These debates are drawn from a British program called “The Big Questions”. Although somewhat dated, they provide an interesting insight into interactions between pagans and monotheists. The pagans don’t necessarily represent polytheists, but more or less they do offer words of wisdom that sets our movement in a good light. Note how uncomfortable and intolerant the monotheists usually appear, in contrast to the pagan confidence and serenity. The first debate is entitled “Are many Gods better than one?” and the second (which consists of two parts) “Is Paganism more relevant than Christianity today?”. The total length for each debate is about 15 minutes.
There was news today that the Catholic Pope Francis met with the Sunni Grand Imam Ahmed of Egypt. The latter called the Christians “our companions” and urged the Muslims of the Middle East to “embrace” Christians in their communities. Then the two leaders proceeded to sign a “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” wherein it is stated that “God, the Almighty, has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorize people”. Another passage within the magnificently titled document goes on to state the following: “[Let us] intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline the world is presently experiencing”.
When I heard the news, I couldn’t help but scoff with disgust at the hypocrisy of these leaders who pompously believe themselves to be responsible spiritually for millions of people and who actually believe they are doing great good by this conveying this ludicrous and inane message. Surely it would be far more effective and *honest* for these two leaders, if they truly wish to eradicate the problem, to go straight to the heart of the matter. The Document is absolutely worthless unless it were to state clearly (and “at the earliest opportunity”) that it was an error for people to be misguided all these years into thinking that “God, the Almighty…who does not want His name to be used to terrorize people” would be punishing by *eternal damnation and hellfire* those who don’t wish to follow him or follow those spiritual leaders who claim such a thing, and claim it even against one another. Once this is done, the world will be a far better place, devoid of devilish jihads and crusades. But this is obviously to much to hope for, because the world is infected by the cancerous idea of monotheism and the cancerous ambition of those who can’t be called by any other name except that which also applied to their predecessors and founders: spiritual imperialists.
This ailing world needs more polytheism and more polytheists…
Towards the end of the 4th century, after the death of Emperor Julian (who had renounced Christianity), there was little hope for polytheism to be restored to its former position, and Christianity was now gaining permanent ground. The Eastern Roman Empire, with its capital at Byzantium (renamed Constantinople after the first Christian Emperor discussed before), was the strongest seat of Christianity; in the west, even though Rome held sway, there was more toleration for polytheism and hopes for keeping it alive. In 392 CE, Eugenius, though a Christian, became a usurper in the west and was the last emperor to support polytheists, but his ambition was cut short two years later when he was defeated and killed in battle by the armies of Theodosius I. This Theodosius was the same emperor who declared Christianity the only legal religion of the empire. However, as evidence of the continuance of polytheism in the west, his successors afterwards passed harsh laws that outlawed polytheism altogether and often prescribed capital punishment for not only those who practised its rituals, but also the magistrates who failed to destroy religious sanctuaries and carry out the laws. The Roman Empire was now in effect a theocracy, particularly in 457 CE, when Leo I was the first to be crowned by the Patriarch of Constantinople, as if in acknowledgement (or rivalry) of the Pope’s miraculous intervention against Attila the Hun. Historians disagree whether Illus tried to re-establish toleration for polytheism in his support for usurpation as late as the end of the fifth century. In any case, polytheism was to decline afterwards by force, fear, or treason, both by Christianity and Islam, but it was too beautiful and precious to be entirely destroyed, or indeed abandoned by the brave and righteous.