Universalism and the revival of paganism, by Konraad Elst (Belgium)

From Bulletin Oaks, Issue 1, Summer 1999 – also known as “News WCER”, a preliminary version before the Congress in August 1999, originally entitled “News WCER”

In this article I will assume a kind of dissident vzlyad for hereditary religions and universalism. As a scholar of Asian religions by profession, I became interested in striving for the revival of paganism in connection with my academic and practical studies of several standing religious traditions that are not based on Abraham, namely Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. It is from this angle, and particularly on the advice of the outstanding contemporary Hindu philosopher Ram Swarup (1920-98), I began to deal with indigenous (in my case, European) paganism and its vozdozhdeniya today. Him and my opinion is that if the said Asian religions have survived until today, there is no reason to consider the disappearance of native European religions as historically inevitable, and there is no reason to reject their revival as a baseline ridiculous.

So, I participated as an observer in the majority of Celtic and Germanic groups involved in the revival of traditions. And frankly, I saw strange things neskotorye comparable, perhaps, from childhood diseases. Many non-genuine ideas are woven into an undefined concept of “paganism”: first, all sorts of post-Christian ideas over the last couple of centuries, such as a romantic anti-rationalism, traditionalism (pagan or reversed the Muslim counterpart of the First Council of the Catholic Church in the Vatican in 1870, a direct rejection of modernity ), feminism, movement for the protection of the environment and nationalism and, secondly, due to hostile pagan vision of Christianity as something primitive, immoral and cruel.

Perennial Philosophy

Many post-Christian movement, from traditionalists to the Theosophist, pointed to the existence of the world during the main religion that underlies all known religions. Do not take this opportunity to show criticism of these highly imperfect attempts to determine the total flow, this “eternal wisdom”, I would like to say that the basic idea is quite old. In the Rigveda (1:164:46) states:

“Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni (his) name,
And it is, the divine – a bird Garutmant;
That there is one, inspired call in many ways,
Agni, Yama, Matarishvanoy (his) name. “

For Vedic prophets was absolutely clear that there is one truth and that people from different territories and different nations, classes and life stages will perform with their own understanding of this single truth. Diversity – it is a fact of life, not an evil to be fought, not the value that must be protected because only a single important truth, déjà based.

The old pagans had been tolerant and pluralistic in matters of religion and philosophy, but they did not practice cultural relativism (now promoted by neo-rightists “differentsialistami” and leftist “multiculturalists”). That is, they did not believe that one is as good as any other: they respect certain forms of conduct and censured others, and they praised the morals of individual neighboring cultures and sought to imitate them, and despised by others for their barbaric, effeminate, or other undesirable practices .

This keen sense of the best and the worst was the driving force for progress. Of course, they followed nravamsvoih ancestors, but not blindly. Caesar was shocked to see human sacrifice, praktivuemye Celtic Druids, because for the Romans it was a primitive ancestral tradition, canceled many centuries ago. Also, Chinese and abhorred human sacrifice Shang dynasty (ca. 12.16 cc. BC) and welcomed their subsequent cancellation of Zhou dynasty as a big step forward in the development of civilization. Not sending their ancestors in hell, as Muslims and Christians come to their pagan ancestors, they felt that the customs of ancestors were more primitive and in some cases simply no longer acceptable.

And when our ancestors were pagans saw something worthwhile in a neighboring culture, they did not ask myself: but the tradition of our ancestors, whether it? All that interested them: is it true? Is this useful? Does it work? And the reason that they were not opposed to borrowing from other cultures, was in their understanding of common conditions for all nations. Unlike many neo-pagans, they are not wailing about their “roots”, they were quite firmly rooted and the roots have not been an issue on which they focused truth. Spreading best representation of the gods in pagan cultures had the starry sky (Isis was Sirius, Osiris / Radzhapati – Orion, Balder / Mitra / Apollo – the sun, etc.), the best vseobschvselensky canvas for all to see. Thus, from its roots up, they reached the heavens, on the way inhaling a lot of good atmospheric oxygen.

Yes, they have rejected Christianity, but only in rare instances, they rejected him because of his distinct foreign origin, and more often – because of its strange or silly dogmas. Those European neo-pagans who reject the “foreign Christianity” in favor of the native Indo-European tradition “must understand that for most of them Indo-European tradition, too, was once a foreign innovation. Europe’s oldest religions, as well as the oldest Indo-European languages, now preserved only as fragments included in the Indo-European languages and religions come from the east.

Most of our biological ancestors once looked at the culture of the newly arrived Indo-Europeans and merged with it. They sacrificed their “identity” for the sake of something, they felt more complete. I am convinced that we too must not worship the “ethnic identity” as our central values, identity is and always will be, but we must strive for the truth. In this age of globalization, our goal should not consist in opposing globalization, but rather in its application, merging it with the civilization of our ancestors, and nepozvolenii its usurpation of such fallacies as consumerism, missionary Christianity, or the conquest of Islam.