, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So, apparently one of my posts got linked by someone else in their post. I think because they took umbrage to my post, and the post of the other person they linked to. I’m not entirely sure though. I’m going on a week’s worth of sleep deprivation as I write this. So understand, I’m not trying to step on toes or insult anyone.

Anyways, the guy who linked me was talking about stuff like “Loss of Nerve” which has something to do with native tribalism religions going through hard times and seeking some new form of religion to make it better. This some how relates to the fact that there are Tribalist Natural religions that focus on land and clan, and Universalist religions that focus individual salvation and something else. This, I think, was related to the fact that in my post, and the other person’s post, we talked about individual relationships with Divine Beings (I through Faith) and the other person by asking if Gods were culturally aware. I don’t know if Linker was attempting to make some point that we “tribalists” have no need of personal relationships with our Gods, or to focus on making personal relationships, since our ways are supposed to focus on Land and Clan, or what.

Which, strikes me as kinda odd, when you think about it, given both the Individualist nature of most Pre-Christian European civilizations, and the rather Collectivist nature of Judaism and Islam. Yes, clans and tribes were important to the Pre-Christians Europeans from which many Pagans and Heathens draw from, very important, but individuals and individualism was also glorified. As for the Personal Relationship thing being a “Universalist” religion thing, I’m not so sure.

Having myself been in two of the three Universalist religions (Christianity and Judaism) I can tell you, the foundation for Personal Relationships isn’t really in there. After all, if you can’t even look upon the face of Yhvh without dying, that kinda crimps the whole “Let’s be pals” thing. Now, it is well known that in most branches of Christianity there is an emphasis on a personal relationship with Jesus, but I think that is actually one of the many things picked up from Paganism. More specifically, Germanic Heathenism. See, the Scandinavian myths and legends are filled with people who had individual relationships with various Deities (namely Thor and Odin in what we have recorded. There’s even a big saga about a Thor’s man who tends to fight Odin’s men. However, I suspect there were men and women of every God and Goddess). In fact, if you look at those Christian branches that emphasize a “Personal Relationship” with Jesus, they all have their roots in the Protestant Reformation, which grew out of the Germanic countries (Germany, Scandinavia, England, and the surrounding areas). These were lands that had not been long converted, still within a few centuries, and held well to their cultural practices. The fact that Roman Catholicism, the Orthodox Christian Churches, Judaism, and Islam do not have an emphasis on a personal relationship with God/Jesus/Allah leads me to believe that the inclusion of Personal Relationships is something that came from outside and before the Universalist religions. Logically, it came from the areas where this pattern started in Christianity, the “Germanic” areas. So it must have existed there before the Christians came and the people kept to their practices when it came to their divine.

This brings me to another issue with assuming the “Personal Relationship” thing is a Universalist idea. If Universalism really is all about individual salvation, what need have you to have a personal relationship with your savior? It makes more sense to me that in a “Tribalist” religion you’d have the personal relationship with your Deities. After all, they are members of the tribe, clan mates. They hold the shield wall with you, and march with you into battle. They plow the fields with you, raise the crops, tend the live stock. Hold court in the Hall, help the pregnant to give birth, the sick to heal, and the just to lay retribution on the unjust. Certainly from this would arise a personal relationship, just as fighting with a person on the battlefield, working a farm, fishing the sea, or bringing forth new young would between individual people who were part of the same tribe. After all, it was the Tribalist Pagan religions that had the traditions of House Gods. The Universalists aren’t even allowed to have statues of their God (though that doesn’t really stop the Christians at this point).

It’s hard to make friends with the one who judges you for eternity, who you cannot see and cannot know. Much easier to make friends with those who live beside you, share your table and your home. In fact, the easiest way to disprove it is to look at the second biggest universalist religion out there: Islam. Not only are they forbidden upon pain of death (literally) from depicting Allah, they are forbidden upon pain of death (also literally) from depicting the Prophet Mohammed, to the point where people who are not Muslims are forbidden from depicting either Allah or Mohammed upon pain of death (again, very literally).

Bit hard to have a personal relationship in a situation like that.

It’s okay if Pagans don’t want to have personal relationships with the various Gods and Goddesses. I’m perfectly cool on it. I’m not even saying I feel bad that I can’t “hear” the Gods at this point (thought it would be cool, I think). I’m not even sure what my post or the one about the Gods being culturally aware have to do with the issue of personal relationships with deities. As best I can tell, the one guy was wondering if Gods are aware of our cultures and how they are changing, and mine was about learning to accept and use faith as well as magic. I can understand how the Personal Relationship thing can be a bit of a hot issue, and spark some tempers, I guess. Still, I think there’s room for everyone.