Odin is superior to Yahweh
Let me begin by saying that I am a pagan (specifically Asatru), who converted from Christianity some time ago. I don't necessarily believe that Odin is a literal deity, as Christians believe YHWH to be, but a manifestation of nature/the human psyche. This doesn't matter as much for the sake of this debate, as our sources will only come from written history, or that which documents the gods' natures. Secondly, both my opponent and I will have limited reference material. I will take most of my information from various ancient documents regarding Odin's characteristics. I would expect Con to do the same via the Bible. Note that this is a historical debate, not a philosophical debate. No arguments without evidence/sources, period.
Thirdly, I am inclined to believe that the Yeshua figure in the new testament is actually a different deity from the YHWH deity (Yahweh is, essentially, the culmination of a variety of gods from different pagan pantheons throughout the area). However, I won't mind if Con uses the New Testament to argue the nature of YHWH, so long as they can adequately reconcile this nature with the deity from the Old Testament in the process; of this reconciliation, I will be the judge. Ultimately, it would be in everyone's best interests for Con to use the Old Testament. It would be preferred if this debate was as unaffected by Christianity as possible. We will attempt to explain how the deities' characteristics have impacted their followers, and the aspects thereof.
Here is the structure of the debate:
Round One: Acceptance
Round Two: Arguments
Round Three: Rebuttals
Round Four: Conclusion
No ad hominem attacks; this is strictly an intellectual debate. If you have any questions prior to accepting, please ask in the comments.
May we arrive at truth. Reyn Til Runa.
I accept this debate.
For simplicity, the Old Testament will be my only source.
A disclaimer, please forgive me if the formatting isn't as good as it could be, I am writing this on my phone.
Let us begin:
Quiet, watchful, patient, and stoic are all words that can be used to describe one side of great All - Father Odin's personality. On the other side is a God who is constantly in search of wisdom and knowledge. (1) Always reflecting, and comparing, His search for the ultimate knowledge is His obsession, and His life. It is said in the Eddas that He wanders the worlds, in disguise, in search of answers to what - ever questions He desires answers to. (2) To judge His level of knowledge He travels to far away places to challenge others to contests of wit. He always, of course, comes out on top in these challenges, though sometimes He uses a little cunning to achieve His goal. This can be seen when He is competing against Vafthrudnir. They are equal in knowledge until great Odin asks, " What words did Odin whisper to His son, when Balder was placed on the pyre." Only Odin, of course, knew the answer to that question. (3)
His search for knowledge has led Him to sacrifice much, including His eye, in Mimir's well, (3) and once almost His life when He was hanging on, wounded by His own spear, that great ash tree Yggdrasil. (4) Falling He gathered up the wonderful rune stones that are still used by some today, including yours truly. No one in the nine worlds understands everything as well, or as in depth as the All - Father. And this knowledge is both a blessing and a burden to great Odin. For He knows not only the past and the present, but also the future, which holds disaster for the Gods and all the nine worlds. (2) A disaster that even with all His wisdom and knowledge he is powerless to prevent.
Odin is a God of mystery and intrigue, always watching, always seeking, sometimes even conniving, as when He steals the mead of poetry. (2) He hides in the shadows of our worlds and our minds. From His high - seat, in Hlidskjalf, he sees everything, nothing misses His eye, no thought escapes his mind. Every day he sends out Hugin and Munin to scour the worlds, and gather what they see and hear, and at breakfast they come back, sit on All - Father's shoulders and whisper tidings in his ears. The width and breadth of His knowledge is unfathomable to us here in Midgard.
In times past Odin could make a man a king or remove him from his throne. Loki, in Lokasenna, said, " Be quiet Odin ! You never could decide a fight fairly. I know how often you have allowed the weaker man to win." (3) But Odin knows that strength does not come from physical stength alone, but also from the strength of one's intelligence. We may not understand His decisions but we have to trust that the All - Father always makes the best choice.
As King of the Valkyries, he chooses half of the battle dead warriors to sit on the hallowed benches of Valhalla. Freyja, probably as an agreement from the Aesir - Vanir war, gets the other half. He whispers in His Valkyries ears which ones to take and which ones to leave. For even though All - Father knows the end - battle is lost He stills wants the most determined and ferocious of warriors to face the evil forces of chaos. He feeds them well and gives them good drink so they will be fit for the final days, He sharpens their battle skills by allowing them to fight in the courtyard of Valhalla.
It says in Gylfaginning, " We all serve Him as children do their father. " (2) Nothing I can say can improve on those words. He gave us life, (3) He gave us the runes, He gave us the mead of poetry, He gave us our protector, the Mighty Thor, He gives us His knowledge and His love. It is, however, a tough love ! For He expects us to speak and act in honorable ways, according to His code of law. Unlike Freyja, Odin resides in our minds and not in our hearts. His love is shown to us in the form of a confirming nod, or a simple raising of His chin in pride over our accomplishments. His reward to us, is wisdom and knowledge, and few gifts are more meaningful.
