So, Christians, Pagans, a question on how you view Christianity and other "Imported" Religions.

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If the title is confusing, I understand, I had a bit of trouble putting the right words to what I'm asking, so allow me to explain in more depth.

Now, ever since that "Week as a Pagan" thing I did a while back, I've still kept a small interest in European Paganism and still checked out a few websites now and then. (I avoided the more "Extreme" sites and stuck mostly to "Asatru Alliance" and "The CR Faq") Now, one of the more interesting things I noted is it's view of Christianity. It seemed to be relatively fine with the faith, albeit a bit bitter over the years of oppression and "witch hunts", however there seemed to be a general consensus that it was more of a "Conqueror Religion" rather than "The Religion of the European Peoples".

If you wonder what I mean by it being a "Conqueror" religion, this requires a bit more context. In most European Pagan religions, there are certain degrees of what can be described as "Ancestor Worship" and a strong sense of community, they're all part of the "European People" and see their faith as the true faith of Europe because it was purely a Religion made by the Europeans and for the Europeans, the other religions belong to the other peoples; Buddhism to the Asians, Hindhusim to the Indians, etcetera. Thus, Christianity should rightfully belong mostly to the people of the middle east or the Jews, after all that was where it was founded, the leader was a Jew from Nazareth, it solely belonged to the people of the middle east... Except it didn't stay in the middle east, instead it made it's way through the mediterranean, first to Greece, then Italy, and finally it was enforced throughout the Roman Empire.

Now, this may not seem so bad, after all Religions expand beyond their borders almost all the time, but let's try and see this from those Pagans shall we? From their perspective, it would be like another country invading your own, and making you follow their culture and their language by law. The words of Jesus were seen as being "Meant for the Jews/Middle East as a whole". The way people went about life in Europe was completely different from simply Jerusalem, so why should what a person did across the sea matter to you?

After thinking about it, I can see their point, no one single religion fits everyone, after all I imagine something like Shintoism would be quite incompatible with Europe, it's from a completely different culture, with different ideas on what's right, what's wrong, and what's honorable. Think of the scene in the Last Samurai where Tom Cruise is talking about General Custer and the battle of Little Big Horn with a samurai. Tom Cruise's character sees Custer as an idiot who got all of his men slaughtered, while the Samurai sees him as a brave and courageous hero who charged unflinching into Death's Grasp. It goes to show how different two cultures can be, and how their ideas and beliefs don't necessarily match each other.

So, my question to my fellow Christians is this, do you think that most Religions should just stick to the people and culture it was "Made" by? Do you feel like you aren't really following what belongs to "Your People"? And to some of the NeoPagans on these forums, do you agree with some of the views I saw on these sites? Or do you think it's completely bonkers?

I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

Pardon me for asking, but which Aztec goddess do you worship?

Volf:

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

Don't you? I celebrate with cake.

Then again, that's the way I celebrate every day, so...

CM156:

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

Pardon me for asking, but which Aztec goddess do you worship?

Volf:

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

Don't you? I celebrate with cake.

Then again, that's the way I celebrate every day, so...

Hmm...I like your cake idea. I think I'll do the same ;D

CM156:

Pardon me for asking, but which Aztec goddess do you worship?

Tlazolteotl.

Volf:

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

For the exact reason I said. Gods are gods. Ethnicity shouldn't keep you from worshiping them.

TheDarkEricDraven:

CM156:

Pardon me for asking, but which Aztec goddess do you worship?

Tlazolteotl.

Volf:

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

For the exact reason I said. Gods are gods. Ethnicity shouldn't keep you from worshiping them.

I'll admit ignorance here, but from what little I know, would your soul even go to Yasakuni shrine?

Volf:
...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

What does that have to do with anything? If he believes that god exists, he probably doesn't believe it only exists in Japan or to people of Japanese descent.

As for the actual OP, as I'm part of neither of those groups, I can't really answer the question from their perspective, although I think it's an interesting one.

In my view, it's probably both, in the sense that, yes, Christianity was a conquering religion, but after so many years of "occupation", it has become a primarily European religion. Interestingly enough, though, it is much less accepted the further away from the center of its European power you get (Italy), so the Scandinavian countries tend to be a lot more Atheistic and also tend to hold on to a lot more Pagan traditions than the rest of Europe (you think a Christmas tree is Pagan, well, wait until you see the folks in horned goat costumes). I will come back here to check what various folks say, though.

