Christianity, Paganism, and the European Soul #2: The Rise of Christianity

To think, I haven’t had a full article up on this site since the 17th! So much has been going on, and I’m sorry to disappoint once more, but this will hardly be a disappointment! I had the absolute pleasure of engaging in a little over an hour of dialogue with a group of experts convened by Adam Wallace of West Coast Reactionaries. Present are mysef, Adam, Thomas Rowsell (an expert on Northern Paganism), Paul Hotherus (Pagan writer for West Coast Reactionaries), David Parry (A Gnostic bishop and renowned poet), and Auld Wat (who joined me for a Christian perspective). We discuss a lot, from historical observations of the transition from the Roman era and the Pagan tradition of Europe towards Christendom, as well as some discussion of the esoteric components of the religions and how they interact. This is a highly valuable discussion, and I really encourage you to listen. There will be two more parts following this. The first, which was exclusively about defining Paganism, can be found here.

Unfortunately, technical issues meant I dropped out at about 15:00 and return at about 29:00. I really want to thank Adam for organizing this, and the participants who were so invaluable to this discussion. I will hopefully return next week to discuss the nature of Christianity itself!

Please go visit the video to give a thumbs up, and subscribe to Adam’s channel if you haven’t already.

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4 thoughts on “Christianity, Paganism, and the European Soul #2: The Rise of Christianity

  1. Mark, this is such a great discussion. Every one of you guys have offered an important insight. But may I add to the discussion?

    I sensed a certain kind of confusion in the talk when the conversation circled back around again to Christian 'monotheism' in its supposed relation (similarities, differences) to European paganism – or just in general, to the paganism of the ancient world.

    My understanding is that the ancient forms of Christianity – in the ways it was generally understood in the context of the One (Father God)and the Many (the gods) is that, indeed, Christians viewed God as the high king of the other gods and goddesses. Monotheism, in its corrupt definition assumes God *alone* exists, whereas all the other gods do not. This is simply not how the ancient pagans and Christians viewed Being/the Good, in the ontological and/or functional sense.

    The ancient Israelite view of God (YHWH) was that he was, again, the top god in the pantheon. Other gods existed in his “Divine Council” (this divine council where YHWH holds court is prevalent in the Old Testament). You could essentially say this is polytheistic, but scholars like to call it a form of monolatry, or even henotheism. I think the terms, monotheism, monolatry and henotheism can all be used rather loosely depending on the cultural context.

    So, in the sense of how different/similar the Christian God is (developing out of Hebrew/Canaanite mythology)to the later Christian concept current in the medieval period is rather quite similar to the late antique Germanic/Norse conception of Odin: he is a high king of the gods, and the gods themselves were apportioned nations to rule.

    My understanding is that well into the Second Temple period, the Israelite priesthood started to enforce the notion, through polemics and other means, that God is a god alone, and there exists none beside him. This was a period when they went on ideological “witch-hunts” to root out any vestiges of “polytheist” Yahweh worshipers (people worshipping Yahweh but venerating other gods alongside him). This coincided with the development of more and more abstract notions of law and methods of enforcing law. In other words, everything got more legalistic. These were the sorts of people, like the Pharisees, that Jesus derided.

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  2. (Continued from last comment)

    During the late eleventh through early thirteenth century the Latin Romano-Germanic West got handed much the same fate in regards to its extreme development of abstract law as it pertained to Germanic “common law,” Justinian's Byzantine treatises, and the newly developed canon law of the Church in the West. These later medieval developments had a profound effect on religious doctrine, much elaborated upon by the Scholastics and Aquinas. So this was essentially the papacy usurping temporal power away from secular jurisdiction (that power belonging to the monarch) by means of Roman and Byzantine law treatises, written by an emperor of Constantinople in an era of massive social decline. The papacy applied abstract theories of law to itself in order to illegitimately bolster its claim of freedom from the monarchs.

    Whereas, the history of the western church and its relations with the Germanic kingdoms in the earlier periods of the medieval era were a lot less confusing and much more aligned with true orthodoxy, in my opinion. The papacy before and possibly up through the time of Charlemagne held much less power, was much less coercive in secular affairs and was a bit more decentralized. This is the Orthodoxy that was the type of 'Germanic Christianity' I love so much as an Orthodox Christian. I believe the fundamental force that held the Roman church and the German state in relative balance was the restraining moral, pietist strains of European monasticism. Of course on Gornahoor it is pointed out how the emperor/king was originally trained, or at least expected to be highly effective in the ascetic life, but also a highly effective warrior, dispensing justice. It was the perfect mystic ideal of balance: concentration without effort, action without impulsivity and overweening passion.

    I'd also like to point out that the “Proto-Indo-European” name of Diyeus Pater (Father God) is the same as the Latin Deus, the Greek Zeus, the Israelite YHWH, the Canaanite Ba'al, the Celtic Bel, the Germanic Tiw (perhaps later developed into Odin), and the Mongolian Tengri. What do they all have in common as high king of the heavens? They are all predominantly associated with thunder and lightning. In the Norse myths, of course, Thor inherits the sky god's powers of thunder and lightning.

    Recent evidence from DNA analyses, linguistics, archaeology, and ancient historian accounts (i.e, Herodotus) all seem to point to the Pontic-Caspian steppes (Caucasian mountains, Armenian highlands (Ararat mts.), Anatolia, Russian steppes) as the likely origin of the European peoples. It is significant that the German Jews also trace their ancestry to this area. So the Israelite religion of YHWH is indeed linked with Indo-European family bloodlines. Because of these evidences, for me Russian Orthodoxy in particular just rings especially European and is close to my heart.

    I have determined, that more or less, what made Christianity so appealing to the European pagan peoples in particular is related to everything I've noted thus far: it was fundamentally a return to the Primordial Tradition. It united the European people back under the sovereignty of the high Father God, called Diyeus Pater.

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