To me that is an insult.
To me that is like acknowledging that heathen (or pagan) really means “Hick” or “yokl”.
I am always surprised and get kind of a LARP vibe when i read things like “our folk ways”.
Their “indignation” dumbs my customs down. They really have more in common with snake handling Christians (not to be Christian bashing ) than anything that feels “Norse”.
These people belong in a heavy metal video.
I am straight but i am also educated and my mother is not married to her brother.
I belive in active studies (of academic material), a living custom through folklore and adapting to modern society while reconstructing.
In short, i am a modern Scandinavian, NOT some “Viking warrior” with a need to preserve my “folk” (“they”, regardless of how you count, seem to be doing just fine).
I am simply a person doing my best to live according to a custom such as it presents itself through academia, scientific disciplines (history, archeology, anthropology, linguistics,etymology, semiotics and so on ) ,my own culture and folklore and some philosophical and theological speculation on my own part.
Some of them are Scandinavian. I´m willing to bet they stay clear of blóts of a more mainstream (in lack of a better term) nature.
They would be verbally (at least) and intellectually bitch slapped by pretty much any follower of the custom i´ve known.
The only threat i see to Norse culture and heritage are these circus clowns.
How can anyone take heathenry seriously with these around?
1: Have a feeling of saving those of other opinions.
Since they have the “truth” it is ok to persecute those who disagree, bombarding them with argument after argument until they give up, not because they are convinced but because they are tired and overwhelmed.
Imagine living in Catholic Europe in the High – Late Middle ages, when everybody was shanting the same poppycock until you either ended up in mortal danger or complied.
Today Atheism (which is not a new idea. There are mentions of atheists in Norse Sagas written in the 1200´s) has taken up a similar role of converting those straying from the straight and narrow to the truth.
Somehow, they have both “gotten” something that the whole rest of the world has missed and now they have to help all the other poor bastards.
And when the numbers of adherents go up that makes them happy (as oppose to many pre Christian, as well as contemporary ,often ethnic,”religions” who couldnt care less about numbers and have no interest in growing for its own sake.).
2: Pretend to be persecuted (by eachother and in general). Just like Pagans in the 60´s blamed it all on the Christians, todays Atheists blame it all on “religion” (a concept that is almost worthless and undefinable by the standards of serious anthropology) and Wingnuts blame it all on the Gay, political left or pretty much anything else.
3: Make easy answers by pointing out the horrors that are the results of whatever they dislike (by a good use of selective viewing. Worked for Nazis since the 1920´s so why not?).
The Christian blaming a lot of things on the lack of morals in society (as if Atheists where less moral???).
In Sweden we have had sexual education since the mid 50´s, naked pictures, diagrams and the whole song and dance.
What country has more teenage pregnancies, Sweden or the US???
The Atheist blaming things on “religion”, as if it was some separate thing in itself ( I would argue that terms like “religion” and “magic” are ethnocentric construcs of a Judeo/ Christian society.).
The fact that Nazi and Communist death camps alone has a body count dwarfing any crusades, suicide bombing or similar must mean that politics and ideology (including democracy) are “evil” and should be abolished too???
4: Narrows down wide topics like belief, the existence of God (or lack of it), ethics and so on to one ontology, one epistomological model and so on.
They then carry on as if it was the “real” way of seeing things / thinking.
For Atheists that would be using materialism as ontological model and approach it only by rationalism and empirism and simply ignoring all other philosophy since the dawn of mankind up till now.
Christians love throwing value conservatism around, declaring society under threat of moral breakdown without their mythology to back it up.
5: Using bogus science to further their agendas and reasoning.
For Atheists it is usually hard sciences. For Christians often soft sciences.
Examples being trying to prove that God (another silly term that means nothing in itself) doesent exist by using physics.
Or trying to actually find Noa´s ark on mount Ararat by launching expeditions and using “archeology”.
The physics in this case arent bogus, only the application of it.
A bit like proving an apple tastes good in inches.
The archeology however is total make belive.
