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Thread: Is Paganism A Viable Alternative? @Leofric

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    Is Paganism A Viable Alternative? @Leofric

    Well at long last, Ive finally been able to get back to a topic Ive been meaning to touch on for some time. Forgive me for my late reply, and forgive me more for not being to touch completely on this issue at this time. This will be a work in progress. I hope you were not looking for a quick simple answer, cause I dont have one. There are too many angles which to deal with this issue.

    In another thread, Leofric asked the following questions. I decided to start another thread, since it'd be more appropriate than answering it in the original:

    While I agree with you about Christianity in the main, I wonder whether it might be possible for an alternative faith to unify the society. Could, for example, resurgent Aryan (IE) paganism unify the society?

    Now I'm not trying to say that Paganism is in a position to be able to do it any time soon — this is mainly a thought exercise for our generation. Perhaps in some future generation things might change, but for now it's clearly Christianity or dissolution.

    But in terms of the thought exercise, it seems to me that any faith (or group of faiths that are reasonably similar — which is what we see in contemporary Christianity) could serve the same unifying purpose. And it seems to me that Aryan paganism is sufficiently similar in all its various forms to do that.

    What do you think?
    Ok, well let's begin with the first question. Could a resurgent "Aryan paganism" emerge to unify our society? Yes, it's possible. But is it probable? Yes as well.

    But that's not really the issue. The real issue at hand is what form of "Aryan paganism" could or would have to emerge in order to fufill this role. Not only that, what form of social unity would this "Aryan paganism" support, and is it even desirable. Then of course, what does all this have to say about the general situation of Christianity and how can Christianity respond to this. And so on. As I said, this is not a simple issue being discussed here.

    Perhaps I should first mention that perhaps one of the finest Christian analysis on the rise of neo-paganism can be found within Hilaire Belloc's Survivals and New Arrivals:
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/SURVIV.HTM#5

    Although written in 1929, it's still impressive how accurate his words are. And of course, I will within the course of this discussion hope to build upon his analysis. However, I will not be quoting him word for word. Much of what Im about to write I can about through some independent analysis of my own.

    Alright, let's start from the top. What form of paganism would have to emerge in order to able to unify our society, and by extension serve as a viable alternative to Christianity?

    Well the fact of the matter is Christianity is part of Europe's heritage and has been so for 2000 years. Many neo-pagans will violently try to deny this, but it is unmistakable fact. Not only has it been part of Europe's heritage in the past, it will continue to be an influence well into the future.

    Neo-pagans will often like to claim that the old faith never really died in Europe, even when it was officially Christian. That is true to an extent, although the way they explain is often totally inaccurate. Basically many of the pre-Christian traditions and customs were incorporated into the practice of the Christian faith. Now why is this relevant?

    Well according to the fantasies of many supporters of a pagan revival, they make it sound like that Christianity was nothing more than a bad dream and that it's influence can just easily be brushes aside. And of course they're completely wrong. Just as paganism didnt completely die, Christianity is not going to completely die even if paganism did become the major religion once again.

    We do have a historical precendent for this in early Medieval Britain, as you can read below:

    “Nor had Christianity vanished entirely from the Saxon areas of Britain. The Saxons of eastern Britain were overtly pagan. But this did not exclude considerable ‘subliminal’ awareness of Christianity. They had ‘Welsh’ slaves, and, in many areas, pagan Saxon lords controlled a peasantry for whom Christianity had survived, even without an organized clergy, as a ‘folk religion’. Such ‘folk Christianity’, practiced by the conquered people, was largely invisible to outsiders. Irish Christians in Iona wrote of the ‘whole of the land of Saxons’ as ‘darkened by the shadow of heathendom and ignorance.’ The monks sent by Gregory evidently felt the same. Yet, when Augustine finally arrived in Kent, in 597, he soon learned that the shrine of a local Christian martyr, called Sixtus, was visited by the Britons of Kent. The shrine dated from Roman times. The Britons themselves knew little about the martyr; but they had continued to worship at his grave. What Augustine encountered was a humbled, but recognizable, remnant of what had once been a community of Romano-British Christians. Such communities must have existed elsewhere, in other parts of ‘Saxon’ Britain.”
    --Peter Brown The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity AD 200-1000 pg. 341-2

    So yes, at the very least residues of the Christian faith will remain within European culture. Of course that's being overly optimistic for the Pagan perspective.