Skeleon:

Volf:
...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

What does that have to do with anything? If he believes that god exists, he probably doesn't believe it only exists in Japan or to people of Japanese descent.

....Yasakuni shrine is a real place. How can you "believe" it exist somewhere else?

Volf:
I'll admit ignorance here, but from what little I know, would your soul even go to Yasakuni shrine?

Isn't that just for soldiers of Imperial Japan?

TheDarkEricDraven:

Volf:
I'll admit ignorance here, but from what little I know, would your soul even go to Yasakuni shrine?

Isn't that just for soldiers of Imperial Japan?

I don't know tbh, from wiki:

Yasukuni is a shrine to house the actual souls of the dead as kami, or "spirits/souls" as loosely defined in English. It is believed that all negative or evil acts committed are absolved when enshrinement occurs. This activity is strictly a religious matter since the separation of State Shinto and the Japanese government in 1945. The priesthood at the shrine has complete religious autonomy to decide to whom and how enshrinement may occur.

I'm not sure if regular kami can go there(see:civilians) or if it is exclusively for soldiers.

Volf:
....Yasakuni shrine is a real place. How can you "believe" it exist somewhere else?

I wasn't talking about the shrine, though. I was talking about his god, the god of rain and thunder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raijin
Maybe I'm wrong here, but I don't think it's part of the belief that this god is absolutely locally bound to that shrine and can't exist or be prayed to outside of that one place.

Isn't this kind of like asking why anybody who doesn't live in Italy (or even more specifically within the Vatican) would ever be a Catholic?

Heh, that comic is awesome, by the way.

Volf:

TheDarkEricDraven:

Volf:
I'll admit ignorance here, but from what little I know, would your soul even go to Yasakuni shrine?

Isn't that just for soldiers of Imperial Japan?

I don't know tbh, from wiki:

Yasukuni is a shrine to house the actual souls of the dead as kami, or "spirits/souls" as loosely defined in English. It is believed that all negative or evil acts committed are absolved when enshrinement occurs. This activity is strictly a religious matter since the separation of State Shinto and the Japanese government in 1945. The priesthood at the shrine has complete religious autonomy to decide to whom and how enshrinement may occur.

I'm not sure if regular kami can go there(see:civilians) or if it is exclusively for soldiers.

I've never hear about it. I don't worry about what the afterlife is actually like and try to focus more on the trip there.

Skeleon:

Volf:
....Yasakuni shrine is a real place. How can you "believe" it exist somewhere else?

I wasn't talking about the shrine, though. I was talking about his god, the god of rain and thunder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raijin
Maybe I'm wrong here, but I don't think it's part of the belief that this god is absolutely locally bound to that shrine and can't exist or be prayed to outside of that one place.

Isn't this kind of like asking why anybody who doesn't live in Italy (or even more specifically within the Vatican) would ever be a Catholic?

Heh, that comic is awesome, by the way.

Again keeping in mind how Japan has a attitude that is very big on being Japanese, I'm inclined to believe that the Japanese Gods reside in Japan, just like how the descendant of Amaterasu(see:Emperor of Japan) lives in Japan. I mean, Izanagi and Izanami could have created the rest of the world as well, but its never mentioned that they created anything besides Japan.

Volf:
...I'm inclined to believe that the Japanese Gods reside in Japan, just like how the descendant of Amaterasu(see:Emperor of Japan) lives in Japan.

I'm not sure you can conflate the two like that, considering their very different nature despite their claimed divinity.

Not that it'd matter too much even if you are right. It's all up to personal belief and interpretation, anyway. One could easily say that the gods responsible for the creation of Japan also created the entire world and that the Japan-centered view of the creation story is merely due to the cultural context and who gave oral traditions and wrote the story down. Kind of like how Noah's (according to the story) global flood is often interpreted as a localized flood only because, well, for the people living there it pretty much was the entire world.

Maybe it's because I don't believe any of these supernatural claims in the first place, but to me as an outsider, it often looks like people following a particular religion (or in this case, god) can believe almost whatever they want (at least within a very, very large limit), anyway, because of the enormous breadth of interpretations around and then the further splitting apart into personal beliefs, so arguing about the "true interpretation" of a particular religion usually only boils down to "No True Scotsman"-fallacies.

