Monday, 11 July 2016


Poul Anderson & Mildred Downey Broxon, The Demon Of Scattery (Ace Books, New York, 1980), Chapter I.

"Like many Norsemen, he saw witchcraft and bad luck in a faith that scorned all other gods." (p. 16)

Stages of religious thinking:

(i) many gods;
(ii) one god, opposition to all other beliefs;
(iii) respect for all religious beliefs.

I am happy to live at stage (iii). I know some scholarly neo-polytheists who may believe either that gods and other mythical beings exist objectively, although not necessarily exactly as described in the texts, or that gods are powerful personifications which can be projected and experienced in visions. I think that the latter view makes sense and have occasionally participated in ceremonies that do not require belief in the literal existence of the deities addressed although my personal practice is meditation, not worship.

See Gods.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I am sorry, but I cannot entirely agree with position (3). It's my view that while all human beings should be treated with respect, not all religions are deserving of that. To name one brutally clear example, are we really to treat the gross and horrible religion of the Aztecs (with its mass human sacrifices and cannibalism) with respect?

And, quite frankly, I have no respect for ISLAM as such, while firmly agreeing MUSLIMS should be treated with respect as persons. Islam's irrationality, hostility to reason and logic, belief in merging mosque and state into a theocracy (and all the baleful consequences for non Muslims), etc., makes me totally unable to regard it with any respect.


Paul Shackley said...

If parts of the world were still practicing that Aztec religion, then we would indeed have to oppose it. Our attitudes have to reflect our current situation. In this country, most Muslims accept mosque-state separation. In fact, we have not yet got church-state separation.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Fortunately, the Aztec religion no longer exists. I was trying to suggest a clear, real history example of a religion undeserving of respect.

While I'm glad MOST UK Muslims are not jihadist fanatics, that only shows them being more humane than their religion. Alas, the problem is that a large minority DO believe in what the Koran says about jihadism, the oppressive treatment of non Muslims, etc. And that's even more so in majority Muslim nations.

And I wonder how REAL the Anglican "establishment" is these days? The last remaining practical effect of having an Anglican state church seems to be the continued banning of Catholics from inheriting the crown.