“We Are Our Deeds” Please STFU

I hate this phrase, let me tell you why.

It seems like I can’t pick up a Norse Paganism 101 book that doesn’t have this phrase in it, usually within a larger discussion of ethics. A person is their deeds, actions speak louder than words. Ultimately, what you do is what defines you. This is, of course, most often trotted out in response to Christianity’s (particularly Protestant Christianity) emphasis on belief.

Lately though, it seems like this phrase needs a few qualifiers:

“We are our deeds–unless you worship a god I don’t like.”

“We are our deeds–unless you’re Wiccan (then you’re just a fluffy bunny, HAHAHAHAHA!)”

“We are our deeds–until I commit a crime. Um, don’t pay any attention to that deed! I’ve done a lot for Heathenry, what have YOU done for Heathenry?”

“We are our deeds–but it’s okay for me to spread nasty rumours and outright lies about other people because they aren’t True Heathens (TM).”

How many Heathens say “we are our deeds” and then call all Lokeans “chaos-mongers” based not on what actual Lokeans have done, but solely on the fact that they honour Loki? Because “we are our deeds” only applies to you and your close circle of friends? Yeah, that’s not hypocritical.

This is why, when you are a racist, sexist, homophobic asswipe, I don’t give a shit if you’ve published books and attended conferences and “look at my deeeeeds I’ve done a lot for Heathenry” the fact of the matter is that you’re still a racist, sexist, homophobic asswipe. As far as I’m concerned, you’re not doing a whole lot for any religion by being an asswipe, and I know plenty of “Heathen heretics” who are not only not asswipes, but have probably written more books than you.

So, yeah, an asswipe, don’t be one.


11 thoughts on ““We Are Our Deeds” Please STFU

  1. Well if someone is spouting craps, it basically shows that those individuals are crap themselves. Thus the phrase “:We are our deeds ” holds up and is true.

  2. Well, as Old Crow illusrates, the author only dishonors herself by making such wild assumptions. Her feelings are obviously hurt, but she only makes herself out to be…intolerant….the very thing she accuses others of!

    1. You’re damn right, I’m intolerant!

      I’m intolerant of racism.
      I’m intolerant of sexism.
      I’m intolerant of queerphobia.
      I’m especially intolerant of ciswhitehet dudebros who use “we are our deeds” as a smokescreen for the above.

      “Oh, so-and-so may make racist/sexist/queerphobic remarks, but look at what they’ve done for Heathenry! What have YOU done for Heathenry?”

      “We are our deeds” is not an excuse for shitty behaviour, THAT is the whole point of my post, it is not and it should not, but it is. Every single example I used above is one such example of Heathens acting shitty as using “we are our deeds” as a kind of magical eraser, as if that makes it okay to be racist, sexist, queerphobic, and any other oppressive thing.

      It is not okay, and unfortunately, I see it time and time again. In fact, out of all Pagan and polytheist communities, I’d say Heathens are the WORST for taking people to task when they act dishonorably, or worse, they actually DEFEND folks who act dishonourably.

      And that’s just really, really shitty.

  3. I would put forth that WAOD is good, even if a lot of the people that use it sort of suck. Better, I say, to call them to account to the ethics they abandon, rather than to throw out the ethical modal.

    It’s not WAOD’s fault that so many people who use it, use it without mindfulness of their own actions. Overall though, solid point.

  4. Here’s the thing. I agree with your point, but in stating your point, you appear to be accusing specific people of horrid thiings, without naming names so we can go to them for their side of the story. Since the phrase is also the name of Swain’s book, a reasonable conclusion is that you are talking about him. If you aren’t, then it could be any number of other “big” names in Heathenry.
    In short, you are smearing unknown people without providing proof or giving them a chance to defend themselves. Anyone could be reading this, and could come to any number of conclusions about any number of people.

    I can’t exactly call this a good deed.

    1. I wasn’t talking about any individual big names specifically, but about a trend I’ve seen in certain circles (particularly groups like AsatruLore and Jotun’s Bane Kindred, but it’s not exclusive to those groups) who, in my experience, yell “WE ARE OUR DEEDS” the loudest and then act like utter asswipes and expect everyone to excuse them for their shitty behaviour, exemplified by comment threads like this one: https://adventuresinvanaheim.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/stay-classy-asatru-lore/

      1. I tried to respond to you in the thread,and for some reason, there’s no comment box available like there was when I first responded. :-/ Anyway, thanks for clarifying and being a bit more specific. I think I am a member of that “Asatru Lore” community (or there’s another one), but I don’t have much interaction, and haven’t noticed anything like you’re talking about. It’s good to know about it. I’ll keep an eye out.

        Personally, I like the phrase ‘we are our deeds’ but I strongly agree with you that if one is going to bandy it about, he really needs to be living it too.

        Thanks again for your response. 🙂

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