The appearance of numerous new religious organizations in the 20th century, proclaiming the revival of ancient spiritual traditions, has its historical and cultural background. In Africa, fascination with African antiquities appears in the 20th and it amplifies in the 21st century. Moreover, it extends beyond purely scientific research. Attempts to reconstruct some pagan rituals have been made by amateur enthusiasts. Perhaps the works of some African authors of the late 19th and 20th centuries can be traced back to the neo-pagan ideology. However, this work is not an attempt to elaborate on the numerous pagan religious organizations that are been revived today, but I am interested in why the Christian youths in this 21st century are going back to reviving these pagan worship hence embracing and upholding Neo-Paganism.



One plague of our age is this widespread dislike of distinct biblical doctrine. In the place of it, the idol of the day is a kind of jellyfish Christianity as J. C Ryle would put it. “a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or sinew, without any distinct teaching about the atonement or the work of the Spirit, or justification, or the way of peace with God – a vague, foggy, misty Christianity, of which the only watchwords seem to be, “Prosperity” The prosperity Gospel preachers, who have made Christianity a solution-seeking ground and have removed the very essence of Christianity which is the cross of Christ. They don’t know the meaning of the worship of God. This is a kind of Christianity that has removed the cross that was handed over to us by Christ, which is the “cross of Discipleships” in (Luke, 9:23), then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Jesus Christ really knew what it takes to be Christian. And the Christian virtues and expectation of the parousia should make us all Christians to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and be able to live a simple life in the very example of the Holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. A Christianity that wants it the easier way will also fall to Neo-paganism where every solution has an immediate forensic answer.


The experience of today shows us how very many people dislike dogma which now is seen as an epidemic that is just now doing great harm, especially among our Christian young people. It produces the same kind of Christianity with bone, a jellyfish Christianity in the land: that is, Christianity without muscle or power. When we look at jerry fish floats in the sea, it is a lovely and graceful item, shrinking and expanding like a small, fragile, transparent umbrella. When dumped on the shore, however, the same jellyfish is a defenseless lump with no ability to move, defend itself, or survive. Alas! It is a striking example of much modern religion, whose guiding concept is “No dogma, no specific tenets, and no concrete doctrine.” Such Christianity as this has no foundation and is prone to Neo-Paganism. Jesus himself made it clear in (Mathew 7:24-27), “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”  But anyone who hears my teaching and does not obey it “is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Therefore, Neo-paganism is like a mighty crash of a Christian, which all Christians should work and pray against.


We have hundreds of no directional clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions; they belong to no school or party; they are so afraid of “extreme views” that they have no views at all. We have thousands of no-content sermons preached every year, sermons without an edge, or a point, or a corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint. Such only preach prosperity and are carriers of car keys and house keys and confuse the youths with miracle money instead of teaching them hard work. They interpret the scripture to benefit their selfish interest, and they manipulate the youth with “eloquence without content.” Hence, feeble-minded Christians accept the teaching hook line and sinker. But the danger remains that when the promise that the preachers made to them fail to manifest, they look for alternatives because they simply see that your God/gods are not active. This bad interpretation of this scripture is always seen when the people are promised a lot of good things if they sow seed, and when they are told to test God with their money and see what he will do! When they do that with all conviction which is not faith-based, but on result or reward-based, and these promises fail to manifest just as it was promised them, and they remain the same for some number of years, due to the wrong teaching and bad catechesis, and erroneous interpretation of the bible, they will immediately seek for a solution elsewhere, and normally, they go into neo-paganism. I believe it is always good to teach people their ultimate goal in life. And the ultimate goal is the essence of our worship of God. The catechisms of the Catholic Church made it obvious in its explanation of the reasons for God creating us. It states that God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.” The eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9). If the youths have been thought about the kingdom and the future glories, they would not go into Neo-paganism which has to do with earthly glories.


There is a huge disconnect between our origin and our end. The youths see origin as an end itself.  This means, therefore, that they have the ideology that life ends here on earth and that one must pursue life with whatever means necessary to achieve greatness. And for the contemporary youths, the greatest firm is becoming very rich. But such ideology is a major reason for Neo-paganism among our youth. They forgot the basic teachings of the catechism of the church on the creation and our end. Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves: “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our origin?” “What is our end?” “Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?”  The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions. (CCC. 282, Article 1, Paragraph 4). Therefore, it is the separation of the origin from the end that leads the youth to Neo-paganism.


