A Heathen's Path, About Me, after life, afterlife, Asatru, Christianity, earning, folkvangr, Freyja, gifts, Goddesses, Gods, Heathen, Heathenism, heaven, Hel, helheim, hell, nidhoggr, Norse, Odin, Pagan, Paganism, pedo, pedophile, priest, Rants, Religion, reward, valhalla, vikings, work
So, I was muddling around on wordpress the other day (I suspect this was before the switch to “topics in reader” which has made it nearly impossible to really muddle around the other blogs) and came upon a Christian who was talking about how much better their religion was because while some religions demand you earn your place in the afterlife (and what you get is based upon what you do) Christians are just given their paradise! No work, no effort, just a few little words and you get to have a nice big shiny castle up in the sky with streets of gold and…well, I’m not sure what you get to do. I’m not sure there’s food. I can’t remember anyone mentioning fine dining in Heaven. Or drinking. Or partying. Or really….much of anything, except singing God’s praises.
Huh. Sounds…kinda boring, when you think about it. I mean, yay, you get a mansion and the streets are gold and everywhere their precious jewels and metals and all. But, considering that there’s nothing to buy in Heaven (last I heard, the jury was still out on if Fluffy makes it into Heaven. I’m pretty sure walmart doesn’t). So really, since there’s no capitalism in Heaven (does that mean they have socialism?) what good does all the gold and jewels do except look pretty? And if all you do is sing praises day in and day out, well, that has to get old pretty quick. At least, assuming you have free will left (which I’m not entirely sure of) and that’s not to mention how terrible some people are at singing.
Then again, I guess if you’re getting it for free, you aren’t supposed to complain.
But is that really better than having to work towards what you get in your afterlife? My people, the Norse, had three realms of death. The first is Helheim, ruled by the Lady Hel. This is where the honored and dishonored dead go, living until Ragnarok with their kin. Those who die in battle and are honorable go to Valhalla (the Hall of the Slain) ruled by Odin, or Folkvangr (Field of the Host) ruled by Freya. Those who are truly monstrous, are tossed to Nidhoggr, a great serpent which devours them. And you get there by what you do in life.
Personally, I like that way better. You don’t even really have to do that much to get to a good place (hel, three out of four are pretty good). All you have to do is live a good life, keep your word, and if you want to get to Valhalla or Folkvangr, die well in battle. But, if you don’t die in battle, you still get to go to Helheim and spend til Ragnarok with your family and ancestors, feasting, telling stories, and being together under the guard and rule of Hel (who is a nice lady). It’s only if you’re a really terrible person that you get devoured by a terrible beast.
That certainly sounds a lot more fair than the Christians way of doing things. After all, with theirs, all you gotta do is say the magic/holy words and you’re golden to the eternal kingdom. Fail to say them, and you get to go to the bad place. (And if you molest children or talk in the theater, you get to go to the special hell). Which means that pedo priest, teacher, aunt, uncle, or what have you? Hitler was a Christian. Guess what, if they’re “Saved” and given the Gift, they get to pearly gates and golden streets and lovely castles. That nice young man down the street who helps old ladies with their bags, shakes babies and kisses hands (or is that kisses babies and shakes hands?) who doesn’t wanna sell his soul? Eternity of Punishments!
Of course, you try that pedo stuff under my Gods and Goddesses, and you’re gonna find out why you don’t Fuck with the Goddess of Death. Nidhoggr feeds on your ass, and then your gone. 🙂
Now, I can understand why some people would want to go with the Gift way of doing things. They want the happy ending, regardless of what ills they commit in life. They don’t wanna see the Gods and Goddesses weigh their deeds. They don’t wanna face the maw of the beast that devours souls. They wanna know that they can be completely horrible fuck ups and still get the gold medal at then end.
Fuck that. I’m earning my way in to the afterlife. And when I get there, I’ll know that it was done by my own hand. And That’s an eternity I can be proud of. Because when you work for something, it means a Hel of a lot more than if someone just gave it to in exchange of your immortal soul. And if my choices are living with my ancestors, or fighting with them and learning cool new moves every day and feasting every night, or telling some deity how great he is everyday because I sold him my soul for a cheap ride in a blinged up suburb? I know what I’m picking.
What about you?
I believe that Justice should be served. So many situations and events in this life are unjust, I like to think the afterlife balances this out. I prefer the Norse version, quite frankly…. but you probably knew that already.
That’s, like, reversed. No man is entitled to heaven in Christianity because we are all sinners by default. Even the most righteous have to rely on God’s mercy to gain entry into heaven and even then it isn’t guaranteed. You can’t sin, you must ask for forgiveness, etc etc. There’s A LOT one has to do.
On the other hand, death is just a natural occurrence in folk religions. You know how you get to the otherside?, you die. That simple. There aren’t gods holding your soul hostage, and you don’t have to behave a certain way to be granted the afterlife. If you want people to remember you, then your deeds matter, but then Christians don’t care about that because they are world-rejecting. Folk religions are world-accepting, no Mystery, no great salvation in the sky.
Just want to clarify that I’m confused by the way the Christian in question has twisted it around (to which your response was great). Some have a tendency to do that and you just have to argue within their lines, no matter how inconsistent they are.
Lucius Svartwulf said:
Yeah, no one is entitled to heaven because they all sinned, but it is pretty common dogma in christianity that once you accept Christ, you’re free and clear. Now, some differ on how easy that is, the Catholics insist you confess your sins to stay in the good grace. Others, however, hold that once you said it, you’re good to go forever.
Aubs Tea said:
In Kemetism, there’s a lot of work to be done. You spend your entire life hoping that your heart will not weigh more than the feather of Ma’at. And then after that, versions vary: you can hang out in the Heaven-like Field of Reeds or you can hope to help the Solar Barque on its path through the night sky and fend off Apep, and and and. There are lots of different possibilities, but the point is that you have to WORK for the reward (both of thing that I mentioned are considered rewards for work well done and personally, I’d love to kick some Apep ass with my gods!). And by living in Ma’at, that’s exactly how you work for it.
Lucius Svartwulf said:
I have to say, you Kemetics have probably the most unique test I’ve ever heard. 😀 Still, I have faith that you shall find what you seek. I hear it’s a rather unique and heavy feather, that they special ordered. 😉
Aubs Tea said:
It’s got to be. There’s no way my heart would be lighter than it otherwise. 😉
My dad the druid taught me that we’re here to learn lessons, and when we die, we come back to learn more until we’ve learned all we can learn. After that, well, things get fuzzy. Maybe we end up joining the Over-Soul (Dad is a fan of Emerson), or maybe we end up all together in our best possible incarnations, continuing to learn from one another. Every time I go to Dad with a problem, he asks me “what is the lesson you think you’re meant to learn from this, and how can you learn it and apply it to your future?”
My mom the “spiritualist” (read: hippie chick) says that we’re all here to counteract negativity by maximizing our positive input into the universe. What happens to us after we die seems not to concern her as much as what happens to others. “Will people remember us joyfully and benefit from our impact on the universe?” is her main question. And if the answer is yes, she thinks we go “somewhere good where there is no negativity and we can stop fighting for a while.”
Either way, it’s not a passive process. And it’s not a reward, per se, meaning that we don’t do what we do in hopes of receiving it. It’s the natural outcome of damn hard work, and we get it (or don’t) in the same way that once we’ve made a loaf of bread, we have a loaf of bread.