Saturday, April 20, 2013

Brian Greenhow

Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank Seth Alföðurson for his very interesting and informative interview. I really enjoyed learning more about your faith and I thank you so much for sharing with us Seth!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome Brian Greenhow. Brian is an Asatruar and I know you will enjoy his interview as well!

Here Is Brian Greenhow's Introduction:

My name is Brian Greenhow and I've dabbled in quite a few religions, I guess you could say I never found that missing piece. That is until about 3 years ago, I began looking into Norse mythology, at first as nothing more than a hobby but there's a point somewhere that it became something more and I can't truly say exactly when, and at first I felt a little isolated, it wasn't until a year later that I stumbled across the term Asatru and then realised that there were far more people like me than I first thought.

1) What religion do you practice?

2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I'm a convert and I didn't need to do anything, one day I just looked back and I just... was! I was raised Christian but always felt out of place, and when I was old enough to read the bible myself I found it wasn't for me, and for a long time I was Gnostic, I briefly touched on Hindu then turned to witchcraft but I never really felt I fit there either, Tao offered me inspiration but again, I couldn't immerse and it was only due to a friend introducing me to folk metal that I started looking into Nordic myth, and that last piece of the puzzle just fit.

3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
There's no real orthodox observance to Asatru, but you will find a number of different degrees, some of them don't mix well with others, but for the most part we all try to learn from each other. As with most religions, you'll find the hardcore fundamentalists, those with an aggressive political drive and varying degrees of moderacy and of course those who abuse the ideology to suit their agenda. Some are very hands on and insist on ritual while others are happy to keep their worship between them and the gods, I suppose what I'm saying is, there's no set way to observe, everyone seems to forge their own way.

4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I suppose I would consider myself a moderate though I don't know if I chose that so much as it just fell down round me, while I am a very opinionated person, I have little drive for ambition or politics and I practice my religion as I already lived my life, I'll stand up for myself if need be but generally prefer to keep to myself.

5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
There are many thoughts on the afterlife for an Asatruar and no real right or wrong answer but in short, there's no Heaven/Hell. There are many deities and some believe they will go to their patron god's hall for their service, others believe in reincarnation and some believe we stay here in spirit to watch over our descendants. Most will tell you we first go to the goddess Hel, who decides our fate and for warriors of course, there is Valhalla where those chosen train to participate in Ragnarok and stand by the gods in the final battle.

6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Simply put, no, Valhalla is for warriors, if you're not a warrior you face Hel and I believe are given a place according to your deeds, whether that be a peaceful rest, joining your ancestors or another turn on the wheel or a punishment for a life misspent.

7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Honestly I can't rightly say, but it seems to fit very snugly with my world view, as if I was born to be a part of it.

8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
There are a lot of holy days, but most are either on the height of the season or a season change, perhaps the most important is Yule, which for our ancestors was observed at the peak of winter. Everyone has their own customs but most holidays are marked with a feast or gathering to celebrate family and friends, and a symbolic offering to the gods.

9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Yes, providing the acceptance is returned, I personally don't tolerate someone who can't tolerate me. I go on the premise that everyone is my friend unless they give me reason not to be, so saying, I have very few enemies and as a general rule, have no problems with other ideologies.

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Yes, but this is conditional, if they don't respect my beliefs then I would have to think their invitation involves an ulterior motive but if it's just in the spirit of hospitality, then I'm happy to join in the celebration.

11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
Sharia Law is an abomination, and the burqa is a device to dehumanise women. I despise misogyny and cruelty, Sharia Law is nothing but. The burqa is a symbol of domination and slavery.

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
Yes, women have equal standing in Asatru, and I'm very happy about that.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
My place of worship is practically anywhere and I can express myself in any way I wish. I don't feel compelled to interact with other groups but neither am I compelled not to, and I suppose, to answer the question, that leaves me at ease.

14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
My religion has very little impact on my daily life and no impact on my opinions, my opinions are my own and if my religion required me to change them, then I would reconsider my religion.

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
For me, that's almost a certainty so I have to be alright with it, but as any father I'm obliged to consider what makes my children happy but I won't allow them to be mistreated either.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No, for starters, I don't think there is a hell, each individual is judged on their deeds alone, not their beliefs.

17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
I don't think I can accurately answer that, perhaps my belief isn't really known well enough yet or perhaps I'm still too new to know of the major spokesmen, those I have heard of are all practicing to some degree.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No, most people I've found haven't heard of or know too little about my religion for any such thing to occur.

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No, Asatru is all about valuing yourself, self respect and self reliance.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes, I feel more than ever that I know my place in this world and I don't need to feel guilty about it.

21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
Yes, I think our souls need to learn something and sometimes it takes more than one turn to learn it.

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