Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Valhalla Exchange:
Twilight of the Gods

This post is an essay based on The Valhalla Exchange multipart article:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Administrative Questions

Long ago, the northern Germanic peoples believed in a complex mythology, with roots going back to ancient times, and complete with a cosmology that explained places so otherworldly and times so distant as to defy human comprehension.

According to this mythology, valkyries, magnificent though minor female deities, surveyed the scenes of earthly battles, seeking worthy warriors and bringing them to Valhalla, where they would fight every day and feast and drink every night, as they awaited their destiny of serving with Odin, who would lead them in the preordained battle at the end of the world.

This end would be preceded by the Fambulwinter, a winter equivalent to three successive winters with no summer in between. As a result of Fambulwinter, warfare would break out, and morality would disappear, setting the stage for a time marked by powerful earthquakes that would topple trees and tumble mountains... a time when the sky would be devoid of light, leaving the earth blanketed in darkness... a time when monstrous sea creatures would make their furious way toward the land, their angry movements churning up the seas and sending waves beating violently against the land, their venomous breath polluting the earth and poisoning the sky above... a time known simply as the Twilight of the Gods.

As Christianity moved northward, the northern Germanic peoples traded in this future for a Christian one, a future with similar earthy tribulations, but one where people could now be spared through love, good works, and faith in a Savior from Heaven.

As the centuries passed, many Western cultures began to grow bored with Christianity, and even suspicious of it as a vehicle of repression at the hands of corrupted priesthoods; people sought a future more tangible, secured in the arms of things more understandable. The high priests of science stepped in and made a convincing case for their cosmology, while that Sweet Lady Liberty offered sanctuary from repression and corruption.

Governments secularized.

But, so did the societies they governed.

People became aware "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"; but they began to exercise their Liberty in the pursuit of their Happiness, without due consideration to their Creator Who had given them these things.

Infatuated with Democracy, but unfamiliar with Republicanism which places necessary limits on the power of their voice, people voted for themselves a future secured by government checks, without taking responsibility to ensure the productivity necessary to provide the wealth so their governments could underwrite those checks; drunk on the sweet wine offered by Sweet Lady Liberty, people indulged their every earthly fancy, without realizing that with Liberty comes Responsibility.

And so, gathered by their captivating new valkyries, minor gods with alluring names like Pleasure, Beauty, Youth and Security, they spend their time indulging themselves, even as they apprehensively eye the toppled trees and tumbled mountains resulting from the earthquakes around them, and the polluting of their earth and the poisoning of their skies from the monsters in their midst. Meanwhile, arriving on their doorstep is an exotic ideology, one that increasingly harkens back to a violent past, and which, like the Norse legends of old, promises a hereafter full of earthly pleasures, only replete with unlimited sexual gratification in the presence of seventy-two virgins, to worthy warriors who have fallen advancing their cause.

The Western world has exhanged one Valhalla for another, even as their other Valhalla is now threatened by the arrival of yet a third.

But, the enchanting new valkyries are false gods, and, in the end, they can deliver only twilight, both their own and that of those who succumb to their temptations, as they gather the worthy warriors of hedonistic modernism "together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

Unless those in this new Valhalla wake up to the danger they are in, it only remains to be established whether this Twilight of the Gods will occur at their own hands, or at the hands of others.

"Behold, I come as a thief."


Aurora said...

Yankee, this is amazing. I'm speechless. I studied ancient history at uni when I was doing my degree and I was blessed to have a truly excellent Christian lecturer who in one of his classes did a comparison of Ancient Near East mythologies. It's amazing the parallels which exist between the mythologies, how many of them speak of a great flood and other biblical things. This is one of the most surprising ones I've read.
Nice post!

Debbie said...

Unlike Aurora, I'm not a history major. When I was younger I never really liked history. But now I find it fascinating. You've done an excellent job point out similarities with history, mythology, and the situation we find ourselves in today.

The problem for many comes when humans place themselves in the position that God should hold. We can only go downhill from there.

The Valhalla comparison with Islam and the 72 virgins is not a connection I would have made, but it is very fitting. Great job.

Right Truth

Yankee Doodle said...

Actually, quite a few comparisons and connections jumped out at me as I was preparing this post.

Thanks, my friends!