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5 Reasons Why Heathenry is Better than Christianity

5 Reasons Why Heathenry is Better than Christianity

I had a poll on Patreon which indicated that people wanted me to do some posts on going from Christianity to Heathenry. If you’re new to Heathenry, you may not know all the reasons why Heathenry is that much better than Christianity.  In this post, I give you five excellent reasons why Heathenry is better than Christianity.

1. Heathenry Doesn’t Have Sins

Heathens don’t have to worry about sins, because there aren’t any in Heathenry. Yes, we have the 9 Noble Virtues and whatnot, but when it comes to someone judging us, that just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t mean that Heathens don’t have rules they have to obey when it comes to morality, but they are more interested in honor, oaths, and behaving correctly than worrying about whether someone will judge us because we weren’t as nice as we could be with our family or we told white lies.

If there’s anything like sin in Heathenry, it’s oathbreaking, murder, and adultery. Then, the bad guys end up having their corpses gnawed on by  Níðhǫggr the dragon/serpent in Nastrond, presumably when the dragon isn’t gnawing on Yggdrasil’s root.

Christianity, on the other hand, has sin. Big time. Lie? That’s a sin that could damn your soul. Talk back to your parents? Sin. Swear using “God” or “Jesus Christ,” and you’ve blasphemed. Going to hell for sure without some sort of absolution. The Catholics are big into the confessional and sacraments. Without those, you’re definitely on the eternal punishment list.

2. Heathenry has Hel, but it’s Not a Place of Torment

When people die, they go to a place of rest in Helheim. If they die in battle, they go either to Freyja’s  Fólkvangr or Odin’s Valhalla. Freyja gets the first choice of those who die in battle. The rest join Odin at Valhalla for fighting and feasting.

Some of the dead go to the halls of their patron gods or goddesses. Only the really evil people end up in Nastrond to be gnawed upon by  Níðhǫggr. (Oathbreakers, adulterers, and murderers.) What do the people in Helheim do? They do the same things they did when they were on Earth, but it is more peaceful and not as hard on them.

Christianity has heaven, hell, and purgatory. Heaven for those whom their god deems worthy to hang out with. Hell for just about everyone else. Purgatory for those who have sinned a little or who had the bad luck of not getting baptized, having original sin. With the exception of purgatory, heaven and hell are eternal.

3. You Have More Than One Soul

It seems incredibly odd in the Christian context, but Heathens believe we have more than one soul. I’ve seen several different writings that pertain to the soul, but from what I can gather, our souls consist of the hugr (reason), mynd (memory– I’ve also seen minni), hamingja (luck), fylgja  (fetch), hamr (the skin or physical body), and ørlög (deeds upon which fate is based).  There are probably others that I haven’t quite sussed out yet, but those seem to be the main ones. Yeah, I probably skipped over some. Deal with it.

These souls are tied together and get split apart once we die. Some go to our resting place, either Helheim or one of the halls of the gods; others stay on this Earth to be reincarnated into another body. The hamingja and the fylgia are typically reincarnated when we die. Hamingja or luck–both good and bad–can often follow families or clans. Hugr and mynd generally go to our afterlife. Other parts of ourselves die such as the hamr and the lic (which is the body).

Christianity believes you have one soul and the fate of that soul depends on whether you believe in their god and behave the way their god wants you to behave. Screw up and you pretty much go to hell.

4. You Don’t Have to Proselytize

One of the nice things about being a Heathen is you don’t have to convert anyone. In fact, conversion is something we don’t do because we pretty much figure you’ll either figure it out on your own or you won’t. There are other gods and other religions to check out if you’re not into believing in our gods. We believe what we believe, and if you want to believe, well fine. If you don’t, that’s okay too. We’ll all find out in the end who’s right and who’s not. Or if the atheists are right, we won’t know and won’t care anyway.

Our lives focus on the here and now rather than whether we get eternal rewards or torture. We are concerned with our honor and the way we behave, not because someone is going to punish us, but because we are our deeds.

