Well, I was trying to stay away, but honestly sometimes you just look at something and you can’t walk away. Well, not without smiling and sharing the joke. I know it’s not nice to laugh at other people’s expenses, but…well, Chris Scott Thomas is just one of those people who it’s just way to easy to fuck with and laugh at. So let’s look some at his latest: Gods of a Radical
This has been an emotionally and spiritually exhausting time to be a writer for Gods and Radicals. Apparently, writing about pagan religious practice and radical politics in the same space makes you a “fanatic peddling a divisive agenda” as one “apolitical polytheist” described me.
Well, I mean Chrissy and friends have been writing for months, maybe even longer, about the need to violently overthrow all of civilization and to destroy the enemies of radical anarcho-communism as we know it by any means necessary and how it is a morally acceptable thing to do it regardless of the methods used so…
Really not sure how he and his friends got labeled “fanatics peddling a divisive agenda” I mean, there’s nothing fanatical or divisive there at all.
While the initial controversy was set off by a page about the New Right in pagan movements, many of the critics have made it clear that they don’t want Gods and Radicals to exist at all. In their minds, any discussion of left-wing politics in a religious context is illegitimate. The most common criticism seems to be that we aren’t really motivated by religion, and that the only thing we care about is politics.
I honestly don’t get why he’s surprised at this kind of response.
I mean, sure it’s bad to insist on a bloody revolution where in all your foes are purged for “wrongthink” and all of civilization is destroyed to be replayed by your utopian dream. Now, were they calling for this to happen so that some manner of Pagan Theocracy could be established…I don’t think anyone would claim they were not motivated by religion*(1)
But G&R’s writers are not demanding the violent revolution would be evangelized, they’re…insisting on an anarchic-communist society. Which…has nothing to do with religion at all. Generally, in communist societies, religion is one of the first things to be suppressed as it takes people’s focus away from the communist dogma by teaching them there’s another way to live (by the will of the Gods rather than the will of the party).
So it’s really hard to argue that you’re motivated by religion when…you’re not engaging in any attempt to put that religion into power. G&R preaches radical marxism…not Theocratic Paganism.
Now, I’ll give them this much. If a person is willing to stand up with me and fight the powers that are despoiling this planet, I don’t care if that person is a pagan or not. I’m happy to stand on the barricades with an atheist or a Christian. I don’t think the revival and growth of polytheism is more important than the crises currently facing this planet, and frankly I can’t understand the values of anyone who would.
Right, so when people hear the words “Gods & Radicals” they instantly start thinking of people who are religiously radical about the worship of their gods. Like Islamic Terrorists, you know, guys who are hard core into their religion, hate all religions that are not their religion, and want everyone to worship their religion and their god. That’s typically how a “radical” works. They’re radical for something. Radical Marxists are radical about Marxism. Radical Islamists are radical about Islam. Radical Capitalists are radical about Capitalism. Radical 90’s kids are just…Radical.
So when you present yourself as a radical pagan, people are going to naturally assume you are radical about Paganism. Deus Vult, God Wills, now make all men boy before Zeus and keep the hot bitches flowing to the temple so that he might be distracted by the hotness and not fry us all with lightning bolts.
One does not expect a radical Islamist going on to advocate the complete overthrow of a Islamic society in order to create a Wiccan Theocracy. So when a “radical pagan” starts advocating the overthrow of society to create a Marxist dictatorship…and not even one that is beholding to the Gods and their Rites…it’s a bit mystifying.
Not saying you can’t consider other issues important, but typically radicals consider the issue their radical about to be the most important. And for a “Radical Pagan” that would be the Gods…not global warming, poverty, racism, etc.
That doesn’t mean I “don’t put the gods first” as so many are saying. It also doesn’t mean that I think my gods are telling me what side to fight on. Just to be clear, Brighid never came down from above and told me to be an anti-capitalist, and neither did Macha.
Except that is exactly what it means.
Insisting that a Marxist world view is the one to be fought for, not a Brighidian or Machan world view, means you are putting the views you champion before the Gods you worship.
Bridghid never told Chris to be an anti-capitalist. Indeed, it is logical to assume that Bridghid is perfectly fine with capitalism, income inequality, and social hierarchies (all things Chris is adamantly against). Why is it logical to assume this? Because the world over which Bridghid ruled back in the day was a world of income inequality, social hierarchies, and exploitation of other people in order to gain a better life for you and yours. A Goddess who was perfectly fine with slavery and monarchy is not going to have a problem with some people working a min-wage job while others live like kings.
In fact, were Chris to be honestly radical about his Paganism, he would likely be championing a return to a world such as it was under the religion and laws of Bridghid and her Pantheon’s rule. But instead he champions Marxism, a system of existence which claims itself to be at the complete polar end of everything Bridghid’s people lived by (anti-exploitative, anti-authoritarian, and anti-state/tribe).
On the other hand, the lore and mythology associated with Brighid and Macha has implications for both society and my daily life, and I happen to take those implications seriously. Why? Because I take my gods seriously, of course.
I did a break down of his “faithful” adherence to these “implications” here.
