From heathen plus -ism, coined in the 17th century in place of the then-obsolete heathendom. First attested in Francis Bacon, Of the advancement of learning (1605), II. xiv. §9: "The heresy of the Anthropomorphites [...] and the opinion of Epicurus, answerable to the same in heathenism, who supposed the gods to be in human shape" (OED).
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