Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Racism And The Neo-Pagan Movement




Western Civilization has reached the great heights it has reached specifically because of it's ability to codify it's ideas in the written word. The Judeo-Christian tradition, in particular, teaches that God spoke creation into existence, and Christ the Messiah is referred to as the Word of God.

Western Civilization is built on the ideas of the mind, codified in the written word.

Pagan civilization, on the other hand, is built on the tribalist idea that blood is more important than idea. Tribalism is Pagan in its origins. Racism is the natural extension of Paganist Tribalism.

If we are to preserve Western Civilization we must ensure that we do not make a return to the Tribalist ideas of Paganism.

From Naming Grace:


By Viola Larson

In the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall I remember listening to an interview with Henry Kissinger. The interviewer asked Mr. Kissinger if he feared a re-united Germany and a renewed Nazi movement? He replied that history does not perfectly repeat itself, but he did fear the rise of a new Romantic Movement. I believe that fear is well founded when focused on the dark side of Romanticism. Kissinger doubtless recognized the racist sentiments that can emerge out of the Romantic worldview. This article will explore the relationship between racism and some Neo-Pagan groups who are a part of a new Romantic Movement. I will point out the blatant racism of some groups and will explore the potential racism in other groups that disavow racism. I will also explore the hatred these groups hold for Jews and Christians, and I will give a biblical perspective and response to such hatred.

Understanding Romantic Movements

Romantic movements generally include a wide assortment of thinkers since such movements are in many ways a reaction against empiricism and materialism. Several of the more articulate Christian apologists of the last century could be considered Romantics. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as well as most of the Inklings were Romantics in much of their view of life and in their writings. They were, however, Romantics with a Christian worldview and there are three distinctions to be made.

First, Romantics, who see the sublime, mystery and meaning in the natural world, often equate God with nature and for that reason are pantheists (God is all) or panentheists (God is in all). In contrast, Romantics who are Christians understand that God is the creator of everything and not a part of the world.

Second, some Romantics equate God or their own particular ethnic essence with folk tradition, cultural myths and homeland. Both Lewis and Tolkien valued folk tradition, cultural myths and the love of homeland, but they did not place such weighty significance on them.

Third, some Romantics make no distinction between good and evil since both are a part of nature. In fact, some even glorify evil. Christian Romantics understand evil as both personal and part of the fall of humanity. They, perhaps more than anyone, understand the dark dimensions of evil and they do not glorify wickedness. They see evil and good as progressive, moving in extreme opposite directions. Lewis makes such a distinction in his essay “The Weight of Glory.” He admonishes the reader “to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.”

A New Romantic Movement

Several cultural pointers provide evidence that a new Romantic Movement is in progress.

  • A growing interest in medieval and mythical subjects in books and movies is one indicator.

  • A growing movement of smaller ethnic-centered groups in place of a more homogenized society is another indicator.

  • The Green Movement, with a greater concern and priority for nature rather than industry or science, is also a part of a Romantic worldview.

  • Certainly, the New Age movement and a growing pagan community are the products of a romantic attitude toward life, community and the universe in general.

As stated, many of those who could be considered a part of the New Romantic Movement are members of the neopagan community. A small percentage of the neopagan movement is racist. Most of the racist groups belong to Odinist communities. They may also be called Ásatrú. (However, not all Odinists or Ásatrú adherents are racist.)

All of the groups I will consider in this article are made up of white European descendents; they purposely exclude all other ethnic groups. Their religious focus is on the gods and goddesses of old European tribes. (These include, Odin, who is also called Woden, Thor, Frigga, the wife of Odin and Freya.) Many Odinists see the gods and goddesses of their religion as archetypes or expressions of the racial subconscious. But there are many ways of understanding the multitude of gods and goddesses worshiped by the Ásatrú and Odinist groups. The gods and goddesses may also be viewed as real entities.

