On The Death Of Monotheism

Via Soul Spelunker, a celebration of the polytheistic outlook:

In his greatest work, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that “God is dead” … the proclamation of God’s death paves the way for a new epoch of freedom. If centrality suggests control, acentrality suggests theological and psychological liberty.

Humans have always been polytheistic in nature. The word, polytheism, is a way to explain the plurality of living Beings that compose each and every person. Make no mistake, they are real Persons. Monotheism, on the other hand, is the promotion of a single, central figure at the center of the human Microcosm, which we call the Ego. The overinflated Ego is the Minotaur at the center of the maze of existence that consumes all others that challenge his authority. It is a male character because monotheism is very much a patriarchal phenomenon.

Polytheism is just as much a social phenomenon as it is a theological phenomenon. The idea of polytheism is inherent in the democratic ideal. The implication here is that there are many voices having a say in matters, rather than what occurs in totalitarian societies. True human nature demands democracy. Because we have many Voices within us, the best form of government for humans is to include the many voices of the people. As above, so below.

Our true nature as multifaceted selves leaves no room for an autonomous, overruling entity. Our identities are not fixed because we are composed of many equally real, but distinct personalities. Variety is the spice of life!

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  • liquidself

    At one time it was (in the west at least) one life, one world and one god. While I really have no problem with “monotheism”, it seems so obvious now that things are shifting over to many lives (reincarnation, probable selves, clones, virtual avatars), many worlds (physics takes additional/alternate dimensions seriously, discovery of first exo-planets) and many gods (resurgence of pagan religion, “new age” cultures, secret socities mania).

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    “In his greatest work, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that “God is dead” … the proclamation of God’s death paves the way for a new epoch of freedom. If centrality suggests control, acentrality suggests theological and psychological liberty.”

    The only problem with that and the following paragraph is that Nietzsche hated democracy(along with antisemitism and German Nationalism believe it or not)

    I mean the way its written sounds like Nietzsche promoted some kind of democracrtic “acentrality” He was very elitist and hierarchical.

  • Bob

    Man is the one who invented the idea of god. So that means Man is greater than god.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      Can you levitate?

  • http://twitter.com/Zeteticus Mark Dotson

    Ted,

    >The only problem with that and the following paragraph is that Nietzsche
    >hated democracy(along with antisemitism and German Nationalism believe
    >it or not). I mean the way its written sounds like Nietzsche promoted some kind of
    >democracrtic “acentrality” He was very elitist and hierarchical.

    Thanks for reading, first of all. I wasn’t really claiming that Nietzsche advocated democracy. It was simply the sheer fact of Nietzsche bringing the idea of God’s death to the West that opened up new vistas of thought for Western thinkers. This, in itself, was a new kind of freedom.

    Mark

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      I guess I sounded like a nit picker, eh? But I think you bring up some good points for discussion.

      I think what Nietzsche did was point out kind of what doctor’s do when they declare a person dead. You know? In the Intelligentsia, acedemia etc. of the West, God (monotheism)had been dead for for some time. Nietzsche, kind of pointed out the elephant in the room. Materialism had taken hold already.

      Nietzsche was also critical of nihilism. He considered it decadent, at least in its passive form. He called for an active positive form of nihilism. He believed very few people would ever take the helm in this new form of freedom.

      Nietzsche was a great Hellenist, which is interesting, given the Greek gods, Roman Pantheon etc. Were the Greek Philosophers polytheists though? Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, etc. often seem use the language of Monotheism.

      Nietzsche did have a type of polytheism pehaps in his discussion of Apollo and Dionysus.

      • http://twitter.com/Zeteticus Mark Dotson

        Ted,

        From my readings, I’d say polytheism was on the way out with Plato and Aristotle.
        Plotinus talked a lot about The One, even though it’s not the same as the Judeo-Christian god.

        I rather like the idea of the One and the Many, a kind of synthesis between polytheism and monotheism. Henotheism is probably more correct to the manner in which most theists worship.

        Mark

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          Cool! I have just been reading The Six Enneads. I find it meshes well with the Tao Te Ching.

  • geminihigh

    “True human nature demands democracy.” Thats a bold statement that kind of made me chuckle and threw my train of thought off concerning this article. It seems to me that some people around the globe are only comfortable with autocratic regimes and that style of leadership, usually those who rule with their fists. I bet you that democracy will not “work” in most parts of the Middle East in this century, because most people there aren’t comfortable with the prospect of it. Their nature at this time, because of custom and belief, rejects it (a bold statement too, I’ll admit.) In some nations that have accepted democracy, the backstabbing and gridlock gets so bad that the people begin to yearn for the good old days of a tyrant at the helm(cross your fingers that doesn’t happen in the “Free World”.) Democracy is, after all, the least effective and messiest form of governance. There are those who are dominant, those who submissive, and those who walk the line as their conscience (or circumstance) tells them to. I feel that true human nature craves freedom of choice, but that freedom may entail the choice to be dominated, or, paradoxically, to dominate others and take away their freedom. Such is the nature of this world.

  • Gregory Wyrdmaven

    This is the truth about trying to say there is only one god…you actually wind up with none. Because you are trying to simplify and rule the world, to force the world to obey your laws…rather than let the world come to you in all its complexity and meaning. This is also the tragedy of atheism…it is a response to monotheism, which itself has nothing to do with genuine spirituality, but is about control, religion and political power as any fundamentalist idea is. In the middle of these wild and irroneous ideas are the gods who represent all the different aspects of life…these are ideas at least and ideas definitely exist and they have nothing to do with belief. It is ideas that define humanity and fundamentalists, whether they insist their god is the only one, or that there aren’t any gods at all…these people are bereft of ideas.
    Fiat lux

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