View Poll Results: Polytheism vs Monotheism?

Voters
68. You may not vote on this poll
  • Polytheism

    34 50.00%
  • Monotheism

    19 27.94%
  • Unsure or both equally as good or poor

    10 14.71%
  • Don't care

    5 7.35%
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 45

Thread: Monotheism vs Polytheism

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Last Online
    Sunday, February 14th, 2010 @ 07:46 PM
    Ethnicity
    Italo-brazilian
    Subrace
    Dinaric Atlanto-Mediterranean
    Location
    São Paulo
    Gender
    Age
    41
    Occupation
    Information Terrorist
    Politics
    Carthago Delenda Est
    Religion
    Pagan
    Posts
    367
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Post Monotheism vs Polytheism

    Monotheism vs. Polytheism



    By Alain de Benoist
    translated & introduced by Tomislav Sunic




    Can we still conceive of the revival of pagan sensibility in an age so profoundly saturated by Judeo-Christian monotheism and so ardently adhering to the tenets of liberal democracy? In popular parlance the very word "paganism" may incite some to derision and laughter. Who, after all, wants to be associated with witches and witchcraft, with sorcery and black magic? Worshiping animals or plants, or chanting hymns to Wotan or Zeus, in an epoch of cable television and "smart weapons," does not augur well for serious intellectual and academic inquiry. Yet, before we begin to heap scorn on paganism, we should pause for a moment. Paganism is not just witches and witches' brew; paganism also means a mix of highly speculative theories and philosophies. Paganism is Seneca and Tacitus; it is an artistic and cultural movement that swept over Italy under the banner of the Renaissance. Paganism also means Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Charles Darwin, and a host of other thinkers associated with the Western cultural heritage. Two thousand years of Judeo-Christianity have not obscured the fact that pagan thought has not yet disappeared, even though it has often been blurred, stifled, or persecuted by monotheistic religions and their secular offshoots. Undoubtedly, many would admit that in the realm of ethics all men and women of the world are the children of Abraham. Indeed, even the bolder ones who somewhat self-righteously claim to have rejected the Christian or Jewish theologies, and who claim to have replaced them with "secular humanism," frequently ignore that their self-styled secular beliefs are firmly grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics. Abraham and Moses may be dethroned today, but their moral edicts and spiritual ordinances are much alive. The global and disenchanted world, accompanied by the litany of human rights, ecumenical society, and the rule of law-are these not principles that can be traced directly to the Judeo-Christian messianism that resurfaces today in its secular version under the elegant garb of modern "progressive" ideologies?

    And yet, we should not forget that the Western world did not begin with the birth of Christ. Neither did the religions of ancient Europeans see the first light of the day with Moses-in the desert. Nor did our much-vaunted democracy begin with the period of Enlightenment or with the proclamation of American independence. Democracy and independence-all of this existed in ancient Greece, albeit in its own unique social and religious context. Our Greco-Roman ancestors, our predecessors who roamed the woods of central and northern Europe, also believed in honor, justice, and virtue, although they attached to these notions a radically different meaning. Attempting to judge, therefore, ancient European political and religious manifestations through the lens of our ethnocentric and reductionist glasses could mean losing sight of how much we have departed from our ancient heritage, as well as forgetting that modern intellectual epistemology and methodology have been greatly influenced by the Bible. Just because we profess historical optimism - or believe in the progress of the modem "therapeutic state"- does not necessarily mean that our society is indeed the "best of all worlds." Who knows, with the death of communism, with the exhaustion of liberalism, with the visible depletion of the congregations in churches and synagogues, we may be witnessing the dawn of neopaganism, a new blossoming of old cultures, a return to the roots that are directly tied to our ancient European precursors. Who can dispute the fact that Athens was the homeland of Europeans before Jerusalem became their frequently painful edifice?

