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Thread: Presenting Our Beliefs to Others

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    Presenting Our Beliefs to Others

    Presenting Our Beliefs to Others

    How do we present ourselves to those who are not Heathens? How do we explain Heathenism to other Pagans? How do we introduce our ideas to Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims? The best way to get the message to someone is to talk to them where they live. If we begin by discussing Gods and Wyrd, we lose them. We need to tell them about the difference Heathenism has made in our lives, and work from there. They should be shown how our lives have benefitted. Then we can begin to explain the particulars of our beliefs.

    I put together the booklet “What is Heathenism” to give us a starting point when approaching non-Heathens. The intent is not to convert them to our beliefs. It is to explain why we choose Heathenism as our way of life.

    Profound, positive changes are possible with Heathenism. That is a great starting point when talking with others about our beliefs. It also lets us lead up to the more conspicuous part of our ways. We need to get the facts across to people who might otherwise see us as a Viking version of a Renaissance Fair or worshipers of comic book deities. In explaining our ways ,we need to “beat them to the punch” with real information. Talk to people about why we are Heathen and what makes it work for us. Explain the Heathen difference in your everyday life. Show them the things that you have experienced in your daily world. Focus entirely on things with which people can people can identify. Make sure you explain it all in plain language for them. Do not try to dazzle them with Icelandic buzz-words or esoteric concepts. Keep it plain and stick to the everyday world until you know they understand you. Only then should you begin to explain Gods, worship, Wyrd and the more arcane concepts of Heathenism.

    Count it for good when people understand. Remember that things do not always work out that way. Some will remain unwilling or unable to understand. Others may be disdainful, and others may laugh. Those who do not want to understand are usually prodded by their own religious rigidity. Do not take it personally. Again, we are not out to convert these people. We are responding to their curiosity about our beliefs.

    Download this booklet and pass it around. It s a free resource for the Heathen community. It will help you explain to others why Heathenism is your choice as a way of life.

    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    I really like where this booklet is going but I'd like to improve it or at least make it more agreeable to my points. Is there any way I could take this and rewrite and edit a lot of it to my own ideals? Just some things to consider:

    Personally I no longer like the word "heathenry" because it is a derogatory name. From the first time it was used it referred to the less educated and backward people on the countryside (in the heath). But oh well.

    The other thing is I think Asatru is focused more on what you do than what you believe. Belief is more of a nature of Christianity, Islam etc. Certainly there are beliefs behind our actions but the actions come first.

    The other thing hinted at that should probably be declared: our focus is life affirming. Our main focus is not on the after life but on getting the most out of this life and offering the most to our children and honoring our ancestors.

    Instead of empowering our gods, churches, church leaders, popes etc. through servitude and slavery the focus is on empowering ourselves through correct and sustainable relationships with our community, family, friends and religious groups. We believe in practicing and cultivating correct morality for its practical benefits of bettering our lives, our communities and our families rather than based on some spiritual principle of punishment or reward in the afterlife.

    The gods: I think it could be stated simply that at its most basic all heathens accept the basic set of gods (Odin, Thor, Tyr, Frej, Freja) and sometimes other ones as symbols of our culture and people. That is the common belief of all Heathens, then some take that further and see them as real psychic forces, or spiritual energies, or aspects of the one divine. Some see them as symbols of astrological forces, ancestors or a cobination of those.

    I didn't think wyrd was fate. There was another word for fate forgot what it was. Wyrd is like the web of existance or the web of life- the interrelation of all things. One of the most estoteric concepts of the religion. It explains our connection to the gods, how people can have psychic powers, premonitions or cast spells, how the past, present, and future can effect each other, our connection to ancestors and folk etc. It basically is a symbol of how all things are connected and interrelated. "man know thyself and thou shalt know all the secretes of the universe" it relates to the web of wyrd something difficult to explain and profoundly spiritual that takes a life time to truly explore. Perhaps Wyrd is the heathen equivalent of the Christian God. As Wyrd is more central to the faith in some way than a patheon of gods. It could be considered akin to the divine in some way if you take it that the divine is part of us and exists through us and through all things. Something similar to "the force" of star wars or the Tao of Taoism.

    Morality: I think the statement that rules are meant to be folowed blindly by fools and meant to be adjusted and interpreted by more intelligent and responsible people come to mind. Our philosophy is based on the inequality and differences within mankind and therefore we see our religion is not made for everybody. One aspect of that is that our religion is made3 for rulers and nobility not people who lack ability and are at the bottom of society. In such a way we lack rigid rules and replace it with a need for decision making and self responsibility. Our morality is composed of guiding principles and suggestions; virtues to be lived out well as opposed to strict rules and commandments.

    A heathen cares enough to be neat, social, and responsible- I think we can summarize this section better by simply stating that a heathen is socially responsible. He puts the needs of the family, group, and society at the forefront of his thoughts, gladly sacrificing himself for the well being of his family or tribe. His loyalties radiate outwards with his inner family and close associates (tribe) coming first, his extended community and extended kin coming second, and so on so forth. This is contrast to many liberals today who would put the need of foriegners as equal to or above the needs of their country men or who would save a child in Africa before saving a child of his own kin. Or even when people put the needs of animals or others ahead of people. We believe in kindness and respect towards all life, but we do not see humans as evil and nature as perfect. Animals are not harmless fuzzy creatures. The natural environment is not in perfect harmony before man arrived (in fact it is very chaotic and full of a lot of suffering, diseases, death etc.). We do not believe in feeling guilty for success, hating ourselves, or putting others above ourselves. The thing we put above ourselves is the survival of our blood as it represents our immortality and a part of ourselves that is greater than our individual manifestation.
    A heathen has a duty and responsibility to maintain a clean, neat and orderly environment, to make the world a place he would want to live in.

    I would say the one other cornerstone that could be addressed that opposes modern views is that we don't believe people are entitled to anything. They earn life. They earn their value. That means that we don't have an obligation to feed someone because its his "right to exist" or "his right to live comfortably" he must pull his own weight and earn his own way. Criminals who are a burden to the community should be put down. People who are incapable or unwilling to contribute are left to suffer or die, though at times we will try to minimize their suffering as much as is practical. This goes along with our morality- if people harm us we harm them back. We defend ourselves. Sometimes food shortages, limited space etc. means conflicts occur or there are not enough resources to go around. We believe that it is social justice that the best have the most and that those who cannot earn their own way perish the way nature intended. This doesn't mean we don't believe in social responsibility. We see ourselves as part of the greater social organism, but this organism can only survive if its individual cells are healthy and productive.

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