Sunday, March 9, 2014

Polytheism and Monotheism: Don't Complicate The Simple

Polytheism is the natural form that all human religious activity and thought takes by default. Polytheism is like walking or talking - it's just what humans do naturally. Of course there are unfortunate cases where a human being might, for various reasons, not be able to walk or talk. In fact, when we are first born we are completely incapable of walking and talking, and once we reach a sufficiently advanced age we might lose these abilities once again.

But the only time you will encounter groups of people who, as a society, do not worship a wide variety of Goddesses and Gods is if that worship has been systematically and violently suppressed among those people.

Like language, dancing, music, art, cuisine and other natural expressions of human nature, polytheism takes on an essentially infinite variety of forms. It is foolish almost beyond comprehension to try to sort through this great diversity in search of "true" polytheism. It is equally foolish to artificially define arbitrary criteria for delineating "hard" polytheism with the intention of denigrating other forms of polytheism as being "soft" and, therefore, in some sense deficient.

None of this needs to be said, and perhaps would be better left unsaid. The truth of polytheism is a self-evident fact that is recognized in every human society except for those that have endured centuries of savage persecution. And yet, for whatever reason, modern Pagans (perhaps precisely because modern Paganism arises out of societies that have endured and are only just now beginning to recover from such persecution) are extremely gifted when it comes to complicating the simple.