Christians, on the other hand, require that they not only believe in their god, but they also must “spread the good news.” Many flavors of Christianity require that their followers go out and annoy other people in order to convert them.

5. Don’t Relate to One God? You Have Others

In Christianity, you have the Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Don’t relate to that god? Well, if you’re Catholic or Episcopalian, you have saints, but beyond that, if you don’t relate to their god, you’re pretty much screwed.

Heathenry has several gods, the wights, and the ancestors to talk to. Not a fan of Odin and Thor? Try one of the other gods or goddesses that resonate with you. Not interested in the gods? There are land spirits and ancestors. You can make friends with the wights and ancestors and use their knowledge and inspiration to help you.

There are many other reasons why Heathenry is better than Christianity, but I challenged myself with five reasons. You may have other reasons I haven’t mentioned. Tell me about them in the comments.

Don’t Thank God for a Rescue…

Don’t Thank God for a Rescue…

And for that matter, don’t expect your god to perform a rescue either.

Read on if you want to know why I’ve got my panties in a wad today.

I read the Patheos post, For the Thai Boys: Thanks Be To God! For the Hispanic Refugee Children: Please, God, Bring Deliverance, and I did the typical facepalm.

Read More Read More

Are You Genuine? Heathenry as an Adult Choice

Are You Genuine? Heathenry as an Adult Choice

Saturday I went down to the food bank to drop off some eggs from my chickens. They had been
laying up a storm and there was no way for me to use them all up or sell them before they went bad.  So, I went to one of the many food banks we have in the town nearby and dropped them off.

Eggs and Christians

It happens that this is a food bank run by Christians.  You go in there and chances are you’ll hear some talk about Jesus.  I expect that.  But what I didn’t expect to hear was one of the folks saying that they were helping the poor “because they love Jesus.”

I almost asked, “Would you still do this if Jesus didn’t exist?”  But I didn’t feel like taunting the people who were helping me out.  After all, I was under their roof.  But it did get me thinking.  Would these people really operate a food bank and help the poor if their god didn’t promise some sort of reward, i.e. eternal salvation, for it?

This is the problem with being a follower of Tyr.  You get lots of uncomfortable and unpopular ideas.

Are They Giving Because it’s the Right Thing to do?

To me, the whole idea of helping the poor because they expect a reward in return seemed disingenuous.  I mean if you’re helping the poor because your god commands it and not because you genuinely care about other human beings, you’re basically a fraud. Granted, you’re a fraud doing good work, but you’re expecting something instead of being as altruistic as you claim to be.  Now, one can argue with me that the motivations really don’t matter; it’s the actual act of providing food to poor people that makes the difference.  And you’d be right to a certain extent, because people can’t eat intentions. People eat food. But by the same token, it helps to understand what the motives are because it may be the difference between feeding people and not.

My Intentions aren’t Pure, Either

I’m not saying my intentions are lofty. To be brutally honest, I had too many eggs and I hate to see them wasted.  I also will take a tax write off, if I can find the slip they filled out for me. I suppose I could have used the eggs to feed my dogs or even thrown them out, but as I said, I hate wasting things and if I can’t use the eggs, I’ll give them to people who will use them. But I don’t expect an eternal reward over just being nice to other people.   I suppose one could argue that I am helping those within my “tribe,” and I am just offering help to those in need. 

Ethics of Reciprocity (or the Golden Rule)

No doubt you’ve heard Jesus’s proclamation to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  That “Golden Rule” is actual a version of Ethics of Reciprocity and all religions generally have their own versions. Even ours.  We should treat people the way we want to be treated. (Or don’t be an asshole.) The reason is pretty clear–if everyone is nice to others, we all get along.  Look at the way we’re told to treat travelers: we are to open our homes and treat them well. We hope to have that same treatment should we travel.  In earlier times, those who traveled needed hospitality in a dangerous world. While our world isn’t quite as dangerous (at least in developed countries), hospitality in a strange place is welcome.  It is a form of Ethics of Reciprocity.

