Why do many monotheists seem to see polytheism as illegitimate?

Author: Castin ,

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  • Castin
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    For example, the Catholic Encyclopedia states, "Formal dogmatic atheism is self-refuting, and has never de facto won the reasoned assent of any considerable number of men. Nor can polytheism, however easily it may take hold of the popular imagination, ever satisfy the mind of a philosopher."

    Dawkins: "It is not clear why the change from polytheism to monotheism should be assumed to be a self-evidently progressive improvement."

    I must say it isn't clear to me either. Do you believe polytheism is somehow less evolved than monotheism? If so, why? And if not, why do you think others do?
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Castin
    The first statement the Catholic Encyclopedia assumes has truth to it, but the second is blatantly false. Even in the Bible polytheism could be argued to exist, almost all other religions are polytheistic partly due to the fact they understand incarnations. I've said this a million times and I don't pretend it will yet have any significance...possibly later. Polytheism is compatible with Monotheism and here is why...….polytheism is an extension of monotheism, sounds strange but it's true and when people understand this fact it will bring the whole of religion and spirituality together as one. It's precisely due to the nature of consciousness and creation, and why the Creator creates. The illusion of creation is that there is more than one reality, or a singular static reality where all creation derives from. The illusion of separation, division and contrast comes through the creation of forms and embodiments but the inner channel of awareness is the very same in all life and in all forms, there is no distinction just like energy and electricity where the two takes on forms and animates machinery. We could take a trip to Home Depot and look at all the pretty appliances, lights, refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves ect ect and all of them have different features and looks yet they all are operated the same way, through the same source of power. Creation, incarnations work the same way, the very same way.....you have different looks and various forms but the channel of conscious awareness comes from the same Source.
    So, while you have many forms and incarnations in creation they all come from the same reality, the first Source....God, Creator whatever you wish to call it. Likewise, the Creator channels it's power and creative energy through vessels, or what we as humans would call god or demigods depending on how you view them. For the monotheist, just one of these variations or channels is "God". For the Polytheist all of these channels are gods....BUT......for the Omnist ALL of these realities come from a single Source. If both Monotheism and Polytheism would bring their conceptions together you would have the truth, and the truth would be magnified and strengthened tenfold because the bridge between two divisions would be nonexistent. The monotheist would understand that other gods and other incarnations also are an expression of the Divine, and the polytheist would come to terms that all gods come from the same source not separate origins.
    Polytheism is in no way less evolved, I would say polytheism probably came before monotheism and monotheism only came about as a misunderstanding of polytheism. And this is coming from someone who has held a monotheistic belief most his life, but now I understand the nature of the soul and the nature of creation more precisely than I did. Now I know they are actually compatible and not a separate category at all. Think about it, you have one massive reality that takes on many roles and many expressions. This is why you have so many dynamics and various interpretations of one truth, from one arena. We're talking about an intelligent conscious reality that had no beginning and no ending, to try and stuff this reality in one corridor is insane, especially when you learn what consciousness is, what the soul is and how creation works. I'm not even saying that I'm a polytheist because I don't believe different overlords have separate origins. I'm a monotheist that understands the nature of incarnations and why polytheism fits perfectly within a singular reality. BTW, polytheism states this...…" is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator deity or transcendental absolute principle (monistic theologies), which manifests immanently in nature (panentheistic and pantheistic theologies)."
    Note that in that definition nowhere does it state the origin of such deities....only that there are more than one, how this ever got contrasted with a monotheistic theism is silly.....because all creation comes from a singular, omnipresent  conscious reality.
    These incarnations and channels for the Divine take on personalities and creative roles in our universes. Souls have unique experiences with these spiritual Beings and perceive they are much, much higher than we are and they are....but just as the new souls came from the heart of God all beings, all incarnations, angles, creatures, gods, spirits ect ect also come from that same truth. Even though Christianity is primarily perceived as monotheistic the OT is pretty clear there exists more than a single god.....note I said "god" and not God, because again we have gods coming from one God, or one Source. Yes, in theory these incarnations or lower gods would be considered inferior only in that they do not embody the fullness of the first Source, which is the root of all life. However, some incarnations DO take on the role of a god in creation and for some souls so again, when one comes to terms with what I've said here it can be assured that both polytheism and monotheism are in fact compatible because they both originate from one Source. I hope this is not confusing, some of these questions require a dynamic answer because it's a vast arena not to mention this is a fresh analysis nonetheless it's the truth of the matter.