    This is all assuming for a moment that Christianity is actually on the verge of dying. This pagan, for one, is skeptical of that possibility:
    http://www.winterscapes.com/sannion/anti-christian.htm

    Perhaps the most annoying thing that [Pagans] prattle on about is the immanant death of the Church, and how we will take its place.

    People have been predicting an end to Christianity for about two hundred years now. When the Soviet States were in power, it looked like they might have succeeded in banishing the spectral form of Christ from their world. But Communism collapsed, and the Church has returned with a vengeance. Church attendance is up in the United States. In India, Africa, and South America, they are making thousands of converts every day. Though given a run for it's money by Islam and to a lesser extant Buddhism - the Church is definitely not dying.
    Interesting enough, the last sentence also touches onto another issue we'll be discussing here. However, one thing at a time. Yes, Christianity is not dying, and I've posted plenty of articles and reports here demonstrating that this is not so, even in Europe. As this pagan commentator further notes: "If we bet on the demise of Christ, if we set ourselves up as the Enemies of the Church, if we make it an issue of Us and Them - we are going to lose."

    Again, this touches upon another issue that will hopefully be further discussed as I go along with this. But yes, he is absolutely clear that going head on against Christianity will not get paganism anywhere. Just as the Christians had to come to terms with pagan residues, so too will the pagans have to come to terms with Christian residues.

    So if a viable pagan alternative to Christianity is to emerge, it will largely in one or two forms. Either 1) a heavily paganized version of Christianity or 2) a paganism with a distinctly Christian element to it.

    A perfect example of the first form is what we currently see within the Da Vinci Code phenomea. Basically Brown tries to protray early Christianity as a movement more aligned with other forms of paganism - and which had Mary Magdelene serving as a Mother-Goddess figure.

    Of course this all ties into the wider Neo-Gnostic movement, which seeks to transform mainstream Christianity by using the Nag Hammadi library as their guide as to what "authentic Christianity" looked like. Now there's considerable support for this variation of Christianity to be found within many neo-pagan circles, and Philip Jenkins even makes note of this tendency in his book Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way(which btw is an excellent book that exposes the fraud behind the misuse of the Gnostic texts).

    In fact I've found many distinct parallels between the Neo-Gnostics and many varients of Neo-Paganism. However, I may have to hold off on that for now.

    Anyways....moving on.

    A perfect example of the second form is what we find within the New Age movement. Jesus is not rejected outright, but rather incorporated. He is seen as one of the many great spiritual teachers who ever lived. Jesus is placed on the same level as say Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Ghandi, and many others.

    These are the two basic forms of Neo-Paganism that can arise and present a viable alternative to Christianity. And as we have seen, they most certainly are giving us a run for our money as the pagan above noted. But again, the wider significance of that remark will still have to be addressed later.

    Well I think this will be the conclusion to part one of this series. Stay tune for part II!

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    This begs the question - "alternative" to what?

    This questioner is seeking a Faith to "unify the society".

    I ask another fundamental question - what "society"?

    Now it may be true that Roman Catholicism unified Europe and her colonies at one time, the time when this 'unified' enity was called "Christendom" [usually by outsiders].

    The great H Belloc goes as far as to say that 'Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe'.
    For Belloc Roman Catholicism was 'The Faith'.

    However, we know that with the split of the eastern Orthodox church from Rome, and then the Protestant Reformation and its own split from Rome in more recent times, that Christianity itself is not unified.

    And this is before we start to look at all the other spiritual alternatives which have joined the market-place for spiritual wares.

    And what of the paganism/heathenism which pre-dates 'The Faith' in Europe?

    Did that paganism ever unite anything?

