I came across a comment by someone from the G&R crowd over on Beckett’s article. I figured I would break it down a bit because it’s both funny and over they top. I’ve screen capped it in case in the future it is pulled.
Since you ended on the unduly provocative allegation that Gods and Radicals is engaged in a ‘crusade for purity’, lets review your condescending paragraph:
“Rhyd and his compatriots at Gods & Radicals put their politics first, and that’s fine. But some of us put our Gods first. Or we put Nature first. Or we put our magic first. Or we put our families and our communities first. And some of us agree with their diagnosis of the world’s ills but strongly disagree with their prescription. The acceptance of the genuine existence of many Gods or the reverence of Nature does not lead directly to the conclusion that Marxism and anarchy are the only or even the best approaches to politics.”
This, ladies and gentlemen, is “condescension.” I.e. an attitude of patronizing superiority and disdain.
After we all get done with our hearty chuckle, let’s look at this. Making the factually true statement that G&R’s writers put their politics first, where as other people have other priorities in life, is an act of condescension towards G&R’s position.
Proof, if we needed more of it, that facts hurt marxism.
But what kind of mind really goes to this place? I mean, if someone made the factually true statement that I put my religious beliefs first in my life and stand by them resolutely, I would take it as a compliment (such a statement has been made at my job). So then how is this similar statement “these people put their politics first and stand by them relentlessly” now a negative statement? Acknowledging the convictions you hold is generally a complement.
Unless one is secretly shamed to hold those convictions and being recognized for the zealousness of their beliefs. In which case it leaves the impression that one is in fact aware of some moral or spiritual failing in ones position.
This is going to be important in the next point
1. Is it so incomprehensible to you that some of the gods give POLITICAL instructions to their followers? That some people have relationships with gods that require that they engage in politics? How can you blithely assume that you are one of the ‘us’ that puts your Gods first, but that the many polytheists that write at Gods and Radicals aren’t engaged in gods-inspired work?
So close to an “inconceivable” meme…sigh.
Actually, after this whole last couple weeks, the idea that some (or many) of the Gods will end up giving Political instructions to their follower is now completely comprehensible. By G&R starting a movement to attack the political beliefs of their fellow Pagans, they have taken a religious movement that was largely not super political and made its entire existence a political issue.
What is incomprehensible is the idea that these Gods would willingly push people into a political ideology that insists on the complete dismantlement of the God’s original belief systems and theologies in favor of a modern political ideology that is all about the destruction of so much Paganism and its Gods traditionally have held dear to their hearts.
But I do know that my relationship with Bellona has gotten very much more politically minded than it originally was. It has been required. Same with Skadi. Now, devotion is not enough. There is “War” upon us. And so “War” must be waged against those would demand a supremacy of their ideology over Pagan paths, traditions, and truths.
Here’s the interesting thing though. In the “confronting post” the ideal of “Sacred Kingship” was listed as a fascist, alt-right ideal. To claim leadership over others in the name of Divine Authority met their definition of “fascism.”
And yet here is Monroe trying to defend G&R’s actions by theorizing that they are acting via “Divine Right.” So I guess the answer Monroe has for my post yesterday of “how do you have the right to rule,” is “The Gods tell me to.”
Despite the fact this is a “fascist” ideal and goes against everything the Marxist Pagans of G&R insist they believe.
2. Do you think that the gods can live on a dead planet? Do you think that colonization and imperialism, in exterminating countless cultures and ecosystems, hasn’t also annihilated gods? How many gods have been erased along with the people that worshiped them? And what system of colonization and world conquest has been more brutal than the last half millenium of capitalist power?
Actually, according to the Lore, most Gods do not live on this Planet. The Norse Gods live on different planets. The Olympians live on Mount Olympus, but even that was acknowledged to be a different place than the physical Mount Olympus. My knowledge of other Pantheons is limited, but I think the Celtic Gods live in a place connected to the realm of faerie, which is basically an “alternate dimension.”
But pedantic will be met with pedantic.
Has colonization and imperialism led to the annihilation of Gods? I doubt it. While it has led to a loss of knowledge about many gods (European Paganism has suffered from this too), the Gods do not live and die as mortals do. Just because knowledge of them has faded, doesn’t mean they are gone.
Perhaps though, we begin to find an inkling of these “nameless” gods that G&R and its people follow?
By the way, there is a system of colonization that has been more brutal and responsible for more world conquest and annihilation than capitalism. Two in fact. Islam and Marxism. At least under “European Capitalistic Imperialism” knowledge of the preceding Pagan gods and cultures was preserved, and indeed often came back to influence the Colonizers. Indeed, a perfect example of this is the Aztec religion and it’s gods, a group so bloodthirsty that the complete loss of their memory and practice would not be a bad thing in my eyes. Yet it was preserved.
