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Thread: How 'Pagan' Was Norse Paganism?

  1. #21
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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Despite the fact this is largely pertaining to Germanic paganism, theories concerning the Christianization of Celtic pagans follow similar lines and I've already addressed those issues here:

    http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php...76&postcount=7

    I just purchased Ted Olsen's Christianity and the Celts and I must say its a very good book. It mostly addresses the historical context of Celtic Christianity rather than dealing with its actual teachings. One good thing about this book is that it refutes many of the New Age myths about it and even exposes how many people who glorify Celtic Christianity are not even Celtic! Apparently many have tried to literally de-Christianize Celtic Christianity.

    This is what he had to say about that.

    "Romanticists were quick to assert that Celtic Christianity has much in common with pre-Christian Celtic beliefs. This belief actually began with the assertion that Celtic pagans 'had a religion so extremely like Christianity that in effect it differed from it only in this: they believe in a Messiah who was to come into the world, as we believe in him that is to come'. Modelled on Christian priests, the druids became described as the white-robed peacemongers so recognizable today.

    By the end of the 1800's, the Romanticists had switched the order - Christianity was a mere gloss on Celtic paganism. In a movement that WB Yeats called the "Celtic Twilight", writers emphasized the Celts' love of nature over their love of Christ. Pantheism, not Christianity, was the true Celtic creed. Bradley notes that when George Russell wrote of Ireland 'long ago known as the sacred isle', he was not referring to the works of Patrick but to the fact that 'the gods lived there'....The Celtic Twilight movement influenced the world's view of Celtic Christianity, but not everybody bought into its pantheistic views. What stuck were notions that the Celts had been ecologically minded, gentle, and at least friendly to the pagans they encountered....The Celtic Twilight movement's pro-pagan and syncretistic attitues never set. Instead, many of today's books on the Celts - even ones focusing on Celtic spirituality after the acceptance of Christianity - can be found in the neo-pagan, mythology, or New Age sections of bookstores. It it rarely these books have been wrongly shelved. 'Far from rejecting their old religion, the Christian Celts continuned to hold it in the deepest respect, absorbing many of its ideals and attitudes, symbols and rituals, into their new faith', wrote Anglican priest Robert Van de Weyer in Celtic Fire....De-emphasizing the Christianity of Christian Celts has allowed these recent writers, like so many of their past revivalists, to emphasize their own agendas."
    --pg.173;178


    So, yes as we have already established in this debate; much discussion about Celtic Christianity is nonsense and often guided by Neo-Pagans with an agenda. Indeed, this is not only true for Celtic Christianity but European Christianity in general. Neo-Pagans(and we have seen this argument here plenty of times) try to de-emphasize the Christianity of our ancestors and try to protray it merely as a gloss for the "secret paganism" that Europeans truely adhered to. Yes many elements of paganism were carried over into the Christian era, but I think this fact is highly overblowned by neo-pagans. THIS DID NOT MAKE THEM PAGANS OR "SECRET" PAGANS! They were Christians who followed a Europeanized Christianity. Most of what Christianity absorbed from paganism was more cultural than theological when one looks at it closely.

    So this attempt at de-emphasizing Christianity really doesnt go far when one looks at the facts. Indeed Olsen talks about how the syncretistic viewpoint has been overemphasized in recent years in order to show Celtic Christianity as pratically pagan(although this certainly applies to European Christianity in general). Now Olsen does mention that yes indeed Christianity and paganism did co-exist at times and even mentions of many temples/churches were statues of Christ and Mary stood next to those of pagan deities; but he makes clear this fact has been highly overblowned by New Agers/Neo-Pagans with an agenda for de-emphasizing the Christian faith of the Celts(or Europeans in general).

    Anyways, despite all the New Age BS there is hope for the revival of Celtic Christianity.

    "Theologically conservative Christians began reclaiming the Celtic saints as their own in the early 1990s. Leaders of the Church of England's charaismatic movement were among the first to counter the neo-pagan and syncretistic approaches of their contempories and to encourage their evengelical comrades in drawing inspiration from the Celtic Christians....As interest in Celtic Christianity grew, Christians also began creating works 'in the Celtic tradition'."
    --inbid pg.178

    So the neo-pagan/new age stranglehold on Celtic Christianity may soon pass as Christians begin to assert their positions. Already now the New Age monopoly on Celtic "spritual music" is already being challanged by overt Christian Celtic bands.

