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Posted on Thursday, July 09 - 2009

" By Shane Dayton Virtually every western religion or mythos has an end of the world story, an episode in which all the evil of the world comes against all the good, and man and god alike often suffer and even die. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all hav..."

By Shane Dayton

Virtually every western religion or mythos has an end of the world story, an episode in which all the evil of the world comes against all the good, and man and god alike often suffer and even die. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all have an end of the world story, and a story of restoration afterwards. Greek mythology and Roman mythology both also contained end of the world stories. The world's end does not set Ragnarok, the Norse version of the world's final days, apart from other belief systems but the dark language of this event in this Norse legend, the same tone taken in many of the Norse myths, along with the way in which the world does end, are among several factors that do tend to make Norse mythology appear much more pessimistic than its counterparts.

Norse myths are known for the dark tone of voice, and the constant pointing towards Ragnarok and the destruction of the world. H.A. Guerber, in Myths of the Northern Lands, comments on the unique aspects of Norse mythology by saying: "The most distinctive traits of the Northern mythology are a peculiar grim humor which is found in the religion of no other race, and a dark thread of tragedy which runs through the whole" (5). In this paper I will study the theology of the Norse, and attempt to help shed light on what exactly gives their religion the darker and more pessimistic reputation it holds. One strategy to bring a stronger sense of understanding to Norse mythology is to understand the culture it comes from and compare it to a more familiar belief system. In the Book of Genesis, there is one God who simply speaks the world into existence. There is a void, and God's mere words fill it, and build it. Man is made from the sand, and woman is made from the rib of man, but with no negative consequences to that man. The Norse explanation of how the world came to be, by contrast, is filled with violence, blood shed, and the beginning of a war that will last through all of time until the final confrontation at Ragnarok...


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By Shane Dayton Virtually every western religion or mythos has an end of the world story, an episode in which all the evil of the world comes against all the good, and man and god alike often suffer and even die. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all have an end of the world story, and a story of restoration afterwards. Greek mythology and Roman mythology both also contained end of the world stories. The world's end does not set Ragnarok,...


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