The factor that either makes them racists, or gives them the potential for racism, is their insistence on religion as a genetic development as well as an intrinsic part of the human essence. Stephen McNallen, who leads the Asatru Folk Assembly, calls this idea “Metagenetics” and writes:

One of the most controversial tenets of Asatru is our insistence that ancestry matters-that there are spiritual and metaphysical implications to heredity, and that we are thus a religion not for all humanity, but rather one that calls only its own.1

Toward the end of his article McNallen states, “We are intimately tied up with the fate of our whole people, for Asatru is an expression of the soul of our race.”2 In a later article McNallen refines some of his thoughts. He writes:

Our religion is a function of who we are, not just what we believe. Since the human being is holistic entity, our spirituality cannot be considered something apart from our physical ancestry. In terms of both genetics and metagenetics, our ancestors are encoded into our very beings. From values and temperament- which have been shown to correlate statistically with heredity-to the deeper issues of spirit, our forefathers and foremothers continue to influence us.3

Likewise, an article found at “Heathen front,” explaining what AHF (Allgermanische Heidnische Front) is, states that ethnic religions “are the most suitable ones.” The writer explains they are “manifestations of the inner self of every people, and expression of their collective subconscious.”4

The author of the “creed” pages for Heathen Front's website also writes, “We believe that every religion is a projection of the völkish archetype, morals and ethics.”5

This means that all religion comes from tribal or racial experience as opposed to universal human experience.

It certainly denies that an absolute and personal Creator God reveals Himself to all of humanity.

The need to protect a racial religion from outside cultural and ethnic influences by refusing membership to other races is not only problematic, but seems racist. One would have to protect the racial group from contamination by other races in order to keep the religion pure since religion is seen as the essence of the race.

Ethnic Religion and Religious Hatred

These various Odin groups make a distinction between a universal religion and an ethnic or “folkish” faith. All of the major world religions are considered universal because they are meant for all people. The ethnic religion is understood as existing only for a racial or cultural group. In this context Christianity is seen as the great enemy of the white Northern peoples since they were converted by its missionaries to an alien religion not in keeping with the soul of the Northern European.


Michael Moynihan in his book, Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground, subtly implies that the many church burnings in Norway by either band members or fans of black metal was a subconscious explosion of the white youths need to return to the old heathen religions. He documents how many of these members turned from satanic rock to the Norse or Odin religious symbols in their music and religious outlook. One explanation that Moynihan offers is Jungian and builds on a theory of racial archetypes within the cultural subconscious.6 So along side the racial problem in these groups is the glaring problem of religious hatred.

There are several degrees of extremism among such pagan groups on the Internet. The most extreme and the racist ones are The Pagan Front and The Heathen Front. Another grouping made up of such groups as Asatru Free Assembly, Asatru Folk Assembly and Odinic Rite, do not consider themselves racist and have nothing to do with Hitler or Nazism. (Interestingly, the latter groups see Hitler and Nazism as manifestly Christian, and therefore atrocious, while Pagan Front and Heathen Front see Hitler and Nazism as anti-Christian and therefore an admirable and helpful part of their movement. They all quote Hitler to prove their point!)

While Steve McNallen of Asatru Folk Assembly claims not to be racist, some of his articles promote racism. In an article entitled “Wotan vs. Tezcatlipoca,” McNallen attempts to show that a kind of spiritual ethnic war is developing in California between the gods of the Hispanic culture and the European culture. He sees the old Aztec and Mayan gods pushing for territory in California and writes, “If California and the American Southwest are to be cultural battlegrounds, who better to lead the European-American counterattack against Tonatzin and Tezcatlipoca than our own Gods of the North.”

While not suggesting violence as the answer, he sees cultural interests such as language and festivals as indicators of aggression rather than celebrations of ethnic diversity in a democracy. 8

The Heathen Front, unlike the Pagan Front, does not major in Black Metal music. Not unlike Nazi culture, they value ethnic folk music and the classical music of Richard Wagner.7 However, the founder of the Norwegian Heathen Front, musician Varg Vikernes, is a young man serving a prison term in Norway for murder and church burnings. Before his imprisonment he was a part of the Black Metal and Satanic Music scene in Norway. He is also one of the more important subjects in Moynihan's book Lords of Chaos. Moynihan explains that Vikernes is an embarrassment to the neo-heathen groups because of his “extreme and bloody interpretation of indigenous Norse religion.” Moynihan also writes, “when contemporary figures sought to revive the old religion of Northern Europe, they had not intended to bring back uncontrollable barbarism and lawlessness with it.”9

Several other interests connect these groups to the pagan worldview and to grass roots movements in general.