Which Came First: the Christian or the Eggs?

Getting back to the whole Christian thing, I really had to wonder what kind of people I was dealing with.  If these people did acts of kindness only because their god commanded it, what kind of people did that make them? Would they act another way if their god didn’t tell them to behave?  And what if they found out I was Heathen and not Christian?  Would they change their behavior after finding out?

There are other food banks around town, some run by Christians and some that are simply nonprofit without any religious affiliation. It happens that I was in town on a day when the Christian food bank was open and the unaffiliated food bank was closed.  To me, it didn’t really matter what the affiliation was as long as it went to someone who could use them, but you see, the unaffiliated food bank volunteers didn’t necessarily work in the food bank because a god dictated it.

Heathenry as an Adult Choice

One of the things I like about Heathenry is the lack of divine handouts of rewards and punishments. We really don’t have a code of conduct that commands us to behave, although the Havamal highly recommends certain behaviors. It makes sense that our gods want us to act like adults, rather than kids who need to be afraid of a punishment if we don’t behave.  Adults usually don’t expect gold stars when they do something nice, nor they expect external damnation for being shits. Now, if we break the law, there are certainly punishments, and there are certainly consequences to our actions, but that is usually handled within our interactions with other people. You act like a shit and people will behave negatively toward you. You behave and act nice, people are more likely to be positive.

I guess the upshot to this very long–and getting longer–post is that Saturday I got a really good look at the differences between Christianity and Heathenry– besides just the monotheistic versus polytheistic mindset. As a follower of Tyr, I’m pretty transparent in my motivations; Christians, however, do nice things because they’re earning brownie points with their god (assuming he exists). While heathens can be sneaky and crafty, one of our big no-nos is breaking oaths.  Christians, however, have a whole slew of commandments where many believe if they just believe in Jesus, they will be forgiven.  Their commandment to not “bear false witness against thy neighbor” generally means to not lie, but oaths seem to not exist, except perhaps in marriage.  And those can evaporate into thin air with divorces and annulments.

Perhaps it’s a matter of being genuine. I spend each day trying to live honestly, so when I see duplicity, it sort of gets on my nerves.  It’s that Tyr thing again. 

How Heathens can Celebrate Easter with Christians

How Heathens can Celebrate Easter with Christians

If you’re like me, chances are you have Christian relatives who celebrate some form of the Christian holiday of Easter. If you’re the only Heathen in your family, you may get an earful about what is considered the most holy time that Christians celebrate.  Still, unless you’re looking to cut ties with your family–and I don’t recommend that–you may be looking for ways to enjoy the Easter celebrations.  If you’re a Heathen who loves to get into fights with family members over Christian holidays, or at least not willing to put aside your differences for one or two days, this post isn’t for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can get involved with minimal headaches.

Put Your Pride on the Back Burner (or Don’t be an Asshole)

Unless you have an extremely open-minded family/extended family, most of them are going to take a dim view of you not being Christian.  I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. They’ve been indoctrinated into the Christian belief system, and it’s unlikely you’re going to change their minds. You’re going to the Christian hell, and that’s all there is to it, (unless they can persuade you into the fold/back into the fold), and they really don’t get why you would worship pagan gods.  At this point, all you can do is grit your teeth and hope to get through the Christian talk without losing your cool.

That being said, understand that this is a Christian holiday, even if they took on the pagan trappings surrounding it.  Easter is considered to be more important to the Christian religions than Christmas, so realize that you are the outside here. It is you who is extended the olive branch, not them.  So, don’t expect for them to understand/accept you being Heathen in their most holy time.

Because this is their most holy time, mentioning the appropriation of Eostre’s holiday at the Easter dinner is probably not going to do you any favors. Yes, they eat ham, which honors Freyr, but let it slide. Yes, they decorate eggs.  Yes, they associate chicks and bunnies with Christ’s death and resurrection, but pointing out the incongruity of it all won’t cut it. If we want to maintain the peace in our celebrations, it is better to sit and listen rather than fight a foolish battle. This is their Easter–not ours, so let’s respect their religion, just like we’d want them to respect ours.