  • Castin
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    What do you mean when you say monotheism only came about as a misunderstanding of polytheism?
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Castin
    Just as I wrote, the monotheist believes that polytheism is stating that each god had separate origins when in fact that is not true, and the monotheist believes his one god is all that exists, and that's not true. And even though some polytheists may believe that its gods came from different origins it is irrelevant to what I wrote. That all incarnations come from one God, or Creator. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Castin
    It may help to clarify what we mean by "god", because perception of an entity may vary. In other words any being or creative power higher than ourselves could be considered a "god". However, God in and of Itself is not a Being, It only channels Itself through vessels and forms. So in essence, we all can be considered gods, in that we all come from the same Source and really have no distinction other than embodiments and knowledge, some being much more advanced than others and considered gods. They in fact rule over the created realms, each realm or universe has an overlord that governs that entire realm. This is how the Divine channels Its power and expressions through creativity.
  • Castin
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    Thanks, just needed a bit of extra clarification. So this is kind of like how in Hinduism there are many gods but they're all expressions of Brahman.
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Castin
    Precisely! excellent. You can look up "Atman" in Hinduism as well, same thing again. This is actually the theme of most religions and spiritual paths even if you study a more essene message of Jesus, even in the Bible there are hints of this but it has become a separate division mainly because of simple misunderstandings and interpretations of what polytheism actually is. We are actually all sons of God, just trapped in duality and individual perceptions and experiences, desires. 
    Gospel of Thomas
    "3 Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) imperial ruleis in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you,'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's)imperial rule is inside you and outside you. When you know yourselves, thenyou will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the livingFather."
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Castin
    In either case one must assume the existence of some being(s) which cannot be physically demonstrated. In one case (polytheism) one must assume more than one being which is another layer of assumption in the other (monotheism) one must generally assume a far more powerful (and therefore more implausible) being which is another layer of assumption. I'm not sure I would say either is necessarily a step forward, more to the side like.
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @secularmerlin
    May not be physically "demonstrated" to you in a physical form of evidence but certainly observed nonetheless. Two different facts really when it comes to spiritual encounters. One can observe something but not necessarily be able to demonstrate it. 
    In spirituality, which you've been told before many times assumptions are no longer necessary in ascertaining truth. Spirituality is based on observation not assumptions. 
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    Most do for the same reason atheists find monotheists illegitimate 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Castin
    I would add that I'm not making a claim that "all" perceived and recorded gods exist. What I'm saying is that the Creator channels its power and creative forces through vessels and demigods in the multiverses or God-worlds, and these beings rule over their domain like kings. How many "gods" actually exist I have no idea, what I do know is that humans perceive these powers and personalities as god, and there really is no fault in that, only matters and variations of perception. One might not be aware that there is a higher reality behind and beyond their god in form, and it really doesn't matter because these Beings have existed long before you and I, they have earned the right to be perceived as God, even though the original Source manifests through many forms not just one, there is a hierarchy in creation and in the heavens. Not a hierarchy ruled by tyranny but by experience and knowledge. There is power in surrender, speaking in spiritual terms. 
  • Castin
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    I'm guessing you don't find many Christians who are open to the idea that Christianity supports polytheism.
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Castin
    Most of the Christians I meet in real life are not as rigid as asserted on the internet really, not quite as close-minded as many believe even though those exist. They listen to what I have to say and I listen to them as well. Christianity is my foundation so I have no problems with articulating and bridging the gaps except with real hard core fundamentalists I usually encounter on the internet and not in real life. Actually many Christians too are looking for answers because their beliefs are not based upon experience and articulating what they believe so they are many times open to truth outside their own perceptions.  
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    May not be physically "demonstrated" to you in a physical form of evidence but certainlyobserved nonetheless. 