    Great lamenting is heard from all quarters of our disenchanted and barren world today. Gods seem to have departed, as Nietzsche predicted a century ago, ideologies arc dead, and liberalism hardly seems capable of providing man with enduring spiritual support. Maybe the time has come to search for other paradigms? Perhaps the moment is ripe, as Alain dc Benoist would argue, to envision another cultural and spiritual revolution-a revolution that might well embody our pre-Christian European pagan heritage?

    Tomislav Sunic

    Nietzsche well understood the meaning of "Athens against Jerusalem." Referring to ancient paganism, which he called "the greatest utility of polytheism," he wrote in The Joyful Wisdom:

    There was then only one norm, the man and even people believed that it had this one and ultimate norm. But, above himself, and outside of himself, in a distant over-world a person could see a multitude of norms: the one God was not the denial or blasphemy of the other Gods! It was here that the right of individuals was first respected. The inventing of Gods, heroes, and supermen of all kinds, as well as co-ordinate men and undermen - dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, satyrs, demons, devils-was the inestimable preliminary to the justification of the selfishness and sovereignty of the individual: the freedom which was granted to one God in respect to other Gods, was at last given to the individual himself in respect to laws, customs, and neighbors. Monotheism, on the contrary, the rigid consequence of one normal human being-consequently, the belief in a normal God, beside whom there are only false spurious Gods-has perhaps been the greatest danger of mankind in the past.

    Jehovah is not only a "jealous" god, but he can also show hatred: "Yet, I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau" (Malachi 1:3). lie recommends hatred to all those w ho call out his name: "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 1 hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies" (Psalm 139: 21-22). "Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, 0 God" (Psalm 139:19). Jeremiah cries out: "Render unto them a recompense, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. . . . Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the Lord" (Lamentations 3:64-66). The book of Jeremiah is a long series of maledictions and curses hurled against peoples and nations. His contemplation of future punishments fills him with gloomy delight. "Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: ... bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction" (Lam. 17:18). "Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death" (Lam. 18:21).

    Further. Jehovah promises the Hebrews that he will support them in their war efforts: "When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land" (Deuteronomy 12:29). "But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth" (Deut. 20:16). Jehovah himself gave an example of a genocide by provoking the Deluge against the humanity that sinned against him. While he resided with the Philistine King Achish, David also practiced genocide (1 Samuel 27:9). Moses organized the extermination of the Midian people (Numbers 31:7). Joshua massacred the inhabitants of Hazor and Anakim. "And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire" (Joshua 11:10-11, 20-21). The messianic king extolled by Solomon was also known for his reign of terror: "May he purify Jerusalem for all gentiles who trample on it miserably, may he exterminate by his wisdom, justice the sinners of this country... May he destroy the impious nations with the words from his mouth." Hatred against pagans is also visible in the books of Esther, Judith, etc.

    "No ancient religion, except that of the Hebrew people has known such a degree of intolerance," says Emile Gillabert in Moise et le phénomène judéo-chrétien (1976). Renan had written in similar terms: "The intolerance of the Semitic peoples is the inevitable consequence of their monotheism. The Indo-European peoples, before they converted to Semitic ideas, had never considered their religion an absolute truth. Rather, they conceived of it as a heritage of the family, or the caste, and in this way they remained foreign to intolerance and proselytism. This is why we find among these peoples the liberty of thought, the spirit of inquiry and individual research." Of course, one should not look at this problem in a black and white manner, or for instance compare and contrast one platitude to another platitude. There have always been, at all times, and everywhere, massacres and exterminations. But it would be difficult to find in the pagan texts, be they of sacred or profane nature, the equivalent of what one so frequently encounters in the Bible: the idea that these massacres could be morally justified, that they could be deliberately authorized and ordained by one god, "as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded" (Joshua 11:12). Thus, for the perpetrators of these crimes, good consciousness continues to rule, not despite these massacres, but entirely for the sake of the massacres.

