Norse Conversion Essay

895 words - 4 pages

The Christianization of the Norse took place between the 8th and the 12th centuries. It was a gradual process that took considerable effort converting the Norse, as they did not wish to convert and in many cases conversion was by force. The traditional religion of the Norse people wasn't just a form of worship, it was apart of their culture and way of life. A belief system that was deeply rooted that made the concept of the original sin and other Christian beliefs just too hard for the Norse people to understand or believe.
Because of this, converting the Norse was a task that took Christendom a relatively long time to achieve and was done by any and all means possible, including converting Norse beliefs, practices, and culture into Christian ideology in order to allow the Norse to relate and understand it and then eventually accept Christianity. So conversion of the Norse was done by relating Christian concepts as closely to Norse practices as closely as possible. Conversion attempts were also usually done by means of mass communities rather than taken in by individual conversion. This was done by methods of demanding conversions through subjugation. The Monarch would convert and as an opportunity to solidify their power, force their subjects to convert as well. So instead of trying to convert individuals to become Christians, the community would be ordered to convert. Entire regions would become converted by order of the King. Missionaries, priests, and monks would then come in to finish the process. Once converted, the old gods and practices would be outlawed as entire communities would be baptized and swear oaths to forsake the old gods and take in Christ as their only god. Further subjugation would take place through instruction and discipleship training by christian missionaries that would be set up. The missionaries were more successful because most of them came from England. English missionaries were trusted more because they were from conquered areas that were under subjugation, the Norse weren't suspicious of them militarily or politically as they were missionaries from other Norse lands, Germanic Kingdoms, or Francia.
Another attraction to Christianity, was that Norse pagans were impressed and tempted by the sheer materialistic power of Christendom. Their current beliefs and faiths were predominately focused by gaining material prosperity through specific gods that gave attention to specific things. For example, they worshiped gods of agriculture because they wanted their crops to grow. Gods that favored cattle so that they would produce more milk. The Norse gods weren't particularly concerned with the human plight and very hard to please. When...

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