Sunday, 10 October 2010


I am not finding 'polytheism' easy going. In fact i find it does not mesh with my 'core spirituality' at all well. I'm also put off by reading stuff written by contemporary hard polytheists. Dealing with the first point first, hard polytheists seem to pick and choose their gods in a typically post-modern 'consumerist' fashion. One can add any 'god' to one's basket depending on one's particular life situation, likes, feelings. Even if they can 'hold' to one pantheon (for today at least) polytheists are generally unable to explain how their pantheon can be related to other 'pantheons' e.g. Greek to Norse to Vedic to Egyptian to Semitic and so on. This is leading me to realise that polytheism is no more necessarily conducive to religious pluralism than any other religion in principle. Only the attitude of polytheists is necessarily tolerant, I suppose because every belief is, and, must remain 'available' for purchase. The only significant ancient god that doesn't get a look in among those pushing such hard polytheistic eccleticism are Yahweh.

So what is my 'core spirituality'? Well, first I note that my encounters with polytheism are helping me define what I can believe in. My tendencies are toward:

  • monism - there is unity underlying all reality. On the mind/matter debate I am a 'neutral monist' i.e. 'mind' and 'matter' are two 'sides' of the same coin of fundamental 'stuff'
  • panpsychism - I tend toward the believe that all things have mental properties, though only certain animals are show cognitive life, and having mental properties could involve a state of 'unconsciousness' relative to sentient creatures. This belief also flows from having since childhood a sense of the 'spirits of place' or the 'vibe' of a location
  • a love of nature, and a sense that the forces of nature are 'divine'
  • a sense of 'transcendence', that there is a 'higher realm' or 'higher reality' distinct from but encompassing the physical world.
  • I am impressed by arguments for a 'first cause and necessary being' and the apparent 'fine tuning' of the universe. These point to a 'cosmic God'
  • I accept there may be some fundamental 'plurality' of deity as manifest (so a willingness to accept a 'soft' polytheism. The plurality wanted though is a poly-unity
  • Evil in the world is such that I do not believe in a benevolent divinity who can intervene in the world.
  • My religiosity must have less problems of coherence or irrationality than the religion I have left behind. I have fully absorbed the naturalistic objections to the latter.
Some form of Pan-en-theism or Pandeism seem to be a better 'fit'. However there is no 'tradition' of religious practice to draw upon.

1 comment:

  1. My friend, have you checked out the YouTube PanDeism Channel?