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Leofric
Wednesday, December 7th, 2005, 08:17 PM
I'm looking extra-specially for the number of heathens in Norway, but (estimated) figures for Scandinavia in general, any given country in the world, or the world at large would also be helpful.

I know of course that figures like this can't be found very accurately, but I imagine someone has made some estimates, and I figured the folks here at Skadi might know about estimates like that (or even be able to estimate from their own experience).

Thanks for your help!

georgepohl
Sunday, July 30th, 2006, 02:51 PM
In modern America, a Heathen is often considered a a person to be disdained. In the case of those who worship the Proto-Germanic Gods, we should respect their beliefs. Perhaps there is a better term than Heathen for such believers.

Leofric
Tuesday, August 1st, 2006, 04:36 PM
Well, I figure that since many followers of our ancestral religion actively identify themselves as heathens and seek to promote the use of that word as a label for their faith, it would be all right to use the word.

It certainly has a strong etymological basis as a word to refer specifically to the followers of our Germanic ancestral religion, since the word came into being in the OE period to refer to exactly that group of people. I will admit that those who used the word were frequently Christians who held the heathens (i.e., the people of the heath) in contempt, but it seems to me that if the intended victims of the early Christians' contempt want to appropriate the word for their own proud self-identification, they have every reason to do so. After all, if someone who hates Christianity calls me a Christian in a contemptuous manner (which we know has occurred in the past, since we still use the word cretin derisively), would I not be entitled to count myself blessed for suffering shame for Christ's sake, and thereafter wear the label with honor?

To me, it seems that nothing could be a better way of dispelling the religious hatred of ages past than for those who had once been labelled heathens as a sign of Christian contempt to now take that label themselves and turn it into a label to wear proudly.

Blutw÷lfin
Tuesday, August 1st, 2006, 08:18 PM
Take the number of members of Bifrost and add at least twice amount of people to the number - that would make the Norwegian heathens... At least if you speak about Forn Si­r; the term "Heathenism" just stands for "not Christian", actually... (where's Hve­rungur to correct me now? :D)

Leofric
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006, 01:34 AM
Take the number of members of Bifrost and add at least twice amount of people to the number - that would make the Norwegian heathens... At least if you speak about Forn Si­r; the term "Heathenism" just stands for "not Christian", actually... (where's Hve­rungur to correct me now? :D)
Thank you very much!

Let me see if I understand the estimate. Let's say (number of members of Bifrost) = x. So if I understand you right, you're saying x + 2x = estimate of Norwegian heathens. Did I follow you right?

Now, I'm also having a hard time finding the number of members of Bifrost. Their website doesn't seem to have the information, and I don't see it at Odin either. Do you know where I might look to find that figure?

Good point about the term "heathen". I suppose it would have referred to many irreligious people equally to religious folks. But were there many people before Christianization among our people who were not Christian but were practitioners of a religion that was not our ethnic religion?

Veritas Ăquitas
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006, 01:46 AM
Good point about the term "heathen". I suppose it would have referred to many irreligious people equally to religious folks. But were there many people before Christianization among our people who were not Christian but were practitioners of a religion that was not our ethnic religion?

They believed in the same thing pretty much all over Europe, but just called the old gods by different names and had different cults .. With the exception of Southern Europe of course .. Their faith was quite different to the Northerners but had the same underlying principles with different names too of course ..

Germans as members of the Roman Auxiliary might've used the Roman pantheon instead of their own..

:hve­rungur:
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006, 08:22 PM
where's Hve­rungur to correct me now? :D

Well since you asked so nicely :)

Heathen has many meanings. One in reference to a person who does not follow the god of Christianity, Judism or Islam.

Here is another one from Wikipedia on the Etymology of the word Heathen:


Heathen

Heathen is from Old English hŠ­en "not Christian or Jewish", (c.f. Old Norse hei­inn). Historically, the term was probably influenced by Gothic hai■i "dwelling on the heath", appearing as hai■no in Ulfilas' bible as "gentile woman," (translating the Greek in Mark 7:26). This translation probably influenced by Latin paganus, "country dweller", or it was chosen because of its similarity to the Greek ethne, "gentile". It has even been suggested that Gothic hai■i is not related to "heath" at all, but rather a loan from Armenian hethanos, itself loaned from Greek ethnos.

Country dweller and the term "Heathen" were popular terms to refer to the folk who lived in more rural areas in Germanic countrys who still worshiped the old gods. Heathens or people of the hearth / land. Which is why Christians called those who still followed the old ways Heathens or Pagans. So at one point in time the term was used to refer to the men and women who still hailed and honoured the Germanic pantheon of Gods and Goddesses so really using the term to refer to yourself isnt incorrect.

Using the terms Germanic Heathen, Germanic Pagan, Forn Si­r, ┴satr˙ or any of the other various modern terms are not right or wrong. It all depends on the person using them and in which way they are used. Someone might call someone a heathen and use it in a negative light which is possible but it can also be used to describe someone who still follows the old Germanic ways in a positive light.

