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Everything posted by LeopardBoy

  1. Because the definition itself only describes monotheism. Do you think it fits polytheism or pantheism? As for common definitions of words, ask a monotheist and a polytheist to define the word “God” sometime and see how far that gets. It’s been my experience on this forum and in real life that most Western atheists agree with the monotheists’ definition of that word, even though the atheists reject the concept as believable. And it doesn’t even occur to them that others can define “God” in a completely different way. Because their society and upbringing has drilled into them this idea that the qualities of the monotheistic God of Abraham set the standard for the word itself. That’s why I don’t post here much. Because it’s two sides constantly arguing in the same language with each other while my own theological experience and worldview just doesn’t match. When it feels like the only activity on this forum is a battle over the believability of the God of Abraham, why should a polytheist even care to post anything?
  2. So monotheists gets to define theism for the rest of us. Some things don’t change.
  3. That’s the difference between our religions. I don’t believe humans are born in sin or require salvation from an imperfect state of being. The gods I worship don’t punish humanity for being human. We make bad choices sometimes, and fall short of the virtuous life we’re encouraged to lead. But having flaws is a fundamental part of who we are. The gods don’t ask for perfection from me. If I commit a specific unethical act, fall to hubris, or break an oath, I seek atonement. But I feel no need to ask for forgiveness simply for being born a flawed mortal. I also don’t view the earth as a prison, but a goddess. The earth is Gaia, a primordial divine being. I’m also not a spirit trapped in a meat body awaiting death and release from carnal existence. I believe our physical form, and experiencing the many pleasures of life, is spiritual in itself. I don’t require Jesus to save me. I’m not in spiritual peril.
  4. Who are these gay people who are having sex in public or in front of children in schools? Or is the issue that the same kinds of public conversation about relationships, or public displays of affection, straight people take for granted make certain heterosexual people uncomfortable when two men or two women engage in them? No one bats an eye over the Walt Disney company’s use of heterosexual romance as a plot device for decades in kids’ movies. No one bats an eye at a man kissing his wife goodbye at an airport. Or a straight couple holding hands on a walk in the park. But when gay people do the exact same thing suddenly we’re shoving our sexuality in people’s faces. Somehow the same public romantic behaviors straight people engage in become unsuitable for children’s eyes when gay people engage in them. You bring up that homosexuality is taught at schools but not the Christian god or the bible. The difference being there is objective proof that gay people exist. Some kids have gay parents. Some kids themselves are gay. I hope no one is teaching graphic sexual details of any kind to kindergarten classes, but kids should be aware that sometimes they have to deal with a classmate who has two dads. Sometimes kids will have to deal with a classmate who brings a member of the same sex to a school dance. The bible is not a subject kids should be taught in a public school. The better place for that is in a church or by their parents. Public schools should have no business teaching religion.
  5. It’s amazing to me how threatened people feel by my private sexual acts. I had no idea my act of having sex with other men was so powerful. Apparently to some people what I do in the privacy of my own bedroom can even overthrow governments and cause natural disasters. 🙄
  6. It applies to many pagans in my experience. Because they too were once Bible believers and it’s hard to divorce oneself from that worldview. I’ve had to explain to other pagans that the myths weren’t taken literally even by ancient polytheists. That I can worship Zeus and Hera without drawing on the many problematic behaviors assigned to them in myth. That Ares even in the ancient world was more than just a bloodthirsty savage. Because myth is not religion. Religious practice is religion.
  7. Do you believe there’s no knowledge to be gained from myth? I ask this as someone who doesn’t take myth literally, but still values its importance in my religion for what it is.
  8. And I fear those among us who are religious but not monotheistic fundamentalists will get swept up in this as collateral damage, which is just more of the same we’ve been getting with Christianity as the dominant cultural worldview. There are unfortunately a lot of atheists who define the word religion in the same exclusive way fundamentalist Christians do.
  9. There’s not much about my theology that would change if extra-terrestrial beings suddenly made themselves known. Some form of syncretism might occur, and new myths written to explain the appearance of new gods or added epithets for old gods, but it doesn’t really make much difference to me from a religious standpoint.
  10. This isn’t a dilemma for polytheists. Apollo the healer is also the bringer of plagues and disease. Demeter brings a bountiful harvest as well as famine. Even in the realm of human civilization, Hermes is the patron of both merchants and thieves. I hold a sense of spiritual awe even for the destructive power of nature. It’s part of the natural order, and I believe in gods that are an intrinsic part of that same order. The world needs hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and earthquakes as part of the creative process. There are also creatures that require what we would consider pests as part of their diet. Circle of life and all that. I do actually look at nature and see gods, but I also have a different understanding of what a god is and hold the belief that human comfort and wellbeing isn’t necessarily at the center of their attention.
