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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in monotheism

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Made in God's Image

My friend and I were having a conversation the other day. I was relating the story of my journey to South Africa and my trip to Robben Island, but more specifically the powerful effect the artwork on the prison walls had on me. This artwork was significant because the prisoners on Robben Island were overwhelmingly African, yet there was a picture of a white Jesus on the walls. My friend couldn't understand why African prisoners would choose to draw a picture of a white Jesus on the wall until I explained to him the historical significance of the missionary movement in Africa and specifically how white privilege played a part in the conversion of slaves to Christianity. 

"That is so sad." He commented, half in shock. And I must agree with him. As a Pagan, I draw strength and comfort from the concept that my deities come in many shapes and sizes. They are not limited by gender or sexual expression, size or natural status. In essence I can find in my deities the diversity of expression that reflects my own humanity and allows me to connect with them on a deeper level. For Christians, this is limited by their monotheistic view of God Himself. Who gets to determine what God looks like? In many cases that question is answered by whoever is in power.

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Part I. ended with the observation monotheism seems to have an innate proclivity to violence and it has inspired some of the most noble people in history. It asked “Why?”

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. DiZerega, I have to say that I agree with everything you've written. Many times it has occurred to me that Allah, Yahweh, and

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The sad events on Orlando where at least 50 people were slaughtered by a person impelled by murderous hatred at least reinforced by religious zeal will be used by many people, especially on the political right, as more evidence that Muslim Americans cannot be trusted to be peaceable citizens.  Unmentioned by these same people will be the similar, if smaller scale, killings in Colorado Springs last November by a Christian who said his deeds were in service to his God.

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  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    I don't waste my time hating anyone. Hate is dangerous to the hater. In this case he was the fiftieth victim of his hate. If he ha
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Part II will begin getting into that. I share a lot with Plato as I understand him, but I am far from an expert there, and am far
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. DiZerega, I'll be interested to see how you develop this line of argument. I have my own beliefs about monotheistic religions
Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, January 29

We take a look at David Bowie's fascination with Buddhism. Progressive Christians argue why they don't want a God who "controls everything." And is Hellboy a Catholic comic? We discuss these issues and more in Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on faiths and religious communities around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Polytheism: The Solitary Vice?

It's a Golden Age of polytheist publishing.

To incisive works such as John Michael Greer's World Full of Gods and Steven Dillon's A Case for Polytheism, we can now add W. D. Wilkerson's Walking with the Gods, in which 24 (counting Wilkerson herself, 25) contemporary polytheists tell their own stories. It's a pioneering, and invaluable, study of Polytheism-as-Lived in the modern world.

Sigh. If only the news were better.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    We have several ethnic churches in my area. Lebanese, Greek, and Armenian; all of them hold annual food festivals that are well a
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you. Insightful and helpful to me as someone working in a multi-faith/interfaith institution. Both as a writer and theologi

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Paynims and Polytheists

During the Middle Ages, the Christians of western Europe disparagingly referred to Muslims as paynim, “pagans.”

Likewise, Muslims of the day dismissed Christians as mashrikûn, “polytheists.”

Monotheist slagging monotheist with mutual accusations of being us.

Gods.

How sweet is that?

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A version of this appeared a day ago in Patheos. I think the points I am making are important enough to put this both places.

     Violence in the name of a monotheistic religion has again captured the world’s attention. This time it was committed  in Islam’s name.  In response many columnists and politicians who should know better claim something supposedly unique to Islam is responsible.  This malign misdiagnosis gets two central points utterly wrong.
     First, there are over one billion Muslims in the world, and the great majority are not violent.  Second, while there has been considerable violence by some Muslims in the name of their religion, the majority of their victims have been other Muslims. In this respect Islam is not unusual.  Historically a great many victims of monotheistic violence have been those most other people would regard as practicing the same religion.
For mostly historical reasons, most religious violence today is by those claiming to be Muslims.  But Islam has no monopoly here.  Christianity has spilled plenty of blood in its past. The end of its worst violence did not come as a result of any advances in Christian morality or spiritual understanding. Relative peace arose from mutual exhaustion, when the various factions realized they could never kill all the other side.
     True religious tolerance considered as a matter of principle had to wait the coming of the Enlightenment, the rise of deism, and the triumph of the American Revolution. Deism is not monotheism, which is why so many Christian leaders of that time called them atheists.

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    You're welcome!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Gus - Thank you for this incredibly comprehensive study of the different Gods of Christianity! I agree that Mysticism is the best

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