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Thread: Coexistence with Christians

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    Coexistence with Christians

    Coexistence


    It is a matter of fact that we live in a society that is predominantly Christian and has been so for over a thousand years. Non-Christian religions have had little input these past ten centuries. Until the late 17th Century, non-Christians were routinely persecuted in horrific ways. Prejudice against non-Christians survives to this day. Though mainline religions such as Judaism, Islam and Buddhism have been given a greater degree of respect by conventional society, the bias persists.

    Even if Heathenism and Paganism become thriving mainstream religions within the next two centuries, we will still be dealing with Christian culture. The influence of Christianity pervades our society. It is in literature, folk tales, entertainment and the language. Many everyday colloquialisms derive from Christian belief.

    New Heathens tend to resent any Christian references. In time, however, most learn to coexist without offense. These are the beliefs of friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives, after all. If offense is taken, it might mean shunning the very people with whom we enjoy associating. Obviously, some kind of truce must be struck.

    The first element here is “offense.” While several branches of Christianity would consider it an offense against their god to try anything Heathen, we are not under the same restriction towards them. Our view of wrongdoing does not include a concept of “sin”. We are not evildoers if we rub shoulders with Christian beliefs. There are times when such things are unavoidable.

    Life in our society includes events such as weddings, wakes and funerals. These are often done under the auspices of religion. Weddings and funerals are frequently held in churches where they are treated as religious ceremonies. Do we avoid these events altogether? No. There is no wrong in our going to a wedding or funeral, even if it is part of someone else’s religious ceremony. We are going there out of respect for the celebrants or the departed. No matter how we feel about their religious choices, we ought to act in a matter that honors them. The Heathen should not act in a way that calls attention to himself, no matter how he feels about the church or ceremony. Christians might bristle at the thought of being at a Heathen ceremony, but not Heathens. The issue for us is honoring someone, and so that comes first. The Gods understand that doing so may entail joining in strange rites. What matters is not their ritual or prayers, but in giving honor. From the Heathen standpoint, honoring a friend outweighs any other indignities.

    Many group activities can cross into religious territory. Those involved in classical music and singing groups may often find themselves playing a tune with a Christian religious intent. There is no need to back out of the group or refuse certain songs. You are not playing music for religion, but to play as part of your glee club, orchestra or band. There is no need to feel guilty if you participate in a few Christmas carols or some of Bach’s religious pieces. They are just songs, after all. Heathens are tough. We do not whine if somebody slips “Little Drummer Boy” into the music mix.

    While most of the Bible is meaningless to Heathens, it has some good stories. Granted that they are wrapped heavily in religious overtones, but a good story is still a good story. Children love the Noah’s Ark story. Other good tales include David versus Goliath. Of course, we realize that it was not divine intervention, but an expert slinger that made the difference for David. Samson and Delilah is a popular tale, as well. You can connect the dots to see if there is a link to Rapunzel there. Nevertheless, we ought not feel wrong if we find a few Biblical stories or sayings worthwhile. We do not live in a sheltered society, after all.

    Another issue is art. Religious themes are common in art. Owning a piece of art does not mean you believe in the events it depicts. All it means is that you like the artwork. It is perfectly alright to appreciate paintings and sculptures that have other folks’ religious themes. There is no crime in having an angel painting on the wall or a statuette of the devil. The only criteria is: do you like it?

    Living in a Christian society, the only obstacle is a matter of belief. They believe in things like atonement, sin, salvation, and Judgement Day. Heathens do not. Many of the things that are common in this society derive from Christian lore and belief. They are unavoidable: a consequence of living here and now. The only way to avoid them is to leave.

    We have to be aware, but we do not have to be apart. The line of separation is not the songs or art or ceremonies. It is the belief and the way of life. Living means that we can enjoy the things, but do not abide their beliefs. Coexistence is possible so long as we do not sell out.

    A time will come when Heathenism is accepted and coexistence will be more peaceful. A statue of Odin or Freyja with the wassail bowl will stand alongside the community creche and menorah at Yuletide. The newspaper listing of “houses of worship” will include Thor’s Hus and the Holdahof. That time is not here yet. Nonetheless, coexistence need not be a strain for us. We ought not take offense so easily when confronted with the many bits of Christian lore that are part and parcel of Western civilization. We can coexist without selling out. If they push, we push back. But if they don’t push, then there is no need to go into battle mode. The real issue is not what THEY do, but in how WE live. We can handle it all and feel no guilt.

    http://thortrains.net/blog/2009/05/30/coexistence/


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    A time when all of Germanic Volk can reach each other fully, past our differences? Sounds close to Heaven on Earth!
    "So, yes, we are better than others. Our worldviews are better than those of others. This does not need to be universally true, it is enough when it is true for us." - velvet

    "Our blood unity is of infinitely more worth than religious particularities;" - Chlodovech

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagna View Post
    Even if Heathenism and Paganism become thriving mainstream religions within the next two centuries, we will still be dealing with Christian culture.
    The article has many interesting thoughts and insights, but this line above is a common misconception. We aren't dealing with Christian culture. We are dealing with Germanic culture being lent a Christian paradigm. We are undoubtedly influence by this, but essentially we are still living Germanic culture and customs, just under a different name and method.

    Many of the myths that children so love and many of the everday "Christian" references we make are simply replacements for previous occurences or stories. At the very least, our fairy tales often have a highly Heathen undertone, Frau Holle is still loved even though not much research is needed that Frau Holle = Holda = Frigg.

    Who cares if children so love the story of David and Goliath now? They will take equal liking to the story of when Thor dresses as a woman to retrieve his hammer, and they will equally love the retelling of how Odin beat the odds to escape Suttung with the mead. The change from one tradition of tales to another will come automatically and organically.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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