Polytheism redux

If you watch the news, you should know that there is some dirty business going on in Africa.
In Mali, (a former French colony) Islamist fanatics have been trying to overrun the country and impose harsh Sharia laws (like cutting off limbs and other niceties) upon the entire population.

Personally, I have long been suspicious and wary of religion. Most of my life, as a matter of fact.
Shortly after I was born, millions of people were hunted and exterminated simply because they were Jews. It was not an auspicious exposure to religion and I have been a steadfast opponent of that practice ever since.

Since time immemorial, various groups have been persecuted for being different, or for not adhering to a prevalent belief.
A long time ago, Egyptians enslaved and abused Jews.
Romans amused themselves by killing Christians, and Jews of course.
During the Crusades, Christians killed Moslems and Jews, and Moslems slaughtered Christians (and Jews naturally).
Later on, during the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598) Catholics butchered Protestants.
Protestants then, during the wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639-1651) cut down Catholics, and vice-versa.
Hindus are regularly killing Moslems and Moslems are bent on eliminating just about anybody who is not Moslem.
And I just touched the tip of the iceberg.
Is it what religion is all about? Intolerance?

People or institutions are usually judged by their legacies; overall, religion’s balance sheet is drowning in red ink.

Over the years, many religions have switched from polytheism to monotheism. It showed a singular lack of imagination!
Personally, the notion of a single god controlling the entire Universe makes my head spin.

Greece-Ancient_11736735-300x225The Greeks whom I always admired were polytheists. They worshiped more than one single god and that makes a lot of sense to me.
To be efficient, you need to have special knowledge of certain subjects and a bunch of specialized deities are better than one jack-of-all-trades.
So the Greeks adopted a form of religion that was eminently logical as well as credible.

In case you forgot, the main Greek deities were:

Aphrodite: Goddess of love, lust, beauty, wife of Hephaestus.
Apollo: God of music, medicine, health, prophecies, poetry, and archery.
Ares: God of war, murder and bloodshed.
Artemis: Goddess of the hunt, wild things, and the moon.
Athena: Goddess of wisdom, warfare, strategy, handicrafts and reason..
Demeter: Goddess of fertility, agriculture, grain and harvest.
Dionysus: God of wine, parties/festivals, madness and merriment.
Hades: God of the underworld and wealth.
Hephaestus: God of fire and the forge with very weak legs
Hera: Goddess of marriage, women, and childbirth.
Hermes: God of flight, thieves, mischief, commerce, and travelers.
Hestia: Goddess of the hearth and home, the focal point of every household.
Poseidon: God of the sea and god of earthquakes as well.
And at the top, Zeus: The king of all gods. The ruler of Mount Olympus and God of the Sky and Thunder.

A solid bunch of guys who knew their trade!

With this kind of organization, you didn’t have to bother the Big Cheese for every little favor you desired.
If you had love problems, you talked to Aphrodite. Money problems? A good bet would have been Hermes. Marital problems? Ares could be the guy.

So, as you can plainly see, polytheism makes more sense than monotheism.
And anyway, if you insist on believing in a single god, you need to be realistic.
We are about 7 billion people on this planet and most of the globe’s population adheres to monotheism. That puts a heck of a lot of pressure on the Big Guy.

With polytheism, when you need help, you talk directly to the deity in charge of your problem; your chances of success will be much greater than waiting for an overworked single divinity to take care of your predicament.

Trust me. If you insist on believing in miracles, polytheism is the way to go!

Alain

 

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