Last couple of days I wonder, why we don't believe in gods like Odin? The vikings used to believe in it. I'm watching the series of 'Vikings' so thats the reason of my question. I really like how they show how it was in those times, most of the things have happend for real. Like Ragnar Lodbrok was probably real. I like how they show how Vikings believed in those Gods and legends.

Are there any group of people or city/town that still believes in those Gods from vikings?

How come that we don't really believe in those Gods?

Can you believe in it? or does it sounds pretty weird to believe in that?

I wonder what other people think of this.

  • 1
    Hello and welcome! Can you be more specific: is your question about why people don't believe in Odin specifically, or polytheism more generally? Do you mean from an epistemological perspective why do philosophers generally reject Odin? Or do you mean why sociologically did the Vikings mostly convert to Christianity? This question is border-line off-topic as asked. – James Kingsbery Nov 24 '14 at 22:09
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the history of belief / religiosity of man. – stoicfury Nov 25 '14 at 22:58

I'd be shocked if there wasn't someone somewhere who believed in Odin. I think the reason that some religions get snuffed out is that they are verifiably false. The religions that persist are those that are not verifiable - that is, not testable.

We now have the ability to see first hand that there is no massive turtle holding the earth, we know what causes lightning, we've never found evidence of cyclopses, we understand weather patterns and natural disasters, and we know that there are no chariots pulling the stars in the sky, etc, etc, etc. This pretty much discredits the entirety of many ancient religions.

The religions that billions still believe in are not fundamentally testable. There may be bits and pieces that can be tested (age of the earth), but those parts are not fundamental enough to shut down these religions as a whole. So, they persist where others faded.


It depends what you mean by 'believe'. There are certainly Witches (Wiccans, if you must), who do believe in these things in a sense. And I would suggest it is the same sense in which many "bad" Christians believe in their God. And, yes, it even extends to Odin, the Legions of Asatru exists, revived by Edred Thorsson (q.v http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Flowers).

Christian cults like Santeria, Condomble or Vodoun are really just the same thing, and it is just as weird, in just the same way. But you can still buy Santero herbs and Five African Powers candles in most suburbs of Chicago.

These people believe there is some force that is part of human nature to which they can appeal to influence their own psychology, other people and some natural events. So their 'belief' is more of an aspect of psychology, on the order of Jungian Archetypes, than of genuine conviction of something independent of our reality that nonetheless affects it. (They would express it as the latter, but I think we all know better.)

At the same time, I think most ordinary Christians alive now, who think for themselves, backed into a corner, would admit that their worship of Jesus of Nazareth is cultural and experiential, and they just think it maintains their culture, identity, and psychology in some way, and that it affects history through human action, and not by intervention.

So weird is relative.


Old pagan religions vanished because they were usually closely tied to ritual. Once the temples were destroyed and the priests dead, the religion pretty much ceases to exist. While there are myths and cosmologies associated with these religions, they weren't primarily about believes. There weren't usually debates about the right believe: Socrates was accused of introducing new good. Also, some philosophers like Xenophanes, argued against the humanising of gods, these were moral arguments, not theological ones.

While Christianity, for example, emphasised believe, even here the notion that religion is something entirely subjective, something one happens to believe in, is rather new. One could even argue that, ironically, the fact that today there seem to people who "believe" in pagan religions again, was only possible in a christian/post christian society that made your religion or lack thereof a matter of choice.

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