Polytheism after Monotheism


I was raised in a religion that has monotheism as a central tenet. Today I identify more as a polytheist, though I’m admittedly closer to soft polytheism than hard polytheism, in that I think the gods are probably aspects/manifestations/avatars of the abstract divine that jump-started the universe (well, that’s where I am today. It’s quite likely to be different tomorrow, since some days I lean closer to agnosticism, and others towards medium-soft polytheism).

The irony of Christianity is that many, though not all, branches adhere to a form monotheism in which God is represented through the Trinity: a single god with three distinct persons, who are all different and separate from each other, but are still one being. I was raised with the insistence that God is one, but is also three, and we mostly focused on Jesus and God the Father (who didn’t get a special name, though he does have an awful lot of epithets), and ignored the third part, the Holy Spirit, a lot. This isn’t a lot different from what I believe now on some days, except that there are a lot more gods. I don’t worship all of them, but I believe they exist in some form or another.

I don’t believe in omnipotent gods anymore, which is something I’ve written about before. I think I stopped believing in omnipotence a long time ago, and it only really hit me when Pulse happened. And now it’s hitting me again, as I see people I knew in high school complain on Facebook about how whiny the liberals are being after eight years of them complaining constantly about Obama. As, two days after the election, more people are being attacked because of the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation.

And I’m mostly safe here, in Canada. I’ve lived in Canada since the day I turned eighteen, all of my adult years, and yet America is the land of my birth. I’m still a citizen, though there’s a good chance I will have my Canadian citizenship and will have renounced my American citizenship (not because of politics) by the time the next general election rolls around. The way the US is falling apart right now is deeply frightening and it hurts to know that. It hurts that the electoral college system resulted in an election where a man who has constantly spouted racist, sexist, and ill-informed views throughout his entire campaign won, over a woman who, though not perfect, was a far better candidate for the position. It hurts to know how close the election was, that so many people voted for a man who has acted so deplorably. It hurts to know that so many people embrace enough of his views and those of his future VP that they were willing to vote for him. It makes me sick. And fearful.

Where are the gods? Well, it’s not like they’re all-powerful, and even if they were, it’s not necessarily their responsibility to get us out of the dilemmas we make for ourselves. I may have prayed and lit candles for the Goddess, and poured a libation for Loki, but I also voted, and encouraged other people to vote thoughtfully. I probably could have done more, but that’s a lesson learned.

I admit it’s easier, not believing in a single omnipotent god who always acts for the best. That hurts too much. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t work. There are too many times when the best just doesn’t happen and you can’t argue that “God works in mysterious ways” because there is no way to make those situations better.

If there are gods, they don’t always act. And they don’t always have the power to do so. Sometimes they are silent. And sometimes they speak out of the darkness.


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