Of course, Chris is the type of man who will read an ancient proverb about not accusing someone of a crime or wrongful action without evidence and reads that as “don’t accuse anyone without strong reasons.” And someone believe he is obeying his own rule of “don’t hang out with anyone destructive or harmful” while…endorsing a violent revolution to destroy all of civilization.
In the lore about the various Brighids of Irish mythology, we find them mourning war, asserting the rights of women and the poor, and standing up to rulers and kings. Doesn’t this imply something about the values Brighid represents and manifests?
In the lore of Macha, the goddess dies in battle fighting the oppressive Fomorians, then comes back in human form only to die when she is forced to race the horses of the king of Ulster. She curses the warriors of Ulster in vengeance. Doesn’t this imply something about the need to make sacrifices to fight oppression, and about Macha’s attitude to unjust rulers?
Well, without knowing why Macha was forced to raise the horses I can’t say as to if the king was unjust. Of the Fomorians I know little, but they strike me as Aquatic Fae who make the Winter Court look positively benign. So fighting off eldritch abominations only tells me that she was doing what Gods tend to do.
And as for mourning war…everyone does that, including capitalists. Women’s rights has been an issue championed by capitalism pretty much more than any other system of existence out there. And being concurned about the plight of the poor (something capitalists are also concerned about) does not indicate any sort of endorsement for a violent marxist revolution. And claiming it does would have as much validity as me claiming that Hela’s guardianship of young girls and their safety gives me complete right to demand the complete genocidal destruction of Islam and all Muslims because some Muslim men happen to gang rape young women (a lot).
But I mean, if that’s the rules you wanna play by…
These stories may imply something different to you than they do to me. That’s fine, there’s no one right way to read a myth. And your gods may have different values from my gods. That’s your business. But if your god’s lore implies something to you and you choose to ignore it, you can hardly say you’re “putting the gods first.” The lore of my gods implies certain values, I take those values seriously, and I guide my life by them.
Then those certainly can be the rules played by.
But this just goes to show Chris isn’t really a “radical” Pagan. If he was, he’d insist there is a right way to read the myth (literally), that the Gods and Goddesses must hold a place of Supremacy in society, and that all who question it be brought to heel.
Now, Chris calls for a right way to “think” in society, that Marxism the ideology have a place of Supremacy in society, and that all who question it be brought to heel. He can claim that he does this by “influence” of his Goddess’s myths…but at the end of the day Marxism is Marxism without the Gods, a violent overthrow of society for Marxism is not an action taken at the Behest of the Gods but at the behest of Marxism, and the insistence that this violent destruction for the sake of Marxism is morally correct is certainly not something endorsed by the Gods in any interpretation of any of the Myths of any Pantheon I have ever come across.
As such, there is no conceivable way my polytheism could be apolitical.
And he’s too stupid to realize it.
If Chris’s polytheism was a theocratic belief that his Pagan Religion be made the Theocratic Rulers of society…yeah, there’s no way his paganism could be apolitical. But as he is arguing for an areligious (and even anti-religious) political ideology must have total supremacy of power in the world. He outright states that his two primary Goddesses have at no point told him to embrace this political ideology or radicalism in its name, so he is not believing and doing this by divine mandate.
The ideology is non-religious. There is no divine mandate to engage in the ideology. And his myths at best say only to “care for the poor, suffer not the unjust, and respect the rights of others.” All things that are good under nearly all other ideologies and religions, but the interpretation of how to care for the poor, who is unjust, and what rights others have he is not taking from his Goddesses or his religion. He is taking them from Marxism and then saying “Well, they’re also found via my Goddesses, so it’s okay if there’s a difference between what my Goddesses felt was right and what Marxism tells me is right.”
And then he wonders why no one considers him an honest person or honest pagan.
*(1) Then again, ISIS is doing that in the name of Allah and Islam and we never run out of people claiming they are not doing it for god and religion, so…who knows.
Virginia Carper said:
I think he misinterpreted the criticism. There are Gods such as Jupiter and Ceres who have a history of political action. A part of their worship is being involved with government.
However, there are apolitical Gods such as Volcanus and and Flora who prefer not to be involved. To say that Gods must be involved in politics is telling the apolitical Ones that you are call the shots about who and what They are. That to a Roman is impious, and affects the Pax Deoum.
As to wanting that particular site gone, no to that. What is the problem is the insisting that the apolitical are bigots and fascists. That is the problem.
Examples of religion and politics together: “White Man’s Burden” and imperialism which is based on Christianity and politics. Slavery in the U.S. had the basis in the Bible. The Spanish Inquisition was the consolidation of the power of Ferdinand and Isabella by using Catholicism. The Thirty Years War. Mary of Tudor England and Edward of Tudor England killed off people of the “wrong” religion. Henry VIII break from Rome over his marriage, and forcing people to renounce the Pope. Shall I go on?
And of course there is the Religious Right that puts religion and politics together. What makes the folks of that site think that they are somehow different?
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The cognitive dissonance of this man is truly astounding.
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This is what happens when there is a concerted effort NOT to teach critical thinking, nor skills of argument, to children.