    In fact it is the very nature of Aryan paganism that it does not intend to 'unite' anyone.
    It is non-universalist and takes the ethic of struggle to its heart.

    The pagan does not want to make a universal peace under one God and saviour - let's not forget that 'catholic' means universal.

    The Faith believes that it was Our Lord's intention that the whole of 'mankind' should believe in Him.

    Paganism wants nothing of the kind.

    Indeed, pagans [true pagans] desire to have enemies and opponents!

    So if you are looking for a 'unifying' religion, you would have to be mad to put forward paganism.

    And while Catholicism is a unifying type of religion [and was made to achieve that], Christianity herself is in a parlous state of disunification.

    Unless the Pope can work a few miracles.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    This begs the question - "alternative" to what?
    To Christianity

    This questioner is seeking a Faith to "unify the society".
    Yes and we're talking about whether or not Paganism can unify Europe the way Christianity can.

    I ask another fundamental question - what "society"?
    European society.

    In fact it is the very nature of Aryan paganism that it does not intend to 'unite' anyone.
    Yes and no. Basically paganism supports one of two extreme options: the polis or the cosmopolis(world society). Now the polis is a Classical attribute, but the non-Classical tribe fits into this category just fine.

    Within paganism we saw either petty-tribalism or a desire to create a universal society.

    Christianity on the other hand, goes against both extremes. It tends to favor that tribes of a similar culture unite(as did the 12 tribes of Israel did to forge a mighty nation). And yet each tribe, nation, etc should also realise that they're part of a greater whole as well. So rather than giving a choice between extreme particularism or extreme universalism, Christianity cuts middle ground and seeks to combine the two.

    It is non-universalist and takes the ethic of struggle to its heart.
    Actually quite the contrary....Classical paganism was very much universalist. This was the driving motivation behind Alexander the Great's conquests and the Roman Empire.

    The pagan does not want to make a universal peace under one God and saviour
    That would only apply to non-Classical pagans.

    - let's not forget that 'catholic' means universal.
    I already explained this to you in another thread.


    So if you are looking for a 'unifying' religion, you would have to be mad to put forward paganism.
    Yes that basically is my point.

    Now will let me finish my piece?

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    Quote Originally Posted by Taras Bulba View Post
    Basically paganism supports one of two extreme options: the polis or the cosmopolis(world society).
    You are ignoring tribal paganism, as found amongst the Germanic, Celtic and Slavic tribes etc.,

    As this is a Germanic Forum, the main interest here would be on Germanic Heathenism - a tribal religion which has nothing to do with the classical polis and is quite inimical to it.

    Christianity on the other hand, goes against both extremes.
    You have completely ignored my points [which are very important in this context] about the disunity of Christianity!

    You speak as if the great Schisms and the Reformation hadn't happened!

    Living 'next door' to Northern Ireland, I know that the conflict between Protestant & Catholic is very real.

    So let's get real here.

    Classical paganism was very much universalist. This was the driving motivation behind Alexander the Great's conquests and the Roman Empire.
    That would only apply to non-Classical pagans.
    And it is non-classical pagans who are the most important issue here on Skadi.

    Do you really believe that the Germanic peoples will be unified by Greco-Roman Classical Paganism?!?

    I already explained this to you in another thread.
    'Catholic': from Greek katholikos, universal.
    from kata 'by' & holos, 'whole'.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless View Post
    You are ignoring tribal paganism, as found amongst the Germanic, Celtic and Slavic tribes etc.
    Not I didnt....I even made that clear:
    Basically paganism supports one of two extreme options: the polis or the cosmopolis(world society). Now the polis is a Classical attribute, but the non-Classical tribe fits into this category just fine.
    The polis was basically the Classical counter-part to the tribe, except in a more urban-based way.

    As this is a Germanic Forum, the main interest here would be on Germanic Heathenism
    Leofric was asking me about paganism generally. In fact in the original thread from which I quoted he made mention about Hinduism and Indian civilization. And both Hinudism and Indian civilization have been of interest to many people here, as one can tell by reading many posts by Blood Axis at the very least.