So, What Can You Enjoy?

At this point, you’re wondering what you can enjoy out of Easter.  There are a lot of cool things you can do and still be part of the Easter celebration.  Here are some of the things I recommend.

Egg Coloring

We color eggs for springtime, so there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy coloring eggs with your Christian family. Talking about spring and its renewal, as well as the cycle of life, is fairly safe.

Easter Egg Hunt

Why not hold an Easter egg hunt? Put together some of those plastic eggs and fill them with goodies. Hide them and watch as your family searches for them. You’ll all enjoy it.

Chicks and Bunnies

Whether live, toy, or simply drawings, the images of chicks and bunnies are pretty much safe territory.  You may want to talk about the Oschter Haws which was brought into Pennsylvania by German settlers. Avoiding the Urglaawe references, your Christian family may be delighted to learn that that’s where the Easter bunny who laid colorful eggs came from.

Easter Candy

Easter candy originates from clever marketing by candy makers in the 19th century to capitalize on an untapped market. There’s no reason for you to mention this, nor is there any reason why you can’t have some yummy candy in pagan symbols such as rabbits, chicks, and eggs.

Easter Brunch or Dinner

Never turn down a good feast, even if it’s in honor of a god you don’t follow.  All the trappings are Heathen, or at least, pagan, so enjoy spending time with family and friends. You may want to even bring some mead so your family may enjoy something a little different than the traditional grape wines. Toast to your family and to those family members who are no longer with you. You’ll be honoring the ancestors and still not offend your family.

Talk about Family, both Present and Past

Speaking of family, strike up a conversation about your family and your ancestors. Talk positively about them, or if someone in the family knows a particularly good story about an ancestor or a relative who is alive, encourage them to relay that story.  As the good Doctor says, “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.”

Listen to Your Family, Even if You Disagree with Them

If your family starts talking about Christianity, listen to them. You don’t have to agree with them, but when they tell you about their faith, they tell you about themselves. Ask questions. Ask why they believe what they believe, and don’t argue with them over their beliefs. You may discover that your mom believes in the Christian god because she finds comfort in a god who promises to care for her. Or your dad might actually not believe in the god but goes to church because the family does it. Or maybe your cousin is an atheist at heart.  You can learn a lot about your family just by listening.

Go to Church with them

This suggestion is somewhat dangerous when it comes to family, not because you’re likely to change your faith, but more likely because you may offend or get into an argument with a family member. Some Christians, most notably Catholics, have rules against participating in sacraments such as the Eucharist (the bread and wine) because they believe you must be of their denomination to participate. (It has to do with transmogrification, but that’s another long post.)

Why go to church with your family?  Well, first it puts you on the same page as your family members so if they discuss the sermon, you know what was said. Secondly, you can see Christianity with all its pagan influences.  Third, churches often have amazing artwork that is worth seeing.

Just sit and watch as they go through sitting, kneeling, and standing routines. Listen.  It may seem worthless, but in a way you are gathering intelligence about this religion. That way, you understand your family’s behavior a bit better.

Take Time Out for Our Gods, Wights, and Ancestors

I’ve given you ideas for keeping the peace with your Christian relatives.  But this isn’t about Heathenry, it’s about keeping the peace in your extended family. Before you join in the Easter festivities, make an offering to the gods, especially Frigga and Frau Holle, the wights, and your ancestors for a peaceful gathering. And thank them after the day for their help, especially if things went successfully.

Hopefully, I’ve given you ideas for staying sane around Christians during their holiday.  If, in the end, you do decide to try out some of these ideas, I’d be interested to learn how they worked out.

