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Huh. Via utforsker. Equally offensive to mainstream Monotheists and Pagans. Yet possessed of a very discomfiting bit of truth. Thoughts, anyone?

Also, today is the 7-year anniversary of my first day working at this organization. Why does this make me queasy?

Some people get motion-sick; I get inertia-sick.


Feb. 22nd, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
"Og is sky god. Husband of Marga, earth goddess."
"No, Og married to Agram, lake goddess!"

But that sort of thing was remarkably uncommon in the ancient world. Even early Judaism tended more towards "you're special, so don't do the things those nasty Canaanites do," rather than "those nasty Canaanites believe the wrong things." The idea that contradictory things could not simultaneously be true is a fairly recent one, explaining why the redactors of the Bible had not problem with including contradictory versions of the same stories. Ancient religions (and a few modern ones, like Hinduism) had a rather relaxed attitude towards religious "facts." They were open to new gods, or to identifying new gods with old ones, and saw no conflict in accepting contrary traditions.

One example that bugged me a lot as a kid was that Perseus was supposed to have turned Atlas to stone, but Herakles, a DESCENDANT of Perseus, meets up with a decidedly unpetrified Atlas later on. For that matter, nobody could seem to agree on the roster of the 12 Olympians. There were always 12, and stories where one god would give up their place to make room for another, but WHICH 12 gods was never consistent.

Some cultures had similar approaches to history, I might add. The Egyptians had no problem with attributing the same deeds to Pharaohs centuries apart.

So the idea of "you heretic, I kill you!" (as opposed to "you talk funny, I kill you!" or "I want you stuff, I kill you!") was not too common in antiquity. The only exception would be advocating PRACTICES which were disruptive to society. You didn't have to BELIEVE in Iuppiter, but you'd better not tell people not to give money to the state temple.
Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:22 am (UTC)
Hmmm. So would you argue that monotheism supported the development of formal logic? Or that monotheism reinforces the concept of Platonic Ideals?

Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:31 am (UTC)
I'd say that both could be manifestations of a movement towards absolutist epistemology, but monotheism can and does exist free of formal logic, as in Upanishadic Hinduism.
Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:44 am (UTC)
Interesting. Must ponder. Thanks!




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