Tag Archives: theology

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.

Essential distinctions in polytheism (part 5): Mythology & Ritual v.s Philosophy & Theology

Homer300px-DSC00355_-_Orfeo_(epoca_romana)_-_Foto_G._Dall'Orto

In considering this unusual distinction, it will be useful and indeed necessary to recall the former one on traditionalism and modernism. Since I am a Hellenic polytheist, this matter is of special importance to me and my religion, because it began and spread with my ancestors the Greeks, contributing to the early foundation and growth of what was afterwards called modernism. I will spare no sincerity and honesty in this topic, in spite of the shame that the Greeks might incur for their contribution of certain mistakes and faults that gradually grew into horrible disasters at the hands of others; it is a bitter lesson that the Hellenic polytheists must learn never to repeat, and the rest of the world never to imitate.

It may well shock any reader who knows about the ancient Greeks to hear that philosophy and theology were foreign and whimsical inventions that not only gradually undermined the Hellenic religion, but also paved the way for Christianity to conquer the world. If this seems too shocking and absurd a statement to be true, it is because the world has been taught various falsehoods for many centuries, based on the doctrines of monotheism, and now our minds are still influenced by them. But before the statement can be justified, let us reflect on this provoking question, and then attempt to answer it: If Greek philosophy and theology were really attached and essential to the Hellenic religion, as some say, why did the Christians, of all people, adopt them as the main weapons to weaken the polytheists and strengthen their claim to rule the world? The history of philosophy and theology in Greece is a lengthy one, full of strange details and minute points that can fill many volumes. But for the sake of brevity, it will be necessary to give a general view of its nature and development, otherwise answering the question above will prove impossible. Now, before attempting the answer, it will not be amiss to shock the reader again by stating this little known secret: the history of Greek philosophy and theology is the most eminent (and unfortunate) chapter in the history of monotheism and atheism.

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