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Advantages Of Norse Religion Essay

Similar to today, religion has been a significant aspect of people since the medieval ages. However, before the 11th century, religion was highly unorganized and most people were pagans in most of the countries in the world. The Norse religion began in the 11th century in countries of the Northern Europe including Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway. The other name that has been used by historians and scholars is the term “FornSior” which originated from the medieval Iceland.

Before the origin of the Norse, religion in these countries was confused rather than the beliefs and norms of tradition until they converted to Christianity during the 12th century. The religion was made up of two main tribes including Vanir, also referred to as the fertility gods and goddesses, and Aesir, also regarded as warrior gods and goddesses. Although this religion was finally consumed by Christianity, the two significant impact on each other.

The Norse religion existed during the Vikings age and was a northern variation of the religion that was practiced in the lands that were inhabited by the German tribes across both the northern as well as the central European region before the Roman and the Holy Roman incursions. However, though its existence was acknowledged all over the region, it was not formalized as a religion until outsiders came into contact with the actual practitioners. In this form of religion, there were no locations or places that were regarded or acknowledged as the official places of worship.

People often worshiped from their homes, in sacred groves or at some simple alter that was constructed by piling of stones. Due to the major influence and impact on the tribes from Northern Europe, their norms, beliefs and mythology possesses major aspects of the other communities and traditions of the people moved to them. Moreover, through the pantheon of God of the people of the northern tribes faded into an oblivion and did this at a considerably very fast rate, there still remains their subliminal impacts across the different religions.

Based on the traditions and the beliefs of the Vikings, their life can be regarded as being perilous, transitory and significantly very short. It was a matter of dying while in the battle field, after which one was believed to go directly to the god’s great hall, the Valhalla, where one was believed to battle all day and die and then be reborn at night ready for a huge feast with excessive drinking as a celebration for ones’ heroic work. There are numerous similarities between the norms and beliefs in Christianity and those in the Norse religion.

In the Norse religion, Balder was the most reputed and most loved god. Like Jesus, followers of the Norse religion believed that Balder died and went straight to heaven. Also, some aspect of Odin were intentionally transferred to Christ. Just like the Christians’ Jesus, Odin hung on a tree while being pierced by a spear. The intention of sacrificing himself was to gain mystic knowledge. But unlike Odin, the reason why Christ died on the cross was to save humanity from sin.

Also, to rightfully fit the psychology of the Norsemen, the Christian Jesus was portrayed to them as a warrior. For instance, images of Thor and Vidar (Norse gods) defeating the Midgard serpent and the Fenris Wolf were put beside the images of crucifixion. The intention of doing this was to convince the Norsemen that Jesus fights sin the way the old gods fought the enemy. Some of their literature referred to Jesus as a warrior who willingly mounted the cross as a selfsacrifice and a heroic move to fight against the evil.

Odin is a central figure in the Norse mythology. He led his people out of their dwelling place into Asgard and eventually into their new home in Western Europe; it resembles the Israelites migration from Egypt into Canaan. Due to this similarities, the Roman Christian missionaries had major challenges in preaching to the followers of the Norse religion. As such, they had to adopt a number of beliefs and traditions in order to slowly win the hearts of the Norse people.

The Christian church with the desire and urge to convert as many people as possible into being followers of the Christian religion, had to absorb most local beliefs and religious aspects of the locals. For instance, while the old testament did not support the idea of there being a life after death, the Christian Church adopted the belief, possibly for the reason that it was a major and a common belief of the pagans that its main mission was to convert.

In the absorption of the local beliefs, the church found itself in a position where it was forced to accept and acknowledge beliefs and customs of the pagans provided that the pagans acknowledged and recognized the superiority and supremacy as the head god and the Roman Catholic Church leaders, the pope, as the earthly agent to Jesus Christ. An example is the manner in which the Christian church accommodated the Polytheism gods of the Norse religion. As in other religions such as Islam and Judaism, Christianity believes only on one God.

However, a way had to be established on how to accommodate the gods from the Norse religion in order to easily convert the pagans. The angels are perceived as just heavenly beings while there exists another category of beings, the saints, who were human intermediaries to god. In order for Christianity to accommodate the pagan gods, the pagan gods were made to be Christian saints thus establishing an agreement between the two religions. The local pagans were allowed by the church to worship their gods, but as intermediaries to the holy trinity.

In a nutshell, this brought a complete resemblance between the Norse paganism and Christianity. While it may seem significantly easy and direct for the scholars in biblical subjects to criticize the actions and syncretism of the Roman Catholic Church, it resulted in numerous advantages and benefits to the entire European region. First, it led to and allowed the culture of Western Europe to survive as well as to spread to other regions of the world. Similarities and commonalities between different people is what is often referred to as culture.

Moreover, the ommon system of beliefs to most people is what is more important and of significance than the sources of the beliefs. As such, it is easy to view the coming together of the Christian values and Norse values established a new form of culture. However, this also led to the creation of a cultural identity which creates an illusion of us versus them and which has created a major challenge up to date. During the time of the reunion between the two forms of religion, it became politically sensible to abandon the peacemaking of Jesus Christ, while the survival of the culture was at risk.

With this regard, the survival of the culture became of importance as compared to the beliefs and thus the beliefs and norms that furthered or supported the survival and development of the culture was perceived as being more appropriate and better than the other beliefs. With this regard, the pagans focused on the survival of their culture while Christians focused on the survival and development of the Christian culture thus ease of formation of a superior culture.

The cultural syncretism, though not true according to the beliefs of Jesus Christ, allowed the growth and development of the Christian culture while those who strongly held to the pacifism of Jesus Christ and those who maintained to the pagan belief system perished in the new religious culture. The other aspect in which Norse impacted the Christianity religion was on its political power and supremacy as a religion. It was more than clear to the Norse pagans that the Christian god was more powerful than their god because he had allowed these conquerors, the Christians to win the war and enter into their land.

As in today’s religious beliefs, the medieval believers also believed that the god who grants his followers the highest power while in the world is the strongest god than any other god worshiped by other people. As such, the pagans viewed the Christian god as having a higher military power as compared to their gods thus most of them led to believe in the Christian God. It is important to note that while commonality brings people to the formation of a single acceptable cultural formation, it is the military and political power of its leaders that enable for its growth and spread across various cultures and populations.

Jehovah, the Christian God, as a powerful and monotheistic god of war, who inspired the Moslems, the Jews and other powers to conquer the world through military power was viewed as being more powerful than other prominent gods. In conclusion, the Norse religion has significant impacts and implications on Christianity. Although there are some impacts that may be regarded as being negative, others are positive to its continuity The new religion had increased popularity of Christianity and offered it with a wide acceptance in the Roman Empire as well as other regions.

However, there was a major change in its beliefs and leadership structure. For instance, there was an introduction of new beliefs, traditions and customs with the primary objectives of accommodating other people, especially the followers of the Norse religion into the Christian religion. Finally, the Norse religion made led to the change of Christianity to be little to do with Jesus Christ and more to do with the building of culture.

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