Tag Archives: Polytheist

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!

Good and bad polytheists (part 8): Vercingetorix and Brennus

VERCINGETORIX

Coin_VercingetorixThe Celts were a large ethnic group of peoples that inhabited what is today France, Britain, Western Spain, Austria, Bohemia, South Germany, North Italy, Belgium, Slovenia and parts of Croatia and Serbia. They were a warlike and fertile people who increased their numbers, expanded and migrated from time to time in search of land to accommodate them. Their culture, already beautiful, also benefited from trade and exchange with the south, and therefore by the 1st century BCE, we hear of large and prosperous cities in Gaul (the ancient word for France). By that time, they had already clashed several times with Rome in the north of Italy, because of pressure from expanding Germanic tribes to the north, and the Germans were also interested in expanding beyond the Rhine river. Unfortunately for them, not only the Germans were interested in expansion, but also the Romans, who had defeated the Carthaginian empire 100 years before and taken all their lands. The Celts thus fell between two powers and pressures. To make matters even worse, Rome in 59 BCE was under the power of two ambitious men of different parties: Pompey, who had lately returned from conquests in the east, stood with the senatorial faction, and Caesar, jealous of his victories, opposed him on the plebian side. Pompey was rich from conquests and new provinces, but Caesar was in debt from his consulship, because (among other reasons) he spent vast sums of money to feed the poor to increase his popularity. At first, Caesar, who was governor in North Italy, considered conquering Dacia (today Romania) in order to get out of debt and get into fame, but he found a better opportunity with the Celts to the North. In 58 BCE, the Helvetii, a confederation of five Celtic tribes inhabiting modern Switzerland, prepared for a migration to the west in order to avoid pressure from the Germans. There was news that their leader Orgetorix intended to rule all Gaul, but this may have been a rumor from Caesar to justify war. When the Helvetii requested peaceful passage through Roman territory in south Gaul, Caesar (the governor of the province) deliberately refused, knowing this would provoke war.

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