In our region (Flanders and Gallia or Gaul) also many gods were worshipped and even today we may find several groups worshipping different gods. Several people living in Belgium and neighbouring countries do have a whole pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals, whilst others say they do not believe in God or gods but have put their faith in human writings, philosophies and scientific papers, with all sorts of different theories.
In this country, like in several western countries there are also people who say they worship one god, though they kneel down in front of different statues of all sorts of saints and different gods, like Jesus, Yahweh, a God the father, a god the son and a god the holy Spirit as well as a mother of god. They say their religion belongs to monotheism but many of them, being Catholic or Protestant, have a God the Father, a god the son and a god the spirit (being three gods , which they also claim to be one god or a Trinity). The majority of Christian denominations do have what they call the “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” being a so called the third person in what they call hypostasis of the Trinity. For those religious people their “Triune God” is manifested as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each person itself being God. (Ed. note: please find notated in the link ‘God in Christianity’, which would be better ‘God in Christendom’, because in Christianity we may also find those who do not believe in such incredible transformation.)
We may still find some people who worship the widely revered god Odin or Wōden also known as Wotan, the husband of the goddess Frigg. He has a etymological doublet in Freyja‘s husband Óðr. Freyja, the goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death, rules over her heavenly afterlife field Fólkvangr and there receives half of those that die in battle, whereas the other half go to the god Odin‘s hall, Valhalla (Valhöll or “hall of the slain”) according to the myth believers.
Several fraternal and neopagan groups are active and have their people making bonfires, offering dances, songs, divination and presenting children’s games to bring also others to their cult. As such many Christians and even some Muslims also join in to the celebrities at the end of October to have a festival for the death spirits. Those Halloween celebrations centuries ago where very popular, than nearly disappeared to have gained again in popularity by lots of Christians. Many also start to swear again their oaths by the “Three Realms” – Land, Sea and Sky.
An other popular pagan feast from the Celts which had already entered many Christian families has also now become a celebration by many Muslims too. Today we also find in Muslim homes Christmas trees decorated and a ‘Santa bringing Christmas presents’. The celebration for the goddess of light and or the god of light has captured many Christian and also some Muslim hearts.
Also earlier in the year many Christians celebrate Easter on a holiday for the god of fertility. originally it was a feast for the Chaldean goddess Astarte or Ashtoreth which is the Hellenized form of the Middle Eastern goddess Ishtar, worshipped from the Bronze Age through classical antiquity. Today also several Muslims follow those traditions from those Belgians who hide eggs in their garden, like remembering their god Jesus perhaps laid eggs or made the world fertile. Mesopotamian cultures like Assyria and Babylonia also had symbols as the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Those two last symbols were also taken by many Christians as the symbol for their tri-une god, having the dove symbolising the god spirit and giver of insight and the star within a circle or the pentagram for their uppergod which they also often call Yahweh. In the old times Christian clergy used the heathen symbols and feasts to make it easier to have the Gallic convert to Christendom. Instead of keeping to the feast Jeshua or Jesus himself celebrated, the Jewish Passover or the festival of Pasch [Passover] they abandoned the sacred days of 14 and 15 Nisan to remember the resurrection from the dead of Jesus. Though I do not see any reason why Easter-bunnies would come into that story. was a continuation of the Jewish feast quite different from the pagan festival of ‘Easter’. Some believe that the Jews derived their spring equinox celebrations, the Feast of Weeks and Passover, from a Babylonian holiday and as such the Christians with the Roman emperor agreeing to celebrate the same holy days as they and to have a similarity between their gods made Jeshua into the resemblance of Zeus and took on the Roman Easter celebration. Gradually the traditional pagan and Celtic symbols were absorbed for several holy days and rites.
The Pagan relationship with Christendom is often strained. Lots of Christians are often not aware of their troubled relationship with paganism and their worship being full of heathen or pagan rites. This can be very well noticed at the Roman Catholic mass. so Contemporary Paganism has sometimes been associated with the New Age movement, with scholars highlighting both similarities and differences.
We also find lots of Christian throughout the world who worship the pagan god Yahweh who was married to Asherah. By several he is also worship as the El as the chief Canaanite god, but it is also a title given to the God of Israel, the God of the Torah and the God of the Bible. But that god or Ěl Shaddai His Name is יהוה or in modern English writing Jehovah.
Before and at the time of the Canaanites we find already an El and Baal being worshipped. In many ancient Middle Eastern communities, especially among the Canaanites, who apparently considered Baal a fertility deity and one of the most important gods in the pantheon, his title being Prince, Lord of the Earth was later also introduced to name Jesus, the god of the trinitarian Christians. In Phoenician he was called Baal Shamen, Lord of the Heavens. Many Christians made the title “Lord” also into the name or a name of their god. The Hebrew scriptures speak frequently of the Baal of a given place or refers to Baalim in the plural, suggesting the evidence of local deities, or “lords,” of various locales. It is not known to what extent the Canaanites considered those various Baalim identical, but the Baal of Ugarit does not seem to have confined his activities to one city, and doubtless other communities agreed in giving him cosmic scope.
Funny to find that several early Hebrews considered “Baal” the Lord of Israel, though did that mean they also considerer him as the God of Israel? Because we can find indications of mastership or having a lord over Lebanon and Ugarit. What made the very name Baal anathema to the Israelites was the program of Jezebel, in the 9th century bce, to introduce into Israel her Phoenician cult of Baal in opposition to the official worship of Yahweh (I Kings 18). By the time of the prophet Hosea (mid-8th century bce) the antagonism to Baalism was so strong that the use of the term Baal was often replaced by the contemptuous boshet (“shame”); in compound proper names, for example, Ishbosheth replaced the earlier Ishbaal.
In the Holy Scriptures of Jews, Christians and Muslims we do find an All Mighty God יהוה or Allah with the Holy Name Jehovah Who battled Baal for supremacy in Israel. In the scriptures of the Jews, including the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, El, was being used like the general population used it, namely to denote a god or as a general term for a god. In some Christian bible translation it is made very difficult for the readers to know about whom is been spoken “a god”, or “the God”, because they do not make any more a difference and only place “God” or “Lord“.
From the root El comes also the word Elohim, which is plural (gods) and gender neutral. Later that word “Elohim” also became used to denote the One God. In the Holy Scriptures it was indicated that it was El Shaddai (translated God Almighty) who appeared before Abraham and promised that He would father the nation Israel (Isra-El) in the land of Canaan.
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