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Author Topic: Hard-Polytheism/Soft-Polytheism and attitudes to other religions  (Read 22060 times)
LyricFox
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« Reply #30: October 05, 2007, 12:10:21 pm »

I have trouble with that too - why does "believing all deities are separate individuals" automatically exclude those who don't believe in other religions anyway? Unless you add a quantitive factor to how many deities there are? Colour me confused...  Huh

In my book it doesn't. Never has. AFAIK, there's no common definition that has excluded other religions or included them. It's something of a subset that would have to be agreed upon at the outset.
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« Reply #31: October 05, 2007, 12:15:02 pm »

In my book it doesn't. Never has. AFAIK, there's no common definition that has excluded other religions or included them. It's something of a subset that would have to be agreed upon at the outset.

That's what I thought. To my mind that'd still be seeing them as separate entities, just a different opinion of how many there are.
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« Reply #32: October 05, 2007, 12:19:17 pm »

You're using a definition that goes beyond hard-polytheism and includes assumptions of pluralism. The consequense of using a 'dual definition' like this is that it excludes hard-polytheists that don't believe in other religions.

Why would I want such a definition? Hard Polytheists in my view don't have to believe is ANY religion, just that the deities are almost always separate individuals instead of faces of a much smaller set of deities. They could believe there is only one true religion and all the other deities not associated with are evil things so long as they believe all those deities are seperate individuals.

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I could more easily accept a definition like 'Hard Polytheism is the belief that the Gods are generally separate individual beings.' although this is a purely quantative and does'nt include the qualitative definitions usually considered part of a complete definition of hard-polytheism.

Usually by whom? I haven't encountered many people who use the definition you want us to use -- in fact, I think you are the only person I've encountered with it.
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« Reply #33: October 05, 2007, 03:23:00 pm »

I have trouble with that too - why does "believing all deities are separate individuals" automatically exclude those who don't believe in other religions anyway? Unless you add a quantitive factor to how many deities there are? Colour me confused...  Huh

How about 'All deities that exist are separate and distinct individuals, and those that don't, aren't.' ?

Sorry, shouldn't play with the Hellenics.  Coyote doesn't believe in Zeus. Cheesy

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« Reply #34: October 05, 2007, 04:11:54 pm »

How about 'All deities that exist are separate and distinct individuals, and those that don't, aren't.' ?

Sorry, shouldn't play with the Hellenics.  Coyote doesn't believe in Zeus. Cheesy

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Believe it or not, that works for me. LOL

I'll be honest, whether or not someone believes in my gods or whether or not I'm supposed to believe in someone elses, has never bothered me. I just don't spend too much time worrying about it. I worry more about whether or not someone views my gods as some sort of face, but that's me.
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« Reply #35: October 05, 2007, 05:02:59 pm »

Believe it or not, that works for me. LOL

I'll be honest, whether or not someone believes in my gods or whether or not I'm supposed to believe in someone elses, has never bothered me. I just don't spend too much time worrying about it. I worry more about whether or not someone views my gods as some sort of face, but that's me.

Me neither. How to define my flavor of polytheism doesn't keep me awake nights.

Truth be told, I'm kind of a slutty polytheist. The God and Goddess who are my patron & patroness are Hellenic, so I tend to go that way. However, I have a perfectly lovely relationship with bunches of other deities from *gasp* other pantheons! I don't see them as some "face" or "reinterpretation" of my "one and true" Gods or archetypes or whatever other overly complicated theories are being batted around. They are individuals, they are divine and just as worthy of respect as any other God or Goddess.

I really haven't met a pantheon, or for that matter, a God or Goddess I don't like. Some resonate with me personally more than others of course. My experiences are also in agreement with Sunflower's UPG regarding the syncretic deities and the mix-match conundrum for some deities who seem to share everything but a name.

Perhaps I'm an Equal-Opportunity Polytheist?
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« Reply #36: October 05, 2007, 08:15:31 pm »

Perhaps I'm an Equal-Opportunity Polytheist?

As strange as it may sound, you may be. I suspect there are a whole lot of us with a fairly live and let live attitude about some of this. There are hot button issues with me, sure. Probably different than the things that trigger you or Star or Randall or anyone else, but that's true of anything. This one just doesn't trip my trigger in this direction.
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« Reply #37: October 08, 2007, 10:36:24 pm »

How about 'All deities that exist are separate and distinct individuals, and those that don't, aren't.' ?

Sorry, shouldn't play with the Hellenics.  Coyote doesn't believe in Zeus. Cheesy

Absent

I can easily accept the above definition.    I consider myself a hard polytheist but eclectic since the deities I am atuned to are from several different pantheons.  And at least so far have no inkling that they object to such an arrangement.  Maybe some day one or more will kick my rear end and I'll have to figuar out where to go from there, but until that time ...
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« Reply #38: October 09, 2007, 12:36:00 am »

Coyote doesn't believe in Zeus. Cheesy
I just keep snickering at that....

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« Reply #39: October 09, 2007, 09:39:38 am »

Usually by whom? I haven't encountered many people who use the definition you want us to use -- in fact, I think you are the only person I've encountered with it.

