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Five reasons Islam can be more dangerous than Christianity

We often hear polytheists attacking Christianity for its past and present wrongs. Although it is entirely in the right to do so, many (if not most) forget of its dangerous counterpart, Islam. Owing to a lack of knowledge on the subject as well as political concerns with prejudice against Muslims, not much is advanced towards understanding Islam as a force fiercely opposed to polytheism and all its ideas. It is unfortunate that Judaism, even as limited as its scope may be, usually takes its place, considering that many believe it to be the first monotheism, something only half-true.* Below are five reasons, gathered from research, why we should fear Islam more than Christianity and oppose it accordingly. Note that this is an attack on Islam, rather than on Muslims; separating between ideology and people is something I have done consistently and will continue to do, seeing that it is fair.

1. The greatest sin in Islam is literally “polytheism”

While in Christianity there is strong opposition to idolatry and ancient ritual in general, there are considerable remnants of polytheism within the structure. The Trinity is clearly an acknowledgement of the plurality of the divine, and in various pantheons we see parallels in the relationship between the father and the son as well as the mother and son. But in Islam, this is entirely stamped out; Allah is purely male and in Mohammed’s Quran, the Trinity is explicitly attacked, as are also Goddesses. Mohammed and his successors falsely claimed that Allah could forgive all sins except polytheism**, and (after the conquest of Mecca) he ended all toleration towards polytheists throughout Arabia by forcing them to convert on pain of death.

2. Islam allows of little cultural and regional integration

Unlike Christianity which spread slowly and communally throughout many parts of the Roman Empire and beyond, Islam developed and matured quickly within one culture at the hands of one man and a few of his successors. If the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, it was only because that was the prevailing language in the Eastern Roman Empire where Christianity arose. But Mohammed hailed the Quran as being written down in Arabic before the creation of the world, and believed he and his culture were selected for the task of spreading the message. Unlike in Christianity, where regional languages and cultures can become incorporated into worship, Islamic liturgy is only conducted in Arabic and only the teachings of Mohamed in the 7th century are believed to be orthodox. It is also an obligation on every Muslim to visit Mecca at least once in their lifetime, thereby reinforcing the centrality of Mohammed’s native city and culture. While there are Islamic sects that have long since sprung up regionally, mixing with older rituals, these are often regarded as heretical by the Sunni majority and sometimes dealt with far more harshly than Christianity, as in the case of the Yazidi minority.

3. Islam was hailed by Mohammed as the final truth

Mohammed believed, unlike all other predecessors within his larger monotheistic tradition, that he was the final prophet in a line of divinely inspired men. No other revelation was to succeed him and it was he who was to complete the last step in the monotheistic mission for humankind. This mentality, always adopted by Muslims, makes for a very unyielding and overbearing religion that resists reform or compromise. It may be true that Jesus similarly held himself to be the only true redeemer and intercessor (as well as the son of God), but this is not actually documented by the man himself, nor was there a whole body of scripture (like the Quran) left by Jesus in the form of direct revelation.

4. Islam is very comfortable with war and sometimes encourages it

Having developed in a tribal society within a comparatively harsh environment, it may be that early Muslims needed to fight for survival at first. However, since the Quran is regarded as a holy text for all time, the parts associated with going to war against “disbelievers” have been used over the centuries to justify Islamic imperialism. In fact, one the greatest deeds in Islam is to conduct Jihad, which literally means “struggle” but usually means some form of spreading the religion, which can be done either kindly or forcefully as needed. Death in battle for the sake of Islam is the highest honor a man could have, and a martyr is said to go to paradise immediately without judgment. Taking slaves from war is sanctioned in the Quran and was never forbidden by Mohammed; and while a man may marry four wives, there is no limit on the number of female concubines he may have. In Christianity, none of this is encouraged by the New Testament, and if it is, the part is obscure and rarely mentioned. The whole tradition of conquest in Christendom was rather derived from the practices of the Roman Empire, which (ironically) Christianity had originally spread to stop. It is often overlooked that the Crusades, however misguided and violent, were a set of collective responses to centuries of Islamic raiding in Europe. There is no need to add anything on the subject of modern Islamic terrorism, which is too well known.

5. The gap between the rise of Islam and the first Islamic Empire is slim

It took 300 years for Christianity to become an imperial religion but less than 50 for Islam. Within 120 years of the death of Mohammed, the Islamic empire (otherwise known as the Caliphate) stretched from Persia in the East to Spain & Morocco in the West and in the North from Armenia to Yemen in the South. The large gap between the rise of Christianity and its first empire allows for an argument to be made for the existence of two distinct Christian traditions, a peaceful communal one that resisted injustice and a violent imperial one that furthered old injustices. This is however difficult, if not impossible for Islam. In many ways, the fast spread of the religion by nomadic Arab tribes resembles the rapid conquests of the Mongolian hordes***, except the latter was by far bloodier and therefore less lasting in its continuance.

