I just returned from the Pagan Studies Conference in southern CA. It was pretty interesting. One thing that came up over and over again was the question of how we can define Paganism? How do you define the boundaries of a religion? Why do you do it? If scholars can't even determine a commonly-agreed on definition of "religion" in general, how can we define "a" religion? My interested was piqued not only as an academic who is interested in community and identity, but also as a person who has struggled with this issue for years... Am I Pagan because my doctrine/theology and practice are aligned with Paganism? Or am I Pagan because I "belong" to a Pagan group? Or because I just say so? I have a personal relationship with Christ... does that make me also Christian? Or do I have to agree to the doctrines of Christianity? Or is it only if I join a church? Who decides and how? Is it orthodoxy, orthopraxy, ethics and piety? I know Christians who are self-identified as such, who belong to churches (some are clergy!), but whose beliefs are closely aligned with my own... yet my own beliefs are closely aligned with certain strains of Paganism. So what does that mean? My own take-home thought based on my feelings during all this debate was that I am a Pagan that has a relationship with Christ, not a Christian who has a relationship with Nature. That was an interesting realization... but at its heart the fundamental challenges of definition remain. Your thoughts? ETA: I should clarify that though I am referring to Paganism and Christianity due to my own reflections and experience, my overall inquiry is about defining a religion in general... so I'm interested in anyone's religion and ideas about definition.