Getting down to brass tacks, our ancestors didn't have a name for their beliefs. The religious / spiritual aspects were just a part of the larger Integral culture, something manifested from them, their blood, spirit and subconcious. No one had a name for it becasue it wasn't viewed as something seperate from them, it was their whole life, their natural way in the world.

:hve­rungur:
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006, 08:24 PM
I'm looking extra-specially for the number of heathens in Norway, but (estimated) figures for Scandinavia in general, any given country in the world, or the world at large would also be helpful.

I know of course that figures like this can't be found very accurately, but I imagine someone has made some estimates, and I figured the folks here at Skadi might know about estimates like that (or even be able to estimate from their own experience).

Thanks for your help!

To help answer your question:


An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people in the United States consider themselves Asatruars or Odinists, said Stephen McNallen, director of the ┴satr˙ Folk Assembly, a leading ┴satr˙ group.

I don't have numbers for Canada but I'll look around.

Sigurd
Monday, September 18th, 2006, 06:02 PM
An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people in the United States consider themselves Asatruars or Odinists, said Stephen McNallen, director of the ┴satr˙ Folk Assembly, a leading ┴satr˙ group.

This is also a vague guess, even a dangerous one. It could either be more, some possibly being "closet heathens" and not openly admitting them; or it could be less, considering the point that many people who consider themselves Heathens may be universialist fluffies. Folkish heathens, I believe, would be way less than that number (even though McNallen is a reliable source, I believe that the number given looks a quite high guess).

Either way - why does it matter how many heathens there are? Should it not be about quality rather than sheer quantity? Remember, if we first have the quality, then the quantity will come with time. ;)

Leofric
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 04:32 AM
Thank you for the help!


Either way - why does it matter how many heathens there are? Should it not be about quality rather than sheer quantity? Remember, if we first have the quality, then the quantity will come with time. ;)
I like what you're saying here about quality over quantity. The only reason I was wondering about quantity was because of a discussion about Norwegian religious demographics in one of my Norwegian classes.

Why religious demographics should be important in the first place is something I'm not entirely certain about. I do believe, though, that it can often be good to gather information without regard to its usefulness, since what seems like worthless trivia today can become highly important upon later consideration.

Tryggvi
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006, 05:04 AM
I'm looking extra-specially for the number of heathens in Norway, but (estimated) figures for Scandinavia in general, any given country in the world, or the world at large would also be helpful. According to Adherents (http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html) and Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_world_religions), there are about 1 million so-called "Neo-Pagans" worldwide.

Isaac Bonewits estimates (http://www.neopagan.net/HowManyPagans.html) that there are between half a million to several million "Pagans" in North America.


Neo-Paganism: Neo-Paganism is an umbrella term for modern revivals of ancient ethnic and magickal traditions. These are usually polytheistic, but many Neo-Pagans consider their faith pantheistic, and many other concepts of deity can be found among Neo-Pagans as well. Subdivisions within Neo-Paganism include Wicca, Magick, Druidism, Asatru, neo-Native American religion and others. Only recently has Neo-Paganism become a movement of any significant size and visibility. Solid statistics on Neo-Paganism on a worldwide scale are essentially non-existent, but it is a rapidly growing religion/religious category. Estimates regarding its worldwide size range widely--from under one hundred thousand to over four million. Independent surveys and government-based figures are not indicative of the higher estimates provided by Neo-Pagan and Wiccan organizations, but there may be a variety of reasons for this.

There are two reasons why some might argue that Neo-Paganism should not be listed as a major religion on this page: 1) It might be said that Neo-Paganism is not a single religion, but an umbrella term for many disparate religions. But upon closer examination of the movement, one finds that despite drawing upon such disparate sources as European witchcraft, Norse mythology, Druidism, and Egyptian, Greek, and Native American ancient religions, Neo-Pagans as a whole have a remarkably cohesive, identifiable culture and generally shared value set, even more so than religions such as Christianity, Islam or Judaism when taken as a whole. 2) It could also be said that Neo-Paganism could be classified as a subset of primal-indigenous religion. Though it has roots in primal ethnic religions, Neo-Paganism is something distinct, clearly drawing much of its identity from Gardnerian principles introduced in the 1930s. Neo-Paganism is distinct from the primal ethnic religions of ancient pre-industrial societies just as Buddhism has roots in, but is distinct from, Hinduism. So we are including Neo-Paganism on this list because the most recent sociological work in the field indicates it is a distinct religion, and because it is increasingly significant.

There were 768,400 Neo-pagans (largest subset were Wiccans) in the U.S. in the year 2000, according to the Wiccan/Pagan Poll, conducted by the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) beginning in late July, 1999. [Online source: http://www.cog.org/cogpoll_final.html] Researchers may also be interested in Isaac Bonewits' succinct web page, How Many "Pagans" Are There? (http://www.neopagan.net/HowManyPagans.html) Bonewits identifies reasons for enumeration, difficulties in doing so, and concludes by estimating the Neopagan population at "from half a million to several million people in the USA and Canada."

═slenska ┴satr˙arfÚlagi­ has allegedly 700 members (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Dslenska_%C3%81satr%C3%BAarf%C3%A9l agi%C3%B0) as of 2005.