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 that 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 indicates that polytheism has persevered intact for millennia even within the West, regardless of the various hidden ways in which monotheistic inspiration keeps to form Western outlooks.
In English utilization, the notice "polytheism" comes from the seventeenth-century writings of Samuel Purchas. It used to be pejorative from the beginning--a be aware to tell apart the idea procedure of backward peoples from the extra theologically complicated faith of Protestant Christians. at the present time, whilst monotheistic fundamentalisms too frequently force humans to dedicate violent acts, polytheism continues to be a scandalous presence in societies nonetheless orientated in keeping 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, possibly simply because polytheism corresponds to subconscious wishes and deeply held values of tolerance, range, and equality which are principal to civilized societies.
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Additional info for A Million and One Gods: The Persistence of Polytheism
Each can learn from the other; the rigid pseudo-separation of religion and the public sphere in the Western Protestant model might change to accommodate other perspectives, including those of polytheists, and rigid independence open to a new interdependence. 46 A MILLION AND ONE GODS This is not a matter of tolerance, or toleration, but rather of a more fully realized cohabitation. P OLY TH E I S M B ECO M I NG M ONOTH E I S M? In A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism, Prema A.
26 Chateaubriand attributes all the excellences of modern Europe to the effects of Christianity. In relation to ancient Rome, he claims: “The passions under polytheism would soon have overturned a government which is preserved only by the accuracy of its counterpoises” (Chateaubriand, 662). . The meanest of Christians, if a virtuous man, is more moral than was the most eminent of the philosophers of antiquity” (Chateaubriand, 663). In a somewhat delirious and enthusiastic summation of his arguments, Chateaubriand claims that “in literature, characters appear more interesting and the passions more energetic under the Christian dispensation than they were under polytheism.
As he argues, “polytheism is a monotheistic construct. Polytheists have no reason to have a term for themselves, since polytheism is the human cultural norm” (Paper, 104). But one problem with his claim to produce “a polytheistic theology” per se is that there can be no unitary polytheist theology, no list of polytheist values, since there are multiple, various, and radically different polytheisms, lumped together only from the perspective of monotheism, which defines them, or it—polytheism—as its other.