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Coming Out as a Heathen

Coming Out as a Heathen

When I’m talking about “coming out,” I’m using the term as it relates to letting loved ones know that you’re a Heathen.  I can’t speak in terms of homosexuality because I am very heterosexual, but telling a loved one that I’m a Heathen was harder than you can ever imagine.  If you’re a closet heathen as I was, perhaps you will glean something useful about announcing to your family you are pagan.

Source: Magickal Graphics

A Little Background

Those who have read my posts know I was raised Roman Catholic.  In retrospect, I recognize that Roman Catholicism is closer to paganism than a lot of Christianity, but it isn’t heathenism by a long stretch. I even went to parochial school for a while, which in the long run made me less Christian as I started going beyond the fear of hell and damnation. Religion, in one form or another, is a method of control, in my not so humble opinion. While I am far from communist, I do think that Marx did hit it on the head that religion is an opiate of the masses.

So. with these beliefs, how could I possibly be a theist, let alone a heathen? As they say on the Facebook relationship status, “It’s complicated.” Tyr and Thor pretty much drove me back to the theist realm, even if at times I appear agnostic. 

Source: Magickal Graphics

Announcing my Heathenism

It took years for me to tell my husband I was a heathen. It was hard.  Very hard.  Even though he wasn’t surprised, he was puzzled why I didn’t tell him before.  It’s hard to express the feelings: worry that he’ll think I’m crazy, worried that he’ll find my beliefs too weird, and a concern about what happens next.  I should have spoken sooner, but I didn’t.  I told him the story and I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.  I supplied my own condemnation.

In the end, his response was more wait and see.  Basically, he had no way to judge heathenism except through my behavior.  So, I relaxed a bit and decided I was far too anxious about it. I realized that being heathen hadn’t changed who I was.  I am who I am.  I still celebrate the secular version of holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, but I can now add Yule and other holidays to the mix. I’m pretty toned down when it comes to religion, so that aspect is private. (Yeah, me.  Go figure.)

My response to those who say I’m going to be burning in their hell.

Some Practical Advice

If you’re a heathen who hasn’t told your family about your change, take a deep breath and think about it. Not everyone is going to have a open mind like my husband.  If, for example, you come from a Bible-belt family who is staunchly Christian, you’re probably not going to get much support from them by announcing you’re heathen. Only you can decide if it is the right thing to do, or whether they’ll ostracize you. I’d like to say it doesn’t happen, but obviously, it does. If you’re going to make the announcement, find someone in your family whom you can trust, who can also be sympathetic and helpful. If they have advice, listen. Maybe your older sister is good with you being pagan, but she knows darn well that your parents couldn’t deal with it. Maybe it’s not that important to tell them and estrange your family members.

If you don’t have a person in your family who wouldn’t be shocked by your change in religion and who can’t help you and give you good advice, ask yourself honestly what you hope to gain by letting your family know of your heathenism.  It sounds harsh, but you have to understand what you hope to gain by it.  Put aside the feelings of guilt that you inherited from Christianity and look logically at the best (and worst) outcomes. Will your family tell you that you are going to burn in hell for eternity and make your life hell on earth? Or are they more relaxed and open-minded?  Knowing where your loved ones stand is important when it comes to whether to tell them or not.

Be Yourself

Source: Magickal Graphics

If your family does accept your newfound faith, don’t weird them out.  Instead, be yourself as you have in the past. Maybe they’re curious as to what holidays you celebrate. Don’t put their religion down when you talk to them; instead, consider drawing the parallels between the two religions. One easy time to deal with is Yule. You can point out all the similarities of Yule and Christmas and your family will enjoy learning about Yule. You can incorporate whatever you and your family have celebrated in the past while still adding pagan twists. This isn’t a particularly dogmatic religion here.  Heathens have and do incorporate other traditions in our religion.

For example, I love Christmas carols. There’s no good reason for me to give them up.  My husband loves medieval music, so it’s no big deal for us to incorporate seasonal music with Christmas carols.  Yule and Christmas just means we have more feasts and more celebrations. I know of at least one heathen who celebrates Mother’s Night and secular Christmas. All good, in my opinion.

