Polemical topics for polytheists (part 4): Monotheists to learn from?

First view: Since monotheism is opposed to polytheism, we can learn nothing from monotheists

Second view: Since monotheism is another system of belief & culture like our own, we can generally learn as much from monotheists as polytheists

Balanced view: What we can learn from monotheists is limited, but it can be of great importance for our successful competition

If there is no question that monotheism has brought much detriment to the world, there is also no doubt that its adherents exceed our own (at least nowadays) in resolution, unity, and action. The many centuries that separate us from our pious and powerful ancestors should make us far more active and concerned for the welfare of our ancient ways and beliefs than we have been. It is excellent for us to teach or remind ourselves of the good (or indeed bad) examples of famous ancient polytheists—that is a sacred duty. But if this brings us inspiration or admiration, we are still not prompted to action and energy as much as we would be by the example of a monotheist. Be it from shame or jealousy or both, when we see our rival successful or powerful, we seek to do something similar with far more passion and concern than if we see our friend in the same situation. Even the Gods themselves underwent and undergo such emotions. It need not be shown how this is not only natural, but also necessary and useful. And since our world today is still dominated by monotheists, we must act accordingly and beat them at their games. For this purpose, we can learn from several ancient and modern examples. Moses is said to have suffered and sacrificed his high position in order to save his people from bondage in foreign lands by rebellion and then given them laws in their native lands. Although this is largely false propaganda, it remains a powerful story for monotheists and in our own case, it suggests that we need similar leaders who will rise up and inspire us all to action and unity. Paul of Tarsus is regarded as a Christian saint because he traveled and preached zealously throughout the Roman Empire; he wrote letters to existing congregations, established new communities, and is said to have been crucified for it. We polytheists don’t lack ancient martyrs, but where is the one today who can approach such piety when it is needed most? There were many Christian apologists who wrote tracts and engaged in debates with polytheistic authors—the disputation must return in public. Just as Christians attracted new followers because they were a “counter-culture” against Roman hegemony, we can and must do the same against Christian dominance! Next, where is a rich Hindu or capable polytheist who can rival Louis IX’s zeal, give up several years of his or her life, and return victorious after an ideological and cultural campaign, not a military one? Who among us polytheists can do what Loyola accomplished, in establishing a new movement of education and schools for youth that spread very quickly throughout Europe? Give me a polytheist, who like Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, can reinvent and re-establish an ancient language for a new people like the Jews in Israel! Show me the polytheists ready to match with the unyielding zeal of the Jehovah Witnesses or the noble patience of the Amish—Rise polytheists to greatness, while you may!

Restore our families, Ye Gods of Love,
And You of War, our breasts to vengeance move!
Redeem our shame, oh raise our hearts and hands
To worship rightly, and regain our lands!
Condemn’d are they who left our ancient path;
May their invented guiles inspire Your Wrath!

21 thoughts on “Polemical topics for polytheists (part 4): Monotheists to learn from?

    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      I’m glad my very modest efforts have some sense and bring some effect. I have pledged much more work to the Gods, but all in due time! I can’t live without shame and jealousy towards monotheists, unless I fortify my spirit with action and provide something serious for our future generations and communities. If we don’t act while we can, during this convenient time, our cause will either be lost or will never grow to maturity.

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  1. K

    What all the monotheistic Abrahamic religions have in common is their way of turning anything to their advantage. Persecution or being on the losing side is good for them in some ways. They have this narrative that the truth(their religion) is oppressed and alone in an evil world, run by gentiles, or unbelievers, or Satan, or Iblis, and so on. So of course they would be very hard pressed for being on the side of good. Christians especially love this one, as they fully embraced this narrative inherited from Judaism. In the US, many churches out of the thousands of them think they are besieged by evil forces on all sides and that the end is near.

    On the other hand, they also have the narrative that they are divinely favored, so their success in propagating and achieving power is because they are on the good side. Muslims use this one all the time with regard to their conquests. Christians use it with regard to the power of European civilization, giving the credit to Christianity. The Christians, like the Muslims, also use this as an argument against us recalcitrant heathens(we won you lost). Jews today use it with regard to their proven durability over the centuries.

