the movie!” attitude was incredible and got old in a big hurry.

    Shamanism had its day of that, too; it’s really just hitting the end of its turn as a fad. I think that may be the sole thing to be grateful to the plastics for. They charged truckloads of cash to teach people things that didn’t work, and when they didn’t, the wannabes left in droves. Boy, do I not miss them. Same song, different verse: “I read in this book rushed to publication to ride the fad that nothing in the spirit world will ever hurt you, it’s all made of fluffy cotton candy and baby bunnies!” Most were unable to answer (read: called me negative and stomped off in a snit) when I asked why in that case we went there to combat spirits of illness that were hurting people.

    Ah, independence. Kiltbomb intends to go home to vote. Lizardking (correctly no doubt) cites that as another reason he’s not the one I should be marrying. “It would be about our luck that you’d marry the English citizen to solve all this, then Scotland, where you plan to live, leaves the UK.”

    Alaska and Hawaii aren’t going anywhere that I’m aware of, but they remain very expensive to call by landline, and that was a phone survey, so this wasn’t really a surprise (They’re in a weird place in general in relation to the continental states because of their distances from the mainland and attendant cost of pretty much everything; I hear so often in ads for national retail-chain and car sales, “Prices not good in Alaska and Hawaii,” that I almost don’t hear it any more.). Both do have a higher percentage of native peoples than most states do, but not exceptionally so; white folks have evened up the numbers a great deal. (Also, Hawaiian natives are not considered Native American in terms of race; they’re Pacific islanders, like Samoans are.) I’m pulling numbers off my skullcap, but I’d say the highest Native populations by percentage would be in places like New Mexico, Oklahoma, and likely South Dakota. Alaska will rank fairly high mostly because of its extremely low total population.

    Gypsy Lizardkilt
    • I guess I was lucky, I missed both of them as fads compeately when I went totally off the rails, ended up in a wilderness within my mind for years, and over the last couple of years I have come back to the land of the living, so to speak. People were talking about the Druid wars and all of these young lasses, and roving about I have come across loads of “Shaman” sites from an office, with a phd or whatever. WTF did I miss all those years lmao. As for “nothing can hurt you”, I can prove them wrong, on every level, (I was a bad boy, I was a very naughty boy”. That is just childish and very dangerous ideas to have, and do not get me started on Binding for Love Spells, “The Craft” per chance? The only one who I classed as a Witch was the outsider, not the mad Goth.

      LK does have a point, but to be honest, that would not matter either way, it is not as if the Scots will kickout all of the English, (but we can but hope)(Sorry LK). If you do not mind me asking is KB for UK or Alba?

      I do tend to forget that the Hawaiian native are Pacific islands, but I did not know that about Alaska, learn something everyday, So how the hell to they survive if everything is so damn expensive.

  5. Yes, that was the movie.

    I’ve long held the theory that the spirits protect most of the innocently naive. They might be in deep meditation, and spirits might even be contacting them, but those people aren’t gaining admittance to the spirit realms. I’ve met gatekeepers before; I have to think keeping out the unwary is a pretty hefty part of their task.

    My first reaction was that it wouldn’t matter for me, but it might. If I’m understanding the rules correctly (something I will have to make sure of), coming in married, no matter for how long, doesn’t exclude me from a two-year residency requirement before I can apply for citizenship. Until then, I’d be an American living there on a visa, and that could affect me, depending on how reciprocity of visas would be dealt with. I am, however, exempt from having to take the “Can you speak English?” test. *laugh*

    I don’t mind you asking, but Kiltbomb is still torn about the whole issue. I think he’s having a big heart and mind conflict about it, which I suspect a lot of people must be.

    Alaska, in short, pays the hell out of you to work there. A lot of it gets burned up in cost of living, but it’s still enough that people will go there for a year or two at a time to work as contract labor.

    Gypsy Lizardkilt
  6. I will agree with you, but I would say 95%+ of Spirits are protectors, but some are just not nice, even to look at. and if they can find a way through, (which is very rare as far as I know) all hell can break lose. But as was pointed out in the film and also in real life, Power corrupts, and the lure can be very enticing for some.

    Laugh, I know a few who would fail that test :). When I was at college a few years ago, one of the guys in class was married to a yank, and even though they were married for quite a while, she still faced some restrictions but I can not remember if she had the whole Citizenship thing. But at least with the 2 years wait, you can get out of dodge if you find that you do not like the UK, but I think you will love Scotland, especially up that far.

    It is like the rest of Europe coming here to work for a few years, send money home and then bugger off back home again.

  7. I’ll be pretty amazed if I don’t like it there. My longest visit to the UK has been 11 days (and together all three visits probably total three weeks), but I was very comfortable, and what I saw of Scotland knocked me out. Just gorgeous. I wish I didn’t have to wait until November to have a look at our new home; photos only make me more prone to bouncing around anxiously. 🙂

    Gypsy Lizardkilt
    • Bless, but for me there is only one place better, Erin, while not as Mountainous as The Highlands, being rather flatter, I felt so at home there when I went, but I have never had the money to go back.

      • I love mountains and the sea. Opportunities here to have them together are pretty slim (and wildly expensive where they do exist, mostly in California). And while I’ll grant that my sense of scale where mountains are concerned is different (I went to school at 11,000 feet.), the feel still seems to be there. The ability to stand on the shore and look up at a mountain wraps it all up in one bundle: Liminal space. Shamanic space. Working space.

        Gypsy Lizardkilt
  8. Yes, and being as the UK is small by comparison you are never far from the Sea. and in Scotland never far from Mountains. I climbed up the highest peak on Skye, small by the Rocky Standard to be fair, but see a sea of clouds below me was, intense, to say the least, seeing these little islands of Rock poking though the clouds in the distance. Working Space

    • Oddly, I think scale may be one of my biggest blessings/challenges there. There’s a closeness and an intimacy of connections that I’ve not really had before. The closest to it would be when I lived in Minnesota the second time. The town I was in was only about five miles from the Wisconsin border, and that had a feel of closeness of things that I haven’t had elsewhere. For perspective: When I bailed out on Kiltbomb (again…) and went to Texas, I drove across two full states and parts of three others. That was over 1,600 miles. My concept of space and openness is just…large. Having so much at hand is going to seem almost gluttonous to me.

      Gypsy Lizardkilt

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