Now then, try and find any preservation of the pre-Islamic Pagan cultures in Muslim lands? If you do, odds are it was discovered and preserved under “Capitalistic” Colonialism. Do the same in Marxist countries. If you think the USSR was friendly to alternative religious views, you clearly never learned anything.
To support not only your gods, but the existence of all gods, you have to be against capitalism because capitalism is destroying the world within which the gods live.
Capitalism is not destroying the world.
Humanity might be, sure, but as I’m pretty sure this has to do with that “global warming” business I will point out again that the leading producer of “Green house pollutant” is in fact China, a nation well renowned for it’s Marxist government. In fact, last I read, China was producing more “pollution” than the next several dozen countries, which included the USA, all of which are “capitalistic.”
Make of that what you will.
But this logic is screwy. “To support the Gods you must hate Capitalism.” Why? The Gods were here before this world, they’ll be here after it. Hell, if humanity fucks up and blows the damn thing up, the Gods will just remake it with a new species to worship them. Heck, they may just step in and stop it before it happens. They have the power.
It’s like these guys never read the creation stories.
The last claim is obvious to any competent theologian. However, I’ve noticed the pagan/polytheist community lacks many theoreticians, and therefore anyone with an opinion on religion can pass as a ‘theologian’.
Wow, going for the “no true scottsman” fallacy here.
So a man, defending an “egalitarian, non-hierarchical” political ideology is now using hierarchies to defend the rightness of his position against its detractors. Disregarding the fact that most of these “non-theologian” pagans with counter positions are often devotional polytheists who actually speak with the Gods themselves to gain their divine opinion.
Welp, if I needed more proof that the G&R side of things were wanting to be the gate keepers and dictate who shall and shall not have a place and what will and will not be believed, I have Monroe to thank for it.
Note: you can be a priest, a good one, and not be competent theologically. You can be a theologian, a good one, and not be actively religious. People seem to confuse religious ideology and the actual existence of the gods on a regular basis.
Okay, I tried coming up with another metaphor to try and make this one work, and…I can’t.
A Religion’s “ideology” is based on the teaching sand commandments of the Gods of that religion. Generally, anyways. What Monroe seems to be trying to say here is that a Religion and it’s ideals are completely separate from the Gods of that religions and those God’s existence. Which if you’re a Halsteadian Pagan I suppose is fine and dandy.
But the primary religions we’re talking about here are all Theistic in nature in one form or another. They all hold the existence of the Gods is true, and that the teachings, traditions, and so forth of those religions come from the Gods themselves. Now, this might not be “theological rightthink” under Monroe’s view, but that’s the truth of the matter. In which case the “Priest’s” capability as a “theologian” is secondary to their conviction and upholding of divine commandments.
I’m still having trouble grasping the fact that Monroe basically just said “don’t trust priests who talk to the Gods, they can’t think good.”
Theology is not religion. It is, as the name implies, ‘gods logic’.
Well, looking at the dictionary, Monroe isn’t wrong with this statement. But this statement actually weakens his position.
Basically, theology is the study of Gods and their Religion’s beliefs. Religion is the practice of those beliefs under said Gods. So in reality the theologian is like a cultural anthropologist studying a culture, and the religious believer is a person living inside that culture.
And Monroe has basically just said “Do not trust the native when he speaks about his people’s ways, for he is not an anthropologist and thus cannot understand them as well as I, an outsider who studies anthropology does.”
I’m pretty sure there’s a term for that.
Gods and Radicals is probably the only decent theology project in the pagan/polytheist movement.
Do I need to address this? I feel I could totally just say “presented without comment,” and really say all I need to.
But what the Hel, I’ll say something anyway.
A Marxist, anti-capitalist, anarchist, anti-traditionalist “theological project” whose members consider the Gods to have all the validity of state governance which they feel compelled to renounce and even fight against, who slander their fellow Pagans as “proto” and “crypto” Fascists, and openly declare they desire the destruction of ancient and sacred hierarchies and traditions, is “the only decent theological project in Paganism.”
And you can be a polytheist — a devoted, gods-focused one — and make politics the center of your spiritual work.
Oh I think we’re about to.
I honestly think a lot of us are about to.
I don’t think you’re going to like it though.
Reading your takedowns of stupid comments gives me life.
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If they are the only “decent theology project” it’s because they’ve bullied and shouted down anyone who disagrees. But that comment betrays an incredible level of arrogance. Theanos started Polytheist.com explicitly as a hub of Polytheist theological exposition, for one. And even Beckett, in a populist way, has been digging into theology.
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Jön Upsal's Gardener said:
How is G&R a “theology project” at all? The only theology that’s apparent is the idea that the nature of the Gods is such that they should be ignored when it is convenient to furthering human political ideologies.
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This entire post was glorious and I once again find myself admiring your wit.