Conclusion: It is certainly true that Christian imperialism began before Islam even developed, and thus contributed to its inspiration. However, Islam seems to relapse into many ideas and practices of the Old Testament, which originally applied to different circumstances entirely with the pagan Jews. The real danger of Islam therefore is that it mixes its native tribalism with Christian universalism/imperialism, creating a force of a kind that not only weakens but can wipe away cultural diversity as well as almost all traces of polytheism, while seeming more and more convincing as “the final truth” as it spreads. It is as dangerous as the Roman Empire in general and certainly more dangerous as far as cultural and religious toleration in particular (a very important consideration) is concerned. Let us therefore never overlook Islam as a huge rival to our nascent movement, especially in the case of our brothers and sisters who seek to become polytheists free from fear in lands occupied by this infamous religion.



* Monotheism, as has been pointed out elsewhere on this site, was first developed by Akhenaten. The Jews were mostly henotheistic until the Hasmonean Kingdom of the 2nd century BCE, and their monotheism was fueled directly by threats from foreign imperialism.
**Allah was originally one God among many, comparable to the Canaanite El. He had a female consort and children, as in other pantheons. Mohammed however believed that people later attributed these family relations to him out of ignorance of and disobedience to his will.
***Some of the descendants of the Mongols became Muslim, and one ruler in particular among these was as ruthless as his ancestors, namely, Tamerlane.

Do the Gods really call us? My thoughts on a recent controversy

This question was recently raised in a post by John Beckett (and elsewhere), wherein he argues that the Gods call and choose whomever they will, regardless of ancestry or cultural affiliation. Although (as always) his post is well expressed and well-meaning, the notion that Gods generally call or choose individual people for worship is a mistaken one. The general argumentation, from my observation, is usually reduced to these three points: 1) The Gods are individual powers able to do whatever they will, and thus some people can’t prevent them from choosing others 2) The Gods are interested in and care for people and therefore they will reveal their will and inspire people to their service directly by approaching them 3) Excluding certain Gods from certain people is unreasonable because their worship spread historically and dangerous because we don’t “own” the Gods.

Before comments to each of the foregoing, the context must first be understood. It is not difficult to see through the premise upon which these points are founded. The prevailing modern worldview is a globalized middle-class one, shaped heavily by capitalism and colonialism, and overwhelmingly Western (most especially Protestant and Anglo-American) in character, in which individualism and all manner of choice is glorified, if not sanctified. We are all affected by it in various degrees, even in polytheism. These matters can be examined at great length, but for the present purpose, it is enough to bear them in mind. Some polytheists embrace this situation of the modern worldview and others oppose it. It is best, however, to find a middle way whenever possible, selecting the good from each side while avoiding the bad. If the aim is to develop a more harmonious world, it’s high time we find methods to connect various peoples and cultures, yet without force or intimidation, because there will always be relativism, at least in a free world not dominated by an imperial and global power.

The first point above seems to carry anthropomorphism too far, in such a way that the argument defeats itself. The Gods can do anything, is it not so, and who can say otherwise? Well, if they can do anything, they can also choose to do the opposite- how would it be ascertained either way? The problem here is that this logic mischaracterizes the question entirely: we are not dealing with a matter of ability but suitability. The question of “Can a God eat ice-cream?” is rather foolish for this reason as is any other that addresses divine choice and individuality- this is not our concern at all. Insofar as it concerns the relations between Gods and mortals, our knowledge is limited (and rightfully so) to what is suitable from tradition. Religion in the traditional sense of “religio” is about correct practice and clear thinking (as passed down), as opposed to the “superstitio” of malpractice and fear. By rephrasing the question then into one of “Would a God …?”, it becomes proper and reasonable. So if it were asked “Would a God choose an individual to worship them?”, the answer would be no, because the Gods need not do so while they (still) watch over their respective peoples and cultures where they at first arose as well as their own divine families and tribes. The Gods would not choose individuals except for very, very few people who have extraordinary gifts such as those we see in myths and such as whom we find absolutely nobody today.

The thinking associated with the second point is unfortunately derived either from helplessness or hubris, sometimes both. There can be a great deal of loneliness, unfulfillment and misery in the world and some rely on the Gods to help them be better. While this is not at all to be scorned as something silly, it is not a suitable relationship. A God does and should not substitute for a family, a friend, a companion or even (I must add reluctantly) a therapist, nor should (directly or indirectly) be expected or believed to act in such an intimate capacity. Zeus is called father and Demeter is called mother only metaphorically for the Greeks, and literally only in the sense of mythical ancestry. Then comes hubris, disguised as piety, sometimes knowingly and other times unknowingly. Let’s ask the question “Would a God really stoop to approach and call someone in particular, merely to be offered worship?”. This is a rhetorical question that I’m afraid does not deserve answering. And it is a notion that originated with malpractice and monotheism. It is we who must be approach the Gods and call offerings for their service! Even the most senior priests and priest-kings, if really pious, would not dare to state that they were specifically approached by a major God (it is different for ancestors) and called to action. It is not only grossly unsuitable, but also unfair in the sense that it can attribute to the Gods something they never intended or never sanctioned as right. This is why human sacrifice and imperial conquests, as two important examples, were carried out, undoubtedly coming from ambitious individuals who thought too highly of themselves and at the same time wished to disguise their hubris as piety. There were others like Akhenaten, Buddha, Socrates, the constructed Biblical figures and Mohammed who had a very grand image of themselves that led them to hunger after followers, and their individual innovations are directly responsible for monotheism and imperialism, i.e. the decline of polytheism.