    Another that is good about this book, it totally debunks the notion that Celtic Christianity was a tradition distinct from the continent.

    "'Far from being different, Celtic Christianity was very much like the faith of the church elsewhere', says Dominican friar and scholar Gilbert Markus: There were differences in detail between the Celtic Christians and their continental neighbors: church architecture, Easter dates, inheritance laws, and local traditions. But almost all the main features of early Celtic Christianity could be found anywhere in Catholic Europe, where every tribe and tongue and nation made the gospel their own. The Celts found their own way of retelling the old story all the while sharing one recognizable faith."
    --inbid pp.182-3

    And as Peter Brown in his Rise of Western Christendom states that the Celts were not alone in adapting Christianity to their local traditions; this was widespread throughout the Christian world during the early Middle Ages(aka 'Dark Ages'). We see signs of this in Ireland, Spain, Syria, Egypt, etc. Bronw even coins the term 'micro-Christendom' to describe these local cultural-religious entities within the wider universal Christendom.

    So yes, anybody interested in Celtic Christianity mainly in its historical context should read this book.

  2. #22
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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taras Bulba
    See Christianity adopting itself to local customs is not heathenization but localization. The two are not really the same, and often heathens make this mistake(to be fair for understandable reasons).

    I will pick up "the Germanization of Early Christianity" later....but for now I'll rely on information I have on the Christianization of the Celts, which theories concerning that process are similar(if not almost exact) to what we're discussing with the German conversion to Christianity.

    I've posted quotes from Ted Olsen's book on Celtic Christianity, and he notes how in recent times the theories concering syncretism have been made as a way to de-emphasize the Christianity of the Celts, that the localised Christianity in many ways a mere gloss over their original paganism. Ted Olsen argues this when concerning the Celts, as do I but on a larger scale.

    This is perhaps what Im mainly arguing against, that somehow Christianity adopting itself to native customs(including religious customs) somehow equals a "heathenization" per se or rather a "de-Christianization". De-Christianization would actually have to involve a theological element, but often it didnt. It was largely cultural, not theological.
    The issue here is the contrast between oganised religion and folk religion, and folk religions are always pagan in the sense the ancient writers used it to refer to rural beliefs and rituals that are outside official organisation.

    The localisation on the other hand is the aspect of traditional Christianity, where regional deities became Christian saints, and not to the beliefs that were outside centralised control.

    Ok I agree with you. However I pointing to things in perspective.....the "pagan"(I prefer local but I'll go along for now) influence on Christianity was largely cultural not theological. Christianity, unlike Islam, does not impose one culture's values on another. In fact the Apostles determined early on that a christian could celebrate the faith within their own local customs, the idea of imposing Hebrew customs like circumcision on non-Hebrew Christians was rejected.
    I wouldnt say that Islam imposes one culture's values onto another, even though I think it has less ability to syncretise pre-Islamic cults into organised Islam. as folk religions still exist in Islamic cultures.

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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Quote Originally Posted by atlanto-med
    The issue here is the contrast between oganised religion and folk religion
    Alright.....I can accept this distinction.

    , and folk religions are always pagan in the sense the ancient writers used it to refer to rural beliefs and rituals that are outside official organisation.
    Not true, Peter Brown in his Rise of Western Christendom refers to Christianity taking form as a "folk religion" throughout Europe. Theres even a quote of his I saved about how Christianity survived as a folk religion in Britain when the natives were dominated by then still-pagan Saxons. When Christian missionaries came to revert the natives, they were suprised as to how much Christianity survived in this folk religion nature.

    Paganism and folk religion are not the same, although paganism is a form of folk religion but is not the only form. Christianity on the other hand combines organized religion with folk religion(theres elements of both within it). As Fletcher and others explain, this was one advantage Christianity had over paganism.

    The localisation on the other hand is the aspect of traditional Christianity, where regional deities became Christian saints
    This is an oversimplification of the facts. I'll deal more later.