Being a Solitary Heathen

Telling or not telling may put you in the role of a solitary heathen. It can be lonely choosing that, but since you may be the only one in your family, whether you announce your heathenism or not, it’s pretty much the road you’re traveling. I would recommend seeking out other heathens in your community or online in order to have someone to talk to about it. There are plenty of heathens willing to talk to you and give advice. Want face-to-face time?  I run into heathens all the time at science fiction conventions. Yes, you will find heathens there as well as the various gatherings for pagans.

The main thing is to keep your perspective on things. I believe strongly that your beliefs are your own, and it is yours to share or keep as you see fit.  With the Internet comes groups of heathens who are willing to reach out to you as surely as the gods reached out to you.  It’s your choice to decide whether to tell or not tell your family and friends.  Just choose wisely.

Has Heathenism Beaten Christianity?

Has Heathenism Beaten Christianity?

I got in a conversation with another pagan on Huginn’s Heathen Hof, and he had a different outlook on the whole Christianity versus Paganism argument.  It hit me as having some merit, so I’d thought I’d explore it more in depth.

The Argument

The person who put forth this argument to me was a Heathen and a Gnostic. (Let that sink in a bit before dismissing it outright.)  His basic argument was that Christianity at its beginning had nothing — no holidays, no formal sacraments, etc, — so it took from other religions.  In fact, it took so much from pagan religions that the pagan religions actually triumphed.  I’ve been mulling it over for some days and while I don’t think it’s entirely correct, I think it has some merit to at least think about.

Christianity at its Core

Christianity is, at its core, a death cult. It focuses not on rewards in the here and now, but after one dies. It even focuses on the gruesome torture and death of their god. While I think that knowing where you’re going when you die is important, I think that this life is just as important on how we live.  Yes, Christians do focus on how well behaved they should be because they will receive a reward in “heaven,” but honestly, it takes a fear of eternal punishment to behave correctly?  Think about that for a bit.

The major holiday that Christians have recognized since its inception would be Easter, that is the day when Christ allegedly rose from the dead.  We know that Easter arose from the Passover festival, around which Christ was allegedly crucified.  Easter follows Passover.   But we know that it took the name Eostre, and it may have borrowed the pagan trappings of festivals during that time, presumably to make it more palatable to the audience.

Yule and Christmas

We do know that Christmas was pretty much taken from pagan midwinter festivals, celebrating the celebrating the god of agriculture for a full month starting a week before the solstice.  We know that Christmas wasn’t instituted until the fourth century CE when the Church thought to take those midwinter festivals and sanction them.

return of the sun.  While us Heathens can lay claim to Yule, we aren’t the only ones that had midwinter celebrations.  The Romans had Saturnalia, which was spent

The Puritans actually banned Christmas (and the saints) because they recognized the pagan origins. For about 25 years England under Oliver Cromwell made Christmas illegal.  That joy was brought over with the Puritans who made Christmas illegal.  Such was the control of the Puritans that anyone found in Boston exhibiting the Christmas spirit during the years 1659 to 1681 could be fined. What a great bunch.

Incidentally, the Christmas tree came into vogue with Queen Victoria, taking the customs of her husband’s homeland.  The Christmas tree popped up around the 17th century in Germany have its, …ahem, roots in paganism.

Plenty of pagans have pointed to Odin’s ride, Slepnir’s eight legs changing into eight reindeer, and other similarities, that suggest Odin is Santa Claus, so I don’t need to go through that argument.

Harvest and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, itself, is more of an American holiday that was celebrated in New England for some time before Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday in 1863.  George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789, thus putting it on the table, so to speak, when it came to having a national day of thanks.  A quote from History.com:

Autumn Comments & Graphics
Image by Magickal Graphics

“As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.”

We have our own celebration of Harvest Home, so saying that Americans “invented” a harvest festival like Thanksgiving isn’t truthful.  Now, we did put our own spin on it, but in the end, it is the celebration of family and home, as well as harvest.

