Thursday, March 13, 2008

Terrorist Religion? Or Strong, Hearty, Good Religion?

Op Ed

While it is not toward to slander other religions, frankness is a heathen value, and those of us who have been through the imposition of a religion have the right to speak of it genuinely. The following comments apply mainly to fundamentalist Christianity. There are forms of Christianity, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, who do not believe in hell, but merely death. These comments do not apply towards them. The language in this piece is strong, but strong words are needed to challenge ettinish ideas. When our Christian friends no longer dogmatically assert nonsense that clearly goes against all common sense, encouraging notions that make for bad citizens, these words can be withdrawn. But as heathens, we are committed to the truth, and that means we must speak our mind.

Christianity is a religion of terrorism. It tries to force obedience through terrifying people about the punishments of hell, taking cynical advantage of the natural human fear of death and uncertainty of what comes after. It would be hard to define more of a niding approach to religion. There is nothing strong, courageous, or confident about this approach at all. Religion through ultimatums -- obedience or eternal torture -- is terrorism, plain and simple. It is the same, cowardly mindstate of those too weak to confront policy either in the marketplace of ideas nor in the open, honest field of campaign, who threaten violence with ultimatums for demands in this world --- though terrorist religion has often manifested real-life terror in this world, too --- just look at the Inquisition!

Now it's not true that there were no heathen ideas about punishment in the afterlife --- but these were not used as a battering ram to force obedience, either. A heathen accepts responsibility for allactions. And those who choose to live their lives entirely against the good will get theirs -- of that there is no doubt. But we are called into the good, not terrorized into perfection, and it is the goodness of our deeds, not the perfection of our doctrine or belief, which will be judged, and they will be judged by good gods who know well the flaws of humanity, without holier-than-thou judgement, and who want us to live a good life, in every sense of the word, in this world, and that is the criteria for our station in the next. The gods are fair and kind and discerning, and they look at the whole picture : in balance, in our life, with allowance for errors, follies, and some good, honest mistakes, was it a life well-lived --- for all concerned?

Yes, it is true that Voluspa says that Nastrond is full of oathbreakers and murderers --- but it nowhere says that everyone who breaks an oath automatically goes there. It's just that one's chances are high if one lives that kind of life. The emphasis is on the goodness lived out in, and therefore given to, this world. It has nothing to do with doctrine, belief, or perfection. It has nothing to do with grovelling for pardon for things we damned well know need no pardon. And if we make mistakes, we also damn well know it is our responsibility to pay that scild in our lifetime, and make up for it, to the best of our abilities. Nastrond holds criminals who lived criminal lives and never bothered to correct their own mistakes and crimes. They didn't need to beg pardon from anyone. All they needed to do was heal the ill into the wholesome, by righting what had been wronged, to the best of their ability, with right, good will. No terrorism or submissive obedience involved or required at all.

The gods may ask us where we could have done better -- and that's fine, we call can do better -- but that is a point for edification, not condemnation ; wisdom, not perfectionism.

We know that only immature brats and cowardly dogs (no offense to dogs) would resort to terrorism to enforce and impose their insecure, pathetically desperate ideas of spirituality on others, and we also know that the strong are under no obligation to tolerate nidings --- and such niding doctrine should not be tolerated. We can say unequivocally and boldly, with no reservations nor regrets, that such tactics have nothing to do with genuine spirituality, and everything to do with mind control. And as good, healthy people, wanting to live in a healthy world, we don't care to be surrounded by mind-controlled fools who have been literally terrified out of their wits.


Blogger Hellfireblogs said...

Aradia says much the same thing. Christian theology however, is designed to appeal to weakness not to terrify. Hell in the Christian world isn't to be feared by Christians at all, remeber Christ will forgive you of your sins at the drop of a hat if you ask him, but it makes inaction in the face of evil palatable by telling Chrisitans that someone else (Satan) is responsible to administer Justice onto, say, a child molester.

In my view the way of the old gods includes us admisitering their justice, not the phoney suburban mom sign holding rally for the children justice, but steel and fire justice. It's our responsibility to instil fear in evil doers in this life, to make rapists, drug peddlers and murderers afraid to ply their trade, and Christian shirk their responsibility while look toward God for salvation.

12:15 PM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Well, the ordinary perception may be that Jesus will forgive at the drop of a hat just for the asking, but Jesus actually tells folk to "repent", which is not the same thing as simply asking for forgiveness. Repentance is prior to forgiveness. The term used in Greek is Metanoeite, "after/beyond" - "mind", meaning to completely change one's outlook on what one has done, from that moment forwards. There is also an implication in the word of turning around, and completely changing one's direction in life. That is quite a different thing than merely feeling sorry or asking forgiveness. It implies a prerequisite turnaround in one's behavior. See for example Matthew 7 : "21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"

Or Matthew 25 : "41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.""