  11. You’ll find many an ancient philosopher had quite a lot to say about gods, the nature of gods, and the relationship between mortals and gods. I’ll admit that orthopraxic religions are a bit alien if one is culturally indoctrinated to view religion through a monotheistic lens influenced specifically by Christianity. But I’ve come to view religion as “things you do” and philosophy as “things you believe.”
  12. Tykhe/Fortuna is still “Lady Luck” in casinos, and the goddess Dike is still Justice personified in the courthouses of modern law. Artists still speak of their Muse, and buildings where art is kept are still called by their ancient name: Museums - the temple of the Muses. The Rod of Asklepios, though often mistakenly replaced by the caduceus, is still the symbol of modern medicine. In the English speaking world, the days of the week still bear the names of Germanic gods, and in the Romance languages, they still bear the Roman names of gods. Venus and Mars can be seen in the night sky. The gods of the various polytheisms have never truly left the minds of mortals.
  13. It’s been my experience that the loudest voices in the pagan community speak for and to a specific audience. Namely adherents of the myriad traditions that derive from Wicca or are at least similar enough to speak the same ritual and theological “language”. Many of the reconstructionist polytheists, myself included, or followers of indigenous polytheisms tend to keep to our own smaller communities. We don’t have that same shared language for the most part that the greater pagan community has. Which again is due to its origins in a specific religion (Wicca), or an eclectic pagan mix so derived from it that they at least share the same Western occult-based ritual stylings and eight holidays.
  14. There are times when the dictionary definition of words is woefully inadequate or too simplistic to convey the nuance of certain theological terms or their understanding in actual religious practice and philosophy. The word sacrifice in the English dictionary isn’t going to go into the details or meaning of the Greek θυσια. There are other times when the dictionary conveys the meaning of a word as understood by a modern culture that has an entirely different theological worldview than the one from which the word has originated. The word anathema, for example. The dictionary is a useful tool, but it has its limitations, particularly as certain terms are used in religions that deal more in poetry than prose.
  15. By definition, a cult is a specific sect of a religion or the worship or veneration of one or more specific figures within a wider religion. It has nothing to do with how many people accept it or take part in the cult worship. For example, the cult of Athena Polias was the central cult of the city of ancient Athens with thousands of worshipers among the population, not some fringe group, but is still considered a cult by historians and anthropologists within the wider religious practice of Athenian polytheism. The Roman Catholic church still uses the term cult to describe the veneration given to specific saints, some of which also have thousands of followers. It’s only relatively recently that the word cult has taken on a connotation of fringe extremist groups such as the community of Jonestown.
  16. This really isn’t a problem for polytheists, what with our Zeus who dwells on the mountaintop and the Zeus who dwells in the household pantry. Not to mention the Zeus of different cities, or the Zeus of foreigners who know him in their own “barbaric” tongue.
  17. Why only the two choices, no afterlife at all or the Christian version of an afterlife?
  18. I also think the term religion in these type of polls seems to be defined too narrowly. In many cultures, religious practice is intertwined with the culture itself, so a person answering the polls might not define the everyday spiritual practices they perform as a “religion” separate from their culture. I see countries like China and Japan listed as secular-majority countries, yet both cultures are steeped in spiritual practices that could be described as religious, if one is defining the word religion more broadly than the context Westerners apply the term.
  19. I can understand doing that. When I meet someone new and a friendship begins to develop, I try to work in the topic of my own homosexuality in a tactful way to gauge their response to it. It doesn’t mean that my bringing up the subject early is a statement that it’s the most important part about me, but that I want to get that out of the way before I develop an emotional attachment to someone. I’ve lost longtime friends when they found out I’m gay. Because years of friendship and emotional connection can be erased by that one truth about myself. Especially with male friends. Suddenly every display of affection is retroactively viewed as me “making a pass” and even a simple compliment becomes seen as a flirtation. It just gets awkward and painful for everyone.
  20. In Hellenic polytheism, dekatai are voluntary thank-offerings of a tenth of an acquired enterprise or fortuitous windfall (either in goods or its value in cash), made to a god and given to a temple. It’s the closest thing I can think of to the typical 10% tithe of Christianity, though a dekate wouldn’t normally be given as part of regular religious practice. Personal acts of charity really aren’t considered part of the general Hellenic public cult. Philanthropia is an Hellenic virtue, but it isn’t tied to temples or any specific religious practice.
  21. Aristophanes. His comedies paint a convincing portrait of Athenian life at the time. He also ridiculed and satirized his political opponents and contemporaries, a trend that continues in comedy to this day. I'm also a fan of Shakespeare's plays. Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and the Scottish play are my favorites.
