I’m reminded of a conversation I had a few months ago at my school. I was talking to one of my atheist friends about morality, and a girl joined in from where she had been listening. I could have brushed her off as being rude, but I enthusiastically encouraged her to join the conversation because I like seeing things from multiple perspectives. Considering the subject matter, eventually faith was brought up, and she mentioned that she was Christian, so I told her that I was a polytheist. She started asking me questions, which surprised me. In my experience, most Christians aren’t super open-minded. She said she looked at college as a way to explore new things and get new perspectives on life, and I could accept that as an answer. A lot of the questions she asked centered on what it was like to be a polytheist, but she never actually asked me why I’m a polytheist, although I’m sure the question would have eventually come up.
There are a few reasons that I am a polytheist, the first of which is that I’ve multiple experiences with the gods. Loki steals my socks and shows up in the weirdest places. Odin starts me thinking in rhyme. Tyr reminds me that balance and harmony are important. Sigyn demonstrates loyalty and compassion. Freyja teaches me the deeper esoteric meanings of the runes and reminds me that women are powerful forces. Freyr shows me the delights of the wilderness and how important it is to really enjoy life. The gods and goddesses are all around me, so it’s pretty hard not to be swayed by that.
But there are other reasons. One of which is that we, as a species, are drawn to groups. We’re social beings. We build communities in order to survive. In each community, there are smaller sub-groups, but the community still holds together as one. There is, however, more than one community. We continually divide ourselves into smaller and smaller groups. Multiplicity isn’t just a way of life – it’s the way of life we all live, in some fashion or another. Looked at in that context, polytheism just makes sense.
Also, I have noticed a tendency in the gaming world to pray to the rng gods. This is usually said as a jest or out of desperation, but it’s always phrased to the gods. Always plural. We are drawn to plurality like moths are drawn to bright lights (especially the one in my room. I can’t figure out how they keep getting in my house).
I have also amused myself by comparing the gods to the computer programmers who make MMOs run. I mean, take a game like World of Warcraft. Hundreds of people work on the game in dozens of different departments to make it what it is. One person can’t do the work of a hundred. So why are so many people so willing to turn to faiths that insist there be only one God to do all the work. Where’s the logic in that?
I’m sure some people will claim things like “God is omnipotent” so of course, he can do everything. That’s a neat little package of an answer that doesn’t really give any sort of answer at all. My response to a claim like that…”Why would anyone want to do all the work alone?” Also, as an interesting aside – the original Christianity was a polytheistic faith, not a monotheistic one. I wonder what the world would look like now if that had never changed. I have a feeling it would be a lot less stifling.
It still amazes me that Christians act like they are the oppressed. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard Christians say that they are afraid to talk about their faith because they are afraid of being laughed at. In my experience, even when people are uncomfortable around Christianity, they don’t ridicule Christians – no, rather, they stay quiet and try to stay under the radar in order to avoid persecution. I know that not all Christians are persecuting people for beliefs that don’t match theirs, but the truth is, the majority of Christians act like there is no other faith that is acceptable because that is what their faith teaches. Live and let live isn’t a policy written down in those scriptures, but it would make life a lot less stressful if it were.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on an aside about Christianity, but it happens. I do live in the middle of a Bible Belt, and I am as susceptible to stress as everyone else. I was just thinking about the reasons that I’m a polytheist, and the biggest reason, for me, is that it feels as if we are naturally inclined to believe in multiple gods. Oh, and the fact Loki keeps stealing my socks. Seriously. What is with his sock fetish?