A polytheist and an atheist walk into a bar…

… and chances are that the latter will be using arguments like those listed here. Almost all of them are based on the beliefs of monotheistic and orthodox religions, and even if one wants to argue that the usage of the word “god” (singular) stands for any divine being, the fact remains that the characteristics linked to it in the arguments – omnipotence, perfection, etc. – are taken from that limited set of religions. And it seems that most atheists aren’t even interested in a closer look at core differences and their consequences; instead, the assumption seems to be that if you know a handful of belief systems, then you know it all and generalizations are therefore a legitimate basis for criticism.

Personally, not recognizing myself in what so many see as basic traits of “all” religions, things can get weird, sometimes annoying, occasionally funny, and often tiresome. People almost immediately associate religion with having dogmatic sacred scriptures, an orthodoxy, an exclusivist claim to truth, a “natural” intolerance towards different beliefs or a bad relationship with science, freedom, women’s rights and homosexuality. None of which are true in my case and in that of others like me (not even close!), and yet, as religious people, we get judged based on those standarts. Out of ignorance or mere desire to attack. I sometimes wonder if critics of religions as whole have a genuine interest in the matter in all its diversity, past and present, with real knowledge that allows them to make precise arguments, or if it’s just a desire to throw rocks, using whichever looks bigger in hope that it will hit as many targets as possible. And, as a side note, I sometimes wonder something similar about interfaith dialogue, where there’s a lot of talk about “God”, “salvation” and “scriptures”, as if those were unanimous traits. Some monotheists should really pair up with some atheists.

Therefore, not content with the usual lines of reasoning in discussions about religion, I decided to write a few posts on the most common arguments used by non-believers (and, to some extent, by believers, too, namely monotheists). The goal is not to convert anyone – I am, after all, an advocate of the freedom to chose religion(s), if any! Rather, the purpose is to enlighten and present a polytheistic perspective in a debate that’s almost exclusively made on the basis of the traits of Abraamic religions. When it comes to faith and practices, there’s a vast world of diversity that’s often neglected, and, as Stephen Prothero might say, there’s no real tolerance or understanding if differences are downplayed or altogether ignored.

Here’s a list of the posts I’ll be writing:

1. The existence of gods
2. The question of evil (1)
3. The question of evil (2)
4. The (i)morality of the Gods
5. The diversity of religions
6. Dogmas and rules
7. Religious violence

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3 thoughts on “A polytheist and an atheist walk into a bar…

  1. Pingback: A polytheist and an atheist walk into a bar… (via Golden Trail) « A Young Flemish Hellenist

  2. I just reblogged this post to my blog, cause I think it is very valuable for any polytheist, pagan or neopagan to red and get insight in these kinds of discussions.

    😉

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