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By Page duBois

Many humans worship not only one yet many gods. but a constant prejudice opposed to polytheism denies legitimacy to a few of the world's oldest and richest spiritual traditions. In her exam of polytheistic cultures either historical and contemporary--those of Greece and Rome, the Bible and the Quran, in addition to glossy India--Page duBois refutes the concept that the worship of a number of gods evidently evolves through the years into the "higher" trust in one deity. In A Million and One Gods, she indicates that polytheism has persevered intact for millennia even within the West, regardless of the various hidden ways in which monotheistic concept maintains to form Western outlooks.

In English utilization, the be aware "polytheism" comes from the seventeenth-century writings of Samuel Purchas. It used to be pejorative from the beginning--a notice to tell apart the idea method of backward peoples from the extra theologically complex faith of Protestant Christians. this day, while monotheistic fundamentalisms too frequently force humans to dedicate violent acts, polytheism continues to be a scandalous presence in societies nonetheless orientated based on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim ideals. Even within the multicultural milieus of twenty-first-century the US and nice Britain, polytheism reveals itself marginalized. but it persists, maybe simply because polytheism corresponds to subconscious wishes and deeply held values of tolerance, variety, and equality which are relevant to civilized societies.

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In the work of the French Catholic viscount René de Chateaubriand, we find another version of the defense of Christianity. Shocked by the writers of the French enlightenment—anti-establishment figures like Voltaire—and by the violence of the French Revolution, Chateaubriand wrote his Génie du christianisme ou les beautés de la religion chrétienne, published in 1802.  . necessary to prove that the Christian religion, of all the religions that ever existed, is the most humane, the most favorable to liberty and to the arts and sciences; that the modern world is indebted to it for every T H E P R E J U D I C E A G A I N S T P O LY T H E I S M 33 improvement, from agriculture to the abstract sciences .

Yet in popular culture and the public sphere, prejudice against polytheism endures. , critical of the entrenched hierarchies of the Catholic church while affirming his Catholicism, extends an olive branch to fellow Christians, including Protestants. And, he adds: That does not mean we can forget our foreparents, the Jews.  . Nor do I count out monotheistic believers of other sorts. Though they do not accept our Creed, they are also children of the same one God (there are not two), who cares about them in ways we may not comprehend.

In fact, as he shows, there are many paganisms, many polytheisms, and those fashioned by contemporary thinkers, influenced by new age spirituality, can only be seen as one aspect of an extremely heterogeneous spectrum. He distinguishes Christianity from paganism by noting that while the Christian god is transcendent, the gods of paganism, and even pagan monism, are immanent, that is, residing not beyond the physical world, but in it. Yet the claim for paganism as “world religion” seems possible only from the perspective of a scholar of religious studies, not an “emic” category, not an “immanent” category, since believers in one form of paganism, still a term of disapprobation, I would think, would not recognize believers in another form as participating in the same, single “world” religion.

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