Polemical topics for polytheists (part 1): Our vision and mission

Between two differing sides or two opposing extremes, there is always a balanced position to be found that mediates and reconciles them harmoniously, for the good of all parties. All sides and extremes exist for a reason and rightly claim our attention; the purpose should be to combine the beneficial points of those sides whiling avoiding the harmful. Seeing how useful this method is, I will endeavor to pursue it on this topic as well as on future ones. Therefore, to the question of “what is the current vision and mission of polytheists in the world?”, these are three possible answers,

First view: “Our mission is to embark on personal spiritual journeys and our vision is to be strongly connected with the Gods.”

Second view: “Our mission is to work together towards undermining monotheism and our vision is to rule the world”.

Balanced view: “Our mission is to work towards strengthening our general standing and our vision is the re-establishment and continuity of our religions & traditions throughout the world.”  

It is evident that none of these views are absolutely right or wrong, for that would depend on the context and circumstances of each. The third, however, appears more reasonable in a reconciliatory sense: Instead of the rather passive, solitary course of the first view, and the hostile expansionism of the second, the third view adopts a path that is both active and agreeable. We do certainly need spiritual journeys and strong connections with the Gods, as we also are required inevitably to compete with monotheism and restore our presence in the world. The true way to balance both is to re-examine our priorities and actions, according to our current situation. Comparisons with other individuals or groups is necessary and beneficial for such a task, since existence and growth depend on outer forces and circumstances. If strength comes both from inner conviction and unity of the group, what is the yardstick to measure this strength? Comparisons are necessary to determine that. So, let’s consider this question: how strongly does polytheism stand at the present time in comparison with monotheism? The answer is rather obvious and unfortunate, but it should make us think and act better, especially when the field for growth and improvement is really ripe and hopeful. Monotheism has already been declining, which is the reason why most of us are actually polytheists at the moment. We are now many individuals, with an opportunity to rise, but do we think of ourselves as a collective entity with a common mission and vision? Solitary worship and personal devotion is what we begin with, because we are forced to do so, and it is certainly good, so long as it does not obstruct unity on the ground. Fighting monotheism, on the other hand, is not really possible or reasonable, if victory is what we aim at. The means should not be confused with the end. Our end and purpose is to secure a strong framework to build our hopes upon, but like all foundations, it will require foresight, action, prudence and skill. Communities must form in order to take up this project successfully, otherwise our little structures will crumble or at least remain small and scattered in the face of powerful competitors. Can we truly have a long-lasting mission and long-sighted vision without strong communities? I think not.

19 thoughts on “Polemical topics for polytheists (part 1): Our vision and mission

  1. Jessica Triepel

    I completely agree. One thing I’d add is that secularism, or the non religious, population is increasing to the point of being the majority. Even though many still pay lip service to monotheism, the point is, very few have an active religious life. As much as I despise Christianity, I start to sympathize with Christians in that they are starting to feel the heat of religious intolerance. Maybe that is their örlog, and if so, so be it. Let it be a lesson to them. Maybe they will learn humility and finally start to respect other faiths. Or not. But if atheism can effect them, it can likewise effect us. There is power in numbers, and we need numbers to carve out a future for ourselves.

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    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Excellent observation; many thanks. I always mention monotheism and atheism as a pair, but I omitted it here inadvertently. Atheism is indeed far more dangerous than monotheism, as things stand. At the same time, there may be some hope in that atheism is a temporary state of mind in society; the world is mostly at peace, but that won’t be the case forever. Economic difficulty is already removing some of the decadence in thinking, and future conflicts (or wars) will probably restore faith in monotheism. Atheism did not last in the Soviet Union (or Communist Albania), and in the West, it is mostly adopted by “elites” of the bourgeoisie that were never really liked by most people. We do, therefore, need power in numbers; the atheists will either not reproduce or will dwindle under changing circumstances. To prevent this affecting us (or at least to mitigate the effect), we will need to “carve out a future for ourselves” as you say, with all the work and requirements that such a statement carries.

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  2. K

    I don’t worry much about Christianity. I worry more about this form of secular ideology that seems to be replacing it. The kind that is tied into a certain type of politics and promoted by the establishment.

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    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Yes, I agree with you, as you agree with Jessica. The secular ideology prevails today because of prosperity and decadence (intellectual, cultural, etc.), but as I intimate above, it can’t last forever. The establishment and its politics are already undergoing considerable (I would even say subversive) changes, owing to changes that affect the common people. We need to swell our numbers among those common people in order to become a force to be reckoned with as well as a force that will last. One of the things I have learned from history is that when quantity is at war with quality, the former usually wins. This is not always fortunate, but we can justify it for ourselves. Pardon me for the plain words, but we polytheists really need to breed!

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  3. Paul

    Perhaps the most important thing that we can do to advance our growth in numbers is to not inform Abrahamists of our sacrificial rites that we celebrate in shadowy, isolated groves. It would be most detrimental if potential reverts were to be repulsed and driven off by offerings of blood from consecrated victims being poured over our idols of wood and stone. Oh, wait… you heard nothing!

    But in perfect seriousness, Jessica and K have both made good points. Christianity and all of its offshoots are slowly but surely going the way of Manichaeism. I personally find this growing atheism and contempt for religion to be of great concern (not to mention rampant materialism and Islam). Part of the problem, to my eyes, is that there are nowhere near enough religious educational materials for genuine and tradition-based polytheism, as well as debunking the myth that polytheism was discarded because it couldn’t compete against Christianity in the theological or moral realms – not to mention all of the nonsense from the New Age, Wiccan, neo-pagan/shaman, syncretic etc. movements.

