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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

History of the Saxons 1: "Stridently opposed to abandoning the religion of their ancestors."





Once upon a time there was a vibrant and dynamic religious tradition. But then a new religion came along whose followers sought to convert everyone to their new faith, and to do so they were willing, indeed eager, to resort to any means necessary, including coercion and violence. Faced with social ostracism, job discrimination, mob violence, punitive fines, imprisonment, beatings, torture and execution, many did as the many often do in the face of threats and force, and meekly acquiesced without much of a struggle, or at least did so once the new religion was in possession of sufficient means of persuasion.

However, despite the relative ease with which some were "converted", others courageously distinguished themselves by resisting the new religion and stubbornly clinging to their old ways and their old Gods.

Wouldn't there be, in this second scenario as opposed to the first, a far stronger case for later reviving this "old religion" (to borrow a phrase)? And would not those who had most stubbornly resisted conversion be the natural heroes and exemplars of any who wished to enact such a revival?

In comparing these two alternative narratives it should be obvious that the manner in which the older religion was replaced by the newer one makes a great deal of difference. One is reminded, in particular, of that principle ascribed to Churchill: "Nations that go down fighting shall rise up again; those that surrender tamely are finished."

With the foregoing in mind, let us now consider the case of the Heathen Saxons and their fascinating history of interfaith dialogue with the Christian Franks during the 8th and 9th centuries A.D. (Anno Deceptoris).


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