As for the third point, I have already briefly made two sub-points concerning the relation between Gods and their respective peoples. I have said, boldly and consciously, that Gods “first arose” in certain areas, and that Gods share mythic ancestry with their respective peoples. The latter is known and accepted, but the former has rarely been addressed, to the detriment of this argument. How did the Gods first arise is a question that may well be raised by an outsider or indeed an insider, and for which we ought to be prepared. The answer is usually a mythological one, with genealogies, but we can’t overlook these were compiled later and don’t account for the changes in religious thinking and socio-cultural practices that have always been part and parcel of “religion”. A previous post of mine proposed four classifications that account for the historical developments in polytheism, after its own rise from animism. I did then justify my logic to avoid misunderstanding.* In the monotheistic and globalized (both terms are necessary) world we have been living in, the diversity and distinctions in polytheism can become difficult to understand. There’s a tendency either to simplify this multiplicity like some neopagans do, or to throw it all open for everyone to partake of. Both are imperfect and lead to mistakes- the first recasts the Gods in a new shape as if they were clay, and the second commodifies them (as globalization always does) as if they were dishes offered on a menu. This is preceded by the problematic notion of divine universality, where it is believed that the Gods can exist anywhere, but it overlooks that people choose to do so (i.e. take cultic images & practices along with them), rather than the Gods themselves, and this “spreading” is mostly happens under some form of colonization and imperialism**. The Gods, since we all know they originated in particular areas, are inseparable from the peoples and cultures that they influenced and who placed “mantles” upon them***. Simplifying the Gods undermines them and opening them to all peoples cheapens them. There is a reason why certain Gods share mythic ancestry with some people and not with others. Why can’t this diversity, that already exists, be embraced? Why do we need to get into disagreements about exclusion at all, when every single people and culture has its own Gods? I blame this confused and toxic discourse on the inequality created by European empires, which is causing European polytheism to be over-represented (thus attractive) and causing “Whites” to feel guilty about their recent ancestors at the expense of their ancient ones. I respect John Beckett greatly for explaining the importance of closed traditions and how membership differs from worship, but why not address the heart of the matter also even if it is uncomfortable? A better world is one in which peoples exist free with self-determination and live harmoniously and equally among themselves, not one in which the powerful invite the weak to partake of their empire and constantly apologize while hypocritically maintaining their power. Let me adjust a well-known saying for this purpose: Teach people how to fish in their own lakes and stop giving them fish from your own or (worse) giving them fish from their own.

In conclusion, I hope in all sincerity the world can become better, stronger, more harmonious and happier with the blessings that polytheism has to offer, and which differ from the wrong path the world is in now. We will disagree how this is done, but,  since it is such a momentous topic, let us be conscious not only of what we say but why we are saying it as well as the consequences it will have for all peoples present and future, not merely for our immediate audience. I am beginning to fear that this age we live in is ironically the best for the rediscovery of polytheism (what with all the archaeology and scholarship that is being produced) but perhaps the worst for the proper revival of it.

* This is what I say: “I hope it will be understood that this is not an attempt to account for the development of Gods in material terms. Gods are real, but the earliest conceptions of them (before a tradition is made) depended on the nature of the experiences and lifestyle of those who first established the connection, as dictated by the natural environment and culture. The Gods, theoretically speaking, are not fully known to us. Animism is probably the closest we can reach because the natural and supernatural are equivalent, leaving little room for uncertainty as far as divine presence and experience is concerned. But polytheism later added new ideas and practices (mirroring changes in society) that can be compared to a mantle or cloak which covers the God, giving that God a more particular appearance or function for the convenience of distinct cultic practices and purposes, but simultaneously (because the God is covered) making that God somewhat less accessible to our conceptual understanding (hence the development of monotheism and later atheism).”

**It is tiresome to hear the examples of Isis being in Italy and Apollo being in Britain over and over, with its deliberate or dismissive short-sightedness. It’s unfortunate also that the argumentation should go so far as to say “Perhaps the most majestic temple to a Greek God is in Tennessee” which is insensitive and offensive both to Greeks and Native Americans alike. Should it not occur to us that these spread with conquest, during the Roman Empire, when armies moved constantly and colonies were established? Is it any wonder Roman imperialism commodified Isis and Apollo just like it commodified people (gladiators, workers, soldiers, subjects, etc)? If cosmopolitan diversity is good in itself, it should never be the result of a bad system; the reason why I prefer regional diversity is because it results from internal freedom, not hegemony disguised as inclusion!

***Applying the notion of suitability above: “Would a God care more for his or her own people or others, especially if other peoples have their own Gods?” This is another rhetorical question that doesn’t require an explained answer.

