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Paganism is, broadly, a term used to describe religious beliefs that differs from main world religions. They are not a unified religion; "pagan" comes from the Latin pāgānus ("rural, rustic"), used by Christians during the fourth century to describe the opposing ethnic and local religions to the "universal" one of Christianity.
The term "Pagan" was also a pejorative term used by Christian missionaries to describe the peoples and beliefs of almost any person not "of the book."
The term is often used to describe the former religions of the later Roman Empire that Christianity replaced — although the followers of those beliefs never called themselves Pagans. The term is also used for the present day Neo-Paganism, which partly draws on various historical mythologies for inspiration.