Really! the standard definition usually runs; Hard-Polytheism the belief that the Gods are real divine beings and are not archetypes of a collective unconsciousness nor personifications of natural forces, are distinct and seperate from each other and are not manifestations of a single divine being. This contains both a qualitative and quantitative elements.

It's not my definition it's just the definition that contains most of the elements that I've encountered from message boards such as Beliefnet, Hellenic Pagan and many other Yahoo groups & etc

I've never encountered a definition which entirely dispenses of the qualitative element.
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« Reply #40: October 09, 2007, 10:00:02 am »

Really! the standard definition usually runs; Hard-Polytheism the belief that the Gods are real divine beings and are not archetypes of a collective unconsciousness nor personifications of natural forces, are distinct and seperate from each other and are not manifestations of a single divine being. This contains both a qualitative and quantitative elements.

I think that at least the part about archetypes might possibly be considered to be implied by the idea that the Gods are separate individuals (although I don't think the bit about natural forces is so much).  I also think that it may be common for hard polytheists to tend not to go in for archetypes or natural forces as much as maybe some other kinds of -theists.  However, strictly speaking, I'm not sure those are actually a part of the definition of "hard polytheist" so much as just attitudes that tend to show up a lot with people who also believe that the Gods are separate and distinct individuals.  It's somewhat like saying that all Pagans are politically liberal; it sometimes appears that way at a glance, but further investigation reveals that they're not as connected as they might have seemed at first.

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It's not my definition it's just the definition that contains most of the elements that I've encountered from message boards such as Beliefnet, Hellenic Pagan and many other Yahoo groups & etc

So is this, then, an actual definition that you've seen written out like that somewhere, or is it something you've put together from your own observation of discussions on the subject?
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« Reply #41: October 09, 2007, 10:50:12 am »

I've just burst into the middle of this fascinating discussion and just wanted to add my perspective. I would define myself as primarily a pantheist and a soft-polytheist. As far as I've read a soft polytheist is defined as someone who sees "the gods" as aspects or ways of seeing the one divine reality. Thus these deities have no independent existence of it's own. I read this definition from Wikipedia and various other websites, I'd be interested know if there are any other definitions floating around out there!

For me personally, I affirm that different cultures possess different approaches to the divine presence under many forms and various lexicons. It seems to me that every person approaches the Absolute in a different way depending upon the cultural vocabulary s/he possesses; limited by time and space. Christians seek the outpouring of the divine self, (Konosis) in Jesus of Nazareth, Jews address the eternal "I am" who summons each to a moral destiny, a Helene may seek the Absolute under the guise of "Winged Hermes", "Father Zeus""Hera, the Queen of Heaven" and so on. I think Plutarch puts it eloquently when he says-

"just as the sun and the moon and the heavens and the earth and the sea are common to all, but are called by different names by different peoples, so for that one rationality [logos] which keeps all these things in order and the one Providence which watches over them and the ancillary powers that are set over all, there have arisen among different peoples, in accordance with their customs, different honours and appellations". "Plutarch, Isis and Osiris", (377-378 (pp. 156-157) 

Key in my own religious journey has been the realization that firstly "The (divine) Light shines through all." and secondly to quote the Roman Senator "What difference does it make by what pains each seeks the truth? We cannot attain so great a secret by one road.". see From Letter of St. Ambrose, based on H. De Romestin, trans. in Library of Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, Vol. X

I don't think we shoul worry about specifics too much i.e, do you believe in a deity under a different name, a different deity under a different name, or even a different deity under the same name. I think what accounts is how we treat one another and whether we transcend differences. An old Quaker maxim says that the humble, meek, merciful, just, pious, and devout souls are everywhere of one religion. The inner-life of a religion, (it's capacity to do honour to others), is so much  more valuable than the outward garments it wears. I think The Emperor Julian was pointing to this inner-life when he wrote,

"Accustom those of the Greek religion to such benevolence, teaching them that this has been our work from ancient times. Homer, at any rate, made Eumaeus say: "O Stranger, it is not lawful for me, even if one poorer than you should come, to dishonor a stranger. For all strangers and beggars are from Zeus. The gift is small, but it is precious." [Julian is quoting from the Odyssey, 14-531.], " Julian Letter to Arsacius"
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« Reply #42: October 09, 2007, 12:54:19 pm »

I've just burst into the middle of this fascinating discussion and just wanted to add my perspective.

Welcome to The Cauldron, Ben!
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« Reply #43: October 09, 2007, 04:28:34 pm »

It's not my definition it's just the definition that contains most of the elements that I've encountered from message boards such as Beliefnet, Hellenic Pagan and many other Yahoo groups & etc

Why do you consider this the standard definition as it sounfds like one you have pieced together from different definitions you have seen in different places on the Internet -- at least that is what it sounds like you mean here.
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« Reply #44: October 09, 2007, 04:31:27 pm »

I don't think we shoul worry about specifics too much i.e, do you believe in a deity under a different name, a different deity under a different name, or even a different deity under the same name. I think what accounts is how we treat one another and whether we transcend differences.

Welcome to The Cauldron, Ben.

The specifics do matter if you are trying to create an organized group as it really helps if everyone is on the same page. Yes, treating people everyone right is important, but one can do that and still have groups of who believe in generally the same thing.
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