One of the most divisive issues among those who have developed an interest in and a loyalty for defending and promoting the white European identity and ethos is the question of religion. Religion runs to the very core of our convictions and how we view the world around us. It is no wonder that religion is such a divisive and contentious issue even among those who have similar goals for promoting the interests of the European people. Pro-white activists or European nationalists are an eclectic group of people who share a desire to preserve and promote both Western culture and the people who created this culture, and many of us have strikingly different ideas as to religion and its role in a resurgence of the European people.
“All culture arises from religion,”1 said the wise traditionalist Russell Kirk. Kirk continues, “When religious faith decays, culture must decline, though often seeming to flourish for a space after the religion which nourished it has sunk into disbelief. But neither can religion subsist if severed from a healthy culture; no cultured person should remain indifferent to erosion of apprehension of the transcendent.” What Kirk meant is that all culture is an expression of religious convictions. This does not mean that culture is expressed without consideration of a people’s ethnicity, history, or language, but rather that culture reflects religious beliefs expressed through the medium of ethnicity, history, and language. Culture possesses an intrinsically religious character. It should be obvious to an objective reader that religion has a profound impact on cultural health and refinement. This is especially critical to understand given the West’s current identity crisis. Europe is now a post-Christian society that no longer reflects the social values or the doctrinal persuasions that our immediate forebears held so dear. For this reason some white European nationalists openly question whether the values that our Christian ancestors maintained were the cause of their own destruction, and whether Europe would be better off returning to the pagan convictions of Europe’s pre-Christian civilizations.
This viewpoint has gained increasing momentum in the recent past. Many in Europe and North America have become increasingly convinced that Christianity was part of a long and unfortunate process that led to the subversion of traditional European values and cultural norms. Returning to Christianity would simply bring us right back to where we are now with all the problems of white guilt and preferences to non-white others; and paganism would be an improvement on our current circumstances by allowing for indigenous expressions of the European identity. All of this leads me to ask several questions about religion and the European identity. Has Christian orthodoxy led us to the problems that we now face in Western Civilization? Is paganism true? Would a return to paganism help create a resurgence of Western mores and values? Will paganism save us? These questions are not a mere philosophical luxury, but have a profound impact on how we will go about saving our people, our culture, and our heritage.
Is Paganism True?
During the trial of Christ, Pontius Pilate asked Christ a profound, simple, and penetrating question: “What is truth?”2 This is, of course, the question that should be asked before any argument is made regarding the utility of pagan beliefs. The simple fact is that the idea of the universe being governed by a discordant group of superhuman deities is beyond the scope of believability for modern Europeans. Before the time of Christ, many Europeans had already begun to question the existence and power of the gods and goddesses. The ancient Greeks and Romans had discovered the basic laws of physics, astronomy, and biology, and these facts contradicted the pagan idea that the world or universe was governed by the whims of deities who were all too human themselves.
Paul addresses the problem of pagan beliefs in his sermon on Mars Hill. Paul argues that the pagan deities could not have created or governed the world when the gods and goddesses themselves were fashioned from metal or stone. “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.”3 Paul concludes that “we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.”4
This argument cuts to the core of the issue with pagan deities. Their whole existence was predicated on their supposed animation of inanimate figures and statues. Paul correctly points out the absurdity of believing that these inanimate figures could have created living creatures. Paul counters this idea with the Christian belief that the one true God created humanity in His own image.
Thomas Bulfinch was described as “a gentleman of a pure Christian character, of delicate sensibilities and refined culture” according to his obituary.5 He was also one of the most profound experts on classical European mythology. In his introduction to Stories of Gods and Heroes, Bulfinch writes:
“The religions of ancient Greece and Rome are extinct. The so-called divinities of Olympus have not a single worshipper among living men. They belong now not to the department of theology, but to those of literature and taste. There they still hold their place, and will continue to hold it, for they are too closely connected with the finest productions of poetry and art, both ancient and modern, to pass to oblivion.”6
Bulfinch rightly points out that the beliefs of paganism had become so untenable in the minds of European people that no one could seriously consider them to be true any longer. In my personal experience, most advocates of paganism are simply rightfully embittered against the betrayal they feel from the Christian establishment who has sold out their interests in pursuit of multiculturalism. The fact remains, however, that people will not truly live out their lives according to religious tenets which they do not seriously believe. Paganism might appeal on a sentimental level, but the European people have been imbued with too much rationality to endorse and arrange their lives according to the doctrines of classical paganism.
Another concern is that paganism could just as easily be hijacked by leftist elements which are hostile to traditional mores. I personally am aware of many girls who have adopted a pagan ethos because of their feminist-based goddess complex. Moreover, paganism was itself commandeered by charismatic military leaders in ancient Rome with the goals of world domination and of the erasure of traditional ethnic and cultural distinctions. The pagan Romans ultimately set out to try to conquer the world and make everyone Roman. Caesar became recognized as a god himself, and the worship of all gods or goddesses were tolerated as long as such worship was subordinated to the state. If anything, the current decline and death of the West owes itself to this brand of Roman imperial paganism, not to anything within the Christian paradigm.