  22. A number of days in each Attic month are sacred to certain gods and heroes: Noumenia: the first day of each Attic month is sacred to Selene, Apollon Noumenios, Zeus Ktesios, Zeus Herkeios, Hestia, and other household gods and spirits. This is also a day many modern practitioners of Hellenic polytheism choose to fill the kathiskos, a jar of various food items which serves as the household altar to Zeus Ktesios (an aspect of Zeus that guards the pantry and brings prosperity in the form of a bountiful food supply). The second day of each Attic month is sacred to the Agathos Daimon, a serpentine household spirit that protects the house itself. The typical offering to the Agathos Daimon is a libation of unmixed wine (Greeks typically drank wine diluted with water) after the last meal of the day, poured directly onto an earthen floor. In my modern house, I keep a libation bucket to receive this offering. The third day is sacred to Athena, and a common offering to this goddess is a libation of olive oil. The fourth day is sacred to Aphrodite, Eros, Herakles, and Hermes. The fifth day is sacred to the Erinyes, Horkos, and Eris. Fifth days were considered unlucky, and the Athenians were hesitant to conduct major business or swear oaths on these days. This also includes the fifteenth and twenty-fifth days of the month. The sixth and twenty-sixth days are sacred to Artemis, and the seventh and twenty-seventh days are sacred to her twin brother, Apollon. The eighth day is sacred to Poseidon, Asklepios, and the hero Theseus. The ninth day is sacred to the Titan-Queen Rhea, Helios, and the nine Mousai (Muses). The eleventh day is sacred to the three Moirai (Fates). The seventeenth day is sacred to Apollon, Asklepios, and Demeter. Hene Kai Nea, the last day of the Attic month (either the twenty-ninth or thirtieth day) is sacred to Hekate and the dead. Hekate's deipnon (supper) offering is made at the end of this day, typically left at a crossroads. Household shrines and altars are traditionally swept on this day, and the dust and debris is collected and given in offering to Hekate, either at a crossroads or upon a grave. Food and drink offerings to ancestors and other spirits of the dead are also appropriate. Many modern practitioners choose this last day of the month to empty their kathiskos jar as part of the cleaning of household shrines.
  23. The festival calendar I follow is based on the Attic festival calendar, which is a lunisolar calendar used by the ancient Athenians to determine their holidays. The first thing to remember is that unlike today, when our day begins at midnight, the Attic day begins at sunset. This is important to keep in mind each year when I calculate my festival calendar, because the Attic day begins the night before the current day in the Gregorian calendar. Each Attic month begins with the first sighting of the crescent moon after the new moon. This day is referred to as Noumenia. The year begins with the first Noumenia after the summer solstice. Tying the cycle of lunar months to a fixed point in the solar year allows for each month to fit somewhat within a certain season, with some variation. There are typically twelve Attic lunar months, listed here in order: Hekatombaion Metageitnion Boedromion Pyanepsion Maimakterion Poseideon Gamelion Anthesterion Elaphebolion Mounikhion Thargelion Skirophorion Because a cycle of twelve lunar months is eleven days short of a solar year, there is a thirteenth intercalated month about every three years. This extra month is a repeat of the sixth month in early winter, known as Poseideon Beta, also rendered Poseideon B or Poseideon 2 in modern calculations of the calendar. Because the moon orbits the earth in 29.5 days, each Attic lunar month has either 29 or 30 days. The months with 30 days are called full, and the months with 29 days are called hollow. Each full month is further divided into three "weeks" of ten days, or in the case of hollow months, two ten-day weeks and a third week of nine days. The last day of each Attic month, when the moon is dark, is called Hene Kai Nea, which translates to "the old and the new." A cycle of four Attic years is grouped as an Olympiad, which corresponds to the four-year cycle of the Pan-Hellenic Olympic Games.
  24. Knowing myself is a balancing act between my own perceptions of myself, and what others around me might tell me they perceive of me. In more than a few cases, I trust my own perceptions of myself over those of my community, because many of my core beliefs are at odds with theirs. In some cases, others see things about me or the way I act that I might not notice unless they bring it to my attention. I also keep in mind that the Delphic maxim that is often translated to "know thyself" is not just a call to introspection, but also a warning against hubris. Knowing yourself is also knowing your limitations, flaws, and any bias you might have that colors your perceptions.
  25. Some of us have also been raised in different cultures, either as immigrants or by immigrant families, with our own social conventions and manners. I've gotten some weird looks because my reflex is to bow instead of shake hands when I meet someone for the first time. Table manners also vary widely between cultures, and what passes for etiquette to one may seem rude (or barbaric) to another.