    A lot of ink has been spilled over this tradition of intolerance. Particularly contentious are the words of Jesus as recorded by Luke: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). Some claim to perceive in the word "hate" a certain form of Hebraism; apparently, these words suggest that Jesus had to be absolutely preferred to all other human beings. Some claim to see in it traces of Gnostic contamination that suggest renouncement. despoliation of goods, and the refusal of procreation. In this context, the obligation to "hate" one's parents is to be viewed as a corollary of not wishing to have children.

    These interpretations remain pure conjecture. What is certain is that Christian intolerance began to manifest itself very early. In the course of history this intolerance was directed against "infidels" as well as against pagans, Jews, and heretics. It accompanied the extermination of all aspects of ancient culture-the murder of Julius of Hypati, the interdiction of pagan cults, the destruction of temples and statues, the suppression of the Olympic Games, and the arson, at the instigation of the town's Bishop Theophilus of Sarapeum, ch by its own deliberate act has subordinated itself to an alien "jurisdiction," and which by doing so denies this very same jurisdiction to its legitimate (Jewish) owners. Furthermore, it imprisons the Jews who, by virtue of a religion different from their own, are now undeservedly caught in the would-be place of their "accomplishment" by means of a religion which is not their own. Trigano further adds: "If Judeo-Christianity laid the foundations of the West, then the very place of Israel is also the West." Subsequently, the requisites of "Westernization" must also become the requisites of assimilation and "normalization," and the denial of identity. "The crisis of Jewish normality is the crisis of the westernization of Judaism. Therefore, to exit from the West means for the Jews to turn their back to their 'normality,' that is, to open themselves up to their otherness." This seems to be why Jewish communities today criticize the "Western model," only after they first adopt their own specific history of a semi-amnesiac and semi-critical attitude.

    In view of this, Christian anti-Semitism can be rightly described as neurosis. As Jean Blot writes, it is because of its "predisposition toward alienation" that the West is incapable of "fulfilling itself or rediscovering itself." And from this source arises anti-Semitic neurosis. "Anti-semitism allows the anti-Semite to project onto the Jew his own neuroses. He calls him a stranger, because he himself is a stranger, a crook, a powerful man, a parvenu; he calls him a Jew, because he himself is this Jew in the deepest depth of his soul, always on the move, permanently alienated, a stranger to his own religion and to God who incarnates him." By replacing his original myth with the myth of biblical monotheism, the West has turned Hebraism into its own superego. As an inevitable consequence, the West had to turn itself against the Jewish people by accusing them of not pursuing the "conversion" in terms of the "logical" evolution proceeding from Sinai to Christianity. In addition, the West also accused the Jewish people of attempting, in an apparent "deicide," to obstruct this evolution.

    Many, even today, assume that if Jews were to renounce their distinct identity, "the Jewish problem" would disappear. At best, this is a naive proposition, and at worst, it masks a conscious or unconscious form of anti-Semitism. Furthermore, this proposition, which is inherent in the racism of assimilation and the denial of identity, represents the reverse side of the racism of exclusion and persecution. In the West, notes Shmuel Trigano. when the Jews were not persecuted, they "were recognized as Jews only on the condition that they first ceased to be Jews." Put another way, in order to be accepted, they had to reject themselves; they had to renounce their own Other in order to be reduced to the Same. In another type of racism, Jews are accepted but denied; in the first, they are accepted but are not recognized. The Church ordered Jews to choose between exclusion (or physical death) or self-denial (spiritual and historical death). Only through conversion could they become "Christians, as others."

    The French Revolution emancipated Jews as individuals, but it condemned them to disappear as a "nation"; in this sense, they were forced to become "citizens as others." Marxism, too, attempted to ensure the "liberation" of the Jewish people by imposing on them a class division, from which their dispersion inevitably resulted.

