Why Isn’t This Polytheism?

Haiti … has been a disaster in almost every way long before this ever struck. And it is a nation, between you and me, I guess, that Satan has had absolutely free reign in that nation.

This is from the lips of Wesley Stafford, president and CEO of Compassion International but it could have been from that other polytheist Pat Robertson or from a host of other kindred spirits. If there are two gods fighting over human spoils, that sure sounds like polytheism to me. Now, I’m not saying polytheism is any worse than monotheism. Most commentators claim such remarks are insensitive, inappropriate, or somehow historically wrong (as if something like this could ever be historically right). But from a polytheistic perspective, I don’t think they are disqualified by their insensitivity, inappropriateness, or historical error. Like all theological assertions, lack of evidence renders any underlying substance for such assertions so improbable that maintaining them is perverse. But just in the highly improbable case that theological assertions are substantive, they are exactly what one would expect if your favorite god were losing a cosmic war or a local battle. For example, last night Mot wrenched Massachusetts from the hands of Baal.
[Note for those who worry about insensitivity, inappropriateness, or historical error: this post is about polytheism. The almost unimaginable human disaster in Haiti holds no comparison with a mere political debacle in Massachusetts.]

6 thoughts on “Why Isn’t This Polytheism?”

  1. Oh, but on the actual topic … most Christians are functionally dualists, not monotheists. In my own environs where I am already somewhat a fish out of water, confessing to doubting the existence of Satan goes over almost like confessing to doubting the existence of God. In my opinion, modern conservative Christian ideas about Satan owe as much to the horror movie genre as to actual biblical theology.

  2. You know, you’re right. I’d counter Judith above and say it’s much more than dualism though. Consider not just God versus Satan, but also the classes of angels and demons that have been envisioned by Christian followers. It’s like Pokémon. The sheer variation of divine beings is never-ending. God is even split in three at times (much like the supreme god Tin on the Etruscan Piacenza Liver… hmmm).
    Of course, one might argue that there are nonetheless only two metaphysical CEOs in this system, one of Good, the other of Evil. Yet even in ancient pantheons, there was always a head of some sort or another anyways. It would seem that if Christianity is merely dualism by dismissing the angels and demons, polytheism can be likewise reduced to monotheism perhaps, but that would become absurd.
    So, deliciously blasphemous/non-PC as it is, Christianity really is what it seems: Repackaged polytheism. ;o)

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