By the way, added a Yule Goat Guy to my earlier post.

Skeleon:
because of the enormous breadth of interpretations around and then the further splitting apart into personal beliefs, so arguing about the "true interpretation" of a particular religion usually only boils down to "No True Scotsman"-fallacies.

True but theres only so much interpretation that can be done, b/c after a while it no longer resembles the original text/beliefs. For example, when a religion says that you can't believe in other Gods and you go off and do just that, it clearly breaks the rules.

Witty Name Here:
So, my question to my fellow Christians is this, do you think that most Religions should just stick to the people and culture it was "Made" by?

I think its a choice of free expression and people should be allowed to worship any way they want. I agree that early Christian methods varied from Good to Morally Questionable to Outright Barbaric, but there must have been something to either the message or what they could provide for it to become a dominent religion. It feels like the complaints people have when Wal-Mart/Tesco moves in to an area. People complain its "Destroying the High Street" but then go buy stuff from Tesco.

Also, don't ignore other religions in this. You've focused sole against Christianity, but in recent times as Christianity has dropped in the UK, other religions/philosophies such as Buddihsm and Islam have been on the rise (not just through immigration). Do you think that people who have converted to them have also become victims of invaders? If so, why do you think they turned to them instead of the "Native" religion? (Sorry if that comes off as a bit confrontational.)

Volf:
True but theres only so much interpretation that can be done, b/c after a while it no longer resembles the original text/beliefs. For example, when a religion says that you can't believe in other Gods and you go off and do just that, it clearly breaks the rules.

Sure. You're definitely right that there are certain limits to that variability if we want to consider them part of the same religion.

But as I said, these limits are extremely wide. Just think about an Evangelical fundamentalist from the USA's Bible Belt compared to a Liberal moderate Christian from Sweden or something. They could as well be members of different religions altogether, if it weren't for their appreciation of Jesus as divine. And even that level of divinity was, in the past and probably in the present, not necessarily a requirement to be a Christian (Arians calling the usual teaching of the trinity into question existed for a while before the point of view was forcibly destroyed).

And in this context, I certainly don't think believing that Raijin isn't limited to Japan oversteps any such bounds one might install.

EDIT: Messed up the quoting.

I have to admit, my brain went a bit "sproing!" at "staying away from extremist ones" and "sticking to Asatru Alliance" in the same sentence, not least because you seem to have stumbled unknowingly into the whole folkish/universalist divide that's Heathenry's most famous and most divisive wank fodder (and by "wank", I mean "endless flamewar-y, posturey internet drama"). And now I get to be (wo)man on the ground to explain this mess. Oy.

Okay. Well, you've got three very broadly defined camps with degrees of overlap. Tribalism/Theodism, who think Heathens should not only reconstruct Norse religion but also try to reconstruct Norse society, including sacral kings and thralls. I have a lot of very good reasons to dislike and distrust any attempt at "kingship" in a religious context (in the immortal words of, IIRC, Tyrion Lannister, "all sorts of people are calling themselves kings these days"), as it can lead people straight into cult process. It also attracts a lot of "weekend Viking" mentality around it, not a good thing for a religion so rife with machismo to begin with. That's my very, very biased opinion, so biased I'm not even going to attempt to try to get around it.

Then there's the other end, Universalism (in the sense that anyone who feels called to it can be Heathen, not in the sense that Heathenry is for everyone), that's pretty chill with letting anyone of any racial/ethnic background in as long as they're sincere in their interest in Heathen ways. Overlaps a fair bit with Neo-Paganism in general, and is where I'm located. (And where a very good organization that I'd point you toward to balance AA is located, The Troth.)

Then there's "folkish" Heathens. Who can be but aren't always tribalist. Folkish Heathens believe that Heathenry is for people with blood ancestors who were once Heathen. Too often, but definitely not always, this translates to "white people". (See: Asatru Folk Alliance.) That interpretation I have *massive* issues with, as I've met some very *not* pale people with a hell of a lot more Germanic blood than my translucent ass happens to have, and there isn't enough wtf on the planet to those people being told to go look into Vodou or Santeria (as these are the only African religions most white Pagans have ever encountered) as "those are your ancestors". So I'll dispense with that crap right out of the gate.