  • One interest is the tribal unit versus globalism. Since the tribe is seen as the most important unit of society in the Odin communities, neither nation states, world organizations, nor any form of global movement are accepted as helpful to the white European soul.

  • Another interest is the environment. They affirm environmental concerns and have statements at their websites about environmental issues as they see them.

  • The Heathen Front offers an essay on Savitri Devi. She was a vegetarian and advocate for animal rights. Her book, Impeachment of Man, is an attack on Christianity, Judaism and Islam and a plea for the rights of animals. A European, she lived in India during World War II, aligning herself with the Nazi Party and the radical India Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). She later developed connections to George Lincoln Rockwell the founder of the American Nazi Party. 10
The Heathen Front also states:

Judeo-christian [sic] morals prevent mother Jord from doing her work, so we are keeping people alive that were sacrificed by nature to save those fit for survival. More people means [sic] more pollution, and today we have reached too high a level of population/pollution. The earth can no longer re-generate. Slowly we are killing everyone to help just a few. If you look upon this matter with a clear vision, rather than one blurred with Judeo-Christian or humanist values, you will understand this fully as well.11

The religious hatred of these various groups is one of the more troubling aspects of the movement. On Pagan Front's website various band's sites are promoted. One site has two crosses inverted with Christ still hanging there as an entryway. Varg Vikernes in an article denouncing “Christian Identity,” (a racist movement claiming to be Christian), calls Christianity the “most extreme Jewish consequence.” Later in the article, he states, “It were [sic] Christians who condemned everything Aryan to Hell forever! It was Christianity who made our Aryan race coward and degenerate! Christianity has been the origin of everything evil in Europe since it arrived here!”12

In an article about ecology, the writer states, “Judeo-Christianity is the irreligious masquerading as the religious. It is a life hating death cult, that hates the earth with its races, its tribes and its wide biological variety - its underlying holiness.”13

A Biblical Response: God's Blessing From Tribe To Messiah To The Nations

Humanly speaking, the Judeo-Christian world will cringe at this hatefulness, and rightfully so. Yet, prayerfully, there is another picture of the individuals in these groups. Born into a Western “Christian” culture where most people are biblically illiterate and where materialistic secularism has almost totally engulfed society, they generally know nothing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They equate “Christian” with the emptiness of secular society. They experience a society filled with barren hype, little meaning and violence. They believe that within their pagan racial beliefs they have returned home: to nature and to the tribe. But they have the foundation for meaning inverted. It begins not with humanity, not with the alleged racial archetypes of human consciousness, but with the compassionate Father, the true Creator of all. And while the story of redemption, which gives meaning, begins with a small Near Eastern tribe, it is proclaimed and pushed forward toward all humanity; it is expanded as God speaks through the voice of the prophets of that tribe.

God's promises came to Abraham the father of that tribe, “and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:3b). God chose that small family to bring a blessing on all the peoples of earth. The Hebrew prophets reminded the nation, which grew from that particular family, of God's desire for redemption and blessings on all people. Israel will be “a light of the nations.” God's house, “will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” God will bring the foreigner, those who are not Israel, “and make them joyful in My house of prayer” (Isa. 49:6b; 56:7).

God would do this through the coming Messiah who would be a light to the Gentiles: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isa. 9:2 with Luke 2:32). Finally, because of the Messiah's death on a cross and His resurrection, the beautiful song of the elders can be sung:

“[B]y your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God and they will reign on earth” (Rev. 5:9, 10b).

20 comments:

Damien said...