This is probably the root of the story of the fig tree in Matthew 21 :

"Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered."

This is obviously another parable. A tree must bear fruit if it is not to be cursed means that promises of repentance given to Jesus must be backed up by action.

So there is still plenty for Christians to fear if they don't follow the commandments!

As far as child molestation goes, Leviticus 18 clearly prohibits it and then mandates outlawry for violation of the prohibition.

As far as instilling fear in evil-doers, we are to be good to our friends and grim to our enemies in heathenism, and Havamal 129 says hvars þú böl kannt,kveð þú þér bölvi at ok gef-at þínum fjándum frið, "where you know misfortune, declare that that is your misfortune, and do not give your foes peace." Havamal 130 likewise says, illu feginn ver þú aldregi, en lát þér at góðu getit, "Of ill never be joyful, but let good get for you joy."

While there are some crimes we all may agree deserve harsh punishment, "eternal" punishment is quite another thing altogether, especially when (non-molesting) sexual indiscretions or disobedience to parents and so forth are included amongst such crimes!

2:03 AM  
Blogger Hellfireblogs said...

But repenting in Christianity can be done on ones death bed in most cases. The Catholic or Orthodox Christian can confess to a priest and ask for absolvement, the born again Christian and most other protestants need only "open their hearts" to Jesus to forgive recieve forgivness.

And more importantly the Christian is taught that justice is a mechanism outside themselves, that bad people will get what's coming to them without the Christian or his or her effort. This is a dangerous foolish idea that invites crime and war.

Christianity, and it's secular offshoot Liberalism, both dwell on peoples personal guilt and ignore the need for justice in the larger society. This is why Islam is growing amongst White middle class young people in the north east, because it presents them with a God that demands justice not repentance.

Child molestation and "indescetions" are two different things. Only sadists have sex with children, even when the child is compliant. It is the unnaturalsness and physical discomfort sex with children children entails that drives such creatures and most turn to violence when they become bored with just defiling children.

If by "indescretion" you mean adults having sex with teens then I say perhaps death wouldn't be the fitting punishement, but surely you're not suggesting a it would be natural for adults in their 30s to take advantage of 14 year olds?

The Gods expect you to treat this world with dignity and respect, to honor all of creation, is conning some hippies kid into blowing you really fulfilling that obligation?

10:28 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Hey, hey, hey! I want to make one thing clear right now : not only do I stand 100% against child molestation, but our heathen tradition is absolutely against it. Let's take a look at it. Preliminarily, we look to Freyr, who rules (with Freya) over sexuality. Tyr says in Lokasenna 37 that of Freyr that "mey hann né grætir né manns konu," "he grates neither maidens (virgins) nor men's wives", making it clear what the bounds are for proper and free sexuality.

Moreover, when Freyr was a young man, Alfheim was invaded by jotnar who began committing atrocities. Saxo Grammaticus describes the scene in Book Five of his History of the Danes :

"...[T]hey displayed in the most abominable crimes. For they would draw some men up in the air on ropes, and torment them, pushing their bodies as they hung, like a ball that is tossed; or they would put a kid's hide under the feet of others as they walked, and, by stealthily pulling a rope, trip their unwary steps on the slippery skill in their path; others they would strip of their clothes, and lash with sundry tortures of stripes; others they fastened to pegs, as with a noose, and punished with mock-hanging. They scorched off the beard and hair with tapers; of others they burned the hair of the groin with a brand. Only those maidens might marry whose chastity they had first deflowered. Strangers they battered with bones; others they compelled to drunkenness with immoderate draughts, and made them burst. No man might give his daughter to wife unless he had first bought their favour and goodwill. None might contract any marriage without first purchasing their consent with a bribe. Moreover, they extended their abominable and abandoned lust not only to virgins, but to the multitude of matrons indiscriminately. " (Elton translation,

When he was older, he enacted laws against child molestation : "Moreover, anyone who durst attempt the violation of a virgin was to be punished with the severance of his bodily parts..." (Saxo Grammaticus, History of the Danes, Book V)

For those who didn't catch Saxo's euphemism there, the punishment was decreed to be castration.

So, yes, the heathen tradition stands firmly against any kind of child molestation. In fact, I believe this is what is meant when Tacitus says that those who committed "infame corpores", "infamy against the body", or alternatively, "infamy against the community" were drowned in the swamps for the scum they were.

I hope that demonstrates the zero tolerance within the heathen tradition for the violation of the innocent.

However, I wouldn't consider "Liberalism" to be either a) a bad thing per se, or b) a secular equivalent of Christianity.