Reclaiming Biblical figures for polytheism

In asserting our polytheism, we often resort to emphasizing the difference between our beliefs and monotheism. This is necessary to a certain degree, if we hope to preserve our movement from being assimilated, something monotheism has proven to be skilled at. Nevertheless, when too stark of a contrast is made, we run the risk of not only overlooking polytheism’s complex history, but also carelessly opposing all what monotheism had unfairly appropriated as its own. This is true of various characters in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, who are often regarded by monotheists as the heroic founders of their beliefs, blessed at the hands of and guided to their destiny by “the one true god”. Religious elders and scholars in ancient times were able to manipulate disparate stories and myths in such a way that they became serviceable to their system of theology and political ideology. What was once a particular and polytheistic event or figure was transformed into general symbols of monotheism, representing several phases and parts of what was painted as one glorious whole. It is however rather easy for a studious eye to find out many inconsistencies and serious contradictions in this fragile lump that is bound together merely by fervent faith and inane interpretations. Even the Old Testament mentions other Gods besides Yahweh and not always in negative reference. The rediscovery of Canaanite, Mesopotamian and Near Eastern mythology and historical records has, for more than 100 years, been welcomed by monotheists in order to corroborate their tales, but how mistaken are they to use such dangerous material in their own service! Below is a list of notable Biblical characters and their original function & chronological order (as shown by scholarship or inferred from educated guesswork) before monotheism was imposed on them:

Adam- means “man” literally in Phoenician. His myth may be comparable to that of Prometheus in Greece, and Eve comparable to that of Pandora.

Noah- a copy of the character Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Moses- an Egyptian follower of Akhenaten who escaped to Canaan during the persecution of Horemheb. His knowledge and leadership made him an ancestral hero of the Jews. Not at all associated with Yahweh.

Samson- a hero very similar to the Sumerian Enkidu (character in the Epic of Gilgamesh) and the Greek Herakles

Yahweh- an epithet of the high Canaanite God “El” or a local weather God of nomadic herders. Later, the patron God of the city-state of Jerusalem where he was worshipped henotheistically by the early Jews.

Asherah- wife of “El” and later consort of Yahweh.

Abraham- a folk hero and progenitor of the early Jews, who may have offered him ancestral worship. May be associated with Yahweh or originally regarded as his son (compare to Greek myths about the ancestry of heroes). Perhaps the mythical founder of Jerusalem. Most probably flourished after Moses if a real character (i.e. during the earlier part of the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt, when control of Canaan was lost), otherwise he is a version of Gilgamesh.

Isaac and Ishmael- likewise semi-divine progenitors of various tribes. May or may not be sons of Abraham.

Jacob and Joseph- Canaanite noblemen associated with Egypt, perhaps seeking opportunity there during the latter part of the Third Intermediate Period.

David- a tribal chief/petty king who became a hero of his people through his great exploits at war. Comparable to Greek heroes of the Trojan war

Solomon- the pious successor of David. He set up a shrine (rather than a temple) to Yahweh, which may have also been used to honor his ancestor Abraham.

Polytheism is a vague term that needs classification

The etymology of the term “polytheism” is insufficiently descriptive, even as it attempts to establish a clear difference from monotheism. While it is by no means useless or misleading, especially in the classification of general religion, it can be of some disservice to serious polytheists who are interested in the extensive and complex history of polytheism, either for ritual practices or theoretical understanding. Being among that number, I have always found some sort of difficulty in expressing my socio-religious views to other polytheists or explaining historical, cultural and socio-political developments regarding various ideas in and forms of polytheism. I needed to introduce adjectives like “traditional” or “regional” or “indigenous” which did not go far enough. And it seemed wrong that there should be a term such as “animism” for a distinct yet simple worldview, but only one term to denote various and profound stages of polytheism’s worldview. Anthropologists often hold that polytheism arose after the discovery of agriculture, but this did not explain its development or forms. I noticed also that many misunderstandings and misinterpretations among practitioners and thinkers resulted from the vagueness of the term “polytheism”, perhaps giving an impression of the fragmented and weak state of the movement. Since worldview is of paramount importance in belief and reconstructionism, natural distinctions resulting from distinct historical traditions should be classified properly. To this end, I will introduce four new terms, inspired by social anthropology; in these the worldview is immediately apparent from the etymology of the term. Since religion is a socio-cultural phenomenon bounded by place, it seems reasonable to be guided by the anthropological terms that classify human societies, i.e. band, tribe, chiefdom (simple, complex), and state. For this reason, the etymology addresses the geographical scope of the society that held such a worldview, namely, village, city, confederation/union, and world/universe. Hence, kometheism, politheism, koinotheism, and cosmotheism. Below is a table in some detail. 