Both Racism and fundamentalist Islam have a dualist ethic. In racist ethics anyone outside the race is of little if any value. While in Islamic ethics Muslims are the only people who have any value. The Palestinians have often compared Israel to Nazi Germany. But if Israel was really comparable to Nazi Germany, the US would have to invade, just to keep them from killing off every Palestinian on the planet! The Nazi's tried to kill every single Jew that they could, but they had no good reason to do so. Imagine if the Palestinians attacked Israel and Israel really was a powerful racist genocidal state. The only good thing I can say about that, is then some of those terrorist monsters might get a taste of their own medicine. Decent people ought to be offend at the very idea the Israelis are comparable to the Nazis. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Israel's biggest enemies, are the ones who are need to be compared to Nazis. They want to drive the Jews into the sea. If Nazism controlled a state today, it would probably ally itself with the Palestinians. The alliance would only end, when one turned on the other, having no more use for their "friends."

Michael Travis said...

Nice one Damien, thank you. One point though,,,Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not by any means "Israel's biggest enemies"...certainly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Nations are rivals for that evil distinction.

Pastorius said...

Well put, Damien. I absolutely agree. Thanks for making that point.

Saudi Arabia is Mordor, right Michael?

Damien said...

Michael, Pastorius,

Thank you, your both welcome!

Muhammed karikatyrer Muhammed pilakuvat olkoon aina ajankohtaisia kuten tieto siitä ettei islam ole uskonto eikä tarvitse uskonrauhansuojaa lain. Seppo Lehto kansakunnallinen herättäjänne luo toivoa said...

There is some new muhammed prophesy humor in my blog 28.5.2008

Seppo Lehto has declared a reinkarnation of prophet Muhammed. There is a video about this item in youtube.com, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D85UW3Duc8

Have a nice day ;)

Seppo Lehto Tampere Finland

Finland`s stateprocecutor demands to Seppo Lehto 2.5 year prisonery about diffrent kind of insulting of muslims and islam and other such thing. Statements and trial were 5-7.5.2008 and court decision comes 30.5.2008 o`clock 16

Athos said...

C. S. Lewis also said once, "The best lie is the one closest to the truth." The love of lore, the medieval, simpler times is fine; but without the influence of Christian faith, it quickly recrudesces into the merely pagan. Witness the new age schlock around what was once the heart of the Christian West in England: Glastonbury. Instead of the heart of the Christian faith it has become a ridiculous place of every Wicca enthusiast, et al.

René Girard forensically studied paganism through his opus called "mimetic theory." The work of Jeffrey Burke Satinover (Harvard & Yale Medical School Lecturer) substantiates Girard's work with his own from a psychoanalytical pov. The pagan is our human default position, culturally. Without the influence of the Christian gospel, Satinover says the pagan contains the following:

"First, of course, paganism is polytheistic. Each individual (or in more primitive, homogeneous societies, each group) feels himself subject to his own god or goddess. At a practical level, this means that the distinctive values, standards, goals, and laws of each deity govern the lives of that deity’s worshippers. Thus pagan society is polyvalent: a single moral standard does not govern the lives of men, and except by force majeure, no god, and no corresponding set of human values, is superior to any other. And, as a consequence, pagan societies tend to become inegalitarian. For different standards for different groups is something that inevitably leads to factional competition; and in time force majeure indeed becomes the rule-might soon comes to make right. Zeus rules because he is strongest, and for no other reason; he is certainly not the wisest.

"As we know, pagan society is pantheistic or animistic: gods and goddesses inhabit the natural world and are one with it; nature itself is worshipped as divine; there is no serious distinction between creature and creator. Again, on a practical level, this means that men worship not only the nature "out there," they also worship their own nature, which is to say, their instincts: e.g., hunger, sex, and aggression, and more generally, pleasure. In thus spiritualizing the instincts, pagan worship therefore tends naturally to the violent, the hedonistic, and the orgiastic. Pagan religious ritual arouses the instincts, especially sexuality and aggression, to the keenest possible pitch. In the subsequent gratification of these instincts, the greatest possible pleasure and hence also the highest level of religious ecstasy is meant to be achieved. Violent intoxication, temple prostitution, the ritual slaughter of enemies, self-mutilation, even child sacrifice: all these historical phenomena can be understood not as pathological, but as predictable end-points to the unfettering of human nature..." (Jungians & Gnostics, 1994)

Damien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Damien said...

