Iceland is officially worshiping Norse Gods again

For the first time since the Vikings sailed, the Icelandic public will soon be able to worship classical Norse gods like Odin, Thor, and Frigg at a public temple built in their honor.

For the first time since the Vikings sailed, the Icelandic public are worshiping classical Norse gods like Odin, Thor, and Frigg at a public temple built in their honor. "The worship of Odin, Thor, Freya and the other gods of the old Norse pantheon became an officially recognized religion exactly 973 years after Iceland’s official conversion to Christianity."


An Icelandic association called Asatruarfelagid, which promotes faith in the Norse gods and is headed by high-priest Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, raised sufficient funds and received permission from the government to construct the first such temple in 1,000 years. Observers wonder how the rise of neo-pagan traditions will affect the reception of Christianity.

Professor Luke Timothy Johnson of Emory University says early Christians frequently misinterpreted virtuous gods as demons:

"Christian mission has always positioned itself as a rescue operation, that people were in desperate straits, were indeed under the influence of demons. ... It is impossible to read the reflections of Marcus Aurelius ... and not recognize a profound mode of religious expression. ... It is impossible ... not to recognize that [paganism] is the furthest thing possible from the demonic. It is indeed a form of religious expression from which we can learn much, and at the very least we need to respect."


Iceland's Norse temple will host official ceremonies like weddings and funerals and be dug 13 feet down into a hill that overlooks Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. Hilmarsson said his organization's purpose is not to dispute any Christian traditions, but simply reflect Iceland's complex spiritual history.

Hilmarsson said: "I don't believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet. We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology." Membership in Asatruarfelagid has tripled in Iceland to 2,400 members, out of a total population of 330,000.

--

Read more at The Telegraph.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Space is dead: A challenge to the standard model of quantum mechanics

Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.

Videos
  • Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
  • In nature, properties of Particle B may be depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
  • In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.
Keep reading Show less

Vaping changes blood vessels after one use, even without nicotine

E-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they come with their own risks.


John Keeble
/GETTY
Surprising Science
  • A new study used an MRI machine to examine how vaping e-cigarettes affects users' cardiovascular systems immediately after inhalation.
  • The results showed that vaping causes impaired circulation, stiffer arteries and less oxygen in their blood.
  • The new study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes – while likely safer than traditional cigarettes – are far from harmless.
Keep reading Show less

Russia sends humanoid robot to space, fails to dock with ISS

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
Keep reading Show less