    You have completely ignored my points [which are very important in this context] about the disunity of Christianity!
    Im well aware of the disunity of Christianity, even within the Catholic sphere(both theological and cultural).

    You speak as if the great Schisms and the Reformation hadn't happened!
    No Im not. In fact I was going to address those issues as I move along in this discussion.

    And it is non-classical pagans who are the most important issue here on Skadi.
    Classical paganism has been discussed here before, so Im not breaking new grounds. Besides Im taking in the different varieties of paganism as much as possible. Im not basing neo-paganism purely on its Classical revival forms.

    Do you really believe that the Germanic peoples will be unified by Greco-Roman Classical Paganism?!?
    If the Germans were conquered by the Romans, it would have been possible. I do know that by the later days of the Roman Empire, many German tribes of the Ostrogoths pretty much were worshipping the Greeco-Roman gods, or at least dressed their own gods up as such.

    'Catholic': from Greek katholikos, universal.
    from kata 'by' & holos, 'whole'.
    Universal does not mean uniform...as I already made clear to you.

    Take this quote from Regino of Prum's Chronicon, which he wrote around the year 900 A.D.:

    "Just as different peoples(diversae nations populorum) differ between themselves in descent, manners, language and laws(genere, moribus, lingua, legibus) so the holy and universal church throughout the world, although joined in the unity of the faith nevertheless varies its ecclesiastical customs among them."

    So the universality of the Church does not in any way conflict with parochial loyalties.

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    I think the form of paganism that would take hold is Germanic Heathenry. It is the obvious choice given that Germanic culture had dominated for centuries. There really are no alternatives to it within neo-pagan religions. It has the most advanced philosophy, provides a viable alternative to Christian theology and morality, and most are at least familiar with the mythology. This makes it more viable than other neo-pagan movements like Wicca, or minority neo-pagan movements (I mean minority in the idea that few follow, not in racial terms).

    Now as to the residue of Christianity. Many beliefs within Northern European mythology come from Germanic paganism, others will easily translate. For example, angels =Waelcyrgin or Valkyries. The primary things that will be gone are the obvious. Christ will be just another philosopher, not a messiah. The idea of forgiveness will be gone replaced with scyld, the idea one is indebted to anyone they wrong, and must pay them back in order to hope for "salvation." The concept of Heaven will remain, although changed, as will Hell. Overall, due to the adaptability of the concepts, the impact of Christianity will be minimum.

    The primary question is whether or not it will provide unity. Probably not. Modern Heathenry consists of Universialists, Folkish, Racialists, Odinists, Asatruar, Theodsmen.... and that is only with about 20,000 or so adherents. Imagine what the division will be like with millions. However, Christianity has as much disunity so this may not be much of a change.

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    Hopefully when I have time I'll finish the rest of my piece. I apologize, much has gotten in the way. For some reason, Ive been lacking of energy for the past year or so.

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    Quote Originally Posted by Osmaegen View Post
    I think the form of paganism that would take hold is Germanic Heathenry. It is the obvious choice given that Germanic culture had dominated for centuries. .
    Dominated what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Osmaegen View Post
    There really are no alternatives to it within neo-pagan religions. It has the most advanced philosophy, provides a viable alternative to Christian theology and morality, and most are at least familiar with the mythology..
    I am quite sure the Mythology of Hellas/Latium is just as, if not better known to the common man. Are you really serious that the barbarian Germans had a better developed and more advanced form of philosophy? Better than the Hellenes? Romans? Most doubtful.