    I believe that the absolute bedrock of our efforts to create strong and confident communities, and consequently to bring our brothers and sisters back home to their true religion(s), we need to have a theological movement of sorts at the forefront of our efforts. We need to have religious education materials available and distributed that answer the most common misconceptions and misunderstandings about basic polytheistic beliefs (as well as general information), and to let people know that we are earnest and steadfast in our religious beliefs and that we are neither LARPers nor are we creating brand new religions out of nothing. From us being able to confidently and intelligently explain and inform about genuine polytheism, our numbers will grow – especially as Christianity withers and leaves behind people caught in a religious vacuum.

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    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Well spoken! Blood sacrifice is a future topic I will look into (I am for it, though my position requires explanation), but thank you for the pleasant witticism. Let’s not forget that atheism grows out of the culture of monotheism; when atheists profess to hate “religion”, I take it usually to mean they hate “monotheism” because it is what they are most exposed to, and it is indeed what has ruined the world. They look at Abrahamic monotheism as a forceful form of imperialism, which it exactly is. But as arrogant as most atheists are, they are willing to hear what we have to say about polytheism, as I find by experience, and what is even more encouraging, they are able to accept that religion, in the context of community, is useful for most people and most societies. I had rather be called a dreaming fool by an atheist than a bloody devil by a monotheist; at least the former gives me an opportunity to debate my point. As you suggest, once we explain that our polytheism is founded on ancient tradition, validly and seriously, people will give ear to our concerns. But I agree with you that community is the first step! I will go over community also in a future post.

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      1. Paul

        Very good point! I watched a video on YouTube perhaps a week ago of an atheist, and his arguments were exactly as you outlined here. He wasn’t venting against religion as a whole per se but more at the Christian version of the Abrahamic god. An interesting comment he made was along the lines that if it turned out that the Greek Gods were real, he would be able to accept that, but he couldn’t accept the idea of the Christian god who claimed to be all loving while at the same time allowing such things like cancer to exist.

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      2. Melas the Hellene Post author

        Thank you for pointing this out. This is indeed common among very many, if not most, atheists. They are in search for a way out of monotheism, and polytheists should be able and ready to provide that for them. I do believe that most atheists wish in their hearts for strong community, rich culture, and the honest belief that comes along with it. Individualism and scientism leads to bitter disturbance and cold dejection.

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      3. Melas the Hellene Post author

        This is an important question, and I will address similar points more at length in a future topic about science. But generally speaking, I think cancer and other such misfortunes can be interpreted as trials from the Gods that are either sent for punishment or for endurance. In both cases, it is our duty to help or cure ourselves (or others), and in doing so, re-examine our lives in order to grow stronger, wiser and more pious.

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  4. K

    I don’t know about atheists. One time, one of them told me “I don’t believe in one sky fairy, so why would I consider your bunch of sky fairies?” I was quite offended. So I told them “Fairies don’t live in the sky, they live in the ground, you fool.” They seemed awful put out by that.

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  5. Paul

    Euphonia, I concur with Melas. I would also add that there are Gods who rule over the realms of death and disease who are very much active in our world. In addition, none of the Gods have claimed to be all-loving and all-benevolent (even Aphrodite, for example, could take harsh action when She felt it appropriate), and there are deities who have power over death and disease who can make their will manifest. The ultimate purpose of horrific diseases, I do not know, but I agree with Melas that it is for us to grow in some way; either to help one another, or to fight and thus grow stronger, whether physically or spiritually.

    Speaking also as a Celtic polytheist, words have immense power, especially when used in the context of a ritual or incantation. The old stories are full of people who merely through their words and actions could do such extraordinary things as conjure up storms and fogs to confound enemies or gain abilities such as second sight. We certainly have enough people hurling curses and wicked thoughts at each other (Damn him/her. I hope they catch the flu/lose their job/get in an accident/get divorced) that I would not be surprised if their words are heard and brought about, at least on occasion. Of course, I know that this viewpoint will cause many people to laugh outright.

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    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Good thoughts. It’s interesting to think of the purpose of horrible diseases. In some cases, it was the result of a God’s wrath; as with Athens during the Peloponnesian War. But in general, the purpose seems subjective, whereas the phenomena is real and must be dealt with. As for the Gods granting curses, it is serious rather than laughable. Our Gods are certainly concerned and engaged with our world. By the way, Paul, let me introduce you to my friend “Euphonia” (Courtney) who happens to be a Celtic polytheist like yourself and she is actually devoted to the healing Goddess Sirona. 🙂

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      1. Paul

        Thank you for the introduction, Melas! Very happy to meet you, Euphonia/Courtney (if you read this, please let me know which name you would prefer I use in future) 🙂 Joy and blessings of our Gods and Ancestors to you!

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  6. K

    Theodicy seems to bother Christians and atheists the most. Muslims and Jews don’t have a big problem with that, as they at least are not false advertisers about their god being all loving. The Quran outright says that Allah made some men and djinns to send them to Hell. Yahweh never claimed to love everyone, and does not show such sentiments in the Tanakh. The Israelites sacrificed entire cities of people, animals, and goods to Yahweh. Even the New Testament has things that go against an all loving god.

    Theodicy does not bother me, because I don’t believe in the premise that creates the problem in the first place.

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    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Theodicy is one of those absurd things that ruin monotheism. Even in Islam and Judaism, it immediately looks paradoxical and unjust that their god should be considered destructive to all opponents, and at the same time, the height of the good. It is leading to more and more guilt and doubt, and afterwards secularism and atheism. We polytheists have no problem with the question of evil, because our religions don’t deal in absolutes and fundamentally reject that kind of dualism. It is actually one of our greatest strengths for convincing others to join.

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