But. That dispensed with, the argument starts getting way more nuanced and complicated, because traditional polytheistic religions *were* ancestor-worshipping, family-centric things. They were. And if you're going to reconstruct, you can't really get away from that-- the ancients were incredibly tolerant of their trading partners' religions and generally had the ethic that when in a strange town, you honor the strangers' gods, but they would have found the idea that you can just randomly up and leave your people's religion and convert to someone else's really, really bizarre because "religion" had no meaning apart from "our way, our culture". To convert means to divorce your entire people. The idea that you can just toss off what you're raised as and pick up, willy-nilly, whatever looks shiny at the moment is an extremely modern, post-Christian idea that *still* looks beyond strange to indigenous peoples (want to practice Native American religion? Get adopted first.). As one of the biggest attractions of Heathenry for me, and many other people, is to do what my ancestors once did, I have to say I've some sympathy with that view and I still think anyone going outside their culture or their bloodline needs to work with the new culture pretty heavily (DarkEricDraven will tell you how many times I've said that to him).

So yes, by that viewpoint Christianity is an odd duck. It's Universalist in the other sense, the "it's for everyone and everyone should do it" sense, something that's deeply at odds with indigenous religion of any kind. Yes, it's without question an imported religion-- it started as something more organic, but it grew past that the minute it had designs on spreading to other peoples. Although again, here the argument gets more nuanced, because Christianity had to change some in every place it conquered in order for the locals to accept it. Celtic Christianity =/= Germanic Christianity =/= Byzantine Christianity =/= Haitian Christianity =/= Mexican Christianity. The folk faith is different everywhere it goes. (To this end, I can't recommend the book I'm reading enough: Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity by J. Russell.)

You asked my opinion, and it's not *necessarily* that you should stick to what's "yours" (although if you're Seeking, it's the first place to start) but that you should know what you choose well enough to know how the culture you were raised in does and does not conflict with it. I've said on here before that I think Reconstructionist Paganism has an advantage over modern Christians, in that we have to look over religious history and moral development and choose *on an individual level* what to keep and what to toss, and why. If you're a Christian in the denomination your family raised you in, this work has been done for you and you (probably) won't seek to reinvent the wheel. Which is a shame, because every sideshoot of Christianity has made those choices, and they *shouldn't* be so opaque to the average follower. I worry that this is us, in another 100-150 years.

Skeleon:

Bloody hell that's freaky. I like the bloke in the background playing the violin- what's the purpose of all this?

I suppose you could say that paganism is the indigenous religion of Europe- but then against Christianity has been dominant for over a millenia, and i think it's fair to say that Christanity has influenced modern European culture than paganism has.

I think you could make an argument about how a lot of the Christian ethics and rules you find the Bible were originally intended for a Middle Eastern and not a European context- but nowadays most Europeans have dropped the more incompatible rules of Christianity anyway.

I must admit though- if i had a time machine i'd make sure Constantine loses the Battle of Milivan Bridge, just to see how different European history would be without Christianity.

Skeleon:

Volf:
True but theres only so much interpretation that can be done, b/c after a while it no longer resembles the original text/beliefs. For example, when a religion says that you can't believe in other Gods and you go off and do just that, it clearly breaks the rules.

Sure. You're definitely right that there are certain limits to that variability if we want to consider them part of the same religion.

But as I said, these limits are extremely wide. Just think about an Evangelical fundamentalist from the USA's Bible Belt compared to a Liberal moderate Christian from Sweden or something. They could as well be members of different religions altogether, if it weren't for their appreciation of Jesus as divine. And even that level of divinity was, in the past and probably in the present, not necessarily a requirement to be a Christian (Arians calling the usual teaching of the trinity into question existed for a while before the point of view was forcibly destroyed).

And in this context, I certainly don't think believing that Raijin isn't limited to Japan oversteps any such bounds one might install.

EDIT: Messed up the quoting.

With respect, I think the limits are less wide in religions that don't have designs on universalism/religion-for-everyone. Even less wide still in very localized, intact-line-of-descent indigenous religions or initiated religions. (Yo, Lil' Devil! If you read this, could you tell me if I'm on-message w/r/t Hopi religion or not?)

