Post Reply
5 years ago  ::  Sep 26, 2009 - 12:04PM #1
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,130

This is probably a stupid question, but bear with me.


What does the term 'Heathen' mean when speaking about Asatru and other Reconstructionist religions? I've heard the term as a 'snarl word' from conservative/evangelical Christians* to describe pretty much any non-Christian religion, mostly religions indigenous  to whatever area they're talking about. I wanted to see what it *really* meant to people who describe themselves as 'Heathens'. Thanks, and I apologize if I offended in any way.


 


 


 


*I am a Christian but no longer a conservative/evangelical...I 'left' partly because of the negative attitudes toward others I mention above.

More where that came from...

Writing I get paid to do

Beliefnet Community Host - Christian Faith and Life, Christian to Christian Debate
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2009 - 3:58PM #2
gorm-sionnach
Posts: 1,663

Sep 26, 2009 -- 12:04PM, Beautiful_Dreamer wrote:

This is probably a stupid question, but bear with me.


What does the term 'Heathen' mean when speaking about Asatru and other Reconstructionist religions? I've heard the term as a 'snarl word' from conservative/evangelical Christians* to describe pretty much any non-Christian religion, mostly religions indigenous  to whatever area they're talking about. I wanted to see what it *really* meant to people who describe themselves as 'Heathens'. Thanks, and I apologize if I offended in any way.


 


 


 


*I am a Christian but no longer a conservative/evangelical...I 'left' partly because of the negative attitudes toward others I mention above.






Sorry for the lateness of my reply, I rarely am on the Welcome boards anymore...

Heathen, in the Asatru context is a means of deliniating those who associate with northern european pre-Christian religious and cultural traditions, beliefs and practices, generally in a reconstructionist context, from those who identify as neo-Pagan or Pagan. It is dependent on the context really, Asatru certainly fits among those religions grouped under the umbrella of Paganism, but for whatever reason, many prefer to be called Heathen, instead of Pagan, again either for regional continuity or to seperate themselves from the Pagan umbrella. As far as its existence as a pejoritive, like the words 'Witch' and 'Pagan', 'Heathen' has been adopted by a specific community as a means of 'taking it back', and those who call themselves Heathen would certainly not consider it an insult to be labeled as such.

As far as the wider Reconstructionist movement goes, other Recon traditions have their own terms (though used less frequently than Heathen or Pagan, because many of the other groups are numerically small). Greek recons generally refer to themselves as Hellenisomos, Celtic Recons as Celtic Reconstructionists (or CR's), Celtic Recontructionist Polytheists (CRP's), Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheists (GRP's), etc. Though, these terms to not have an existing pejoritive nature, as Heathen. Many recon traditions sought other labels for themselves, generally to distance themselves from the wider Pagan umbrella, because of disagreements, discrepencies, and issues they have with the wider Pagan community (ecclecticism, syncretism and historic authenticity being the primary issue of concern). Though again, it will depend on who you ask.

Truth in our hearts, Strength in our arms, Fulfillment in our tongues.
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2010 - 1:36AM #3
Bairre
Posts: 122

For me, the term Heathen is meant to distiguish Northern Pagan Traditions from other traditions.  Pagan is a Latic term, and thus historically referred to Greco-Roman polytheistic religions. 


As mentioned before, the term Pagan has become adapted to mean several things, and often is used to describe people who believe in all gods. 


Heathens, and I guess I'm generalizing a bit here, tend to associate with a specific tradition or perhaps two, as I do.  I call myself a Heathen, as I follow Asatru and I am also a Celtic Recon and a Germanic Recon as well.  I sometimes call myself a Pagan, but its rare.  I live in Asheville, NC, and there are many many Wiccans who instantly associate me as a Wiccan if I say Pagan.  However, for some reason, when I say Heathen they don't make that assumption. 


I have heard people use Heathen to associate themselves with racialist religious ideologies, and ultra-right political ideologies.  This is unfortunate, but it has nothing to do with the term Heathen itself.  I know many Heathens that are appalled by this usage of the term Heathen, and there are groups that have started to reclaim it from this association; such as Heathens Against Hate, and others.

Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2010 - 8:38AM #4
Beautiful_Dreamer
Posts: 5,130

Thanks! I know what you mean in terms of being appalled by the way some use a term you also use. That's been happening to 'Christian' a lot in the past few years, and I hate it.  I guess I was curious as to how Asatru differed from other groups and what the term 'heathen' *really* meant! I hate hearing the snarl words, they make no sense. 


I grew up in North Carolina. :)


 

More where that came from...

Writing I get paid to do

Beliefnet Community Host - Christian Faith and Life, Christian to Christian Debate
Quick Reply
Cancel
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook