Traditional: right or wrong reasons?

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by bgruagach, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Actually, all religions don't proselytize. And in a polythestic viewpoint, people who believe other things aren't routinely seen as a threat since polytheism means that multiple deities (and multiple religions) can coexist.

    The problem, in my opinion anyway, is when a religion gets the idea that it's superior or more correct to all others and then starts to act on that assumption.

    My understanding of the Roman method of dealing with other religions was to accept those other religions (and in some cases to adopt them outright if they were appealing) with the exception of those religions which insisted on denouncing all the ones which were already considered acceptable to Rome. In other words, Rome was fine with religions that "played nice" and only had a problem with religions that refused to get along with everyone else.

    Sure, there were conflicts between polytheistic religious groups. I'm not so confident the conflict was over religion as much as it was about politics though. In monotheistic conflicts, though, it is very much an issue of at least one religion trying to actively wipe out all competition because in their philosophies there can only be one.
     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, and thank you for the thoughtful reply, bgruagach!

    OK, I can accept that perhaps my response was a little too all inclusive, but I need only look in the back of a periodical such as The Old Farmer's Almanac to find proselytizing for many polytheistic and "alternative" faiths. I suppose a distinction could be made between active and passive proselytizing, but a religion must seek new recruits over time in order to stay in existence.

    I have heard this point expressed before. It is a noble idealism to strive for. I have also seen instances where this ideal was not fully realized. This very thread deals with the competition for bragging rights between competing versions of polytheistic faith. Admittedly, that competition is somewhat friendlier than some full scale religious clashes, however it still exists.

    This is a very valid concern. And I can understand the association with monotheism in this regard. Typically, monotheists are not particularly tolerant, when they are in a position of power. When a minority, they have little choice but to go along, up to a point. Then, as with any minority, if pushed too far, something will have to give. I can't help but think the exercise of political power becomes a determining factor, polytheism when wielding such power is little more tolerant. Or better stated, conditionally tolerant.

    I have heard this point before as well. It sounds good, but there's something about it that doesn't make sense to me. The Jewish wars were fought to quell a distinct political rebellion, so that makes sense. But the fledgling Christians...? Let us consider for a moment, what percentage of the population was Christian at the time the persecutions began? Perhaps a fraction of 1%? The political power of Rome was threatened by a wee little passive group that only wished not to serve "other" gods? The early Christians were not a political force, they were not a military force. The only secular force they had was community service. And this somehow threatened mighty Rome?

    My understanding of Rome's position on other religions was that they were allowed only if they first recognized the gods of Rome, above all Caesar. It was for not worshipping Caesar as a god that the Christians were persecuted, in my understanding. If I am incorrect, I will stand corrected. As has been pointed out before by others, and with which I am in complete agreement, written histories tend to get slanted to the composers biases, political, religious, and otherwise.

    There is a great deal of validity in this. Not least because religion and politics are synonymous historically. In effect, religious wars were political wars, and vice-versa. Perhaps not exclusively, but certainly predominantly. And I am prepared to accept that monotheism tends towards intolerance when it holds political power. Political power then, in my mind, is the constant in these variable sums.

    I am willing to accept your position for the sake of understanding. I once fit very well within the stereotype you have fixed. A number of things have come to light in my life, not least the tragedy of 9/11. I am awed at the destructive power of intolerance, the wasting of so many innocent and peaceable people of so very many walks of life.

    Now I see tolerance as a key component to mutual co-existence, especially any peaceful kind. Tolerance, in my view, is not acceptance or adoption. It is allowing another person to view the world and live their life in a way that seems fitting to them, while preserving and developing your own view and life. As long as such is carried out in mutual respect. When one side begins to disrespect another, both sides lose.

    Thank you most sincerely for your kind response. I trust we can be friends, or at least respectful acquaintances. Regards!
     
  3. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Diversity and truth

    The result of the poll is in:

    Posters in this thread are generally agreed that diversity of religion is more acceptable that unity.

    Do they mean then that they don't ascribe to the idea of a true religion?

    In which case one more worry is lifted from their minds: the search for the true religion, and the fear that one might miss altogether when as Vaj tells us that his boat is nearing shore.

    For me, of course, religion is like hairdo and cuisine. No need to be disagreeable to each other on religious beliefs and observances, just as we don't do so with hairdo and cuisine of other peoples.

    General conclusion: religion is not like air and water, if you don't get the real air or the real water, you are slated for extinction. No, not with religion.

    So, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims, what do you say about the true religion?

    Susma Rio Sep
     

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