As far as Christians being taught that justice is a thing outside themselves, they are usually taught to work with the magistrates and the law. Obviously within any religion there will be sects who will hold different ideas.

Justice is very important. But if Justice is emphasized to the detriment of Mercy, something is also wrong. It is a firm balance that is needed. Remember as well that in the Germanic tradition, everything is case by case.

When I said "indiscretions", I was not referring to violations of any kind. I was referring to indiscretions from the perspective of Paulian Christianity, whereby quite legitimate activities such as homosexuality, masturbation, "fornication" (ie., having sex without a license), polyamory,etc. would be condemned forthright without any consideration of context.

I absolutely agree with you that the Gods expect us to honor all creation.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Hellfireblogs said...

Didn't mean to offend. And I agree with your analysis of Paulian Christianity. But I have to disagree with the idea that Liberalism isn't secularized Christianity. Both enforce false humility and preach weakness as a virtue. Both ask its adherents, especially Western men, to martyr themselves for a "greater good" and both preach passificism, turning the other cheek and an unseemly regard for your enemies welfare.

Mercy should come after victory. After hearth and home are safe. As a pagan man I take the defense of my wife, my home (and the little dog that dwells in it) very seriously and would show no mercy in the case of a home invasion for example. Once the danger to my loved ones passed however I could show mercy.

Christians and liberals do it the opposite way. Both tell people that you can talk out any conflict, both claim criminals need understanding and rehabilitation rather than a belly full of bird shot and a couple of good solid hits with a a stout piece of wood.

I think many people confuse liberalism with libertarianism. But liberalism includes the worst weakness of Christian tradition with neo-marxist collectivism and ivy tower pretention.

I must say I'm very impressed with your knowledge of lore. As a person who has dealt most of his life with Wiccans in NYC and NJ it's quite refreshing.

Well met.

10:14 AM  
Blogger SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

Yes, well met! And, we don't have to agree on everything about liberalism in order to productively meet and exchange ideas. That wonderfully broad tolerance is a wonderful feature of our ancient folkway! I was raised in a liberal family that also had a good dose of libertarianism as well, and so I'm obviously going to have a different and probably more positive perspective on at least some aspects of liberalism than you do.

You raise some good points, however, and again, I always emphasize that a bird needs both its right and left wings in order to fly. Here I do think the Qabalistic Tree of Life has good wisdom to impart : it is the balance of mercy and justice that is necessary in a good life, and when either of them separates, things go out of balance.

It is important to ensure that hearth and home are safe. And in heathenism we are trained to not be victims. We always retain the right of self-defense, especially of our kith and kin, our home and hearth.

And criminals have to put in their time to pay their wergild. But even from the ancient way, unless they've done something that merits hanging or drowning, at some point, they have paid their debt to society and have to be given a fair chance. In fact, if we're not going to give them a fair chance to try to make a good life for themselves on a new foot, perhaps hanging or drowning would be more merciful.

But if someone breaks into your house? Hey, there can be understanding once you're outside the gate and understand that you won't be coming back inside again if you come as an intruder rather than a guest. Again, we are trained to not be victims, but defend ourselves, and our rights.

But remember that while liberalism can support some of the tendencies you've listed, it can also support things like the civil rights movement, and women's liberation, and the sexual revolution, and other important aspects of progress. That's not to say that liberalism's way is the only way to achieve these things, but in lieu of a viable, vocal alternative, these progresses are important in and of themselves.

Obviously, the Libertarian Left has a whole magic bag of unconsidered options and strategies that can empower progressive movements, and has been vastly underemphasized, and needs more coverage. But we progress much further with dialogue that tries to recognize the validity that exists in the other person's position, and then tries to weave that validity in to the new paradigm being offered.

Still, that doesn't mean that we aren't entitled to a good rant. And the Heathen Ranter would be a hypocrite if he said otherwise!!

Thank you for coming by and your words of praise. Keep coming by!

6:12 AM  
Blogger Hellfireblogs said...

You make some good points, and let me be clear that I see a distinction between Classical Liberalism and "The New Left" which is what I speak of often. Running a blog that deals with politics I have picked up the habit of describing Classical Liberals, Cold War Democrats the rest as "Conservative" which is what the bigger left leaning blogs do.

I myself am only a "conservative" as far as I'm on the right, but I'm a believer in classical Republicanism which puts me at odds with social conservatives for example, and activists of all stripes.

I always remind people it was the Northern Democrats who reached out to Republicans (which until the 70s had been the party to openly embrace African Americans) who pushed through Civil Rights working together. I just wish more of us these days could work together!

And this is one of my favorite sites now. I'll be back often.

1:08 PM  

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