A big thanks to Jeanine Duvell for contributing the following article as a follow up to Moody Moon’s piece on Why Millennials Are Taking Paganism by Storm.
There’s no denying it, Millennials have brought on deep changes to America’s traditional belief systems. In fact, even mainstream media is now showing interest in this transmutation of our generation’s core convictions.
For instance, Newsweek recently ran an article describing the rise in pagan religious practices in the United States. It also reports that a little more than 22 percent of Americans list themselves as “unaffiliated” with any religion.
We’ve explored some of the factors behind the increase in popularity of witchcraft and paganism before, but one might argue that there are just as many reasons as there are witches in America – each one of us has her own unique motivations and personal questions that beg for answers.
As a follow-up to our earlier post on the topic, here are four more reasons why Millennials are taking paganism by storm.
Freedom of Choice: No Dogma
Paganism offers a great deal of freedom to choose what structure you follow, what ideas you embrace or reject, and how you apply those principles in your daily life. Millennials find this extremely appealing because they were raised in a culture of choice and options; after all, they were the first generation to grow up in a world of pervasive communication technologies — with all the options for human interaction those advancements allow.
While Abrahamic religions have very set rules and roles in place, paganism presents broader guidelines and an open-minded approach to different belief systems. For a generation that grew up with the ability to decide what to watch, what to read, and where to go, finding their own path instead of being forced down one makes a great deal of sense.
Sexual Orientation: Acceptance Matters
Pagans are much more welcoming to the LGBT community than mainstream religions. In fact, many modern Wiccans — Gerald Gardner, namely – have been teaching sexual tolerance and acceptance for decades. The Wiccan creed of “Do no harm” essentially means that as long as you’re not hurting anyone (including yourself) with the way you live your life, then there is no reason for you to change it.
Millennials are more tolerant of diversity than any generation before them in recent history, and young LGBT persons can easily find their place within the Pagan community.
She Blinded Me with Science
Since times immemorial, science has been viewed as incompatible with religious teachings, and femininity as incompatible with scientific aspirations. This explains why many female STEM education graduates feel out of their place in fundamental Abrahamic religions.
On the other hand, Wicca and pagan traditions don’t deny what science has proven as fact. A leap of faith is one thing — willful ignorance of the facts of nature is another.
Hell? It’s Freezing Over
People who are drawn to the occult and alternative belief systems often flat-out reject the very concept of Hell and damnation. The Devil is seen as an abstract notion which is neither positive nor negative – even in tarot readings, it depends on the context.
To many Millennials, the very concept of eternal punishment seems nonsensical – why would an omnipotent, all-loving being create a special place to torture you for eternity? Esoteric and alternative belief systems are almost universally devoid of such a concept. Mistakes can be fixed, and souls can be allowed to grow… without having to worry about the wrath of a vengeful creator.