My country was not peacefully settled by religious people, it was christianized. It was forcefully transferred from paganism, sometimes by the use of sword and physical torture. People were given two choices, Christianity or Death.

A few brave heroes chose death.

This is why, if a dictator takes over my country and choose it to be dechristianized by the same method, the very core of my being would be horrified and revolted.


But after it was done, I would not feel survivors guilt.

Views: 18

Comment by Kenneth Montville D.D. on April 30, 2011 at 3:09pm
I used to think this way but in reality the Nordic paganisms were no better than Christianity.
Comment by Arcus on April 30, 2011 at 3:29pm
The pagan gods were a bit different, it was not an organized religion of forced mass convertion of non-believers, nor do I recall "Odin wills it" being the reason for battle. They were violent bastards for sure, but that didn't give Christianity the right to forcefully convert them either.
Comment by Walter Maki on April 30, 2011 at 4:07pm
To me the desire to conquer those different from you has plagued man for as long as we have existed. We just choose to give the motive a name so we can have a reason for our actions. This drive whether it be for a spiritual or physical conquest fuels our choices to come out on top.
Comment by Kenneth Montville D.D. on April 30, 2011 at 11:10pm
Actually, this is a relatively new repainting of history mostly done by neo-pagans. Fact is that pagan cultures almost always searched for auspicious signs before a battle. Odin wills it wasn't  the only reason any Norse pagans went to war but it was always a justification, same with the Greeks and Zeus, or the Romans and Jupiter. If the signs came back as negative for going to battle then war was not had but if the oracles said that the gods were behind the motives to do battle then it was off to war. Paganism and Christianity is just 12 in one hand and a dozen in the other.
Comment by Arcus on May 1, 2011 at 4:17am

@Kenneth: I stand corrected. Very interesting.

A follow up question: it is my observation that polytheistic religions and eastern philosophies in general seem to seek territorial and cultural domination firstly, and forced brainwashig to their belief system a distant second. You were allowed to think the emperor was a douche as long as you didn't say it (emperor here in his position of also being God or God's messenger on earth). The Abrahamic religions seem to also want your brain, and doesn't hold non-believers in particularly high regard.

In your opinion, is there anything to this observation and the conclusion I draw from it? 

Comment by Kenneth Montville D.D. on May 1, 2011 at 8:55am

It is an interesting hypothesis but I am not sure exactly how syncretic far eastern religions or even the northern European paganisms were. In the Greco-Roman world Alexander III learned that expansion can come first and religion is merely a sideline. That is to say, so long as the people you conquer are polytheistic you can manipulate their religion and assimilate them into your culture. As he swept through the eastern Mediterranean he convinced people that Isis was just Artemis and that Baal was just Zeus. The only time this was ever really a problem was with the Jews. Antiochus IV Epiphanes dedicating the Jerusalem temple to Baal and Zeus was one of the things which triggered the Maccabean revolt which led to the overthrow of the Seleucid Empire in Judea.


Polytheistic religions seem to just be better fit for syncretism because the adherents already believe in a ton of gods, what are a few more or different names to the ones you already have? Monotheism is different though, one god is one god. There is no room for syncretism in orthodox monotheism so to expand a theocracy espousing a monotheistic religion you must first convert the people.

Comment by Arcus on May 1, 2011 at 9:09am

Very interesting. I claim little knowledge on th history of religion and stand correct.

Presumably you are also a fan of the dialogue between Alexander and Dinoysus? He seems to have been a very enlightened young man, he's a favorite character in the game of hypothetical history. :)

Comment by Arcus on May 1, 2011 at 9:10am
Comment by Kenneth Montville D.D. on May 1, 2011 at 12:40pm

Diogenes is excellent. I love the cynics. And I assume you are discussing the conversation between them in Plutarch's lives and Alexander's comment "Were I not Alexander, I would be Diogenes." The comment comes as no surprise as Alexander was a learned man, being the student and a close friend to Aristotle.

Comment by Arcus on May 1, 2011 at 12:47pm

I love how this guy tells the story:


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