What is a "Pagan?
Everybody has their favorite definition of the word "Pagan." Most people are convinced that their meaning is the correct one. But no consensus exists, even within a single faith tradition or religion as to what a pagan is.
Origin of the term:
There is general agreement that the word "Pagan" comes from the Latin word "paganus." Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the precise meaning of the word in the fifth century CE and before. There are three main interpretations. None has won general acceptance.
Most modern Pagan sources interpret the word to have meant "rustic," "hick," or "country bumpkin", a pejorative term. The implication was that Christians used the term to ridicule country folk who tenaciously held on to what the Christians considered old-fashioned, outmoded Pagan beliefs. They still followed the Greek state religion, Roman state religion, Mithraism, various mystery religions, etc,
Some believe that in the early Roman Empire, "paganus" came to mean "civilian" as opposed to "military." Christians often called themselves "miles Christi" (Soldiers of Christ). The non-Christians became "pagani" non-soldiers or civilians.