    I do know in Russian folkore, theres stories of Saints taking on the old pagan deities and defeating them(for example St. Andrew, the patron of sailors taking on the old pagan god of the seas), thus proving the superiority of the Christian faith. Im sure these kinds of stories were not restricted to Russia. This does in a way weaken the argument the people just simply adopted Christianized versions of their old gods.


    , and not to the beliefs that were outside centralised control.
    This is also a simplification of the facts.....I'll deal with this later.


    I wouldnt say that Islam imposes one culture's values onto another, even though I think it has less ability to syncretise pre-Islamic cults into organised Islam. as folk religions still exist in Islamic cultures.
    Actually Adrian Hastings disputes this when he compares the Christian and Islamic attitudes towards local customs. Christianity seeks to Christianize the local culture, Islam often results in Arabising it as well. This certainly happened in Egypt, where the remanents of the old culture of Pharonic times was preserved by the Coptic Church, which is Egypt's native Christian church. In fact the church to this day both preserves the customs of mummification and the old Pharonic language in its liturgy.

    There is folk religion in Islam, but its often Arabic in nature especially in the Middle East. In other regions where it exist, its probably due to the fact the Arab armies didnt conquer and arabised the societies. But Hastings also notes another exception in Turkey. So yes, as Aristotle said, a rule is always defined by its exceptions.
    Last edited by Taras Bulba; Thursday, November 11th, 2004 at 03:59 AM.

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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Upon reading this thread over again and getting more insight into what
    atlanto-med is arguing here, I'd like to apologize for this post I made:
    http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php...1&postcount=10

    I apparently misread what atlanto-med was trying argue.

    Apparently he was trying to argue the existance of folk religion during the Christian era proved somekind of connection to the old pagan ways. I misread him of trying to argue that different ethnic groups(Slavs, Balts, Celts, etc) had different customs and that alone proved some survival of paganism. And I had a little cocky attitude since I though he was trying to throw this debate off course.

    Sorry for the confusion, like anybody I have my faults.

  5. #25
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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taras Bulba
    Paganism and folk religion are not the same, although paganism is a form of folk religion but is not the only form. Christianity on the other hand combines organized religion with folk religion(theres elements of both within it). As Fletcher and others explain, this was one advantage Christianity had over paganism.
    No, youre right they aren't the same as you're using the word. I was referring to the origins of the word "pagan" as referring to the beliefs of rural people. Folk religion is simply these decentralised aspects of spiritual life, which aren't under centralised control. Id argue that Christianity arrived at a period of state formation in the north, where the indigenous, more purely folkish shamanism was developing into a statist, organised religion. (A similar thing happened in Japan, where Shinto developed from shamanic origin.) This was the development of the cult of Gaut.

    The Gaut cult is itself a good demonstration of the difference between organised and folk religions, because it was a religious basis for the rule of Kings and exclusive to the ruling class. The folk religion remained the devotion to the old fertility cults. It shows how the Germanic equivalent to the Celtic fairy faith survived the replacement of this organised cult of Gaut by the Christian religion.

    I do know in Russian folkore, theres stories of Saints taking on the old pagan deities and defeating them(for example St. Andrew, the patron of sailors taking on the old pagan god of the seas), thus proving the superiority of the Christian faith. Im sure these kinds of stories were not restricted to Russia. This does in a way weaken the argument the people just simply adopted Christianized versions of their old gods.
    These stories certainly aren't restricted to the East Slavs, indeed, theyre prominent in Celtic and Germanic folklore. However I don't think the presence of this motif changes the continuity of the localised cults of saints with the older pre-Christian figures.

    Actually Adrian Hastings disputes this when he compares the Christian and Islamic attitudes towards local customs. Christianity seeks to Christianize the local culture, Islam often results in Arabising it as well. This certainly happened in Egypt, where the remanents of the old culture of Pharonic times was preserved by the Coptic Church, which is Egypt's native Christian church. In fact the church to this day both preserves the customs of mummification and the old Pharonic language in its liturgy.