N.B. Three points to make. First, it might seem contradictory to place both monotheism and “polytheism” within cosmotheism, but this is necessary in view of the common origin of both systems of beliefs. Monotheism appeared during the evolution of a particular set of universalized ideas and syncretic circumstances within an expanding and competitive world grasping for an explanation of reality and hoping for an end to the pains of imperialism. It shouldn’t be thought that since monotheism denies all Gods except one, it is therefore of a totally different cast. The evolution of monotheism itself and the continuing the polytheistic remnants within it are proof against this rather simplistic opinion. Secondly, the four stages of polytheism are obviously not exclusive in descending order. Every cosmotheism will contain certain elements of the three previous worldviews, although not in a consistent or even manner. Lastly, I hope it will be understood that this is not an attempt to account for the development of Gods in material terms. Gods are real, but the earliest conceptions of them (before a tradition is made) depended on the nature of the experiences and lifestyle of those who first established the connection, as dictated by the natural environment and culture. The Gods, theoretically speaking, are not fully known to us. Animism is probably the closest we can reach because the natural and supernatural are equivalent, leaving little room for uncertainty as far as divine presence and experience is concerned. But polytheism later added new ideas and practices (mirroring changes in society) that can be compared to a mantle or cloak which covers the God, giving that God a more particular appearance or function for the convenience of distinct cultic practices and purposes, but simultaneously (because the God is covered) making that God somewhat less accessible to our conceptual understanding (hence the development of monotheism and later atheism).

A common misconception about ancient ancestors resolved + a personal story

The other day I saw an intriguing video entitled “Are all Europeans descended from Charlemagne?”. I had known that Charlemagne, who lived around the year 800 CE, was an ancestor of many royal and noble lineages in Europe, but the thought of him being a common forefather of many millions of people seemed impossible. Nevertheless, the video shows clearly that the farther back one goes, the more ancestors there are; the number doubles every generation. So, at generation one there is two ancestors (parents), at generation two there are four ancestors (grandparents) and at three there are eight (great-grandparents), and so on until you reach generation 40 (around 800 CE) where there are 1,099,511,627,776 ancestors. The number is vaster by far at 2000 years ago. The narrator points out that because there weren’t a trillion people living back in 800 CE, there is a very large portion repeated ancestors within that total number. The vast majority of people lived and married locally, hence the very high possibility of mild to moderate inbreeding, although within healthy levels. But it would only take one outsider intermarrying at some point to add so many more ancestors to one’s lineage, and this must have happened for most people, except (as the video shows) for those geographically isolated by mountains for example.

The question then arises as to which ancestors matter most to us. If everyone was related to everyone else within a continent, if not the whole world, around 2000 years ago, how can we speak specifically of Hellenic, Gaulish, Germanic, or other ancestors. The answer here lies in one’s genetic makeup, which can also be backed by facial features. I may have several trillion ancestors 2000 years ago, but only those that lived within the areas in which my parents were born are most important to me, because there is direct indigenous descent. Facial features tell a wonderful story about ancient times. It is always interesting when we find a doppelganger somewhere suddenly or point out how a cousin of ours resembles us (I have such a cousin). But now that we have forensic archaeology, the possibility of seeing our ancient ancestors face to face is now a reality to be celebrated. I remember, several years ago, when I first discovered the Fayum Portraits, I spent a whole hour or more looking through them and exclaiming every now and then: “I remember seeing that face somewhere!”. In fact, I showed a particular portrait to my dad, knowing who exactly it resembled, and I quizzed him on who it was (my dad and I have excellent visual memories and never forget faces). When he gave up, I told him it was an Egyptian workman who had carried rubble at our house once and then we shared a laugh! Another one, resembling my dad’s mother to some degree, made him tear up.

In the course of time, my curiosity drove me to discover more facial reconstructions from the past. Because the number of these are still very scarce, especially from ancient times, I was absolutely dumbstruck and overjoyed when I found not only one but two facial reconstructions that resembled my father, and both derived from his ancestral lands, Greece and the Near East/North Eastern Egypt. The Greek reconstruction is of a Mycenaean noble warrior from Pylos who lived 3500 years ago and the Near Eastern face is a reconstruction of an average Canaanite/Jewish man from the time of Jesus. See below for the remarkable intermediate resemblance.



It’s needless to say, my dad was quite glad, but (not being too fond of history) not as much as me!

To maintain stability, complex societies moralized their Gods?

