For a strongly secular industry that supports secular values, Hollywood, and the entertainment industry in general sure does seem to love promoting polytheism, most notably when it comes to pantheistic mythologies such as Greek or Norse:
Greek mythology has been used in nearly every form of [Western] popular culture. Many Greek myths have been adapted into modern novels, movies, TV shows and video games. The word “theatre” is derived from the Greek word “theatron”, meaning the seating section of outdoor arenas where people watched plays.
It’s pretty much impossible to talk about every polytheistic pop culture reference in one article, as the list of such incorporations in modern media is quite extensive, especially for Greek and Norse mythologies, although other mythologies such as Hindu, Egyptian, Japanese, etc., are also quite popular.
For example, Marvel movies are arguably the most popular movie franchise in the world today, operating under the monopolizing arm of the occult-ridden Disney, which produces movies and shows with all kinds of satanic ideologies for children.
Even if someone hasn’t heard of the Marvel franchise or the Avengers, they’ve at least come across some of their characters in the form of widespread merchandise.
As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that companies like Disney and Marvel feed off of parents who buy their kids such overly priced merchandise:
Forbes cites Disney as one of its licensee partners for the Marvel universe. Its merchandise business generated $10 billion from sales of Spider-Man swim trunks, Hulk bedding, Winter Soldier masks, and Captain America action figures in fiscal year 2010.
Muslim parents should take notes of not wasting their money on such products as they cause a lot of harm and no good. Firstly, you end up becoming a cog in the mega money making machine for these companies that then use said money to produce content that brainwashes YOUR children. And second, by buying such products and even action figures, you risk romanticizing these characters for your children.
Going back to the topic, Marvel has depicted many things from Norse myth, from locations such as Asgard and Jotunheim, to gods such as Thor, Odin, and Loki, in their movies. And since Marvel movies come under the heading of ‘popcorn movies’ that the majority of people watch “just for fun,” such ideas and concepts have become quite popular and well known among the masses.
However, such media avoids depicting the totally bizarre nature of these religions in order to keep audiences attracted.
For example, Loki, also known as the god of mischief in Norse myth, once turned himself into a mare in order to be impregnated by the stallion Svaoilfari.
This peculiar incident led to the birth of an eight legged horse called Sleipnir. Does Marvel depict this? No. Instead, their characters are played by young charming actors who audiences admire and pay to watch on the big screen.
And while these popcorn movies don’t depict completely the impure rituals and absurd fanaticisms and beliefs of such religions, there are other famous shows and movies that go all out in depicting mythologies in their full bizarre and revolting nature. One such TV show is called Vikings, which used up hefty amounts of money in their budget: The first season’s budget was US$40 million.
The show, though historically quite inaccurate, portrays all kinds of brutal rituals, such as the act known as ‘blood eagle’, where a person’s back is torn open, their ribs broken and pulled out so that their lungs may be fashioned into wings. If the person enduring this remains silent until death, they enter Valhalla, which is a sort of warrior’s paradise in Norse mythology.
Another example is an appalling festival where pagans get high off of mushrooms and spend the entire night fornicating with each other. The common yet disgusting ritual of human sacrifice in an attempt to appease the ‘gods’ is also shown. The Vikings themselves are displayed as violent brutes who show no mercy, invading lands in order to loot, rape, murder, and pillage the innocent. In fact, even babies aren’t spared. Here’s the strange thing, though.
In the show, these are supposed to be the heroes. And the makers of this content make every attempt to humanize such vile characters. The goal is for audiences to empathize with these baby-killing, pagan savages. For example, the human sacrifice is depicted as a serene scene, where the person being sacrificed is doing so willingly, happy that he is being butchered in the name of his false gods. However, the reality of these rituals was far more horrifying:
A similar scene is depicted in Vikings, when Ragnar and Lagertha decide that a human sacrifice is needed so they can placate the gods and have more children. They first choose their former Anglo-Saxon slave Athelstan to do be the person to die, but after they reach the Temple of Uppsala and Athelstan learns what is being asked of him, he declines – and the Viking priests note that the sacrifice must be made voluntarily. In the end, Leif, another of Ragnar’s followers, joyfully accepts the task. Here is how his death scene is depicted:
While the scenes depicted give an air of civility to Viking religious practices, in reality the human sacrifices were a far more brutal affair. In Ibn Fadlan’s account, the slave girl starts out by volunteering for the death, but she soon decides against going through with it. However, the other Vikings did not accept that – she is dragged into a death chamber, where six men gang rape her. Afterwards, while two men strangle her with a cord, another person repeatedly stabs her chest with a dagger in order to kill her. However, this part of the Ibn Fadlan’s account doesn’t make it into The 13th Warrior.