    There is folk religion in Islam, but its often Arabic in nature especially in the Middle East. In other regions where it exist, its probably due to the fact the Arab armies didnt conquer and arabised the societies. But Hastings also notes another exception in Turkey. So yes, as Aristotle said, a rule is always defined by its exceptions.
    Christianity and Islam have different attitudes to folk cultures, but the distinction between folk belief and centralised religion is found in all societies with centralised religion.

    In at least some Islamic regions, the old cults were tolerated where they weren't a threat to Islamic rule, including in Egypt. Although Islamic sources didn't write much about folk religions, the worship of the older gods is attested to in Islamic Egypt according to Frew. Its not known what eventually happened to the cults there, but to the west in the Islamic Maghreb, French anthropologists have made attempts to reconstruct the Berber pantheon from Berber folk religion.

    I dont know much about folk religion in Turkey, but I imagine a similar folk religion exists to that in Greece where a belief in the Dryads continued at least until the 20th century. The problem is finding the English translations from the foreign languages that the anthropology is usually written in.

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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    I am not a religious thinker as you people certainly are but it seems to me that there are two discussions going on here. One is the over, correct religious politics of the state and the other is the folk understanding as expounded by Atlanto-Med.

    Mexico is a great example of a nation Roman Catholic on the surface, yet pre-Christian underneath and down deep. Even in America we have Santa Claus (a Sami shaman on a raindeer sled) and the Christmas tree (a rememberance of Germanic or perhaps pre-Germanic forest spirits). Nobody, no offical church, ever scantioned Santa Claus or the Chiristmas tree here in the USA. It just happened as our folk tradition.

    In the same way, the Christian church (all of them) have had to accept and incorporate certain pre-christian traditions into their faith to accomodate the local people, where ever they are.

    This goes beyond religion. Law is the same way. We have Christian (Jewish) statue law based on the big 10 and we have folk law, (Common Law in Britain and the USA) based on something older.

    This goes further. Our morals now come from two directions, the old Indo-European ways as seen in Homer for example and the newer Christian ways.

    People of European ancestry have a split personality. Sometimes, this split is apparent and opposite to each other. This creates problems and conflict in laws, morals and cutoms. I say go with the older European ways. It go us this far after 40,000 years.

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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Since I dont have all my sources available, I'll counter what I can at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by atlanto-med
    No, youre right they aren't the same as you're using the word. I was referring to the origins of the word "pagan" as referring to the beliefs of rural people.
    Alright.

    Folk religion is simply these decentralised aspects of spiritual life, which aren't under centralised control.
    True, such aspects are not the monopoly of paganism however.

    These stories certainly aren't restricted to the East Slavs, indeed, theyre prominent in Celtic and Germanic folklore. However I don't think the presence of this motif changes the continuity of the localised cults of saints with the older pre-Christian figures.
    Actually it does. I think you're mistaking direct continuity with shift to a parallel belief. Both Christianity and paganism have folk religious elements. Through my studies of folk religions around the world, they bear strong resemblences to each other in many key areas. It would not be hard for say a Mongolian shaman to find similarities among his African counterparts, or even European shamans. Of course there are differences, but they're largely local.

    This is related to the issue of similarities between Christianity and many Classicial pagan mystery cults, yet as many scholars we often mistake similarities automatically as one copying the other. Yet this is not exactly the case.

    So what we probably saw was the pagans switching from worshipping their local deities to more or less their Christian counter-parts. Does this mean the Christians copied the pagans? No, not exactly. It means the Christians had a belief that paralleled what the pagans already worshipped.

    Now I prefer the term localization to paganization, because thats where the real influence took place. Folk Christianity as a folk religion would certainly have similarities with paganism(another form of folk religion), so I think we're mistaking similarities with one copying the other. Rather the local varients of this folk religion influenced how folk Christianity took hold. Timothy Joyce in his book on Celtic Christianity explained this well about the Christianization of the Celts. For example, poets and bards were well respected in pre-Christian Celtic society, this continued into Christian days. Celtic folk religion was very mystical in nature, so Celtic folk Christian would be so as well. This isnt paganization per se, but more localization. Druids were the high spiritual leaders of Celtic society, so under Celtic folk Christianity priests took on the roles previously held by Druids and Christ himself was referred to as the "Chief Druid" of them all. This isnt paganization, its fitting folk Christianity to local customs and traditions.