There’s an old Norse poem from The Poetic Edda that identifies Odin as “ond” — the breath of life. He provided the first humans in Norse mythology — Ask and Embla — with their animating force. It’s through his magical powers and bestowing of spirit that humanity strives to better itself, to flourish, and to rid stagnation from its existence.
While the comparison isn’t perfect, it seems like Odin to the Norsemen is what thumos was to the Greeks. Wisdom, passion, and inspiration are his domain, and as we’ve seen, he sacrificed much to attain those traits.
And Odin expected humans to do the same. The Norse culture, like many ancient ones, wasn’t a democracy, but a meritocracy. You had to work for your blessings from Odin; they weren’t just handed down freely. In tale after tale, men had to literally and metaphorically bleed themselves in order to attain their aims and transform into warriors — the only type of man who had a chance at accompanying the Allfather to Valhalla.
Dryykon forfeited this round.
My opponent has not provided arguments, and thus conceded to the resolution. Because of this, I will provide a rebuttal directed towards the common consensus, or the common understanding of Yahweh pertaining to the peoples within the Old Testament. The information below is the examination of both deities' wisdom. Let us note that the people within the stories of the Old Testament lived around the same time as the pagans of Northern Europe. It goes without saying, we can assume the deity known as Yahweh is a collection of various pagan gods among the tribes of Israel. This can be observed by the "morbid" and violent practices of YHWH in the old testament; cruelty that our more Christianized society cannot understand. Over time, the peace-loving god of the New Testament (Yeshua) usurped the throne of YHWH. It can be observed that most cultures pre-Christian were inherently blood-focused because of the prevailing knowledge that blood is the life force that unites us all. Regardless, we can examine both gods from a pagan mindset, and see whom has advice that is so wise it transcends time. Both groups of people were violent; both condoned human sacrifice. It is also interesting to note that both deities are gods of war; for both societies lived in a time period of violence and war. There is no reconciliation for this; Yahweh and Jesus are too separate deities, from two separate times, and (I dare say) two separate cultures. Much like Yahweh and Odin.
One of the things that I have noticed upon researching Odin/Wotan, is how he encourages his followers to trust and rely on themselves, and how he sees them as equals. This is because the Aesir-focused societies revolved around the individuals' honor, and how it impacted the entirety of the tribe. Because of this, the pagans did not worship the gods, but revered them as they did their ancestors. This can be comparable to philosophy of Taoism in the Orient.
ODIN: "When you come upon misdeeds, speak out against them and give your enemies no peace." (Havamal 127)
ODIN: "Cattle die, kinsmen die; all men are mortal. Words of praise will never perish, nor a noble name." (Havamal 76)
Secondly, it can be noted that most pagan cultures, even some of those among the tribes of Canaan, accepted the possibility that their gods 1. weren't the only gods out there, 2. weren't the most powerful gods and 3. weren't intolerant to other gods. Most viewed their gods as concrete symbols to explain something abstract -- things that we now use science for. Weaker gods were left by the wayside, while more necessary gods would rise to the top (this is partially why Odin is so complex, and YHWH seems so one-sided). It was mostly upon the introduction of YHWH did the masses have to singularly worship one god, out of fear of death. The same logic that ruthless tyrants use:
YHWH: "[For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you] lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth." (Deut. 6:15)
YHWH: "If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, and hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; and it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die." (Deut. 17:2-17:5)
YHWH: "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help." (Quran 3:56)*
Thirdly, Odin's pursuit of knowledge is astounding. In the Voluspa, Odin encounters a seeress or a sorceress (a Volva) who recounts to him the story of the creation of man and woman, as well as revealing to Odin some of his own secrets. And what does Moses say we should do if we encounter a seeress?
“Do not allow a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18)
I could go on and on, but my opponent hasn't shown me the curtousy to provide a reason to waste anymore time on these frivolous matters; thus, I will leave it at this. Odin encourages us to find our own answers, honor our friends and family, give justice where justice is due, keep our minds open and show no intolerance to those who are different than us, and live an honorable life. Yahweh (not Jesus, mind you), encourages us to submit without question, tune out our rationality to worship him as the most powerful god, and kill anyone whom he asks us to; even our friends and family. Yahweh is a bratty, emotional and self-rightous god who has risen to power through his leeching off of the more humane doctrine accounted by the apostles of the Christ figure. It is the power-hungry nature of YHWH that has helped many a king preform terrible acts, and the unfortunately connected progressive nature of Christ that has helped them to keep control. Apostacy, genocide, incest and divine-right; all thanks to Yahweh.
I await my opponent's rebuttal.
*I included a quote from the Quran to demonstrate the significance of Yahweh's influence between religions. Some would contend that Allah is not YHWH. I digress; Islam even claims that it originates from a child of Abraham, who worshiped the Abrahamic God, El. It can be assumed, for the sake of this debate, that Allah is merely another aspect of the deity formerly known as Yahweh. For all intents and purposes, the nature of Allah is the nature of YHWH. My opponent would have to commit the strawman fallacy in order to dispute this.
Dryykon forfeited this round.
I have nothing further to add. My opponent has forfeited the debate. History and myself continue to affirm the resolution:
Odin is superior to Yahweh.
Dryykon forfeited this round.
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