Quick Note: Open Source vs Closed Source Faiths

In a recent editorial for the Huffington Post Josh Schrei argues that the real difference between Hinduism and other world religions is that Hinduism is an "open source" faith, and that most of the others are "closed source" in their orientation."However, the key point of differentiation between Hinduism and these other faiths is not polytheism vs. monotheism. The key differentiation is that "Hinduism" is Open Source and most other faiths are Closed Source. "Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to a software's source code." If we consider god, the concept of god, the practices that lead one to god, and th … [Read more...]

You Say “Polytheistic Situations” Like It’s A Bad Thing

Talking Points Memo reports that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, up for reelection next week, has come under attack from his opponent, Senate President David Williams, from a surprising angle: idolatry. You see, Beshear attended a a groundbreaking ceremony for Indian company FlexFilm, and during that ceremony a traditional Hindu blessing was performed."Gov. Steve Beshear sat cross legged on a white cushion for an hour in what may be the first bhoomi poojan ceremony held in Kentucky. He hopes it’s not the last, the governor said Friday at a celebration of the Flex Films (USA) Inc. investment in Elizabethtown. [...]  For more than an hour, guests observed the traditional Indian blessin … [Read more...]

Polytheism, Monotheism, and Scholarship

I was recently pointed to a just-published piece at the Bryn Mawr Classical Review that reviews the 2010 edited volume "One God: Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire." That book grew out of a 2006 conference at the University of Exeter, and once you scratch the surface, points to a far larger conversation within academic circles over monotheism, polytheism, and how the shift from many gods to one God changed the world. In the introduction to "One God" editors Stephen Mitchell and Peter Van Nuffelen note how the "prevalance of monotheism" has colored all inquiry into pre-Christian polytheistic religion."...for this reason the differences between Graeco-Roman polytheism and the Jewish, … [Read more...]

Polytheist Prayers Now Welcome in Frederick County

Back in May I wrote an article looking at the issue of opening invocations at various government bodies. At the center of that piece was discussion of a recently enacted policy in Maryland by the Frederick County Commissioners. The new policy was modeled on the one adopted by the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors in Virginia after they successfully survived a legal challenge by Wiccan priestess Cynthia Simpson. That policy, and the Frederick County Commissioners' new policy, called for nonsectarian prayers, but only from members of established monotheistic faiths. “Board members voted 3-to-2 on Thursday to invite religious leaders to attend their meetings to invoke “divine guidance” f … [Read more...]