Author Mark Roques explores ideas about science, religion and the Enlightenment through this thought-provoking and entertaining interview with the Norse god
Thor, the Norse hammer chucker, is not a happy god! In this exclusive interview we get the low down on the mighty thunder god’s riches to rags story. In the old days when the Vikings ruled the waves, Thor was a respected and prosperous heathen god who always got decent sacrifices, both human and animal. Now the red-haired, bearded god is living on benefits in the north of Norway. His roof is leaking and he can’t pay his gas bill. Thor and his wife Sif were interviewed by Gary Mason in their tiny cottage on the outskirts of Trondheim.
“Tell us your story in your own words Thor.”
“In ancient times I would think nothing of lifting 100 tons of sand with my bare hands and construct a banqueting hall in Asgard from scratch. Almost every day I would take on swarms of giants and shatter their skulls with my hammer, Mjolnir. I was a majestic heathen god with a belt of strength and attractive iron gloves. Now I just feel tired and flatulent. I remember how the Vikings would beg me for protection when they set sail on their raiding missions. They pillaged, robbed and raped off the coast of England and I was always there to lend them a helping hand. Now Danish sailors just sit in their cosy cabins smoking marijuana and watching telly. Modern people have absolutely no respect for a pagan deity like me. The bitter truth of the matter, Gary, is that no one is willing to worship me anymore.”
“When did it all start to go wrong for you Thor?”
“Ever since the Enlightenment I’ve been a shadow of myself. Before the 18th Century me and Odin and Freya were prosperous and popular gods who were worshipped by the entire population of Scandinavia. We were multi-millionaires back then and could have whatever we fancied. Look at us now, Gary.”
“Thor, talk me through what you mean by the Enlightenment. Some of our readers have never heard of it.”
“That was the time when humans simply stopped worshipping our posse and the Christian god and began worshipping science, technology and economic growth. So many of our beloved worshippers switched teams and began to put their faith in their own rational powers. Instead of appeasing us and begging us to produce rain, sunshine and food, they started thinking they were gods themselves! People actually started to believe that science could make them all-knowing and technology could make them all-powerful. And this would lead to endless material abundance and universal happiness.”
“Think of it like this Gary. In the old days the punters were terrified of us and would do incredible things to keep us happy. One of my pals, Indra, has an amazing story about a man who vowed to crawl 300 miles from Manosa to Hardwar in India – in return for the healing of his son. The man kept his promise to Indra even though both his sons died on the journey. He even finished the marathon heart-broken and exhausted. Now that’s what I call worship! That’s what I call commitment! You don’t get anything like that nowadays and I blame the Enlightenment! If I could sue, I would.”
Get access to exclusive bonus content & updates: register & sign up to the Premier Unbelievable? newsletter!
“Are there any other heathen gods who feel the same way as you do Thor?”
“To be honest, Gary, we’re all on benefits now. We’re all miserable, grumpy and bitter. When was the last time Odin got a lovely virgin sacrificed to him? When was the last time I had a big barrel of mead dumped in a fjord as a sacred libation in my honour? Centuries ago is the answer. It’s awful being a pagan god these days. No one takes you seriously anymore. I’m no longer a respected and awesome god. I’ve become a ridiculous cartoon character in an American comic.”
“How do you see your future Thor? Perhaps your wife Sif might care to comment?”
“Well obviously we are down at the moment and life is very hard for heathen gods but there is one tiny ray of hope for us. With heavy, committed worship of science and technology life does become very dull and bleak. All the colour of life ebbs away and all you’re left with are empty consumerism and endless showings of nihilistic films by Ingmar Bergmann. Thor and I continue to hope that many human-beings will return to us when they see through the lies of the Enlightenment and its empty promises. After all we can offer a bit of mystery, intrigue and good-old fashioned pagan fun.”
“Thank you Thor and Sif for being so candid and frank.”
This article was originally published on the Thinking Faith Network website.
Mark Roques taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Prior Park College, Bath, for many years. As Director of RealityBites he has developed a rich range of resources for youth workers and teachers. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Holland, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a lively storyteller and the author of four books, including The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith. His work is focused on storytelling and how this can help us to communicate the Christian faith. He has written many articles for the Baptist Times, RE Today, Youthscape, Direction magazine and the Christian Teachers Journal.