    The origins of modem totalitarianism are not difficult to trace. In a secular form, they are tied to the same radical strains of intolerance whose religious causes we have just examined. The organization of totalitarianism is patterned after the organization of the Christian Church, and in a similar manner totalitarianisms exploit the themes of the "masses"-the themes inherent in contemporary mass democracy. This secularization of the system has, in fact, rendered totalitarianism more dangerous-independently of the fact that religious intolerance often triggers, in return, an equally destructive revolutionary intolerance. "Totalitarianism," writes Gilbert Durand, "is further strengthened, in so far as the powers of monotheist theology (which at least left the game of transcendence intact) have been transferred to a human institution, to the Grand Inquisitor."

    It is a serious error to assume that totalitarianism manifests its real character only when it employs crushing coercion. Historical experience has demonstrated-and continues to demonstrate-that there can exist a "clean" totalitarianism, which, in a "soft" manner, yields the same consequences as the classic kinds of totalitarianism. "Happy robots" of 1984 or of Brave New World have no more enviable conditions than prisoners of the camps. In essence, totalitarianism did not originate with Saint-Just, Stalin, Hegel, or Fichte. Rather, as Michel Maffesoli says, totalitarianism emerges "when a subtle form of plural, polytheistic, and contradictory totality, that is inherent in organic interdependency" is superseded by a monotheistic one. Totalitarianism grows out of a desire to establish social and human unity by reducing the diversity of individuals and peoples to a single model. In this sense, he argues, it is legitimate to speak of a "polytheist social arena, referring to multiple and complementary gods" versus a "monotheistic political arena founded on the illusion of unity." Once the polytheism of values "disappears, we face totalitarianism." Pagan thought, on the other hand, which fundamentally remains attached to rootedness and to the place, and which is a preferential center of the crystallization of human identity, rejects all religious and philosophical forms of universalism.
    Last edited by fms panzerfaust; Wednesday, July 6th, 2005 at 12:11 AM. Reason: The title is not of the right size

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Last Online
    Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 @ 10:45 PM
    Ethnicity
    Germano-English
    Gender
    Politics
    National-Socialist
    Religion
    Pagan
    Posts
    123
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: Monotheism vs Polytheism

    "The Jews of Elephantine, who thought of themselves as perfectly orthodox and seem to have been so regarded by the newly-established Temple in Jerusalem, recognized as the chief of their gods one whom they called YW (probably pronounced Yu' , a form that became Ia in the Septuagint) or YWH (thought to have been pronounced Ya'u ) and provided him with a female consort, 'NT (probably identical with the Ugaritic-Canaanite goddess 'Anath). In the fifth century B.C., therefore, the Jews had not yet generally adopted the henotheism which appears in most of the "Old Testament," which they converted into monotheism when they came into contact with Graeco-Roman Stoicism and saw how expedient it would be to kidnap the Stoic's Providence (animus mundi). Of course, the erudite Bezalel Porten, in his Archives from Elephantine (University of California, 1968), labors mightily and learnedly to disclaim the early polytheism of the orthodox Jews, once (p. 175) even going so far as to suggest that the magnanimous Jews subsidized the worship of the gods of Arameans in Elephantine as a "goodwill gesture"!)"

    - Revilo Oliver, n.33 in http://www.revilo-oliver.com/rpo/Enemy_4.html

    1. I noted just now that Spengler seems to hold a similar view in his Decline, of an Israeli henotheism than a monotheism.

    2. Nietzsche says just the other way about the influence-relation between the semites and the stoic; Will to Power 195 and 940.

    Are there any dogmatic polytheistic texts we know of in the semitic 'thou shalt or else' vein, or is the absence of it what gives polytheism its uniqueness - just rethinking old things.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Saturday, July 4th, 2009 @ 09:41 PM
    Ethnicity
    Icelandic, 1/4 Eng
    Subrace
    Keltic-Nordic
    Gender
    Posts
    504
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Polytheism vs Monotheism?