The Days of the Week

The months are named after Roman months (gods, Caesars, and numbers), but the days of the week were Roman names changed to our gods, with the exception of Saturday because people probably thought Ymirday might not catch on.  (Yeah, I know the story is that there’s no German equivalent to Saturn who was an agricultural god slain by Jupiter, but that’s another story for another time.) So, when we say we’re meeting someone on Thursday, we’re meeting them on Thor’s-day.

Saints versus Polytheism

Becoming Polytheistic was easy after being Catholic for me. Any religion that allows veneration of saints actually lost to the polytheism.  Even the Episcopalians have the saints and the time I went to an Episcopalian mass proved to me that they’re Catholics without a pope who allow divorces. We know that some saints were actually gods that got incorporated into the ranks of saints to make the religion more popular (such as Saint Bridget).  So, yeah, in some Christian religions, we got some of the gods and goddesses in.

Catholics will tell you that they do not worship saints. That is true at the highest level, but the line gets mighty blurred with the veneration of Mary and other saints.

So Did Heathenism Win?

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? I would argue yes and no.  In the long run, we still have the Christian god, complete with all the stupidity that has subjugated women, condoned slavery, and given us plenty of hangups due to the “do this or you go to hell” mentality.  I’m not saying that heathens were morally superior as we had slavery and human sacrifice, but most of us are willing to make the change in the right direction.

By the same token, we got our holidays and other pieces infiltrated into Christianity. People who celebrate the holidays are often celebrating the secular holidays rather than what their church would like them to celebrate.  Sure, they keep Jesus in Christmas, but seeing as the whole nativity scene is pretty much made up, and seeing we really don’t know much about the historical Jesus, or even if there was one, we can call it a myth and be done with it.

What it does say to me is that Heathens can celebrate those so-called Christian holidays and feel good about putting their own spin on things. At least, that’s how I look at it.

Added for Clarity:

The point the person made was that arguing whether or not to worship Christ was irrelevant because basically Christianity took all the trappings from pagans anyway. We can argue semantics, but that was his point. I was willing to consider his belief and came up with a yes and no observation. I rushed the conclusion, which perhaps I shouldn’t have done, but I wanted to get the piece out, late as it was.

That being said, I think he does have a point. Is it Heathenism under another flavor? No. Our gods are not revered, although one might be able to point out some obscure saints the Church may have created to appease Heathens. Is Christianity the same as it was when it was conceived? No. It is mostly pagan with the foundation of the Abrahamic faith. Depending on your beliefs in Asatru and Heathenism, you can argue that what parts of paganism was added is superficial. Maybe so, maybe not. I just found it an interesting opinion, and one I couldn’t completely dismiss.

Intelligent Design and the Heathen

Intelligent Design and the Heathen

Now it’s time to me go after the Intelligent Design folk.  Because basically, it annoys me.

The Set Up — Or Why I’ve Gone Off on a Rant Today…

A friend of mine on Facebook actually posted the gravity waves from two black holes swallowing each other up some billion years ago were translated into sound as C major was proof of the Christian god and also proof of intelligent design.  I almost made some sort of snide comment such as “Odin did an okay job, but if he really wanted to get our attention it should’ve belted out Beethoven’s 5th…”  But I didn’t, mainly because I still value the friendship enough to not be my normally snide self.   But I probably dinged the relationship a bit by calling bullshit.  Yeah, that just happens if you know me.

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Condescension or Surety? It Isn’t Bragging if You’re Right

Condescension or Surety? It Isn’t Bragging if You’re Right

Shit storm.

Get a little fervent about a subject in this day and age, and suddenly they label you condescending when they figure out you’re a woman.  Maybe I should read the Bible where woman are told to shut the Hel up?  You know, the one with this little passage:

“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)

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Can a Heathen follow Christ?

Can a Heathen follow Christ?