Is Christianity to Blame for the Impending Collapse of Western Civilization?
One of the weightier issues that discussions of paganism usually evoke is the question of the causes of the impending doom of the West. What has caused the West to commit suicide? The reason that this topic is important in any discussion of paganism and European racial and cultural survival is because pagans often cite Christianity as the primary cause or one of the primary causes of European suicide. Many neo-pagans consider Christianity to be a foreign import into Europe, maintaining that the Christian doctrines of repentance, contrition for sin, and the concept of salvation being freely offered to all are contradictory to European values and survival.
These arguments deserve fair consideration, and a Christian apologist must be prepared to answer these opinions head on. It must be noted from the onset that Christianity itself, through the teachings of Christ, accounts for the possibility of Christians losing influence on society because of their own faithlessness. Christ in his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) calls his disciples the “salt of the earth.” The analogy to salt is a metaphorical application to the function of salt in preservation. Ideally, the Christian Church should act as a conservative influence in society and be a means of preserving health in our institutions. If we Christians lose our resolve and convictions in Christian truth, then we will definitely see ourselves displaced, and the “salty” influence that the Church is to wield will vanish. Christ asks his disciples if they, the “salt,” lose their savor, then how will the earth be salted? Christ answers his own rhetorical question by stating that “it (the church) is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”7 It is because of Christ’s own warnings to his disciples that I can easily admit to the infidelity of the Church without the slightest hesitation. Christ warns that if the Church loses its devotion to the Christian faith, then she will be trodden under foot by those who despise her. The modern Church has been a failure in saving Western Civilization and the European people — yet not because of some inherent flaw within the Christian faith itself, but rather because the Church, which is to be the salt of the earth, has lost its savor.
The Apostle Paul also addresses the problem of worldwide Christian apostasy by stating that there would certainly come a time when men would depart from the faith.8 He warns Timothy to remain steadfast and devoted to Christian orthodoxy since there would come a time when men would not endure sound doctrine.9 We are currently experiencing the result of this widespread apostasy in the West. Hilaire Belloc correctly observed that “the Faith is Europe, and Europe is the Faith.”10 What Belloc stated so simply and eloquently was common sense to all traditionalists who were seeking to preserve European civilization along with the people who created and nurtured it. Europe and Christianity go hand in hand.
As the Faith has declined amongst us, so too has our own sense of our identity and purpose. As a result of our apostasy from the Faith, we have become disillusioned by nihilism and despair. Manners and customs have declined, and traditional marriage and birthrates have dropped precipitously as gender roles have become conflated. Europe stands on the brink of annihilation, and only faith in the Savior will deliver us from certain destruction. It is also noteworthy that the most successful periods of Christian evangelism were accomplished when Europeans had a strong sense of their identity. The torch of Christianity has dwindled as European influence has declined. The decline of Europe has spelled the decline of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as well. As Europe goes, so goes the Faith. As the Faith goes, so goes Europe.
What then is the Proper Role of Pagan Mythology in European Culture?
If pagan mythology has no future in the West as far as religious conviction is concerned, then must we conclude that mythology is of entirely no value? I don’t believe so. Bulfinch wrote, “If no other knowledge deserves to be called useful but that which helps to enlarge our possessions or to raise our station in society, then Mythology has no claim to their appellation. But if that which tends to make us happier and better can be called useful, then we claim that epithet for our subject. For Mythology is the handmaid of literature; and literature is one of the best allies of virtue and promoters of happiness.”11
The major benefit that pagan mythology provides is its rich history in European literature as well as the appropriation of pagan symbols for Christian use. Christian Europeans have a long and proud history of appropriating the myths, symbols, holidays, and traditions for Christian usage. Christians have maintained this practice as part of the mandate to take dominion over the earth.12 By appropriating the best elements of our pre-Christian past, Christians in Europe were able to create a vibrant culture that wed Christian orthodoxy with the good taste of what came before.