    Even though I disbelieve in theism in general, I'm still fascinated by mythology. Having more than one omniscient and/or omnipotent being is more interesting, only one supernatural authority is lame, it's like having only one government for all national entities. All of these pagan beliefs seem to have one deity for every natural element(The god of fire, the god of lightning etc) so I chose polytheism.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Flash Voyager For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Account Inactive Huzar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Last Online
    Thursday, September 11th, 2008 @ 10:35 PM
    Country
    European Union European Union
    Gender
    Politics
    Paganist
    Posts
    2,485
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    4
    Thanked in
    4 Posts
    I'm not theist myself but i choose politheism for a more political reason.............monotheism , in its essence implies loyalty to one absolute leader. No others are admitted. That's a dictatorial vision of existence and has reflections outside spiritual sphere. Christianism, Hebraism and Islam are the most politic religions on the face of earth (all religions are politic to be sincere, but monotheist ones are DIRECTLY politic and no admit any kind of contraddiction. Cause this are VERY propense to cause religious wars. In ancient world, before the existence of monotheisms, religious wars were extremely rare)

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Huzar For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Sunday, July 1st, 2012 @ 01:21 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Ancestry
    50% German, 25% English, 25% Irish
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Virginia Virginia
    Location
    Washington DC
    Gender
    Age
    40
    Family
    Single adult
    Occupation
    Construction, writer/editor
    Politics
    Libertarian
    Religion
    Atheist
    Posts
    2,984
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    6
    Thanked in
    6 Posts
    I'm an atheist myself, but I view monotheism as a step in the progression towards secularism and away from mysticism, by consolidating all that stuff into one god, and not having such things as the rain god priests say one thing and the sun god priests say another

  8. #6
    Senior Member Skarpherdin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Last Online
    Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 @ 02:34 PM
    Ethnicity
    Celtic/Romance/ Raised by Nordics and Celts
    Subrace
    Celtic/Romance
    Country
    New Zealand New Zealand
    Location
    Wellington
    Gender
    Age
    31
    Family
    Single
    Occupation
    Actor/Drama Student/Waiter
    Politics
    This and That
    Religion
    Asatru/Odinist
    Posts
    280
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    i am on the side of Polytheism

    the world was brighter before the christians came

    and the conversion of the Romans came problems

    all the great nations we Aspire to did wonders while being "heathen" but the christians say the Pagans were primitive

    Vikings sailed all over the known world trading and settling
    Romans spread so far and wide there influence which began to crumble with the conversion to the christain god

    the Greeks great writers and Philosophers and builders

  9. #7
    Senior Member sophia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Last Online
    Saturday, June 28th, 2008 @ 04:31 PM
    Age
    33
    Posts
    334
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Just a brief comment. Polytheism always made much more sense to me. Look around at the world? Does it look like the product of one overarching will? Or the product of many wills acting sometimes in conflict, sometimes in concert, sometimes simply in different directions?

    The article seems more like political philosophy than religion though but I am too tired to post my many many thoughts on this topic as I have yet to eat breakfast. In short though I basically agree.
    A* I’m a dreadful reactionary, Mrs. Helena. I don’t like this progress one bit.
    H* Like Nana.
    A* Yes, like Nana. Does Nana have a prayer book?
    H* A big fat one.
    A* And are there prayers in it for various occurrences in life? Against storms? Against illness?
    H* Against temptation, against floods -
    A* But not against progress, I suppose?
    H* > I think not.
    A* That’s a shame.

  10. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    Saturday, August 30th, 2008 @ 07:21 PM
    Age
    44
    Posts
    449
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    Sheep-shepherd societies don't originate in a foreign influence like a religion imposed on the sheep. It originates in the average human being itself, and by the power of many it is amplified into mass psychology, in my humble opinion. The research of James W. Fowler - a development psychologist who designed a model for human development consisting of six stages, that are in logical succession AND supported by depth interview material - proves that most people are not capable of thinking for themselves.