Although it's irrelevant in any case as DarkEric isn't making any claims to being Shinto, he's worshipping a Shinto god as an Eclectic Neo-Pagan, where the philosophy is very explicitly "everything goes if you can make it work". The only thing he can be judged on within Neo-Pagandom is how well he makes it work. (And as he's a teenager, I won't, because I don't expect someone to have all their shit together by age eighteen. If you can't be an Aztec/Shinto/Otherkin eclectic Pagan when you're a teen, when can you? :)

(Note: I'm only talking as to process issues, whether he's within bounds from a religion-sociology sense. Whether or not the god can interact with someone not in Japan isn't a question for me.)

Polarity27:
With respect, I think the limits are less wide in religions that don't have designs on universalism/religion-for-everyone. Even less wide still in very localized, intact-line-of-descent indigenous religions or initiated religions. (Yo, Lil' Devil! If you read this, could you tell me if I'm on-message w/r/t Hopi religion or not?)

True, although one could probably argue in regards to various forms of Paganism, which are often recreations and not a directly continued line of tradition, so the variability can presumably be a bit wider, too.

Although it's irrelevant in any case as DarkEric isn't making any claims to being Shinto, he's worshipping a Shinto god as an Eclectic Neo-Pagan, where the philosophy is very explicitly "everything goes if you can make it work".

True. I should've remembered that considering he mentioned not just Raijin but also an Aztec goddess. Any points about "official" religious viewpoints kind of become meaningless at that point (more meaningless than I already think they are).

Volf:
Again keeping in mind how Japan has a attitude that is very big on being Japanese, I'm inclined to believe that the Japanese Gods reside in Japan, just like how the descendant of Amaterasu(see:Emperor of Japan) lives in Japan. I mean, Izanagi and Izanami could have created the rest of the world as well, but its never mentioned that they created anything besides Japan.

I do believe Izanagi and Izanami only created Japan, actually, assuming they aren't different names for, say, Jupiter and Juno. But that's why I don't worship them. I mean, I would bow before them and lick their boots the same any other god, but I don't pay tribute to them or anything.

Raijin is lightning though. He's everywhere.

Polarity27:

Okay. Well, you've got three very broadly defined camps with degrees of overlap. Tribalism/Theodism, who think Heathens should not only reconstruct Norse religion but also try to reconstruct Norse society, including sacral kings and thralls.

Wait. So they are Stormcloaks? (I love reading your posts, btw)

Plinglebob:

Witty Name Here:
So, my question to my fellow Christians is this, do you think that most Religions should just stick to the people and culture it was "Made" by?

I think its a choice of free expression and people should be allowed to worship any way they want. I agree that early Christian methods varied from Good to Morally Questionable to Outright Barbaric, but there must have been something to either the message or what they could provide for it to become a dominent religion. It feels like the complaints people have when Wal-Mart/Tesco moves in to an area. People complain its "Destroying the High Street" but then go buy stuff from Tesco.

Also, don't ignore other religions in this. You've focused sole against Christianity, but in recent times as Christianity has dropped in the UK, other religions/philosophies such as Buddihsm and Islam have been on the rise (not just through immigration). Do you think that people who have converted to them have also become victims of invaders? If so, why do you think they turned to them instead of the "Native" religion? (Sorry if that comes off as a bit confrontational.)

Mostly because I'm not as familiar with the Religious history of other Nations, with the exception of Buddhism I think that most Asian religions sort of stayed within their own Borders.

But anyways, I'm not talking about an individual converting but rather a society as a whole. If an individual person feels something like Buddhism or islam meets his spiritual needs moreso then their current religion, it's perfectly fine if they convert (as long as they understand the religion at least so they don't go into it thinking "Buddhism = Meditate for an hour then learn Kung Fu) but if a society as a whole was converted that's when things seem to get strange.

To use your Wal-Mart example, think of it like this. Wal-Mart came to a small town, and slowly began to kill off most of the Small Businesses. It stays in town for a while, and eventually almost everyone starts shopping at it, however eventually a few people stop and realize what's been happening, that they used to be a small, quiet little town, and that when they were children they always used to enjoy the nice "family" feeling of the small stores and because of Wal-Mart most people are afraid to even try setting up a small business again. Which is your
"personal" store then? Is it the Small Business you used to go to as a kid, or the Wal-Mart that you've been going to for years now?

