“Martyrdom of St. Stephen” by Bernardo Cavallino (c. 1645), Prado Museum (Accession No. P07466), Source Web Gallery of Art (PD)
There is a popular series on the History Channel called “Vikings”. Historical fiction, the series attempts to re-create the Viking worldview, as it existed before the adoption of Christianity.
The series treats the pagan beliefs of the Vikings with respect. It goes to great lengths to portray pagan rituals (including human sacrifice) accurately, and in a positive light. By contrast, scripts tend to portray Christian characters as weak, hypocritical and/or corrupt.
Interestingly, Ragnar, a central character, privately describes himself as an atheist toward the end of his life. This is far outside the Norse mythology from which the series claims to derive.
It should come as no surprise that Christian beliefs are often attacked by non-believers. On the scale of offense, “Vikings” barely registers. We are routinely labeled as…
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