It is important to understand that this did not mean mixing pagan and Christian elements together in worship. Pagan deities were simply honored as heroes of ages long past who were not divine and could not deliver anyone from sin, death, or the devil. This did not mean to our European forebears that pagan symbols and traditions could not be cleverly redesigned to convey a Christian meaning. A good classical example of the synthesis of pagan history reinterpreted through the prism of Christian theology is the Sibylline Oracles, which as an excellent example of classical poetry.13
One prominent example of the appropriation of pagan symbols to Christian use is from the Celtic conversion: the endless knot which was a pagan symbol representing the mythic union of the sea, land, and sky. When the Celts converted to Christianity the endless knot was converted in its meaning to represent the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.14 A similar example is the example of the sun wheel, a Neolithic European symbol intended to worship the Sun. This symbol was given a new Christian meaning and is now easily recognizable as the Celtic cross.15 Traditional Christian symbolism abounds with examples of pagan traditions and symbols being used to convey a Christian meaning. The pagan Phoenix came to represent the Resurrection of Christ. The Easter egg came to represent Christian rebirth.16 The pagan feast of Saturnalia corresponds with the dates of the Christian Great O Antiphons leading up to Christmas.17 The Christmas tree is partially derived from the northern European pagan feast of Yule, and is given a Christian meaning in renewal.18 There are many more examples of Christians appropriating the best pagan symbols for Christian use.
Pagan theology is no longer a tenable worldview for the European mindset. Europeans have been conditioned by centuries of Christian belief to see the universe ordered by a single all-powerful God, and the existence of pagan deities was simply interpreted as representing the heroes and mighty men of old before the days of Noah.19 The pagan heroes came to be worshipped as gods due to their extraordinary longevity and prowess. By the time of the advent of Christianity in Europe, paganism had long since run its course and had degenerated into state-worship. In many ways the modern West is experiencing the same problems that the pre-Christian West did. White Europeans are preoccupied with hero- and state-worship, and the European people are experiencing the same abuses of the state that our ancestors did under Caesar.
An Appeal for Christianity
Contrary to the protests of neo-pagans, Christianity is the native religion of the European people. It is natural to revere heroes; it is unnatural to worship heroes as gods. Pagan religion was a perversion of the natural inclination to admire the finer traits of human character. Christianity was a positive transition in Europe to the worship of the one true Trinitarian God. Nevertheless we Europeans are obliged to our pagan predecessors who forged many of the abiding symbols that we use in today in the Christian faith. Perhaps G.K. Chesterton put it best when he stated, “There is one thing, and one thing only, in existence at the present day which can in any sense accurately be said to be of pagan origin, and that is Christianity.”20
Christian authors, architects, composers, theologians, and artists have always demonstrated a profound respect for the pagan traditions and symbols of Europe. This respect has always been demonstrated within the context of a steadfast devotion to Christian orthodoxy. Paganism as a religion is dead, and will remain dead for the foreseeable future. We Europeans can and should appreciate the exploits of Thor, Odin, and Zeus — yet without worshipping them as gods, but rather honoring them as ancestors of our ancient past.
The most laudable attribute of our European ancestors was their quest and desire to understand truth. What prompted Pontius Pilate to ask Christ about truth? It was Christ’s simple and yet profound assertion that He himself was the truth, and that truth could only be ascertained through belief in him. Christ stated that the whole purpose of His ministry was to convey the truth. “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.”21 The only way for the European people to survive is for us to embrace the truth in Christ, so that we may know the truth, and the truth shall make us free.22 It is true that as the Faith declines, so too will our beloved Europe, but this is not the end of our people or civilization. Europe was once and is the future Christendom; Europe will one day again be the Faith, and the Faith will one day again be Europe!
- Kirk, Russel. Eliot and His Age. ↩
- John 18:38 ↩
- Acts 17:24-25 ↩
- Acts 17:29 ↩
- Bulfinch’s obituary is printed in full in Marie Cleary, “A Book of Decided Usefulness: Thomas Bulfinch’s ‘The Age of Fable,'” The Classical Journal 75.3 (February 1980) (pp. 248-249). ↩
- Bulfinch, Thomas. The Age of Fable; or Stories of Gods and Heroes. Chapter 1: Introduction. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/bulfinch/thomas/b93fab/chapter1.html#section1 ↩
- Matt. 5:13 ↩
- 1 Tim. 4:1 ↩
- 2 Tim. 4:3-5 ↩
- Belloc continues, “I say again, renewing the terms, The Church is Europe: and Europe is The Church.” Excerpt from Belloc, Hilaire. Europe and the Faith. Introduction: the Catholic Conscience of History. Annotation of text copyright (c)2006 David Trumbull and Patrick McNamara. http://www.bostonleadershipbuilders.com/belloc/europe_and_the_faith/index.htm ↩
- Bulfinch, Thomas. Introduction to Bulfinch’s Mythology. Compiled and edited by Edward Everett Hale. ↩
- Gen. 1:28 ↩
- See http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/index.htm for the full text of the Sibylline Oracles. ↩
- See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endless_knot ↩
- See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_cross ↩
- See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_symbolism ↩
- See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_antiphon ↩
- See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree ↩
- Gen. 6:4 ↩
- Chesterton, G.K. Heretics (Dover Books on Western Philosophy). Pg. 51. ↩
- John 18:37 ↩
- John 8:32 ↩