    Paul used a version of this in his epistles(whoever wrote and edited them). In one place, they say that all people are called on to believe. In another, it is said that people don’t believe because they are wicked. It is also written that Yahweh/Jesus or the “prince of this world” blinds some people deliberately, and the famous allusions to Jacob and Esau(Romans 9:11-13) and the clay and the potter example are used to argue a sort of predestination. That always struck me as an excellent rhetorical device for use on followers, especially new converts. It encourages the new converts, because they can see their new religion as proof of being among the elect. And when the convert encounters resistance to their new belief from people they know, this teaching discourages them from being persuaded out of Christianity. After all, those naysayers are just blinded, either as those not among the elect, or as active supporters of evil. The Gnostics had their version of this with hylics(unconvertible), psychics(salvageable) and pneumatics(elect).Basically the same method.

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    1. Jessica Triepel

      😨 Ahhhh!!!! You just brought up horrific memories of my upbringing in Christianity. I was indoctrinated probably since the day I was born, and from 5th through 10th grade attended a private Christian school. Ugh, you really nailed it! They can argue their way out of any corner. It’s revolting.

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      1. K

        I know it from experience. I am well read in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic texts. They are not going to surprise me with a verse or introduce something I don’t know. I grew up being friends with pastors’ sons.

        We can learn from the techniques that the Abrahamic religions use to subvert other religions. These techniques have been used since the Jews adapted them in the Hellenistic period to appropriate Greek ideas, claiming them to be originally Jewish. Muslims are also quite adept, when they are not resorting to the argument from force. Watch Zakir Naik use Vedic texts to convince Hindus to be in favor of Islamic style aniconic monotheism sometime. Some Muslims even claim Hindu figures as Muslim prophets that were distorted later on. Sufism in India also did a good job adapting to Hindu mysticism, making Islam more palatable to some Hindus. I don’t even need to elaborate the well known techniques of Christians.

        There is also a good example in how the Jesuits in Japan used certain loaded terms, at first, to describe their beliefs and object of worship. These were calculated to make them look like a variety of esoteric Buddhism. Muslims and Christians have both used Confucius as a way of introducing their ideas to the Chinese.

        As for zeal, there really is no substitute for it. Ours would a different sort than what the Abrahamic religions display. A good start would be seeing the Abrahamic religions as opponents, as a rival worldview. Many do not see it that way. I always say “Abrahamic religions” as opposed to “monotheism” to emphasize where the problem is.

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      2. Jessica Triepel

        Yikes! I know all about christian tactics, but hearing about what the other two have done, as well! You are absolutely right about the abrahamic religions. They are so unlike other religions in how they actively seek to concert as many as they can.

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      3. K

        One of the issues I see come up with Christianity is that many non-Christians will compromise with aspects of it. They will say something like “Jesus was a great moral teacher.” Or they will only complain about “right-wing evangelicals” that are just so unloving and mean. More liberal forms of Christianity will be given a pass. Jesus’ moral teachings are mostly not unique, and many of them are puerile. Many others stated better and wiser things. As for the rest of the teachings, of what worth are they? There is no reason to hold him in high regard(if he even existed) if you don’t already worship him. As for more liberal forms of Christianity that have compromised with modernity, if anything, they are more toxic than the hardcore evangelicals are. We can learn from the uncompromising attitude that they have toward us.

        And there’s the “True Christianity” game often used as a defense by Christians. Most Christian groups are false, according to Christians. Blame goes all around. It’s Constantine’s fault, it’s the Freemasons, it’s the evil Catholic Church’s corruption, it’s the infiltration of ancient Babylonian cult invented by Nimrod(see Catholic section), it is pagan practices within the church(see Catholic section), it’s the Talmud/Kabbalah/Jews’ fault, or it is because of the evil conspiracy to have us worship on Sunday instead of Saturday. Catholics will blame the Reformation or Vatican II, or sometimes even a combination of those and usury. I have seen Orthodox blame the filioque inserted into the creed by the Catholic Church for nearly every past and present social problem. You just didn’t find the real kind of Christianity, you see. You have to try this other brand, the real thing. If Christians see another Christian from a rival sect in doubt, they use this to scoop them up. I have heard it myself from Christians, that I never knew real “born-again” Christianity, or Calvinism, or Holy Mother Church. A recent trend seems to be True Orthodoxy(TM) based on ancient tradition. You just need to read the Church Fathers and this list of saints! Then you will understand true ἄσκησις.

        Knowing the type of Christian you are dealing with is necessary to argue with them.

