People often have difficulty putting into words what their religious beliefs mean to them. Of course, this is doubly difficult for the Pagan/polytheist as contrasted with the monotheist because, for the Pagan, it is really not about belief. Pagans don’t hold to beliefs or a book from which they can draw or anything like that. They hold beliefs, but these are secondary to living and understanding. Thus, for the Pagan, it is how one lives and how one worships, as in interaction with nature and the blessed deities.
Therefore, for me, to answer the question I have to state the following: It is more than just religion to me. If Paganism/polytheism were nothing more than beliefs or a belief system, perhaps derived from some holy book; or if it were nothing more than belief in and reverence for the ancient blessed deities, then it would seriously lack something for me and it would not fulfill what I need in a religious system. It would instead literally be just another religion to have chosen from. “Take your pick; they are all just as good”. That is the way that many approach their religious choice – as if one should simply pick and choose whatever suits them personally. That is not enough for me.
No, for me it begins with reverence for nature itself. Reverence for nature, the world, and the whole universe, not exploitation of it. It means the constant maintenance of this very universal life-cycle. It is the Knowledge that my body is a living part of nature and that it must be returned to nature at my death, not locked away in some vault or sepulcher to slowly decay, never being a part of nature anymore awaiting some resurrection that will never take place (for resurrection of the physical body is against nature). It is the understanding that in life I possess a soul (I actually am the soul, not the physical body), as all living animate creatures also do, and at death my soul will continue to exist and live as an integral part of the natural and universal life-cycle (reincarnation) and that it will NOT be consigned to a stagnant perpetual state in some heaven or hell! It is the truth that the troubles of life are shared among ALL of humanity and one’s religion does not shield one from them anymore than one’s religion necessarily gets one a better set of circumstances in life or the afterlife. We all share both the good and the bad in life and our religious perspective or beliefs make little, if any, difference. It is the fact that human beings possess intellect by which they can and should grasp and utilize Knowledge, logic, and reason to arrive at an understanding of things, without which we have little to separate us from the animals. And, finally, it is the honesty and integrity to stand on principle based on these as well as evidence rather than belief and/or supposition.
I don’t believe it; I Know it! I don’t doubt because my position is not based on faith or belief but is instead based on Knowledge and understanding. I don’t shrink from my beliefs because of assaults from others and I don’t need to be saved. I don’t need the monotheist’s prayers for my soul although I will accept them if offered honestly for something I really do need. And I will NOT stand before the god of the monotheist at my death (which will only be a new beginning for my soul in any case)! I Know this. I have NO doubts. Peace be with you.