There is a reason that there is so much crossover between the different religions of the world. The Hindu God Agni brings fire to man just as Prometheus did to the Greeks. Both stories sound a lot like Odin bringing the runes, or Christ wiping away sin. This story is about lifting the humans out of savagery and into the light. Gilgamesh’s flood is Noah’s flood, Horus and Jesus were both born of virgins, etc…
The reason there is such similarity in religions is that the ideas behind the stories are universal.
Most of what we call myth was originally speculation in an effort to explain the world and all its dazzling phenomena. It was a process in which imagination assembled the inner world with the outer, sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. When the images that were formed made some sense in both worlds, they were kept and expanded all the way to complete cosmologies. From Archetypes in Myths
Truths once known or at least remembered unconsciously, turned from history into story to teach and carry on to later generations. Later they slip into myth and legend.
How a peoples come to these truths is unique to their experiences. Heathenism is our native religion. It is how our people understood their relationship to the gods, nature, and the world around them.
It would be so simple under this theory to adopt a religion wholesale if we were all from some homogeneous population somewhere in the world that can run the blood lines back a thousand years. But as a typical American, the best I can do is say I am mostly German, with some Swedish and a bit of generic Northern European. What do I do with that? My kids, even more shuffled up, adding in the Irish and the Eastern Europe.
I have dwelled on this long and hard and the solution to me was incredibly straight forward. In our modern world no population or culture is an island onto themselves, not even the ones on actual islands. Our laws, taboos, traditions, and values are described correctly as ‘The West‘. It is an idea several thousand years in the making. Many cultures added an ingredient to the soup, but in the end it is a consistent entity.
There is a direct line from the Greeks through Rome, to the tribes of the Northmen.
The impact of Judeo-Christianity and Protestantism together with a myriad of other factors. The West in a tradition of the rule of Law, democracy, freedom, citizenship, and personal responsibility. To spend time trying to discern what trait comes from where is to miss the point. It is a moral evolution that has led us to be the light of the world, a high water mark on civilization.
I for one am proud of it in all its manifestations. I choose to focus on the pagan aspects because I feel that Christianity is a foreign religion of a foreign peoples impressed upon us. Every people should strive to connect with the version of religion that is organic to their soil and their blood. The problem with Abrahamic religions is their desire to compel everyone to confirm to their beliefs. I rebel against this and seek to rediscover religion the way my ancestors did.
I understand the purists would take issue with this premise, but when there is not yet enough of us to fill a swimming pool, why split hairs?
The lion’s share of my practices are from the Norse religion, but I still tip my hat to bits and pieces of older precursor notions and gods.