The motto of my channel is “God, Nation, Empire,” which is a variant of the old motto of Imperial Russia; “Orthodoxy, Nationality, Autocracy.” It essentially states that God comes first, then national identity in both an ethnic and a cultural sense, and finally Empire, which I suppose is a general commitment to strength, high culture and opposition to degeneracy. At any rate some neo-Pagan posted on my channel and said “I like Gods, Nation, Empire.”
He was trying to start a fight I believe, as neo-Pagans want to, especially since I have a Chi-Ro prominently displayed in the banner, and my religious beliefs are pretty much plastered across the page. I responded that my religion is Catholicism and that I’m quite earnest about it. To which he replied that he followed the faith of his ancestors. Let’s deconstruct this a bit and make about 1 billion enemies in the process shall we?
The faith of the ancestors comment is something extremely smug. I find neo-Pagans like to use it as a club to beat Christians. They argue that because 2000 years ago, in the case of the Greeks, and about 1000 years or so in the case of the Nords, they had a different religion, that Christianity is illegitimate because it’s not the faith of their ancestors. The obvious question this raises is “what about the last 1 to 2000 years? And the dozens of generations who are much closer to you personally, whose religion was not paganism but some form of Christianity?”
Generally speaking they will ignore this, but I have seen two main responses to it.
The first is that the last 2000 years were a bad thing and that we should go back to barbaric pre-industrialized societies, get in the long ships and go around raping and killing people. Fair enough I suppose, but in this case it seems more like a justification for personal bloodlust than any sort of deep spiritual need to honour one’s ancestors.
The second is that it’s the original religion of their ancestors and that Christianity is a foreign religion. One may ask the question: if (in the case of Middle Eastern Greeks) 2000 years is not a long enough time to practice a religion in order for it to be your native religion, then how long are we talking about? Did Thorism as it was practiced by medieval Vikings really stay the same over a period longer than 2000 years prior to the coming of Christianity? Does neo-Paganism even bear much of a resemblance to their ancestors forms of worship?
This also raises the question of which ancestors they’re talking about? They seem to pick limited length of time during the medieval era when most of the stuff about Norse religion or whatever form of neo-Paganism their LARPing to was written. For all we know there may have been an even older religion practiced by the Cro-Magnon’s before the coming of any Indo-European peoples – perhaps the Neanderthals had a completely different religion system, one that was replaced by the Cro-Magnon’s and then was replaced by Thorism.
To maintain that Thorism or any other form of neo-Paganism is the sole religion of their ancestors is to not only ignore thousands of years of history and dismiss dozens of generations of recent ancestors, but also to arbitrarily pick how far back you’re willing to go and ascribe to it the status of the true and honest religion of your ancestors.
Before continuing I will add I have never heard a scientific or philosophical argument for why neo-Paganism is true, it in fact I doubt most neo-Pagans believe that it’s true, it really just comes off to me at least, as a religion that was developed solely to be politically expedient and I think more than anything else this is where they diverge from me. Truth matters to me more than feelings and more than political expediency, I am interested in whether or not God created the universe and whether or not Jesus Christ was his human incarnation, not in formulating a religion that is perfectly in line with all of my pre-existing political beliefs.
That’s just the way I am and how I’ve always been. I converted to Catholicism because I found the historical and philosophical arguments and evidence to be overwhelming and if pressed I can vehemently defend my faith against all sorts of moral and other objections. Neo-Paganism has no intellectual basis aside from a vague traditionalist principle referring to the spiritual nature of a people and the necessity of them creating their own religion or some other broad quasi-sociological statement to the effect.
I personally just can’t play that game, I can’t pretend to believe in something (that in many cases the person in question that I’m arguing with admits that they made up or that someone else made up) expressly for the purpose of political expediency. I am the first to admit sometimes it makes things harder or creates ethical dilemmas, but so does everything in life, the Church has survived 2000 years more or less intact with her core doctrines largely unchanged.
There is absolutely no guarantee that even if we all LARPed to neo-Paganism it wouldn’t immediately change and accept things like gay marriage. After all, it was created to serve a political agenda, so much like liberal Protestantism, why not change when said agenda does? I have already seen neo-Pagans for tolerance and immigration campaigning on Facebook.
Well I suppose I have alienated just about everyone and ruined the blog for Alfred, but that’s about as edgy as one can be. I just get tired of the smugness sometimes, I frankly find a lot of the neo-Pagan guys are basically fedoras with long hair and lightning bolt tattoos.