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      4. Jessica Triepel

        That’s absolutely correct. I grew up with a mix, so I got to see quite a lot of what you just described. My grandmother raised me southern Baptist, my step mother was roman catholic, attended a private Christian school that claimed to be non denominational, but they were Baptist, just like their church. I watched a Catholic boy walk out of school one day when the bible teacher said the wrong thing about him being Catholic. That caught my attention. I’d go to different churches to find out what supposedly made one better or truer than the other. And there was a time I damned near knew the bible front to back. How perplexing it must have seemed that the kid getting straight Was in bible studies was also reading about the Greek gods, and browsing through books on paganism… I had a friend who would smuggle pagan literature to me, like we dealing drugs or something! Haha! My resources were still terribly limited, otherwise I would have officially abandoned Christianity in my early teens, rather than wait until I was 18.
        They do love the blame game. Friends would tell me that Mormons aren’t Christians. I’d say, do they worship the same god and Jesus? Then are Christian. Same with catholics and all the rest. Anyone who ever came knocking on my door got more than they bargained for! Haha!

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      5. K

        I never had a problem reading whatever I wanted. People around me were in general very ignorant. The majority would not have known what Greek mythology was, or that it presented some kind of threat to Christianity(Baptist). People were more concerned about the local Catholics and their Popery, or Mormons. My grandmother never liked Mormons, because they “added another book.” I started reading mythology books when I was 7 years old. I had an advanced reading level in grade school, to the point that they basically left me alone as long as I turned in homework and took the tests. By 12, I had read about Hercules, Perseus, Cu Chulainn, King Arthur, Jason, Theseus, Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and various others.

        To give some perspective, I remember someone being under the impression that Hercules is in the Bible, probably mixing him up with Samson. Most people were quite ignorant of the Bible, outside of verses like John 3:16 and some epistle quotations about faith and condemnation. They knew Noah’s Ark and Moses parting the Red Sea from Sunday school picture books. Sermons were basically reiterations on faith, Hell, and JAYSUS, almost all based on Pauline epistles. I did actually believe it for a while. I read the whole Bible at 11 years old, and that presented problems because I saw that it did not agree with all the teachings I had heard. It did not even agree with itself most of the time. In fact, the Bible was very different than what I expected. I got yelled at for bringing up any issues though, so I learned to keep my mouth shut about it.

        I do have family members that are Christian fundamentalists, of a sort. They are not intolerable on a personal level, but their actions and thoughts follow lock step with their church group. And they always want to hand out Bibles. I gave one of their children some books from my collection as a gift a few year ago. A full set of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. They actually took the books away from the kid right in front of me, and said that it had to be “examined” first. I never did see the books again, and the kid told me later that they never saw them again. I think they may have done it out of suspicion of me, because I doubt that they would have understood the subtle jabs at Christianity in the books(from Gibbon’s Enlightenment perspective) as a threat.

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      6. Jessica Triepel

        Sounds like you were lucky, in a way. I got away with reading Greek mythology, only because it was treated as classics. It’s possible they all thought it was just stories written by Homer, and so weren’t too concerned. Plus, anyone who did realize it had been a religion would simply mock it as false gods and laugh about those silly superstitious pagans!😕 They truly were blind to their own hypocrisy.
        And you are quite right. I think a certain amount of ignorance about the bible is a prerequisite for being a true Christian! Lmao! Either that, or they’ve got to have mad skills at doublethink! And like you, yes, I fell for it for a while, too. By middle and highschool, though, I was just going through the motions and wondering why it didn’t feel right. I’m laughing about what you wrote about how the bible contradicts not only the teachings, but even itself! I’m sure you’re quite familiar with all the tactics employed to get around that one! Well, no one ever yelled at me for pointing out the glaring contradictions, but other methods would be used to shut me up, like saying I should write a book. Better than having me blabbering in class for all the other students to hear, I suppose. Lol!
        That’s a real shame about the set of books you gave to the kid. If Christians were really so sure of their faith, they would have no reason to fear ignorance. And I kinda take the attitude that if my beliefs cannot stand up to new knowledge, then it wasn’t a belief worth holding onto, however difficult it may be to part with it.
        Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of good people in the church, or any religion, for that matter, even if I do think they are misguided. And some of those people do a lot of good for others. It’s the intolerance and dogma as well as the hypocrisy in many that really gets to me.

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    2. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Let that be as it may. Polytheists are the true chosen people! We are blessed by our venerable ancestors, cleansed by the pure forces of nature, and molded to serve the immortal Gods. We desperately need that conviction, and then resolution, method, zeal and unity will follow—the monotheists misused those, but let us now use them well to reclaim what is ours little by little.

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      1. K

        Do you have something like missionary activity in mind? Apologetics implies something like it. The idea of it seems difficult to me. I can undermine and argue against Abrahamic religions easily enough. But how would I argue someone toward what I believe, or anything like it?