    Well that is really the rub isn't it. The thing is that something that cannot be demonstrated makes for a poor debate argument. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Not at all, that's why we argue, explain, articulate and have reasoning coupled with logic, common sense and personal experience. That's why there is a thing called debate and discussion. If everything could be handed to you on a silver platter we wouldn't even be talking. 

  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @secularmerlin
    There's many things that you believe are a reality you cannot demonstrate to me over the internet in a discussion. You can make claims based on your encounters, but you can never "demonstrate" them. Neither with personal experience, they can only be testified to not demonstrated. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @secularmerlin
    BTW, demonstrating does not only come in one form, in which you prefer it to come. Demonstration " to make evident or establish by arguments or reasoning; prove: to demonstrate a philosophical principle. 2. to describe, explain, or illustrate by examples."
    give a practical exhibition and explanation
    to show to be true by reasoning or adducing evidence
    In this context, there is NOTHING that cannot be "demonstrated" to you about Theism and spirituality. 

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    Well my needs are simple you need only demonstrate the physical reality of your claims. If that is impossible then I have no choice but to remain skeptical.
  • Outplayz
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    --> @Castin
    I believe a polytheist view is more likely than a theistic view... however with caveats. We very well can all be from "one" infinite intelligence/consciousness ("source"). I think within this source entity, we split into multiple separate entities. I just heard a cool analogy to visualize this. Imagine an infinite sandbox... and/or an infinite stretch of sand. Now, one can make any shape within this sand. You can create a castle, tree, etc... whatever. But imagine the sandbox without any visible shapes. Everything still exists right? You don't have to make any shapes within the sandbox for these shapes to already be there. We as finite beings need to visualize these shapes for them to exist. But, in the infinite sand... everything already exists. The sand can be analogous to this source. Within this source is every type of entity you can think of and more. 

    Accordingly, i believe in both mono/polytheism. When we are the source, we are all of the Omni's. We know everything and are everything all at once. However, that isn't a preferable existence. For... what more can you have when you have everything and know every ending... you are basically nothing in this source state. Therefore, i believe we have socialized and individualized within this source state. This would be more inline with multiple gods and/or sources. in conclusion, i basically think both are a part of the truth. 

    Plus... we see multiple people in life. There being multiple gods at least observationally makes more sense too. 
  • Swagnarok
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    Classical Polytheism assumed the existence of a number of finitely powerful "gods" who each served as a personification of some unexplained or imposing natural occurence or geographical feature. To these beings was attributed the power to shoot lightning bolts or whatnot, and the way that they were described suggested that there was a clear upper limit to what they could do and what they could withstand. They frequently exercised their wills in a manner contrary to those of other gods, so it could not be said that they were all different manifestations of the same otherwise unknowable monist Deity, since the end result would be a being which arbitrarily shot itself In the foot squabbling with itself over stupid crap.
    In short, the classical understanding of polytheism simply makes no sense in the modern era. A polytheist seeking to advocate for his position would have to describe a feasible alternative way of understanding the concept.
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Swagnarok
    You could start with a less absurd premise perhaps because in reality I'm not sure what natural forces have to do with gods or demi-gods as actual entities, whether or not the demi-gods had any influence or part in creating the universes is irrelevant to their existence. What Polytheists believed at particular times is really irrelevant to polytheism as a concept (which is also seen in the Bible), which simply recognizes there exists many incarnations and embodiments that channel the powers and creativity of God or the first Source, and these are known as demi-gods or incarnations.

    If God wants to express something or create something as an outlet for Gods creative abilities it does this through forms in creation, otherwise the Creator has no way to express Itself. If the first Source wants to govern a division of creation It does so through a type of embodiment of an overlord/spiritual entity or incarnation and man perceives these beings as God. But in creation there's a hierarchy set up within the worlds and universes of God and varying states and levels of consciousness where the individual soul progresses in its journey. There are countless souls and as well there are several overlords but all entities and all souls come from the same Source, yet develop their own personalities just like we do in this realm and in these bodies. When a created soul leaves the Godhead as a seed it literally takes on a fresh new experience and develops its own individuality through its own experiences and perceptions but the channel of awareness of the observer is one and the same, the conscious awareness that comes through the embodiments is the very same, of the same origin, of the same nature. This is the same for very entity or embodiment that exists.
    You can look at it like God shooting Itself in the foot but there is no alternative, there is no other methods of creation and can be no other way and it's the only way to have experiences away from a singular reality. The upside is that the actual entities experience is that there in fact does exist other beings to have relations with, and this works because as I said above each soul develops its own personalities and unique forms. When the seed/soul left the Creator It departed within that seed a unique expression of Itself and a unique creative ability.
  • Mopac
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    Because monotheism is the belief that God is The Truth. The One Uncreated Truth.

    The position of the monotheist is that nothing else is worthy of being called God. Polytheists worship acts of nature, kings, videogames, power, and other created things as gods. 

    These little gods are ultimately unreal and vain. It is better to have faith in The Truth.


  • keithprosser
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    I'd look to more worldly reasons for the shift towards monotheism.    I'd say there are still traces of a primitive form of judaism in te bible that imagined YHWH as one god amongst many, with each tribe or nation having their own god.  Over time Hebrew ethnic and religious identity merged, so worship of any god other than YHWH was a mix of blasphemy and treason.

    Thus YHWH gradually transformed from being one god amongst many to being the 'best  god', to 'the true god' to the only god.  

    Islam inhertited monotheism directly from Judaism, possibly because it may have been useful to demarcating groups not yet assimilated into the Mohamedan empire who  - we are constantly reminded in the koran - were polytheists. 

    Christianity has always struggled to reconcile the judaic ideal of monotheism with having two (at least) foci of worship.  

    We also see that 'duotheism' is attractive, with a pairof gods, one presentig light and the other dark.  In the Abrahamic faiths the role of 'dark god' is satan.