A Better Burden: Towards a New Ásatrú Theology
This paper makes the case for a new direction in Ásatrú theology. After making a clear distinction between dogma and theology, a succinct review will be made of various recent approaches to writing on theological issues within the cluster of modern Heathen religions. The paper will then suggest a new path forward that avoids some pitfalls that have arisen in work that strongly focuses on secular scholarship and the desire to return to a putative ancient worldview. A turn will be made to the concept of public theology, to the idea that there is a “growing need for theology to interact with public issues of contemporary society” and to “engage in dialogue with different academic disciplines such as politics, economics, cultural studies, religious studies, as well as with spirituality, globalization and society in general” (International Journal of Public Theology). This paper forwards the notion that we embrace our identity as members of a New Religious Movement (NRM) that began in 1972 as we fully engage with contemporary issues. In Hávamál, Odin says, “A better burden may no man bear for wanderings wide than wisdom.” This paper suggests that we continue to carry the wisdom of the past, but that we resolutely turn our focus to embracing the world we live in today and to engaging with the challenges of the present. In conclusion, the paper calls for a collaborative international project to produce a collection of original public theology by authors from a wide variety of perspectives.