A recent study has found that, in the course of history, complex societies throughout the world evolved a moral interpretation of their Gods, rather than the opposite. By moral it is meant the application of dualism, the rewarding of good and the punishment of evil. This does not suggest that duality of good and bad did not exist before, but that it became solidified and mandatory in its decrees and consequences, moving towards black and white rather than grey shades. Divine moralization of this kind occurs in a regular and predictable pattern: “we systematically coded records from 414 societies that span the past 10,000 years from 30 regions around the world, using 51 measures of social complexity and 4 measures of supernatural enforcement of morality. Our analyses not only confirm the association between moralizing gods and social complexity, but also reveal that moralizing gods follow—rather than precede—large increases in social complexity. Contrary to previous predictions, powerful moralizing ‘big gods’ and prosocial supernatural punishment tend to appear only after the emergence of ‘megasocieties’ with populations of more than around one million people.” On the one hand, this seems reasonable because as social complexity increases, so do social problems; the more people there are, the more effort and management will be needed to keep them stable*. Therefore, the priesthood (whose task it was to officiate rituals and interpret signs) tended to support the moralization of the Gods in order to promote social harmony; perhaps the Gods themselves changed their behavior towards the changing society that worshipped them. But on the other hand, moralization can serve a political function for the upper classes at the expense of the lower. Moralization can only go so far before people notice a discrepancy among classes and groups. Thus, it is no wonder there is a connection between it and imperialism: “Moralizing gods are not a prerequisite for the evolution of social complexity, but they may help to sustain and expand complex multi-ethnic empires after they have become established. By contrast, rituals that facilitate the standardization of religious traditions across large populations generally precede the appearance of moralizing gods. This suggests that ritual practices were more important than the particular content of religious belief to the initial rise of social complexity.” This realization makes me reflect on the content of this website. On one hand, I have been trying to promote a rediscovery of original religious traditions/ideas, together with distinct standardizations of those within distinct communities. But on the other, I have also moralized the Gods to a certain extent (mainly as far as indigenism is concerned) in order to solve the complex problem of how to revive polytheism nowadays in the most stable, effective and fair manner. Everyone would need to return to simple animism and the earliest form of society in order to do away with these instances of occasional cognitive dissonance. But such is complexity: it is both beautiful in its bounty and cruel in its confusion.



* A notable example of this moralization is in Hesiod, who writes in the early Archaic period (around 750 BCE), at a time when the population and social complexity of Greece had increased greatly. The difference between his views and those of Homer, who is said to have lived a mere 50 years before, is striking. In Works and Days, Hesiod invokes Zeus several times as a God of justice who can right the wrongs of the oppressed and reform what Hesiod perceived to be a declining society.

Wisdom vs Stupidity: 2 videos

Two brief lectures, one from a Hawaiian polytheist and conservationist, and the other from an American Christian and fundamentalist. Even though the Hawaiian was colonized (and he mentions this in his lecture), he never displays the domineering and scoffing attitude of the Christian. This is to say nothing of the vast difference of the theories they are promoting and the information they are using concerning sustainability…

I never want to be seen as an equal to settler society.

Embrace indigenism and reject colonialism worldwide. It’s an inherent part of polytheism.

indigenous motherhood

I never want to be seen as an equal to settler society.

Nor do I ever want to be seen as an equal in the eyes of the colonizer.

And I never want to be seen as “successful” within colonial systems.

It started when I was young.

It was lurking in the beginning stages of public speaking, of meeting with ministers, of being groomed in this space of false indigeniety to achieve colonial success.

It was intertwined in the statements of “you are going to be the next Prime Minister of Canada!” And the “you are so resilient. This is your line of work!”

I would sit there and melt into this feeling of success. These feelings of “I’m gonna do something big with my life.”

The feelings of “I am destined for greatness.”

But the greatness I thought I was destined for was only colonial greatness.

These colonial systems…

View original post 1,438 more words

10 reasons the World needs Polytheism

If there is one word that can describe the world as it now goes, it is excess. There are *too many* changes to keep pace with and there is *too much* of everything to keep things in balance. There is both more good and more bad than ever, and it is the sheer quantity as well as magnitude of those that is producing uncertainty and anxiety. Humankind is not sure what exactly is coming in future times because there are so many possibilities and so many opinions on the matter. We tend to count our blessings as people and as a species in order to help ourselves go on, hoping for improvement. This is a good habit that we all need to cultivate, but it can sometimes lead to forgetfulness about or inaction towards current problems. Polytheism, when properly understood, provides a holistic and simpler worldview that can mitigate the excesses of today and provide for a better tomorrow. Below are 10 urgent concerns that polytheism can address for the benefit of the world as a whole.

Nationalism and Globalism

There is a battle raging in the world today between those who are for the sovereignty of the nation-state and their opponents who support a globalized culture. Both have good and bad reasons for their respective positions, especially considering the socio-political volatility that has been going on since the last century. However, neither side is quite aware that a desire for more, a desire for excess, is driving this fear and this division. The nation-state is too large of an entity to be stable and globalism only complicates the problem. An organized regionalism that can prevent unnecessary internal conflict as well as protect from external interference is best. This is consistent with polytheism because the plurality of Gods/Goddesses enables the plurality of peoples and cultures. If each people or region is identified with its particular native God(s), and if each God is not inherently better than another, this can promote friendly cooperation and neighborly exchange. Now the inane political division will be replaced with healthy cultural distinction.

Racism and Multiculturalism

The solution for these problems follows the earlier one closely. Racism and multiculturalism are consequences of the excesses of large entities (states, empires) and the inequalities they create. If culture is measured by economic ability alone (as it is today) and then globalized on the world’s stage, some people will inevitably think of themselves as better or worse than others. The problem only grows when the state’s (or super-state’s) priority is economic rather than cultural prosperity. With such a mentality, people become numbers in a large field, game-pieces in the hands of bigger forces, thus losing a sense of who they really are, and becoming deluded or dejected as to what they can achieve. Polytheism, on the other hand, ensures the stability of identity, the continuity of culture and the equality of peoples. No superiority and inferiority complex can flourish here without impiety because if no regional God or Goddess is inherently superior or inferior to another, then by extension the same applies to people. If some peoples colonized others, reparations can be made and polytheism can reverse the inequality.