Brown notes that in all our historical sources on the Vikings we never have an episode where a person voluntarily accepts being sacrificed.
What we can learn from this is that these pagans were weak believers in their own false religions. And of course, given such a violent, bloody, and unjust lifestyle, they entertained themselves with absurd tales such as the one about Loki mentioned above. No wonder they lacked faith in these obviously false myths.
But the thing is, entertainment media has tried their hardest to show such cultures in a good light. And one way to dilute brutalities such as pagan human sacrifice is to show that the people undergoing them did so voluntarily, that they had very strong convictions in their paganism, that they would be willing to die to protect their beliefs. The characters are shown to be strong willed, determined, brave and courageous, and full of unwavering faith. This is how producers romanticize such dirty beliefs, rituals, and ways of life.
And sadly, a lot of the male audience, including a few Muslim youngsters, end up falling for this trap. Because of the depiction, audiences start associating these cultures and their way of life with masculinity, i.e., traits that a man should have. An image is formed in their minds that equates extreme violence, brutality, fornication, and mercilessness with manliness. This can be attractive to young minds who are sick of modernity, where in fact, they are unknowingly idealizing the very same satanic lifestyle from which modernity and liberalism emerged.
And another evidence of the fact that young men are being targeted with this sort of mentality can be seen from the world of gaming. There are countless games filled with mythological retellings, motifs, and references, the biggest of which perhaps is the ‘God of War’ franchise, in which you follow the main character Kratos through the entire Greek and Norse pantheons. The most recent installment has become perhaps one of the most popular games of all time.
Even in the world around us we are surrounded by mega corporations who reference polytheism:
References to Greek mythology can still be found in art, literature, names and brands. This includes brands such as Nike (which is named after Goddess of victory), Pandora (named after the first mortal woman meaning all gifted) and Amazon (which is named after a group of women who were trained in combat and archery).
It’s quite counterintuitive that while modern media loves to bash on Islam, and frequently will go out of its way to show the so-called “dangers” of religion, that same media promotes polytheistic religion so heavily.
There are numerous movies and shows with themes of how religion is just a cult for the corrupt and wealthy to control the masses, and how only silly sheep-minded people follow such cults. The authority of Allah is shown in the most hateful way possible, and there’s a strong attempt to depict that freedom from God’s authority is the best goal for humans. In such media, those who submit to God are shown as simple minded fools who are easily indoctrinated, while those who attempt to rebel against God are shown as the heroes, the ‘liberal’ warriors who will break the chains of authority around them and free mankind. This creates an idea in the minds of watchers that real life people speaking against Islam and monotheism are to be supported.
Therefore, it makes sense that the ideology that is the exact opposite to the submission of Allah, i.e., polytheism, would be so popularized. Not only are they associating partners with Allah, the gravest sin of all, but they also promote a sick lifestyle that is free of restrictions, where giving into your desires and flesh, living a life full of injustice and sin, taking part in the dirtiest of rituals, are seen as virtues.
Muslims today should remind themselves of how grave committing Shirk is and how strongly Allah spoke against polytheists:
So proclaim what you have been commanded, and turn away from the polytheists. (15:94)
Indeed, those who disbelieve from the People of the Book and the polytheists will be in the Fire of Hell, to stay there forever. They are the worst of ˹all˺ beings. (98:6)
And We will bring forth a witness from every faith-community and ask ˹the polytheists˺, “Show ˹Us˺ your proof.” Then they will ˹come to˺ know that the truth is with Allah ˹alone˺. And whatever ˹gods˺ they fabricated will fail them. (28:75)