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    Quote Originally Posted by Veritas Aequitas View Post
    Dominated what?
    The world scene. I am including English under the heading of Germanic btw


    Quote Originally Posted by Veritas Aequitas View Post
    I am quite sure the Mythology of Hellas/Latium is just as, if not better known to the common man. Are you really serious that the barbarian Germans had a better developed and more advanced form of philosophy? Better than the Hellenes? Romans? Most doubtful.
    True more probably know Greek mythology better, but the Norse/Germanic is not unknown. As for more advanced form of philosophy, I am not counting the Greek philosophers as they were skeptical of their religion at best. Too, I am not including Germanic philosophers either. I am working on the religions at their core beliefs. Unless, you have studied ancient Germanic religion you are unlikely to know its complexity and likely to write it off as being simple or barbaric. This is not true, as it was very well developed esp. when taking in account beliefs in the afterlife, such things as Wyrd (compare to karma), and its moral system. In comparasion, the Greek religion was a convoluted mass of sometimes conflicting beliefs. One would have to go to the Hellenic religion of Homer to find consistency.

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    Re: Is paganism a viable alternative? @Leofric

    Quote Originally Posted by Taras Bulba View Post
    Classical paganism was very much universalist. This was the driving motivation behind Alexander the Great's conquests and the Roman Empire.
    Alexander's Hellenistic culture was a universalisation of the particularist culture of the ancient Greeks, so it is not the same [and Alexander as a Macedonian was regarded as a barbarian by Greeks].
    This Hellenistic culture also influenced [in the similar thrust towards Empire] the Roman version of Greek paganism which tended to a syncretism and universalism not found amongst the ancient Greeks who coined the term 'barbarian' for outsiders.

    Paganism in its Aryan version is anti-universalist;

    "As an ideal at the end of history, the Bible aspires to 'universal peace'. These words of Isaiah are inscribed in enormous letters on the front of the UN building in New York ..."
    [de Benoist, 'On Being a Pagan' page 142]

    Whereas;

    "European paganism rests on an antagonistic pluralism of values".
    [ib., p 144]

    Quote Originally Posted by Taras Bulba View Post
    The polis was basically the Classical counter-part to the tribe, except in a more urban-based way.
    That's a huge "except"!
    The way of life led by the Germanic heathens in their forests makes a complete contrast with that of their contemporaries in the Classical city-state, or polis.
    To call them "counter-parts" [in the sense that they were both the modes of living used at the time by each party] should not be used to imply that there was any kind of immediate similarity between them.


    Leofric was asking me about paganism generally. In fact in the original thread from which I quoted he made mention about Hinduism and Indian civilization. And both Hinudism and Indian civilization have been of interest to many people here, as one can tell by reading many posts by Blood Axis at the very least.
    That's why I asked you the initial questions; - 'to unify "what"?'
    You replied "Europe"!

    Any question of European unity and paganism on this forum will tend to shine the spotlight on Germanic Heathenism.


    Im well aware of the disunity of Christianity, even within the Catholic sphere(both theological and cultural).
    And yet you claim that Christianity can 'unify' "Europe", when Christianity itself is bitterly divided!

    In fact I was going to address those issues as I move along in this discussion.
    Let's bring them in now!

    The Great Schism of 1054 which split the Eastern Orthodox church from the Roman Church.
    Or the Papal Schism from 1378 to 1415 which saw Europe with three popes!
    And of course, the Protestant Reformation beginning in the early 16th century which saw a further major disunification within Christianity.

    How can Europeans seriously look to 'the Church' for unity - which 'church'?


    If the Germans were conquered by the Romans, it would have been possible. I do know that by the later days of the Roman Empire, many German tribes of the Ostrogoths pretty much were worshipping the Greeco-Roman gods, or at least dressed their own gods up as such.
    The Reformation itself showed that the great majority of Germanic peoples will never accept subjugation by Rome, whether it be temporal or spiritual.

    Universal does not mean uniform...as I already made clear to you.
    I didn't say "uniform", I said "universal";

    "For the first thousand years after Christ, the church was catholic (universal) & unified. With the Great Schism of 1054" such unity was brought to an end. [Dictionary of the Bible]

    Take this quote from Regino of Prum's Chronicon, which he wrote around the year 900 A.D.:
    So the universality of the Church does not in any way conflict with parochial loyalties.
    So why the crusades against paganism and Christian heretics?

    And are the Orthodox and Protestant churches just "parochial loyalties"?
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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