    Christianity and Islam have different attitudes to folk cultures, but the distinction between folk belief and centralised religion is found in all societies with centralised religion.
    True, although the more appropiate term would be "organized" religion, for centralization is not necessarily a requirement for organized religion. The Catholic church for example was often very decentralized, as is the Orthodox Church.

    In at least some Islamic regions, the old cults were tolerated where they weren't a threat to Islamic rule, including in Egypt.
    This was the case with Christianity as well.

    “The sense of a pagan past which had been irrevocably defeated led to a certain tolerance of legacies from the classical world. Pagan monuments had lost their power to disturb Christians. To take a small example: the statues of Augustus and Livia continued to stand in the civic center of Ephesus, but they now had the sign of the Cross discreetly carved on their foreheads…..Yet Eastern Christians were undisturbed by the existence in their midst of considerable pockets of paganism.”
    --Peter Brown The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity AD 200-1000 Pg.149


    Although Islamic sources didn't write much about folk religions, the worship of the older gods is attested to in Islamic Egypt according to Frew. Its not known what eventually happened to the cults there, but to the west in the Islamic Maghreb, French anthropologists have made attempts to reconstruct the Berber pantheon from Berber folk religion.
    To be honest, Im not entirely familar with this. Since by the time the Islamic armies arrived in Egypt Christianity was the major faith at the time. There was a thing on the History Channel Egypt: Land of the Gods that was about how the pagan(Pharonic), Christian, and Islamic faiths all interacted in Egypt's history.

    It was interesting how the old Pharonic belief in how evil spirits dwelled in the desert possibily lead to how St. Anthony decided to do battle with the Devil in the deserts.

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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Solar Wolff
    I am not a religious thinker as you people certainly are
    Well since you're honest in admitting your faults on this questions, for theres much I find problem with.

    but it seems to me that there are two discussions going on here. One is the over, correct religious politics of the state and the other is the folk understanding as expounded by Atlanto-Med.
    What? As I will explain further, Im as much defending folk religion as Atlanto-Med is. He's defending folk paganism, Im defending folk Christianity.

    Mexico is a great example of a nation Roman Catholic on the surface, yet pre-Christian underneath and down deep.
    Not true really. What we're seeing is how folk Christianity merged with the already existing folk religion of the natives. I've already argued against this approach when concerning the Celts, about how Christianity was nothing more than a gloss over their paganism.

    Nobody, no offical church, ever scantioned Santa Claus or the Chiristmas tree here in the USA. It just happened as our folk tradition.
    Yes, and theres nothing wrong with this. St. Paul defended folk traditions within the faith, and the Apostles decided it was wrong to impose the folk customs of one people over another within the Christian community.

    In the same way, the Christian church (all of them) have had to accept and incorporate certain pre-christian traditions into their faith to accomodate the local people, where ever they are.
    This is where the problem is emerging, that everykind of folk tradition that existed under Christian Europe somehow has some connection to paganism. Thats not necessarily the case. Christianity is both an organised and a folk religion. Its folk religious element certainly had similarities between the folk religion of the pagans, this is true if you compare most folk religions to each other. That doesnt mean one copied the other.

    This is one thing I cannot stand, that somehow folk Christianity is not a legitmate folk religion but merely some pathetic copy-cat of paganism. That is not the case. And sadly I(along with other Christians) have to battle a two-front war: one against Christians who are opposed to folk Christianity and pagans who wish to steal our folk religious heritage away and claim it as their own.

    In fact the whole notion of Folk Christianity being merely a copy-cat of folk paganism comes from Protestants who sought to destroy the rich heritage of the Catholic Church. Somehow praying to Mary equalled the prayers to mother goddesses. NONSENSE! Devotion to the saints somehow became equalled to the worship of pagan deities. Rubbish! Protestants(and many lackeys of theirs in liberal Catholicism) have for the past few hundred years launched a full frontal assault on the rich heritage of folk Christianity.

