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On Being Accepted as a Polytheist

26 Jun

Alternate Title: Religion is dicks.

It was recently written that as a “hard” polytheist, you will not be accepted in modern Paganism because you are, well, a hard polytheist. That no matter what you say, you can’t get through to non-hard polytheists because “they can tolerate everything — except our existence”.

Bollocks. Bollocks, I say.

The first reason I could point out that this is inaccurate would be to take a page from Tess Dawson’s recent post where she states:

There is no such thing as “soft polytheism,” and there is no such thing as “hard polytheism,” since the previous terms monism and dualism cover “soft polytheism,” while the term polytheism covers ideas presented under “hard polytheism.” It’s helpful when we use consistent terminology and when when use the appropriate terms for particular concepts.

There is a recent push to better define our terms. Many Pagans and polytheists seem to believe that in order for this “situation” (which, there wouldn’t be a situation if people didn’t make it into a situation) to get better, is to better define things. To draw boxes around our words and our sects so that we can better discuss things.

And I do think that these folks have a point, which is ironic considering my recent “discussion” where my entire point became invalidated over an apparent inability to properly define a word – but at the end of the day, my problem with the above statement isn’t the terminology.

In fact, I don’t think terminology is the problem at all.

The second and more important reason that this statement about “hard” polytheists not being accurate is to be found in the second rule of Kemeticism -  Don’t be a dick.

Now, just so we are all clear here, when I say “dick” I am referring to the slang form of the word, not the anatomy to be found on a male. And just so we are extra clear, here is a definition of what “dick” means when used in a slang format:

a mean person; “jerk“; “asshole“. (source)

Now, I don’t know if its just a case that other religions don’t have this “don’t be a dick” clause in their religion’s tenets, and if that’s why a large majority of Pagans, polytheists – hell, people -  act like dicks, but I think its safe to say that maybe, just maybe, we’d all be doing much better if more faiths adopted it as a way of life.

And here is why:

Terms are useful. Yes.

Information and education is useful. Yes.

But neither of these is useful if:

  1. The person explaining the terms is being a dick about it.
  2. The person being explained to is being a dick.

We can have common ground all we want, but if you are being a dick- none of the information is going to get through. End of story.

And to bring it back around to my original point- the reason many “hard” polytheists are not being accepted is because they are being dicks. Being a polytheist (hard, soft, or whatever) is not grounds to be disliked.

But being a dick is.

The saying “you catch more flies with honey” comes to mind, and while I fully understand that sometimes you can’t always be nice- sometimes you have to be firm- there is never an excuse to a complete and utter dick about something. And if there is anything that has seemingly become rampant within the Pagan/polytheistic community as of late, it’s being a dick.

And since I’m not one to point fingers at a problem without proposing a solution, here is my suggestion to all of us in all of our shades of polytheism. Instead of banging our heads against the wall trying to help others “see the light” or convincing people to conform to a set of narrow beliefs (which conveniently line up with your beliefs), let’s instead focus on not being dicks. Focus on learning how to communicate better or learn how to leave your ego at the door.

Because, I mean- if it is “all about the gods”, imagine what you could get done in a day if you weren’t running around trying to shove your dick in everyone’s face? Imagine the progress all of us could make- not just with our gods, but with each other.

Perhaps we could be using July to work on that, instead.

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10 Comments

Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “On Being Accepted as a Polytheist

  1. Alex

    June 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I have never understood why others would not accept me for being a polytheist. That’s just not how the world works, honestly. Yes, you have religiously and spiritually conservative egos who claim that anything that is done outside of what they believe is correct is foolhardy, wrong, and impious [my least favorite word, currently] but the majority of religious and spiritual folks that I know, from a zillion paths that may or may not include pagan-type beliefs, are polite and respectful in the face of differences or lack of understanding. I had the most interesting conversation recently with an atheist and a fairly conservative Christian about my polytheism. Neither of them agreed that I was doing it in a way that they thought was ‘right’, but they listened and asked intelligent questions and replied thoughtfully to my questions. It’s interesting to me that I can get that reaction from people outside my spiritual ‘community’, though I use that term incredibly lightly because there has been little that I’ve seen in the way of community recently, than I can from self-perceived important voices in the pagan ‘community’.