Christian worship is based solely on the New Testament’s teachings. Many concepts that assist us to comprehend the purpose of Christian worship for today can be found in the New Testament’s guidelines on worship. To begin with, Jesus stated that real worshipers will worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). This comprises worship that is correct (truth) and expressive (spiritual), as well as loving the Lord with all of one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-34). What we find now among Christian youth, though, is a lack of sense of worship. They come to church to petition God for one thing or another. They have an agreement with God that if they worship him, he will promptly repay them with material gifts. They have no understanding of the spiritual talents that God bestows on those who love and worship him.

Second, some of our Christian youth who turn to Neo-paganism have forgotten that worship is both personal and communal. We read of the first church, “And day by day, they received their meal with cheerful and charitable hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people, as they went to the temple together and broke bread in their homes. And the Lord added to their number those who were being saved day by day” (Acts 2:46-47). These believers thanked God on a regular basis, both individually and collectively (also Hebrews 10:25). Today’s Neo-pagans are uninterested in worshiping God, either individually or collectively. They are looking for a God/god response, a response to their material needs.

Third, the term “worship” encompasses the concept of reverence. Christians kneel down, pray, sing, and perform other gestures of reverence as acts of worship in the Bible. Worship can be expressed to God in a variety of ways, including words, acts, the arts, and service, however, it is more than a song or a specific act. Worship also has the objective of honoring God. “Therefore, God has highly elevated him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,” (Philippians 2:9-11) says. “Every knee should bend at the name of Jesus, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”



Christianity that emphasizes more on the earthly glories and preaches also more of the self is definitely doomed. When we remove Christianity from its very authentic meaning and concentrate the basic teaching on self, we create avenues for Neo-paganism. Why do I say that? We are quite aware that humans are insatiable, and are difficult to be satisfied. And because of that, if we emphasize that Christianity/God can do all things in our human standard and as we want it and in our pace and time, and not the will of God happening, we create avenues for Neo-paganism. The Christianity of today has so much deviated from her teachings; the emphasis is no longer on God but on self. Hence our prayer becomes so self-centered that we forget that each prayer we make should be to praise and honor God. If we must ask, Christ thought us, we ask for our daily bread. “Give us this day, our daily bread”   (Mathew 6:11).  If we Christian faithful have this notion of the teachings of Christ on “Our Lord’s Prayer” we will hardly have the thought of Neo-Paganism. The prosperity Gospel that is widely preached today which is very much contrary to the teachings of Christ has removed us from being true followers/disciples of Christ. Remember, “if anyone wished to be a follower of mine, let him take up his cross and follow me” How then can we be an authentic Christian that will have nothing to do with Neo-paganism if we are not ready to carry our cross and follow our Lord?  If Christians are not ready to see Christianity from the perspective of the teachings of Christ on true discipleship, and understanding that “the self” is not very much important, but that emptying ourselves for others and carrying our cross and following the Lord is one of the greatest calls of the baptized, then, there will be no hope for authentic Christianity, and when that is the case, Neo-paganism will be an option and last hope for a Christian who thinks that God has not done all his wishes.


Paganism begins not only when we engage in pagan worship, but also when we place a greater focus on material goods, which pulls us away from a personal relationship with God. When we create ourselves gods and convince others that what we do is due to our strength, even if we convince them that we are enthroning God, we are enthroning God. Without a doubt, our behaviors and deeds demonstrate that we are presenting ourselves as God. The worst is when clergy, who, like John the Baptist in (John 1:29), should be directing to the people the “Agnus Dei,” fail to do so and instead point the signboard towards them. The consequence is the forgetfulness of the Divine and overemphasizes the ephemeral, which will eventually lead to Neo-paganism. Therefore, Pastors of souls should make every effort to go back to the authentic teachings; they should be able to establish teaching that can bring to the consciousness of the people in a lasting manner on their beginning and their end. The emphasis should no longer be on prosperity but on the ability to live a simple life of the holy family with the joys of life.

Pastors of the soul should be able to re-establish the theology of the cross, where Christians will be thought the real theology of the cross according to the teachings of Christ. Our Christian youths and every other member of Christ’s family should ask themselves questions about life. We should ask ourselves the questions of our origin, our sojourn on earth, and our end; it is by individual questioning that we can come to the knowledge and understanding of a better way of living our Christian life. If we fail to understand and accept the basic teachings of Christ and the teachings of the church on the essence of our existence, we will always find ourselves practicing Neo-paganism either overtly or by implication.

FR. Aniobi John N. is a Catholic Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Awgu, currently on Mission in the Catholic Diocese of Maradi, Niger Republic.

Editor in chief and the Director of “Ma Reponse”


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  1. Thanks a lot dearest father John for this soul nourishing write up. It is indeed an eye opener for the youths being the most misinformed and exploited in our society

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