Materialism and Fanaticism

Excess begets excess. Too much material possession, as explained before, causes inequality and fear of loss, therefore begetting too much hostile ideology. We see this today in the form of Westernism and Islamism, two forces attempting global domination while alleging self-defense. There is a more general battle between atheism and monotheism, connected with other socio-political conflicts, that endangering many peoples and cultures who find themselves at the mercy of powerful forces. Those who don’t choose one of the two camps become weak and isolated, quickly dismissed and ignored. The harm done to the environment also accelerates when the opposing forces mobilize and fight. This is not the case in polytheism; here a balance between the material and spiritual is maintained, and sometimes the are joined together in harmony. Here you don’t find linear or apocalyptic thinking of the kind that makes people fearful, greedy, arrogant or desperate for their side to win and achieve domination.

Mass warfare and Environmental degradation

Powerful forces that transcend a small region, that is to say empires, are created by conflict with weaker peoples and with nature. Excessive ambitions needs excessive costs and thus causes excessive damages on many sides. Imperialism is a pathological disease that is contagious; it is based on a desire for too much, and once one empire is formed, others soon arise around it for defense. But empires don’t fragment in times of peace, because the ambition of the emperor remains as well as the needs of those he patronizes and who worship him. In order to keep his subjects happy and in order, a war on nature is waged to give them *more and more*. This is no different from the behavior of a patient with terminal illness who knows he will die soon and thus spends all he can today. And this becomes a vicious cycle when populations increase; if an empire collapses from environmental degradation or massive warfare, it joins another one that is larger or attempts to re-form through fierce battles for domination that cost lives and lands even more. Although polytheism existed in empires, it was always corrupted by them. Emperors claimed divinity unjustly and proceeded to act, usually in accordance with powerful priesthoods (that were either afraid or ambitious), in such a way that would make them possess *more and more* at the expense of people and environment, and often at the expense of foreign Gods too. Polytheism, properly understood, sees an irrevocable connection between Nature and Divinity, sometimes joining them together in the case of immanence. And the Gods always closer to the people that worship them far more than emperors who seek to appropriate such a relationship. As for environmentalism, it is rather amusing to observe some scientists rehashing polytheism to form their “Gaia theory”.

The population predicament- human and animal

Technological and scientific developments have been praised as the triumph of the human race in general and Western Civilization in particular. Progress has been believed, even now when it is faltering, to be a linear process whereby *more and more* science and technology can solve whatever problems humanity faces. There are attempts to cure all diseases and reverse aging, in order to create a super-human being. And if the earth cannot carry enough of our wonderful race, the hopeful scientists say, then there may perhaps be room in other planets! But these are not Nature’s laws, which are also the laws of the Gods. This so-called advancement and progress has only disrupted ecology and these changes will be reversed when natural and divine laws see fit. The mentality of endless growth, either economic or demographic, must cease before it renders extinct many wonderful species of animals that have long graced this Earth. Polytheism’s inherent respect for living beings, sometimes shifting to animism, would not allow endless human production and reproduction at the expense of natural and divine property. Polytheism’s priority is not to ensure the comforts of humankind, that is to say anthropocentrism, but rather to maintain a holistic system that takes everything else into account. This is why we have Gods of healing and of disease, Gods of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic shape and Gods embodying divine trees, mountains and spaces.

Capitalism and Communism

We are prone to commit the mistake of creating very complex solutions in order to solve equally complex problems, while forgetting the root of such problems is usually their ever expanding complexity and the excess that surrounds it. Capitalism is good, cries one person, because it has created the varied culture and advancement the world has today. Communism is far better, shouts another, because it offers comfort and equality to all. Although the theories of Marxism are excellent in many ways, the beneficial application of them has been impossible. Why? Because the state remains, with all its complexities and excesses, and wherever there is a state, as many new problems arise as old ones are solved. It is a way of life that must change, not through economic ideologies that pretend to know how to correct its flaws, but a complete decentralization that puts an end to the hierarchies that perpetuate excessive inequality. Electing Sanders instead of Trump or keeping Trump will neither cause considerable change nor alter the flaws that inhabit the core, flaws that have been developing for 5000 years since the earliest states arose. Polytheism would do away with the big, excessive and centralized state just as it would with the empire, and for the same reasons. Economic solutions, while needed, must be preceded by cultural and regional realizations springing from grassroots (to use a double-meaning) and this polytheism can very effectively provide.

Populism and Elitism

The conflict between the many and the few is an old one, among many others that plague the centralized state. It creates a division between two or more classes that is quickly exploited by ambitious leaders and capable orators. Marx was the first to understand, though not with complete insight, the perpetual problem of inequality. His solution was not necessarily to lessen production but to give the means of it to the lower classes, whom he trusted would act in their own simple interests and thus bring about equality. We can see how this failed in the October Revolution because began as a movement against elitism soon became populism, and workers were not long after to be executed for offences by those who at first claimed to act in their defense. Decentralized regionalism, by limiting both the means and the amount of production as well as giving it collectively to a community of a moderate size, is the better solution. Polytheism, as a balanced religion, can enable this difficult process to occur smoothly and be maintained steadily. There is something serious to be learned from hunter-gatherers whose anarchic animism and egalitarianism makes them averse to inequality, thus removing the root causes of classes and social instability altogether. Polytheism contains components of animism that should be emphasized rather than laid aside.