    From what I’ve seen, there is nothing that separates the present behavior from that which they say is so awful and horrible and impious.

     
    • Eddie

      June 26, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      “From what I’ve seen, there is nothing that separates the present behavior from that which they say is so awful and horrible and impious.”

      ^ This. Very, very much this.

       
    • theinfinitebattle8

      June 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      I think it’s pretty interesting to record who I’ve had the “best” theological discussions with. Sometimes, it’s the people online that can be the hardest to talk with. One of my favorites is with a Christian friend. (I have one friend who is into Christian mysticism and another than isn’t; that is: the “typical” Christian one thinks of: church, organized religion, etc.) It’s because we have to explain so much about the community to each other. I don’t understand how his religion works and he doesn’t understand mine. Sometimes, it means I have to iron out what I *do* know in order to explain it properly, which means thinking in ways I haven’t before. This actually makes me wish I still lived in one of my old residences, because after I moved, I learned that there was a very relaxed interfaith church (that actually met in bars, often–they had their own church “building,” but they liked the local bar–for possible obvious reasons) and it apparently has very good/inspiring talks.

       
    • Stefen Hudson

      June 27, 2013 at 5:04 am

      I hear you there. While I haven’t experienced this personally, I do understand it.

      As an example, I believe most Christians see magick in general as evil. If people would take the time to actually research Wicca, Paganism, and some other magical practices, they would see that there’s nothing evil about it at all.

      Now I know that there are people out there who practice so-called black magick which focuses on a lot of negative things, and there are also people who deal with demons and other entities that are probably not for their highest good. However, in general, magick isn’t evil. From what I’ve been able to learn, magick is neutral, and the good/evil that comes from it depends on what the one using it does with it.

      While I’m not Wiccan myself, I do rather like the rule which states:

      “harm none ,do as you will.”

      As long as you’re not bringing harm to yourself or others, who cares what system you use? If it’s right for you, then by all means use it. pagans use magic, Christians pray. So what? Isn’t it all really the same thing in the end?

       
  2. Bear

    June 27, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Honestly, I think at least part of the problem here is that the push to define things (I agree with the general sentiment of this push, by the way) is that it tends to oversimplify.

    I like Tess Dawson’s work on the whole, but I really disliked the post you quoted for exactly that reason. For one thing, it’s kind of awkward on an interpersonal level to decide that soft polytheism doesn’t exist if people identify as soft polytheists. But on a more abstract level, her reasons for stating soft polytheism doesn’t exist don’t actually make sense, because she assumes that it must reduce all deities to being forms of only one or two Gods. But what if you, say, believe in the twelve Olympians and believe that all Gods of other pantheons are actually emanations of those twelve? That’s soft polytheism, but it’s neither monist nor duotheistic.

    But more than that, I feel that the drive towards defining things also ignores incredibly important distinctions within each definition. It would be unfortunate to lump the duotheism in Wicca in with religions in which one of the Gods is good and the other evil, for instance. Ideally, the definitions should be viewed as being rather fluid instead of being rigid categories.

     
  3. aegoddard

    June 27, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I’d like to add make sure the person is being a dick and not just blunt or something. This is very often the case I see online. Someone may be blunt or sarcastic, or anything that can read as such, and people immediately assume the tone.

     
    • von186

      June 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Yes, I will agree.

       
  4. Kaif

    June 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I love this. So much. Thanks for posting this. :)

     
  5. Kaif

    July 8, 2013 at 7:16 am

    I’ve decided to write down my own thoughts on the subject…. http://emeraldandblack.blogspot.com/2013/07/polytheists-vs-pagans.html

     

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