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Crackpot Mailbox: Why Were the Last Pagans to Convert Less Pagan than the First?
Lynn commented on ‘Running the Gauntlet’ Sep-25-2019 12:52 AM UTC
I have a tangential question: Why did the ever-so-Pagan Nords adopt and develop the most austere and materialistic versions of Christianity? (I'm looking at you, Varg.)
Not the Varg
Odin's avatar would surely not speak with a mongrel like me, having had my fair hair bred out over the ages of slavery under the soul-drivers from the Middle Sea. I'm light on Norse mythology, but did track their rise and decline in warfare and exploration and have spent sometime apprising the question in general.
Why do the more recent variations of Christianity become atheistic more quickly and have such a heavily materialistic and temporal orientation compared to the more ancient forms of Christianity?
Briefly, in Late Antiquity, Christianity rose as part of an esoteric movement questioning the materialistic civic and imperial cults which had long parted ways with deeply held metaphysical aspects common to classical and archaic antiquity. The early Church fathers—such as Paul referencing sacred agonistic rites in Corinthians and other letters to the Greeks—were dissident intellectuals, towering minds compared to the Pagan Faithful. Judiasm, in heretical form under the shadow of Jesus Christ, was levinned with equal parts Osirian metaphysis out of Alexandria, which is where Catholics get the Euchurist from, and Hellenic metaphysics, including the ascension of various heroes to godhood and the self-sacrifice of Socrates.
Earliest Christianity, was, like Racial Realism ideology today, a cult manned predominantly by men of the upper class of intellectuals fretting under real politic rulers and seeking a Higher Truth.
Second stage Christianity under Constantine through the Schism was a top down mandate, by which existing pagan intellectuals were converted over, so long as they could imbed some paganism in their liturgy and symbols, their hymns and iconography. This was soft touch conversion, which brought Christendom into being as something 1/4 Judaic, 1/4 Egyptian, 1/4 Hellenic and 1/4 Romano-Celtic-Germanic, a 1,000 year long syncretism which was folded into the One Faith from the top down. This package was sold to pagan kings as a more unifying faith than their old ways and was carried immediately into existing pagan intellectual circles of thought. This is much the same way that the Priesthoods of the Persian Magi and Catholic and Orthodox Christians were brought into the fold of Islam, as documented by Lothrop Stoddard in his Flame of Islam.
So, paganized Christianity in the form of Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Nestorian Christianity and Coptic Christianity maintained the ancient mystical elements and ritual trappings. The two great religions that comprised Christendom came into being as top down directives to assimilate pagan vestigial elements into the royal faith of the elite. This was largely peaceful, if soul crushing in terms of quashing internal dissent. For instance, the witchcraft purges were elements of internal religious persecution meant to root out midwifes and herbalists and other practitioners of the old ways, including heterosexual influence, by the largely Antisexual and Homosexual clergy.
From the 700s to the 1300s secular Christian and Crusading orders fought the Prussians and other Germanic and Baltic pagans, as kingly feudal states resisted the heathen threats of the Norse and Magyar, winning them over by a combination of diplomatic marriage, prosperity gospel export, and military victory, discrediting the Old Gods. Just as the Indians would later permit "sissy" celibate or gay churchmen to advise their wives at home, to the detriment of their patrimony and the abandonment by their sons and daughters and wives of the old ways, so did Gaelic, Germanic, Baltic and Nordic chieftains and kings.
My supposition, as to why the last peoples, the Prussians and the Nordics, to convert to Christianity, became the least European in terms of their specific sectarian doctrine, is five-fold:
-1. Like the Aztecs and Inca, defeat by the faithful of an alien god discredits the Old Gods and calls for their replacement.
-2. Outside intellectuals were imported by a now highly centralized and ancient church, to instruct the faithful, rather than the original Christian practice of converting pagan teachers into Christians.
-3. By A.D. 1000, the Catholic Church was showing signs of rot, and as the faithful and clergy were seen as losing their way internally, Islam was sweeping the Orthodox bulwark which had protected Catholic Christendom like a shield, with the Battle of Manzekirt in 1071 [1] leaving the entire Middle East, including the Holy Land and the places figuring prominently in Christian theology, in enemy hands. These factors would impel Christendom, especially Nordic and Germanic Christendom, recently the home of the enemies of Catholicism, to focus on a recapture of Jerusalem [Christian Normans and Germans and Danes would launch crusades]. Eventually, with the failure of the crusades, the desire to reconnect with the lands and spirit od Scripture would be internalized into the desire of Reformation Sects born in the great religious turmoil, to strip their Faith of all non-Judaic aspects and name themselves the real metaphysical Hebrews of their age. See Thomas White 1630 and Increase Mather 1676.
-4. Chronological and environmental forces made the High Middle Ages [The Medieval Warm Period], as Europe moved out of the cooling period that we know as the Dark Ages, more prosperous and therefor more materialistic. It also moved the Faithful further from their roots by way of Time and triggered a search for purity and truth echoed in Protestantism [return to Judaism], the Renaissance [return to Hellenism] and a return to Roman-style Plantation economics [return to abject materialism] that would form various seedbeds for modernity, which we have not yet escaped.
-5. Post-Aryan invasion, Europe, circa 4,000 YBP, had a large variety of religious practice layered under the invaders, who tended to have been unified under a Sky God. 3,000 years later, Nordic, English and Germanic ejection of saints and angels from Christian practice played into the power of the nations coalescing during the Reformation, of which the Nordic were the most cohesive, with Sweden virtually having the only standing national army that would be understood as such in our terms. I see the Nordic tendency towards nationalistic reform churches, in line with Henry the Eighth's Church of England, as a harkening to the most ancient Aryan ways of the unified war-band under a sky-god, for which the ancient and transformed God of Hosts, the angry, jealous god of the ancient Israelites, seems to have been a natural replacement. This in opposition to the post-feudal Imperial powers of southern and central Europe. Where modern nations formed first in Europe is related to a more tribal and less feudal structure in the Northern realms. Also, with the heavy moderation and gatekeeping of the Catholic Church removed, there was less need for guardian angels and saints for the individual. Also keep in mind that Catholicism had been so long adapted to feudal life, that it tended to remain as the faith for longer-established, more politically fragmented, and more massive peasant societies to the south. In short, a Germanic-ruled but many-layered religious space like France, or an economically backward and conquered place like Ireland, would be more likely to remain catholic, for this was a millennium-old faith that had evolved to provide something for the poor family with no chance of social advancement, something to cling to beyond their cruel world. On the other hand, the Nordic rise from Chieftom to kingdom, more broadly based on warrior values than seeded earth metaphysics, begs for a unified sky god that acts directly with minimal intercession between the deity and the chief.
The above factors worked together in various measures and ways across different nations, with the only staunch Catholics of the north being those converted first, the Irish.
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