Parents name their children Pagan because...
1 They like the sound of it (ay and names ending in "n" names are all the rage)
2 They're not Christian
3 They may be Pagans/Druids/Witches/Warlocks themselves
4 They make actually be ignorant of the negative association OR
5 They don't give a damn who they offend with their choice
When I hear Pagan all I can think of is the dangerous, really bad motorcycle gang...no appealing.
Just in case anyone is interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagan's_Motorcycle_Club
I'm from Pennsylvania, and they're very active. That's probably why my mind jumped there immediately.
I've actually heard this name before, on a middle-aged man who worked at the company where I did an undergraduate internship. I think he was Eastern European, or possibly from South America (I am seriously bad with accents), and he pronounced his name Pah-GAHN instead of PAY-gan, though the spelling was the same. This is to say it could very well be a legitimate name with cultural origins distinct from the word pagan as in polytheist.
That aside, I agree with the other commenters. Naming your kid Pagan is no weirder than naming them Christian.
I kind of disagree that it's no weirder than naming your kid Christian. From a naming standpoint, maybe. But from a what's-culturally-normal standpoint, it's pretty weird. I mean, Christian has a pretty solid history as a name as well as a religion, and while I don't know about Pagan, I think it's safe to say that as a name it's unfamiliar to most people. Naming your child Pagan is more like naming them Sikh or Baptist or Pentacostal than Christian.
You're going to have a hard time arguing that Christianity has a more "solid" history as a religion than paganism...or even that it has a solid history at all (the church has schismed more times than a California faultline). Also, as far as I know Sikhism is an entirely different religion, while Baptist and Pentacostal are Christian denominations, so I'm not exactly sure what point you were trying to make with that comparison.
Originally Posted by geeknamezyo
This just reminded me that there's an MLB baseball player whose name is Angel Pagan, pronounced pah-GAHN.
Originally Posted by augusta_lee
"Spanish (Pagán): Castilianized spelling of Catalan Pagà, from the Late Latin personal name Paganus, which originally meant ‘dweller in an outlying village’ (see Paine). Spanish: in some cases it may be a topographic name from Catalan pagà ‘heath’, from Latin pagus ‘district’, ‘outlying village’. Northern English and Scottish: probably from the Latin medieval personal name Paganus, the vernacular form of which was Paine (see Paine)."
So, Pagan very well might not be "Pagan from religion" but "Pagan from a surname".
Don't see any problems with it, it is the same as calling your child Christian. I actually really like the word, it's beautiful and lush.
I'm just curious, who'd be offended by a person named Pagan?
That's very interesting, @scarletrune.
I too disagree that naming a kid Pagan is equivalent to naming them Christian. At least in the Western countries nearly everyone on nameberry resides in, Christianity was the dominant cultural religion for millennia (hegemonic really till the last century or so). Likewise the given name Christian has longstanding history and use.
Unlike other major world religions, paganism in its multiplicity of modern incarnations doesn't get a lot of respect. It's quite different than a Hindu couple calling their children Krishna or Devi, or Muslims having a Mohammed and an Aisha. Most people who are pagans came to religion as adults, they weren't raised in it, and even though they claim the old folk religions of Europe never died out and there is an unbroken line of succession/practice stretching back to pre-Christian times, there's a pall of suspicion cast over that. I think pagan names therefore get a lot of eye-rolling, especially the name Pagan itself, as it could be seen as more of a defiant counter-cultural statement rather than a heartfelt expression of faith.
Originally Posted by scarletrune
I actually grew up with a Jewish boy named Christian so I guess you don't have to be a Pagan to name your kid Pagan!
I can't delete a post, so I'll just edit it out. I wish I could make a rainbow and put it here.