Patriarchy and Feminism

The fast pace of change in modern society has also unsettled the home as well as social relations between the sexes. It is true that men have long dominated most institutions, both political and cultural, without allowing women to join or even express themselves. In fact, empire and imperialism is purely a male phenomenon of *excess*. Patriarchy, defined as the domination of men over women and nature, has led to all sorts of problems. But even so, it is not men themselves who are to blame, but rather an idea they are sometimes prone to hold. The male and the female, the masculine and the feminine are principles of life that must not and cannot be set in opposition to each other. Feminism, while in many ways promoting reform and wisdom, has in other ways attempted to undermine or appropriate the masculine principle of life, thus imitating the excesses of patriarchy instead of limiting it. Yet this battle would not have existed, or would have been greatly diminished, if polytheism were in practice. Here the masculine and feminine, unlike in monotheism, are enshrined in our worldviews and embodied in our very Deities. Sometimes we do find ancient polytheistic societies following patriarchy, but this was the result of a faulty lifestyle and mentality rather than something drawn from holy scriptures that are regarded as eternal.

Mass individualism and collectivism

The various difficulties of modern life are aggravated by an excessive attachment either to the self or to colossal groups. These practices give the illusion of being coping mechanisms, but in reality they are nothing but symptoms of a larger infection that modern society is undergoing. Loneliness has been causing more mental illness than anyone had expected, and yet there is still the oxymoronic celebration of individualism. On the other hand, mass participation in dualistic groups, whether in politics or culture, has risen to new heights with modern communication, causing (according to research) further distrust and disaffection in society at large. Once again, it is the state that must be blamed for these dangerous phenomena. Individualism serves the state because it makes the isolated person not only dependent on the system (directly or indirectly) in order to support his lifestyle, but also supportive of it through his production and “creativity”. Collectivism serves the state also because it not only gives people an illusion of their importance (thus keeping them satisfied), but it creates massive herds that can be summoned and driven and goaded when needed, whether for a serious purpose or not. And yet, the state must always suffer and rush to correct faults when individualism and collectivism go *too far* as they often do. Polytheism once again differs from this excess and promotes the community or the tribe, a smaller group wherein people can be brought up with more happiness and stability. Nothing can replace the power derived from the love and support of a large kin and close friends. Even the Gods, in their distinct pantheons, live in this manner.

Anthropocentrism and Misanthropy

Excess, in process of time, can cause of a strong reaction of greed or guilt, defiance or defeat, pride or penitence, self-love or self-hate. Much like the other unstable dualisms discussed before, anthropocentrism and misanthropy similarly arise from a world gone too far. When there is too much, one can either embrace it and make a way of life of it or reject it firmly as a corrupting thing that ought to be destroyed. The latter, while a very undesirable position to have, must not be understood as a total evil, but rather as a consequence to the former by people who are left on the margins or who are otherwise unfortunate. Humanism, the euphemistic term for anthropocentrism, always pretends to promote self-control and happiness, but how can this be done holistically and lastingly when the human is placed at the center of all things? When militant atheists and anti-theists say they reject the notion of a Deity altogether (usually without looking beyond monotheism) because Deities are human constructs that are not real, it makes one wonder whether they are defeating their own argument. Religious thinking is inherent in the human mind (see Jonathan Heidt’s research) whether expressed in “religion” or not. Those who worship a wrongly constructed divinity or no divinity at all are merely worshippers of what is human; the Western notion of human progress is just that. Because this religious thinking is usually derived from Protestant monotheism, it is quick to label those who differ as heretics who should be destroyed, metaphorically or literally. Polytheism, on the other hand, does not measure everything according to human pleasure and pain or in terms of Western thinking. Sometimes there must be suffering because it is divine and natural law, other times we choose to suffer in order to attain something greater than our own selves. The Gods and Nature are at the center of things, and we revolve around them and live in their shadows, whether we choose it or not.


As a final note, it must be pointed out that polytheism encompass a great many traditions throughout many historical eras. I have not delved into details here as to which components or ideas exactly are beneficial for a particular problem listed above. I have attempted to examine polytheism in the course of my posts in this site, in order to extract some of its more original essence, free from imperialism and artificial syncretism. I have even advanced the theory that the state, as well as the empire, has (along with its intellectual and religious instruments) directly contributed to the decline of polytheism and the parallel rise of monotheism. Since polytheism is therefore flexible and layered, it must be penetrated and sifted just as a geologist or archaeologist would do with the ground. Then hypotheses and proposals must be written and reviewed and agreed upon. Until this is done, I am afraid polytheism will contribute to the problems above rather than correct them.