Download A Million and One Gods: The Persistence of Polytheism by Page duBois PDF

By Page duBois

Many humans worship not only one yet many gods. but a constant prejudice opposed to polytheism denies legitimacy to a couple of the world's oldest and richest non secular traditions. In her exam of polytheistic cultures either historical and contemporary--those of Greece and Rome, the Bible and the Quran, in addition to sleek India--Page duBois refutes the concept that the worship of a number of gods certainly evolves over the years into the "higher" trust in one deity. In A Million and One Gods, she indicates that polytheism has continued intact for millennia even within the West, regardless of the numerous hidden ways in which monotheistic proposal keeps 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 approach of backward peoples from the extra theologically complicated faith of Protestant Christians. this day, whilst monotheistic fundamentalisms too frequently force humans to devote violent acts, polytheism is still a scandalous presence in societies nonetheless orientated in line with 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 significant to civilized societies.

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When no freedom, no morality, no ethical life is present, then power is known only as internal, obscure power, such as pertains both the animals and to those people in the most complete torpor” [Hegel, 290, n. ) This theme of an absence of ethics had been developed earlier in the 1827 lectures: Just as the superstition arising from this lack of freedom is unbounded, so it follows that there is no ethics to be found, no determinate form of rational freedom, no right, no duty. The Hindu people are utterly sunk in the depths of an unethical life (Hegel, 291).

21 The conquerors, driven to examine the rituals of the peoples they encountered, “compared these rituals with those of idolatrous religions, of course, such as those of the Greeks, Romans, or Carthaginians” (Stroumsa, 15). They also saw resemblances to the rites of the Hebrew Bible, and even to some Christian rituals. As the interest of scholars moved toward the east, “East Asian religions remained classified as belonging to the ‘fourth form’ of religion, the other three being Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” (Stroumsa, 28).

Chateaubriand surveys earlier philosophical thinkers and finds them wanting, arguing that there can be no morality without the promise of heaven or hell after death, a system of rewards and punishments: “men no sooner divest themselves of the idea of a God than they rush into every species of crime, in spite of laws and executioners” (Chateaubriand, 190). Atheists are such criminals. “The rewards which Christianity promises to virtue, and the punishments with which it threatens guilt, produce at the first glance a conviction of the truth” (Chateaubriand, 203).

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