The Cas­­­­­e for Polytheism

AphroditeFrom an essay by Jeffrey Tayler, in Salon Magazine, May 10

…Look back in time. The many gods of Greek and Roman antiquity, by their very multiplicity, presupposed a spirit of pluralism in their societies and even a certain ludic variety. I worship Zeus, you Aphrodite; he follows Ceres, she Diana. The classical gods quarreled and copulated, stirred the heavens to storm and sent down rain on the crops, tossed earthward thunderbolts, and now and then accepted propitiations from us humans, but otherwise, didn’t do much to bother us.

Enter the God of the Israelites. Jealous and vengeful, capricious and megalomaniacal, He issued His Decalogue. What is Commandment Number One? “You shall have no other gods before Me” – an absolutist order implicitly justifying violence against those who haven’t gotten the memo. Even after “gentle Jesus meek and mild” entered the picture, Tyrannus Deus continued His brutal reign, with legions of His Medieval votaries waging crusades against rival monotheists in the Holy Land, hurling themselves into battle as they cried Deus vult! (God wills it!).

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2 responses to “The Cas­­­­­e for Polytheism

  1. Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” is best described by the inimitable Sister Wendy Beckett.

  2. Horace Krever

    It’s hard to read Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” and agree that “they didn’t do much to bother us.” Nor were they mere bystanders during the Trojan War. And Queen Dido of Carthage would not think that they did no harm.