    And then came the neo-pagans who in order to try to reclaim their heritage came instead to try to steal our heritage. They often repeat the same Protestant lies about how our own folk religious heritage was merely a copy-cat of their previous pagan folk religion. When in fact, its probably they're mistaking similarities as one copying the other. Now was there some pagan(more appropiately local, but oh well) influence? Yes there was, but it was minimal. It was minimal because pagan influence for the most wasnt necessary, folk religions(whether pagan or Christian) bear strong resemblences to each other anyways. The "pagan" influenced was merely to make folk Christianity more localized.

    If pagans want to reclaim their heritage, fine. But keep your hands off our folk religious heritage, its legitmately ours not yours! We're not claiming Odin or any of your gods as our own, dont claim our Virgin Mother or our saints as yours!

  9. #29
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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taras Bulba
    Actually it does. I think you're mistaking direct continuity with shift to a parallel belief. Both Christianity and paganism have folk religious elements. Through my studies of folk religions around the world, they bear strong resemblences to each other in many key areas. It would not be hard for say a Mongolian shaman to find similarities among his African counterparts, or even European shamans. Of course there are differences, but they're largely local.
    On the contrary the shaman belt is purely of a Eurasian origin, there aren't African shamen because authentic Shamanism is rooted in the northern Eurasian landscape, and then it reached the Americas. In addition, many of the more generally Eurasian motifs are absent from most of subsaharan Africa, as well as Australasia and parts of the Americas.

    This is related to the issue of similarities between Christianity and many Classicial pagan mystery cults, yet as many scholars we often mistake similarities automatically as one copying the other. Yet this is not exactly the case.
    Im not sure I understand this, because the very origins of Christianity are in the Hellenistic east among the other Mysteries there and sharing the same Eastern Mediterranean themes with the cults.

    So what we probably saw was the pagans switching from worshipping their local deities to more or less their Christian counter-parts. Does this mean the Christians copied the pagans? No, not exactly. It means the Christians had a belief that paralleled what the pagans already worshipped.
    The most relevent to us of the Christian cults in the north, were the ones of purely local saints, which rules out a foreign introduction and besides the Roman cults hadn't caught on in the north among the local population. In the past the Celts and Germanic subjects of Rome hadn't been responsive to the Mediterranean religions, they was just too foreign to the north.

    Now I prefer the term localization to paganization, because thats where the real influence took place. Folk Christianity as a folk religion would certainly have similarities with paganism(another form of folk religion), so I think we're mistaking similarities with one copying the other. Rather the local varients of this folk religion influenced how folk Christianity took hold. Timothy Joyce in his book on Celtic Christianity explained this well about the Christianization of the Celts. For example, poets and bards were well respected in pre-Christian Celtic society, this continued into Christian days. Celtic folk religion was very mystical in nature, so Celtic folk Christian would be so as well. This isnt paganization per se, but more localization. Druids were the high spiritual leaders of Celtic society, so under Celtic folk Christianity priests took on the roles previously held by Druids and Christ himself was referred to as the "Chief Druid" of them all. This isnt paganization, its fitting folk Christianity to local customs and traditions.
    I dont think theres a difference between paganization and localization here, because both words explain differences between northern and Mediterranean Christianity by reference to existing cultural differences. I feel that almost everyone agrees that organised Christianity wasn't paganised, however people considering themselves to be Christian did continue practices and beliefs outside those of organised religion. Ive explained that I think this is about the different definitions of paganism which were using, and the folk religion was outside both Christianity and the cult of Gaut, and that the nature of folk religion is independent from organised religions.
    Last edited by morfrain_encilgar; Thursday, November 11th, 2004 at 07:57 PM.

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    Post Re: How 'pagan' was Norse paganism?

    Quote Originally Posted by atlanto-med
    On the contrary the shaman belt is purely of a Eurasian origin, there aren't African shamen because authentic Shamanism is rooted in the northern Eurasian landscape, and then it reached the Americas.
    :eyes Are you sure theres no shamanism in Africa?

    http://www.themystica.com/mystica/ar...shamanism.html

    Evidence of shamanism has been found globally in isolated regions of the Americas, Asia, Africa, regions of Europe and Australia.


    Vodou and Santeria are considered forms of African shamanism that came to the Americas with slaves. Of course I have an interesting article about the relationship between vodou and catholicism, which is somewhat relevant here.