It's mostly just about Culture. Christianity was made in the Middle-East, yet soon enough it spread throughout all of Europe (sometimes through willing conversion, other times through war an underhanded methods). Now that it's been in Europe for thousands of years, what is the "True" faith of Europe, is it the one that's been existing in the continent for years upon years yet was designed/imported in the Middle East? Or is it the one that was made by and for the Europeans that may be even more ancient, yet hasn't been practiced publicly for those thousand years.?

Volf:

TheDarkEricDraven:
I worship different pantheons. My patron god and goddess are from Japan and Aztec religions respectfully. We're all the subjects of the gods, they aren't tied to one race or one region. Why should only one group worship them? The same logic should apply to Christianity. If we're all God's children, we should all act like it.

...why would you worship Japanese gods if your not Japanese? Do you celebrate the emperor of Japans birthday too?

Why would Christians worship Jesus if they're not from Jerusalem? Completely irrelevant point.

I would be just as accurate claiming the Kingdom of Sweden is illegally occupying the Kingdom of the Geats as I would be to claim that christianity is a conquring religion. Most germanic peoples of today only vageuly correspond to the originals. Most have morphed and merged and divided and merged again so much that the ancestors would only vageuly recognise their people. Besides, there's no feeling of christianity as a conquring religion in any germanic peoples.

Asatru is for lonely american teens who want to look cool by being alternative. It has no real base in any of the germanic or north germanic countries. It doesn't even have a base in lonely american teens who want to look cool.

Only thing I would want back from that time would be futhark writing. So foreigners would tatoo it on their tits and say "This symbol means hope, because I am a special flower" and I could laugh and say "Ha no! It says half price on fridays."

And most religions today, even if they carry the same name are vastly different from place to place. As someone pointed out, christians in Sweden barely recognise themselves in the american christian right.

Atrocious Joystick:

Asatru is for lonely american teens who want to look cool by being alternative. It has no real base in any of the germanic or north germanic countries. It doesn't even have a base in lonely american teens who want to look cool.

That's... Incredibly offensive actually. I've bothered to study the faith and I find it to be very rude to refer to it as "Something lonely teens do to make themselves seem cool."

It has a very philosophical system of belief, and is much more then "Just some thing for teenagers to do so they can piss off their parents."

Atrocious Joystick:
Kingdom of Sweden is illegally occupying the Kingdom of the Geats

Just a little thing here, it was actually the geats that "won" versus the swedes, the centre of power was the cstle Näs on the island of Visingsö, between the westgeats and the eastgeats (the two geat factions in sweden).

Witty Name Here:

And to some of the NeoPagans on these forums, do you agree with some of the views I saw on these sites? Or do you think it's completely bonkers?

Personally I'm fine with Christianity/Christians, as well as any other religion, so long as they show me the same respect and tolerance I show them. And while I don't like what the church did while "converting" other cultures, I don't/can't feel any hated or bitterness over something that happened so long ago.

I don't agree with the concept that any religion is meant for one group of people or that there is one true faith. As long as a person truly believes in the diety/dieties and/or the basic tenants of a religion then they're in their right to follow it.

cahtush:

Atrocious Joystick:
Kingdom of Sweden is illegally occupying the Kingdom of the Geats

Just a little thing here, it was actually the geats that "won" versus the swedes, the centre of power was the cstle Näs on the island of Visingsö, between the westgeats and the eastgeats (the two geat factions in sweden).

I actually didn't know that. Thanks for telling me. I have to admit I am shamefully ignorant about how my own country came to be consolidated inte one. My firm grasp of our history basically starts with the war of liberation. Which is a shame.

Witty Name Here:

Atrocious Joystick:

Asatru is for lonely american teens who want to look cool by being alternative. It has no real base in any of the germanic or north germanic countries. It doesn't even have a base in lonely american teens who want to look cool.

That's... Incredibly offensive actually. I've bothered to study the faith and I find it to be very rude to refer to it as "Something lonely teens do to make themselves seem cool."

It has a very philosophical system of belief, and is much more then "Just some thing for teenagers to do so they can piss off their parents."

That might be true. But then why even try to connect it with the ancient north germanic religion(s)? Those societies practiced slavery, human sacrifices, wife burning.

People seem to be under the impression that any religion that is not christianity is peaceful and loving and in touch with nature and philosphy. I'm fine with drawing inspiration from all religions, dead and alive, in order to form a philosophical belief system but why try to claim a connection to something that wasn't that great in the first place and for which basically all "mainstream" religions is a better alternative?

