Polytheism and the Protection of Progress: Reflections of a Hellene
In this post, I want to discuss how I view Hellenism in the “larger picture” scheme of things. I want to go beyond worship, religion and the gods for a moment in this post. I want to share with you my thoughts as a Hellenist when I reflect on the nature of events happening politically/societally in the United States. But before we get to politics we need to go get some perspective first.
Being a Pagan in an Abrahamic world is difficult. Abrahamism, when placed into context of the last two thousand years, has been pretty detrimental to humankind. It has shaped the mind and soul of humankind for so long, we have a lot of work to do to reform humanity, and heal the wounds of our souls and our planet. A lot can be said on the subject of what has been done, I do not want to go into great depth in this post on the subject but I will outline some general contrasts between the two world-views of monotheism and polytheism as I see it.
The one thing that stands out to me when looking at Monotheism/Abrahamism is the development of an Absolute Truth. The monotheistic god is the only one true god and his word is Absolute. This concept ruined one culture after another, first with the Hellenistic culture and any other indigenous/ethnic culture it has come into contact with. Over the centuries Abrahamism has sought to destroy the carious indigenous spiritual traditions of the world, replacing those with their own.
In the polytheistic worldview, truth seemed more relative, or at least divinity and religious practices were relative. Wars were fought over land, gold, and glory but not over Gods. No one thought they should war with another tribe of people in a belief that their other parties’ god was false, and those people were immoral because of their false god.
In its time, Hellenism was a source of light for the world, it embraced the human being fully, saw in the human form total beauty. Greeks were able to replicate the human form in stone, creating some of the most life like images ever created. The world was full of gods, it was a world meant to be understood and investigated. Reason, philosophy, science, and technology are just some things which Hellenism supported.
The culture of the Greeks created what we now call the Antikythera Mechanism, an example of the highest mankind can reach with his mind. It was a highly complex computer/astronomical clock that tracked the movement of the planets. The culture of the Greeks created men and women who discovered the circumference of the Earth (with only 10% error), the Heliocentric model, and a spherical Earth.Education was important to the Greeks and with the rise of Christian education, investigation of the natural world would eventually nearly disappear which lead the West into a dark age (the east did alright for itself). Christians did not value natural philosophy, science, because this world was not as important as the afterlife. Securing your place in God’s Kingdom was more important than knowing the inner workings of nature.
As someone who loves history, I try to see how history repeats itself. Today in the United States public education is in danger, with the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. These efforts are fueled for monetary reasons more so than anything religious, however even the monetary motivations are symptomatic of a religious ideology, where again, education is devalued. Christianity in my view, was the main contributing factor that sealed the end of the Roman Empire. As with Rome, the United States will be doomed if Christianity is able to gain too much control over our policy making and legislation.
After education, the second thing I notice in society is the rise of authoritarianism in America. Which I think is also symptomatic of the Abrahamic religious ideology. A singular God, the only Authority and source of Truth will eventually manifest in these fundamental believers by electing officials to office whom they want to serve obediently. What we are experiencing currently with blind faith in Trump is a form of Divine Kingship. It is pious to be obedient to authority whom is seen as ruling by the grace of God. Trump is a “good Christian” and should be listened to, he will be our “savior”. Religious ideology is to partly blame for the election of Trump, a topic that deserves its own post.
In Hellenism there is a prescription for centuries of monotheistic setbacks. Because Hellenism is pro-science, pro-reason, and pro-education. Abrahamism has historically been anti-science. You can see the effect of the Abrahamic mindset anytime you hear someone say “You/we shouldn’t be playing God” as a reaction to a new breakthrough in science. Such a view would not exist in a pagan world, because pushing our limits as humans, is the goal. We are not “playing God”, instead we are fully reaching our potentials with our divinely given reason.
Coming to the end of this reflection, what do I think we should all do? All pagans, I think should fight to protect humankind’s ability to progress. I often see some pagans get turned off by politics, preferring to “stay spiritual” and avoid such conversations. However, I disagree, pagans need to be political. The Religious Right wants to force their regressive worldview onto our whole nation, halting progress. We cannot let that happen.