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I am retired from government, law enforcement, politics and all other pointless endeavors. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired.

Monday, March 29, 2010


It seems that no sooner had the new conservative site gotten established than a series of Neo-Pagan posts began to appear.  I gather that the sites creator, Richard Spencer,  has an interest in the subject and having heard him expressed this, the followers of Odin sprang from behind their sacred oaks to share their ersatz faith with the rest of us.  This is my response to this nonsense.

I've been reading this, and the other neo-pagan threads on this site for a few days now and find the whole thing a bit depressing. While the pagan impulse resides in many of us the expression of this impulse in the form of a coherent religion was stamped out long ago. So neo-pagans find themselves trying to recreate a belief system from fragments. But the fragments themselves survive only because medieval monks thought them worthy of transmission, that is, these tales have already gone through a Christian filter. I have no doubt that the priesthoods of Odin had cosmologies and dogmas of some complexity. But they were not written down and so are forever lost. If someone finds a runic equivalent of St. Augustin's Confessions then perhaps things would be different. As it is, much of what we know about the Germanic belief system consists of ripping yarns preserved by bored monks for their own amusment.

It's interesting that it is the Germanic/Nordic gods that beckon most commenters here. But the Dark Age holders of these beliefs in most cases willingly abandoned them. When forced conversion did take place it was always one way. Why would this be if Paganism were a vibrant belief system? Indeed, most forced conversions were conducted by Christian Germanics on their Pagan cousins.

So Neo-pagans need to ask themselves, why recreate a system that their ancestors abandoned? James Russell's, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity has much to answer for in this. Much of his hypothesis is interesting but his belief that the Christianity of the conversion period was "World Rejecting," is simply wrong. The official religion of the Roman Empire, both East and West, was Christian. Many of the invading Germans were already Christian. Accounts by cited by Richard Fletcher in his "The Conversion of Europe." point to material, and cultural attributes of Christian life as lived by the Romans and Christian missionaries that led pagans to convert. Pagan kings saw that the ordered, cooperative and reasoned societies of the South offered belief systems that surpassed their own and also a greater standard of living growing out of the a Roman society that was itself a melding of Greco-Roman philosophical Reason and Christian faith. It is important to understand that both Romano Christians and Greco-Roman pagans saw an underlying common ground between the proto-monotheism of Athens and the full blown monotheism that emerged via Christianity out of Jerusalem. It was to this faith that the peoples of Northern Europe eventually adhered.

Now the anthropological folk ways of we Indo-Europeans are another thing. Here Russell makes a very good point. The old pagan religions were an expression of some very old, deep impulses and traits among us, and we should defend them. But they in no way run counter to Christendom rightly understood.
Let's hope this is just a phase the site is going through.  Spencer is young and adventurous.  But if his site becomes a voice of the Druids the real right be witnessing a kind of stillbirth among its ranks.  The site is promising and does not deserve to be sacrificed on the alter of Thor.

Note: Since writing the above I've heard the high priest of the "Old religion" on Alt.right's radio program.  He was at some pains to allay any fears that the modern day Germanic Pagans do anything untoward in their rituals.  They just stand around in a circle tippling mead is all, just like wine and cheese after sunday service.  No drunken running about bare-assed under the full moon waving swords for him.  And "The Old Gods" who populate the Norse legends are understood to be metaphors not real heros.  So there you have it.  Might as well be Episcopalians really.

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