Witty Name Here:
If the title is confusing, I understand, I had a bit of trouble putting the right words to what I'm asking, so allow me to explain in more depth.

Now, ever since that "Week as a Pagan" thing I did a while back, I've still kept a small interest in European Paganism and still checked out a few websites now and then. (I avoided the more "Extreme" sites and stuck mostly to "Asatru Alliance" and "The CR Faq") Now, one of the more interesting things I noted is it's view of Christianity. It seemed to be relatively fine with the faith, albeit a bit bitter over the years of oppression and "witch hunts", however there seemed to be a general consensus that it was more of a "Conqueror Religion" rather than "The Religion of the European Peoples".

If you wonder what I mean by it being a "Conqueror" religion, this requires a bit more context. In most European Pagan religions, there are certain degrees of what can be described as "Ancestor Worship" and a strong sense of community, they're all part of the "European People" and see their faith as the true faith of Europe because it was purely a Religion made by the Europeans and for the Europeans, the other religions belong to the other peoples; Buddhism to the Asians, Hindhusim to the Indians, etcetera. Thus, Christianity should rightfully belong mostly to the people of the middle east or the Jews, after all that was where it was founded, the leader was a Jew from Nazareth, it solely belonged to the people of the middle east... Except it didn't stay in the middle east, instead it made it's way through the mediterranean, first to Greece, then Italy, and finally it was enforced throughout the Roman Empire.

Now, this may not seem so bad, after all Religions expand beyond their borders almost all the time, but let's try and see this from those Pagans shall we? From their perspective, it would be like another country invading your own, and making you follow their culture and their language by law. The words of Jesus were seen as being "Meant for the Jews/Middle East as a whole". The way people went about life in Europe was completely different from simply Jerusalem, so why should what a person did across the sea matter to you?

After thinking about it, I can see their point, no one single religion fits everyone, after all I imagine something like Shintoism would be quite incompatible with Europe, it's from a completely different culture, with different ideas on what's right, what's wrong, and what's honorable. Think of the scene in the Last Samurai where Tom Cruise is talking about General Custer and the battle of Little Big Horn with a samurai. Tom Cruise's character sees Custer as an idiot who got all of his men slaughtered, while the Samurai sees him as a brave and courageous hero who charged unflinching into Death's Grasp. It goes to show how different two cultures can be, and how their ideas and beliefs don't necessarily match each other.

So, my question to my fellow Christians is this, do you think that most Religions should just stick to the people and culture it was "Made" by? Do you feel like you aren't really following what belongs to "Your People"? And to some of the NeoPagans on these forums, do you agree with some of the views I saw on these sites? Or do you think it's completely bonkers?

Witchcraft in paganism is what keeps me far from anyone that practices any form of paganism.

Atrocious Joystick:

That might be true. But then why even try to connect it with the ancient north germanic religion(s)? Those societies practiced slavery, human sacrifices, wife burning.

People seem to be under the impression that any religion that is not christianity is peaceful and loving and in touch with nature and philosphy. I'm fine with drawing inspiration from all religions, dead and alive, in order to form a philosophical belief system but why try to claim a connection to something that wasn't that great in the first place and for which basically all "mainstream" religions is a better alternative?

You seem to be mistaken.

First off that "Human Sacrifice" bit was incredibly rare. They mostly just stuck to sacrificing animals, sacrificing humans wasn't that common an occurrence, at least compared to people like the Aztecs. Almost EVERY nation/faith practiced some form of slavery back then, hell there were a few Catholic missionaries that had Africans as Slaves/Servants. Plus, wife burning? I'm not even sure where you got that from, hell there's evidence that women were treated even better in Pagan countries then in Christian ones.

You seem to be under the impression that Pagan faiths try to recreate the religion in it's entirety and "Bring everyone back to the stone age". That's not true, a great deal of Pagan faiths try to recreate a great deal of the faith, and how they believe it would look if it went unimpeded into modern times. Most Modern Pagans are VERY big of Gender Equality, protecting the environment, and growing strong bonds with your community and family.

Witty Name Here:

Atrocious Joystick:

snip

You seem to be mistaken.