Oy!  — did I step in this, or what?  Today I had some Christian missionaries show up (I suspect Mormons) who wanted to talk with me about their god.  When I said “no,” they wanted to leave materials with me. I told them “no” again.  Basically I was annoyed as Hel because I was looking for deer to hunt and their presence did nothing other than scare critters away.

Deep Thoughts

But I had already started this post before they showed up, and I’ve been thinking about my Christian roots and also how some pagans and heathens are willing to keep the Christ in their lives. I believe strongly that while the intentions are good, this idea is at best misguided. Here is why I think you can’t be heathen and Christian.  Come to think of it, I really don’t think you can be Christian and anything else.

Yes, yes, there are signs that in Iceland, for example, people mingled the two religions with the wolf cross, but I think it was more of a heathen hold out and not actual dual worship. As Iceland became more Christianized, having a Mjolnir that could be mistaken as a Christian cross was probably more for blending in than worshiping both the gods and the Christian god.

Basis of the Abrahamic Religions

It’s not that the Aesir and Vanir forbid worship of the Christ or the Abrahamic god. I suspect that if I had a discussion with my patron god about it, he would probably tell me that I could do whatever I wanted on that score, but the whole idea is kind of folly. The reason is simple: the god of the Abrahamic religions doesn’t want people to worship anything else. While I do not “worship” my Aesir and Vanir gods, per se, I do have a close relationship with them that I did not have with the Christian god. I will not abandon them because they do not abandon me. That is the definition of my relationship with my gods. Yours may be different.

I have plenty of proof to back up that the Abrahamic god does not suffer any other gods, and it is all in their bible. Old Testament or New Testament, it doesn’t matter. You worship other gods and you’re out. Just the statement in Deuteronomy 6:14 should give any pagan or heathen pause for thought:

“You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. 14“You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, 15for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.…”

Well, okay then. The New Testament says similar things such as:

1 John 5:21
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

We know that Christians consider any other gods to be idols and not real gods, as though heathens worship the images they create and not the god whose image is supposed to suggest a likeness.

So if you’re a heathen, you’re worshiping demons in the eyes of their god. Another heathen wrote about the very same thing in this blog. So, if you’re really set on worshiping a god who hates your guts, despite your good intentions, that’s your business.

St. Boniface and Thor’s Oak

Perhaps the most telling of what Christians think of the heathen gods is demonstrated in the story about St. Boniface and Thor’s Oak. Boniface showed up in a town in Hesse and took an ax to the sacred tree. How much of the story is propaganda and how much is reality leaves much to conjecture. (For example, the Catholics claim that children were sacrificed to Thor.) Regardless, we do know that Boniface did take an ax to a sacred tree of Thor and built a church to St. Peter from the wood. Many sacred groves were destroyed because of Christians.

While I am in no way for something as heinous as human sacrifice, I do have to point out that history is often written by the victors. How much went on is probably exaggerated. Talk about sacrificing children and most rational people would say that the religion was evil that did it. But that is another topic for another time. My point with Thor’s Oak is that it shows what lengths Christians will go to  to eliminate other gods. So, when you worship their god, you align yourself with those who would destroy your gods. Does that even make sense?

Did Christ Even Exist?

This is a sticky subject but one I’m willing to go out on a limb about. I suspect that Christ is a made up construct for the budding church. There were no written accounts of Jesus during the time he purportedly lived. The Gospels, even the earliest one, Mark, were written a hundred years or more after Christ’s purported birth. They contradict each other in terms of facts. What’s more, no pagan or writer contemporaries of Jesus Christ wrote about him. We can see that Tacitus was writing in the second century and not during the time of Jesus. Josephus wrote about Christ somewhere around 75 CE, but his work may actually be later work of Christians. This is all assuming that Josephus was even around during Christ’s life.

I can go on and on about this, but I think this is going to wait for another day when I feel like tackling it. All I can say is that if you do follow Christ and the Aesir and Vanir, perhaps I’ve given you something to think about.