[dropcap]B[/dropcap]eing interested in why we are here is not a casual interest. People, philosophers, and scientists who ask such a question are taking part in a debate that has gone on as long as man has lived on this planet. You cannot prove that there is no god behind all this, and you cant prove the opposite as well. Lets go back years before the birth of Christ and see what did human believe in.
You have probably heard of Thor and his hammer. Before Christianity came to Norway, people believed that Thor rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by two goats. When he swung his hammer it made thunder and lightning. The word “thunder” in Norwegian-“ThordØn”-means Thor’s roar. In Swedish the word for thunder is “åska,” originally “ås-aka,” which means “gods journey” over the heavens.
When there is thunder and lightning there is also rain, which was vital to the Viking farmers. So Thor was worshipped as the god of fertility.
The mythological explanation for rain was therefore that Thor was swinging his hammer. And when it rained the corn germinated and thrived in the fields.
How plants of the field could grow and yield crops was not understood. But it was clearly somehow connected with the rain.
And since everybody believed that the rain had something to do with Thor, he was one of the most important of the Norse gods.
There was another reason why Thor was important, a reason related to the entire world order.
The Vikings believed that the inhabited world was an island under constant threat from outside dangers. They called this part of the world Midgard, which means the kingdom in the middle. Within Midgard lay Asgard, the domain of the gods.
Outside the Midgard was the kingdom of Utgard, the domain of the treacherous giants, who resorted to all kinds of cunning tricks to try and destroy the world. Evil monsters like there are often referred to as the “forces of chaos.” Not only in Norse mythology but in almost all other cultures, people found that there was a precarious balance between the forces of good and evil.
One of the ways in which the giants could destroy Midgards was by abducting Freyja, the goddess of fertility. If they could do this. If they could do this, nothing could grow in the fields and the women would no longer have children. So it was vital to hold these giants in check.
Thor was a central figure in the battle with the giants. His hammer could do more than make rain; it was a key weapon in the struggle against the dangerous forces of chaos. It gave him almost unlimited power. For example, he could hurl it at the giants and slay them. And he never had worry about losing it because it always came back to him, just like a boomerang.
This was the mythological explanation for how balance of nature was maintained and why there was a constant struggle between good and evil.
That was a brief glimpse at the world of Norse mythology.
One exponent of those views was the philosopher Xenophanes, who lived about 570 B.C.
Men have created the gods in their own image, he said. They believe that gods were born and have bodies and clothes and language just as we have. Ethiopians believe that the gods are black and flat nosed, Thracians imagined them to be blue-eyed and fair-haired. If oxen, horses, and lions could draw, they would depict gods that looked like oxen, horses, and lions!
Early Greek philosophers worked on finding natural, rather than supernatural, explanations for natural processes. Those philosophers were sometimes called natural philosophers because they were mainly concerned with the natural world and its pr