Athos,

We should remember that Pagans are a very diverse group. The term Paganism includes multiple polytheistic faiths. Not all Pagans are racist or violent. Some of them, for example are pacifists. Although this doesn't mean you shouldn't criticize their belief system, there are so many variants, that it might be a bit dangerous to generalize to much. I heard that before Islam destroyed them, the polytheistic Arabs were some of the most tolerant people on the planet.

Pastorius said...

Damien,

Good point. Many Pagans are Pacifists.

However, if you think about it Pacifism, as a political/moral absolute, is among the most degenerate moral ideas ever propagated. The idea that one ought to stand passive in the face of evil can ONLY be true in the relative. For instance, would you stand by passive as an insane person crushed your baby's head on the cement? If you did stand passive, would you deserve to be called a good human being, a good Father?

I don't think so.

Also, note that Athos said,


"... pagan society is polyvalent: a single moral standard does not govern the lives of men, and except by force majeure, no god, and no corresponding set of human values, is superior to any other. And, as a consequence, pagan societies TEND TO BECOME INEGALITARIAN."


The reason Athos says that Pagan societies tend to BECOME inegalitarian is because they are inherently not governed by one set of moral absolutes. Instead, each Pagan worships according to the dictates of his own god, and the moral ideology of that god.

Pastorius said...

Athos,
How does "mimetic theory" relate to Paganism?

I have heard other people assert this idea. It has always seemed to me that there is something wrong with the ideas of memetic theory, but I have never been able to put my finger on it.

Could you enlighten me a bit?

Damien said...

Pastorius,

I never said pacifism was a moral ideal. Although in a perfectly moral world there would be no wars.
There would be no need for weapons to kill people and all of our conflicts could be solved through persuasion. However, we do not live in a perfectly moral world, do we?

Yes most Pagan societies do tend to be inegalitarian, but than most societies have been throughout human history. However, it is wrong to think that there are no moral absolutes or that there is more than one moral standard. One of the things that makes our Islamist enemies so evil, is that don't see any real value in the lives of unbelievers. To them, the only people who have any real rights at all are Muslims. More accurately one might even argue, Muslim men, since they hate women. An Infidel only has any value to them, if he is useful idiot or can be corrupted in some way. Then when they no longer need him, they stop pretending to be his friend, and force him to submit or kill him.

Pastorius said...

Hi Damien,
The point isn't that Pagan societies tend to be inegalitarian, but that they tend to become inegalitarian, because they have no central moral ideology.

In fact, I think that if one would study the history of Pagan cultures, one would be hard-pressed to find a single one which did not become inegalitarian within less than a generation.

So, in other words, it might have been clearer if Athos would have said, "Pagan societies inevitably become inegalitarian.

Additionally, my point about Pacifism is that it is hardly an example of the goodness of Pagan morality, as it is not an example of goodness in the first place.

Athos said...

Girard's mimetic theory posits an originary scene that pre-dates culture; meaning, there is not yet any "us". Humans are "mimetic" - contagious imitative, as are all primates. That's why we "ape" one another. But to current western attitudes, we'd rather die than admit that we copy anybody. We even hide it from ourselves, but if we are honest, we all have models. Madison Ave. knows it about us however, quite well.

So, being mimetic before culture, Girard proposes the acquisitive gesture: somebody reaches for a delicacy - fruit, sexual partner, whatever - and others copy the desirous gesture. But there is a limited commodity. So, Hobbe's "war of all against all" kicks in.

When it looks as tho' all hell will break loose, the acquisitive gesture that was so contagious is replaced by a peace-making gesture: the ACCUSATORY gesture. Somebody (probably prior to language) points and says, 'All this is HIS fault," and this gesture is mimicked with lightning speed.