First off that "Human Sacrifice" bit was incredibly rare. They mostly just stuck to sacrificing animals, sacrificing humans wasn't that common an occurrence, at least compared to people like the Aztecs. Almost EVERY nation/faith practiced some form of slavery back then, hell there were a few Catholic missionaries that had Africans as Slaves/Servants. Plus, wife burning? I'm not even sure where you got that from, hell there's evidence that women were treated even better in Pagan countries then in Christian ones.

You seem to be under the impression that Pagan faiths try to recreate the religion in it's entirety and "Bring everyone back to the stone age". That's not true, a great deal of Pagan faiths try to recreate a great deal of the faith, and how they believe it would look if it went unimpeded into modern times. Most Modern Pagans are VERY big of Gender Equality, protecting the environment, and growing strong bonds with your community and family.

It wasn't uncommon for thralls to be sacrificed at their masters funeral. I was under the impression that a widow could also be "buried" as well with her husband, even if alive. But that might not be accurate. That everyone practiced slavery is hardly an excuse. I'm not saying that the ancient germanic religious faiths where worse than their contemporary counterparts. Just that they aren't really a gem in the mud, something needing to be brought back.

Gender equality, environmentalism and strong ties with your fellow man are all things to be respected and adhered to but what does any of that have to do with paganism? Christians, muslims, jews, can share those virtues. I don't mean that modern "pagans" are evil people. I mean, how many share even similar virtues to the original practicers of the religion? How many actually believe in Odin, Thor, etc and that the world will end with ragnarok?

What the world would be like if Christianity had never risen to prominence and we had remained a polytheistic culture is a fun thought experiment. Not something I would base a religion on though.

KlLLUMINATI:

Witchcraft in paganism is what keeps me far from anyone that practices any form of paganism.

Oh, totally. Us Neo Pagans are all devil worshipers. When you convert, you get your own broomstick and black cat. I haven't gotten my Dungeons and Dragons character to level 9 yet, so I haven't been invited to learn any real magic. I'm getting there though.

Atrocious Joystick:

Witty Name Here:

Atrocious Joystick:

snip

You seem to be mistaken.

First off that "Human Sacrifice" bit was incredibly rare. They mostly just stuck to sacrificing animals, sacrificing humans wasn't that common an occurrence, at least compared to people like the Aztecs. Almost EVERY nation/faith practiced some form of slavery back then, hell there were a few Catholic missionaries that had Africans as Slaves/Servants. Plus, wife burning? I'm not even sure where you got that from, hell there's evidence that women were treated even better in Pagan countries then in Christian ones.

You seem to be under the impression that Pagan faiths try to recreate the religion in it's entirety and "Bring everyone back to the stone age". That's not true, a great deal of Pagan faiths try to recreate a great deal of the faith, and how they believe it would look if it went unimpeded into modern times. Most Modern Pagans are VERY big of Gender Equality, protecting the environment, and growing strong bonds with your community and family.

It wasn't uncommon for thralls to be sacrificed at their masters funeral. I was under the impression that a widow could also be "buried" as well with her husband, even if alive. But that might not be accurate. That everyone practiced slavery is hardly an excuse. I'm not saying that the ancient germanic religious faiths where worse than their contemporary counterparts. Just that they aren't really a gem in the mud, something needing to be brought back.

Gender equality, environmentalism and strong ties with your fellow man are all things to be respected and adhered to but what does any of that have to do with paganism? Christians, muslims, jews, can share those virtues. I don't mean that modern "pagans" are evil people. I mean, how many share even similar virtues to the original practicers of the religion? How many actually believe in Odin, Thor, etc and that the world will end with ragnarok?

What the world would be like if Christianity had never risen to prominence and we had remained a polytheistic culture is a fun thought experiment. Not something I would base a religion on though.

I think I see the problem. Your conflating several different traditions. The truth is 'Pagan' is a very bad term because it groups a vast number of traditions into a unified whole that never existed. It's more complicated than that. Most of those things described only happened for certain traditions, and not others. For example Wife-Burning happens in parts of Pakistan and India. It is alien to other traditions. A good portion of our modern world is founded on the principles of these 'pagans'. Modern law was pioneered by the Romans and our philosophy by the Greeks. The Persians has the first basic ideas of Human Rights. Hell, even the USA owes its government, in part to the Iroquois and Greeks.

As for the rest, who are you to tell other people what to worship? Perhaps they understand and like aspects of how their philosophy and religion work together, and think it offers a different perspective on modern events.

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