    Most of the material on Fowler on the web is written from a Christian perspective, and Fowler is himself a Christian. I think that he has failed at understanding how powerful his model is for understanding the entire world of societies, and instead he is focused on his Christian mission. That's why most of his followers are also Christians, and they tend to think that the theory is somehow directly related to Christianity, because Fowler himself also made that connection in closing his book Stages Of Faith. But it is in fact an independent framework, and Fowler has at least some insight to that, since in his introductory chapters, he describes faith in terms that are applicable to a human being regardless of religion. The most comprehensive account I could find online:

    Development psychology acc. to James W. Fowler

    The average person reaches as far as stage 3 in the model.

    Furthermore, it has some implications for leadership, mentioned only as a curiosity in passing by Fowler himself. While many people like to believe that leaders are somehow more evolved, this is rarely the case, since the leaders are more often than not - perhaps even always - dependent upon the people. The average person identifies with someone who is as good as he is himself, as clumsy, as clever etc. He feels at ease with being governed by someone who is average, while being governed by someone who is more capable is threatening. The same psychology operates in smaller groups as well, such as a ruling elite, and so dictatorship doesn't necessarily solve the dilemma.

  11. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Last Online
    Thursday, August 20th, 2009 @ 01:11 AM
    Ethnicity
    Slavic
    Subrace
    Uralic/Alpine/Pontid mixed
    Country
    United States United States
    Location
    USA
    Gender
    Posts
    3,309
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    2
    Thanked in
    2 Posts
    I just knew somebody, sometime was going to post this. Well give me some time, and I'll post a proper response to de Benoist.

    I've already engaged in related discussions elsewhere on this topic.




    Quote Originally Posted by Silvanus View Post
    the world was brighter before the christians came
    Really how? Not mention most of what we know about this "brighter" time was because of Christian efforts to preserve it.

    and the conversion of the Romans came problems
    Rome had problems before Christianity even became a major factor. Need we forget the Roman Republican system broke down and collasped a generation before Christ's birth.

    all the great nations we Aspire to did wonders while being "heathen" but the christians say the Pagans were primitive
    Actually, as Chesterton once noted, the chief boast of Christianity is that its achievements were built on top of those of the pagans.


    Romans spread so far and wide there influence which began to crumble with the conversion to the christain god
    Wrong. Rome began to collaspe long before. In fact Christianity actually helped keep the Roman Empire going for quite some time longer.

    the Greeks great writers and Philosophers and builders
    The irony of course is that many of those people were monotheists.

    Permit me to address one argument made here, in which I have argued about this to a considerable extent elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by IlluSionSxxx View Post
    The origins of modem totalitarianism are not difficult to trace. In a secular form, they are tied to the same radical strains of intolerance whose religious causes we have just examined. The organization of totalitarianism is patterned after the organization of the Christian Church, and in a similar manner totalitarianisms exploit the themes of the "masses"-the themes inherent in contemporary mass democracy. This secularization of the system has, in fact, rendered totalitarianism more dangerous-independently of the fact that religious intolerance often triggers, in return, an equally destructive revolutionary intolerance. "Totalitarianism," writes Gilbert Durand, "is further strengthened, in so far as the powers of monotheist theology (which at least left the game of transcendence intact) have been transferred to a human institution, to the Grand Inquisitor."

    To claim the origins of totalitarianism lay with Christianity is really a hard one to prove, especially when you take into effect actual Christian political philosophy.

    Christianity teaches that man is sinful, therefore a leader cannot be endowed with absolute powers. This was very much the case during the Medieval period, where the power of Kings were actually significantly limited, especially by the Church.

    John P. McCarthy wrote an excellent essay on this titled "Decentralism and Statism in the Experience of Christendom".


    In terms of social doctrine, the Catholic Church has always insisted on "subsidiarity", ie power concentrated at the lowest levels possible, so as to limit the power of the government.

