A Million and One Gods: The Persistence of Polytheism by Page duBois

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By Page duBois

Many humans worship not only one yet many gods. but a constant prejudice opposed to polytheism denies legitimacy to a few of the world's oldest and richest non secular traditions. In her exam of polytheistic cultures either historic and contemporary--those of Greece and Rome, the Bible and the Quran, in addition to smooth India--Page duBois refutes the concept the worship of a number of gods clearly evolves through the years into the "higher" trust in one deity. In A Million and One Gods, she exhibits that polytheism has persevered intact for millennia even within the West, regardless of the various hidden ways in which monotheistic concept maintains to form Western outlooks.

In English utilization, the observe "polytheism" comes from the seventeenth-century writings of Samuel Purchas. It used to be pejorative from the beginning--a note to tell apart the assumption process of backward peoples from the extra theologically complicated faith of Protestant Christians. this present day, whilst monotheistic fundamentalisms too usually force humans to devote violent acts, polytheism continues to be a scandalous presence in societies nonetheless orientated in accordance with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim ideals. Even within the multicultural milieus of twenty-first-century the USA and nice Britain, polytheism unearths itself marginalized. but it persists, might be simply because polytheism corresponds to subconscious wishes and deeply held values of tolerance, variety, and equality which are relevant to civilized societies.

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24 Such views are compatible with ideas on religion focused on a single deity, and on the use of reason to support the worship of such a god. The relationship between the individual and his god, a god of reason, is a matter of independence, not imbeddedness in an interdependent, polytheist environment. Immanuel Kant, although critical of German pietism and of the performance of fetishized religious acts, nonetheless in his treatise Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (1793) argued that human beings have innate moral intuitions, must act in relation to their moral duty, and that the Summum Bonum, the highest good of human existence, includes virtue and happiness; the one God is the guarantor of the link between them and of a future life after death for those who live virtuously, in which they will find perfect happiness.

The Hindu people are utterly sunk in the depths of an unethical life (Hegel, 291). No understanding of dharma, karma, or a politically generated ethics here. PREJ U DIC E I N CO NTE M P OR ARY P O P U L AR CU LTU RE Such pernicious argumentation as Hegel’s might seem irrelevant today, but unfortunately such ignorance and condemnation thrive in the present. ” a response by Juvegirl, reproduced verbatim: In a polytheism, the gods had various traits, few of them good, ethical or altruistic. It is only after Abraham that we find a religion, tied to one God, that encourages ethical behaviour in its adherents.

Such an understanding of private life, of the self-sufficient individual, distinguishes the Western political, philosophical, and religious traditions.  . 31 These traditions do not die.  P. ” In such an environment, a religious tradition that imagines a special relationship with a divinity who himself is an individual, a reasoning mind, thus seems more and more plausible, natural, even inevitable. In a circular pattern of reasoning, that god is imagined to secure the morality of a society made up of individuals just like him.

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