Paganism vs. Christianity
Paganism vs. Christianity Laura Roberts Student ID: 22970754 September 14, 2009 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA Laura Roberts Dr. Kenneth Hood PHIL 104 14 September 2009 Paganism vs. Christianity Just like any religion or tradition, there are many branches to each. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there are over 33,820 denominations of Christianity. (Answers. com, 2009) Paganism is defines as any religions other than Christianity or Judaism or Islamism. (WordNet) With so many branches for both it would be difficult to compare all of them.
For the purpose of this paper, we will look at the compare and contrast of Orthodox Christianity and Odinism. The birth of Christianity began 2000 years ago in Judea with the ministries of Jesus Christ. (AllAboutReligon. Org). While revolutionary, his teachings brought together his twelve disciples. Through the teachings of Jesus, society learned that salvation and humanity would come from God through him. This salvation would come about through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
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In Christianity it is believed Jesus must die for our sins so humanity does not have to.
While Christianity began in Israel, Odinism is the religious faith of the Scandinavian and of the Norse. It is an old religion with roots prior to Christianity. With the coming of Christianity, Odinism endured a period of dual faith; following both Odinism and Christianity, and then eventually breaking away from Christianity standing on its own merits. (The Odinic Rite) Christianity is a monotheist religion in which, they believe in only one true god. Throughout the Bible, this belief has been revisited several times.
In Deuteronomy 32:39 it says, “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me” and in Isaiah 46:9, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me”. In Isaiah 46 it also says that false Gods are useless which is evident in Isaiah 46:1, “Bel and Nebo bow down. Their idols are carried by animals. The statues are only heavy loads that must be carried; they only make people tired. ” On the opposite side of the scale is Odinism with the polytheist belief; more than one God. Odinist not only believes in multiple Gods but also multiple Goddesses.
There are fifteen deities; Odin (chief of the Gods), Frigga (wife of Odin and patroness of the hearth and home), Frey (one of the Vanir given to the Aesir to end the war between the two and the patron of wealth and fertility), Freya (Frey’s sister and patroness of female fertility and prosperity), Thor (wields a hammer defending the Asgard and men), Heimdall (watches the Asgard’s gate and blows the Gjallar horn to warn the Aesir), Tyr (patron of honor, courage, and justice), Ull ( kenning for Odin), Loki ( trickster god married to Sygni), Bragi ( poet of the gods), Baldur (Bright one slain by Hodur who rest in Hel until he returns to rule the Earth), Hodur (struck Baldur with a dart made of mistletoe), Skadhi ( father killed by the Aesir and was offered a husband as compensation), Njord (a Vanir and father to Frey and Freya), and Mimir (Giant who owns the well of wisdom). (Shelter, p48-p51) Each God and Goddess contributes to the Odinist path. Christians believe that at Mt. Sinai God gave a set of laws to form a covenant. These set of laws are called The Ten Commandments and are as follows: “ You must not have any other gods except me, you shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.
For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments, You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain, remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, or your son, or your daughter, or your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it, honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land hich the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, you shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. ” (Exodus 20:1-17) Through these commandments, Christians’ know they govern the relationship of God and anyone who loves him. These are not just commandments sent by God but, a set of moral law. (Lucado, p21) Odinist does not have a set of commandments or moral law like Christians. The closest thing they have to compare is the Nine Noble Virtues; courage, truth, honor, fidelity, discipline, hospitality, industriousness, self-reliance, and perseverance. Rabe, 2000) Just as the Ten Commandments are self-explanatory so are these virtues. With courage, you do what is right in spite of your fears both physically and morally. Odinist believe lying is the path of coward and in general it is better to be honest, than technical truthful while being deceptive. (Shelter, p18) With honor, do what you say and fulfill your obligations. Fidelity is supporting your kin no matter what. Industrious and self-reliance goes hand in hand. Working hard provides for you and your kin. It also prevents asking for charity and becoming a burden on society. Asking for help is not unconceivable but it is kept to a minable and always paid back.
Along with the Nine Nobel Virtues, Odinist also follow the six-fold goal; right (the right path), wisdom (think about what you are doing and learn from what you have done), might (physical strength, political strength, financial strength, and intellectual strength), harvest (use all that life offers), frith (obligation of what is owed to kin and community in regards to your actions) and love (love and joy in life). (Hofbok, 1998) The Bible is a collection of books that the Christians study and learn from. It is composed of sixty-six books and has two major sections; the old and the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the thirty-nine books consist of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth,1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi while the New Testament contains twenty-seven books including; Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Revelation. In the Bible the text written in red is said to be God himself speaking. (Christian Answers. net, 2005) While Odinist does not have a Bible per say, they do have something somewhat similar. They have the Elder and Younger Eddas. These Eddas are a form of manuscript written during and after Christianization.
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