Traditional Viking Religion

The traditional religion of the Vikings was Paganism. Pagans worshiped some major as well as minor Gods, with giants being their Gods enemies. This religion had no specific , or place to practice; Vikings would tend to their religious needs in their own home as they saw fit. Odin was the chief God of Paganism; he was sacrificed and resurrected just like Christianity's Jesus. Other Gods included Loki who was a problem solver, trouble maker and God of fire and Thor who was not too bright, as strong as anything and was the God of thunder.
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Paganism says that the Gods will fight the giants and the world will erupt in a great fire. During this fight Loki and his children side with the giants, so it's interesting that the Earth ends up in flames considering Loki was the God of fire. Even after this worldwide flame it is said there will be enough survivors for the world to rebuild itself.

Christianity

In the Summer of 995 Olav Tryggvason voyaged to Norway from England. There were two things on his mind:
  1. Claiming the throne of Norway
  2. Converting Norway to Christianity
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"He went ashore on the island of Moster on the west coast of Norway. He was accompanied by several English priests and a bishop called Grimkjell. On the island Olav Tryggvason held the first official mass in Norway. About 35 years later Norway was officially a Christian country."[1]

Leif Erikson was asked by the King of Norway to Christianize Greenland, and this he did. The European leaders were looking for a way to bring the Vikings together and more so control them. The Vikings were struggling against the Christianity that was being forced upon them. They had a Viking Berserker (said to be a crazy pagan) walk through a fire made by pagans and one by the Christians, he could pass the one made by pagans but not Christians - So they displayed Christianity as "the" religion.ris

Paganism vs. Christianity

These religions are totally , even when it comes to which is better documented. Paganism was not well documented, and by the time there was writing about it, Christianity had spread across Europe (13th century Iceland saga). Christianity was more organized, as the Pagans worshiped whenever and however - it was a religion full of choices it seemed. One of their recorded practices was the sacrificing of horses. Pagans represented their religion with hammers (Thor), while Christians used crosses.


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[1] http://viking.no/e/life/echristianity.htm