    In addition, many of the more generally Eurasian motifs are absent from most of subsaharan Africa, as well as Australasia and parts of the Americas.
    :eyes Nice strawman, I clearly stated there were differences between shamanism based on local cultural traditions.

    Im not sure I understand this, because the very origins of Christianity are in the Hellenistic east among the other Mysteries there and sharing the same Eastern Mediterranean themes with the cults.
    True, and many in the ancient world mistook Christianity as another mystery cult. But the charge Christianity borrowed elements or is based off these mystery cults is unfounded. Much of what Christianity "borrowed" was more artistic or cultural in nature. Or example, its charged that Christianity took halos and angels from these mystery cults. Not true, both can be found in the Bible. What Christianity did borrowed however, is how angels and halos are artistically depicted. This was not uncommon in the ancient world, however.


    The most relevent to us of the Christian cults in the north, were the ones of purely local saints, which rules out a foreign introduction and besides the Roman cults hadn't caught on in the north among the local population. In the past the Celts and Germanic subjects of Rome hadn't been responsive to the Mediterranean religions, they was just too foreign to the north.
    [

    This doesnt refute what I said. I clearly said that folk Christianity adopted itself to the local customs of the people to the north.

    I dont think theres a difference between paganization and localization here
    Beacause to the pagan there is no difference. Locality and spirituality are one of the same. Christianity on the other hand disagrees, spirituality and locality are not the same although they can be closely related. After all as Paul said "theres neither Greek nor Jew" before Christ; that means Christianity does not restrict its membership(as many mystery cults and other paganisms did) on basis of ethnicity/locality.

    I feel that almost everyone agrees that organised Christianity wasn't paganised, however people considering themselves to be Christian did continue practices and beliefs outside those of organised religion.
    Indeed, as I keep saying Christianity is both an organized and folk religion. Paganism is largely a folk religion but not organized. Fletcher explains thats one reason why Christianity one, because it had the union and discipline of organized religion to overcome the varied and divided paganisms; yet at the same time incorpated the folk religious elements that were held dear to pagans. They switched from one form of folk religion(paganism) to another (folk Christianity).

    I've even dealt with this earlier with Ted Olsen's book on the the Christianization of the Celts.

    "Romanticists were quick to assert that Celtic Christianity has much in common with pre-Christian Celtic beliefs. This belief actually began with the assertion that Celtic pagans 'had a religion so extremely like Christianity that in effect it differed from it only in this: they believe in a Messiah who was to come into the world, as we believe in him that is to come'. Modelled on Christian priests, the druids became described as the white-robed peacemongers so recognizable today."
    --Ted Olsen Christianity and the Celts pg.173

    However, lately the attempt has been to argue the opposite happened.


    "By the end of the 1800's, the Romanticists had switched the order - Christianity was a mere gloss on Celtic paganism. In a movement that WB Yeats called the "Celtic Twilight", writers emphasized the Celts' love of nature over their love of Christ. Pantheism, not Christianity, was the true Celtic creed. Bradley notes that when George Russell wrote of Ireland 'long ago known as the sacred isle', he was not referring to the works of Patrick but to the fact that 'the gods lived there'....The Celtic Twilight movement influenced the world's view of Celtic Christianity, but not everybody bought into its pantheistic views. What stuck were notions that the Celts had been ecologically minded, gentle, and at least friendly to the pagans they encountered....The Celtic Twilight movement's pro-pagan and syncretistic attitues never set. Instead, many of today's books on the Celts - even ones focusing on Celtic spirituality after the acceptance of Christianity - can be found in the neo-pagan, mythology, or New Age sections of bookstores. It it rarely these books have been wrongly shelved. 'Far from rejecting their old religion, the Christian Celts continuned to hold it in the deepest respect, absorbing many of its ideals and attitudes, symbols and rituals, into their new faith', wrote Anglican priest Robert Van de Weyer in Celtic Fire....De-emphasizing the Christianity of Christian Celts has allowed these recent writers, like so many of their past revivalists, to emphasize their own agendas."
    --inbid pg.173;178

    This is not only the case with the Celts, but with European Christianity altogether.

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