The beginning of culture! WE suddenly all agree about something and we have a culprit. This is the lowest common denominator: a victim we can all agree to expel and/or murder. The esprit de corp literally develops around the dead body of the one who is the agreed-upon wrong-doer.

If this sounds facetious, I take the blame. I recommend The Girard Reader, ed. By James Williams as a good starting place on mimetic theory.

Two things: remember I was quoting Satinover about the characteristics of paganism.

Secondly, ask yourself why does Islam need the Jew? I think Girard explains it quite well. Islam needs a scapegoat upon whom they can all agree deserves to be destroyed. (Add now the Christian West.) Otherwise, they'd destroy themselves in acquisitive mimesis.
Cheers

Athos said...

But did I answer your question, How does "mimetic theory" relate to Paganism?

All of the above comment pertains. But it only takes us to the very beginning of culture. The crowd feels very good about itself after the murder, but also in Girard's pov, very humbled. How could peace come about so abruptly, after chaos was so close. Clearly a god did it. Indeed, the victim who we thought caused the problem came to bring us peace by allowing us to kill him.

This is the beginning of a tripartite set of essentials for human culture: myth, ritual, and prohibition.

The myth is the story of how the god came in our time of distress, allowed us to kill him, and brought us peace and social harmony.

The ritual is the beginning of what is religion, anthropologically speaking: religare - literally, a binding back, to the founding event of culture. It is the formalizing that originary founding violence in a ritual complete with priesthood to see that it is remembered correctly and efficaciously.

When things again become chaotic, socially and psychologically, the priesthood ratchets it up a few notches (release of violent prisoners, etc.), then the originally scene is played out again using a certifiable "bad guy" as victim. Caiaphus in John's Gospel says it well: "Better that one shd die than the whole nation be destroyed." The ritual re-establishes order, and, when done well, it is economic: only a single victim is sufficient.

Prohibition, the third element, is what keeps culture from getting too near flash-points that could ignite social chaos before the priesthood can contain things with ritual. Thus, conventional cultures always place taboos around murder, adultery, etc. - those things that can bring social solidarity to its knees.

These are all elements of traditional pagan culture, in Girard's understanding. Western Civ. certainly contains such elements, but Girard discovered something: the Christian faith.

He didn't assume this, he discovered it well after his studies took him, finally, to the New Testament and, thence, back to the Old. The biblical spirit is very much at-odds with the pagan spirit of what he calls "the primitive Sacred."

But that's for another time.

Pastorius said...

Athos,
I see.

I did a little bit of reading on Girard today. I plan to buy his book "Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World".

Wow. What a thinker. And French yet. Usually French thinkers like to wallow in the complicated, but this idea has the simplicity of Theory of Everything.

I would say that is the first time in probably 15-20 years that I have been impressed with a new idea.

Athos said...

French - yeah. Don't hold it against him (got his PhD at IU, Bloomington). Things Hidden is slow going, but you may as well get it - you'll have to eventually.

May I suggest my friend Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled? It, like The Girard Reader is a very fine primer for mimetic theory.

Also, there is Colloquium On Violence & Religion (COV&R) that may be helpful. Cheers

Pastorius said...

Thanks.

Athos said...

One last thing, beggin' your pardon: mimetic theory does connotate a kind of "unified field theory," which is vvery unpopular in academia. Don't let that daunt you from what seems like "being on to something" with it. MT doesn't lend itself to sound bites; you just kind of jump in where it suits you (or with what will astound you with its hermeneutic power).

I write on it frequently @ both:

http://chronatlantis.blogspot.com/

and

http://3massketeers.blogspot.com/

If you want to talk more about MT, leave a comment and I'll be sure to reply. Best

Pastorius said...

I would imagine it would be unpopular. But, by the standards they set, academics would also be unhappy with Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, and Kant.

Funny, the only philosopher who proposes a Unified Field Theory ofwhich academics approve is Karl Marx.

Anonymous said...

European universalists sell out their own people in order to prove their devotion to ideals.