A while back I had a call from my friend and colleague, Macha Nightmare. She had a new book deal and was looking for reasons to take pride in being pagan. As one does in these situations, she was consulting peers on the subject. That's kind of how elder-ocracies like the paganisms tend to work; it helps keep us honest.

“Well, we were first at a lot of things,” I said.

 “Like what?” she asked.

"Macha,” I said, “we're the pagans. We did pretty much everything first.”

Civilization: check. Agriculture: check. Language: check.

Architecture, the arts, science. You name it, we invented it. Roads. Houses. Sculpture. Books. Writing. Medicine. Mathematics. Geometry. Logic. Philosophy. Democracy. Pagans invented them all.

Of course, let us not get too cocky. We can add genital mutilation, slavery, and genocide to the list. As the saying goes, they can't all be gems.

In fact, until quite recently, relatively speaking—bear in mind that modern h. sapiens has been around for 150,000 years or so—the entire grand and terrible saga of human history has been a strictly pagan affair. Non-pagans are, so to speak, a quirk of the recent past, a historical anomaly.

Something else I probably won't be announcing at the next meeting of the Interfaith Council.

Or maybe I will. After all, it's no more than the truth. All non-pagan religions grew out of pagan soil, whether directly or indirectly.

Hell, we even invented monotheism.

Like I said, they can't all be gems.

Internal combustion engines? Airplanes? Nuclear warheads? Well, fine. So maybe we didn't invent quite everything. The internet I'm not so sure about.

But we were there at the beginning of most things, of the necessary, deep, and essential things, and we'll be there at the end of them, too.

Since humankind first was, we have been here, and there has never been a time when we were not.

For we are the pagans, Firstborn, the Original People: a permanent—one might even say, a necessary—part of the way that things are.

You may call this arrogance if you like, and maybe it is. We are the pagans, and we have a right to our arrogance.

After all, we invented that, too.