If i where to launch an expedition to a Norwiegian fjord, sending down divers and finding more and more “evidence” that the Hammer of Thor was down there, people would regard me as insane.
6: Insist on using narrow definitions of whatever they attack. Definitions that generally dont fit most of what actually gets implicated in the attack.
Usually “religion” to an Atheist means something resembling Christianity or at least Abrahamic religions.
Historically, monotheism, faith based religions and so on are not the most common (most pre Christian European religions where polytheistic and orthoprax, leaving your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and anything else going on in your head private….usually, it would seem, even from the Gods, them not being omnipotent, omniscient or even necessarily Omnibenevolent .).
The fact that Christianity is so dominating today can be blamed mainly on Constantine II, not on any inherent quality or flaw in the religion(s) itself ( pre Nicean).
In short, by being made a state religion in Rome ( = the known world) it got a head start and a mentality of proselytisazion that other cults generally didnt have.
Pre Christian Rome had a policy (for their own reasons if nothing else) of toleration to the cults in lands they occupied as long as the cult didnt threaten the empire (as was the case with the Jews and the Druids and the pre Nicean “Christians”).
Often foreign cults where even imported and sometimes even incorporated into the main cult.
The same can be said about the Hellenistic world.
There where syncretic cults all over Europe and Northern Africa.
In Norse sagas there are warnings (some of them from the God Odin) about being too “devoted” ( = over sacrificing ).
To compare an Abrahamic cult to an ethnic cult in Papua New Guinea is just silly and childish.
There are a whole bunch of religions that does not have:
*A creator of the world.
*A universe to have been created in the first place.
*Faith as a reqirement.
*Rewards after life.
*Punisment from previous incarnations.
*A central moral.
*Centralized practices or lithurgies.
….and so on and so forth.
Some even blur the borders between religion and philosophy (and can be seen both ways, Buddhism, Daoism, Confusianism, Thelema, Discordianism. The list can be made long.).
Some practices can be seen as spiritual and/or ritualistic and with a heritage from religion and/or culture but has no set belifsystem (or a very broad inclusive one) connected to them (Freemasonry, Yoga, Tantra, Kabbalah, Hermeticism, Neoplatonism. ).
7: Selective historiocity.
Atheists and Christians alike forget that during the High Middle Ages it was Islamic thought that stood in the forefront of science and Christians who where the crazy, uneducated “suicide bombers”.
Much of contemporary chemistry, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, geometry and so on goes back to Islamic thinkers of that time.
Atheists forget that atrocities towards those who have the wrong opinions in countries where Atheism where / are mandated by law makes even the Spanish inquisition seem like a fart in space (Pol Pot, China, Soviet, North Korea and so on).
Pol Pot and his merry Khmer Rouge. All Atheists putting any Inquisitor to shame.
I do agree however that the “political ideologies” of those countries could themself be argued to be religions.
Christians fail to see that there is inherent in the very fabric of their religion to make “all men disciples”.
That is, spiritual and cultural imperialism.
I am, i guess, lucky to live in a country where most people are secular and apotheistic (= dont give a flying f**k whether God exists or not).
Religion usually does not creep into politics, medicine, education or other secular areas.
When a Lutheran , an Atheist and a Heathen end up drinking beer at the same table there are usually no “funny looks”between them ( if they are even aware of eachothers beliefs).
It leaves room for those with a beliefsystem or practice outside of the mainstream to practice in peace and the possability of a pluralistic society where even several contradicting answers to the same question can be considered “right”.
It might be seen as a bit post modern but i believe (belief again) in the individual, the rights of the individual and the individual experience of existence.
I belive in the individual expression and i belive that the individual is forever a mystery to any other individual.
Thus, what goes on in your soul (in lack of a better term) is beyond scrutiny or judgement from me.
I cant prove ( and have no interest in proving) the existence of God(s).
On the other hand´i can´t prove the existance of minds other than my own either.
I still find interaction with both rewarding.
Just because you´re getting raised by married people doesent mean you´vee got to choose that lifestyle!