Ask A Pagan: What is Paganism and how is it different from paganism?
Q: What is Pagan and how is it different from pagan?
A: It's important to note first that in many ways the terms are one in the same. Pagan (capital P) is a person belonging to a form of religious belief system known as Paganism. Pagan belief systems fall in to one of three categories: Nature based, Pre-Christian Reconstruction or Pre-Christian Holdover, meaning it's a religion which existed in pre-christian times just as it does today.
Pagan (little p) is the a common term used for those who lived in Pre-Christian times. However the actual meaning was/is closer to "country dweller" which is actually what the word means.
Now, as I said they do tend to be one in the same. The reason for this is because many Pagan religious beliefs are at least loosely tied to the common beliefs of those who were in fact pagans... So, here's what it boils down to, when you hear the term Pagan used in a religious context, think of it as describing a nature based or pre-Christian style religious belief. When you hear the term pagan in a historical context, think of it as peasant from a Pre-Christian time period, or at the very least from a time period before our modern time period.