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“A religion without converts” revisited: Individuals, identity and community in contemporary paganism

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Chapter Summary

Conversion is orchestrated from outside and involves elements of threat and duress, having to renounce certain beliefs or aspects of their pre-conversion self in order to conform to a worldview and moral order determined independently of them. Converts should display properties in their talk and reasoning that are absent from the talk and reasoning of the non-convert. Family members, friends, acquaintances and books are cited as the source of awareness about paganism. Contemporary pagan community allows people to retain a sense of continuity with their previous identity, while enabling them to enhance their self-worth and positive self-evaluation. The space that contemporary paganism provides could be a social space, an intellectual space, an emotional space, or an ontological space. Despite the obvious differences from mainstream culture and mainstream religion, contemporary paganism exemplifies some of the pervasive cultural directions of late modernity.

Keywords: community; converts; identity; ontological; paganism; religion



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