        I honestly don’t think we could compete with some brands of Christianity in this field. Don’t have any easy salvation to sell people. Nor do we have some great threat to scare them with. I would be disgusted at applying the Christian mentality, for my part. Christians and Muslims are all about having ever higher numbers no matter where they get them.

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      2. Jessica Triepel

        The thought of going out door to door, ranting on street corners and sending missionaries to manipulate desperate people in broken countries disgusts me as well. It would be nice to just be able to be more open about our beliefs and traditions, not for the sake of converting anyone, but rather just as a way of asserting ourselves. And anyway, do we really want weak minded masses? The Odinists don’t. We believe in being worthy of our gods, not in being a herd of beggars groveling at their feet. And a community/society is only as strong as its weakest link, right? Better would be to shake off our inhibitions about how people will judge, practice and live as we see fit, and thus be a beacon to those searching for something we might already have discovered. Nothing wrong with being a mentor, as long as the student sought what you have to teach. And not to tea like a preacher, but like one human walking their path to another, sharing in life experiences and so on.

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      3. K

        Odin’s animals are the wolf and the raven. Wolves are fierce, intelligent, and loyal predators. Ravens are very clever animals, I have seen this myself. Even when pointing out the savage or carrion aspects of these creatures, they represent qualities that have actual power to them.

        What animal do they hold up as an icon? The sheep. I have been around herds of them. They are among the dumbest creatures I have seen, maybe even more so than chickens. And they tend to smell bad. They are so docile that a child can lead them about. Even as a child I never liked being compared to one. The positive aspects that one can point out, like docility or softness, are rather powerless qualities. A creature that can have no independence and no power over its own life. Power is a means for good or ill, generosity or greed. Odin has no need for sheep. Even kindly Thor is not a shepherd.

        I have convinced one person to consider my point of view. A family member of mine that is younger than me. They came to me interested in what I had to say. I also gave them some books to read. We had a lot of conversations on symbolism and poetry. I have no problem with people that are receptive. It is just that most people I see around assume the framework of salvation and damnation. Or alcoholics and drug addicts, thinking that a prayer will cure their condition for the 10th time. Most people care little for their heritage. One has to have a very different mindset from the current standard. I think changing conditions in society will drive more people our way more than any amount of preaching could do. What can be done is to be ready for such people.

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      4. Melas the Hellene Post author

        This is a fine discussion–many thanks to you both. The question of “missionary activity” or proselytism in general is an interesting one that will be looked into more at length later because it deserves its own topic. Yet I will say that polytheists are in need of institutions to represent them as well as a known presence on the ground—I daresay also on the streets. There is a vast difference between itinerant teaching (even to the poor) and preaching to snatch desperate people within your faith as if it were some conscription during a war. Our ancestors had rich traditions of seers, wise folk, musicians, teachers, etc. etc. who roamed about and offered people some sort of service that was needed. Surely we can apply these traditions to the modern times without much difficulty and indeed without imitating the despicable stratagems of monotheists.

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      5. K

        We could probably hand out pocket books, like the small Bibles often handed out. There is a pocket edition of the Havamal meant for military personnel.

        Ignatius of Loyola founded a highly successful missionary and scholastic order. If we had as many schools as the Jesuits, and the missionary zeal they had, just imagine. Loyola himself started out as no clerk or priest, but a military man from an aristocratic background. His dream growing up was to be like the famous knights of history and legend, and later after being wounded he developed a new sense of religious piety.

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      6. Melas the Hellene Post author

        Those are excellent examples. Thank you, my friend. I will edit my post immediately to include Loyola. Yes, why not pocket books and pamphlets and fliers and all sorts of media? Why not charities and voluntary work and community service? Why not private schools and institutions and organizations? If we don’t give up some of our time and effort, applying zeal, we will give up our future happiness and growth. The Gods give when we give.

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  2. heathenembers

    A bold topic to tackle, well done. Wisdom is wisdom, wherever it comes from. Also, learning is not always framed in a positive way. We can learn as much from the mistakes and poor example of others as we can from positive role models. I am put in mind of a Japanese saying: when you see a worthy person, endeavour to emulate them. When you see an unworthy person, examine your inner self.

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    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      My thanks! That is a good saying. After all, we must examine our own resolution and zeal, when we see the unworthiness of our rivals. Here is another by the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu: “The supreme art of war is to subdue your opponent without fighting”, i.e. by method, fortification, preparation, awe, etc. I think it is a perfect and honest saying, if you compare it with the well-known hypocritical one of “love thy enemies”.

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