    Another good source on this is Linda C. Raeder's "Augustine and the Case forLimited Government", concerning the famed theologian's views on the state. As the author contends:

    "Augustine was the first major philosopher to reject the deeply normative politics of classical thought and its conception of the state as the highest achievement of social existence. For Aristotle, the polis was the “perfect community”—the fulfillment of human association and the precondition for the cultivation of intellectual and ethical excellence. Cicero too defined the state in normative terms; a “republic,” he maintained, was an “assemblage [of men] associated by a common acknowledgement of right and by a community of interests.”3 To the classical mind, human flourishing was inextricably entwined with the flourishing of the state; personal and political fulfillments were symbiotic and inseparable.4

    Augustine, the mystical Christian sage, was not impressed with such views. For he held a higher allegiance—to his God—along side which the human state and its strictly secular concerns paled to insignificance. Moreover, he held no illusions regarding the essence of political authority—coerciveness. Coercive rule was, for him, a necessary aspect of human existence but certainly not one worthy of reverence...."
    Not exactly the mentality conductive to a totalitarian regime now is it? Leo XIII also commented extensively about this in his encyclical on Human liberty. In order for liberty to truely exist, one must adhere to a principle higher than the state.

    This is quite a contrast to the pagan philosophy, as summarised above, which upholds civic duty and loyalty to the state as the highest virtue.

    Not that civic duty is not important in Christianity; but secondary to sacred duty.

    Come time of the Renaisance, with the revival of many pre-Christian notions; so too did the notion that civic duty became the most important virtue. Machiavelli was a firm advocate of this, even stating that religion's main task was to foster such devotion.

    This was further developed during the Enlightenment, when philosophers sought to reject the superstitions of the Medieval era and revive the pure rationality of Classical civilization and its ideals. And again, the notion of duty to the state as being the highest virtue was a major theme in all this.

    Another important aspect of all this was the concept of "Enlightened Despotism", which can somewhat be traced back to Plato's philosopher kings.

    And there's plenty more to this, which sadly Im not at liberty at the time to discuss - due to time constraints.

    Point is, the origins of totalitarianism actually lie in a specific rejection of many major Christian themes in an attempt to revive the spirit of paganism.

    Now this ties in with an interesting point made by Kierkegaard; namely that once you've experienced Christianity, there litterally is no going back. One aspect of Christianity that made a lasting impact was making people more aware of their individuality.

    Once that's done, you can't go back to the contented communitarism that was found within the Greek polis or pagan tribalism. Otherwise, people will have to drown themselves into social abstractions; which is exactly what has happened over the past few hundred years.

    By contrast, Christianity offers a more Personalistic approach to inter-human affairs: which both stresses how everybody is unqiue in some way but also forged by their relationships with others. So it's not like community is unimportant to Christianity.

    Not only that, I can also possibily turn to another Frenchman's commentaries on this: Georges Bernanos, who wrote much about the threat of the "pagan state" in the modern world.

  12. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Last Online
    Thursday, December 10th, 2009 @ 08:34 AM
    Age
    44
    Posts
    597
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3
    Thanked in
    3 Posts
    Lately I've been calling myself both a polytheist and a monotheist. As a heathen I believe in the Æsir and Vanir and pay respect to them. I also recognize One supreme being over all others who does not interfere in the world of men but has created the gods of all pantheons for the purpose of interacting with humanity.

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Halloween's Rise Indicator of Collapse of Monotheism?
    By OnePercent in forum The Hearth
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 02:03 AM
  2. A Proposed Model of Original Germanic Monotheism
    By Anlef in forum Germanic Heathenry
    Replies: 46
    Last Post: Sunday, February 13th, 2011, 04:52 AM
  3. Monotheism vs. Polytheism, by Alain de Benoist
    By Alkman in forum Germanic Heathenry
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Tuesday, July 8th, 2008, 11:03 AM
  4. The Druidic Religion
    By Tomas. in forum Indo-Germanic Spirituality
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Sunday, June 18th, 2006, 11:00 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •